In progress – Pencil Drawing of Pixie & Boots

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I have been working on the portrait of Pixie and Boots and this is the first progress photo. I have competed Pixie and am about to start the drawing of Boots which will be positioned to the right of Pixie.

The drawing is 16 x 12, however I always cut the paper larger so my clients have plenty of choice when framing for space around the drawing. You can see in the photo the paper is quite a lot larger. I will have another photo very soon!

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Oil Horse Portrait – Next stages of Chico

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Pet Portraits In Progress

Here are the next stages of Chico, I have taken a close up photo while Nicholas was working and one whilst he was away from his easel so I could get a full shot of the portrait. It won’t be long and I will have a final scan. He only has the final details to add, so its all very exciting. I can’t wait to get this one scanned, it looks simply amazing.

I have been packing up portraits this weekend, the family painting of Olly and Alex with their dogs is finally framed and will be sent off today on a 24 hour delivery. The frame is beautiful, its the gold swept frame and I have taken photos and video. I will be processing it all this week and will post them on our blog soon.

I have also been titivating with our websites again this weekend in my spare time.  You might need to refresh you browser to see the changes on our home pages. We have also been working hard in the garden and I have taken lots of lovely photos as everything is growing really well. We have had quite a bit of rain so the garden is looking fresh and green. We have planted up the hanging baskets so we are now eagerly waiting for them to start growing. Its warm and sheltered just outside the cottage so they should do well this year. I will try to get a blog post about our garden for our readers to see in the coming days.

Another blog post to follow of my easel and the ongoing portrait of Pixie and Boots!



Oil Horse Portraits – First stages of Chico

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Pet Portraits In Progress

Here are the first stages of Chico’s oil horse portrait at 14 x 14 inches in size. The painting is for a returning client who will be having the next portrait in Nicholas’ client list too. It will be a portrait of their gorgeous dog Amber.

The portrait is based on a photo taken of Chico in an autumnal woodland setting which is the perfect backdrop. The colours on Chico work so well with the warm Siennas and Ochres of the woodland. Nicholas is capturing the whole scene beautifully and it is looking amazing here in the studio.

I am currently working on a double cat pencil portrait which I will blog a photo of soon. I’m really enjoying getting back to my easel after having a few weeks work on the website.

With regards to the website updates I have done a few more today. I have recently been learning how to make our submenu navigation drop down in mobile view as our visitors have been missing a few of our pages due to the navigations limitations. I have been researching about how to go about this and I was thrilled to finally get it implemented and uploaded today. It has been on my to do list for a few months now.

Our websites will be ever evolving. Although I have a number of things to do both on the front end and behind the scenes still, I am thankful that all of the main areas are in place. Its wonderful to see our visitors now able to surf the website with ease, particularly those on a mobile or tablets.





Sad News – Jane our Lovely Framer

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One of the reasons both Nicholas and myself have been behind over the last month is because our most wonderful framer and friend Jane sadly passed away on Sunday.

Jane was more than a framer to us, she was our friend. She lived in the next village and when she became poorly earlier this year we helped her as much as we could at home and then visited her during the weeks she was in hospital. We saw her for the last time on Friday. We are both utterly devastated to loose her at such a young age and will always remember her and treasure the times we spent with her.

Jane framed so many paintings and drawings for our clients over the last 6 years, she put a smile on our clients faces each time they unwrapped one of our framed portraits. We have many of paintings and prints and a mirror that Jane framed in our house. We will always look at them and remember her, although our smiles will be tinged with sadness that she is no longer able to smile and enjoy them with us.

A time for reflecting, contemplating and cherishing every moment.

We made alternative framing arrangements at the beginning of the year as Jane was unable to work, so we are still providing a full framing service and endeavouring to maintain the high standard that Jane bought to our business.


Website Changes and Updates!

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Many of our clients and regular visitors may have noticed there have been some subtle changes to our website over the last couple of weeks. We have created so many changes its difficult to list them all here, however one of the main changes you will have noticed, is that our Studio Diary (where you are reading this!) is now called ‘On The Easel’. We feel it represents this section of our website much better. You may also have seen we have a new look here, showing a slideshow at the top of the page. Very posh!

We have moved our client lists and given them their own dedicated page, so people don’t have to scroll through them to get to our content. They can be accessed from any of our prices pages on our websites. Client Waiting Lists.

