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Pet Portraits

Online Auction
Bids are now open for a beautiful painting of a cherished pet (or special wildlife character) - the auction runs through June!

For more samples visit pet portraits.

If you are interested in participating in the auction, and you don't already have the details, please contact me at:

enquiries@clairemurthy.co.uk

Happy Bidding!







Sketching and Drawing Bees

Realistic sketch of a honey bee, graphite pencil.

It's time to sharpen those pencils for some brilliant bee drawings and paintings over the Spring and Summer months...in preparation of nature drawing workshops planned this year.

This bee sketch was done using a Mars Technico hb on standard watercolour paper.


The garden is filling up with flowers and the bees have been busy collecting pollen. They bask in the sun on the green alkanet, which is a native wild flower, commonly known as a weed...but it isn't treated as a weed in this garden, as it is so highly regarded by the bees!

Plans are in place to start recording the variety of bees that visit this garden in Kent, in the South East of England and neighbouring London, Surrey and Sussex - already there seem to be more varieties than first expected, so some research will be necessary to give correct bee identification. The anatomical structure of the bee is important and quite complex but observing the bees and learning about th…

Bird Drawing Workshops

Bird drawing workshops can be a good source of information for anyone who loves birds and wants to draw them, especially beginner artists and improvers.



Drawing workshops and classes are a great place to pick up advice and resources that can be used to discover more about birds in the local area.


Workshops can help introduce the beginner to outdoor bird sketching and keeping a bird diary or nature journal that can be used to identify birds and develop the drawings to produce more detailed, realistic bird paintings.

Regular sketching can significantly improve bird drawings and paintings whilst developing knowledge of bird anatomy and habitats. There are many strange and wonderful aspects to a bird’s body (skeleton, muscles, feet, feathers and beaks) that serve a function and it is often through sketching and detailed drawing that these anatomical wonders are closely observed and begin to be understood.


Sketching and drawing birds helps increase appreciation of the British wildlife that …

Fairy Bee Illustration Sketch

Fairy Bee Illustration Sketch.

This whimsical watercolour and ink painting shows the honey bee in her imaginary world, as a fairy bee. It balances efforts working on realistic scientific representations of bees and other garden wildlife and nature and more traditional fine art depictions of wildlife, with more playful imaginings of the wildlife to be found at the end of the garden.




A few minutes looking at a bee, taking in the detail, was followed by a quick sketch to get a rough understanding the bee’s anatomy in this position. 
The sketch was worked over several times to capture the legs fairly accurately but not so much as to render a more realistic bee painting.  Bees’ legs are tricky little complex structures, with six legs, each with six parts, that move in various ways and differently, according to what they are doing.
With each observation and sketch or painting, a little more understanding is gained for more detailed artwork at a later date – whether realistic or whimsical …

Bee and Flower Painting

Bee painting workshops and watercolour and ink illustrations used for book illustrations and card stock.

This delightful watercolour and ink painting of pink cherry blossom flowers and a honey bee is part of a set of four bee and flower paintings that will be available later in the year. More bee painting workshops and flower drawing workshops will also be available soon.

It was painted as a loose watercolour wash, which involves applying wet paint into wet water to give its flowing, gentle appearance. Special walnut ink was applied over the dried watercolour paint, to create a delicate whimsical line and finishing touch to the painting.



This type of botanical art work and wildlife bee drawing are representational and need not encompass very detailed aspects of the plant or wildlife, whilst remain recognisable.

It is one of the styles of art that lends itself to children's book and text illustrations as it allows for imaginative depictions of wildlife and nature. It balances the m…

Bird Art Auction Wildlife Project

With different art projects, workshops, classes and events happening over the past year, it’s all too easy to get on with the work and not have time to reflect on the wildlife charities, nature societies, bird observatories and art courses that bring so much benefit to the wildlife world through their work.

Here’s something from a few months ago, which I enjoyed being involved in. 



It was a great pleasure to be invited to contribute a donation of artwork, to help raise funds through the SBBOT Art Auction for their worthwhile wildlife conservation project, which hopes to secure and develop a local plot of land for wildlife in the area.


Early engagement with wildlife and birds in and around the garden and natural wildlife landscapes is carried for life; lying in the grass, climbing trees, pond-dipping, paddling, wandering, wondering. It is far more involved and rewarding than simply spotting birds. There is a never-ending journey of discovery and imagination available in observing na…

Drawing of a Brown Hare

This drawing of a brown hare was done as preparation for an art drawing workshop. Several studies of hares were drawn and painted using different mediums; this one was completed using coloured pencils (mostly Faber-Castell Polychromos and Caran D’ache Luminance).


