Friday, 18 November 2011

Not far off finishing the beach polo painting...

I think there is probably only one more layer of paint left to go on this painting, I just need to tidy up the tiny details on the subjects, and do some more work on the water. I'm using a very slow drying (but utterly beautiful and lovely to paint with Michael Harding oil) blue and if anything it seems even wetter than it was yesterday so think I'll have to wait a good for days before going back to it.

Have started another little box canvas too, a dressage close up. Waiting for a bespoke canvas to arrive to get started on an exciting commission for Christmas too. Busy busy!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Painting horses from life, as badly as ever!

If there is one thing that I have learnt in 2011, it is probably the value of working from life as part of my wider preparatory and practice work. It's not something I am very good at, find easy, or a style of painting very close to my usual style- but I enjoy it, and I think I have really reaped the benefits of dedicating a bit more time to it this year, in my regular work.

Having not done very much of it in recent months I have decided to pull my finger out and go do some! This morning I spent an hour or so at a local yard that I used to keep my horses on in the past, and painted. Not the best time of year to do it really as most of the horses are well rugged up but enough heads over stable doors to keep me busy at least!

So tricky trying to paint a horse who only fleetingly looks in the direction you are painting him, I produced the dreadful painting above! Not quite sure how I managed to make his face look quite so deformed... shall blame it on tricky combination of roany face markings haha! As ever not too worried about the end result really as it's more about the process- but it would be nice to one day be capable of producing good equestrian oils from life. Planning to try and make my yard painting visits weekly/fortnightly, hopefully that way by the time the next SEA workshops come around in the spring I might not be so useless ;-D I might even try and paint the same horse each time, that could be an interesting way to measure my progress?

Have added another layer to the 'Out of the Shadows' painting since last blogging, and started another beach polo one too (pictured below). Hoping at least one of them might be ready in time for the Association of Animal Artists exhibition at Derby House next month!

Monday, 7 November 2011

'In the Shadows' in progress, Day 2.

Back to this today, just a quick 30 mins spent putting another layer of paint over the lot! Some paynes grey over the top of the background and a mixture of various colours over the horse (I love paynes grey). From this layer onwards I use Michael Hardings medium No. 1 to slacken off the paint- it was recommended to me by one of my favourite artists, Michael Miller, and really is wonderful to work with. Michael Harding oil paints are fantastic too, not cheap, but worth the money; I am very slowly building my collection of them! Oil paints can be incredibly expensive...

So, now I have my underpainting just as I want it- a nice, brushmark-free set of guidelines to paint over. Looks a mess but that's fine as I just need to see what needs to go where :-)

Friday, 4 November 2011

'In the Shadows' in progress, Day 1.

Finally away with this one! Took ages to get the canvas as I wanted it- much gesso and sanding and oil priming and then a thin stain of raw umber as a base. I seem to spend SO long prepping my canvases but it is time well spent as having a surface that suits my way of working makes life so much easier when painting!

This first (rather scary looking) layer of paint is just blocking out what goes where really- light, and dark. Rough and sketchy thin layers of oil paint (slackened off slightly with a bit of artists white spirit) being careful not to leave raised brush marks. Bad photo, was painting right next to the window as the light was awful- good old rainy British weather!

Will be documenting the progress of this one in tedious detail on here!

My camera was linked to my laptop and clicking away every 10 seconds as I painted, hoping to produce another time lapse video of this one.

Monday, 31 October 2011

New 7" x 7" in progress...

Third layer of paint on this little 7" x 7" Friesian painting today, should be able to get it finished in the next sitting I think, although will need to wait several days for it to be dry enough to work on again as some of the pigments I used mixing the black are very slow drying ones!

Lots of smallish canvases being prepped in my studio at the moment, nice to have lots of projects on the go!

Speaking of little projects, my current mini painting auction finishes tomorrow evening- click here to visit auction. The painting is pictured below.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Artists & Illustrators Magazine Website Feature!

Really excited to be featured on Artists & Illustrators website at the moment! You can see the little article here.

In other news... I have a 7" x 5" mini oil painting study on eBay at the moment (pictured below, auction here), currently on about £31 and finishing on Tuesday evening (GMT). Can't wait to get started on the original it was in preparation for, busy sanding and priming a beautiful Harris Moore bespoke canvas for it this week. Planning to do another time lapse video of it's creation so expect some more info and probably tonnes of tedious work in progress updates about that soon!

Finally, I'm off to the flagship Derby House store in Wrightington tomorrow for the day, showcasing my work and painting with fellow members of the Association of Animal Artists (who have a new page on Facebook by the way- If you are in the area then please pop in and see us, Derby House have lots of great offers on for their Autumn Store Event this weekend, have a wonderful falconry display, a mechanical horse and allsorts!

