Year of the swift

The year my eyes turned to the skies and urban bird, the swift…


They scream around the streets of Kendal i was told.  So in the spring i eagerly awaited their arrival. They’ll come. Said the locals.


And they did. Circling the towers, spires, alleys and ginnels of my new home town.

After flying all the way from Africa they find a high place to build their nests and the eaves of my new neighbourhood, Fellside, prove perfect.

I found them quite captivating.

So much so i created a swoop of swifts..

A frenzy of swifts…

and now a completion of swifts…

They left too soon but this will remain. A lasting reminder of how they circle the roofs above old Kendal town.


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A gorgeous gorging of goldfinch

“How did I get the idea”… a friend asked.


Katherine and Iain are art lovers. Their home is filled with beautiful colours and textures, I had previously captured their woodland garden in glass and now it was time for the flower garden and the view from a different aspect. A place where goldfinch feast on the evening primrose…

We want your paint this time..and can it be abstract they asked…

It seemed simple to me. I envisioned flashes of vibrant red and yellow amidst the chaotic hedgerow and soaring seed heads.

Small birds. Big space. So I broke the panel down into chunks fielded by the vertical lines of the cow parsley’s and evening primrose with the sweeping curves at the bottom to mimic the dark dark undergrowth.

Every ‘chunk’ I planned to do differently. Same subject different paint application. Fun fun fun with the paintbrush. And then side by side the jumbled pieces come together and make the eyes dart around the picture that is punctuated with splashes of the red and yellow. goldfinch.IMG_3323IMG_3025

Your eyes settle. And then move on. I was really satisfied by how this panel turned out.

Gentle and yet chaotically busy.

Vibrant and yet sludgily (beautifully) subdued.


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It’s a place… it’s probably an ale.

Did you know it is also a sheep!

A prized specimen. Farmers pluck their flocks to get the perfect eyes!

Hope the farmer in question likes this one….. (?) (yikes)

Here is how I built it… (Honestly, the scaffolding behind this one. My job is never easy! ha)

So, the piece of wood. Found on a local ramble many moons ago. Awaiting the perfect head to peer above it.

The paint.  A blend of tracing black and bistre brown. Manipulated and moved around on the glass for dense soft fur and scratched into for that gentle furry face.

Lovely. I really enjoyed this one too…..

But ummm, now… better go sort out my brows… ha (baaaaaaaaah!)


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cooo cooo coooooo

IMG_3025A beautiful tale of how a couple had met 60 years ago accompanied this piece…

And so a gift for his wife… collared doves and briar rose which hold special significance.

(I really enjoyed the talks with David on this one. Such fondness and sureness.)

Here is how they came to be. On that branch.

You can see the design being tweaked but the central pair were right.

Rich colours were wanted…



Lovely project…

So if you want to come chat about your own…




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More is more is Morecambe.

A wedding…

sunshine… beaches…. and rainbows in Morecambe was the brief.

And so with Morecambe…

Well, more is definitely more. Do you not think!



More! You want more!

Morecambe. Here, is how it developed…


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Bird on a ball

Not just any bird…

And not just any ball…


‘Tis a cactus finch of the variety upon which Darwin based his theory of evolution. Found in the region of Ecuador and the Galapagos.


I enjoyed creating this mischievous wee specimen so much I made three! And had varying results with silver stain dusting its beak and scruffy feathers.


The best made it on to the ball. (The cricket ball selected for its globe-ness. It’s lovely bisecting stitch work and lush waxy red finish)


Nice to handle and a very nice commission.

“But what happened to the others” I hear you shout…

Here. One made it on to this old relic from Morecambe. (I wonder if Darwin ever visited Morecambe…)IMG_2202

And my favourite (sssshhh) made it here. Beautifully tethered to this scorched and darkened chunk. Cheeky looking thing, eh!

Oh what fun. It smells of smoke and conjures memories of glowing campfires, starry nights and friends.

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Buff breasted paradise kingfisher

(yep. You don’t often see them around here!)

This was a commission from Jon the waller in Kendal. It was one of his proudest ‘spots’ from his travels and he wanted it capturing in his back door… (Back door!!… I tell you.. haha…I would have charged more had I realised)

Anyway, the exotic bird is now ensconced in his (back) door in Kendal and we are both very happy with the results. I particularly loved experimenting with the background.

Really pleased with how the vertical lead lines and the drapery effect of the layered foliage work. The simple repetitive chaos of the background frames the bird just right to me. (I’d like to do this type of background again… anyone fancy it?!)

Here, see how it grew…. Thanks for the lovely commission Jon.


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