Some portrait work

Portraits and dogs…. they go together like birds of a feather….

Once I had drawn the logo for Pangothica I was so fired up to draw something else that I jumped on it straight away! I started doing some portraits. Actually, this started with drawing a friend’s dogs for her birthday. Two miniature schnauzers taken from separate photographs and made into one picture. this was the finished result, and a gift that was happily received:

First Dog Portrait Ever! Two Mini Schnauzers


potrait H singing 1
Steve Hogarth, Marillion

This spurred me on to find other things that I could turn my hand to. Gem, in fact, asked me if I could draw her favourite musician (Mr Steve Hogarth from Marillion) and handed me a photo which was quite difficult to draw. Major facial expression going on and lots of passion in the photo. I gave it a go and despite some issues with the technicalities I came up with this which I was very pleased with I think it captured the emotion of his singing very well, personally so I shared it on the fan page to a positive audience for the most part…

I moved onto another picture of him which was not so successful and looks a it like him and a bit like Alice Cooper, though still not bad considering it was only my second ever portrait. I shared it again, this time to a more lukewarm reception, but hey, I’m still learning!

portrait H 2
Steve Hogarth Second Portrait

Basically I think this one is overworked and I was using pencil and biro together to draw and the overall effect is a little bit dark. I decided to do another one in biro and pencil, still only my third ever portrait! This time of Mr Steve Rothery, the guitarist from Marillion and all round brilliant Rock God (And a thoroughly nice chap, I met him in a church in Oxford at the Christmas gig of the aforementioned Steve Hogarth!). This one came out MUCH softer and a much better likeness of the man himself. Again shared to the fan site and this time to a better reception.

I did a lot more work in pencil which worked better for tone and shading and then added in accents of biro for depth and to pick out the darker elements.  This had an overall better effect than over-using the biro and I was much more pleased with the result. I was finding my feet at last with the drawing malarky and was loving every minute of it!

Rothers Portrait 1
Mr Rothery, Marillion.

I was sussing out how to do this portrait thing at last and discovering something about the way I work that I had not thought much about before. I actually much prefer to draw using subjects that are actually doing something. Incidental poses rather than contrived ones. Action shots, if you will. I really prefer my subjects to be caught in a moment in time rather than posing for the camera, unless of course they have an unusual expression or are pulling a face.

My training in hypnotherapy and NLP comes in here I think. One of the subjects that I have studied at some length is “micro facial expressions”. Have you ever seen the TV series ‘Lie to Me’? with Tim Roth? Well… That. How the face betrays a feeling in a fleeting moment in time, how we express our innermost feelings in that millisecond that sometimes people are lucky enough to catch on camera. So to me a face with expression is FAR more interesting and also difficult to draw. I do like some posed photos but they ave to be interesting not just gazing at the camera… In this last of the set of drawings, I actually sold the final piece… here:

Steve Hogarth Singing Portrait 2
Steve Hogarth, Marillion, Live

I am waiting for the framing to be done and then I will post a picture of the finished product!

I will leave you with a poem about a lethal addiction….

“A Cautionary Tale…”

It’s a terrible tale 
I’m going to tell 
‘bout an aspiring young writer 
Who started to swell… 
It started on Thursday, 
At just about noon, 
Her face went all round 
Like a full, silver moon 
By lunch time on Friday, 
Her cranium inflated 
Her chin couldn’t take it 
Her jaw dislocated 
Into the weekend 
The swelling continued 
Puffing up ligaments 
Tendons and sinews. 
The spherical authoress 
Was more than bemused 
(once pretty and slender, 
Her ego was bruised) 
The doctors were baffled, 
Experts confused;
Test after test… 
“What’s behind this?” They mused. 

Several days later 
Our tale takes a twist, 
Our beach-ball –like heroine 
Rolled over her wrist 
She punctured her forearm 
And out shot some ink 
The cause of the swelling 
Was her favourite drink! 
What had started off as 
An innocent nibble 
Idle chewing of pens whilst 
She thought what to scribble… 
Developed and grew into 
Quite an affliction 
As she succumbed to 
A full blown addiction 

Nightly in private 
She’d been sneaking around 
Supping on biros and 
Pens that she found. 
The result was: Disaster! 
A sticky ink river 
Her kidneys were inkwells 
Pools of gloop in her liver. 
Her tummy was bloated 
with chewed fibre tips 
Remains of a fountain pen 
Staining her lips 

Sadly for our comrade 
There’s never a return 
Once you’ve swallowed a pen, 
Your insides will burn… 
the addiction takes over, 
Like a wild forest fire;
Only the inkiest tidal waves 
Will quench your desire!
Your resolve will soon waver, 
You’ll be swallowed whole, 
Soon guzzling ink 
Becomes your only goal… 
Of course, the outcome 
Of this tale is tragic, 
No happily ever after 
Nor fairy tale magic… 
She lay on the floor 
And gasped her last breath 
And in full technicolour 
She waited for death.