Monday, 10 October 2011

NEW Limited Edition Print- 'Sunlit'

I'm thrilled to have a new limited edition print on offer from this week! You can now order prints of my 2011 painting 'Sunlit'(pictured above) on my website here!

On my Facebook page I'm actually doing a prize draw for a copy of the print, you can find the details over there at

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Finished the charity building block for Masham Art Festival!

Finished! Had such fun with this! On the 21st October this block, and all the others being decorated by others will go on sale for just £25 each (bargain!!) at the Masham Art Festival, with all proceeds going to Shelter.

If you are interested in purchasing it you can find details about the festival on the website here-

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Charity Building Block Nearly Finished!

Nearly finished! A few photos of the blocks different sides, and one for scale too. Teeny! Another few adjustments once dry and it will be done I think!some more information about the project here-

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Equestrian Exhibition

Just 4 more days left to see The Society of Equestrian Artists exhibition at Sally Mitchell Fine Arts Ltd gallery in Tuxford, Notts; it finishes on the 8th October!

Lots of wonderful equestrian art on display, including my painting 'Lancashire Mounted Branch' :-)

First paint on the little wooden block

Prepared the wooden block to take oil paint over the weekend and put the first bit of paint on it yesterday... soooo tiny! I think the horse is about 4cm tall. He'll be tied up and then another horse will be looking out of the stable door.

Really not sure my hands are steady enough to do a great job at this minute scale but I'm having fun trying and it's for charity so I shall just keep my fingers crossed as I keep going!! :-D

Think it will probably be dry enough to get a bit more done today...

Friday, 30 September 2011

Charity Building Block

I got this in the post today from the Masham Arts Festival organisers... a wooden 6cm square block of wood!

The idea is that artists/celebrities/(anyone really!) paint blocks around the theme 'home' for the charity Shelter. A great cause and sounded like fun so I volunteered to do one for them!

To fit in with the 'home' theme my plan is to turn the block into a little stable... will have two horses heads peering over stable doors on opposite sides and give it a nice tile roof I think! 6cm really is TINY so not sure if I will be able to pull it off but expect I'll have fun trying!

If anyone has any particularly pretty stables that I could use as inspiration then I'd love to see them- drop me an e-mail at! Thank you!

More info on the project here- I think they are still looking for artists to paint blocks if anyone else fancies it!

Monday, 29 August 2011

New mini painting on eBay... 'Pure Addiction'

'Pure Addiction'
5" x 7" (18cm x 13cm) Oil on board (6mm deep).
Available on eBay starting at 1p with free p&p and no reserve-

I LOVE this horse! This little painting is based on photos I took of Pippa Funnell and her ride Pure Addiction warming up for the dressage phase of Bramham Horse Trials this year. Such an impressive horse, incredibly beautiful!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

New Original Painting, 'Fine Day'

'Fine Day'
7" x 7" (18cm x 18cm)
Oil on board, 2011
Original available, please see my website for details-

This painting was all about the coat- that beautiful scarlet colour against such a clear blue sky, not to mention the bright chestnut coat of the horse. It took many thin glazes of paint to get the really bright rich red I was aiming for but I'm so glad I took my time with it as in real life the colours have really turned out beautifully. Such a shame the camera doesn't pick it up very well, as ever!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Quest for the perfect painting surface.

I gradually seem to have become really particular about the surfaces I paint on and, over the last few years have (through a LOT of trial and error!), found a way of preparing canvases that suits my way of working well (involves many many coats of acrylic gesso applied with a foam roller, lots of sanding between each couple once dry until very smooth but not too smooth!). Time consuming (very!) but worth it as the surface allows me to handle the paint in ways that a toothy un-gesso'd canvas would not.

I also like working on board (hardboard/prepared mdf/masonite)- no days of relentless gessoing and sanding required as it is already smooth! Not so great for bigger works as it weighs a tonne but for little pieces it is great! Fed up of paying waaayyyy over the odds for board at my local art shop I decided to save money and prep my own. £6 for a fantastic enormous sheet of mdf at B&Q! They even patiently cut it up into about a million little boards for me! I have pretty much a years supply of 7" x 5", 6" x 6" and 7" x 7" boards now.

You can't paint straight onto board though, it'll suck the oil paint up like a sponge and yellow everything else, so the internet tells me. I gesso'd a few but decided to prepare the rest more traditionally- having read that an oil based primer would provide a slicker surface I wanted to give that a go. Before priming the boards they would need sizing first apparently so I dutifully bought a pot of rabbit skin glue size too.

