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:


Thursday, June 24, 2010


Portrait of the singer 'Seal', soft pastels on black velour.

Last night I started 2 pictures and both came to nothing which was a bit dis-heartening but I'm pretty pleased with this one I did this evening.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


My Younger brother Sam on a very windy day, actually the same day as the ref for the painting 'Wind' so it sort of goes with that one. Soft pastels on 24 X 30 yellow pastelmat.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Proximo, a grumpy old bastard from the movie Gladiator, wonderfully played by the late Oliver Reed.
15 min charcoal sketch, this was going to be another pastel portrait but I quite liked it just as a sketch so left it at that. Sometimes things just work (wish it was always that easy).

"Ultimately we're all dead men, sadly we connot choose when or how...but we can choose how we meet that we are remembered as men"


My father Richard Cockwell, soft pastels on 30 X 40 orange pastelmat. This is based on a rather poor quality photo of an old photo (it's a good original, just a bit faded and behind glass). Interesting to work from a reference like this, up till now I've used high resolution reference shots, surprising how little you actually need from it when you're painting a subject you know well.

Reference photo:

Finished painting, quite pleased with this.

With the exception of my 'toddler' portrait I have not really done much more than headshots up till now, doesn't look like much but incorporating a hand in the portrait was quite a step for me, I was considering leaving it out but I felt it was essential to the image.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Finished this yesterday, my elder brother Adam sitting out at a picnic last summer (must have been one of the better days).  Soft pastels and pastel pencil on 24 X 30 beige pastelmat.

I'm entirely satisfied with this which concerns me a bit, not sure that complacency about ones work is very useful.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Busy day

Started three pictures today, a portrait of my brother Adam in soft pastels, still from the movie LA Confidential in soft pastels and a drawing of our other dog Jill in coloured pencils.
Finished Jill this evening along with another painting I'd started last week....Phew!

This is the painting I finished this evening, Giant petrels (local name: Stinkers) fighting over carrion in the water, soft pastels on 30X40 pastelmat. Not particularly pleased with this, it did what I wanted it to, just not that happy with the look of the birds...more practice.

Our black, short haired border collie Jill. This is her 'glum' look (just been shut into the pack of the pickup with Boom, she loves being out but hates travelling, especially with that barking oaf). Polychronos coloured pencils & black sketching pencil on A4 cartridge paper.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Well...after being treated to a set of Daler-Rowney pastels by my wife last week....look what arrived in the post today,  

a rather nice set of Unison pastels. I was warned about these and the warnings were justified, they are soft, they are intense, once tried nothing else will do....all true, these are stonking pastels.

Knocked out a couple of quick hand sketches with them (that's sketches of hands by the way).

Hands: charcoal and pastels on white Ingres paper.

...and this one, Pastels on white Ingres (nice pastels Unison)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"I ain't like that no more"

Based on a still from the Movie 'Unforgiven', a great western. Directed by and starring Clint Eastwood it pays homage to the spaghetti westerns which made him a star of the western genre.
He plays William Munny, an ageing reformed gunslinger now a widowed and poverty stricken pig farmer. Munny reluctantly picks up his pistols to do one more job to help him support his 2 children. In the scene he sits in front of his campfire with his partner Ned Logan discussing the events of their wild past, Munny is trying to persuede himself that he will not fall back into his former wicked ways.

"I ain't like that no more. I ain't the same, Ned. Claudia, she straightened me up, cleared me of drinkin' whiskey and all. Just 'cause we're goin' on this killing, that don't mean I'm gonna go back to bein' the way I was. I just need the money, get a new start for them youngsters"

Soft Pastels (limited palete) on anthracite pastelmat, finished....probably.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

To trace or not to trace?

Something that struck me whilst working on 'unforgiven' is the difference between my portraits where I have sketched the basic form freehand or where I have used a more scientific approach (grid or trace for me, I have no lightbox), what I notice is a much looser overall finish to the pieces that have been freehand throughout almost as if how the inital sketch of an image is executed colours the whole painting. I'm not aware of any conscious difference in how I continue a painting past that stage. Is this down the necessity of making small corrections to the form as the work progresses versus the fixed, accurate template that one works to if the initial sketch is known to be 100% correct? I have noticed a tendency in my work to elongate faces, particularly noticable in 'Mr Rochester', 'Goodbye Crow' and 'Unforgiven' (which is still in progress so it will be corrected to some extent). I can see the necessity of an accurate start with some media (I've learnt the hard way that with coloured pencils or crayons there's no room for major adjustment so they need to be dead right from the start), pastels however do give a great deal more freedom, discipline & accuracy vs freedom and creativity...interesting.

Pieces that were initially traced (or similar)

...and others that were done entirely freehand.

Hmm...perhaps there's nothing in it afterall in the results, just feel different somehow.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sold a drawing!

Happy days! last year I did a coloured pencil portrait of another member of as part of a portrait challence that used to run on there....and she's just bought it from me! well, we arranged a swap, the drawing for some new art materials for me. Well chuffed!

She's Julie Broom, an artist in Scotland who's been very supportive to me in my attempt to get back into drawing & painting, Check out her blog:

New pastels

The missus came back from Stanley today and had a present for me, box of 16 daler-rowney soft pastels. Banged out a quick 10 minute sketch of some flames just to try them out on brown ingres paper (not my favourite paper for pastels but worked just fine with these, very nice, fat, soft pastels, I'll see how they compare to the Unisons that are on their way)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Goodbye Crow

This is another first for me, working from a movie. This is intended to portray emotion of the moment although it turned out quite close in terms of form to the frame I was using as reference.

A quick explanation of what's going on: Based on a scene from the movie Minority Report. It depicts John Anderton, a drug addicted and mentally scarred cop who runs a police department called pre-crime who use psychics to predict & prevent murders, he is driven to help develop pre-crime by the unsolved murder of his son six years earlier.

In the scene he is about to avenge his son by killing Leo Crow, the man he believes abducted and murdered him. He knows this action  has been predicted to happen by the psychics and if he suceeds in committing the murder he will destroy not only himself but everything he has worked for in Pre-crime. Holding Crow at gunpoint he struggles with himself, his wrath and desire for vengence against his duty as a dedicated cop.....Choices eh?

I used the still from the movie as a reference to get the basic form of this, but once that was done it was mostly down to trying to 'feel' the emotion of the moment which was tough, surprisingly tiring. "Goodbye Crow......BLAM"


Portrait of Pablo Picasso, soft pastels on 30X40cm yellow pastelmat.
I've noticed doing this and my last painting 'Wind' that I've not been blending at all and I've hardly touched my pastel pencils, everything is done with the big pastel strokes, again this is not intentional just seems to me the way I need to go.

Seem to be too many paintings going on in my head at the moment and I'm rushing a bit, just need to slow down a bit and take stock of where I've got to.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Wind

This is an experiment I wanted to try, representing strong wind in a portrait painting. It's based on a photo of my brothers girlfriend taken while they were visiting the Falklands last year, on a very windy day (50+ knots). Soft pastels on 30X40 beige pastelmat. 

 Rough sketch of the idea in neocolour crayon

Finished pastel painting.
I'm finding it interesting that as my painting develop I'm tending towards a post impressionist style, it's not intentional, just seems to be the way I 'need' to go.