Friday, 31 October 2008

King of the Spiders

Interesting visitor to our cottage the other night. It was dark and we'd just arrived home, switched on the lights and started making a cup of tea when I happened to turn around and spot sat on the wall above our fireplace quite simply the largest spider I have ever seen living wild in any part of the good old British Isles. It was obviously a member of the harmless house spider clan but an individual of the most incredible hulk proportions that I stood open-mouthed for a minute or two marvelling at it's legs and mandibles. Unfortunately my better half is terrified of spiders so with the help of a large mug and a postcard I scooped the chap up before she had a chance to see it and moved to deposit it out-of-doors. However it was such a large spider that the mug could barely contain all of it's mighty arachnid power and I am sorry to say I accidently severed one of it's eight legs in the ensuing struggle. I finally released it in the lane outside and I'm sure I heard it mutter "I'll be back" before vanishing into the darkness...

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Dawn of the Polar Bear

Latest painting in the making is forming on my easel - a polar bear trudging across a frozen lake with snow drifting in the background. I'm in the early stages at the moment, initial composition sketching and monochrome acrylic underpainting is done, and the canvas now awaits the arrival of oil paint to bring some colour and life to the proceedings. I favour an acrylic underpainting as a foundation to the oils themselves, as it's a good, stable and quick-drying way of laying down a base colour(in this instance a vibrant yellow ochre which works as a good ground for both snow and bear alike) and for blocking in some light and shade before the real heavyweight painting gets going.

Anyway, back to the easel, keep checking this space, photos to come....

Saturday, 11 October 2008

The Summoning - Timber Wolf

Oils on board 10 x 8 inches
I've been working on a number of large pieces lately so for a bit of a change of pace last week I decided to produce this little painting of a timber wolf. This is a familiar image to any wildlife fan, a timber wolf summoning the pack by doing what he does oh so very well - howling. It's a simple composition, one which I'm sure has been done by many artists over the years, but powerful all the same. I might explore the wolf theme further in a much larger scale soon, with more animals and big scenery, so watch this space.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Painting published in Art of Conservation book

Good news! My oil painting The Buzzard Rock has just been published in a new hardcover book entitled The Art of Conservation 2008 - An International Exhibit of Nature in Art

The book has been published in conjunction with the Artists for Conservations inaugral annual juried exhibition which opened at the Hiram Blauvelt Museum of Art, New Jersey on September 28th. According to the AFC website -

"The show companion book, as it is being called, merits much more than being labeled merely as a show catalog. It is a true coffee-table book – 10-1/4” square, 188 pages, hardbound, and in printed in full color. The stock used for printing was from an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) –certified and sustainably managed source. The contents feature not only every single artwork from the show, but also several additional chapters that provide context and information about the show itself, The AFC, the Blauvelt Museum, WCS, the AFC Flag Expeditions program and the Simon Combes Conservation Award. The book sets a new standard in quality as a show companion and is testament to the quality of the show and the dedication of the organizations involved. Proceeds from the sale of the book support the AFC. It is very reasonably priced, at $US 39.95, plus shipping and applicable taxes. A limited number of copies of the book are available for order, directly from the AFC by emailing"

To view more details of the book and Art of Conservation exhibit visit the AFC website here -

Monday, 6 October 2008

It's in the trees....

Out walking with my trusty jack russell sidekick Jake this evening. It was just getting beginning to get dark and the woods near my house had taken a suitably atmospheric Hammer House of Horror look with a grey mist filtering through the treetops and lots of shadowy shapes among the undergrowth. We were on our way back and had just passed an old stone gate post by the side of the path when said pup suddenly flew into a rage and focussed a volley of barks and snarls at some invisible point off into the trees. Aha...another one of those pesky squirrels! Luckily this time my little furry mate was on his lead or he'd be off and running, galloping around the woods half the night and being a general hooligan. Hmm...bit weird though, there's no squirrel in these parts who would be stupid enough to stand still whilst Jake bared his teeth and yelled at him - but whatever this was it wasn't moving.

We stayed there for a minute or two, Jake growling away and me peering into the dark trying to see what was hiding there. Likely candidates flickered through my mind. Mad backwoodsman? Mouse? Rabbit?(hardly likely) Badger?(possible but unlikely) Leopard? Well, there are folks around here who believe in the Beast of Bodmin Moor, big cats living wild etc, but I am firmly not one of them... Roe deer? Yes, that was my best bet, a roe deer spooked by us passing and stood stock still in the shadows and hoping we would clear off.

Which after a little while longer we did, Jake protesting all the way home.

Friday, 3 October 2008

New wildlife art pencil drawing

" Red Kangaroo"
18 inches x 20 inches
Here's another new piece of art for sale, an original pencil drawing on paper of a red kangaroo. I don't do that many larger pencil drawings but I thought the unusual shape and powerful legs and tail of this animal lent itself very well to a simple black and white image.
You can purchase this picture online from my website by clicking here
Or you can buy direct from me by emailing me at

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Brand New Wildlife Art

"Afternoon Sunlight - Fallow Deer Buck"
Oils on canvas
18 x 24 inches
I've just finished this oil painting depicting a fallow deer buck resting in the sun during the Autumn rut. I found this one interesting to paint especially the contours and texture of the fallen tree behind . If you are interested in purchasing this painting you can do so online from my website by clicking here
Or you can purchase directly from me by emailing me at