An Exhausting Sunday

An Exhausting Sunday

Sergeant Stripes has had an exhausting Sunday. First, the greenhouse seemed sunny, and appropriate for sleeping, but then it was such a lovely day that the greenhouse was too hot, and sleeping had to be done in the garden. Now it is cooler, but the greenhouse is clearly not to be relied upon. Taking no chances Sarge has decided to play it safe and sleep instead in a box in my studio, where the only danger is that one may suddenly become an artist’s model. Which is exhausting. [If you are thinking this sort of post usually appears on my…

White on Viridian Sea Monster swim hat

Springtime Sea Monsters!

Soon it will be spring and the water will warm up. Yes it will. And so it occurred to me that my snowflake / Swimflakes swimming hat will be right out of season. With this in mind I thought I would design a more spring-like hat. Something green, with growing things. That was the plan… but it’s funny how things come out sometimes. Somehow what the design turned into was Sea Monsters, frolicking with an overabundance of springlike joy, no doubt. I am going to get these hats printed, and, like the ‘Swimflakes’ ones (which are now sold out but…

Sally at Vobster, in watercolour, gouache and gold leaf


This is Sally, another painting in watercolour, gouache and gold leaf, a celebration of our lovely clear lake at Vobster Quay, where I swim once a week. The source material for this painting was an underwater photograph I took on our first swim of 2017. It was 2nd January. When the lake gets a bit warmer I hope to have a few more subjects not in wetsuits, but for the moment there are a hardcore few of us, though even we have mostly resorted to wearing gloves in these temperatures. The highlights of the water at the top are created…

Sara, close-up

‘Sara’, with palladium leaf

Second underwater swimmer picture in real paint. I though I wouold try keeping the metallic element but removing the gold colour, so this is palladium leaf. Palladium is very similar to Platinum, but without the latter’s pretensions, and so only costs about the same as gold leaf. This is Sara, also swimming at Vobster Quay.

detail of gold leaf fragments

‘Cecily’, against Vobster Green

I have been painting… with real paint! This is the first swimmer painting that hasn’t been digital, but it’s been something I’ve been pondering for a while, whether to plunge into watercolour with the swimmers. So this isn’t a commission, just an experiment of my own. Actually it’s mostly gouache (watercolour with ‘body’, which makes it more opaque, in theory, though the actual pigments I am using here are mostly very translucent), and embellished with gold leaf. The idea of using gold leaf where the water sparkled was irresistible, but I think it did a little over-embellishing at the start…

Wendy & Ella

Wendy and Ella at Coniston

My first commission of the year! This is Wendy Figures and her daughter Ella, having been swimming in Coniston. I had good photos of both their faces to work from, but the photo of them at Coniston was a very flat grey day, so I used that aspect too, and created a soft sepia background with very little colour. Often Cumbria is like that and it’s still lovely. Digital drawing.

The Big Chill Swim

10th & 11th December 2016 I shall have a stand with artwork in the marquee this year! The Big Chill Swim is Chillswim’s fantastic winter swimming gala, held at Low Wood Bay, on Windermere, Cumbria. This year I shall have a stand with artwork – prints, cards, ‘Swimflakes’ wrapping paper – and I have also designed the event image that is printed on the t-shirts and event goody bags. If you’re attending the event, I shall also have commemorative postcards, free to everyone who comes and finds me to claim them. I’ll be in the marquee. I shall also be…

‘Swimflakes’ swimming hats

I do love it when a piece of work turns out to be multi-purpose! And I also love it when ideas come together that never would have, had it not been for a complex journey of other ideas. Devils drinking tea in Hell is one of those examples, and another one is my new ‘Swimflakes’ swimming hats. Sprung from ponderings on what sort of wrapping paper would appeal to swimmers at Christmas because, frankly, I know a lot of swimmers and that in itself comes from my love of swimming outside, even when it is freezing. The hats, when I…

Ebook cover for 'The Longest Road in the Universe' by C.S. MacCath

The Longest Road in the Universe

By C. S. MacCath, a collection of Fantastical Tales Some years back I was asked to illustrate C. S. MacCath’s beautiful short story, ‘The Longest Road in the Universe’, when it appeared in Murky Depths magazine (2008). I loved this story, and perhaps this came through in the illustrations, because I am delighted to be able to say that one of these illustrations now adorns the forthcoming ebook collection of stories. So if your curiosity is piqued, I’d love to point you in the direction of links to purchase this collection… For Kindle: For iBook: For Kobo:…

Synchro Snowflakes

Welcome to this year’s edition of “Quick & Simple Christmas Product Ideas Which Actually Take At Least 10 Times Longer Than I Anticipated” I am not complaining, I am having fun, and I am also finding Adobe Illustrator indispensable for this project (and getting to grips with limited parts of it), and that makes me happy, because some weeks ago I paid for the annual licence for the whole of the Adobe creative suite, which, while it doesn’t actually require you to sign away your soul and your firstborn child baby cats, it does at least come closer to that…