Que much confusion with the rabbit skin glue. The instructions said to stand the tub in hot water to liquify it and then paint it on. Simple enough? BUT the liquified RSG was like water?? I put a coat on all of the boards (photo above!) but noticed after I had finished the last that the first looked matte and dry again- the board had just soaked it up?! Surely that wasn't right? I added another coat and experienced the same. Google wasn't very helpful but the oil painters on the Wet Canvas forum were- wateryness and absorption totally normal apparently! Phew!

So now all my little boards are RSG'd up front back and sides and are all ready for their primer. Tested some of the primer on a gesso'd board today and it looks a very nice surface... so hopefully all this work will be worth it!!

Some more on the dappled trees...

Despite the fact I genuinely don't expect this to turn out anywhere near good enough to ever see the light of day I am still plugging away at it!

Working here there and everywhere on it- most of it is still very rough. Really enjoying the challenge even if it is a bit self indulgant (should be spending time working on paintings that I can actually sell!!)... kind of reminds me of a jigsaw puzzle- I want to solve it, knowing it will be broken up and put back in it's box afterwards...

Friday, 19 August 2011


I joined Twitter a few months back and finally after years of not really being all that interested I now 'get it'!

What a great community, I have made some wonderful new horsey and arty contacts and enjoyed chatting with lots of different people. What a shame I have been missing out for so long until now!

If you are on Twitter please do add me, would love to see you on there!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Current Projects

After a wonderful break from painting for a few weeks and fantastic holiday in Tuscany I am back in my little spare-room-studio and full of enthusiasm for lots of projects I am embarking on!

First of all I have two hunting paintings on the go, pictured above. The larger one with trees in the background is something I started a few months ago- it's the painting I seem to work on when everything else is too wet! The reason it gets a bit neglected is because it is seriously tricky!! Low winter light shining through trees and dappling all over the horses and path below. Don't expect this one will ever see the light of day as I don't think I am going to be able to pull it off but it is teaching me loads so I plan to keep going with it- always good to challenge yourself I think!

I am avaiting delivery of a bespoke Harris Moore canvas today to make a start on a very special commission that I am looking forward to getting started on! Such beautiful canvases, I am finding it well worth paying a bit extra for them as the quality speaks for itself. Hoping another art delivery will arrive today too with some new materials to play with- I have been recommended to try out some of Michael Harding's mediums and oil paints by some fellow artists whose work I admire so keen to break those open too!

Was absolutely gutted to lose a lot of the reference photographs I took this year recently. Turned out my (already replaced once!) laptop hard drive was corrupt from the start so it not only died but the back ups I had made from it had failed too. I still have low res versions of some of my favourites, that I shared online, so I think I am going to do some 7 x 5 mini paintings with them and make use of them that way. Time to start backing my most precious photos up online too I think...

Event and exhibition wise this month I have another Association of Animal Artists 'Art Rendezvous' in the diary for the 27th August at Derby House's Wrightington Store which will be another great day- shall be taking some fresh originals to go in the gallery there and doing some horsey life painting too!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Bit of an update!

Been a fantastic few weeks for my art, lots to update you all with!

Firstly, I was very excited indeed to have 'Through the Surf' featured in the August copy of Artist & Illustrators magazine!!!

The Society of Equestrian Artists 'The Horse in Art' exhibition opened at Mall Galleries, London, on the 2nd of August- I was over the moon to be awarded The Eggesford Studio Prize for the best piece of work by an artist under 35 for 'Through the Surf'!! Still can't believe my luck! :-D

Had a wonderful week in Tuscany with family to return to even more good news- both of my paintings exhibited at the Mall were among those selected from the exhibition to form part of another SEA show taking place at Sally Mitchell Fine Art's Tuxford gallery in Nottinghamshire! I then discovered that 'Through the Surf' had actually sold in London- my first ever sale there, brilliant!!

So an amazing August so far! Now need to tidy up my bombsite of a studio and start thinking about my next paintings....

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

'Sunlit' Finished

Finished this painting today! Can't wait until it is dry enough to varnish as I think it will really bring out all the colours in the coat.

The original is available for sale.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

More on 'Sunlit', 6th layer, nearly finished now.

About 5 hours put into this since my last update. Nearly there! Need to wait for it to dry before I can glaze some warm shadows into the mane and tail and tweak a few bits a of it here and there- then I think I'll probably call it a day.

Dreadful photo of it by the way, the colours are much nicer in real life!

