Sunday, December 12, 2010


Just got a load of fine new materials courtesy of my sweepstake win, new paper, card, fixative, all sorts, also 3 sets of Unison pastels, landscape 72, portrait 72 and starter 72 so my palette is now pretty decent.

One of the paper types is ingres sheets in a selection of colours, did this this afternoon on A2 black ingres, Portrait of the Singer & Songwriter Andi Neate:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Still here, Had a bit of a dry spell but recently been working on some commissions and such. What's good is that I'm getting paid for them, what's bad is they're all gifts, so I can't show any of them yet.

Still all dry media of course, charcoal and pastels. Here's an idea I'm playing with: Boom the dog backlit on wet sand, just liked the look of the reflections:

ref photo

Sketch, Charcoal & pastel

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Craft Fair

For the first time in many years I've entered a few paintings in the annual craft fair in Stanley, shame I won't be able to get in to town see the fair myself.....the price of living out in the sticks eh.

Here's the ones I've entered:

Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Landscapes finished.

Finished my two large, Kraft paper landscapes today. Definately going to do more on this stuff, as other artist have found before it's quite a rewarding surface to use pastels a crude sort of way anyhow.

Finished them.

Finished my 'fighting johnnyrooks' painting, here it is with the 'angry johnnyrook':

Not being much of a photographer both of these are composed from multiple reference photos, recently I got some decent shots of a johnnyrook on the wing which I'd not managed before. Might do a third picture in this set based on this photo:

Could be fun.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fighting Johnnyrooks

This is (I hope) going to be a piece that compliments my angry johnnyrook picture, if it works both of these are to be donated for an auction at an annual social event called the Conservation Ball, this is held to raise money for the local environmental charity Falklands Conservation. Here's a link to their website if you're interested

This is a subject composed using many shots of Johhnyrooks doing their stuff, they do fight quite a lot but they're so quick moving that I've never managed to get one good shot of the action I wanted to portray. Soft pastels on 30 X 40 yellow pastelmat.

Initail work showing the sketch and my (I think, rather nifty) monitor setup.

First stage, blocking out of basic shapes.

Some depth of colour added

More colour, movment and detail, colours are very brash so still a long way to go.

Landscapes on Kraft paper

Been trying this out recently, big bits of heavy kraft paper (50 X 70cm ish), intereresting stuff to work on but a bit frustrating compared to the ultra responsive (& sadly ultra expensive) pastelmat that is my favourite paper.

Leicester creek road in a really cold spell, sun just setting. This is nearly done, just a bit of detail in the foreground I think.

Apocryphal scene based on the hills in Port Stephens on an unsettled day, patchy light playing on the hills and the unsettled overcast sky. Still needs a lot doing to it, not sure if it'll work or not.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I'm back

Well, my studio is set up ('s a spare bedroom that I've taken over), my home made easel works tolerably well so everythings going OK. Here's a couple of pastel pictures on 30 X 40 pastelmat that I've done in the last couple of days.  
In doing these I took a bit of advice from Harley Brown in his book 'Eternal truths for every artist' that made a lot of sense to me "Show the paper who's the boss" meaning just break up the surface with big pastel strokes, no particular form or colour just mess up the surface. I found this gave me a much looser approach than my usual method of working on top of an accurate sketch, good fun.

Angry Johnnyrook, orange pastelmat.

..and Johnny cash....also looking quite angry, grey pastelmat.
Work in progress of this is on the 'on the easel' page

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Destiny has taken a hand"

Charcoal sketch of Bogart in Casablanca:
I was inspired to draw this while musing on one of Bogarts lines in this scene "It seems that destiny has taken a hand". This musing was brought about by an incredible stroke of luck, just at a time when I'm wanting to take time away from my regular job to concentrate more on my art and the possibility of getting to a level where I can make some sort of living at it so more materials, the means to make prints, a website and all that stuff is needed. I've been wondering how I can afford this investment when wham! out here there is an annual sweepstake that was drawn last weekend with a top prize of £1500, It had even occured to me that to win that would be a real help, we Falkland Islanders are very keen on the Sweep so there's always a lot of tickets sold but this year I did win the top prize! a lump like that out of the blue is going to be a real help....pure luck of course but just when I needed it most, any other time I would have spent it on a holiday or something or just frittered it away, it's a funny old world.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Johnnyrook 2

