Spring Gallery

A wolf collage consisting of a head portrait and a snoozing wolf.

Now into the fourth month of a new year it is time to take stock of what I have completed this year.

There were a couple of wolf studies. The head portrait I would describe as my favorite.

A wolf collage consisting of a head portrait and a snoozing wolf.
A wolf collage consisting of a head portrait and a snoozing wolf.

A large amount of time was also spent on the big cats study that started with charcoal drawings and then progressed on to color drawings. I have no favorite as they are all different.

A Collage of four big cats rendered in charcoal and in colour pencil.
A Collage of four big cats rendered in charcoal and in colour pencil.

Lately I have concentrated on wildlife local to me. The latest piece to be finished is the roe deer. Again I find it hard to choose a favorite.

A collage consisting of a roe deer, red squirrel, red fox, and a hare
A collage consisting of a roe deer, red squirrel, red fox, and a hare

Still got drawings to finish such as the Pine Marten and the Orangutan. I will not rush them but I may need to revisit the Pine Marten. He is not turning out the way I would like!

On Track… sort of!

From trying to work on six projects at once, I am now down to a more manageable three.

Portrait of a Fox

The fox is now complete but the butterfly will, unfortunately, have to stay as a demonstration piece.    While explaining to others what to do and what not to do with regard to the use of watercolour pencils, I have shown too many examples of what not to do. I now think it would be difficult to retrieve the piece.

But, all is not lost as using the experience I will then go on at some point to do the butterfly again. It will be part of a series of drawings and I have references that are my own. It is always satisfying to use your own references. The artwork is then truly yours.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly
Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

The Wolf is virtually complete but  I am struggling to decide when I should call it finished. Every time I stand back and take a look… something catches my eye that could do with further work. If I am not careful I am going to overwork this piece. That would be unfortunate as I am really pleased with how it looks, particularly as it was a challenge to use only a limited number of pencils. Five watercolour pencils were used along with a Derwent Chinese white pencil for the fur while the eyes were completed using two polychromous oil based pencils.

Snoozing Wolf completed in Watercolor pencils

Watercolour pencils I feel should offer more possibilities but I guess the problem is that it takes time to get to know them… something that can be a struggle to find.

With the butterfly being put to one side to be redone at a later date, the Hare and the Squirrel have had more work done on them than was expected. Both should be completed within the next week.

There has been no further progress on the Orangutan.

Family Portrait of an Orangutan and Baby
Family Portrait of an Orangutan and Baby

After the completion of the Squirrel and the Hare, I really need to crack on with this piece therefore until then it’s no more new projects.

It gets Frustrating when you are not Completing Projects.

Normally, I don’t like having more than three or four projects on the go at any one time! But, I currently find myself with six projects and only the fox nearing completion.

So, why take on so many?

As the completion of a project nears, an eagerness to get onto the next project starts to take over. By going ahead and making a start on another project the pressure to simply rush the current project eases.

Also, pausing that initial project allows the following question to be considered:

Is the project progressing in the way that was intended?

After plotting out the second drawing I then go back and continue with the main project.

If the first project is particularly big then I may start a third project. Usually, by this time the first project is near completion and it is very rare to start a fourth. That only happens if there is a theme that involves a series of four artworks.

The reason I have found myself in this predicament is down to a clash of commitments, timescales and not planning properly.

Volunteering to undertake a demonstration on watercolour pencils required some preparation. It was a good opportunity to further explore their potential using the Albrecht  Durer range. The butterfly was the planned demonstration piece with the wings being split into sections to show how watercolour pencils can be used both wet and dry.

What I had not planned for was the undertaking of a wolf project.

The wolf was started as I fancied trying pencils that had been bought some time ago and not been used. These were from the Caran d’ Ache Museum Aquarelle Watercolour range. They are considered by many to be the best. Apart from the use of Polychromous oil based pencils for the eyes, the rest of the work will be undertaken by only using the five watercolour pencils that I have from the Museum Aquarelle range. Unfortunately, they are expensive but nevertheless lovely pencils to use.

I am looking forward to finishing the wolf even though he was an unplanned project.

Then along came a deadline to focus more on local wildlife. That required the starting of two more projects which were the Hare and the Red Squirrel.

Suddenly, I had lots of uncompleted artworks.

If I want the artwork to be completed on time, a more disciplined approach is required

In the short term, I will be prioritising on the completion of the fox and then the butterfly. After that, I will concentrate on the wolf.

Unfortunately, the  Orangutan which was started way back in early January will need to be put on hold while I concentrate on the local wildlife theme which will continue with the Hare and the Red Squirrel.

By next week I hope to be back on track!

The Complete Wolf

Portrait of Wolf

I have really enjoyed doing this wolf. The drawing was an interpretation of an image supplied by Wildlife Reference Photos. It was completed using pan pastel and color pencil on pastel mat paper.

Portrait of Wolf
Portrait of Wolf

I really liked the way the Caran d’ Ache Pablo color pencils and the pan pastels blended together in the creation of this piece.

In my view, all pencils can have a part to play.  Each brand has different properties and offers something different. It is up to you to get to know how your materials work.



Here are some of the work in progress shots for the wolf portrait.

wolf construction

As it was still the holidays, it was a nice change to be able to do just a little bit of drawing at a time and not feel pressurized to finish it within a given timescale.

Mind you, I did not have much choice as at this time of year the light levels make it nearly impossible to do any serious drawing after about 4pm in the afternoon.

However, on the plus side, it does leave plenty of time to study the reference image carefully to make sure you are capturing the details correctly.

But now the shortest day has passed and with each passing day, the available light is slowly increasing.

Comparing this wolf with the arty wolf below is difficult. I have no preference as they are both different. In the above project, the combination of pan pastel and color pencil was really good. But in the arty wolf, the inks do have a vibrancy that is worth exploring further and I will do that.

Portrait of a Wolf using Windsor and Newton inks
Portrait of a Wolf using Windsor and Newton inks

In the meantime, most of my work will continue to be done in pencil and pan pastel.

Having now completed my Wolf… what next?

Big cats, I think!

A Wolf with the Blues

Most of the drawings I do would be described by many as being more towards illustration rather than arty.

I decided to get arty.

wolf with the blues3 (1)

Inspired by a tutorial on Patreon by Lisa Watkins and using a wolf image that I had found at Wildlife Reference Photos,  I had a play about with some Winsor and Newton Colored Inks.

For final details, I finished the piece off with some color pencils.

It was fun to do and an interesting learning experience. There are bits about the blue wolf that I like and there are bits that I am not sure about. I definitely like the vibrancy that the inks bring and I see the potential in the arty look.

One comment I did get was that he looked as though he was thinking!

I don’t know whether you agree!

What I did struggle with, was deciding on when it was the right time to stop adding color pencil… I did not want to lose that inky look!

I will get arty again at some point!

But before I do, bigger brushes will be required to get that mixing and bleeding effect that I wanted! The brushes I was using were too small for the size of the piece and the inks were drying quickly between applying the different colors.

The inky wolf in contrast to previous pieces is certainly different!

My first drawing of a wolf was a quick graphite sketch and the other was a charcoal drawing.


As all three pieces so far have been done relatively quickly, I am now going to take the time to do a more detailed drawing of a wolf. That drawing is now underway using color pencil on pastel mat. Some pan pastel will also be added to give the final piece a soft fluffy hairy look.