If you hadn’t realised by now our websites are quite complicated in that we have 5 websites, each dedicated to their own subject. I have made a new navigation under our main black one so that visitors can hop between each site easily and see the dedicated information and galleries for each subject.

They flow and intermingle nicely and with this in mind, I have made lots of new pages of content for our visitors to peruse! I have made new pages about our Studio and Materials for each site and you can access these on the individual home pages and in the black navigation. I have made new About Us pages on each site and revamped our About Us pages on our main site. I have also made new pencil gallery pages on the dog, cat, horse and pet sites too. Not forgetting lots of new videos scattered around too.

One area that I have been working hard on is our photography pages. I have made a dedicated photography tips page for each site and each subject.  I have used our portraits and clients photos as examples to guide our prospective clients when taking and sending us photos. I really hope that our visitors find it useful in having a better understanding of the kind of photos we need to work from.

I am delighted with how our website is looking, knowing its working for us and our clients, but every artists website and content is unique and thats how it should really stay. Unfortunately over the last two weeks we have found people stealing our content! One such instance is that 4 pet portraits websites have copied our photography tips pages word for word and pasted them onto their site. It is so sad as it takes me many hours of hard work to write unique content along with thinking of my own ideas and in one fail swoop its all copied. Google does not like duplicate content so it can have a detrimental effect when this happens. I have gone a little way to fox people now though, I have made our text un-highlightable 🙂 I am hoping this will go a little way to stop people being so lazy!

I hope that our visitors, clients and readers enjoy viewing our websites, we would love to hear what you think of our sites, so please do let us know!


Horse Montage Pencil Portrait – Casanova

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Melanie's Pencil Portraits

A number of weeks ago I completed horse montage a commission as a surprise 18th birthday gift at the start of April. My clients wanted to keep the commission a compete surprise from their daughter and called our studio to discuss the finer details of their requirements. They wanted to capture a number of aspects of Casanova and their daughter in the portrait, including a photo of them competing, cassonova more relaxed cantering in the field and a special photo of their daughter when she first met Casanova. The main study was to be a close up head study.

It’s always music to my ears when my clients use digital cameras to photography their subjects rather than a mobile device, as the photos have so much more information within them for me to work with. I was thrilled to receive them via Dropbox and was excited to get started.

The portrait was a 24 x 18 pencil drawing on Italian Fabriano paper and it was framed in the honey knots frame with a double mount. We also had the silver plaque set within the mount under the glass, which was a first for us and it worked beautifully.

Olivia was thrilled to receive the portrait and had some photos taken of her with the drawing when it was displayed in their home. Scroll down to read a testimonial Olivia posted on Facebook.

Below the photos, you will be able to see two videos of Casanova, once when the portrait was framed and another with Hollie and Teasel on my drawing desk.  I thought it was a fabulous opportunity to take video as I don’t often have three of my drawings here at the same time.

I hope you enjoy viewing everything in our latest blog post and Casanova will be on the website soon.



Well this came as a surprise! The most beautiful drawings of Casanova done by the incredibly talented Melanie Phillips ( This is my birthday present from my parents – couldn’t of asked for anything more, THANK YOU ❤️

Pet Portrait Testimonials

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We received the most wonderful photo from one of our clients a few weeks ago. Gill commissioned Nichoals to paint their dog Sonny as a surprise for her husbands birthday. Gill sent us a lovely email along with the photo that we could use for our website.

I have collected all of the main elements of the commission in the image below. The fabulous photo of Rob, the final painting of Sonny, the reference photo of Sonny and Nicholas’ pallet. The portrait was painted in traditional oils on Italian Linen canvas at 18 x 14 size. It was framed in our curved gold line frame with inner linen slip and you can read more about the commission over on our website – Collie Pet Portraits.

“….Today is Rob’s 50th Birthday and he is absolutely delighted with the portrait of Sonny, it is like having him back again, Sonny died last September at the ripe old age of 16 1/2. The likeness is remarkable, from the warmth in his eyes to the wet nose! The quality of the painting is stunning, thank you so much…..”


Video of Hollie

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Here is the little video I did of Hollie just before I packed her up and sent her to the client. The portrait was commissioned by Caroline and her family as a surprise for their mums 60th birthday. Unfortunately, Hollie past away last year at 15 and half years old and so the portrait will be a wonderful reminder of Hollie and hopefully bring back lovely memories for them all. I hope you enjoy the video.