‘Til Next Time…… Over & Out!




Starting Out Again!

I decided to start a blog around my art and writing as I will soon be embarking on a new journey at university (at the ripe old age of 35!) doing a ‘BA Hons Drawing’ degree with the University of the Creative Arts. I am taking this degree with a partner of the university as a distance learning degree part time from home.

All through my life I have enjoyed drawing and painting. Recently I took some drawings I had made when I was 5 and re-drew them age 35..

kid drawng 1

kid drawing 2kid drawing 3

In addition to this I have been working on an art journal over the last few months, a few pages of which I will post here:

journal 1

journal 6

journal 8

journal 2

journal 9

journal 3

A couple of months ago I decided to take the plunge and apply for my BA Hons in Drawing and took the leap and applied to do it with the Open College of the Arts who are partnered with the University for the Creative Arts, where a few current artists and designers have enjoyed their education, Tracey Emin, Zandra Rhodes and Karen Millen, to name a few.

Buoyed by the prospect of being able to study part time and at home I decided to go for this university as I have a number of health complications which prevent me from being able to venture outdoors safely all that much, I officially applied and was accepted onto the course and applied for my funding with the Student Finance England- student loans people- and applied successfully for my disabled student’s grant. All this has been approved and the next stage is actually starting the degree!

In this flurry of excitement I actually began to pick up my pencil again for the first time in years with any seriousness.

I began by designing a few things for my parents website (still under construction) for their new business venture- “Pangothica” a realm of all that is alternative in the crafting and sewing and art world, starting with their logo:


and eventually designing tattoo and embroidery patterns for use on their site.

Again, fully bolstered with enthusiasm for drawing I began to do something that I have not done in years- draw properly. In the past I have sold multiple paintings and drawings and made a few quid in the process, but after a serious incident in my late teens I stopped drawing and painting altogether for a number of years. Prior to this incident I was a voracious painter and drawer on any and every surface- paper, canvas, walls, floors, velvet, wood, my own body… you name it!

After the trauma of this incident- I won’t go into details at this point but am aware after years of therapy that these things are wont to inform us in our creative endeavours so I have no doubt that it will become the subject of my creativity at some point and then maybe I will discuss it some more- my creativity ground to a halt. Instead of making beautiful, haunting marks on paper I started carving awful, damaging gashes into my own skin with a vengeance. I suffered and stuffed myself through the agony of undiagnosed mental illness and eating disorders, drug and alcohol addiction and very nearly lost my entire family completely. It is only in the last 18 months, since I was 34 that things have really turned around with my family, and in the last 6 years that things have turned around for me in terms of my relationship with myself.
2016-05-07 16.53.14I reached critical mass. Literally, I was grossly obese, desperately suicidal and unhappy, terribly lonely and felt that I had nothing to live for. My body is now a faded roadmap of that journey, scars fading into silver lines both externally and internally as I have found happiness with my current partner who has been my rock (and my hard place!) for the last 5 or so years. I also have my beautiful dog, Molly, as ever, by my side (I can’t help but include a picture of her here, she is so beautiful…).

I have since lost in the region of 16 stones in weight, trained to become a highly qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist, (My Website) which I hope will become 50% of my work in the future- the other 50% will be my art, of course! My journal, like my journey- in and round and through this wonderful landscape of creativity and growth- remains unwritten, undrawn and incomplete as I find my own completedness. I will continue to write, read and draw my way through this part of my life with prose, poetry and pictures and will continue to do so as long as I can hold a pencil and draw breath.

I will leave you with a poem I wrote called “Hope”


you were lots of things to me 
7 of you, my 7 reasons 
Some stability through 
The changing of life 
If I had known that you’d all cease to be 
As I have known you 
My journey in and round and through 
Would carry the burden of fear 
But knowing that this closeness and 
Directness and the Beauty of Truth 
Never has an ending 
I have been able to live it, 
And I am changed for knowing you, 
Those lessons that caused me pain then growth 
Are now part of the fibre of me 
And that which was a message, a place, a feeling 
Transcends it’s moment in time, 
I could never have walked this path alone 
On craggy cliff tops, with the ocean-wild beating out 
Rough and broken rock. 
And at first even together we could not come to the edge of that cliff 
For we could not fly 
We could not fly because we were too sad, too broken, too afraid, 
But in spite of our selves we ventured to that ledge, 
And they pushed us 
And we flew.

‘Til next time…. Over and Out!





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