Friday, 19 July 2019

Latest Pet Portrait...

I have been busy over the past couple of weeks, just nothing to show here really.  However, I have just finished this commissioned double pet portrait.  I have used Derwent coloured pencils as usual on coloured pastel paper.

The big news is that after only a couple of months on the hospital waiting list, I have been scheduled to have my first cataract operation in a fortnight.  I started developing a cataract in my left eye several years ago - early as I am only in my fifties - and then was told after a couple of years that one was developing in my right eye as well.  Initially they did not bother me, but over the past year I have struggled to see in the evenings when working under electric light, have not been able to drive at night because the cataracts cause the lights to refract weirdly, and whites are starting to look beigey-pink.  Not good when you are an artist by trade!  Thankfully I have a brilliant optician who understood completely my distress and who asked my GP to refer me to a specialist.  The specialist listened to my litany of woes and put me straight on the waiting list.  I will have both lenses in my eyes replaced and if all goes well, hopefully will not need glasses any more other than for reading.  I am both scared & excited!

Tuesday, 9 July 2019


 I've made stuffed Otis and stuffed Walker, so I thought it about time I had a go at making my favourite of the female bears at Brooks Falls, Alaska.  This is Grazer, disinctive for her long straight nose and her ridiculously fluffy white ears.
 She is also a force to be reckoned with - when she had cubs, there wasn't a bear that did not feel her wrath and get a beating if they even looked at her funny!
 My version is a lot softer however, no claws or teeth!
There are a few tweaks I would make if I was to make a second one, but all in all I am happy with how she has turned out.  For sale now in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

The Family Is Complete...

And that's Daddy Bear!

Monday, 1 July 2019


Part of something I am currently working on - great to be using felt for a change!

Come Take A Walk With Me...

A watercolour painting of a favourite dog walk of mine amongst the trees and wildflowers.  Lots of greens, but that's how it is there at the moment, all fresh leaves and sunlight.

This might be the last of my 'own' work for a while - got to get on with some commissions!  All sorts of things in the pipeline...

Thursday, 27 June 2019

They're Taking Over!

Part of a current project - my life seems to be revolving around bears at the moment!

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Tale Of A Small Dog...

I finally finished this yesterday - took much longer to 'colour in' than I thought it would.  This is a private commission, not for use in anything further I don't think.

Drawn in pen and ink, then coloured with Japanese watercolours which are very like gouache except they can be lifted and/or re-wet & worked on the paper once they have dried.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

And Now For Something Completely Different...

This is something that has been on the back burner for far too long - a little story board that I've been asked to draw.  It made a bit of a welcome change as I am stumped for inspiration otherwise - the rotten weather outside doesn't help!

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Garden Time...

 The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a nightmare outside in the garden.  We have had a faulty gutter for years which has caused all sorts of waterfalls and water related problems.  I finally managed to get the housing association to fix it but it involved having scaffolding put up on our patio for a week - not so easy with all the flower pots, greenhouse, grapevine etc. out there!  So everything had to be moved out of the way and we had chaos for about a month (first date for scaffolding never happend...) 
Finally last Thursday we got our patio back - a few breakages but I'm willing to overlook them because we now have a shiny new gutter.  I spent two days putting everything back on the patio as well as building two new wooden tables for the bonsai trees.
 Everything seems to have come out of it reasonably well, no major casualties.
 I moved a few things around - gave the olive tree some more space and got rid of some pots of what might well have been weeds that I was cultivating!  It is starting to look good.
 We also got a new fence after a winter of it crashing and banging about every time the wind blew, so I was able to plant a few climbers in at last.
 The Torbay palm at the bottom of the garden has put out a large cluster of flowers this year - the scent is overpowering but the bees and flies are loving it!
And the triffid in the front garden has put out a flower spike as well this year - two years ago it got to about 15 feet high.  Waiting to see what it does this year!

So with all that going on, there has not been much time or inclination for arts & crafts - hopefully now things have calmed down I will be able to get back to the easel once more.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

A Happy Ending...

Just completed this while stuck at home waiting for scaffolders - I guess being under house arrest has its advantages!

This is bear 451 and her cubs, painted in watercolour on paper.  Bear 451 has a bit of a history - for a start, at some point in her life she has been seriously injured and has a distinct stiffness and limp in one of her back legs.  Then back in 2015, she had a litter of 3 cubs, lost one early in the season to either illness or injury.  The second cub collapsed and died right in front of the camera in October of that year, while bear 451 kept a sad vigil throughout the two days it took to die.  She and her remaining cub finally left and were not seen again that year.  In 2016 she returned to Brooks Falls briefly, limping very badly and alone.  Things did not look good.

However, in 2017 she showed up in the early summer with three cubs and these three cubs made it through the summer unscathed and healthy.  She returned with all three last year and despite a rocky start - very thin and hungry - they ended up all very fat, healthy & ready for hibernation. She really is one of my favourite bears on the web cams and I can't wait to see her return this year, hopefully with her cubs large and ready to be emancipated.

In the meantime, I have to be satisfied with just painting them!

Friday, 24 May 2019

Real Bears!

 I've been a bit busy this week, meeting some real bears!  Turns out they like gravy bones - who knew?
Had a fantastic day out at the Wildwood Trust in Kent and saw lots of other animals as well as these two rescue bears.  More about it another day when I have sorted through the hundreds of photos we took!

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Slow But Steady...

I'm not getting as much time to spend on this as I would like, but I am very happy with how it is progressing.  This is Bear 451 who lives at Brooks Falls, Katmai, Alaska.  It's not the first time I have painted her - she is quite a favourite of mine with an interesting back story. 

