These are two small canvases that I worked on yesterday. I used a modelling medium on them to build up textures  One had leaf shapes built up on it, and the other a spiral of shallow spikes.

I also bought some brusho. I’d never used it before. It’s a dust or fine crystals that you can either sprinkle on a wet or damp surface or sprinkle on dry and then add water. The colours change when you add water. For instance lemon yellow looks orange in the pot. You also only need to use tiny amounts. I ended up with a paper plate under the canvases to catch the drops. I tried to get the colours to surround the raised sections then used some acrylic colours to delineate the edges of the shapes.

I’ve left them with Etruria Artists at the warehouse to dry out.

Stretched canvases


I have the canvas, but I don’t have the inclination to paint. I could use the excuse that its been too  hot (it has) or that I’ve got into watching daytime tv (I have, specifically cagney and lacey) or I’m mooching about too much on social media, like Instagram and Facebook and here (I am)….

But if I explore a bit deeper, pick the scab off the wound so to speak, its more from fear. Fear of rejection, fear that I’m doing this for nothing, fear that it won’t be good enough. Leaving work seems to have made me shy, to all my friends that know me that may sound strange. But I think it’s my default setting. It’s easier to sit at home than involve myself.

I need to fight the tendency to relax. I’ve always been a bit reticent about getting out and about, there is always that book I haven’t read, or the radio play that’s just starting. Or distractions such as doing the washing up or cooking food. Now I’ve got a new kitchen I’m doing more housework for goodness sake. I’ve swapped my paintbrush for a broom!

So, I’ve got to redouble my efforts to be an artist. Try and work round these moods. Be more positive, follow up leads. Or I will just end up sitting in my armchair and vegetating!

Enjoying painting


I usually start a painting without drawing things out, but in this one I decided to outline some of the main elements , the cats and some of the plants.

The cats were painted from two separate photos of my old cats Claude, on the left and Lucy, on the right. I have done pictures of both of them in the past but this was the first time I had painted them together.

The plants and background are purely from my imagination, the picture was an amalgam of elements from our garden, placing flowers in different positions to improve the composition and colours. I grow large poppies but they are planted in a sunnier part of our garden, but I needed a few splashes of colour to alleviate the dark green shades next to the wall. I also had to try and work out realistic shadows for the cats and vegitation. I had to decide what size to make the flowers and the paving slabs so that the cats did not appear out of proportion.

I know this is not a photorealistic painting, but it gives a good idea of how they would have looked. By taking photos of the picture it also helps me understand and explain the process of making it.


Cats are a regular subject, to be photographed, painted, drawn and digitally doodled.


If you want a subject that is interesting to paint and draw you won’t go too far wrong with a cat…as long as they stay still for a few seconds or minutes!

Mine have a tendancy to come towards me when I try and take their picture. They want a cuddle, forget that phone or camera, its just in the way….

I have given homes to lots of cats over the years, from an old ginger long haired cat we rescued to black and white furry friends and their kittens. Lately we have two black and white cats, brother and sister, they were the inspiration for my batik yin and yang kitties. I also like drawing over photos with an app which has a nice ribbon pen, its called sketcher free.

I’m partial to patterns and colours and these are often part of my cat paintings. I just recently bought a multi coloured rug. The cat really does sit on the mat! Inspiration is part of being creative, and my cats inspire me.


How to paint Snake and Ladder

What a random painting!

It started out as a series of splodges. I was not sure what it would turn into. I am interested in Celtic knotwork and also Saxon metalwork. The Staffordshire hoard of Saxon gold was found nearby a couple of years ago and there are many animals and monsters found in that kind of art and craft work.

Suddenly the idea of a snake popped into my mind so I added scales and a head to the pattern, but why would it be there, what was the reason behind it. I remember being intrigued by Snakes and Ladders when I was little. I always landed on a snake and slither down to the foot of the board .

I decided to add the ladder, but the background was too dark. I was modelling the 3 dimensions of the snake with dark and light paint but the snake was merging into the background. What to do!? I tried a green, but felt that was not the right colour. …why not a bold red? I had got a bottle of glittery deep red and I tried that. Bingo I’m pleased with the result.

That’s how you paint a Snake and Ladder. ….

Industrial art

One of the things about having a studio at Spode is you get to look round the site.


These two paintings are based on photos taken around the back of the site. The round window is easier to find. The globe light on a bracket is further round down a bit of a path that leads to the back of the visitor centre.

In another town they might have been removed and sold as salvage, as it is they are still there.

So then how to paint them. I dont have a printer so I was forced to work off the photo on my phone. That’s fine but I have to keep a thumb on the screen to try and stop it switching off. So it’s a bit if a juggling problem.  Also I like the image close to the canvas so I ended up holding both the phone and canvas in my left hand while painting and mixing with my right. Sometimes leaning the painting on a chair to support it.

I intend to do more.

So close…and now it’s finished!

After hours of work my willow pattern painting is finished.

I have finished working on it after having to have a rest .IMG_20180129_191216_656

I needed to add details in the reflection at the bottom of the painting , plus shading and highlights on the platter and behind it so it stands out more.

This is the third painting of ceramics I have done in this series.

this jug was the second acrylic on canvas I did.

and this is part way through the teapot painting, which was the first one I did. ..

Im not sure how many more I will paint.