Ahhhh A Great Crested Grebe, preening itself in Colebrook lake south, Moor Green Lakes. Much adapted from the photo I took.
Speaks for itself. Wheee! was selected as a finalist for the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition; 1st Sept to 2nd Oct.
All prints now claimed! You can still enter prize draw until about 15th Dec 2022.
I donated 5 of my signed, limited editionA3 prints to RSPB. They were offered as part of a bundle i.e. get 50 entries into their prize draw and get your choice of one of my prints. All were claimed within 3 days of the awards ceremony, raising £500.
The above, entitled Bad Feather Day, is my second painting for the year. I only managed two, which is about par. This one came out a lot better than expected, and is by far our favourite. Shame it didn't get selected for David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year, but you know what, at least Wheeee! did enchant the judges. Can't complain at all.
After a long, long, long hiatus, I'm finally back to painting. Above is my latest, which I actually started 16 months ago!
I seemed to have got caught up in a load of unintended projects. A pretty major one, which occupied me from about May through October 2021, was improving the insulation of our house. This had nothing to do with those Insulate Britain idiots - I had been meaning to do it for some time.
It all started when I finally tackled our garage door. The vinyl coating (I thought it was paint, but it turned out to be a thin vinyl coat) was peeling and coming off in places. Thus I set about painting the beast - after spending two days stripping it.
I moved onto weather stripping the garage door. The thing had 8mm to 12mm gaps all round - permitting wind to howl into the garage. One gap, round the opening mechanism, was some 100mmx80mm. While another 12mmx2.4m gap consisted of some mastic that was peeling off.
Gaps were sealed with bits of wood, brush weather stripping, while the door itself was insulated with reflective insulation protected by a layer of 3ply cardboard.
The difference was, and has been, dramatic. The garage was cooler in summer - hot air wasn't being blown in, while the insulated door didn't allow much heat through. Conversely, the garage has been warmer during the winter - partly has we now no longer have a howling gale blowing through the thing.
Then I decided to top up our loft insulation. I had always assumed that we had 100mm of the stuff - backed up by our EPC report. When I started laying the topping, I discovered the builders (bless their cotton socks and may their souls rot in hell) had left the insulation wrappings in the roof, under the insulation. The wrapping was crumpled up such that it lifted any insulation clear of joists, thus negating any insulation properties.
Oh, the wrapping informed me we had 150mm of insulation. Thus, the EPC report was not worth the money, seeing as it had the wrong depth of insulation.
I also discovered that the original builders had not laid the insulation down properly, particularly over the bay windows. Large areas did not have any insulation at all, which explained why the front bedrooms were always so cold - compared to the landing and back bedrooms. Additionally, other builders had disturbed the loft insulation (when fitting things like burglar alarm wiring) and not put it back properly. To top everything off, much of the insulation had been compacted - particularly due to part boarding.
Anyway, a couple of months of hard work I had topped up the loft insulation by 200mm, removed 70% of the boarding (we have decluttered rather a lot), and raised the remaining boarding by 210mm. Note: I did wait for Wickes to put the loft insulation on special offer, and I also did not lay the stuff during the heat wave - which meant the whole project was spread over some 4 months.
The results have been spectacular! The front bedrooms are nice and cosy, now that they have some 350mm insulation over them. The whole house cools down much slower, with the result that the boiler doesn't fire so much. The bedrooms do not have that bone reaching chill you get when there is a frost. The house is simply more comfortable, with less boiler usage.
Oh, I also fitted new super quiet extractor fans, which only come on when we switch them on. They have their own isolating switches. Makes going to the loo at night a far more pleasant experience for others who are sleeping.
Ya missed! (Buzzard Territorial Tiff) I completed this interesting composition quite quickly. About two months during lockdown. A record for me, I feel.
Anyway, there we were, in lockdown, sitting in t'garden when three buzzards appeared, quite high up, over our garden. I grabbed my camera with long lens, and clicked away. Tracking the bird was tricky, as they were at quite an altitude and milling around each other. Two of the buzzards were seeing off an interloper. The defending male, I think, would gain altitude and dive on the transgressor, attempting to hit him. The transgressor, in turn, would roll about the sky trying to defend itself by bringing its talon to face the defender. Eventually, the interloper was seen off, but by this time they were so high in the sky as to appear as tiny dots.
