Furry Friends

Bear web

Bearsie 8×8 inches oil on linen on board

I have been really inspired these last couple of weeks by an artist called Jennifer Gennari from New York.  She is an amazing painter and I particularly like the paintings she has done of animals.  She paints cats, dogs, chickens beautifully and so these last couple of weeks I’ve tried to have a go myself.  I really love the way she is so careful of brushstrokes which really add to the smoothness and texture of the different animals.  She does have one advantage though as she paints from some extremely good, well taken photos which makes a difference.

Here is my first attempt at painting my cat Bearsie.  I know it looks like he has a small nose but I promise that he does in real life – honest!  I was quite pleased with him I think!

Winston web

Winston 10xb inches – oil on canvas

A friend and neighbour has the most ridiculously characterful dog called Winston and so thought I would try and paint him too.  She had taken a rather fun silly photo of him.  I have a long way to go if I want to end up painting like Jennifer but its a start.

Commissions are welcome of any kind of pet – get in touch!

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Back to School

Well its back to school now.  I go to art school two mornings a week.  It’s good to go to school so that someone can keep an eye on what you are doing ;).  Everyone needs a little guidance now and then and someone to give you a good critique and get you back to basics if you are straying in the wrong direction.

This week my teacher wanted me to get back to basics again and make sure I knew what was dark and light, making sure I wasn’t being wowed by the colours and getting in a muddle about what was the darkest object and the lightest.  I was only allowed to use charcoal and I brought in with me a pear, apple and a plum.

Pear, apple and plum

Charcoal pear, apple and plum.  I was quite pleased with my charcoal handling which can often be a nightmare!

You can easily get in a muddle when you paint with colour because colours can be so vivid and saturated that you can often be tricked into thinking they are light.  One of the ways to make sure you have the light and dark correct is by using your phone.  Take a picture of the objects in black and white and you will soon realise that a lot of these colours that we see as bright colours we automatically think are light but actually they can be quite dark.  A great example of this is to take a photo of a lemon and an orange.

The other lesson on Wednesday was to decide on edges. Which ones should be blurred and which should be sharp.  Our eyes think we see everything very sharply but actually there is a lot our eyes make up.  As I’ve said before this is something that Singer Sargent does really well.  I love soft edges.

 

Animal House

rabbits web

I was styling this week for a big UK magazine in London.  It was my first experience of a beautiful interior with just so many animals around.  The family had two dogs, a cat and two rabbits that all got on with each other extremely well.  The house was incredibly well designed with some wonderful touches.  There were angles everywhere to photograph with fabulous textures and colours to add to it.  One of the surprises I found was that the rabbits were let out around the sitting room.  My first reaction was NO – what a mess!  After a bit of time I realised just how much they added to the room.  Cuteness, warmth and something a little different.  I’m not sure I’d ever thought about adding a rabbit to interiors, but I think it works!