Well....things are moving on, been working on a couple of commissions now but they're a surprise gift so can't tell show 'em yet. Yet another bout of insomnia this morning so had another crack at that great character the straited caracara AKA johnnyrook. Charcoal, A3.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ian McKellen

Another sleepless night......still, allows me to get some drawing done. Ian McKellen, charcoal & Soft pastels on white pastel paper. After weeks of using fancy paper like pastelmat and velour it's interesting to go back to such a basic substrate, now that I have decent soft pastels I find this works quite well and it's not nearly as hungry as the more expensive, textured papers.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Luca the keen Collie

Feeling a bit low so indulged myself by doing a pair of 'recently deceased' portraits. Luca was an 11 year old border collie who belonged to my brother and his wife, he had been suffering terribly with joint problems and was recently put down. A great character, destroyer of toys, escape artist, and all round entertainer.

Both are soft pastels on A3 pastel paper.

Rest in peace Luka.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Red Backed Hawk

Juvenile Red Backed Hawk, also called the Variable Hawk due to the many variations of plumage it can have. He was just landing in the ref for this. I rather liked the rich colours in this variation, on the ground he was a bit awkward but this shot caught him rather well. Soft Pastels on white 30 X 40 pastelmat.

I find birds difficult but was quite pleased with this one, must practice more.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Paul Verhoeven

Couldn't sleep last night so stuck on one of my favourite old movies, Robocop. In the DVD extras was a photo of the director Paul Verhoeven with his typical bad tempered, tempramental director look. So I had a crack at drawing him, charcoal on A3 pastel block.

Hoped some of tension of the filmmaking could show in this, Robocop was supposed to have been a complete nightmare for all involved. I recall someone on the documentary saying "working on Robocop was like being the victim of a violent crime, you try to blank it out" Grand film though.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bill Porter

Finished my portrait of Bill Porter, took a while and I found the WIP photos useful so posting this one as a complete work in progress. The finished pastel I'll give to the local social club which Bill chaired for many years.

Charcoal sketch

here's the first stage of the larger painting, graphite sketch on pale grey 30 X 40 pastelmat.

Filled in with charcoal, some colour next.

First blocking in of colour, conte soft pastels.

Bit more done, using my daler rowney pastel pencils on this, excellent pastel cores in them but the wood casings are terrible, grain all over the place so very hard to sharpen without breaking the core.
looking a bit flat, slapped some unison pastel on there, grand stuff.

Getting there.

Finished painting

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Also did this quick study of a johnnyrook (striated caracara) last night, he's a rare, very inquisitive raptor that is actually quite common here in the Falklands. They are pretty mad, jittery creatures so I wanted lots of movement to be apparent, didn't quite work as I wanted so may have another go at this idea. Pastels on 24X30 yellow pastelmat.


Country and Western singer Hank Wangford. Hank did a tour in the Falkland Islands back in 1999 and very good he was too. This is a pastel painting of him on grey velour, I actually printed tour T-shirts for him and his band the Lost Cowboys in 1999 that used the same image drawn in marker pen.

More about Hank on his website:

soft pastels on 30 X 40 grey velour.

Tour T-shirt design, marker pen & digital.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Windy place the Falklands, This is a particularly good example of what the prevailing wind does to such trees as there are down here. Charcoal on 30 X 40 white paper.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Nervous as hell.....

Nervous now, got a couple of commissions to do. One pair of child portraits and one single child portrait, just waiting of the reference photos to turn up.

This is the first time I've been offered commissions and I've accepted both. ....If there's anyone up there watching out for over-ambitious portrait artists then keep your fingers crossed for me......

Self Portrait 2

After having fun doing my 'Seal' portrait I thought I'd have a go at something a bit more disciplined, rather liked the 'Proximo' drawing I did last week so had a crack at doing myself in charcoal. Pushed the contrast right up in this as I like to do, along with my drawing style this has aged me rather but I'm pretty pleased with it as a drawing exercise. Took about two and a half hours.

Ref Photos: