Hard as Hell, but Cooler: spelling for Carbodeon

How to Spell with… Pistons.

If you’ve met the Spelling Animals before you will not be surprised to find me occasionally spelling words with slightly inappropriate objects: cats, chickens, octopi and so on. But this may be my most unusual spelling commission to date. Done for my brother as a gift to give to the people from Carbodeon Ltd Oy, a Finnish company specializing in nanomaterials, specifically very, very tiny diamonds. I shan’t go on about the thermal conductivity and functional groups of these things: I spent a day at Birmingham NEC at a trade fair for Advanced Materials and can talk quite convincingly on…

Spelling Animals - chickens

How to spell with chickens

That’s another species trained up and added to the lexicon of Spelling Animals: Spelling chickens. You wouldn’t think it was possible, but I think they came out quite nicely. They will be available on commission soon, but for now I’m taking a break for a week. Any enquires: please email me! (see menu at the top).  

The Pilkington Shield

Mock Heraldry

The Spelling Animals have been popping up with a nice frequency for commissions, but here’s a new idea. I was asked to do this by a friend: a mock heraldic shield as the image on a Kindle cover, as a present for the man who has everything (except for his own family crest!). Suddenly the phone I have been using for the Cat-of-the-Day sketches came into its own, because all that was needed was a .jpg file, not an original painting on actual paper. So I had a go. This had to be done almost instantly, so it has a…

Spelling Greyhounds

Spelling in greyhounds

One more Spelling Animals name I was asked for recently: Sherri, in greyhounds. Specifically, these are Sherri’s greyhounds, but it was a surprise present for her. I have never done any spelling with dogs before and they move and stand rather differently to cats, so I had to re-tune my spelling abilities to accommodate dogs. Dogs are not as bendy as cats, but greyhounds are skinny, which is very useful, in a Spelling Animal. However dogs are so much more variable in shape than cats that some breeds would be quite a challenge so I’m a little hesitant about advertising…

Iris spelt in irises - pencil and watercolour

A curious case of spelling Irises

I have put this picture under ‘spelling animals’ because I don’t have a category for spelling plants, and this was one of those pictures where I really didn’t know if it was going to work until I did it.  I was asked could I do a spelling picture for the birth of someone’s granddaughter, the newborn girl is called Iris, she said, and did I have any suggestions. Of course I said the first thing that popped into my head: how about Iris spelt in irises (with fervent hope that I was not going to regret it!). I was pleased,…

Octopi Spelling Animals

A new species of Spelling Animal: Octopi

This was a new one for the Spelling Animals: I was asked to paint ‘Jill’ in Octopi! Interestingly this species of spelling animal presents the opposite challenge to the more conventional types: with cats and the like one often wants a few extra limbs to form letters, with octopi, one wants fewer. Fortunately octopi limbs can be tangled and wrapped in a pleasingly Baroque fashion 🙂    

Arthur Clark in Egypt, close-up 1

Arthur in Egypt

This is not the sort of painting you’ve come to expect of me, I know, but here’s a commission I did a couple of months ago. It was as a present for the father of a friend, the father having his 80th birthday party, and having been in Egypt in the armed services a very long time ago.There were shenanigans, and unproven accusations of syphoning off the British Army’s fuel and selling it to the Arabs. It was just before the Suez crisis… perhaps he even caused the Suez crisis, I am hazy on the details! My job was to…

Vincent: portrait of a Retired Demon

…and his familiar, of course. There comes a time in a Demons life, when he is wont to retire from mischief-making and the persecution of the damned, hang up his pitchforks and grow runner-beans up them… This is a portrait I painted for someone’s Christmas present. So I can post it here now, present having been received and, I believe, appreciated! It’s Indian Ink and pencil over a wash of watercolour, with white watercolour applied with a dip-pen on the highlights.  Always open to suggestions for commissioned portraits, but this one was particuarly in my line of business: demons and…

close-up of Karen's portrait

A most peculiar portrait commission

Last summer I was asked to paint a portrait of Karen, not by Karen herself, because she has been dead for quite a long time. I was asked to paint this portrait by the man she has been haunting for many years… This was, I think, the most unusual portrait request I have had to date. Because of the nature of my ‘ordinary’ paintings, people generally ask me to paint portraits of them, their family, girlfriend and so on, only if they want to be depicted, or have someone else depicted, as some kind of supernatural creature. And then I…

Sherrie-jane: portrait of a Lingerie Fairy

I can make you look like a fairy!

Here’s the painting I recently completed. This is Sherrie-jane – she sells lingerie in Somerset, including specialist bra-fitting, her business is called ‘Orchid’ – http://www.orchidlangport.co.uk/ – and she likes champagne. Quite a lot to get into 4 x 8 inches… but her daughter wanted a special present for her, for the re-launch of her new business, so in went the bras and the orchids and it all came together with quite a nice oriental feel, which was something of a happy accident. People do occasionally ask me ‘do you do commissions?’, and I say yes… occasionally… but I don’t usually…