Monday, 6 June 2011

5th layer on 'Sunlit'

First layer of detail has gone on now, looking forward to spending a whole morning on it tomorrow! Leaving the mane and tail until everything else is pretty much finished, I'll need to re-do the background to tidy up edges before I can start the mane properly as I have scrubbed quite a bit of paint onto it!

Friday, 3 June 2011

'Sunlit' in progress, 4th layer

Quickly re-established the lights and darks today. I think once it is dry it will be time to get the little brushes out and start to begin the process of building up the colours and detail.

Bramham Horse Trials

I had a wonderful time at the first day of Bramham International Horse Trials yesterday. Was hoping to get some good dressage photographs to base future paintings on! The weather was perfect but I made a mistake with my camera settings and ended up very disappointed with the photos! Got a few that will make great paintings though so can't complain too much!! VERY sunburnt, oops!

You can see more photos of the day in this Facebook album.

Heading back there on Saturday for the XC, can't wait!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

'Sunlit' in progress, third layer.

I'm working in really thin layers for this painting, scrubbing the paint on really thinly rather than 'painting' it on. Each layer has been applied with quite a big brush (well, for me anyway!)quite loosely and must dry thoroughly before I apply the next, otherwise I just end up wiping off the previous layer!

70cm x 50cm on box canvas. The study I did in preparation for this one finishes on ebay this evening, currently at £35- you can bid here.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

'Palomino Study' Original Painting on eBay

'Palomino Study'
5" x 7" (18cm x 13cm) Oil on canvas board.
Available on eBay starting at 1p with free p&p and no reserve- (currently bid up to £21 at time of writing).

Small oil painting of the incredibly beautiful part-arab stallion Pewit Dancing Movie Magic at Sir Nunn's of Pinewood Stud. I had an incredible day at the stud last weekend both photographing the beautiful horses and painting them from life with other members of The Society of Equestrian Artists. Have wasted no time getting some new paintings on the go- this is the first little study in preparation for a larger painting.

You can see lots of photos from my day at the workshop here-

Saturday, 28 May 2011

New Limited Edition Prints

I had a great day at Sally Mitchell Fine Arts yesterday having my new prints produced. It's a bit of a trek from here but quality is incredibly important to me so it is always well worth the trip!

This enormous machine is the key to the wonderful print quality. It's a Cruse Flatbed Fine Art Scanner and really is the ultimate in fine art scanning- it faithfully captures every single tiny detail and eliminates the kind of warping and glare issues associated with trying to photograph paintings. There are only a handful of these available for use worldwide so I feel lucky to have one within a drivable distance, it really is a remarkable machine.

Once the scanner has done it's job it is then onto the proofing process; samples of the image are printed and the colours carefully tweaked to ensure that the image coming out of the giclee printer is as faithful to the original painting as possible. It can take several attempts but perseverance always pays off as the end results are just fantastic.

After being so thrilled with my first few prints I was a bit worried that my expectations would be a bit high this time but I wasn't disappointed, I am so so proud of my new prints and incredibly grateful to John at Sally Mitchell Fine Arts for the brilliant job he has done on them.

Can't wait to share photographs of all the new prints with you, will have to sit down and get some photos taken over the next few days. Also need to update my website as I ended up getting a 4th painting produced in print too! Busy enjoying having family to stay this weekend so might have to wait a day or two :-)

Friday, 13 May 2011

Made a start on 'November Morning'...

Been a bit quiet as busy on commissioned paintings at the moment, thoroughly enjoying them!

Above is a start on my next original which I'm grabbing an hour here and there to work on when my other stuff is too wet to work on. I think it 16" x 12", so quite small for me! Just blocking in the first layer of paint over the canvas so far, which I painted a dark grey to begin with. I did a little study of this in preparation which I was pleased with so I'm hoping this turned out as well as I hope!

Finding the key to this one is not letting my eyes play tricks... for example my eyes tell me the grey horses are a grey/white colour- but in actual fact, compared to a pure white piece of paper they are a very dark blue/grey! I mix the paint feeling sceptical but once it is on the canvas it looks just right!

It's based on photographs I took of the The Zetland Hunt last November.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Zetland Point to Point, Witton Castle

Lovely afternoon taking reference photographs in the sunshine! Now have plenty of Point to Point subject matter to choose from! You can see more photos in a Facebook album here.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

'Lancashire Mounted Branch' Finished!

Finished! 24" x 18" oil on box canvas. Thoroughly enjoyed this one and (unusually!)I am actually really pleased with it! Didn't retouch during painting in the end so looking forward to seeing the colours pick up and the darks deepen when it is dry enough to add a coat!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Day 8 of 'Mounted Branch' in progress

Have decided 'Mounted Branch' is a bit of a rubbish title for this painting... need to think of a new one. Anyway, today's update above.