Video of Teasel’s drawing

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Following from my video of Gypsy in my last post, I am about the add a few more videos that I have filmed of our artwork over the last couple of weeks. I am still experimenting with the Final Cut Pro software, which I’m am really enjoying. Im still also researching better cameras and sound microphones.

The video below is of my drawing of Teasel. The portrait has now been sent to my client and they are thrilled. I will be adding it to my website shortly. I hope you enjoy watching and the next video will follow soon!

Gypsy’s Video and our new software

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There has been a lot of happening in the studio over the last few weeks. I have been a bit behind with our blog for a number of reasons, a few of which I will explain in my blog posts to follow.

The first thing to blog about however, is our new video editing software. We have been making videos since midway through last year and have been experimenting with hardware and software over the time. We still haven’t come to the end of our research with the hardware, however we have settled on some fabulous software.

We are now using Final Cut Pro to make our videos and I have been learning how to use it over the last few weeks. It has enabled me to add transitions, text, intros, overlays and most probably all sorts of things I have yet to even come across that my other software was incapable of doing. I have already added some new videos around our websites which have been put together using Final Cut Pro so you’ll have to hop on over and take a look, or why not subscribe to our YouTube Channel and you will be notified each time we upload a new video.

The latest video of Gypsy has been put together in Final Cut Pro, narrated by myself,  we hope you like it!

Gypsy’s final scan

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Oil Pet Portraits by Nicholas

Here is the final scan and detail of Gypsy. The painting is a 16 x 12 oil painting by Nicholas Beall on Italian linen Canvas, which is stretched on Tulipwood, a hard wood. The painting looks absolutely amazing here in the studio and I have taken video of it this afternoon too. I am just uploading it to YouTube on our very slow broadband connection, so as soon as its been uploaded I will add it here for our readers to view.

I also took a fabulous photo of Gypsy’s painting in front of Nicholas’ brushes too which you can see below right. There are always lovely photo opportunities here in the studio so ill try to take a few more candid photos for our readers to view.

I will be packing the painting up in the next few days and it will be heading off to Pennsylvania, USA. A personal note about Pennsylvania is that Philadelphia, (which is in Pennsylvania) is home to Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution was signed. A relative of mine by marriage was one of the 52 people to sign the declaration all those years ago. I believe it was 1776 and I am always amazed to think our little cottage was standing at that time.

I will have more blog posts to follow shortly!



Stages of Gypsy – 16 x 12 oil on canvas

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Pet Portraits In Progress

It has been a holiday weekend here in the UK, however Nicholas and I have been working away on lots of exciting projects here in the studio! I am now catching up on our blog posts and here are just a few of the stages of the oil painting of Gypsy. The portrait is a 16 x 12 oil on Linen canvas and Nicholas is working away on the painting as I type. The portrait is looking simply amazing in the studio. You can see from the photos below how realistic the portrait is looking and as I quite often mention here, photos never really show the paintings true, they always look better in real life. So you can imagine how stunning this one is looking in the studio! It has to be one of my favourites of Nicholas’ paintings so far this year and it will definitely be making an appearance on our website soon.

Keep checking back as I will have a few more photos and a final scan in the coming days.





Gypsy’s Video…

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As promised here is the video of Gypsy filmed and edited by myself – Melanie painted by Nicholas Beall. The portrait of Gypsy is framed in the Chelsea Gold moulding which works so well with the background colours and over all feel of the painting. Its the perfect choice!

The painting is an 18 x 14 oil on linen canvas and it will be sent off to the clint as soon as possible as its for a birthday surprise in a few days time. We hope you like it and hope you like the video.

More blog posts to follow, including one all about the videos I have been making too!

Gypsy’s Painting Framed…..

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Here are the photos of Gypsys painting framed. The portrait is an 18 x 14 oil painting on Italian Linen Canvas and Nicholas has hand painted it using traditional oil paints.

The portrait has been framed using the Chelsea Frame in gold which we absolutely love. The gold colours work really well with the greens in the painting, along with the colours of the sky and trees. Its just perfect!

Nicholas paints his backgrounds in a vary natural and realistic way, using subtle colours and tones to compliment the subject. This painting really depicts the warm summers afternoon / evening of the original photo. We can quite imagine Gypsy pausing in the field, looking at the viewer and then heading off amongst the lovely grass in the field. It’s as though we are looking through a window at her.

