Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A one off

I almost forgot to post this one as it's been a total secret for so long...........this is a portrait of my three step grandkids Carter, Darcy and Fern I took the ref photos on a day out last summer and painted the portrait as a surprise Christmas pressie for their Mum

Christmas paintings

Well the Christmas deadline came and went and in spite of the odd Royal Mail strike delivery hiccup I managed to deliver all my commissions on time, and now at last I can reveal some of the portraits I have been working on that were surprise pressies................ I hope you like them
First are Tila and Dexter who I painted in watercolour on A3 paper for a returning client

then there is April louise, a difficult commission taken from some very poor quality prints from the 70's................she is painted in pastels slightly larger than A4

Then (unusually for me) a graphite drawing of "Angel" a recently departed SBT and "Joey" which is an A4 watercolour painting of a much loved budgerigar

Next up are Harry and Bobby two very handsome Jack Russell Terriers who's portraits are pastel on A3 paper

Another pastel portrait, this time an unusual full body request of a cute little Shih Tzu (another first for me) she is called Suki and her painting is slightly larger than A4

And finally is the second of my cat paintings, this one is "Silver" a very pretty silver tabby who sadly passed away just before Christmas, I painted her as a very last minute request using pastels, the portrait is square format and measures approx 30 x 30cm

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas visitor

This little chap has been keeping me company on my windowsill every day while I painted for the last few weeks, so in the end I just had to indulge his desire to be an artists muse.....................I know it's slightly cheesy but I think he earned his place on my Christmas cards this year, hope he stays around well into the new year as I've enjoyed his company
I have almost completed the Christmas commissions now and family preparations are getting underway at long last....................Merry Christmas everyone
I'm looking forward to posting some paintings again in the near future xx

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Last minute!

As usual I have received a couple of last minute commissions for Christmas, my lack of work over the last couple of months means I can happily accommodate them while putting aside my own Christmas preparations, I'm sure my family will understand the lack of presents!
I'm not too far behind the tree is up and decorated so I'm sure everything else will fall into place by Christmas eve ;-)
Today presented a first for me as I worked on a commissioned watercolour of a budgerigar, I hope the client likes it...............alas it's another of those surprise christmas pressies so can't post until after the event.
Now to end this drivel and get on with the ironing as it's almost reaching the ceiling and can'tbe ignored for any longer whatever the excuse :-(

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Well it's been a while since I posted here , have been tackling a serious revamp/clearout of my workroom studio which I must admit has proved far more complicated and tedious than I imagined, I have tried to be ruthless thinning down unsold artwork and clearing out unused clutter but like the magic porridge pot it just seems to keep coming!
This week I have had to cope with a few family mini crises while trying to get organized for this weekends art exhibition so it 's been all go.

On Monday I was astonished to note that my website registered it's 10,000th visitor! (if only I could have charged £1 per visit :-))

To my surprise I also had a late Christmas commission, and another enquiry that dissolved into nothing, (I had almost forgotten that I do pet portraits) so will have to get back into practice after the exhibition.
Today I am reframing and mounting work to exhibit at the weekend and praying that I make some late sales to make up for the lack of commissions, wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


This is a small diversion for me, I recently attended a local farmers ploughing match and have been inspired to paint the work going on there, some of the ploughs were horsedrawn and these are the ones I had originally intended to paint but after a request from my husband I decided to give the tractor a spin, this was a challenge as I rarely paint such hard edged creatures :-)

Anyway the finished painting has met with hubby's approval so can't be too far off the mark....................now to search out those heavy horses

Monday, October 26, 2009


Just finished this pastel of two "teenage" cygnets venturing away from the parent birds for the first time, I have been watching this amazing family since my return from Australia in June.

There are eight cygnets altogether and I have been facsinated by the wonderfully protective parents raising all eight to maturity, they are in a local area populated by foxes and swim on a canal that is home to many large Pike so these cygnets have all survived against the odds.

This weekend I watched as the Cob bird chased off the young in batches towards their independence, leaving Mum with just one baby to watch over, I guess soon they will have the place back to themselves!

Anyway I have done so much autumnal foliage as background lately that I felt it was time to use some of the colours that get left in the bottom of my tray, this watery scene was a challenge to say the least!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Have now finished the Sika Stag painting and am happy with the way it turned out, Now I need a title for it ............suggestions?

