Ruby Rubalicious

When I moved back to England, one of the first things I did after having moved into my house was to look for a dog.  I’ve always had pets – cats, dogs, budgerigars, cockatiels and zebra finches in an aviary, a goat, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, tortoises…..probably a few others too over the years!

I wanted a small rescue dog, so I was thrilled to find a long haired Chihuahua who wasn’t too far away.  The little female had been used for breeding but had been spayed due to a disastrous pregnancy and therefore was unwanted by the breeder.   It took all of five minutes for Ruby and I to forge a bond!


I’ve never known a dog who has wanted to please so much and she is probably the easiest I’ve ever had – very calm, not at all yappy, allows anyone to stroke her (including children) and never barks at other dogs.

Naturally I’ve had to paint her portrait!

Ruby and portrait

Because they try to breed Chis to have short muzzles, very often their tongues are too long for their mouths which is why the tip of hers is nearly always poking out!


All rescues come with their own pasts and I’ve learned over time what scares her – i.e. the rustle of plastic bags – especially black rubbish ones, traffic, loud noises and fireworks.     The previous owner told me that she was 6 years old last November, and as I met a lady last week whose Chihuahua lived till she was 21, hopefully we’ll have many years together.



My painting, my way

Finished Simi a few days ago.



It’s taken me goodness knows how many years to actually work out what I enjoy painting and in which style.  Perhaps it’s got something to do with the fact that I never felt that I could call myself an Artist as I was never ‘trained’ to be one.

I tried almost every kind of media and copied the style of many others.  I thought that because they were ‘real’ artists (i.e., they’d gone to art school) that their work must be superior, even if sometimes I’d admit to myself that their blobby brown prints weren’t really my cup of tea!

Colour excites me so I thought that I had to use it in my work.


I played around with abstracts using brilliant inks but that didn’t really do it for me either.  As unfashionable as it might be in many arty circles, my preference lies in painting animals in a realistic style.

So as I happily begin a new painting this week of my little dog – Ruby – I’m exactly where I want to be, creating the kind of art that I really enjoy!

Ruby and portrait



Cats and bigger cats

It’s been a productive week despite being afflicted with some kind of unidentified virus thing!  Before I felt too ‘meh’ I finished the portrait of Atticus.


Though it’s not nice to make people cry, his owner was moved to tears when she saw the picture, probably the most sincere – and gratifying (to me at any rate!) – sort of complement.

My brother, who is as much a fan of nature and animals as I am – more if that’s possible – told me about a beautiful female tiger (named Simi) that the Isle of Wight Zoo has recently managed to acquire after she was discovered in a horrid German circus.  It took a year plus political wrangling at the highest level to bring her into the country.  The zoo won’t be able to breed her because they have no idea of her bloodline, but she is guaranteed a home for the rest of her life.

A short video clip and a couple of small photos were all it took to get my creative juices flowing, and I’ve begun a portrait of her.  Still quite a few hours left till she’s finished, though hopefully now I seem to have kicked the virus from my system I’ll feel more like working on her.


I love everything about tigers……..their wonderful colouring, their power, their amazing eyes.  My dream would be to give one a hug.

Yes, I know it wouldn’t work in reality which is why there isn’t one lying purring and contented on my living room floor right now!

Starting Over


I love the sea!

On returning to England having spent 36 mostly happy years in the Middle East, initially for various reasons I went to live in Leighton Buzzard.  A nice enough little market town but being in the middle of the country, it’s just about the furthest you can get from the coast.  After the initial excitement of being back in my own country died down, it began to dawn on me that my nearest body of water – the Grand Canal – wasn’t nearly enough!

So I have upped sticks and moved myself and my little dog to the south coast.  The sea is visible from my windows and three minutes walk from my front door.

I’m so ecstatic to be here that my painting mojo has returned and so has my muse, and even though the bedroom designated as a studio isn’t ready yet, I’m happily creating pet portraits on my dining room table such as these –



– and I’m currently working on this one which should be finished today.


For sure it’s good to be back!