Monday, 21 October 2013

'At the Water'

'At the Water' study, currently available on ebay

It's been a busy few months, yet again my blog has gone un-updated for too long! Since I last posted the Society of Equestrian Artists annual exhibition took place at Mall Galleries (I managed to get three paintings selected this year which I was thrilled about, two of which have now sold), I have kept up with plenty of life painting, and had commissioned work keeping me occupied.

The little 7" x 5" painting pictured above is the first original piece of work I have produced since the summer, it is currently up for grabs on ebay starting at 1p (it had been bid up to £77 the last time I looked). You can find the auction at, it ends on Friday evening. I have just collected several beautiful bespoke Harris Moore canvases from their shop, once of which is earmarked for the painting that this study was in preparation for- looking forward to getting started with it. 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

'Bodey III'

Bodey III, 26th June 2013

My third attempt at painting Bodey from life, painted this morning. Was lovely to have good friend and fellow equestrian artist Hannah Merson joining me today, and Bodey was as perfect a model as always!

Today's attempt looks a bit better in the drawing department, although I have made his head a bit too big making him look rather pony like! Will have to paint from a different angle next time I think.

Hannah and I painting

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

'Bodey II'

'Bodey II' 19th June 2013

Week two of my life painting project! This morning I managed another hour long sketch of Bodey, in the same pose as last week. There are some definite issues drawing wise, that I struggled to fix, but overall I think the painting and use of colour has come on from last weeks effort so I'm pleased! Looking forward to going back next week and seeing how I get on. Feels good to be getting regular life painting done, I love doing it, especially stood in the sunshine like today!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Weekly Bodey Painting!

'Bodey I' 12th June, 2013

My new little spare room studio is fast filling up with newly started paintings; I am keen to enter six to the Society of Equestrian Artists annual exhibition and the deadline is only 6 or 7 weeks away! Lots to do. That said, with my brilliant week painting in Somerset fresh in my mind I am remaining committed to my work from life and have thought myself up a project to keep me focused over the summer!

Meet Bodey, my wonderful friend Jo's beautiful cob, whom I am lucky enough to ride regularly. He is a real star of a horse; fantastic fun to ride, safe as they come, and great with children too. Bodey is such a credit to Jo, I adore him! I have been meaning to paint him for ages but somehow haven't got round to it, until today. Feeling inspired and armed with my new easel (which makes getting set up and packed away when painting outside so much easier) I managed a quick (one hour ish?) oil sketch today, and now plan to paint him every single week, without fail.

My eldest, Oliver, and Bodey

I have seen before just how much I improve when I paint the same thing over and over again, so I am hoping that when I look back on 'Bodey I' several weeks down the line I'll see a big difference compared with 'Bodey V', and so on. My expectations for today's painting were low and I wasn't sure whether knowing him well would help or hinder me? I worked fast and the end result wasn't as bad as I was expecting! Bodey was a great model, stood very nicely for me. I got in a bit of a muddle with his ever shifting hind legs but wasn't too worried about fiddling fixing them, wanted more just to capture him today and get a feel for painting him. Thoroughly enjoyed it! I'm very grateful to Jo for being so very generous with her lovely horse.

Bodey and I having fun!

Ultimately I'd love to one day get a life sketch accepted into the SEA exhibition... long way off being able to produce that sort of standard but perhaps with some hard work I might just manage it eventually!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Life Painting with the Society of Equestrian Artists, Porlock Vale 2013

My favourite of the work I produced during the week.

Yesterday evening I returned home (completely shattered!) with a car full of paintings after just THE BEST week away in Somerset painting horses from life with The Society of Equestrian Artists.

I try and paint horses from life as often as I can, so the opportunity to spend 5 full days painting with fellow artists and fantastic tutors at the beautiful country house hotel Porlock Vale House was one I leapt at! The venue was idyllic, and the sun shone all week for us. The tuition from Malcolm Coward, Colin Allbrook, Jim Power, and Barry Peckham was invaluable and it was such great fun having a brilliant bunch of artists all staying at the same venue. Don't think I have ever laughed as much! 

Some of the highlights for me were three of our equine models roaming loose around the pretty orchard we were painting in most days (while the fourth was held still for us), painting the amazing scenery on top of Porlock Hill, wine and conversation flowing in the evenings, and a fantastic bonfire on the beach next to the local pub on the final night. The weather was glorious every single day (soooo lucky!!) and the food (all included in the price of the workshop) was absolutely delicious!

I think I produced about 14 paintings over 5 days. None were as good as I'd like them to be of course, some were complete disasters, but I'm proud of how my life painting has developed over the last couple of years and I learnt a great deal painting every single one of the 14. I'm especially grateful to Malcolm Coward who has been so generous with his time and knowledge since I started focusing on this sort of work. 

If anyone is thinking of going next year then my advice would be to get in quick because the vast majority (if not all!) of those who were there this time were desperate to put their names down for 2014 before they even left Exmoor! Can't thank the organisers Jim and Jean Power enough, the week was a roaring success, thanks to their very hard work.

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! 

Painting with fellow artist and friend Hannah Merson on Porlock Hill.

