Missed post yesterday!

My husband was off work yesterday and I went ahead and scheduled my social media posts and then completely forgot to share a blog post. I’m going to blame him for that haha! Screwed up my morning routine :).

Another video to share with you :). Gunner was a delight to draw. Feel free to head over to my YouTube channel for more videos. From acrylics to colour pencil, some real time and slower clips to full time lapse.

Meet Gunner :)

Gunner is finished. What a beautiful horse I had the pleasure of capturing. This pastel portrait has been another one of mine which I will always remember. The background the client chose really worked well. That soft glow and working from dark to light really complimented him.

A4 (8.3″ x 11.7″) Pastel Drawing

The full time lapse of Gunner will be uploaded to my YouTube channel later today. I will post that here in a blog post tomorrow :).

New video!

I am taking this time (was meant to be on holiday all of this week) to focus on a painting of my own. This will be of my red Staffie and my Sprocker. I took the photo during a holiday to Scotland and the lighting is beautiful. Strong warm lighting from behind them both which has over exposed parts but that is what I like. Normally that isnt ideal for using as a reference for a pet portrait but in this case its what made me choose this photo.

Music by bensound.com

I have lots of other artists follow me on social media. They often ask me to make slower and real time videos. I would love to make more of these but they really take a lot of time to make and edit which I dont have time usually to do.

With what is going on I have had some time to make this much longer 15 minute video. Normally my videos are sped up considerably more and at the most are only 2 minutes long. This video above is sped up but is far slower and I hope shows how I layer, break areas down into small sections and blend the paint which for acrylics can be a challenge.

I am wanting to make more of these videos and one with captions that explain what I am doing. I would love to do ones with a voice over but I’m not brave enough to do that yet :).

I would love to hear what you think of this video either over at my YouTube in the comments of this video or over at my facebook page 🙂

Here they are!

Well I am so pleased to share this with you. I have worked really hard and many many hours have gone into this piece. This is my largest acrylic painting to date. I loved working on this scale so much so that I ordered another canvas this size and will be doing a painting of my furbabies.

From top left working across is Oscar, Lily, Harry, Millie, Charlie and George.
29″ x 21″ Acrylic on canvas

I get all of my canvases custom made by my local framer. He always does such a great job from framing, mounting down to making these canvases for me.

For the background for this piece I used my airbrush. This creates a lovely soft mottled effect quickly. Getting soft blending like this in acrylics can be tricky due to the quick drying time so the airbrush is a must have tool for me. I just love the effect it creates.

Cheer across the country!

What an amazing atmosphere all the cheering and clapping created last night! A small gesture that was heard all over the country. Thank you to all the NHS and key workers 💕

Bubbles had rather a lot to say about it this morning haha! This sheep is hilarious and is more like a dog. She follows you everywhere for food and wouldn’t hesitate to steal treats from your pocket! My 2 year old niece named her in case you may be wondering why on earth anyone call a sheep bubbles 🙂

Orangutan update!

This will be the last update before I share the finished painting with you :D. I have finished it and just waiting for it to dry before I vanish it. Although… I do think I want to tweak one area and add a very subtle highlight so this may delay the varnishing process by a few days. I have put the painting aside and will look at it with fresh eyes and see if I want to tweak parts.

The original will be available when finished :). Feel free to email me if you are interested.
zara.toms@hotmail.co.uk

Reference photo: Johanna Kok @ Wildlife Reference Photos

New Lion Wildlife Painting!

Fresh off the easel is this pair of Lions <3. For this piece I had a lovely photograph by Terence Porter where he captured that emotion and affection so perfectly. I wanted to focus purely on that so I hyped up the contrast and focused on values. I wanted to draw the attention right to them both which I hope I have achieved.

This original piece is available and ready for its new home. Feel free to email me if you would like more information.
zara.toms@hotmail.co.uk

Details:
Original 8″ x 10″ acrylic painting on canvas board
Can be framed using a standard size
£150 (FREE UK P&P). All portraits are sent tracked and recorded next day guaranteed by 1pm.

#StaySafe 1

Hi guys, I am wanting to make some posts that will make you smile, make you maybe temporarily forget the worry and stressful time we are all going through at the moment. So here is the first..

‘Maisey My Miracle’
When my Maisey was 5 years old (she will be 11 on the 29th April) she lost the use of her back legs. This happened as a result of 4 large blood clots compressing her spine in 4 different places. She was given a 5% chance of regaining the use of her legs. Due to the severity of the damage euthanasia was one of the options given to us. At the time, which I know I was very fortunate to be in that position, I was a canine hydrotherapist. Treating paralysed dogs every day. So euthanasia didn’t enter my mind. I knew I had to give my own baby a chance.


After a 2 week stay in the specialist vets she was finally allowed home. Dragging her back end, unable to urinate or deficate without assistance and her happy waggy tail was limp and lifeless. Twice daily hydrotherapy sessions, twice weekly laser and acupuncture (kindly provided by an amazing lady Shelley Doxey over at Holistic Veterinary Care) and physiotherapy every couple of hours meant that 8 weeks after her surgery she started to move her right hind paw!!!! A week after that she wagged her tail! Still dragging her back end and unable to support any weight but these two subtle signs were enough for us to say ‘lets carry on and give her more time’.


Fast forward many months and the same rehabilitation programme and she was up on her feet! By this point I had purchased her a doggy wheelchair (bottom right) which meant she could charge around with other dogs and enjoy life as before with long countryside walks. She LOVES all dogs and people so being able to be back socialising made her so so happy. You can see from her face it brought her to life. She used the wheelchair a lot when we first got it but as she got stronger she felt it hindered her and now she charges around without any aids or support. Nearly 6 years on and although a touch wobbly at times she is walking, running and acting like a complete puppy :).


The photo with her and my Sprocker is one way we have adapted our holidays and long walks to suit her needs. This is just a childs cycle trailer but works perfectly for her. She gets out and walks a mile or so and then we put her in for 10 minutes where she can rest a bit and then get back out and carry on for another burst. She is the happiest dog I know and everyone who meets her comments on how bouncy and puppy like she is. My Baby <3.
The point of this post I guess is to share that our furbabies very much live in the moment. They take whatever is thrown at them and just have so much resilience that it makes us appreciate what we have with them so much more. There was a time when I didn’t think Maisey would pull through this but she defied all the odds and is my little miracle <3.
Through this difficult time your furbabies will be there always greeting you in that same way. Waggy tailed and slobbery kisses and I am sure as pet owners that’s what will make this difficult time easier for us. Their companionship and absolute unconditional love.
Stay safe everyone and feel free to flood lots of photos of your amazing pets. Have they got an interesting story or maybe a funny, quirky character that just makes you chuckle. I’d love to hear it. Pop across to my Facebook page and drop your photos and storys on this thread <3

Lily photo vs drawing

I should make more of these really! Just so you can see what I have worked from and the realism I strive to achieve in each portrait.

A good photo is key..
One of the key things to creating a highly detailed and realistic portrait is the reference you are working from. As an artist who is always wanting to capture the personality and character of each of my subjects this is always more achievable with a good quality photograph to work from. Lily is a prime example. Her owner provided my with an excellent photo taken on his DSLR camera. Nowadays, so many mobile phones have superb cameras which take exceptional photos. I always say that as long as I can see the fur direction I can normally work from the photograph.

There are times when the pet has sadly passed away and the photographs the owners have are not good quality. I always try to still work with these and enhance them and make the portrait more realistic and detailed than the actual photo itself. Tomorrow’s blog post will go into this in more detail and I will share with you an example where I improved on the reference and made a portrait that was more realistic.