Well what a year this has been – most of us will be glad to see the back of it and are hoping for a much improved 2021, but one of the more uplifting events in 2020 was a scheme created by artist Tom Croft to thank our NHS Heroes dealing with the Coronavirus Pandemic by gifting a portrait to them. Tom invited artists to offer free portraits of NHS workers which took off in an amazing way and by November a book of some of the portraits was published by Bloomsbury Publishing (link is below). The royalties from the sale of each book go directly to the NHS.
I was very lucky to be included in this important and poignant record of what has been an extraordinary year and my portrait of Megan Cavanagh, a young nurse from Liverpool, sits proudly on page 159.
Meg and all the other NHS key workers fully deserve their Heroes status – we are indebted to them.
With Christmas just around the corner, there is still time to order the Portraits For NHS Heroes book. The portraits and accompanying stories are such an interesting and emotional read. A perfect gift this year.
Following on from my delight at having a painting selected for last year’s Paisley Art Institute’s annual exhibition which consequently sold, I am absolutely chuffed to bits to let you know that I have been selected for this year’s PAI exhibition too.
‘Pug Dug’, acrylic on canvas panel, will be taking part and I couldn’t be prouder!
Exhibition runs from 7 September – 20 October 2019 at the Piazza, Central Way, Paisley, PA1 1EL, Scotland.
I think we all need a bit of cheering up now and again in this mad, mixed up world of ours and how better to thank our four (and two) legged friends who always bring a smile and provide unconditional love, than with a day to celebrate them.
This oil painting is a more ‘formal’ version of an earlier study of one of Edinburgh Zoo’s chimps called Louis who lives amongst the group in the Budongo Trail at the zoo. I added the wooden platform Louis was perusing the world from and a sky blue background to give a bit of interest, but hopefully the viewer is taken in by the gaze of this wonderful primate. What’s he thinking?
Back in May, I blogged about having a painting accepted for the Paisley Art Institute’s Annual Exhibition in Glasgow, well I’m very happy to let you know that my little ‘Siamese’ painting actually sold. This is the first time I have entered a major exhibition and was knocked out to have a painting accepted, but the icing on the cake was when I visited the show with a friend, only to find a small red dot on my label! Yay!
The gallery was extremely quiet and echo-ey so my friend and I had to do silent ‘whooping’ and slow motion jumping up and down so as not to disturb any of the viewing public!!
This Unison pastel painting on Pastelmat is of my studio assistant, looking pensive. I like slightly unusual poses of animals to work on – candid shots can produce interesting portraits.
Pastelmat paper by Clarefontaine is a slightly unusual surface to use, almost like a very, very fine sandpaper so that the ‘tooth’ of the paper texture holds the chalkiness of pastels. I found it a tricky paper to use to start with but the more I use it the easier it gets and the end result makes for a smooth pastel painting, great for details.
These two beauts, Kiku and Kura, are owned by friends who live in Australia. They both have faces full of character and expression and I couldn’t resist trying to capture them. They are done with soft pastels (Unison) on Pastelmat paper which has a good ‘tooth’ for holding pastel. Fortunately, the drawings/paintings survived their global journey from the UK to the other side of the planet and arrived unscathed within a fortnight. Amazing! Well done postal service.
This cat is not exactly my niece’s cat but she spotted it in the garden of her London flat and sent me the pic. Bengals are a fabulous breed, quite exotic and regal looking. They also make great subjects to paint, all those markings!