9 Jun 2013

A WINTER'S TALE - the story of another hare

PASTEL 18" x 12"

A WINTER'S TALE - my old friend, the hare with the split ear and white fringe, came through the gap in the hedge and paused for just a moment....

He was well camouflaged as he pushed between the hawthorn bushes and out of the mist, but still a very recognizable hare and I was so pleased to see him again.  

The white fringe-like marking on his pointy face was the first thing that had struck me, I subdued it a little in the painting so that it wasn't too much of a focal point.  I've just shown the tip of his split left ear, which actually runs a quarter of the way down his ear, he's really been in the wars, but survived very well.  He's just getting his thicker winter coat.  

There are a lot of hares in the fields close to my studio but I'll know this one if I ever get to see him again, and I hope I do

After painting four hares over the winter I was going to move on to something else, but I still had this image in my mind so decided to paint just one more hare, which became two more hares!  Now I must move on - but there's this image in my mind of a hare.........

26 Apr 2013


He couldn't hear me for the sound of the wind and  then he ran off before he saw me...but I saw him!

This one ran past so fast he didn't see me either!

They had a lovely big grass field and ran all the way round it.

8 Mar 2013


It's evening and I'm waiting for mum
Watching the sunset   -  Early morning on the hare path
Resting in the afternoon sunshine

I've added four hares to my card shop
just click on the CARD SHOP tab above to view the full range

These images are taken from the new pastel paintings I've been working on over the winter, a result of many enjoyable hours watching and photographing the hares in the field next to my studio.

Mother hare only visits her leverets once a day for their feed at dusk, using a route that will confuse her scent trail to protect her young from predators.  The leveret relies on the camouflage of the vegetation and keeping perfectly still with it's little black tipped ears down, how does it know?  Was there ever anything so cute.  I've never seen one with it's mum but I'll keep watching.

Hares can be very active in the evening.  They will sit and watch me watching them and so long as I don't get too close they don't necessarily  run away.  I watched this one for about twenty minutes late one evening, eventually it forgot I was there and got on with grooming - a subject for another painting.

Hares are lovely to watch in the early morning.  This one is running along a well trodden hare path but just paused to see who's about before darting off again, out of sight.  They're lovely to watch in the morning light, they can seem so busy.  Often they'll be eating, probably still eating from the night.  Sometimes they can be wet through with dew but this one has nearly dried out.

Hares love to spend the afternoon laying in a sunny spot digesting the food they ate the night before.   This hare was fast asleep with his eyes shut when I first saw him.  It was very warm and windy and I was able to walk towards him very slowly, stopping every couple of steps to take a photo.  I got closer and there was a noise from across the river, his ears went up but then down again.  Then his eyes half opened and I could see the top of his hind legs go up.  His eyes opened and he was off like an arrow.

I don't know what I'm working on next.  I have lots of ideas that I want to start, some older projects that I want to complete, techniques I haven't used for a long time, but it's very hard to pull myself away from the hares!

16 Feb 2013


I have been adding more cards to my card shop page.  Some of the images have a story to tell...

I drew this a while ago, it was a commission for a lovely lady in Germany called Brigitta Lizinski who asked for an edition of 50 exlibris prints of the theme of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray.

I'll write about exlibris in another post but, briefly, an exlibris is a label of ownership pasted inside the front cover of a book.  This was something that started centuries ago when books were highly valued and was usually in the form of the owners coat of arms.  In later centuries the images became more pictorial and by the late nineteenth and early twentieth century they became a collectable thing in their own right.  A collector commissions artists to produce editions of prints, and whilst these are still sometimes pasted into books, there main function is to be exchanged with other collectors, thereby amassing a collection of miniature artwork.  Exchange meetings are held around the world and exchanging is fast and furious with some collectors owning many thousands of prints.

Back to Dorian Gray, Brigitta is a collector of exlibris with a literary theme and she has a love of Oscar Wilde.  I had to re-read the book to decide on the image I would use but it had to be the final scene, Gray, about to destroy what he had indeed become, thinking it would free him and wipe out the evil life he had led.

This drawing was for another exlibris for Brigitta.  I'd always intended drawing Merlin.  For many years I had loved the work of Alan Lee (long before his Lord of the Rings fame) and expecially his various depictions of Merlin.  I was very excited by this commission but disappointed that she wanted the scene to be at the end of his story when he becomes imprisoned for ever in a stone tomb.  I almost turned the commission down but I read several versions and realised that it could be seen as a true love story.  Although Merlin loved Nimue he would leave her alone for long periods, fed up with this she persuaded him to teach her his magic and then used it against him.  Merlin was so in love with Nimue that, knowing his fate, he followed her.  As he slept she circled him nine times with her wimple thus enchanting him to stay forever in that place where she would visit him often, and she did.  Some said he was imprisoned in a tree, others in a tower, I chose to show it as a place of his own making.

13 Feb 2013



When I was a child in Doncaster I hadn't seen snow, though there was a grey sludge that never lasted long.  When my parents visited Pickering to view the farm they intended buying they returned with a flask of white snow - it was April.  Our first winter at the farm we couldn't get to school for a week because of the snow drifts.  We didn't have a sledge but we had something much better, an enormous metal tea tray!

10 Feb 2013


Pencil 2.5" x 2.5"

I drew this last year, my very favourite flower.  I don’t think the snowdrops at my studio will be this far open for quite a while, but they are trying – sharp white spikes at the end of green shoots.   There are some little double ones fully out and I love them but they don’t have the slender elegance of the three petal ones.

I was accused of making invisible pencil lines.  I’d been doing some very delicate work using mainly 2H and 4H pencils.  Well I could see the lines but I thought it would be an interesting exercise to try something more graphic with a wide tonal range.   I’d also been thinking for a while about working on a smaller scale.  

I really enjoyed drawing the snowdrop and what started as a one off experiment became a series of ten pictures.  I used hard surface papers, Snowdrop was done on 300gsm Conqueror & Owl in Flight, which I put on and earlier post, is on Fabriano, pencils were 4H to 3B

I'm working on a fairly large scale at the moment but I'm planning some more small pictures, I have all sorts of images floating in and out of my mind, maybe in colour.

7 Feb 2013


I've added more cards to the CARD SHOP page.
There's lots more to add yet, about 40!

Must go to Birdgate Chocolatiers and check if they need any more, not exactly a chore.