Monday, 26 November 2012

Three Jack Russell's - finished painting

Currently on the easel is an oil portrait which as it is a Christmas present,  I won't say too much about, so as not to spoil the surprise.  I will post the photo's after Christmas.

So in the meantime, here are the final  photo's of the three lively Jack Russells.  I hope you enjoy looking at them.

Oil on Linen 50x60cm 20"x24" copyright Marion Simkins 2012 must not be reproduced or used in any form without permission

grisaille underpainting

 after adding several layers of colour

Nearly finished - whisker's and doormat to go

The finished painting
Oil on Linen 50x60cm 20"x24" copyright Marion Simkins 2012 must not be reproduced or used in any form without permission


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

In progress of Jack Russells' - Part 2

One more body to be painted in colour

Now ready for the finishing touches

A closer view on their bodies

Friday, 9 November 2012

In progress photo's of three Jack Russells' in oil - Part one

Here are some "in progress" photo's of the Oil painting of the three Jack Russell's in their favourite position on their front stepsI paint in layers, allowing each coat  to dry thoroughly before applying the next.  It is a slow process, but worthy of the wait, as it eventually produces incredible results.

Grisaille underpainting

Another layer adding more detail

Close-up on the middle Jack Russell

Close-up on the end Jack Russell
First layer of colour

 Layer of colour added to the background

Be back soon with some more "in progress" photo's.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Three Jack Russell's - Planning an Oil painting

There is a lot of groundwork that goes into producing a painting, long before the paint even touches the canvas/paper.  

This painting is in oil,  for three Jack Russell's in their favourite position on the steps of their home.

They were very lively with huge personalities, so it proved impossible to capture all three together in an ideal pose.

Admittedly,  I  am not the best photographer in the world, but with today's technology I was able to take over 150 photo's, (the beauty of a digital camera).  Some were on the steps, some indoors, some together and some not.  There were several great pictures of each dog individually, I chose the poses that I thought worked well together and represented their best features, and drew some thumbnail working sketches to see which composition worked best, and which I would use for the painting.

Saturday, 6 October 2012


Here are some photo's showing the painting stages of "Hetty" a very cute and lively Jack Russell.  Hetty's owners placed the winning bid for a "hand painted pet portrait" at a Charity auction.  After a chat on the phone, I took lots and lots of photo's and they chose this one to have painted.   I have been  remiss in updating my blog as this painting was finished in August.

"Hetty" 16"x12" Watercolour Copyright Marion Simkins 2012

First glaze of shadow areas, helping with recession

Initial layer of fur, keeping the tone light as several layers will be added

One ear completed and a little more work on the nose

First wash on collar and fur shadows added

More detail on the side of face, further layers on the collar

More definition on the collar

"Hetty"- Watercolour 16"x"12 Copyright Marion Simkins 2012

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Sunday, 26 August 2012

A quick update

With endless radio commercials of Boris Johnson telling us to avoid London Transport during the Olympics, and the security mistakes, I had become completely indifferent, until the opening ceremony!  Just amazing, I loved everything about the Olympics, from the background stories on the atheletes, to the incredible achievements, it made me feel so proud.  I was disappointed not to have tickets, but the coverage on TV was excellent, particularly Claire Balding.

So between painting and having family visit for the Olympics (they did have tickets) there has been no time to update my latest work, (I am painting Jack Russells at the moment, it would appear dog breeds are a little like red buses, you wait for ages and then several come along together) but I promise to post some photo's in the next few days. 

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Update on Lucy

Not finished yet, but the resemblance is there.  I need to refine some of the detail,  more work needed on the ears and mouth, and to make her fur look three dimensional.  The bravery test will be to go dark enough in the shadow area under her chin.

Be back soon.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

The finished painting of a Jack Russell Mum & Puppies, in a wicker basket.

Here are the final photos of the oil painting I have been working on over the last few months.
It is difficult to reproduce the painting accurately in a photograph.  Partly because many of these photo's were taken on different days, and partly due to the reflective qualities of oil paint, so unfortunately they do not show the rich depth of colour the painting actually has.

However, a friend recommended a fantastic photographer who very kindly and carefully took some photo's for me.  Check out his work at:

The photograph he took will be the one that I will shortly be updating to 

In the meantime here are the photos.  To view a larger version, just click on the photo.

Finished Painting - Oil on linen Copyright Marion Simkins

The in progress photos

Unfinished detail of Mum's face
A closer view of the finished detail of Mum's face.  Lots of extra touches have been added here.  From the tiny hairs around the nose to the whiskers, my favourite detail to paint is the eyes.  For me, they reflect Mum's personality and character.  

Finished detail on puppies and basket



Unfinished puppies on the left

Close up of the finished painting

Finished painting with some of the reference photo's

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A colourful beginning to Lucy's portrait

The beginning of my latest watercolour portrait.  Not attractive at this stage, I agree. Just have faith in the process!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

A little further along......

Oil on linen - Copyright Marion Simkins 2012

I have started to add the detail on the basket.  I realize, at this stage, that it doesn't much resemble a wicker basket, but you have to remember that this is a work in progress, it will do eventually.

The blue haze on the left side of the painting is the reflection of light coming in from the window. It bounces off the shiny oil paint.

I painted the spokes of the basket, then what will be, the raised area's of wicker.  I have added another layer to the background and foreground.  It is important to work from the background to the foreground painting the objects furthest away first.  I have roughly blocked in the puppies legs while I am concentrating on the basket, they are getting a little discoloured but I will correct that when I paint them in detail later on.

I want the basket to dry before I work anymore on it, but as Mum is behind the pups, I will be adding more detail to her next.

As the saying goes "Patience is a virtue"

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Mum & pups get a layer of colour

Oil on linen 50x60cm Copyright Marion Simkins
At first I couldn't tell these cute little Jack Russell puppies apart.  They all looked cute and cuddly.  Now I know them better than the back of my own hand.  So much character!

For those of you interested in the process, I have added more colour now, while at the same time keeping to the pattern of lights and darks. The cobalt blue on the puppies faces will be the shine in their fur.  I decided to have a glow of light coming from the right side of the picture.

The wicker basket is still just roughly blocked in, now the Mum and pups are established, I can start to build up that part of the painting next.  It is a slow process, as each layer has to dry before the next.  Worth it though, as it helps to achieve a depth and richness that wouldn't be there otherwise.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Free and loose with the oil paint!

Blocking in the tones with dilute oil paint

The painting is a little further along in these photo's - but not much!  I just want to cover the canvas and build the dark, light and mid-tones.  It's a little like making a mosaic with paint.  I know it looks dreadful, but as the saying goes, "from little acorns big oak trees grow"..............( and if this turns into an oak tree I am in big trouble.)