I managed to snap a few action shots, and composed this painting from one of them.
However, I forgot my vow not to have the subjects so small that I had tiny, weeny, iddy biddy, detail to paint. Sigh. I will learn one day.
"Ooooo hello! Who are you?" was started sometime last year, November I think. I hadn't appreciated how complex it was. Meat and gristle for me, as I like complex challenges. Anyway, I finished it on Good Friday, courtesy of lockdown. Not much else to do, except plough on with it.
I think I might have finished it by the end of May had it not been for lockdown.
As usual, a print of each will be winging its way to both the RSPB and David Shepherd organisation. Both have skeleton staff working at their respective HQs. I doubt, therefore, that they will be able to achieve much in the way of fund raising with the prints.
Mini update. I hadn't got around to packaging and posting a print of this painting to the RSPB, before they contacted me. They have requested that I hang onto it until near December of this year for inclusion in the 'Nature of Scotland' awards. I have framed a print, and it is awaiting the appointed time, and hopefully we'll be clear of covid-19 by then.
STOP PRESS! Aquadango has been short listed for the David Shepherd Organisation Wildlife artist of the year exhibition. Whittled down from over 1,200 entries the 100 or so short listed will exhibit their art at the Mall Galleries, London between 27th and 31st May; Covid-19 permitting.
January 2020 starts on a roll. I shall be exhibiting at Obsidian Art, Buckingham (near Stoke Mandeville) from 11th January through to 9th February as part of their 2020 Vision exhibition. Three works are on display and available for purchase: Aquadango, Wave Glider and Chilled. All are framed prints, A3 in size and priced at £60.
Remember 10% of sales goes to RSPB
Obsidian Art Layby Farm, Old Risborough Rd, Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury HP22 5XJ
December 2019 I received some excellent news, today. One of my prints, which I donated to the RSPB, raised £220 in a raffle at the Bexley RSPB Local Group 40th anniversary party. The winner was most pleased. That, my friend, is what this is all about.
Other of my donated prints will be raffled at the Nature of Scotland awards and the Crowthorne and Wokingham RSPB local group's 40th anniversary.
As is the way with paintings, I had to make a couple of corrections to this painting just before lockdown. Serves me right for not putting it beyond temptation and framing it during December. The looming lockdown gave me too much time on my hands to look at things, like paintings.
After an unusually long summer hiatus from painting, I girded my loins and got to it, and completed my latest painting, which I started back in April.
As usual signed, limited edition prints have been donated to RSPB and David Shepherd Wildlife foundation. Contact either if you are thinking of buying one before Xmas.
My latest: Wave Glider. A Little White Egret I managed to photograph as it flew over Colebrook lake (north). Once I get it printed, a signed, limited edition print will be donated to RSPB and David Shepherd Wildlife organisation.
I've just discovered, whilst bumbling about the internet, that my owl painting 'Silver Shadow' was runner up in the people's choice category, when I exhibited it in the 2016 Wokingham Art Society summer exhibition. I'm really chuffed at that. It means more to me than a judges award. The only thing is, no one from the society told me about this; even though I was stewarding at the time!
Blimey, how the year flies past and a new year upon us. I actually managed to finish this, my latest acrylic, just before Christmas. I waited until the new year to have it scanned.
Entitled 'Peanut Poacher', I photographed this Magpie as it took a peanut piece from my bird feeder. Many will be quite surpsed how colourful Magpies are. Normally you see a flash of black and white. Not so. They are quite iridescent, especially their tails.
A print of the original has been donated to both the RSPB and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. If you fancy bagging this print then either phone up the fund raising unit of the RSPB or the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation shop near Guildford and make them an offer, preferably for an obscenely large sum of money.
November 2018 I have made a switch to acrylics, though I may still switch back to watercolours. Acrylics add a certain vibrancy to a paint, with less chance of ruining what I have already painted. They do, however, have considerable challenges of their own. I've update my latest efforts in the 'Scenes from the Reserve' section of Fleet Hill farm and Manor Farm.
