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..."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Black Cat Appreciation Day 2015

To celebrate Black Cat Appreciation Day, here's a little picture from a while back...

Its an imaginative characture of our own little black cat, Twinkly, who we sadly lost cancer in 2013 at the age of 12. Second-in-command to our matriarch Jelly and mother to Pumpkin, Twinky was a tough little cookie. Rescued from the drains at just a couple of months old and having been chewed on by rats and ants, she made a swift recovery and grew into a strong, independent - albeit stunted - cat.

We miss her dearly, but can definitely say, from firsthand experience that black cats are very special, and very cool!

Because of superstitious beliefs in some cultures, black cats are sometimes associated with bad luck and, sadly, are more likely to be put to sleep or wait a long time to be adopted from shelters. Black Cat Appreciation Day was launched to show people that a black cat could be the perfect cat for them, and help raise awareness about black cats in general.

 If you’ve been looking for a rescue cat yourself, why not consider a black cat? Not only are the superstitions about them bringing bad luck completely untrue, but you might find a black cat to be a fantastic feline companion for you!

Check out these 10 reasons why you should adopt a black cat.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


To mark World Elephant Day (August 12th), here's an earlier sketch I did entitled "IN REVERENCE", based on Gregory Colbert’s amazing collection of photography, Ashes and Snow.

Why World Elephant Day?

Because the world’s elephants are in trouble and need our help. Elephant numbers have dropped by 62% over the last decade, and they could be mostly extinct by the end of the next decade. An estimated 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory, meat and body parts, leaving only 400,000 remaining. An insatiable lust for ivory products in the Asian market makes the illegal ivory trade extremely profitable, and has led to the slaughter of tens of thousands of African elephants.

The Asian elephant, whose habitat ranges over 13 countries across Asia, is an endangered species with less than 40,000 remaining worldwide – less than a tenth of the African elephant population. Wild Asian elephants suffer severe habitat loss in some of the most densely human-populated regions on the planet. Their traditional territories and migration routes have been fragmented by development, highways and industrial mono-crops such as palm oil and rubber tree plantations, which has destroyed millions of hectares of forest ecosystems. With no access to their natural habitat, elephants are forced into deadly confrontations with humans where neither species wins.

To find out more about what you can do to help this wonderful, ancient and majestic animal, please click the World Elephant Day logo:

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Sunday, August 9, 2015

"Sumatran Sentinel" - progression

Tigers are one of my favourite subjects, and as with all of my animal portraits, its the eyes that I start with - as these can really make or break a picture.

Tigers in particular have such character in their eyes. Their seem to stare directly at you, and that intensity can be brought to life in a painting, by some carefully placed flicker of light and reflection. If the eyes work out (and they're both in proportion and not squint!), then the rest of the face usually takes shape around them.

So, over a one week period, this is how my latest tiger portrait took shape:

This picture was done to raise awareness about the conservation of the Sumatran Tiger, one of the most threatened of the world's remaining sub-species of tiger.

Here he is again in his full glory!

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

"A FORCE OF NATURE" - Special Merit Award!

Here's some good news to kick off this page - my painting, "A Force Of Nature", has just won a Special Merit Award in the Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery​ Nature Art Competition.

It was up against some fantastic works of art, so I am pleased, considering its the first time I've gotten off my backside and actually entered a nature art competition in my entire life...

Check out the entries here:

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It's sometime interesting to see how a simple sketch progresses from start to finish. In this little video, I've condensed about 45 minutes into a 1-minute time-lapse:

I am really pleased that the final sketch went on to be used by the actual Barbary Ape Awareness and Conservation group on some of their merchandise to help raise funds for their work to conserve the species in Morocco. A huge thanks again to Sian Waters and everyone at BMAC for this honour!

Read more about the work of BMAC and what we wildlife artists can do to help them at

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