This is watercolour on paper - hoping to get it finished soon, but a busy week ahead.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Baby Bear...

Currently on the drawing board, bear 451 and her cubs.  Just the one cub completed for now.

Bears seem to have taken over my life lately - I've always liked them and painted them from time to time over the years, but the past two or three years it seems to have snowballed.  Since watching the live cams I've got to know people all over the world that share my interest and who have wanted to buy my work, whether it is a painting or a stuffed bear.  I'm definitely not complaining - I love what I do and if I happen to get paid for it as well, all the better!

And later in the month I get to go and hand feed a pair of brown bears at the Wildlife Trust in Kent - a highly anticipated birthday present!  There will also be other animals to see there such as wolves, bison, lynx, and many more that used to be indigenous to Britain.  My camera will be working overtime!

Saturday, 4 May 2019


I've been sewing bears again - more Otis bears for commissions and this Walker bear just for fun and a bit of a change.  He is currently listed in my Etsy shop.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Study In Water

After the Easter weekend with everyone home for four days, it was good to get back to the easel on Tuesday.  I've had this painting in the back of my mind for a couple of years ever since I took a snap on bear cams so it was time to put it down on paper.

I have to admit I spent more time on painting the water than the bear - it is one of my pleasures to play with paint & water to see what happens as it mixes and swirls on the paper.  I used a couple of my precious Daniel Smith watercolours, and they granulate and create interesting effects all by themselves.

Then the bear was another exercise in mixing the paint on paper to get the effect I wanted on the head and the wet fur.  I just love watercolours, you never know if they will cooperate or not!

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Diddly Donkey...

When my daughter was at infant school, she learnt the Christmas song Little Donkey for the nativity play - she couldn't pronounce 'little' so it became 'diddly donkey' and she sang it for months after Christmas.  So it has stuck - she has grown up and can say the title properly, but me and Mr.B still call it Diddly Donkey...

This is a watercolour painting of a mare & foal donkey at Miller's Ark that we saw a couple of weeks ago.  The foal was only a couple of weeks old and cute as a button.  I have tried to keep this one as loose as I could - not as loose as I would have liked but still relaxed on the detail for me!  It was a lot of fun to do and a bit of a break inbetween commissions.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Swimming Bear...

Completed this today - very happy with how it has turned out.  Watercolour on paper.  This will be for sale in my Etsy shop soon.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Work In Progress & Some Very Tiny Bears...

 I started this one last week - it seemed a good idea at the time until I started painting the water!  However, after a bit of a think and breaking it down into just shapes, the painting turned out to be successful.  The photo I am workingon is quite dark so I have had to lighten the bear's face considerably but I am very pleased with how it is going so far.  Watercolour on paper.

I am in the process of packing up and sending the stuffed Otis toys and thought it might be fun to pop a little extra in each parcel.  This is a very miniature mother bear & cub - the cub is just over an inch long.  As he was knitted on 1.5mm needles, I am not sure there will be many more of them!  See, when you buy from me you never know what you might get!

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Seven Otis Army...

This lot are finished and ready to go.  Think I might take a small break, cough up a couple of hairballs, vacuum the house thoroughly, before starting on the next lot!

Sunday, 31 March 2019


Four complete, three need ears & tails, three more on order...

Monday, 25 March 2019


I've been working on this for the past couple of weeks - I had an idea that didn't quite turn out how I imagined.  To be honest, I lost interest about half way through!

This has been painted using Inktense pencils and pigments on paper.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Otis... down, seven to go!

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Spring Cleaning...

 I finally have a bit of spare time to tidy up my craft room which has been in disarray (do you see what I did there?) since last year.  As the desk is currently piled high with tiny things that need sorting into containers - eyes, sequins, beads, findings - I can't use the sewing machine right now.
So I knitted a teeny tiny ray instead.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Yet Another Otis...

 Yes, here he is again, the most popular bear around!  This one is part of a commission of three items in total that have taken me an awfully long time to complete due to other commitments.  Now they can go on their way to Spain.
I enjoy making the stuffed Otis plushies - just as well as I have seven more to make for some very patient people. I spent half of yesterday cutting out the pattern pieces and the kitchen was covered in fluff, as was I.  Thankfully this time I had the presence of mind to lay down some plastic sheeting and wear an apron but I think I still inhaled an awful lot of fluff!

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Still Going...

 I think the attraction of these patterns by Sachiyo Ishii is that they can be completed so quickly. As they are no more than a couple of inches tall, the knitting itself is over in an hour or so and then it's just a matter of putting it all together.
I love these tiny children, made with just a few rows of different colour wool that magically becomes a little person when sewn.
 The horse is a very cute pattern too - I have not sewn the boy to the horse yet, as I am not sure whether I want him permanently attached.
I just wish I had a small person to give these to!

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Slightly Obsessed...

 More mini knitted things!  I'm really enjoying making these as they can be whizzed up in an evening, don't require me to think, and are so darn cute!
 The alpaca was a little more complicated but still only took a couple of hours.  He may need a friend...
Not sure what I am going to do with all these tiny creatures - for the time being I am just having fun making them.

Meanwhile, now that a major project has reached it's conclusion, I am back at the easel happily painting an octopus and have eight (gulp!) stuffed bears to sew.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Marking Time...More Mini Fun

 Still playing with my new pattern books.  These are very cute patterns and it's nice that the projects are so small they can be completed in an evening.
I'm just marking time until a mammoth project is over and I can get back to the easel!