I am very fond of animals and they often appear in my paintings. Sometimes I paint them on their own but often amongst the landscape of green fields and wildflowers. I prefer to paint animals in a setting. I would never do a portrait as it is so difficult to portray an animals personality as their owner sees them.
I love to see the cows out in the fields at the beginning of Spring, they are kept inside the byres in winter as the weather is so bad. 'Ron's coo's' was painted at what used to be the Orkney farm park in Harray. I painted other animals and birds there too, one of the paintings being 'Ginge the pig', a Tamworth sow basking in the sun.
Seals are a common site along the Orkney shoreline and you often see them sunbathing on the rocky coastline. A long time ago I had the chance to visit South Faray, an uninhabited Island on Orkney. The seals were pupping so it must have been October. I got the rare chance to get quite close to a young baby seal (without disturbing mum) and I painted several pictures of her. Recently I visited Burwick in South Ronaldsay to see the seals there that lay down below the cliffs.
There are also lots of sheep in Orkney and although I find them difficult to paint, they often appear in my paintings. I thought the image of sheep in the snow made a good composition with The Hoy Hills in the background.
I don't have a cat, I am a 'dog' person but cats have featured in a few of my pictures. Peeping pussycat was my sisters cat, I caught her in the garden peeping through the long grass which made a good image and Ginger Tom just had to go in my Stromness close painting as he was posing for me perfectly!
Dancing Dolphins is a much earlier watercolour. My main subject at art school was Illustration and I think this picture is very illustrative. It was done not long after I finished my training.