One Man and his Dog

Stewart portrait blog

I was asked to do a portrait of a good friend of mine, a portrait if him and his dog.  I was very flattered that his partner asked me on the sly to paint this picture of him for his birthday/Christmas.  Obviously as this was on the sly I painted it from a photograph.  I was a little worried by the photo as it was a quick snap that someone took on their phone and so the detail and focus wasn’t as good as I would have liked.  I had a go and kept with the same dulled down colour palette from the photo which I think worked.  I also tried to keep the background in a slight blur so that you would concentrate on the portrait which I think worked too.

It’s always a little nerve racking doing a portrait of a friend as it means so much more to you as an artist to get it right,  but at the same time at least you really know them so you can tell when you’ve got it right.

It was also the first time I’ve painted a dog, and again this dog means the world to my friend so again this has to be right – scary!

I tried hard. I hope they liked it!


Breakfast Disaster

boiled egg blog

Boiled Egg and Soldiers – oil on canvas 25cm x 30cm available at

Well this week I geared myself up to doing a 3 hour still life painting using my new set up in my new studio.  I was rather inspired by a still life that I did a few weeks ago of a raw egg on a plate so I decided to do a set up of something similar.  I took the challenge of painting an egg, butter and some toast.

As I started, life felt great.  The music was playing and the set up looked good.  Mr T was nestled sweetly on the bed.  It couldn’t have been better.  After half an hour or so I needed to get something from downstairs very quickly.

smashed egg blog

As I opened the drawer downstairs in the kitchen I heard the most almighty crash upstairs.  I ran upstairs to the studio to see what the matter was.  I found Mr T scarpering in a panic. It was quite obvious that he had attempted to steal the butter and in doing so pulled all the still life onto the floor!

Bad cat.

Pop up Exhibition

pop up exhibition

Over the last couple of weeks I have had a couple of exhibitions which I have been rather worried about.  It feels like a big step to go out there to sell your work when you are so unsure of it in the first place.  It’s hard as an artist I think to really believe in your work.  It’s hard to see the good things.  Instead we see all the mistakes and where we could improve.

Exhibiton pop up 2

I have been totally shocked and astounded by the way my work has been received over the last couple of weeks.  I have had so much positive feed back and people have been so kind.  It’s been quite a learning curve. Somehow its still so hard to believe that people like your work and want to buy it.  It’s an amazing boost and helps me to realise that despite all the mistakes I see, someone else likes and enjoys them.  Some of these paintings have been around my house for quite a while – I’m so excited and pleased that they have been sold, but I will also miss them.

Thank you very much for your support.



Clementines web

Clementines – linen on board 10″x6″ £60 unframed

It’s been a while since I posted a blog I realise.  Life has been very busy with styling, people staying, my flatmate leaving and working towards an exhibition I have at the end of November.  I’m still managing to paint most days which is good and here is an example of one of my paintings from the last week or so.

The studio has a very dark grey background.  It’s painted that way so that you can easily see the intensity of colours and the warmth and coolness of what you are painting.  After a while though it can get very boring to paint.  For this subject matter it was perfect.  The intense orange and warmth was very clear to see.  The plate that they sat on was a little more complicated as it was a real mixture of warm and cold. Getting these right is really essential for creating the three dimensional feel of it.  From this bowl you can see that the clementines were lit with a warm light from the left, but that there was a cool light (daylight) creeping in from the left.  This is where the coolness of the grey background really helps you to distinguish this .

I’m very pleased to say that many of my pieces of work will be in Homes Garden (UK) January 2018 issue which will be out on the 30th November so please do keep an eye out for them leaning up in one the houses.

All my paintings are for sale.  You can find them at AlicesArtHouse on


This week has been a little difficult as Kea has been really unwell with a stomach bug.  He has been off school all week poor thing feeling rotten.  Luckily in-between looking after him I have had a chance to carrying on painting while he has watched films or slept.

I’ve been concentrating on a portrait I said I would do for someone.  She is called Ruby.  I had to do this portrait from a photo as I don’t actually know Ruby.  I was given a selection of photos to do it from and the one I chose was this one.

Ruby web

I double checked with her mother if there were any of the photos she didn’t like so much or one that she preferred and she assured me that she liked all of them.  I chose this particular pose because I felt out of all the photos this was where she looked the most natural.  I got on with the job.

I finished most of it and decided to send a photo of what I had done so far to Ruby’s mother and sadly I got a response asking if I could paint the arm out.  Sadly it isn’t quite as easy as ‘paint the arm out’ as this would totally change the lighting and shadows etc and it would mean making up half of her face which is never easy to do.  I can understand what she means as I know she would like a clean portrait of her daughter, but then on the other hand I rather like the arm, giving it a much more relaxed feel.  It is more unusual to have a portrait like this but I think it gives it something different, a contemporary felt .  What do you think about it?

I can’t paint out the arm and will give her the painting tonight.  I hear that Ruby likes it with the arm, I just hope her mother won’t be too disappointed.

Suffolk Landscapes

Suffolk gravestones webIt has been such beautiful weather here in the UK for the last week or two. My mother really kindly invited me for a couple of days away in Suffolk where we could get on with some painting.  I haven’t really been able to use my new art box much yet as its been a busy summer with cousins.  With my son away we had plenty of time to paint.  It was the first time I had ever painted plein air so the whole experience was pretty scary to begin with.  There was a lovely graveyard nearby which we painted first.  The light was lovely on the gravestones creating lovely shadows.

suffolk landscape web

The second day was spent painting a typical view of the fields in Suffolk with wonderful grass in the foreground, stubble fields with bales and lovely trees and hedges.  I decided to use really small canvasses as I really like small paintings at the moment.  They are easy to place on bookshelves and great to put together as a montage on a wall.  I had never painted this small before and wanted to give it a go.  I was quite pleased with the result in the end.  I’m feeling thoroughly inspired now by the countryside and every time I get in the car I’m finding great locations.  If only I had more time.  The art box was a brilliant buy too.  I’m thrilled with it.

The Lady in Blue


lady portrait web

For the last couple of weeks I have been painting a portrait of this women in blue.  I thought that it might be a fun thing to show how the process works.  It’s often fun to take photos along the way so you can see the all the mistakes you have made and the progression – hopefully!

It’s important to put a wash on your canvas/board first to knock the white away as it can be distracting.  Then take your time to draw your portrait in a dark colour making sure you double check your proportions.  Then find the shadow shapes and draw them and fill them in thinly.  To get the likeness of someone concentrate on the 5 essential darks which are under the eyebrows, eyes, under the nose, top lip and under the bottom lip. Now add skin tone.  Start painting in the colour that features the most which would be the middle tone.  At this point avoid the shadow shapes as you have already blocked those in.  As you go along its alway good to tweak the lines and shapes making sure that all the way along the process you are getting proportions right.  Start to add in the highlights and make sure you leave all the details to the last sitting.

Good Luck!