Friday, October 23, 2009


Here is todays progress on the Stag painting......... not too far to go now, I forgot to mention that this is my third painting on Pastelmat and after my initial assessment of this support I have completely changed my mind and would go as far as to say I'm loving it!
Just to re-affirm my feelings I decided to do a small Barn Owl study on Murano (my all time favourite) and I think the results speak for themselves!
The big bonus with Pastelmat for me is the fact that the pastel stays put............no need for the dreaded fixative :-)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sika Stag

I have been busy completing my last three Christmas commissions so am unable to post those in case I spoil someone's surprise :-(
However I have had such wonderful luck spotting local wildlife just lately that I have plenty of inspiration for my own work.
About a week ago while out walking my dogs at the crack of dawn I saw a herd of Sika deer which was an amazing sight in itself but then the chief stag came over to see what was going on and stood staring straight at us over the low hedge, he was perfectly lit by the low autumn sunrise and I managed to get some stunning shots of him (never leave home without my camera) so today he has been committed to my easel.
I have been having such fun with all the glorious colours and getting filthy with pastel dust but have had to give up half way due to eyestrain and the dreaded double vision (roll on those new glasses)
Never mind, I have no commissions on the horizon so will continue with this one tomorrow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Two more paintings completed

I have been working on the sheep in the meadow painting over the weekend as I have finished the kitten watercolour (Christmas commission) got a bit carried away and added a Barn owl as he's a regular hunter in the field that I've painted.

I'm quite happy with the result and intend to exhibit this alongside "Curiosity" at the big Autumn exhibition (if I can afford to get them both framed in time) they are quite large at 50 x 37 cm so could work out expensive.

As often happens I have now grown fond of the pastelmat paper having learned how to cope with its grip on the pastel so am now on the lookout for some more before I start the next one in this series.

Meanwhile I have just accepted a commission from a selection of very bad ref's so will save the "pleasure painting" as a reward for when the commission is in the bag!

There, that's just the incentive I needed................... off to start on the Yorkie

Friday, October 02, 2009


Couldn't settle to my commission work today as the day was spent intermittently waiting for workmen and I didn't want to risk anything important, so I decided to use up the other half of a sheet of pastelmat that I bought and didn't like.

I chose to paint sheep this time.... in a similar manner to my other pastelmat painting "Curiosity" and again with the animals backlit I am hoping it will work out as popular as the cow.

Here is the basic underpainting so far............

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lovely Lily

Today I can finally unveil a portrait that I finished a while ago of a cute little Jack Russell Terrier with magnificent "uppy" ears, the portrait is a 12"x 16" oil painting on canvas and has remained under wraps for a while as it was commissioned as a surprise birthday gift.

I have just had news that the recipient absolutely loves it (in spite of shedding a few tears) so I am a happy bunny :-)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Curiosity progress

After a whole day working on this (on and off) I think I have made good progress and after a small hiccup (repositioning the left eye) I am happy to set this one aside till tomorrow.


I am currently suffering from "Surprise pressie" portraits, which means that although am busy painting the results have to stay under wraps until the surprise is no longer, hence a very frustrating and boring blog!
I've also had a touch of artist's block for a couple of weeks now which is something I hate to admit but it does sometimes get to me, a lovely dog walk this morning seems to have given me a jolt, and provided the inspiration to break the spell :-)

I came home eager to get to work on a painting of a curious cow that was staring at me and the dogs in the early morning sun, the colours in the scene were so wonderful that I was eager to get stuck in with my pastels.

I selected a sheet of Claire Fontaine pastelmat (which I have never used before) and got the shock of my life from the surface adhesion! I want to have a very diffuse/muted background on this painting and was keen to get down and dirty with my smudging BUT it seems that once on this paper the pastel just stays put and smudging is highly unlikely!

Not to be defeated I have changed my tack and am slowly working around the problem by trial and error with some success I need to take a break to rest my eyes but here he is so far .............

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Back to the grindstone!

