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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Flying Gannet

Back to painting birds again, Gary asked me to have a go at this one, probably not something I would have attempted through choice but can't resist a challenge so I had a go - and I'm so glad I did as it was an absolute pleasure to paint.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Gary's Garden Visitor

I'm very jealous that Gary gets these gorgeous birds in his garden - he's lucky enough to live next to open fields whereas I'm right next to the town centre.  He posted this photo on his blog yesterday having taken the photo yesterday morning and asked me to paint one so I did - the inspiration for the tree limb was taken from an artist I came across online called Lucy Newton who's artwork I really admire so I can't take credit for that - I quite like the effect and it was certainly fun to do but as always I'm interested to know what you think.  

Sunday, 24 February 2013


This is the 3rd kingfisher I've painted this weekend - I'm not posting the first two as this is the only one I'm happy with!  I've used one of Brian Rafferty's excellent photos as he very kindly said I could a while back - hope that's still ok Brian  - I just really liked the kingfisher's pose in this photo.  I'd love to do a looser painting of a diving kingfisher or one coming back out of the water with it's catch if anyone reading this has got a photo I can use?  

And of course the inspiration for doing this painting came from last weekend when we saw a kingfisher on the River Weaver while out on a walk with Findlay Wilde for his birthday.  

Also I'm finally starting to get some birds back into the garden - despite having food out over the winter my garden birds have decreased dramatically since next door chopped his trees back but yesterday I was thrilled to get a good number of greenfinches and goldfinches on the feeders, brilliant!

Two Pairs of Boots is now almost up to date with our walks - there was no big walk for us this weekend, just a trip up our local Moel Famau but next weekend we've got a biggy - 20 miles long in training for the mountain marathon we've signed up for at the end of March - I must be mad!!

Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend

Sharon x

Saturday, 23 February 2013


© Sharon Whitley

I like to try and paint animals with character and I hope you think my piggy has character.  I love pigs, Gary and I went to our local farm shop today to photograph the pigs that are normally there but they had gone - I asked the assistant where they were and she told me they were in the sausages!!  They are getting new ones in soon - it's sad I know but I would much rather see pigs have the life they had, free to roam around than the intensively farmed pigs who have a very sorry life cooped up in pens where they can hardly move.  And all to save money - it's so wrong as are many things in this world :-(

Anyway on a lighter note we celebrated Gary's daughter's 18th birthday with a meal in Chester last night - an all you can eat buffet and boy was I stuffed!!  

I painted a Nike Blazers birthday card for her as she wears pink ones.

Today we went on our usual Friday walk, nothing too strenuous, just a walk up on to our local Moel Famau and we visited one of the hillforts in the area Moel y Gaer

Walking over the summit of Moel y Gaer on the way to Moel Famau 

Gary also took some gorgeous photos of Holly who was looking glorious in the afternoon sun.  Isn't she a stunner? Love her to bits!

For photos from our latest walks pop over to Two Pairs of Boots.

Have a wonderful weekend
Sharon xx

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Pastels practice, and a lovely surprise award

© Sharon Whitley
Painted Dog - pastels

I've been inspired to try out my pastels lately after seeing some lovely pastel pieces around, very different way of working than watercolours and I go with a more detailed style when using pastels, I'm interested to see whether people prefer this version or the looser watercolour version on the last post.  I did find it very frustrating using the toothy Daler Rowney pastel paper which leaves the tooth showing through, don't really like that and didn't seem to be able to layer much pastel so I have treated myself to some pastelmat which I'm going to try next - so any ideas on what I can do with the wad of pastel paper I've got would be appreciated!

I had a lovely day on Sunday celebrating a special young man's birthday with fellow birding bloggers, KeithAndrewTrevor, and Kane, Chris, Phil and of course Findlay's mum and dad and younger brother Harley. 

Findlay lives in a beautiful part of Cheshire and led us on a walk around his local patch where we were all very excited to see a beautiful kingfisher fishing on the banks of the River Weaver, I was absolutely thrilled as I've only seen one briefly before.  More about our day with Findlay can be found on Gary's blog post here

And finally the lovely Elaine of Elaine Magliacane Journal has nominated my blog for an award!

The award is aimed at helping people discover about new blogs and is awarded to bloggers you admire who have under 200 followers.  Thank you so much Elaine for thinking of me!

So now I need to pass the award on to 5 blogs that I admire ... Even though I follow a variety of blogs I will stick to arty blogs for the award as that is where my award came from......and I'm choosing those with under 100 followers as I think they deserve much more!

Sherry Schmidt Watercolours  Sherry does loads of plein air watercolours which are wonderful and I love her loose style and use of colour

Vickie's Sketchbook  Vickie's page has always been one of my favourites, I know when I see her thumbnail on my blogroll, I'm in for a treat - and she loves the same subjects I do - birds and wildlife!

Lorraine Brown Watercolours I first came across Lorraine on PMP (Paint my Photo) a link to which you can find on the side bar - Lorraine's main subject to paint used to be florals which were superb and recently she has been painting wildlife and I've been really impressed with them all, absolutely stunning work (very jealous!)

Polly's Watercolours  - the lovely Polly Birchall is a watercolorist  with a lovely style - I don't think she realises how good she is, she paints the most gorgeous cards for people and I always look forward to her posts. 