Not a million miles off finishing now- lots of tidying up to do on the bridle mainly and a few tweaks here and there. Will probably fiddle on with the bridle a bit more this evening once the children are in bed and then leave it to dry over the Easter weekend in order to retouch varnish it on Monday and see where I'm at!

Really pleased with it so far, I think it will turn out to be one of my favourites so far :-)

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Day 7 of 'Mounted Branch' in progress

Some serious progress made! Background in, far horse roughed in, and work started on the bridle of the near horse.

Once I have got this layer of the bridle done I plan to let it dry completely and then apply a coat of retouch varnish. The dark areas dry quite a sunken matt colour so it's hard to tell where I'm actually at with it all! Once the retouch varnish has dried it will have evened everything out and I'll be able to have a much better look at what needs building up some more.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Day 6 of 'Mounted Branch' in progress

More on this today- blocked in the first base layer of the background and started the neck detail. It's on a box canvas but the more I paint the more I think it might look better framed... need to decide really before I put too many hours into painting the edges!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Painting in the sunshine

Have been sat out in the garden doing some painting. My 365-2011 project fell by the wayside a bit but I am still really keen to keep up with my paintings from life as I really do reap the benefits in my 'normal' work in terms of my observations skills, grasp of colour and value and so on.

A pot, my husband, and some dandelions! Although obviously the painting of my husband is dreadful I was actually quite pleased with it! First time I have attempted a 'people' painting (not counting my failed attempts at sketching my two boys who never sit still for longer than a second) and it turned out better than I expected! Onwards and upwards...

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Day 5 of 'Mounted Branch' in progress

Another three hours on this today- made a good start on the muzzle and built up the face a bit more too. I plan to try and leave the face alone now and get the rest of the horse up to speed so I can fiddle with it as a whole rather than little bits.

Once the closest horse is done I'll move the the background, then the farthest horse, and then finally I'll do the bridlework I think.

The auction of the 7" x 5" study of this painting finishes on eBay tomorrow evening- it's currently at £41.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Day 4 of 'Mounted Branch' in progress

Most recent update above, previous layer is pictured below. Another darker glaze of burnt umber went over the horses completing the underpainting, so now I am on to the detail. I added a bit of exaggerated hair texture last night, and worked on the eye- today I have been building up colours and tone and starting to try and correct the face a bit as it is a bit chunkier than the actual subject (quite a bit more to do on that front!).

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Day 3 of 'Mounted Branch' in progress.

Top picture is where I am up to so far today, pictures below are a few shots from yesterday (earliest photo at the bottom). Hope to get some more done on it later in the day if I can fit it in with commissioned work I need to focus on. I'm enjoying the lighter evenings- much easier to see what I am doing during my daily post-childrens-bedtime painting slot!

So far I am just building up the underpainting really, using burnt umber mixed with french ultramarine for the darks and titanium white for the lights. Once I have established the main areas of light/dark I am glazing over it all in burnt umber and repeating the process. Later on today I'll glaze it again and then decide whether to do it for a third time or start with some more detail over the top.

I recently bought some little foam rollers to try which I used to gesso this canvas- I absolutely love the surface they have created- super smooth after lots of sanding but not as 'slippy' as my usual finished surface. Much, much quicker than using a brush too and dead easy to clean up after- recommend!

Monday, 11 April 2011

'Mounted Branch' New painting in progress... day 1!

Made a start on my next original painting, thought I'd keep a track of my progress on here- something I haven't done for a while! It's a 24" x 18" deep canvas, gessoed and sanded until smooth. So far I have toned the canvas a burnt sienna/umber, applied the drawing over the top, and painted in the main areas of dark.

You can see the little study of the painting in the corner- that's what the finished article should look like! The little study is currently available on eBay here-

Sunday, 10 April 2011

'Mounted Branch' (Study) ready for eBay.

This weeks 7" x 5" mini original for eBay, 'Mounted Branch'(Study). I loved painting this and have started a larger painting of the same subjects. The auction begins at 7:35pm this evening- It's based on photos I took at the Association of Animal Artists Annual Exhibition last Sunday, you can see photos of my day there painting the police horses from life in a Facebook album here.

Meanwhile, the little hunting painting 'November Morning' (below) finishes this evening- my favourite of all my minis so far and currently a bargain at £26!

Off to the Bedale point to point this afternoon with my camera, the weather is glorious so I am hoping for some great shots!