Well now that I'm back on form I am starting to recieve Christmas commissions so there will be a lack of work to show as I am terrified of spoiling the surprise for my clients (I'm sure no -one ever finds their way here............ but it would be sods law if I chanced it).
I will try to post other artwork for those of you that just like to look at the pictures (like myself)
One of my first new commissions is to be a large watercolour of two cute kittens, so I am excited about that one.......... it will be a challenge to attempt a feline subject for a change, as it's been a while since I used watercolour I will need to get some practice in before I start on that one.
I have joined the Flickr photographic website and have enjoyed sharing some of my unseen photographs I love photography and try to get out with my camera every at opportunity with varying degrees of luck so if anyone wants to have a peek my page is here http://www.flickr.com/photos/kay_prior/

Friday, September 04, 2009

OH this week has been an uphill struggle for me....I have been battling against a monster migraine and the drugs don't help as they turn me into a space cadet :-) all I can do is sleep so artwork has been neglected!

However since I am determined to fight back I have worked on a simple sample today, this fella was seen out and about and I got permission to photograph him from his owner

Somehow (don't ask how I'm really NOT with it today) I managed to delete the photograph halfway through the process so have had to finish from memory (not good)

Anyway my immediate thoughts are that it's worked out ok............. not my best but ok, I suspect that when I finally shift this migraine I will look at it again and be mortified!

Oh well I feel less guilty for at least having made an effort today so now its back to the darkened room for a few hours.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Have finished a commissioned oil painting which has to be kept under wraps for a while so here is todays Llama portrait almost finished I am gradually adding these characters to a series which I hope to have printed as greetings cards sometime~ there are four more amusing faces in the pipeline

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wonderful wildlife

I have been out and about this weekend with my camera and have seen a Mink, 2 Kestrels, a Barn Owl and a Marsh Harrier as if all that wasn't enough to make my day I managed to get my best ever Barn Owl shots while she was hunting~ I am a happy girl :-)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Finally finished "Al Packer" and have started work on a Llama also in pastel as I'm thinking of doing a series and printing them as greetings cards ~ they have such comical expressions which I hope will appeal to lots of people

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sad news

While my oil paintings are set aside to dry today I have been working on my pastel alpaca portrait.............. out of the blue I had a phone call from a friend to say that she has finally had to have her lovely Border collie "Daisy" PTS ~ Daisy was an amazing dog who was in her 19th year! she had been blind and partially deaf for the last two years but in otherwise fine health and great spirits, I had the great pleasure of looking after her for a week or so last year while my friend was abroad and was impressed with her get up and go for a dog so old!
I painted this pastel portrait of her as she slept one afternoon and todays sad news prompted me to post it here...............sleep tight Daisy dog ~ run free with my old girl Bramble x

Monday, August 17, 2009

Slow progress

Now that hubby has gone back to work it was time to dust off the paints and get to work, I have almost completed an oil painting of a Jack Russell Terrier which I can't show on the net as it is a surprise for my clients wife's birthday. However I had a couple of hours to spare so as I was in the groove with oils I continued to work on Cara the Irish Setter who is starting to come to life now, I am fairly happy with her so far and just have a couple of hours of work left to complete her by adding some texture to her fur.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Irish Setter

The last week has been a little erratic for me as far as work is concerned, my husband has been home all week and we have been out and about leaving me little time to paint.
I have been working on several paintings at once some of which are surprise presents so have to remain under wraps for the time being.

My oil painting of Misty the border collie has now been finished, framed and delivered to her owner so her place on my oil painting list has been taken by a memorial portrait of Cara a beautiful Irish Setter, the only ref photo is a very old, very small print with little in the way of detail so I am up against it this time however this is a breed very familiar to me so I am confident it will all fall into place.

The initial stages of my oil paintings are always shockingly ugly and I am loathe to reveal them but hopefully you will see an improvement as I progress.

As this is not a commissioned peice I have not done any groundwork I have simply worked freehand direct onto the canvas with thin paint to give a basis on which to rework and build each area untill I feel happy with it, on a commissioned portrait I would normally spend a lot of time drawing and measuring to achieve an accurate foundation before beginning to paint

Next I block in some tone to create a more structured image, at this point there are several areas that I know are out of kilter and will need some careful adjustment but at this point I needed to inject some life and expression into her eyes as a motivator for me to carry on.

Now that I have some life in her eyes I needed to sort out her muzzle area as there is little detail in the ref to help me it is mainly trial and error, I have also darkened the background and moved her left ear slightly which has balanced the portrait to a point where I am starting to see some progress, this now needs to be left to dry for a few days and I will return to finish Al Packer and a Jack Russell oil that has been drying.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day off

Hubby and I treated ourselves to a day off today and headed for the Ashdown forest to walk with Llama's, Martin was paired up with Toby and I walked with Nicholas, we had a lovely walk through the Ashdown forest with our two large and very handsome charges who behaved themselves impeccably.