Alena Hughes - Alena paints mainly in watercolours and sometimes in acrylics - I love the paintings she does which depict the Australian landscape where she lives

So there you go - 5 blogs worth a browse and a like if you've got 5 minutes to spare.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

African Painted Dog

© Sharon Whitley
African Painted Dog

We always try and visit these beautiful animals when we go to Chester Zoo and one has been on the list to paint for a while now so I had a practice today with the intention of painting a bigger version next time - Gary  has asked me to paint the full animal though next time - I do prefer to just do head and shoulders paintings if I'm honest (only because I'm lazy like that!).  Very sadly these gorgeous creatures are extremely endangered in their natural habitat, down to us humans as is always the case.  On a happier note I'd like to take this opportunity to wish the wonderful and inspiring young Findlay Wilde  a very happy 11th birthday!

In fact I hope ALL of you bloggers out there are having a wonderful day whether or not it's your birthday!

Sharon x

Monday, 11 February 2013

Paintings inspired from walks

© Sharon Whitley

These latest two paintings are inspired by our latest walks, we saw this raven up on Dove Crag when we did the Fairfield Horseshoe in the Lake District, the original photo can be found here.  I love ravens, they are always around when we're up in the mountains and it was a real thrill for us to have them land so close and pinch our crumbs!

© Sharon Whitley
Mane Attraction

The painting above you may recognise from the photo on my last post.  We came across this gorgeous Welsh mountain pony on the slopes of Yr Orsedd on our extremely wintry walk into the mountains last Friday.  The ponies were sensible and kept low down, out of the bitter wind and snow,  unlike us!  Such a little poser I had to paint it!  I kept it simple though as I find white animals a bit difficult to paint! You can find more photos of these lovely ponies we saw on Friday on Gary's wildlife photography blog.

And while you're here why not pop over to read about our latest walks on Two Pairs of Boots

Hope you're all having a wonderful time out there, whatever you're doing, I look forward to your comments as always

Sharon x

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Greylags and Extreme Walking

©Sharon Whitley

I love greylags, love their wrinkly necks and think they're such characters, when I saw this photo of Gary's I knew I had to paint it and I've invited other artists to have a go as well, (see here).  I still may put in a bit of a background to emphasize the fact that they're walking in snow.......and talking of the white stuff.......there was lots of it up on the Carneddau yesterday where Gary and I went walking.  Photos will soon be on our shared blog Two Pairs of Boots but for now here's a taster - these are taken on the summit of Foel Fras at 3090 ft up and it was pretty cold and windy up there as you can see from the windswept snow on the stile and trigpoint.  Even our coffee didn't stay warm in the flask!

The Carneddau ponies who roam this area stayed down low out of the snow but we saw a set of what could only have been fox pawprints up pretty high. Here is one of the gorgeous ponies we saw, one to add to the growing list of Gary's photos I want to paint!  What a stunner eh?

 And Pete Woodruff will be pleased to know that we heard a stonechat in the same area that we saw one last time we were there, but we weren't lucky enough to see the little fella this time.

I've not thought of a title for the greylags so any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for visiting
Sharon x

PS - the greylags with their background 

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Red Squirrel and walking in the Lakes

I've not done much painting lately, as I spent the weekend in the Lake District - photos soon to be added to Two Pairs of Boots, the blog I share with Gary.  I love red squirrels, and we do occasionally get to see them when we're up in the Lakes, fingers crossed they are starting to make a come back in parts of North Wales.  

We had a great 3 days walking up in the Lakes - it was FREEZING up high at times though, still plenty of snow around on the big ones!  This is the three of us atop Fairfield, halfway through the Fairfield Horseshoe walk, a new walk for me but one that Gary has done many times.  

I've now walked 90 of the 214 Wainwright fells.  Off out walking again tomorrow in Snowdonia and hopefully get more painting in over the weekend - first job is to tackle Gary's greylags.  Take a look at Kathryn's painting of the greylags HERE, it's wonderful! 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, whatever you're doing

This post is now linked to 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Art for charity

Stopping to Smell the Flowers
© Sharon Whitley
painted from a PMP photo by Debbie Byess

Today's blog post is all about spreading the word about the Eight by Eight project which is a call to artists, crafters, photographers etc to donate a 8x8" piece of work in aid of Camille's Appeal , a charity which supports children 0-5 with brain tumours and their families.  In the UK these children will have multiple treatments including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation which can make their lives very difficult.  The appeal aims to help those families live as normal a life as possible.  

I thought this was a wonderful idea and have donated the 8x8" watercolour above, which reminds me of when I was a child and used to love exploring nature, smelling flowers and collecting treasures - childhood experiences which are sadly lacking for some children in today's society.

The call to artists is as follows...
The eightbyeight Project are inviting donations of 8×8” sized work (or small 3D creations) to take pride of place in our exhibition in support of Camille’s Appeal, the children’s brain tumour charity.
We are seeking diverse and exciting donations from professional, non-professional and student artists, painters, printmakers, illustrators, photographers, digital artists, paper crafters, those working with yarn and textiles, ceramics, glass, jewellery, small sculpture, etc inspired by the exhibition theme, ‘Childhood Explored’.
Through coming together as creatives, we hope to raise the profile, and improve the lives of young children with brain tumours and their families.
If you’re creative, why not “create and donate to 8 by 8.”
If you can't donate a piece of artwork, then please spread the word through your blog/facebook page so artists/photographers and the like can find it or why not get a lovely piece of art in return for supporting the project.
You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.