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Shepherd linocut

Shepherd

I love this wistful old fashioned image of a shepherd, his dog, and some feisty sheep. This lino cut was based on some photos taken in Scotland, of Angus, the gamekeeper, shooing away some sheep, with his none too helpful Labrador.
I’ve painted Angus before, a few years ago now, he has a well lived in face.

After many frustrating hours, I bought a book on lino cutting, and had a bit of light bulb moment – less ‘eureka’ and more ‘DUH!’ So that’s how you do it. Multiple plate lino cuts to follow (ie: more than one colour, as the plate for each colour has to be carved on a separate plate.) This one of angus is a cheats version, as I’ve just filled in the colour digitally, but in my next spare moment I’m going to carve a couple of colour plates for it.

Gus & Torro

I finished this painting for my brother, as a gift for him and his new wife, Karen. The dogs, Gus and Torro, were fantastic to paint, such characters, and such a great contrast between them, Gus is wonderfully elegant, and mannered, and Torro, well, Torro is not. Can you tell which is which?!

The commission for June is taking shape, I have a rough composition in charcoal down on paper, and it is throwing up quite a few challenges.

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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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Henley Arts Trail

One very lively committee meeting the other night – 30 artists in a room is always going to be pretty sparky, and the first get together of the 2012 Henley Arts Trail got us off to a roaring start! Great ideas, input and some hard cash from the trio at Lady Sew and Sew, wonderfully salacious gossip from the ever wicked Dick Budden and some competent leadership from Kate Finley (the expression ‘herding kittens’ springs to mind!)
Lady Sew and Sew
Dick Budden

The trail is a wonderful opportunity for the public to get a chance see studios that are not usually open, and to see the best of the art that Henley and the surrounding area has to offer. The wealth of talent in this region is incredible, and all too often people are just not aware of what is on their doorstep.

I’ll be opening my doors for three days, exhibiting a mixture of oils, prints, lino cuts, works in progress and much more. It runs from the 5th – 7th of May 2012, and showcases nearly 50 artists in about twenty locations within a 5 mile radius of Henley.

www.henleyartstrail.com

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Christmas commissions

It’s that time of year – I get asked to a lot of portraits for xmas presents. This is actually one of my favourite jobs, painting dogs of all shapes and sizes, although some are definitely more challenging than others!
This one was an especially pretty spaniel, and is a companion piece to a painting the client bought from a gallery some years ago.

It’s just drying out, then will be packaged up and sent.

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Polo paintings for Pampeano

The lovely Jenny Ferrarese has set up a shop for her fantastic Argentinian leather goods in Ascot and I’ve contributed a couple of prints to adorn the walls.
www.pampeano.co.uk

The first is a print of a charcoal, the original of which was sold to a buyer in the states.

The second is a relief print, hand printed by me, in an edition of twelve. This means that each one is an original in its own right as no two will be the same. I recently became the proud owner of an ancient acme mangle – which makes the most perfect printing press. I’ve had a lot of fun recently doing lino cuts, after an enlightening evening at the Robert Gillmor Retrospective exhibition at museum of Reading. Fascinating, and a testament to the powers of human concentration and patience!
www.readingmuseum.org.uk

I then did a brief course with Cath Baldwin which was enlightening – mostly that I was doing a lot wrong, great day though.
www.cathbaldwin.co.uk

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More stag paintings

Another couple of paintings that are finally up in the House of Bruar, www.houseofbruar.com
The rather lovely stag is the same one that I painted a few years ago, his name is Angus and he belongs to the Falconry Center near Huntly. He’s as tame as a pet lab, and will do anything for a bit of stale bread! In fact, I think he’s looking a bit fat. In this painting he’s still in velvet, which he’ll lose in the next few months, as they come into the rutting season.
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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!

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Linocuts

Been a while since I posted, but hopefully will be more regular from now on.
I have been experimenting with linocuts recently, and have produced four images that are working well. They are going to be part of a series of british mammals. So far we have Hare, Fox, Squirrel and Badger.
Each one will be a limited edition of ten. I’m really enjoying this medium, although it is very time consuming, being able to produce small editions makes them more affordable than a one off work. So they are priced at £125 framed, and on sale through my website. www.zuccazu.com
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SOLD!

Ah, the delight of opening an envelope masquerading as a bill only to find a hefty cheque inside! My scottish agent sold this painting last week, which will fund a few projects plus yet more baby clobber…the list of ‘stuff’ that he needs is endless! However wedging him upright in the bath with a sponge is no longer working so non-slip bathmat is top of the list.
The gallery would like me to do a similar painting, though red deer are a little harder to come by in Berkshire, especially with a 10 week old baby in tow. I did a series of stag paintings when I was last up in Aberdeenshire, visiting my family. I also have a lot of unfinished Highland Cow projects, they got to the sketch stage and no further. I don’t think the ornamental deer in Windsor Great Park will have quite the same appeal!