Belated wishes

Well, this has certainly been a strange year. Life goes on,  but in a rather surreal way. Are we getting used to going around in masks? Personally, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it—not to be able to see people’s expression is just weird. Are we getting to the end of this? It doesn’t look like it at the moment. Are we learning to live with it? In a way, we are. And we must.


But it’s not just the pandemic. Wars are either going on or are threatening to start in many places. Catastrophes brought on by climate change are causing untold damage and unprecedented population movements. Humanitarian crises are happening all around us, and governments are becoming increasingly tough in their handling of them.

 

Canada geese. Part of a six-panel work on paper.

But this is still a beautiful world, and this year I’ve witnessed many wonderful acts of kindness. All things considered, I felt very thankful to be able to spend the holidays with my family around me. There was a lot of cooking, art workshops, board games and beach walks. And the inevitable screen time, obviously.

 

Family workshop output

When I looked through this year’s work, I realised I’ve drawn a lot of birds lately. Birds=flight? But they are mostly birds of prey. I wonder what that means.

 

Wolf series. Ink on Nepalese paper
Travellers series. Pencil and collage on khadi paper

To conclude, let me wish everyone a very Happy New Year, and may all your troubles last only as long as your New Year resolutions!

 

Rhodesian ridgeback portrait. Oil on linen

A collection of pet portraits

Readers who are interested in my art know that I love to draw and paint animals and birds (see my post on Equine Art). Some of these are depicted in their natural setting, some are more funky or fanciful, such as my collection of hares on sofas.

 

One aspect of this animal art which I find fascinating is making portraits of animals I know personally, a practice I started as a child by obsessively drawing the family dogs (mostly when they were asleep!) One such portrait which I still have is the one below, of the family labrador, Brett, which I must have done aged about fourteen or fifteen.

 

The most interesting side of this is to observe the animal and try to give a hint of his or her character. I am of course aided by photographs, especially if I get a commission to paint an animal I have not met (however, usually I’ve heard a lot about them from the owners!)

So, without further ado, meet:

Eden, a feisty little Jack Russell

 

Valerie, a Weimaraner who likes to strike mournful poses, although she’s full of pep

 

 

Balou, a faithful Golden retriever.

 

 

A bunch of Norfolk terriers, hairy balls I cannot tell appart, in life or in photos. Here are the parents:

 

 

 

And the offspring

 

 

Java, another ball of fluff, chilling.

 

 

And a couple of cats. Goldie, striking a pose,

 


And Meli, peeping out of her bed.

 

 

Also a horse, Rubia, done in biro

 

And finally my own dog, Frankie. Dachshunds are difficult to draw, because you either have to lie down on the floor to get a good angle,

 

 

Or draw them from above!

 

 

 

Still easier than people portraits, though…