Painting in the orchard using my new Soltek easel- which I LOVE! 

Roll on next year....

Saturday, 23 March 2013


This is a commissioned painting that I delivered last weekend, of beautiful traditional cob Barney! 20" x 13" oil on box canvas. I had a great time meeting him and his lovely owner. The painting was based on a photograph taken by the wonderful equestrian photographer Dan Foster whose work I really admire.

I continue to work hard on commissioned paintings, not much time for anything else, although I have been managing to fit in some riding- very much enjoying riding my friend's brilliant cob Bodey!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

First horse life painting of 2013- bit rusty!

Managed these this week, first attempt at life painting horses this year! Still a bit cold to be sat outside with an easel but nice to get back to it. Apart from the biggest sketch where the horse was tied up but busy prancing about (excuses excuses haha!) these horses were turned out in a big field so even more difficult than usual to capture! Rubbish sketches but such great practice trying to work quickly and trying to use more colour to describe light, shadows, form.

I am hoping to dedicate a fair bit of time to life painting practice like this over the next few months, more than usual! It is probably the type of painting I enjoy the most, and I'd really like to improve a bit more before I spend a whole week away with the Society of Equestrian Artists in June painting horses day in day out (can't wait!). Hoping to sharpen up my skills and really get the most out of the week and the excellent tuition on offer.

I'm looking forward to the week ahead, working on two really interesting commissions both of which are right up my street, I have a couple of mornings riding planned too. Loving being back in the saddle!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Dressage Mini Painting on ebay

Another half term project! I stared this little 5" x 7" painting ages ago, last year in fact, but have only just got round to finishing it. Unlike most of my work this size it isn't a preparatory study for a larger piece, just a little one for fun!

Bidding starts at 1p with no reserve and free shipping- it's goes for what it goes for! You can find the auction here:

Happy Valentines Day everyone! 

Monday, 11 February 2013

Half Term

It's half term here so a week off 'proper' painting but a good opportunity to dabble, sketch, and experiment! Last year I decided to buy a Beswick ornament and paint it 30 times in a bid to sharpen up my life painting skills. I dusted it off today for a bit of practice, this is only number 9 though! I'm a bit rusty and the drawing is decidedly dodgy but all good preparation for better weather round the corner and real life equine models to paint. I am especially looking forward to a whole week in June down in Devon painting horses with fellow members of The Society of Equestrian Artists!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

'Winter Day'

Finished this painting today. I may tweak it with fresh eyes in a week or two but for now it is signed and complete! Looking forward to having it properly scanned as the photo hasn't really captured it accurately. Really enjoyed the challenge of painting this one, learnt lots throughout which will hopefully help future snowy scenes! 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

More on the snowy scene done.

Have worked mainly on the pony today, and the snow in the foreground (the camera doesn't really pick up the light on the snow though!). Very nearly finished, another sitting to tidy up the pony, she needs a few more details/highlights/shadows, then my signature in the bottom right, a few more stick-like plants emerging from the snow, and it will be done!

Need to think of a title...

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Snowy Scene, Work in Progress...

I have attempted several snowy scenes in the last couple of years but never managed to produce one I was happy with, they have all either ended up in the bin or overpainted! Determined to crack it this year as I'd love to have my own Christmas cards printed in 2013. This is my current attempt, so far!

The pony and foreground are only roughly blocked in so far but I think the background is pretty much done. There are lots of purples and greens in the trees which seem to get lost completely in the photograph, think this one will need professional scanning if it turns out ok- cameras just can't seem to cope with subtle detail AND areas of strong plain contrasting colour/tone.

Looking forward to it drying so that I can carry on with it. Below is a shot of it last week, two more layers of paint have gone on the trees since. The colours are a lot truer in the older photo!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Hello 2013

Such a long time since I last blogged!

September to December was spent incredibly busy with commissioned paintings so I have not had much to share (or the time to do it!) over the last few months, need to get back in the swing of blogging again!

Above is my first finished painting of 2013, a very little 6" x 6" study based on the wonderful images I took back in September on the gallops at Newmarket. I have several larger originals based on my Newmarket images planned so have been doing some preparatory paintings of which this piece is one.

I'm currently working on a special commission for a friend, and a snowy original painting that I hope will turn out well enough to have Christmas cards printed this year. I have an exciting (challenging!) beach based commission to get stuck into next and plenty of original paintings to transfer from mind to canvas too. Hoping to keep a nice healthy balance between commissioned work and originals this year; it's always an honour to paint for other people but I also need to get my work out there at more exhibitions too.

Looking forward to doing LOTS of painting from life in 2013, below is a still life painting I produced a couple of weeks ago at a workshop with friends. Off to Devon for a whole week in June with The Society of Equestrian Artists which I am super-excited about in particular.

My youngest, Henry, turned 3 before Christmas so now goes to preschool 5 mornings a week- he is loving his time there and I'm loving the extra painting time and riding time I now have! Speaking of Henry, below is a photo of him jumping his snow pony recently! Check out the Society of Equestrian Artists Facebook Page for lots of FAR more impressive equine snow sculptures!

Hope you are all well!