In the bleak Midwinter


Hello everyone, I hope you are all safe and well and coping in these difficult times. I have been grateful to have had lots of projects to occupy my mind and have found great solace in creativity. The news about the dreaded Covid 19 virus continues to go from bad to worse so it has been good to have easy access to some beautiful places to walk our dog and to observe nature. 

Towards the end of last year I tried out digital printing onto silk. The results were encouraging and I hope to have more available soon.

This Amaryllis waited until New Years day to flower. I am taking that as a good omen!

I think this is possibly the most miniature of miniature paintings I have completed to date, the image measures just over one inch across and one and a quarter inches high. The hand made frame is ebony and the painting is displayed under bevelled glass. I really didn't want to part with it but it is now with my gallery Books Illustrated at Art of the Imagination.



Autumn days

Strange times continue to challenge us all, however at least I have been able to find solace in nature and quiet hours sitting at my desk. Fortunately walking is still an option and we have enjoyed some splendid excursions. The photograph below shows the landscape around my home close to the Cheshire-Staffordshire border in NW England. I enjoyed working on this gilded painting of a Screech owl with Tiger moths. Earlier this year we visited an owl sanctuary in North Wales and I was able to observe this owl at close quarters. 

This is the time of year we would normally be travelling down to London to visit the annual exhibition of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers, to meet up with friends and to experience all that is lovely and magical about Christmas in London. All these things and more have been cancelled, I expect you also have a long list of cancellations. It is possible to visit their exhibition of previously exhibited work here 

Earlier in the year I enrolled on a hand throwing ceramics class with master potter Jon French. I managed to throw and complete several wobbly and imperfect pots before this too was cancelled due to our newly enforced tier restrictions. It was so disappointing as the whole class had made progress and were getting into the swing of things, so fingers crossed we will be allowed to continue our studies in the new year. I tried my hand at decorating with various glazes and techniques including sgraffito.

Fortunately I have been able to sell some of my original paintings through Art of the Imagination who have an online gallery. Nearly all of their planned exhibitions and events have been cancelled, indeed it feels like everyone is living in some sort of suspended animation. They have some pieces for sale online including this badger miniature. Although we have wild badgers living near our home they are very elusive and are now being ruthlessly culled, so I was very grateful to the photographer Steven Owen @steadyowen for allowing me to use one of his photographs as reference. 

I do hope you stay safe and keep busy and hope this wretched virus clears off once and for all before too long. 


Strange Times

Over the last months I have been concentrating on decorative illumination inspired by Medieval manuscripts. For inspiration I have turned to my collection of books and exhibition catalogs that I have acquired over the years, after visiting museums, libraries and charity shops! During this pandemic it has not been possible to continue attending workshops or other events I would have enjoyed in more normal times and apart from dog walking, shopping and gardening there has been little to distract me from sitting at my desk and practicing.

I created this miniature using two gilding techniques, raised and flat gilding.
For the flat gilding I used miniatum and transfer gold leaf. The raised gilding was a new venture for me, for this I used Instacoll which I found much easier than gesso.

We are now being asked to wear a face mask when social distancing isn't possible. I have been having fun creating some designs using my artwork, these are now available to purchase in my Redbubble shop.
So far the owls have been the most popular! 


Home schooling

With so many parents now finding themselves at home with children I thought that some of you might like these sheets to print and colour? I am uploading at a high resolution in the hope that you might be able to print them onto A4 paper? I created them to give to schools and bookshops to accompany my book "White is the Moon". Stay safe everyone X


O is for Owl.

January and February are always something of a struggle for me; my energy and enthusiasm levels are low and hibernation seems like a pleasant notion. At last the days are getting longer and despite the cold and rain there are welcome signs of spring. We travelled down south through the Avon valley region and saw some rather alarming floods. Bradford-on-Avon was open as usual but the river was dangerously high. It was so lovely to see primroses growing in the ancient churchyard.

We had a trip to Llandudno in North Wales and visited The Owls Trust, primarily to see a White -faced Scops Owl in order to complete a commission. Despite the howling wind and cold I managed to photograph many of the owls and had a guided tour by a knowledgeable and friendly guide. The miniature painting was duly completed and delivered.

The Illuminated letter O shows another bird I met at the sanctuary; this time an Ashy Faced Barn Owl which is now endangered. The lettering style and decoration were inspired by historical illuminated letters, in particular those depicted in Owen Jones's Grammar Of Ornament. The border has been gilded in gold leaf, the rest is water-colour on hot press paper. It measures three inches square, and yes, I do need specs and a magnifying glass!


So this is Christmas...

As always, December arrives and as usual I am unprepared for the Christmas festivities. I tell myself there is plenty of time and then find myself running around like a headless turkey! Decorating the house was something of a challenge this year due to our new four legged friend and a squeaky toy has been bought, wrapped and hidden.

Most of this years artworks have been executed in watercolour but I have enjoyed returning to print making. The “Stellar Hare” relief print above has been proofed and this one is having some festive gold paint applied by hand. I printed a small edition and have sold several through my Etsy shop Acornmoon which is now closed until the New Year in order to give me time to enjoy friends and family gatherings.

At the end of November and into December I took part in the annual exhibition of The Royal Miniature Society at the Mall galleries in London. As a full member I was allowed to exhibit not only miniature but also some larger works. It was a very enjoyable event and a good time to meet up with friends and family visiting London.

I decided to use some of the images from my miniature paintings to produce a small collection of ceramic brooches and pendants, also available via my Etsy shop.

Welsh Border Life Magasine very kindly featured my artwork in their December edition.

Our granddaughter delighted us all by producing this very charming and detailed drawing of the nativity. She worked entirely unaided and I think it remarkable for a five year old to show such a great sense of design, not that I am in any way biased ;-)

I would like to thank all the people who have followed and supported my work throughout the year and I wish you all a Happy and Joyous Christmas.


Autumn News

Our big news is we have a puppy; he is a small but very lively Jack Russell of sorts. I say “of sorts” because he is very different to our dear departed Ted. He is black and tan with white paws and a bent tail and we love him, he has brought much joy into our lives. We have christened him Stanley. As soon as we were able we took him on a trip to The Lake District where we enjoyed a brief interlude of sunshine between the showers. He proved to be an enthusiastic walker and found many admirers in the dog walking community. I had forgotten how many people stop and talk if you have a dog!

We visited Buttermere, possibly one of the most beautiful lakes in Cumbria. The colours in the landscape were beginning to change and added a sense of warmth to the reflections in the water. I loved the woodland walks and found inspiration in the tiny ferns and mosses growing in the crevices in walls and trees. We spotted several moths and butterflies, berries and fungi, some of which made their way into my new painting “Moths and Moonshine”.

This year I will be submitting a couple of larger paintings into this years R.M.S, exhibition. You can see details of this over on my website. “Moths and Moonshine” is one of these larger works; it is watercolour with gold leaf inspired by our recent trip. The barn owl was one I met earlier; he was so tame I was able to take lots of photographs of him for reference.

Some of you may have noticed that I have reluctantly removed the comments section form my blog. I do genuinely miss the interaction with my blog friends but have found that I spend more time on other platforms like Instagram and my neglected blog was attracting too many spam posts. I do hope a few of you still find this space interesting enough to visit despite recent changes.