Pre Christian Celtic Art

These are some of the illustrations I did for my  thesis on pre Christian celtic art from the fifteenth century BC to the first AD.

Sorry they are not beautifully photographed  but it’s 3.30am and I was excited because I found it and it’s the first time I’ve seen it for about 38 years!

I see now where I get my love of patterns from and that I could do some of these drawings now.  I don’t know where I started with some of them…. Oh the confidence of youth.

There are photographs in the thesis but I haven’t included them as they were taken by a friend. They are starting to fade but surprisingly the pen and ink drawings I did seem to have stayed stable. Probably because it’s been stored in a drawer…

Right. Bedtime I think.

Sad loss


I have just learnt of the sad loss of one of the nicest people I ever met.

Enos Lovatt was born in 1937 and died yesterday of pneumonia after being diagnosed with alzheimers disease a few years ago.

He was a contemporary of and studied painting in the same group as David Hockney.

I wish I knew more about him. He was a lovely person and I had the luck to have him as one of my tutors at the North Staffs polytechnic. I think he was on the interview panel that offered me a place on the Fine Art course there.

Enos was then living in Wolstanton and on one occasion I had the privilege of visiting his house with other students. The house was full of wonderful, colourful paintings. I remember some of them being stacked up the stairs.

I lost track of him after finishing college but he continued to paint and I went to see an exhibition of his painting a few years ago at Burslem School of Art. It was there that I heard he had been diagnosed with Alzheimers disease. I know he then moved away to be closer to his family.

I regret not talking to him more. He, like another of my tutors,  Arthur Berry, was an inspiring teacher. I am sad to hear that he has passed away.

The painting in the photo is one of his still lives. I’m glad I have it as a memory of him.

Commission’s welcome

Please feel free to contact me if you would like a picture.

I love painting as you know and I pride myself on detailed work. I am not a photo realist but I think my portraits are pretty accurate and my landscapes are intricate.

So if you feel you would like to invest in something artistic, that is your choice, your vision, let me know.

I am currently working towards exhibiting a few peices at Spode, and an exhibition in June at Etruria in Stoke on Trent. I am happy to consider painting landscapes and portraits and I am also able to paint in various styles, so if you would like an abstract painting perhaps I can help? I also paint animals, so  pet portraits are also available, just ask….



Tonights lifedrawings


Tonight life drawings at Caverswall.

The model is studying yoga so her first pose was based on a yoga position. I was drawing with a very soft pencil so the final drawing is a bit smudged ( I use both sides of he page and the graphite from the pencil can transfer across).

The first two drawings were 15 minute poses, enough time to get a reasonable representation. The last three drawings were all the same long pose but I chose to try and draw it for half an hour before the break, which was not very successful as I struggled with the fore shortening. I am quite pleased with the models face and upper body, but the legs and hands are a bit too small.

The fourth drawing was also for half an hour. While I might have got the figure slightly more in proportion I think the face is wrong and the drawing is too tight .

Finally I gave up and moved so the last drawing was for half an hour drawn from the other side of the room. I was much happier with this and used the final few minutes to draw the surrounding objects and a couple of the other artists.

Life drawing does help with understanding the human body.

There are quite a few local classes, and if you want to learn how to draw or paint portraits, or even just so you have a working knowledge of the human body I would recommend joining one.

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. ….