The painting is for a birthday surprise next week and so it should have reached its destination by now. We hope that it is a wonderful surprise for the lucky recipient.

I took some video of Gypsy before packing the painting and so I will add that in my next post.

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Horse Portraits – Final Scan of Gypsy

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Oil Pet Portraits by Nicholas

Here is the final scan of Gypsy! You may have noticed my last blog post was quite short. Mainly because we have both been working very hard in the studio on some fabulous pieces of artwork for special birthdays next week.

The painting of Gypsy is absolutely stunning and it is now on its way to the recipient, hopefully in time for a birthday surprise. It is an 18 x 14 traditional oil painting on Italian Linen Canvas and I have taken video and photos which I will post here following the final scan.

I will be adding Gypsy to our website soon, I actually have a number of new images to add to our sites, so it looks like a few days will be needed next week to get organised.

As always more blog posts to follow, some very exciting videos to follow too!!


Next Stage of Gypsy

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We have both been very busy in the studio today, working really hard on our portraits. Nicholas has been at his easel most of the day as he has been painting ‘in the zone’. Its the kind of place artists get when everything is flowing really well and they are being creative. I have only managed to disturb him once today to take photos of what he is doing, so the stage below is what I have taken.  Nicholas has very nearly completed the painting of Gypsy, although there will be another stage and a final scan to follow very soon!


Next Stages of Gypsy….

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Here are the next stages of Gypsys portrait. It’s coming along well, these photos were taken just before the weekend, so I will have lots more to follow as I’m a little behind on the blogging of the portrait. I also took some of Nicholas’ easel with the portrait as the colours just seemed to work really well. I think they look quite arty don’t you??

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. More posts to follow!



First stages of Gypsy

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Here are the very first stages of Gypsy’s portrait! Nicholas has been painting Gypsy for a number of days already so is much more ahead than these. I have more photos on the camera so i will take them off later today and make a new blog post so everyone here can see how the portrait is coming along.

The frame has already arrived for Gypsy’s painting, its a chelsea frame and the colours are just going to match amazingly. The Chelsea frame is one of my favourites and it particularly works well with portraits that have a natural background setting with sky and grass colours. So in this instance its a perfect match.

Stay tuned, all busy, busy, busy here in the studio so more to follow!



Final scan of Oliver, Alex and Family

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Here is the amazing final scan of Nicholas’ latest painting of Oliver, Alex, Molly and Oscar. Oliver and his family came to our studio last month before Nicholas put brush to canvas to discuss the painting, meet us and see where we worked. It was great that Nicholas could meet them before starting. Its always helpful to meet clients who are going to be in the painting and we had a lovely afternoon chatting, drinking tea and walking the dogs.

Oliver had some very high resolution photographs taken of himself, Alex, Molly and Oscar, in the place they wanted to have as the backdrop in the painting. It is essential that in a painting of this nature, that the subjects photos are taken in the correct surroundings. This way the overall feeling of the painting is very natural, the lighting is correct and everything feels right.

The portrait was painted using traditional oils on Italian linen  medium grain canvas, stretched on tulip wood hardwood stretchers. The painting is now happily drying in the studio while the frame is on order. It will take a few weeks for it to arrive and once it has, I will be definitely taking some photos and video for the studio diary.

Nicholas has now started the portrait of Gypsy and I will have the first stages shortly.


Pencil Pet Portraits – Teasel!

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Happy Easter to all of our clients and readers! We hope that you have all had wonderful holiday. It’s still officially a holiday here in the UK, however we have been in the studio beavering away.

We have been very busy over the last week, although there haven’t been many blog posts, we have been here working behind the scenes on lots of things. Nicholas is getting on really well with the painting of Olly and I have completed the portrait of Teasel, which you can check out below.

The pencil drawing is a 12 x 10 on Italian Fabriano paper and you can also see a copy of the photo below to compare with my drawing. Hopefully I have captured Teasel’s personality and character well for my client. She will be heading to Cornwall in a few days time.  I have also added some photos of the portrait with my pencils so that our readers and clients can see the scale of the drawing. I hope you like it!!

Another blog post to follow soon so stay tuned as I will be revealing the most fantastic photo one of our clients had taken of themselves with their painting!