Spent some time taking photos of the Llamas and Alpacas before having lunch and heading for home~ what a lovely day :-)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Heading for meltdown!

It's strange how "viral" the internet can be, my website has experienced a sudden deluge of entries to my "win a pet portrait" competition, I can only imagine this is due to word of mouth amongst the pet owning public as I have done zilch to promote it outside my site? that said, I am flabbergasted, grateful and inspired by the sheer number of folk who would like a painting by me enough to submit an entry, if these were all paying clients I'm sure I would be gainfully employed from now until I retired ;-)
Oh well massive thanks to all entrants for boosting my morale
I am currently mulling over the possibilty of a couple of extra "runner up" prizes which will be announced later in the year.
Meanwhile anyone passing by my website please feel free to add your vote for the best photo~ it's worth a look as there are so many gorgeous,cute and funny animals to feast your eyes on.

Back in the real world I have also been having a creative splurge and I currently have 10 paintings on the go at various stages of drying and progress! as a result of all this activity my studio (spare bedroom) has become something of a tip so I really must create a gap in this current burst of creativity to have a housekeeping day :-( as they say "all good things....................

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Al Packer

Today I have been working on my surprise birthday commissions so no piccy's to divulge just yet~ however to add some variety I have been delving into that folder again and found myself a wonderful Alpaca to paint using pastels he has fantastic wool which will take an age to finish! this is where I am with "Al" so far...............................

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Today I found myself getting to the "fiddling" stage with this one ~ hopefully I caught myself in the nick of time and stopped myself totally ruining the piece.

I'm not sure if it has been entirely successful but it certainly made a change for me (which is indeed as good as a rest)

Tomorrow its back to work on the oil paintings

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Horse for a change

Well the wet weather (sigh) has done it's utmost to dampen my spirits and all my commissioned work is in oils waiting to dry between stages ~ So I decided to try a horse in pastels for a change, I dipped into the "to do " folder and came up with this lovely girl, she gave me lots of hassle to begin with as I rushed in and got proportions all wrong!! however I worked past the "bin it" stage and think it has now turned a corner :-)

She is 23 x 30 cm on colourfix paper and not too far off finished

Friday, July 31, 2009

BDAG exhibition

No painting done yesterday as I had a day off to steward at the Battle and district Arts Group summer exhibition.

Lots of visitors streaming in to browse and four paintings sold during my morning session! (not mine unfortunately), Time will tell but I think sales will be down on last year which is to be expected in the current economic climate although the works sold have been varied in price range so I still believe it's all down to a random meeting of purchaser and painting.

The day went by in a flash chatting to members and visitors and admiring some fantastic work by the other artists there ~ well worth a visit if you are in the area of Battle High Street, it's well signed and open until 5pm Saturday.

During my stint I was approached twice by purchasers dissapointed that the painting they wanted had already sold~ there really is no telling what will sell and what won't ~guess I got it all wrong with the paintings I chose to exhibit this year, nevermind ~theres always next time.
Back to work today adding the finishing touches to "Misty"and continuing to work on two "surprise" birthday commissions which I have to keep under wraps until the end of September.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Misty & Flint

I am currently working on several "surprise" birthday portraits so can not post them anywhere for a while~ however while my four paintings are exhibited at Battle this week I have some free time to spend on my current commission, an oil painting of "Misty". Her owner came to see the work so far and is happy with it so onwards and upwards. I have done the bulk of the work and now have fine details of her fur to complete ~ here she is so far(left), alongside her sister Rusty's portrait which I painted for the same client a couple of years ago

In between commissions I have indulged myself with some work on portraits for my own amusement which will be added to my "samples" folder and I am especially happy with this pastel portrait of "Flint" a handsome German Wirehaired Pointer which I painted on A3 Ingres paper, here is the finished painting of him

Friday, July 17, 2009


Ho Ho Ho~ Christmas is coming (I kid ye not) sorry folks but this IS the time of year to think about getting in the chimney sweep (note to self). Likewise if you are thinking about ordering a pet portrait painting for someone special Now is the time to make those enquiries before everyone else beats you to it!
All of us portrait artists struggle to cope with the deluge of orders at Christmas and hate to disappoint so don't leave it too late to place your order ~

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


here we are racing through July~ I can't believe it's almost time for the annual Battle and District Arts Group exhibition and have had to get my skates on to have my submissions ready on time.
The Hospice summer exhibition was a success in spite of the economic climate and two of my paintings were sold along with about 40 others ~helping to compensate for the lack of commissions.

