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....