July - August 2018. Update: I heard on Monday (13th) afternoon that Chilled had been sold. A record selling time. Less than two weeks on display in the foundation's window, which doesn't get a lot of footfall.
I have donated seven of my signed limited edition giclée prints and one original to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. Their shop and offices are located in Shalford, which is a couple of miles south of Guildford, Surrey. Drop them a line or visit them if you want to purchase one to support conservation. The donated prints are: Both Evolution paintings (i.e. the Mushrooms on metal), Chilled (sold), Silver Shadow, Catch me if you can, Toad Lily and Blue Damsel. All but one print are on mount board. Several will fit ready made frames.
This is the original that is for sale. It comes in a white frame. It is roughly 35cm square.
As usual my art work has ground to a halt as the fine weather calls me to outdoor pursuits - mainly back breaking gardening. That being said, I have been accepted to exhibit at the Artizan summer exhibition this year in Torquay. Check out the Exhibitions page for further details.
June 2018. The 18th of June marked the anniversary of when I took my first photograph of the restoration efforts of the Eversley quarry by Cemex. Check out my blog for further details.
March 2018. I will be a co-artist in residence on Tuesday 27th March, at John Lewis (aka Heelas) Reading. The Reading Guild of Artists (RGA) had a request from John Lewis for artists to be resident on the lower ground floor during their Easter Extravaganza. Another RGA artist and myself will be in attendance with examples of our art from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Other artists from the RGA will be available daily from the 24th to 26th March. Do come along if you want to have a chat.
NOTE: We are allowed to take orders, but we are not allowed to sell any item of our art to members of the public whilst in John Lewis.
February 2018. I have started a new series: Scenes from the reserve. These are paintings of particular scenes from Fleet Hill farm, Manor farm and Moor Green Lakes that take my fancy. The first was completed this month. It was also my first attempt at acrylics. I normally use watercolours. Look in the tab FLEET HILL FARM AND MANOR FARM to find images of the paintings.
I had my first outing with the Reading Guild of Artists at the Sir John Madejski gallery, Reading museum. It was quite interesting setting up, stewarding and then knocking down.
January 2018. I have been accepted as a full member of the Reading Guld of Artists. If all goes well I shall be exhibiting with them this spring half term at the Sir John Madejski Gallery, Reading.
November 2017. I have donated three framed prints to the RSPB, which will be offered as prizes at this Year's Nature of Scotland awards, held on the 23rd November. I hope the lucky winners enjoy their prints. The prints are of Chilled, Silver Shadow and Rust Fungus. I need to get cracking and produce more paintings. A rather bad dose of the flu has clobbered me for most of October.
October 2017. I did try to paint this summer, but the garden and glorious weather beckoned, as well as attending work parties to clear Himalayan Balsam from around the Moor Green Lakes Nature reserve and banks of the Blackwater river. Regulars (are there any of you out there?) may notice a new tab far to the right of this page. This is my blog on the efforts Cemex are expending on restoring two large sections of their Gravel works between Yateley, Eversley and Finchampstead. When finished these two sections will join the Moor Green Lakes reserve to form a large nature reserve, stretching 2.2 miles along the Blackwater river.
March 2017. After my usual summer hiatus from painting (not sure why) I have added three new paintings. Continuing with my evolution series, a Wood Blewit in symbiosis with an aluminium pot.
I've gone a bit mad with swallows. Moon swallows, encapsulated by our large satellite. Then what do swallows get up to when we are not around? Perhaps they have races in amongst Parasol mushrooms.
News from 2016.
A slight hiatus in the painting schedule as I am busily preparing for various exhibitions.
The exhibition at Gallery Fifty Five has prematurely ended. The owner of Gallery Five Five has decided to retire as she was unable to agree a reasonable rental with the owners of the property in which her shop resided.
Perhaps the biggest news is my surprise at receiving a Highly Commended for my swan at the 2016 TWASI exhibition. The judges comments were:
'Painting on a stark black background is difficult and has been executed marvellously in this painting. The judges liked this composition of shapes, the way the reflections are depicted, giving continuous movement to the painting.'
Needless to say I am over the moon at receiving this award. Particularly as this is the first time I have entered the TWASI exhibition.