Saturday, October 29, 2016

LIVING IN HARMONY - Art Competition.

I have been obsessed with leopards since I was a little tuskerman, so I feel especially thrilled and honoured to have won an art competition in South Africa that is being held to raise awareness by the Primate and Predator Project.

The Project is supporting a system whereby Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are being raised and trained to protect local cattle herds from leopard predation - so livestock and predators can live in harmony. My illustration depicts the relationship between them all.

When art can be used as a tool for conservation... that's what it's all about!

Thank you all who voted for the picture!

Read more:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Pastels, Charith Pelpola, 2016

It's been good to get my hands dirty again and going mad with the pastels! I've been doing a lot of b+w pen drawings recently but pastel is where the heart is at!

Leopards are close to my heart and I wanted to convey a sense of mystery and optimism in this picture, as the Dawn-watcher patiently waits in his forest kingdom, waiting for the first light of dawn to herald a new day...

Below are stages in this work, from start to finish:

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"PURSUIT" - progression

The first painting of 2016 is done and dusted!

Pastels, Charith Pelpola, 2016
After completing "Duel' last month, I've really wanted to continue painting 'action' scenes with a lot of movement and dynamism.

A Cheetah in chase was an obvious choice. This originally started with a bit of an experiment with a new set of watercolour pencils. But as I filled out the face and started to work on the body in motion, I began to overlay the watercolour with pastels - helping to give more texture to the fur.

Here's a quick video showing the stages in the painting's development:

Please visit my FB page to see more works in progress.

Monday, November 16, 2015


This is possibly the most action-packed painting I've ever done. It's taken a long time but its been a satisfying study.

"Duel" - progress.
My art is first and foremost a practice to satisfy my soul. It's my own vicarious connection with the natural world, and I hope in some ways that it also illustrates to a wider audience, the breath-taking beauty of the wilderness and its inhabitants.

But sometimes I fear (especially in the light of recent horrific reports of the continuing hunting and poaching of some of the world's most threatened species) that to paint a pretty picture might just lull my audience into a false sense of security.

Its easy for beauty to gloss over brutality...

Perhaps I should be painting the harsher realities of the 21st Century wilderness instead... the butchered elephant, the decapitated rhino, the skinned tiger. That would make 'em sit up and pay attention wouldn't it? But I bet those paintings wouldn't be going up on anyone's walls either...

There's little artists can do but paint with as much emotion and conviction as they can, and hope that at least some of that is conveyed in the final rendering.

And so I leave you with these duelling Arabian Oryx, declared extinct in the wild in 1972, and now up to a 1,000 living wild and free after concerted breeding and reintroduction programmes.

Maybe we can still turn things around...

"Duel", Charith Pelpola, 2015.
56x38cm, Pastel and Pencil.
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Friday, September 4, 2015

"DEVILDANCER" - Special Merit Award!

More good news - my painting, "devildancer", has just won a Special Merit Award in the Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery​ "Open" Art Competition.

Once again it was up against some fantastic works of art, so I am pleased: two competitions; two strikes!!!

Check out mine and the other entries here:

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Monday, August 31, 2015

A Company of Wolves

Sometimes a simple sketch has the potential to become something more...

When I was first drawing out this composition of a group of wolves, I was interested in the different positions and profiles of their faces.

But after the sketch was done, I went over it again in pen to give it more definition.

At the time I was also experimenting with watercolour pencils, so decided to apply a layer of colour as well.

In the end I cropped the picture to show just a trio - wasn't too happy with the look of the black wolf on top. Think it turned out okay!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

"contact | margay" - progression

Here's another quick video, showing the stages of progress on my painting, 
"contact | margay'.

This took about five days in all, and was created with layers and layers of pastel.

Here's the finished piece:

contact | margay 2014, pastels

"In the heart of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, a stray beam of sunlight penetrates the canopy and illuminates a high branch. Resting in the cradle of its bough, a Margay opens his eyes, and surveys his lofty kingdom. As the Sun becomes obscured by cloud and this green world is plunged once again into emerald darkness, he settles back down - and waits for night to fall..."