I have been working on the commission of "Misty" but am suffering from eye strain so am working in short bursts at the moment, hopefully I will complete the painting with a few more hours work here is the painting so far.

Summer shows are in full swing and I have been attending as many rural dog and horse shows as time permits where I've seen and photographed some beautiful animals for future portrait subjects.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 2009

Since returning from Australia life has been hectic (going awol for a month creates a lot of catching up to do in the real world)

I have plans to exhibit in two more summer exhibitions and the organisers are baying for titles of works to be shown~ since I'm still in the process of painting them I am feeling the pressure!

I have had a surprising number of entries to my website photo competition which is keeping me busy to update, however once entered people seem to forget that they need to vote! Oh well

If you visit http://www.pettpaintings.com/ please forward your vote~ there are some gorgeous animals entered.
Here is a photo of my next portrait commission subject "Misty" she is to be painted in oils on canvas board.

I have had a serious drop in commissions since going away and am wondering if the competition is the reason or maybe the economic downturn is showing it's effects?

Whatever the reason at least I have more time to get on with some work for exhibition which makes a nice change.

May 2009

After a busy and very fruitful Easter Art exhibition I had plans to settle in for some serious painting days to replenish my supply of finished works ~ however...............................

May 2009 turned out to be an eventful month for me as I had an unexpected trip to the other side of the world where I hand delivered a this landscape painting to its new home "down under"

Since the journey was so long and arduous for a non traveler like myself (I have a fear of flying!) I decided to make the most of it and spend a few weeks with family in Perth and Darwin (well it would have been rude not to). During my stay in Perth I was asked to paint a dog portrait for the owners birthday and wasn't too confident that I could do so "off the cuff" without my studio comforts and "normal" painting gear, however never one to resist a challenge, I painted "Max" in a few hours in my sister's garden using just four pastel sticks and a sheet of colourfix that I managed to purchase locally~phew! Thank goodness he was such a naturally handsome subject

I had a fabulous time in Australia and saw some amazing scenery and some fantastic wildlife, all of which is now queueing up in my head to be painted over the coming months as and when I can find time to do so ~ to start the ball rolling I have tackled a subject close to my heart and started with a portrait of the wonderful Koala, this little fella is one of several that I met at Caversham.................Oh and a quick sketch of some roos

Friday, March 06, 2009

2009 so far

Well here I am already well into 2009 with a new resolve to update the blog at least once a month (thought I'd aim low to start with ;-)

So far this year has been very slow with commissions and I have completed only three commissions and one prize portrait (for the St Michaels Hospice 2008 photo dog show winner)

The economic downturn has clearly had an effect on business.

However I have for the first time launched a competition on my website with a pet portrait as the winner's prize, it is a simple pet photo competition and I am hoping to have a good selection of entries throughout the year.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How time flies!

Well its about time I caught up with this blog as it's been seriously neglected for far too long!

following my last blog in 2007 I did get accepted by Battle arts group summer exhibition and sold four of the five paintings I submitted which was a fantastic boost for my flagging morale.

by the end of the year I was thrilled to have accepted a handful of commissions via my website and I started 2008 in a positive mood with a steady flow of pet prtrait commissions in the order book.

I served on the East Sussex Arts Club committee as the exhibition secretary throughout 2008 and was proud to organise the annual exhibition throughout May which was a well attended event where a total of ten sales made a welcome change of fortune for the club and helped in raising it's local profile.

As in previous years I helped organise the St Michaels hospice art exhibition and again although sales were down slightly it was an enjoyable and successful event.

I booked a stall at the local Blue Cross open day and dog show and exhibited a selection of my animal related portraits and a prize draw for a pet portrait raised £70 for the centre the winner unfortunately failed to claim their prize.
2008 continued to bring new commissions as my website visitor stats increased and between september and Christmas I worked flat out to complete orders in time for festive gifts.