Pig Revisited


Pig pre-background.  I actually prefer this to the final version and debated whether to put any background in.   In the end I decided to push it to see what happened and regretted it.  Never mind – there will be other pigs.

Anyway – for January’s 30 paintings in 30 days challenge my next subject was ‘pig’.   It’s another animal I revisit periodically and they’re always fun to paint.   Their skin is pale but with a lot of subtle tone and color variation which is interesting to do.   There is always one thing that catches me out however – trotters!!!   Much like bird claws they always catch me out but I’m slowly getting there.

 The drawing.  Had several goes at the trotters before I was (almost) satisfied.



Owls Revisited


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I have a love/hate relationship with painting owls.   I find them very difficult (and secretly think they’re a bit cheesy) but can’t stop painting them.  Here is my latest effort and I’m actually pretty pleased.

Intermediate pictures below.

Starting the painting.  Went straight in with the eyes as I would for a person portrait.   Mostly ultramarine, burnt sienna and raw sienna.   

Close up of the eyes.   Was careful to modulate the tones in the pupils so not to make them like little black holes.  Also tried for some subtle tone on the central white feathery bit (this must have a proper name no?).

Finished owl.   The body feathers are looking better now there’s some tone in the lighter regions.  Decided on a very subtle background just to take the white off the paper.   With such a limited palette in the owl itself I thought putting a contrasting colour in the background would detract from it.

Below are a couple of preliminary sketches I did to warm up and should be a lesson in how I should never miss this step out.   The first is truly awful – proportions are wrong,  the eyes are generic ‘eye’ shape, generally dreadful.    

Gingerbread House


This is just a short sketch of our gingerbread house given to us (in kit form) by our good friend Jill Dixon.   Much eating and drinking has been going on in the last few days and very little painting.

Edit:  I submitted this as day 14 of Leslie Saeta’s 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.  Life got in the way yesterday and I had no time to paint anything.

Tiger – getting a head start


I’ve signed up for


Leslie Byrd Saeta’s

 ’30 paintings in 30 days’ challenge.   Now I have it on good authority from


Bobbi Heath

 that we can get a head start on this and paint a few to have ‘in the bag’ as it were.  If I were going to be critical I would say that the drawing’s a little ‘off’ but pretty happy all in all.

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Sketching Course week 6 – bags and roofs

 This sketching course is a blast – although it takes up a surprisingly large amount of time.   We only have two pieces of homework a week but it’s easy to get behind.

This week our first indoor assignment was to sketch our (sketching) bag with minimal pencil setup.   My first attempt (bottom) I failed with the minimal setup and drew it all out first before I realized what had happened.     The second attempt (top) went a little better and putting some color on improved things no end.


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Our second task was drawing a roofscape (we weren’t meant to do the building but again I couldn’t help myself).  This caught my eye as we were out for a walk yesterday evening and I came back in the daylight to sketch it. The shapes of the roofs and the way they interlocked with each other caught my eye as well as the contrast between the dark roof and the white walls. Now I look back on it the spire is too stumpy but without the photo you wouldn’t know that.

I started lightly with pencil then went in with the pen. I found the windows hard to draw without them looking awkward – broken lines helped here. I put the color on back in the warm where it wasn’t snowing.

More Sketching with Liz Steel – Weeks 4 and 5


Week 4 was about drawing volume and we were instructed to draw a pile of books first in pencil then inking and watercoloring.    The pencil lines had to describe the volume in a wire-frame kind of way – drawing all edges even if we couldn’t see them.   Frankly I wasn’t as careful as I could have been on this – I was getting behind and jumped in with the ink pretty early.    It was great fun to do and I’m happy with the result.  The sketchbook is getting to look pretty good.


The setup.   4 of my favorite books.

Week 5 was meant to be a careful measuring week.   Which I almost completely ignored and just leapt straight in with the ink and wash.    Not too shabby though.