I’m a very lucky to have a wonderful friend who made me some watercolour paint from the rocks close to her home. She named it Branscombe Brown for the Branscombe Mudstone Formation which was the source of the pigment.
This one was my first attempt. It’s a Ginkgo biloba leaf. The colour of the paint is reminiscent of the autumnal colour of the leaf.
This painting is an imaginary ammonite, bobbing about in a Triassic sea whilst the sediments that were to become my paint settled on the lake beds of a distant land.
Lock down has been a very mixed time for me. Ive appreciated working from home very much as its given me more time (my commute to the office is much shorter at the moment!), which Ive really appreciated.
Botanic art is an obsession of mine and these two images are my attempts at this discipline. Both are of flowers from my garden The forget-me-nots were flowering early in lock down and our boarders with filled with them, so cheerful in the sunshine that we had then. I was sorry that I started them as they are really fiddly to do, especially as they are painted at about life size – that will teach me! They are painted with Winsor & Newton watercolours on Stonehenge Aqua Hotpress watercolour paper.
This second painting I did a little later and is of Bluebells, also from my garden. This picture is also mainly watercolour but I have chosen to use graphite for some of the flowers. No reason really except that I thought it would make an interesting picture and, lets face it, I wanted to play with a recently acquired set of pencils!
I draw and paint as much as I can, often views while on holidays, sketches of hills, beaches and even caves, all of which have been out of reach for a while now. I guess you may understand this if you have absorbing hobbies but I feel that painting is an important part of looking after my mental health. The really detailed illustration work that I do needs hours and days of absolute concentration to avoid mistakes, there’s no room in my head for distraction by the stresses of the world while I do this. For me settling down to paint with some beautiful music in the background is heaven and at the moment, its a distraction from COVID-19.
Over the Christmas break, I have been doing some sorting and came across a really old sketch book. Sketch books and notebooks always bring back lovely memories. I’m looking forward to filling more pages this year. Happy new year!
In recent years I have developed a fascination for botanic art and the many very talented exponents of this technique. I have learned lots from day classes and books and spent many “happy” hours absorbed in trying to capture the details of leaves and flowers. I’m a total addict, although I confess, I more often use what I have learned in my fossil reconstructions than painting flowers!
Bluebells from our garden (water colour)
Merry Christmas! (water colour)
Hoop petticoat daffodils (water colour) Call me biased but I do love a daffodil! I bought this particular plant from the local garden centre and settled down to paint it on St Davids Day a couple of years ago. The flower on the right was a bud (here in the centre of picture) at the beginning of the day and open by the end (second flower from the left) … and wide open by the morning after (far right)!
Cheeky chappy from Singapore (water colour) Ive been working in southeast Asia in the last few years and have enjoyed watching mynah bird antics, snatching crumbs. This fellow is based on sketches, backed up with information from photographs.
Squirrel! (Chinese ink) This squirrel was keeping its eye on me from a tree in the botanic gardens in Singapore. Trips to southeast Asia have inspired be to play with Chinese ink and this was my first try.
Pen and illustrations for a wildlife walks book, published by the Cardiff Naturalists Society Wood anemone, Hellebore, Herald Moth, Pied Flycatcher, Golden Caddis and Beach, just a few of the many illustrations produced for a walks book for Cardiff.
I have been lucky enough to go caving with some lovely people and have visited many amazing caves around the world. Whilst caves are often a challenging place for making art, taking some time to sit quietly and sketch rewards by revealing grandeur and exquisite detail, in equal measure.
Lost my marbles (water colour) A cave pearl is a small, usually spherical, speleothem found in limestone caves. The pearls are formed by a precipitation of calcium salts that form concentric layers around a nucleus. These examples are starting to erode, exposing their layers
Swamp Creek (water colour) These curtains and straws are speleothems found in “Swamp Creek”, in a cave called Ogof Fynnon Ddu in South Wales.
Coventosa (chalk and pastel) These impressive stalagmites and flowstones are in a beautiful cave called Coventosa in Matienzo in Northern Spain. I visited this cave with the International Society of Spelaeological Artists.
Norman, Rana Hole (pen and ink) This little picture is inspired by a trip to Rana Hole in the Assynt area of Scotland. At this time, this cave was being dug out by cavers in the hope of discovering more passage. In 2008 after 12 years of excavation, Rana Hole was connected into the Claonaite system.
Cave Life (water colour) Caver, Lesser Horseshoe Bat and a Herald Moth
The Bridge (water colour and gouache) This little painting was one of my first cave paintings and is inspired by a cave called Bridge Cave in South Wales, which has a rock balanced in rift.
These images of Carboniferous plants were used as part of a pamphlet which I wrote for the South Wales Geologists’ Association. These were used at events to help children understand fossils that they find at out-reach events organised by the group
Sphenopteris, Pteridophyte, Lepidodendron and Calamites (water colour)
Overviews of the pamphlet
A selection of pen and ink and graphite images created for books. The first are examples of Devonian aged jawless fish, next are reconstructions of belemnites and last are a couple of ammonites and crinoids attached to a log, floating in a Jurassic sea.
Ive been very lucky to have had the chance to travel as part of my work. Recently, this has included Singapore where I studied igneous rocks. An island between Singapore and Pulau Ubin – Pulau Sekudu made quite an impression on me with its pinkish granites and amazing shapes, sculpted by the tropical climate.
Singapore Rocks Pulau Sekudu (water colour), Pulau Sekudu (Chinese ink), Little Guilin Quarry (water colour)
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Sketchbook pages of local landmarks Cardiff Castle. Usk Bridge, Castell Coch and The Mayfield, Usk