Sunday, December 13, 2015


This portrait took a lot longer to finish than I thought and I feel that there is still more to do to it. I'll put it aside for a while then take a look at it later on with fresh eyes. Sorry for the quality of the photo this time - a bit of a rush job! Size is 10" x 14", watercolor on TH Saunders paper.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Leaving the skin and hair for awhile, I concentrated on completing the grey top. The sleeves are slightly see-thru so I first laid down a few orangeish washes as a base then when dry, painted the details such as the folds in the material etc over the top, all the while being careful not to go too dark or allow these areas to get muddy - easy enough to do! More darker grey washes followed then the slight pattern of the top was added afterwards. I had to keep standing back and looking at the painting from a distance to make sure that there was a uniformity of tone but also at the same time I kept adding some slightly darker tones to create depth within the fabric. When I was happy that the blouse was almost complete, I turned my attention to the hair adding more washes to deepen and enrich this area. I also started to define the neck and the slight shadow on her right shoulder but even at this point, I can see there is still quite a lot to do.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Here I have spent time working mostly on the hair trying to get a good depth of tone without going too dark. The shine on the hair was an interesting challenge to try and capture - it's not quite finished yet. I'm keeping the washes light at this time and will slowly darken them as I work my way through. Light washes have been also added to the face and shoulders trying to capture the correct form, and quite a lot of time spent working on the eyes too as this is a very important part of a portrait to get right - they are still not quite as I want them but overall I'm happy with the painting so far. My camera is making the skin tones look a bit blotchy here but in reality they are a lot smoother.


Here is the start of a new portrait of my lovely niece Lisa. I had been wanting to do a painting of her for some time so after a few drawings were completed, I took the plunge and started on a watercolor. Using my usual painting method, I started with a careful drawing on stretched watercolor paper then laid in some background washes - mostly neutral tint and raw umber. Letting that dry, I put in some of the darkest areas (her eyes) and a few washes for the hair. Immediately afterwards I noticed a few defects in the paper so will have to carefully work around them so as to maintain a smooth effect on the hair and skin - much work ahead!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


I'm slowly catching up posting some of the work that has been recently finished here in the studio and further afield. Going back to my recent South African trip, the ostrich is a bird quite often seen when driving through some of the less settled areas but these aren't truly wild birds, rather ones that have escaped from ostrich farms. When we visited Qwantani (see earlier blog) we saw quite a few of them and one morning 3 were on the grounds feeding around the chalets (one male and two females). When I stepped out for a closer look, all three headed in my direction and two ended up standing on the stoep itself! Not exactly wild birds then - obviously used to hand-outs from visitors. At first I was a bit wary as the males can be dangerous during the breeding season. But they only seemed to be interested in food so I managed some incredible close-ups with my digital camera and later drew this male as I had seen it the day before walking through the veld. Close up they are very impressive birds and have wonderfully long eyelashes! The males wing feathers are white while the tail is a warm reddish-grey - the females an overall greyish-brown. An amazing bird with very powerful legs and feet too! One of these days I'll probably do an African landscape with ostrich striding through just as I saw them. Ostrich study above - graphite on paper (sketchbook), 7" x 9".

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Sorry about the large painting in the last pic, It was covered with glass and I didn't realize that the window behind me was reflecting so strongly and washing out the image.
Amongst the artists, I seem to have most paintings in the exhibition - 9, and this is because I was working from two properties. Reflecting on the experience, I am happy and proud to be part of this exhibition and it seems quite a worthwhile effort on the part of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy group. I hope this exhibition continues to call attention to some of the threats that the Chesapeake area faces here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.


Here as promised is the String of Pearls Exhibition currently showing at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center, 114 S. Washington St, Easton, MD, USA. I'll split the show into two blog posts as there are quite a few paintings.