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The Royal Fell Ponies at Balmoral

Presented to H.M. The Queen on 7th August

After six months work, the painting of Her Majesty’s Fell Ponies was finally presented at the Balmoral Jubilee Garden Party. By all accounts, she was pleased with it.

It was a privilege to be asked to do the commission and I only hope I have done them justice. The great Australian art critic, Robert Hughes, passed away recently and I was forwarded one of his acerbic quotes;

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”

I am certainly not blessed with perfect confidence,  so can only hope that an amount of doubt is a good thing. Confidence is so crucial to an artist, I think the initial version of this painting was ruined by a loss of confidence, which translates to a lack of surety in handling of the oil paint, and a few hours of nervously dabbing at the canvas can wreck a months work.

Unfortunately the Highland cow painting has suffered this fate, and been consigned to the floor. However I got going on this one, and finished it over a few days. These lovely looking cattle also supply our local pub with superb steak!

The past couple of weeks have been unusually prolific for me, the release from the stress of the royal commission coupled with a backlog of ideas, and full time child care, means I’ve produced more this month than the first half of the year. Dogs, still life, sporting paintings, here’s a couple of examples.

As a post script – I have now mastered Twitter – and can be found @InglebyArt
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The worst kept secret…

For those that hadn’t already guessed, the painting I’ve been working on/impaling myself on my palette knife over, is for H.M. The Queen and is due to be presented at the Balmoral Garden Party in a couple of weeks. I will post an image of it after it’s presentation. Not that I think H.M. reads my blog, but if she does, I’d hate to spoil the suprise!
I’m really pleased with the final result, even though it took three gos to get there, with complete compositional rethinks each time. It’s just come back from Christina Leder, a fabulous Aladdins cave of gold frames, and is now en route to Scotland.

Works in progress
The Highland cattle painting is coming on slowly. It’s had a month on the floor, so was very dry, but a coat of retouch varnish and it’s now back on the easel; here’s an update after this weeks progress. I actually think I’ve lost a bit of the light in it, so that’s todays mission, then I’ll start on the background.

I’ve finally mastered the art of Twitter, so for more frequent (and random) updates, please follow me on @InglebyArt

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The process of painting

I’ve been meaning to do a post on the development of a painting, showing my process of work, as I get asked about it all the time.
 So, here is DAY ONE of a new painting.
I start by making the canvas – about 3 foot by 2  and then I do a pale colour wash called a ‘ground’. On top of this I sketch out, in a very thin red oil paint the basic composition of the painting. It is CRUCIAL to get this absolutely right, as it saves heart ache, and much frustration at a later stage.

Next, I start blocking in the main areas of colour.

And then filling in the cows…with some help from my studio assistant!

That is the first days work…a long day, as I’ve been part of the Henley Arts Trail, which has seen a steady stream of visitors to the studio.
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Highland Photos

A very productive weekend in Scotland, taking photos of some fantastic Highland Cattle, and for another commission, which will be revealed later in the year.

Very exciting, one of the real privileges of being an artist is that it grants you access to places and people that one would otherwise never meet. It really struck me this weekend how lucky I am to be aided by people who have such a passion for their work and animals, and who are happy to give up their time to help me. I learnt A LOT about Highland cattle and Highland ponies this weekend (maybe even more than necessary!) and was blessed with the most spectacular weather in the Highlands, heavy frost with glorious bright sunshine, creating a Narnia like landscape.

Thanks to all those that helped, with the animals, driving, childcare and so on. Best of all – no broken limbs this time around!
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Recent Work


Three new paintings on their way to the gallery! These were the result of the ill fated trip to Aberdeenshire; while sketching the cattle I jumped out of the landie and broke my ankle…which made for a quieter summer than planned.
This wonderful brindle highland bull is called Aeonghus. I have been on the hunt for a bull like this for years, travelling all over scotland – then discovered him barely a mile fro my parents house!