The coloured pencils allowed for the fine details of the fur to be captured relatively easily. The fur on the hare grows in many directions and it is worthwhile spending a little time observing the animal by doing some real-life sketches that can be referred to when drawing or painting later. Even if the drawings from live animal models are not used for a specific painting, they can be used as reference materials when using photo references.


Painting fur, whether wildlife or domestic, covers a range of techniques: This hare has short fur around the nose and muzzle, medium fur on its body and longer fur on its hind legs. It’s tail is fluffy and all over its body it has long whispy fur appearing from the thicker main coat of …

Traditional Bee Drawings

Traditional Bee Drawings at wildlife workshops.

Enjoy a wildlife art workshop drawing bees!

Beginner artists and nature enthusiasts can explore the world of bees and bee art through bee drawing workshops, alongside artists wishing to improve their art skills and discover more about the wildlife world of bees!

This wildlife drawing of a honey bee was initially created as a quick sketch in preparation for a bee show.

The original rough sketch had been done and, with a few colours applied to give an impression, it was left only partially coloured and a very rough version of what had been planned for a complete drawing of a bee.

Before it was completed, however, several enquiries had been made, asking to purchase the rough bee drawing and, eventually, this bee was created but not before several hours of research into the anatomy of bees had been carried out!

It was a good experience, though, because it provided the necessary information to get on and draw bees - their little bodies are s…

Honey Bees, Buzzing and Flowers

Honey Bees, Buzzing and Flowers.

The honey bees have returned to the garden with the arrival of a few sunny and bright Spring days.

The garden is turning over a range of (mainly) yellow and white flowers and blossoms which, over the next few weeks, will be joined by apple pink blossoms and sedum flowers.

There is never a shortage of bees in the garden; they seem to be attracted by the sedum and catkins mostly; the sedum stays in bloom for quite a long time and, although perhaps not the most fashionable plant generally, it has become a firm favourite in this garden on account of its obvious attraction to wildlife - butterflies, bees, other insects, snails and spiders! Small wrens and bluetits often duck into the safety of this hardy plant.

The Kent cobnut and pussy willow catkins are equally attractive to the wild garden bees and, overall, the garden is starting to get that familiar buzzing sound again.


This coloured pencil drawing of primula vulgaris (wild primrose) was completed last…

Watercolour Illustration of a Bee and Flower

Watercolour and Ink Illustration of a Bee and Flower.

This watercolour and ink illustration of a bee amongst the primroses was painted using professional grade Winsor and Newton watercolours and ink.

It is part of a series of wildlife and flower illustrations, including bees and butterflies, that will be made available towards the end of the year.

For further details on current work and events, please email with enquiries.

Workshops on wildlife art and botanical illustrations, both traditional and whimsical, include watercolours, inks, pastels, graphite, acrylic and coloured pencils.  Details to be published over the coming months.

Wild Primroses in the Garden

Wild Primroses in the garden.

There are many jobs for the kitchen garden over April (such as digging potato trenches, raking the soil, planting seeds, potting up and spreading compost) but something pleasant to start with might be a little armchair enjoyment in a primrose plant that grows by itself.

Fortunately, for a kitchen garden, the leaves and flowers of this native wildflower, primula vulgaris, are edible which makes it a perfect addition to the vegetable patch as it can be used in the kitchen - as decorative flowers and leaves that can be enjoyed along with the salads!

This popular woodland flower can be introduced to the garden if there are none already growing there. It might even form the start of an interest in native flowers; observing and recording plants and flowers growing in the garden.

It was this yellow wildflower that captivated the curiosity and wonder of the famous local naturalist based in Kent, Charles Darwin.  It has featured in poems and art for centuries; fr…

Bumblebee and Garden Flowers

Bumblebee and Garden Flowers


Early sightings of bumblebees usually mark the arrival of warmer days to follow.

The bumblebee comes out of hibernation in Spring and, on cold days, when it might be just a few degrees warmer than freezing, these big, beautiful garden visitors may be a little lethargic as they navigate their heavy, furry bodies.




Their fur helps keep them warm and they can detach their wings from their wing muscles to use internally to warm themselves up enough to create energy to fly off in search of nectar. Once they've built up their warmth and, become more nimble, off they will travel, to explore the garden and local environment for a suitable nesting place.

This warmer Spring month should also herald some visits from a fluttering Yellow Brimstone butterfly or two!

The male Brimstone is the more noticeable, with its bright and cheerful yellow colouring, whereas the female has pale chalky green or yellow-white wings. Having hibernated over winter, they are s…

Workshops in Wildlife Art

Art Workshops

Wildlife art workshops in relaxed, friendly settings across the South East of England: London, Surrey, Kent or Sussex. Run by a wildlife and pet artist who has spent a good deal of time around large and small animals; bringing together an appreciation of, and empathy for, nature - through formal and personal art training, plus many years' experience of running classes and workshops on different subjects across a range of professional and private levels and environments. 

