Oil Horse Portrait – Next stages of Chico

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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!



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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 (http://www.horse-portraitartist.com). 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!