Wednesday 18 November 2020

2021 Calendar ready to order! £10 per calendar

2021 Calendar - Wildlife
(**Order by Mon 23rd Nov to be certain of me having enough copies**)

My 2021 calendar is at the printer so ready to post around end of November. This year it looks at wildlife and wildlife in the landscape. I hope you'll like it.

- £10 per A4 calendar
- £9 per calendar if ordering 5 or more

- £10 per A4 calendar
- £9 per calendar if ordering 5 or more

+ p&p Royal Mail 2nd Class:
1 calendar - £2
2 calendar - £2.50
3 calendar - £3
4-10 calendars - £3.50
(Non-UK orders very welcome but p&p will be higher)

Calendar is exactly same format as my 2020:
- folded & stapled (not spiral bound this year)
- A4 (21x30cm) closed, A3 (42x30cm) open
- 100% recycled paper/card

**Order by Mon 23rd Nov to be certain of me having enough copies**
 I can increase the print run if necessary as long as I have your order by/on Monday. I will be ordering surplus so if you don't get your order to us by Monday don't worry too much, I will hopefully still have plenty spares.



- Let me know -

- Include your postal address so we can confirm total cost and email you payment details.
Bank transfer, cheque, cash are all fine. PayPal too but we'll add 50p to cover fees.

The calendar paintings:

mountain hare, acrylic, 10x10cm (available)

winter deer, acrylic, 15x21cm

seal, acrylic, 10x10cm (available)

peregrine falcon, acrylic, 15x21cm (available)

small copper, house martin, watercolour, 15x21cm

lesser black-backed gull, acrylic, 15x21cm

priory pursuit, wagtail chases sparrowhawk, acrylic, 15x21cm (available)

wheatear on South Uist, watercolour, 11x16cm (available)

woodpigeon, blue tit, swallow, acrylic, 28x16cm (available)

hedgehog, watercolour, c.17x24cm

brown hare, acrylic, 10x10cm (available)

Earthquake House, acrylic, 10x11cm


Christmas/winter cards

are still orderable here:

And my non-seasonal greetings cards and two non-winter wood engravings from my Etsy shop -

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Art Ideas - Charcoal

Charcoal. It's been around for a while. A quick Google search says 28,000 years. Think cave drawings. I really enjoyed looking at these images here - 

Why not give it a try? It's great for quick mark-making, great for speedy sketches outdoors, great for drawing people and animals, great for creating bold light-dark contrasting images but also great for creating softly changing tones.


Some tips:

- do a whole quick drawing in sharp outline, then smudge bits.

- cover your whole paper with rubbed-in charcoal then draw light lines into it using a rubber or a 'putty rubber'.

- putty rubbers are a soft squishable squidgeable rubbers used often with chalks and charcoals.

- keep your rubber working by rubbing it on a clean sheet of paper to remove build-ups of charcoal.

- keep your putty rubber clean by pulling it apart over and over between your fingers. You'll see the charcoal on it gradually disappears.

- smudge using fingers, palm, bunched hand. A rag, a tissue. A paintbrush? A sponge?

- to darken your smudges: rub/smudge charcoal into the paper, draw more charcoal on top, rub that in, draw more on top, rub that in... 

- combine charcoal with chalks and 'conte crayons'.

- try adding water! Use a brush to add water, see what happens, can be a really useful technique.

- try combining with oil pastel.

- try combining with paint.


To reduce smudging:

- Practice lifting your hand and arm off the paper as you draw to reduce the smudging. This feels pretty tricky to start with.

- If hand-lift is too tricky, place paper on top of the part of drawing you aren't currently working on to protect it from smudging.

- Work from left to right if you're right handed. Right to left if you're left handed.



- Once drawing is complete you can 'fix' it with a bought art fixative spray. Spray in a ventilated area. Hairspray can be used but be prepared for it to alter and darken your paper. 

- Some fixatives are marked as 'workable' which means you can fix a certain stage of a drawing then continue to draw more on top of that. 

- Consider an environmentally-safe fixative such as (contains milk so not vegan).


Here are some drawings made using:
- charcoal (a very soft medium)
- chalk (a harder medium - darker tones are possible)
- and conte (the hardest of the three and the best for adding finer details)

The first three drawings aren't by me.

Art in Healthcare Collection, Marjorie I Campbell, Child On A Stool, 66x56cm

A lovely drawing.
- Sharp lines creating the outlines - charcoal held like pencil.
- Charcoal held on its side to create wide areas of tone.
- Little or no intentional smudging.
- Lots of smudging here to create all the soft tonal areas. Probably smudged by hand. 
- Dark detail lines then drawn or re-drawn on top of the 'smudges'. 
- The central face in particular shows lots of earlier drawing lines which have been smudged or rubbed away and add to the overall interest and three-dimensional-ness of the portrait.

