Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Monkeying around...

 This one is all my own design...
 ...fully poseable...
 ...ready for mischief!
Still finding it hard to sew under electric light in the evenings, but at least the brown felt was marginally better than working in black. 

Tuesday, 10 September 2019


I had a few spare hours today and put in some time on this -it's now complete.  The camera has made the greens a bit lurid - they are more natural than this in the actual painting.

This is a small waterfall we came across in Lynmouth, Devon while on holiday.  We stayed next to the river Lyn in a cabin and I used to take the dog exploring along the riverbank through the woods - beautiful scenery.  I am sure there will be more river paintings further down the line!

This is painted in watercolour on paper and will be in my Etsy shop soon.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Further Progress...

I'm really enjoying this one, taking my time with it.

Friday, 6 September 2019


Just started this watercolour of a small waterfall that we discovered while hiking next to the River Lyn in Devon.  It was stunningly beautiful and I can't wait to get on a paint the rest of it.  Thankfully I have now settled into the new position of painting with my back straighter in order for both my eyes to focus on the paper.  Seems to be working OK!

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Apples & Bears...

 I finally sat down and made a concerted effort to finish this little painting yesterday.  As it is the first painting since my eye op, I'm very happy how it has turned out.  I've had to change my painting position a little to account for the fact I cannot wear my reading/painting glasses any more so have to wear the varifocals with one lens missing.  It means I have to sit back a bit (better posture at least!) but after a while you get used to it. 

This is a watercolour on tinted paper and will be in my Etsy shop soon.
Last year we had only two apples on our tree - this year it appears to have over-compensated!  This box load is from one branch alone.  I don't know what to do with them all - how can I store them without them going bad?  There are only so many crumbles and pies we can eat...

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Holiday Sketches...

 The view from our holiday cabin in Devon was stunning and I wanted to get it down on paper if I could.  The only problem was that if I sat down, I could not see it!  So this small painting was achieved standing up with the pad in one hand, brush in other, and paints on the coffee table.  Not my chosen way of working but I am pleased with how it turned out.
 The second sketch was a closer study of the water - this one I could do from a chair on the balcony, the only problems being the very bright sunlight and the dog drinking my paint water.

Interestingly, with each day that passes I am noticing that the eye I had the cataract removed from sees colour so much brighter now.  I am wondering just how badly having cataracts has affected my colour perception when painting - probably just as well I have been painting brown bears a lot!  I just cannot wait for the other eye to be done.
Hopefully now the catching up from being on holiday is done, I can get back to this little cutie - he's already got a buyer so I had better get a move on!

Monday, 26 August 2019

Refreshed & Raring To Go...

I've just spent a week at this wonderful place in Devon - a well needed chance to step away from the world and re-charge my batteries.  I can't wait to get back to painting...once I've finished sorting out the mess we seem to have brought home with us!

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Still A Grey Area...

It turns out that while I am able to paint during daylight hours after my eye op, sewing under electric light is still a problem.  It took me three evenings to make this tiny panda, mainly because sewing black felt was nigh on impossible to see! I've got my 'new' eye with no glasses prescription for close work yet and my other eye still labouring with a cataract and dull vision.

Yesterday I looked at the half finished article under daylight and was horrified to see places I'd missed, resulting in holes with stuffing showing through and worst of all, thread wrapped around one arm in a tight loop where I had supposedly sewn the thread joints.  Oh dear...

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Bearly There...

Wish I could devote more time to this, but it's getting there.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Taking It Slow...

I had drawn this picture out before my eye op, then ruined it a few days ago by painting in a background that looked like a five year old had done it.  So I started it again and yesterday began painting - it's a bit difficult with my 'new' eye and my old glasses, but I need the glasses in order to focus this close.  I can work for about an hour before getting tired - that's OK, there is no hurry.  I'm just glad to be able to put brush to paper!

Thursday, 8 August 2019


It's been a week since my eye surgery and all has gone well.  It took a few days for the blurriness to subside but now I am seeing incredibly well from that eye - it is amazing the difference it has made to clarity and colour.  I can't wait to have the other eye done, but that will not be until late September/October.

In the meantime, I am trying to find a way to get back to painting.  Initially I was still wearing my old glasses but it reached the point where one good eye and one duff eye was meaning my vision was a bit wonky both with and  without glasses.  So after consulting the optician, I have had the lens on the left removed from my glasses which has made things better - felt a bit seasick at the beginning but after a couple of days my brain adjusted to it!  It's still a bit tricky to focus on close work - the first brushstrokes I made a couple of days ago ruined the work I drew out before my surgery and I have started again.  But yesterday I was able to draw with very few problems - can't do it for too long yet though.  Same goes for sewing/knitting - it's do-able but not for long periods.  But it's early days still - every day gets better!

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Eye Can See Clearly Now...

 ...well, no actually I can't just yet!  I had my cataract surgery yesterday, plus a new lens put in my eye.  It was quite uncomfortable but not nearly as bad as I had been playing it out in my mind for the past few weeks.  The operation only took about fifteen minutes, then I was sent home with a plastic shield taped to my face and a bushel of eye drops to use over the coming month.
It will take a couple more days for the blurriness to go - I can't wait to see what I can see!  I have noticed one significant difference already though - for weeks, nay months, I have thought that the light bulbs I have been using in the living room were faulty and too dim - turns out it was my eye that was dim, everything is so much brighter now!

I guess no crafting or painting for a while - I'll have to find something else to keep my hands occupied or go crazy!

Monday, 29 July 2019

48 Hours To Go...

48 hours until my eye operation and I'm trying to get all outstanding work out of the way.  The toy Otises are done, the box needs lining and another coat of varnish.  I have one other small project that I could do with completing if I have the time.  I'm hoping that once the initial blurriness in my eye clears that I will be able to paint again - it could be a long time until the other eye gets done.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

I Made A Mouse...

Tiny mouse sewn from felt and fully poseable with a wire armature. 

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!