Saturday 24 December 2011


(do excuse the pun)
Pastel pencils on pastel primed paper
4''by 6''

My Christmas card this year has taken a decidedly nutty flavour, and should sit well alongside the numerous other 'sproutings' that have emerged from nut in months past.
Wishing you all the merriest of Yuletides and the happiest of new year beginnings!


Monday 28 November 2011

Pen and ink

It has been many years since I last dabbled in medium of pen and ink. Not since my college days and even then I was disconcerted by its unforgiving nature. Also the difficulty it poses with not being able to render in the subtle tones akin to my pencil work, especially when it came to drawing faces.  But in an attempt to broaden my repertoire of skills and cater for potential black and white commissions that could come my way, I have been dusting off my nibs and this is what flowed out. Being so accustomed to working in a laboriously layered fashion, I have to admit to enjoying its immediacy.


 Beauty and the beast

 A cat collector who was initially inspired by the character of 'Gertrude' from Mervyn Peake's 'Gormanghast'. It is however very loosely based on her and I might portray her quite differently if the opportunity to illustrate her came my way.

One of my 'Sproutings'. 'The Chestnut Nuptials' came into being as an idea for wedding gift. Thank you to Ari Berk for his suggestion for a title. Prints are now available of this in my Etsy shop-

Monday 19 September 2011

Underwater Beauty

Earlier this year I  was commissioned to do an imaginative portrait of a client’s wife as a surprise birthday gift. So with a couple of wedding photos as reference and a few snippets of information on the subject’s life and loves, I came up with this unusual underwater scene. It has elements of her past, present and hints of the future all amalgamated into one moment. I created it with pastel pencils on a board primed with pastel primer. It is my largest piece to date, measuring at roughly A1 in size. Doing it in pastels means that embarking on something of this size isn't quite as daunting or as time consuming as it would be to execute it in oils. When the big day arrived I was relieved and flattered to know that the subject was pleased and that it moved her to tears when she looked at it, a satisfying reaction indeed.

I just want to thank all those who have taken time to write generous comments on my blog over the last  year and apologies for not responding to them, its just because I haven’t worked out how to yet. I will try to soon.

Saturday 9 July 2011

Recent Sproutings

The Liberation of Lady Sprout

To bring you up to date with some of the recent sproutings that have emerged from my nut, I introduce to you this burgeoning lady of the forest. She is currently residing  in the Forêt de Brocéliande in Brittany, where for the next two months she graces the wall of the Chateau de Comper along side a few of my other creations, including the Three Hares tor and amongst a selection of fine contemporary French illustration.

 The Arrival 

A birthday gift for my dearest friend

Monday 9 May 2011

Three Hares Tor

  Many apologies for my absent blogging of late. Amongst other distractions my computer was in need of some extra RAM to assist me in the flow of my workings. Having implanted the horned mammal inside my machine I am now able to reveal one of my most recent creations of another mammal , the HARE, or rather the THREE HARES SYMBOL to be more precise. As we have entered the Chinese year of the rabbit as well as the three linked Hares or rabbits being the symbol associated with the Dartmoor stannery town in which I dwell, it was certainly a timely and locally significant subject matter to explore. To read more about the symbol’s history and link to Dartmoor and China, 
the Three Hares project by photographer Chris Chapman is worth a look.. To my knowledge I’m not aware that the symbol has been depicted in the form of a granite Tor set in a landscape before so I thought it wise to pursue it with my pastels and capture it on paper before another artist got there before me..

 I managed to complete it in time for a little exhibition I had in the Courtyard (local Organic Café) in March, it sat amongst other originals, some old, some more recent and a number of framed prints.

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Tuesday 8 February 2011

The Angel with no name...

Sometimes I will embark on a painting where the process is a journey that begins in the land of consciousness, but will then lead me into some unconscious territory. I will stumble around, not knowing quite where I am, but still have some faith that if I carry on I will eventually come to a familiar place and begin to get my bearings. Even when I do think I know where I am, I might turn around and find that from another viewpoint, the land is not so familiar, there are undiscovered rocks and paths and I am then faced with indecision, Which way shall I go? So I will focus my attention on the compass which is nestled within my heart and follow its arrow which leads me down a rocky path to a place that feels like home . And even when I have declared my journey complete I might still reflect on those mysterious lands, what lies beneath those rocks  and where those unfamiliar paths might have taken me.

And so I come to describe the process of my latest painting - a fusion of the ethereal and earthly.

 This painting had its primitive beginnings as a surreal idea to create a landscape, where the familiar tors and standing stones of Dartmoor, were figures, birds and other moorland dwellers.  I found though, that this alone did not have a strong enough premise for me to start from and I needed to develop a view point, encompass an emotion and a story. I wanted to convey the exposing nature of the moors and how the tors act like places of refuge from elemental forces.  As I began to mark out the naked stone figure with her offering of a place of safety, I found also that the shapes of angel wings would offer a strong dynamic composition and in turn a whole new premise and layer of symbolism.

An early stage of marking out a rough composition with pastel and laying down some earthy tones.

At this point I introduced it my mum, artist Marja Lee Kruijt. This brought in an interesting and new perspective on the painting, as she interpreted it very differently to me, through her visionary eyes and with her own personal language. I realised that because of its mystical quality it was a very subjective work.

The painting at its final stage.
Having reached a stage where I am brave enough to step away from it say 'its done', I now come face to face with a recurring problem of mine - that of naming the painting which has just been born. Often with my more personal paintings I struggle to come up with a title and cringe at my attempts. I am usually reluctant to give them a name unless I feel it adds something to the painting and often I find my efforts don’t.  So this time I have decided not to even try to think of a title and am offering out to all of you wonderful wordsmiths to have a go. If you feel inclined I would be very interested to hear what the granite angels  say and mean to you and, in your own language, will be grateful for suggestions for a title.  I only ask that if one of your suggestions resonates with me, you grant me permission to use it - should a title be demanded at some future time.

 She listens out for her name on the high winds ...




Saturday 5 February 2011

Onion tears...

Like my melancholic friend the Onion man, I too, can be the cause of my own tears :-(