#tbt Let’s go back….to Milo and my first attempt at oils

Here we have my first throwback post to my non-abstract work!

Introducing Milo the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and my first try using oil paints  🙂

I’d always used watercolours or acrylics up to this point but felt the urge to branch out and give these a go. Working full time means I rarely get chance to spend hours and hours in front of a painting uninterrupted, and often ends with paint going to waste after being abandoned for a few hours or days means it’s dried out on my palette.


I figured it was time to take the plunge, try oils, and allow myself longer time between sittings without losing the colours I was working with.


I opted for water mixable Winsor & Newton oils, as I don’t like handling white spirits plus I don’t have a huge amount of space for ventilation.

(I love how he’s starting to appear!)


I was surprised how easily I took to them, to be honest. I think I’d built them up to be this difficult medium to master but in reality they’re great to use. The colours are so rich and glossy; really satisfying to apply.


Saying that though, I found the white to fade as it dried, so I was conscious of needing to use this piece as a bit of a trial run to see how the different colours stood the test of time before completing any commissions with them.

(Look at those ears! Beautiful little dog 🙂 )


By this point, I’d spent about 4 hours applying the paint (i’d had the canvas primed and drawn out already) and I was amazed I had pretty much a finished piece. They are so much faster to use than acrylics!


I started adding a little more detail around his left eye, changed the background colour as the pink clashed with his colouring, then I believe that is where I left it.

This is how he’s looked since November 2013:


Looking back (over my shoulder)

According to wikipedia, “Over My Shoulder” is a pop rock song by British supergroup Mike + The Mechanics. It was released on 13 February 1995 as the first single from their album Beggar on a Beach of Gold. Sung by Paul Carrack, it was the…

Just kidding! I’m not really going to write about that. Although it is stuck in my head now, so that’s fun.

As I mentioned in my post When you know, you know, I admit to having a perfectionist streak, which can be great but also very annoying!

Until January 2017, on the rare occasions I’d attempted abstract art, I would fail miserably. I could never loosen up enough and found myself ‘tidying up’ whatever I was attempting, until in the end I’d become so frustrated that it didn’t fit into really any category – abstract or otherwise – that I’d abandon it completely. Then I’d confirm to myself what I’d said all along: ‘I can’t do abstract stuff. I’m too much of a perfectionist. I’ve got no imagination’ etc, all kinds of things to excuse the fact that actually I just wasn’t allowing myself to mess things up.

I became known among family/friends/peers as someone who was very good at art; my paintings or drawings were realistic, life-like, photographic, traditional…all kinds of good stuff that I took a lot of pride in (and still do, actually). People would commission me to do a family or pet portrait, or something where they were expecting a likeness akin to my previous work and its accurate portrayal of subject matter. This was great and incredibly flattering, BUT also very limiting and constraining for me as an artist, although its only recently that I’ve realised that’s how I felt. I got to the point where I would turn down commissions because I knew I wouldn’t enjoy it. My lifelong joy had become a chore. (sob)

Without going into too much detail, as I’m sure i’ll expand on it another time, I’m learning to put my own creative needs first, regardless of what other people like, dislike, or expect of me. My passion has been reignited (woohoo! 🙂 ). Right now I’m getting a huge amount of enjoyment from abstract, but that’s not to say I’ll never return to realism or perhaps some kind of hybrid of the two.

I am still very proud of the work I’ve done in the past, and look back on it all with fondness and satisfaction. I’ve decided, therefore, to do some ‘throwback Thursday’ (#tbt for the cool kids ha) blog posts to celebrate my older work. I’ll post some of the quick snaps I took on my phone as each piece evolved, plus probably a little background of what the occasion was.

So there you go! I hope you’ll enjoy looking at them as much as I do… Feel free to let me know what you think 🙂

(and for those of you who wouldn’t mind a blast from the past, click here for the song in all its glory!)