"The artist...is also a born adventurer. His explorations, unlike those of a tourist, are rewarded by the discovery of beauty spots unmentioned in the guide books, and with tireless curiosity and an exceptional proneness to wonderment, he will come upon objects of remarkable interest overlooked or even shunned by more disciplined observers."

Augustus John, R.A.

Sunday, 29 January 2012


Its that time of year again when its time to make my contribution to the local bird club report. As this is a labour of love (rather than one of profit), I don't have the usual restrictions of working to a brief. Other than making sure that what I illustrate, has actually been recorded in the club area during during the year under review. So I can rifle through my old sketchbooks and see what leaps out at me as being a promising image. Over the twenty two or so years that I have been doing this, I have managed to illustrate a fair proportion of the total number of species recorded in the area- currently 269 species. However looking back some species have been drawn more often than others (the usual suspects that I like drawing; cormorants, herons and various raptors). So this year I have decided to concentrate on some previously overlooked ones.

These drawings of a Common Gull were made late in the afternoon on 11th November 2004 at Denaby Ings. A couple of months later on 23rd January 2005 I was back there again, drawing this Gadwall and a small group of Teal.

From these sketches I developed the two drawings below. Both Pencil and Ink Wash.

Common Gull

Male Gadwall

Driving along the road that crosses the moors above Ripponden I saw this Little Owl perched beside the road. By the time I had found a place to turn round and then drive back I was sure it would have gone. However, it was still there and remained long enough to do quite a comprehensive drawing.

I altered the composition somewhat for the final drawing.

Little Owl.
Pencil and Ink Wash.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Littondale Panorama

Finally finished this print. The stage above is with the first green added and the one below with the second green.

And finally a dark to bring it all together

Littondale Panorama
10 Colour reduction Linocut. 240mm x 362mm.

I have mixed feelings about this print. I experimented with the cutting in the foreground to try and give some feel of the grasses rather than using my more usual 'flat colour' technique. The effect I was after is there but I think I held back a little on the cutting. I should have really gone for it! Something to try next time.

Sunday, 15 January 2012


Goldfinch and Lesser Redpoll. Pen and Ink and Pencil.

Lesser Redpoll. Pencil.

Woke up this morning to a hard frost and a mixed flock of Lesser Redpoll and Goldfinches in the Silver Birch tree outside the kitchen window. They didn't stay long and soon moved off although a couple of Goldfinches hung around the garden all day.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Three more colours on the new print

Forgot to photograph a stage so there are two colours here. Then the first green for the foreground hills.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year

I know its supposed to have been a holiday, but I couldn't sit around for a week doing nothing. So after two days of enforced idleness over Christmas, I managed to steal a few hours in between entertaining visitors and making visits ourselves to relatives.

I'm working bigger than I normally do on this print, actually twice as big. As the prints are too big for my scanner I'm having to photograph the stages as I go along. For a change lets start with the cartoon, scaled up from the original A5 sized pen and ink field sketch. This is a classic view from the Yorkshire Dales, looking down Littondale from the moor above Halton Gill towards Wharfedale in the far distance.

First colour is a warm cream.

Followed by a darker tone made by adding a little purple to the previous colour.

Next up, a pale yellow/green for the freshly cut fields in the centre of the valley.

I'm not sure exactly how many more colours this will require, my original idea was to use eight colours but it will probably end up being ten or eleven.