 Wildlife art workshops can be tailored to cover a range of art subjects, styles and interests. Whether you are after an informal group session with a little guidance on general wildlife art or looking for a more detailed workshop with specific aims in mind, a wildlife workshop can be an enjoyable way for wildlife enthusiasts and art practitioners to bring together their interests in art and wildlife.

A wildlife workshop provides an opportunity to discover more about a favourite wildlife anim…

Drawing Hares

Drawing Wildlife.
When asked to present a wildlife art demo in March, one animal sprang to mind! The month has been all about March hares!

Here's a work in progress study of a hare using coloured pencils.

Getting ready for an art session.
As preparation is key for any art demo, several images of hares were selected to be used as reference material - and so the wildlife sketching and drawing was ready for working on the easel at home.




Planning time to a hare's hair's breadth!
The aim of the art demo was to go through the stages of completing a pencil drawing of a hare using coloured pencils. The demo was scheduled for about 2 hours' drawing time...

Detailed, realistic coloured pencil drawings can take a very long time to complete, even in the comfort of an artist's usual studio or dedicated art space. Natural nerves in drawing a hare, or any animal, in front of members of an art group (in this case, consisting of already enthusiastic and excellent artists), are not…

Spring Garden Tasks

Spring Garden Tasks

There's lots to do in the garden during March!
MARCH winds and April showers bring forth May flowers!
According to this proverb, the garden season has begun!
March winds have swept through the month and, as long as April brings the rain, the necessary steps are being taken by Nature to get the garden growing – all by itself!


But if a kitchen garden is the plan, for a few edible fruits and vegetables, then a little more than hope alone is necessary to set the garden up for a productive summer.

Even without a specific kitchen garden plan, some general tidying can be done on sunnier, warmer days and compost could be dug in to help prepare a vegetable bed.
For an extremely simple (re)introduction to vegetable gardening, a handful of ordinary, shop-bought potatoes can be put into the soil over the next week and, in this budding little kitchen garden in Kent, half a dozen broad beans, that have been growing as plug plants for the past month, will be planted up around …

Wildlife Art Hare Painting in Coloured Pencils

Wildlife Art. Hare Painting.

Traditional painting of a brown hare in coloured pencils.

Wildlife Garden Blog : Garden in February

Wildlife Garden Blog : Winter migrant Redwing.

This attractive, colourful bird (a winter migrant native to Europe an Asia) can be seen in Britain from around September all the way through to March/April. There are 13 breeding pairs in Scotland which stay all year.

It is a thrush. With its speckled chest and similar size, it might be mistaken for a song thrush, but it has distinguishing features that help identify this bird fairly easily; it has a bold cream stripe above its eye and red feathers beneath its wings and on its flank - quite eye-catching! 

The redwings generally fly in flocks and, being social birds, will even move with other thrushes, especially blackbirds.

A few years ago, redwings (and fieldfares) were often seen in the garden over winter - they enjoyed the haws from the hawthorn in the garden but they particularly liked the bright red/orange berries from a nearby cotoneaster tree.

The local British countryside, no doubt, provides them with a good supply of food in the…

Garden Fairies and Friends : British Bird Art

Whimsical watercolour paintings of birds...

Watercolour ink illustration of a garden bluetit.

Birds are a common sight in the wildlife garden - bluetits are frequently seen around the bird-feeders, especially when they are filled with energy-rich peanuts (as bluetits enjoy eating peanuts a great deal).

The bluetits spread joy as they flutter about between the trees...they can make quite a racket when two or three get together and join in the game.




They have strong personalities for such little birds - and think nothing of swooping down to grab a nut or seed that someone else has set their mind on!

Such whimsical watercolour illustrations, as this watercolour and ink painting, are an imaginative extension to the observations and studies needed for realistic, traditional wildlife watercolours.  They also dip into to Nature's mysterious world from a human perspective; it's very difficult to watch a bird in the garden and not imagine what it might get up to in its private world…

Crocus Flower in Watercolour and Ink

Art Blog Calendar : Crocus Flower.

Another botanical study in watercolour, with ink added - this crocus was wide awake! It was another one found that was found trampled in the garden - no doubt something to do with the wildlife and pets who charge around outside. As it was so fully open, it wasn't going to last very long once broken, and so painting had to be done fairly swiftly.

This illustration was painted on smooth Bristol board paper, which is not such good paper for applying watercolour washes but is good for neat edges (if a paintbrush with a sharp point/edge is used). It is super paper for ink!

The Winsor and Newton paint was applied dry using as little water as possible, to help prevent the paper from buckling. 

Very smooth watercolour art paper can be stretched prior to painting to help prevent it from buckling - but on those days when the artist just wants to paint (as is often the case...especially so with the time constraints of a fading flower), then the quickest wa…