April 14th 2011

Five Moorhen chicks on bottom pond.

March 26th 2011

Trip out to Fire Beacon Hill, saw two Addrers, a Slow Worm and a Wheatear

March 25th 2011

Water Vole! First definite sighting since their release last September

March 2011

Just finished illustrations for a new hide at the Axe Estuary Wetlands, I will be doing a couple of drawing classes there over the Spring/Summer which I am really looking forward to.

March 11th 2011

Eleven Mallard Chicks on the ponds

February 23th 2011

6.30pm Pipistrelle Bat flying around the cottage

February 17th 2011

Frog spawn in top pond.

February 12th 2011

Unfortunately the frost ruined the prints before I managed to photograph them and theres’s been nothing since.

But it was a beautiful almost spring like day today with a pair of Canada Geese on the bottom pond and a pair of Teal on the top one.

February 2011

I am writing and illustrating a feature for East Devon Coast & Country Magazine about the wildlife of East Devon. Just finished the Spring Issue.

January 19th 2011

Tracks on the raft!! It looks like Water Vole, there’s a chance it could be brown rat, should get confirmation tomorrow with a visit from Mervyn.

January 17th 2011

First snow drop in flower, hooray spring is on its way! – also found a dead Tawny Owl next to an old wood pile, presumebly a victim of the cold winter.

January 10th 2011

I started this painting of Blackberry Camp towards the end of 2010. It is 4ft x 2ft Acrylic on board.

Blackberry Camp

Blackberry Camp is the site of an old Iron Age settlement in East Devon. Known locally for its spectacular blubell display in May, I have chosen to paint it in the Autumn when the beech woodlands are equally impressive.

Image 1

Initially I crudely block in the positions where I want the main trees to go.  I also give the board a strong orange wash to give the painting an overall consitancy as new layers are added.

Image 2

Started to put in more tree shapes in the background and work out how the light is going to fall. The whole of the foreground is made up of fallen leaves so I want strong light and shade cutting across this area to break it up.

Image 3

Started to rough in the leaves in the foreground, they will be built up with a series of washes. Generally I tend to do a darker wash emphasising the shadows followed by a paler wash working up the highlights.  Then as it starts to take shape I add more colour to each wash.

Image 4

I managed to do quite a bit more to the painting over the Christmas period. I am finding this photographing and then reflecting on the image really helpful. The leaves on image 4 are looking far too even and neatly laid out I think the addition of a few more fallen branches will help this, maybe even a large one in the bottom left hand corner. Also thinking the shadows falling across the leaves are a little too dark and need to be broken up with more patches of light. Quite pleased with the light in the top left hand corner though!

Image 5

It was all looking very dark so have a decided to add more light in on the right hand side. Most of the sky will be over-painted but hopefully will lift the painting.

Image 6

Sorted out the tree line at the back, started to give them shadows and highlights, with the addition of some bright leaves at the top is starting to bring it all together.  Stll lots to be done but I’m going to put it on hold for a while as I have some exhibitions coming up and this piece is too long for all of them (slight oversight). So going to start some smaller paintings and add them up on the blog as they progress.

January 2011

I have just heard that “In the Shade of an Olive’ won the People’s Choice Award for the 2010 Artists for Conservation Exhibition which is great news, thanks to everyone who voted!

December 2010

I will be exhibiting some original artwork in The Gallery, Ottery St Mary over Christmas.

November 2010

Novembers issue of Birdwatching Magazine is out with a double page spread on my work! Really pleased with it, like the black background they’ve used.

October 2010

Just got a copy of this years Artists for Conservation book through. Looks brilliant, the standard is really high, I’m over the moon to have had two pieces chosen for it.

Particularly like John Seerey-Lesters ‘Murder in the Morning’ and ‘ Thrill Seeker’ by Grant Hacking, Maybe I should paint something with crows in.

Winter 2010

The cold spell brought a few additions to the local ponds, along with the 50 roosting Mallards there was a female mandarin and two large domestic breed ducks (don’t know what type) – they were duly christened ‘Giant Acorn ‘ and ‘Oak’ by the children. The occasional teal was seen in the cold spell and up to four snipe on the top pond and back field.  Small flocks of Bulfinch were seen regularly (which are incredibly the most common finch around here) and small numbers of siskin and goldfinch feeding on the alder.

Still no sign of any Water Voles though, Mervyn from the Devon Water Vole Project did say they would be quiet in the Winter but we haven’t seen a single sign since their release in September. Fortunately though there has been no sign of mink either and we’ve been checking the raft most days.

(The floating raft consists of a clay pad with a wooden tunnel over the top. If an animal walks through the tunnel it leaves a perfect set of prints behind. Having illustrated a tracks guide for the Water Vole Project I  can now have a good guess at what made what.)

Otter Tracks

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