Still Life and wolf eyes pastels..

I have had a go at something totally different this month, i started out with more of my animal faces (see below) but on delving through my heap of pencil tutorials i have done in the past i came across this particular pattern i did in coloured pencils, its a pattern from the very talented  artist Marian Jackson MDA, if you get the chance just pop over to her site , she has wonderful patterns there of all sorts of interesting stuff.

I really like to paint  a bit of still life, and these patterns are wonderful if you cant or dont draw well as all you have to do is copy the pattern onto your chosen paper and simply follow her written instructions or if you feel like doing your own colours, go for it.pestalpastel

This is the last of the animal eyes for a while as i am trying to broaden my level of interest into my pastel art, i do love the challenge though of trying to make the animals looks almost believable, i have had a few comments saying the fur looks like you can stroke it, that for me is a massive boon. I will be returning to these type of paintings in the near future.wolfeyes

New Bed, more snow, and potatoes..

If its not a nerve agent the east  is dumping on us, its bad weather. Here we go again with a mini beast from the east this time, although it has plonked the same amount of snow as its bigger brother , but it doesn’t  feel quite as cold methinks.

pots planted
Annie and the salad potatoes

Had another few hours at the plot the other day, we managed to get salad potatoes potted up, tomatoes, peppers and a few chilli seeds potted.  We had bought several different types of flower bulbs from our local garden centre, Dahlia’s, Lillies as annie loves her plants and wants to keep them for the garden at home  and the plot,   we potted them up to start them off but we will move them to their final position after they have started to sprout .

The red cabbage and kale we planted before christmas purely as an experiment  seem to be growing well, i will leave them to continue for now but as they grow quite large i will be pulling them out as soon as we have something to take their place.

I had a few beans left over in their root trainers , i planted them up using the Canna Bio Plus, on opening the trainers  the beautiful roots were revealed, looking very healthy and full of growing ability.

great roots

To make sure we have enough room to replant all the seeds we have planted we have built another bed, its not filled with compost yet as we dont want it to stand there wasting away , we will fill it up later when we need it. Managed to plant a few rows of seedlings directly into one the beds, hopefully they will be ok as they are now covered in 6inch of snow.

Bed 5 being built

Cougar eyes and Lemur Pastels..

As i am really enjoying my pastel pencils i have decided to try and carry on doing a piece of work every week in order to keep up my practise.

Currently using Carbothello and Pitt pastel pencils along with Conte sticks on Pastelmat paper, the amount of detail you can achieve is amazing, i struggle with loose work and end up throwing most of it away as i cannot seem to produce anything i am happy with, or worth keeping.

This time i have used a picture from the ‘Paint my Photo’ site to put together the Cougar eyes pastel, it was a photo of a full head but i only used the eye section as i have a bit of an eye theme going at present, after all they are the window on life anywaycougareyes

I spent quite a bit of time with this Lemur although it isn’t as big as the first time I drew it and went completely wrong. I had finished the eyes and the nose area and had started on the fur, doing random strokes of hair doesn’t usually come as a problem to me, but at A4 size I started to struggle with it, it just looked like a bad hair day at the salon, so unfortunately I gave up on it and started onto something else, well this one is just about A5 in size and more manageable so it came together better. I must admit, i will be trying other subjects later on, but for now i am more than happy with the wild animals.

lemur in pastel


Spring weather and sowing seeds..

Who would believe that only last week we were 6 inch in snow with a Siberian wind blowing and things looking bleak, well not today, the sun is shining  and warm and its feeling like spring is in the air, how long it stays like this only time will tell but it will do for now..

With it being a lovely day we decided to visit the plot and get more seeds set in the tunnel while we have time on our side, but what to set was the next query. Having arrived at the plot we checked on the outside beds which were fine and no damage after the snow, so we turned our attention to inside the tunnel.

Annie watering the strawberries

On inspection of the tunnel,  making sure that all was in good order, it seems we came through this cold snap unscathed, although the plants were in need of a drink as the compost  had dried out. The seeds set a few weeks ago are starting to pop up and we have starting to feed them with our BIO Canna   organic liquid food to give them a boost from roots to leaves.

Organic Food for the young plants..

We started off with flower seeds that we need to make the garden and the plot look attractive and help bring in beneficial insects to assist with the bugs later in the year, so through the month by month  neatly arranged packets of seeds courtesy of Annie’s need for order (bless her) we had quite a choice.

