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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…

Crocus Bud in Watercolour and Ink

Botanical Study of a snowdrop in watercolour - garden painting calendar : February.

The crocuses are starting to make an appearance - randomly peeping through the grass around garden - they have naturalised and bring little buds of colour to an otherwise earthy, green outdoor space.

This little botanical painting of a single crocus, just starting to come out of its bud, focused attention on the silvery stem and undersides of the petals, which often go unnoticed against the more vivid colours of the flower.

It was painted on bristol board paper using Winsor and Newton paints and ink - it was quite lightweight paper, so wasn't the most suitable art paper for a watercolour painting, as it didn't allow for any mistakes and very little water could be applied before the paper buckled.

But then, this paper was the first one out of the drawer - it was only selected to quickly capture the little flower that had been broken and wouldn't last long before wilting into a soft heap.




Ha…

Gardening in February

The kitchen garden in February!

There is still a good chance of rain, wind, sleet, snow and ice this month! Go easy in the garden, with a few gentle garden tasks on brighter days, to ease back into the outdoor life!

A kitchen garden does need a little attention and planning, now and then, though. Even a virtually neglected vegetable garden will produce some home-grown edible greens, a few tomatoes and a handful of other simple fruit and vegetables for harvesting over spring, summer and autumn - with a little help.

There are many options from the gardening calendar to keep the gardener busy! February can be a wonderful mix of ideas and light work (or heavy labour) – with an abundance of garden jobs to be found on any garden calendar.

To get started, this month, here are a few jobs for the kitchen garden that can be done on an as-and-when basis during February.

Prepare the soil.
Edible vegetables will be as good as the soil they grow in!

Get the potatoes ready.
Whether or not you chit you…

Wildlife Garden in January

The wildlife garden in January.

It’s hard to imagine the discomfort experienced by wildlife and birds trying to survive on what’s left over in the garden after a long, hot summer, followed by a long, cold winter.


Even with the good fortune of fairly mild weather – there may not be much food around for hungry mouths. With nesting season only a couple of months away, now is a good time to feed high-energy, fatty foods for birds to help them last the cold season and build their strength for Spring. Other animals that come out of hiding on milder days, looking for an energy boost to help them survive the cold nights, would benefit from a few morsels left out. Many urban and semi-rural gardens are homes to hedgehogs, foxes, badgers, birds, squirrels plus a host of smaller mammals and mini-beasts.

Gardens close to specific wildlife habitats, such as woodland, might be visited by other wildlife, like deer, if the garden is accessible. All garden wildlife needs water to drink – keeping bowls…

Snowdrop in Watercolour and Ink

Watercolour Snowdrop : Art for January

This is a quick study of a snowdrop in watercolour - a fun way to get to know the plant in preparation of gathering information for a watercolour and ink botanical flower painting.

It was painted on hot-pressed watercolour paper using Winsor and Newton paints.

Quickly done, the detailed study of the snowdrop was a useful way to start understanding the form of this pretty January flower. Having taken a close look at the flower, this watercolour painting could then be turned into a more playful flower painting - the ink was added for fun.





...And so was the bottle, which was one of a collection of old bottles collected on riverside and countryside rambles, many years ago. The snowdrop was only the length of a small mobile phone - so that bottle is tiny but seemed perfect for holding this little specimen.

Overall, this was a simple watercolour and ink sketch of the snowdrop. It was painted last year and it has been a long wait for another snowdrop t…

Gardening in January

Kitchen garden blog : simple tasks for January.

Make the most of the kitchen garden – even in January!

The winter season’s inclement weather can be uninviting to even the most ardent garden enthusiast.

Plans to go outside and tackle the soggy or solid soil might fizzle out within a few weeks of the New Year. Disappointment may set in as enthusiasm to get gardening is thwarted by frozen grounds and icy fingers. January might be seen as a wasted month in the gardening calendar.

Yet isn’t necessary to be out in the garden every day, or even every week. There are many ways to remain engaged in the kitchen garden and help it to get growing, without having to brace the elements or battle against an over-ambitious ‘to-do’ list.

Armchair gardening


The January Garden can be harnessed positively, even from indoors(!) – make the most of it as a time to: read through gardening books to broaden knowledge and gather new ideas, plan what to grow, and sketch up garden design plans.

Fair-weather garde…

Wildlife Art : Orangutan Painted in Pastel

Wildlife Art
Understanding the world through art : wildlife art.


So many layers went into this painting. It took six months, on and off.

The more this painting progressed, the greater the affinity I felt towards this species, as well as our own.

When I looked deeply into the orangutan's gentle, intelligent eyes, my concerns for their future extended to that of our own.

The orangutan is a species under serious threat of extinction over the next decade or so. Its rain forest habitat is being destroyed.

What hope is there for humankind who, despite having the power to protect, destroys entire species such as the orangutan - which, in recent studies, shares 97% of its DNA with humans.

'A troubled view', for humanity too - when destruction extends to our cousins.



Little Black Rabbit

Every garden should have its little black rabbit  - but they do come with a touch of mischief ..as every bright bunny should.

!

 Now who is this knocking  At Cottontails door? Tap tappit! Tap tappit! She's heard it before.

And when she peeps out there is nobody there,  But a present of carrots  put down on the stair.

HARK! I hear it again!  Tap, tap tappit!  Tap tappit!  Why - I really believe it's a little black rabbit!
(Beatrix Potter)


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Pet Paintings and Poetry

Pangur Ban - the writer's cat.

This is the very first stage of a pet portrait painting of a cat in watercolour (from a while ago).




The basic image has been drawn onto watercolour paper to define key areas with an initial wash.


The cat has an ethereal look at the moment - but she will be black when finished!


In the meantime, though, this work in progress painting reminded me of one of my favourite 'cat' poems...written by an Irish monk during the ninth century, in which the work of a scholar and his pet cat are compared.


Pangur Ban


I and Pangur Ban, my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at;
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill will;
He, too, plies his simple skill.

'Tis a merry thing to see
At our task how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
Into the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought se…