Using charcoal, smudging with fingers or hand

Unicorn 'drawn' by boldly shading the shadow behind it rather than by working on the unicorn itself.

Black chalk. No smudging. A teensy touch of red chalk for the fiery head of the coot chick.

And a bit of blue chalk for background to coot portrait. See how different a coot looks when on blue background compared to on white background.

Mixed with white chalk. Drawn on brown paper. Imagine the same drawing on white paper or on blue.

Coloured chalks with charcoal or black chalk for the detail. Drawn on brown paper.

Working from a photo of stone and old bleaching wood. Trying to create lots of different textures:
- pressing hard, pressing a little
- rubbing a lot, rubbing a little
- crisp lines, crisp lines then blurred with fingers
- chalk/charcoal held on side and scuffed gently across paper (the texture at top right)
- rubber used to clean smudges off the paper where I wanted the brightest highlights.

Much as above.

Quite a lot of effort put into creating different types of marks and textures. Trying to give impression of looking across a wide stretch of lawn.

Lots of very obvious smudging, rubbing out and adding dark crisp marks back on top.

A very large charcoal and chalk drawing. 4ft high? Charcoals and chalks work so well on this scale. Lightest lines (including in the centre circle) created by rubbing back to the unmarked paper.

 Another big one. Creating depth by a background largely smudged and light, a foreground largely detailed and dark.

And a third large one. Charcoal, black chalk, black conte, white chalk. See below for zoomed-in trees at top.

Friday 23 October 2020

Winter/Christmas cards ready to order - owl, fox, snow

My new Christmas/winter cards are ready to post now. Contact me to order.

- printed on 100% recycled card - blank inside - white envelopes -

winter owl - A6 card (105mm x 148mm)
- 1 card = £1
- 10 cards = £8
+ p&p

This new wood engraving is also available to buy handprinted in an edition of 100. A nice little winter present :)
- £15 per signed print, unmounted, includes UK p&p. 
- £20 for non-UK addresses, includes p&p.


winter woods - card is 5x7inch (c.120mm x 170mm)
- 1 card = £1.50
- 10 cards = £12
- 20 cards = £20 
+ p&p

(The original of this A5 painting will be available from the Open Eye Gallery in their December Small Scale exhibition)


I also have reprinted lots of this card from two years ago as people keep asking for it:

seven snow hares - card is 5x7inch (c.120mm x 170mm)
- 1 card = £1.50
- 10 cards = £12
- 20 cards = £20 
+ p&p



- Let me know -

- Include your postal address so we can confirm total cost and email you payment details.
Bank transfer, cheque, cash are all fine. PayPal too but we'll add 50p to cover fees.

- My non-seasonal greetings cards and two non-winter wood engravings can be ordered from my Etsy shop -


Will be same format as 2020 and this year focuses on wildlife and wildlife in the landscape.

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Texture in acrylic paintings - & protecting our environment

Here are a few acrylic paintings from over the years. Looking at how good acrylics are for combining thickness & texture with thinner & more detailed. 
If you work with acrylics remember to wash **as little as possible** down your sink. Acrylic paint down the sink is plastics and chemicals in our rivers and oceans and soils and wildlife.

1 - Use leftovers to paint base/background colours for future paintings.

2 - Then wipe all remaining paint off brushes and palette. I use old raggy clothes and cloths and paper napkins saved up from cafes etc!

3 - Then clean brushes with soap and cool water.

4 - Don't bother cleaning your palette other than giving it a wipe as in point 2. Just let the paint dry then work on top of it next time. Gradually your palette gets thicker and thicker and after a few years you can peel off a lovely thick skin.

There are ways to ensure no acrylic at all goes down your sink, a bit complicated but very worth reading up on. Have a look at these four links:

- detailed, very interesting process to remove all acrylic sediment -

It seems increasing numbers of artists are choosing to completely avoid acrylic paints in favour of watercolour, for very valid environmental reasons. If you continue with acrylics, as I am for now, please have a think about the tips above. Share your own tips too! With your art communities and with me, I'd love to hear.

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Painting The Sea

 Six sea paintings, three watercolour, three acrylic:

acrylic on board, 21x29cm

acrylic on board, 33x62cm

acrylic on wooden board, 60x80cm

watercolour on paper, 15x21cm
- pencil drawing first

watercolour on paper, 15x21cm
- no drawing first

watercolour on paper, 14x21cm
- no drawing first