Sorted out and sown Poppy seeds, Nemophillia, Cornflower, and last was the Gypsophillya, lovely combination of plants, we will also be planting up lots of perrenial plants too, as well as more bedding types.

Potting up the flower seeds

Next we shifted to more food items that are ok to sow now, Tomatoes, Peppers, lettuce, celery, leeks and peas. Using the Bio Terra Plus compost, which is quite a fluffy mix and very open, we get a good germination rate as the compost doesn’t clog when wet, but yes it can dry out quite quickly which i am taking as a positive, as the plants will live longer in dry compost as opposed to wet cloggy stuff.

Nice open compost..

As a final note, the Sweetpeas, Beetroot and Rhubarb are doing very well, i so love it when the seeds become plants and we breath new life back into the soil, bring on the good weather..

Felley Prior, Art and The Beast.

Well i woke up this morning expecting 6 inch of snow, howling blizzards and intermittant electricity according to the way the weather forecast had been delivered, and what greets me as i throw open the curtains and look  outside, a frost…

It must sound like i am dissapointed, i’m not, i am rather pleased it hasn’t arrived (as yet) anyway, although as i type this it has started to snow outside but i dont think it will amount to

So what is happening in my space at the moment, not a lot on the plot as i dont want to get ahead of myself and end up trying to catch up as everything needs replanting at the same time. I am currently still only working 2 days a week at present but it will return to 5 days shortly as the season progresses and we get busier, but it allows me to keep practising my art work, which is pastels at present as its too cold to stand oil painting in my cabin outside. I managed to complete this lynx picture recently, and i have started a lion already.


Felley Prior..

Last week a local tea room and small garden re opened after upgrading their kitchen facilities which caused them to close coming up to the christmas period, and Annie and i couldn’t visit for our festive treat, so we visited last week.


This is a fantastic place to eat, one of those places that remembers how to treat a customer in service and manners, and the quality of food is amazing.





Leopards eyes study, Pastel on Pastelmat..

Managed to finally get enough time to finish off my leopards eyes today. This was painted using Carbothello pastel pencils on Clairefontain Pastelmat paper and altogether took me about 15 hours to complete.

I intend to do a few more of this type of picture as I find it fascinating the amount of colours and layers used to get the desired result. The building up of thick fur texture requires several layers of different colours applied on top of one another, and using these pencils in combination with this type of sanded paper allows you to put light on top of  dark and doesn’t build up loose dust either.


This study is about 12 inch long by 6 inch wide and looks even better in the flesh, it is really vibrant and i may even have a small frame put on it.

Here’s to the next one….

Flowers, Herbs and Produce..

As we were both off this tuesday we decided to give the local Garden Centre a visit, i did work there for 11 years as the plant area manager and loved it, but moved on to other things.

We really needed a few blackberry plants to add to our collection of fruit bushes, we  had seen them in there a few weeks ago marked up  at £6.99 for a 3 litre plant, while this is  a  fairly decent price we decided to wait until we were ready for them. The Garden centre was having a Sale today, and as we were passing we decided to call and check them out, all fruit bushes on sale at just £2.99 each, massive bargain, so we helped ourselves to 3 of them, raspberries, goosberries and assorted currants too, and to top it off, a Conference Pear tree at just £7.99 in a 10ltr pot, standing at 6ft tall.seedsowing

The main objective today was to get on with a some seed sowing, having  neglected the plot for a couple of weeks while getting over the christmas flu, and although it was a -4 frost overnight and white over we went to the plot determined to do something today.  We set about sowing trays of , tomatoe, peppers, assorted herbs, borage, beetroot and Annie wants a wild flower meadow of sorts to help the bees. lavenders

We have some old spent compost from another chap that had the plot before we did, so we decided to re- use the compost he had left to pot up some lavenders and we have planted up a really large trough for the wildflowers (not the one in this picture).

The rhubarb plant we have is growing away at present, we put a large pot over the top of it a couple of weeks ago and now its looking almost ready for a crumble..rhubarb

We ended up giving everything a good water and plants that were starting to grow we fed them with the BioCanna Vega Organic food, especially the hanging strawberries as they were looking dry and in need of refreshment..

All in all we had a great day, lots of production to be going on with, i must get the tap fixed though, not much fun when the hosepipe shoots off on a cold day and wets you through, good job it was one of the last jobs for day..