Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Courting on the cliffs

While I am on the bird theme thought I'd show a painting I did in spring of this year. While walking the cliffs at home saw these two peregrines displaying to each other, am pleased to say that they eventually got it together and produced at least
one offspring (I only saw the one). sorry for the quality of

Monday, December 22, 2008


Here are a couple of pages from my sketch books, I spent a long time sketching the wagtail in the field and then worked them up when i got home with some coloured pencil. The stonechat was done fairly quickly with a black indelible pen, something I now use alot to sketch with because it forces you to be bold as you can't rub out. These are examples of successful sketches , I would'nt have room or the time to post all the unsuccessful pages!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Foxy Lady

I was inspired by another artist Karen on UKCPS to try this one after seeing her picture of a vixen on her blog http://wildaboutart.blogspot.com/ . Its coloured pencil on black Canford paper and it's one of the few paintings I have finished using CP. I have to say that while I love the overall effect it can become quite tedious building up the colour and I am always comparing the time taken to what I could achieve with paint , however I am reasonably happy with this although I have changed it around the mouth after receiving some very helpful critiques on UKCPS, I must re scan it and show the improvements.
While I am writing this blog, I am watching through my window at the bird feeders I have in the trees opposite and it occured to me that maybe I should try to encourage more people to feed their garden birds, it does'nt cost a fortune and is a huge assistance to small birds during the cold winter months when it can be hard for them to find enough food, also it can give hours of free entertainment.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


As another New Year fast approaches I once again start to agonize over which direction my art should take....big landscapes in oil, small watercolours of birds and all things nature, flowers in acrylic...watercolour, coloured pencil ? I move from one to the other like a nomad in the desert, never quite reaching my destination! For many years I have had the idea of painting the birds I have seen in my village and surrounds and maybe producing a book, given that I live in one of the best birding spots in Ireland and so far would have seen over 250 species in the area, this could prove to be a mammoth task so the faster I start the better.
I am at the moment painting a display board depicting the "Birds of Ballycotton" which will be displayed at the entrance to the village, and the painting here was the cover of the last Cork Bird Report and depicts a pair of Little Egret.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bird sketches.

Thought I'd show another side to my art today. I started drawing and painting about 120 years ago, or so it seems, initially as a means of recording some of the birds I saw in my other obsession, birding, and twitching, which is not the same. Above is a bird called a Sharp Tailed Sandpiper, which is an asian wader that winters as far away as Australia, unfortunately it got lost when deciding to migrate and ended up on the beach in my village Ballycotton , in Ireland. This was only the 3rd record of this bird in Ireland. The bird below this is a Common Kingfisher, nothing terribly exciting about that, albeit a stunning little bird, except that I sketched it in Goa in India. In Ireland this bird is extremely

shy and hard to see, in fact I think I have only managed to sketch it twice in Ireland, but in India, apart from being very numerous, it is also very tame and confiding and allowed me plenty of time to draw, all the time diving for fish and coming back to the same perch.
The other two sketches were also done in India and are of a Black Capped Kingfisher and an Intermediate Egret.
Can anyone out there tell me how to move pictures easily on blogger as I always have enormous trouble getting them where I want them.

Friday, November 21, 2008

"Home is the Hunter" Pen and Watercolour on Arches Paper.
Original available unframed @ €200.00 post paid.
Limited edition giclee prints available mounted @ €60.00
Enquiries please to phildavis@iol.ie or www.artofphildavis.com

With a force 9 gale blowing at the moment , thought I'd show a picture of calmer times. this painting is based on my son-in- law and his fishing boat "Spes Firma" He had just returned from a trip around 30 miles off shore, with a fairly large catch of Hake, Pollack and Ling.

In the last year or so I have, more and more,been tempted away from large canvas and oils , to produce smaller paintings in pen and watercolour. Having never considered myself a watercolourist, I am reasonably happy with the results although I know there is much room for improvement. It is a huge advantage in this day and age to be able to go online and view other artists work and techniques and I think those people who post demonstrations and techniques show a real generosity of spirit. It is my aim this year to try and share my limited skills online and post the odd work in progress, my biggest problem is that I get so engrossed in the work that I forget to take the photos at different stages , so I usually end up with a photo of the start of the work and one of the finished painting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dog Rose

I keep going on the missing list, finding it much easier to paint than to blog. Anyway these are the first and second painting in my "Irish wild flowers " series. Dog Rose and Ground Ivy in watercolour. I'm reasonably pleased with them, would be nice to hear some comments, if anybody actually reads my blog.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Back at last......again

Been away for a long time, don't know why, just have'nt found the inspiration to post, find it much easier to paint than to write. I've been working steadily throughout the summer, that period of the year when we are supposed to have sun, at least all the rain forced me to work.
Gone back to watercolours after years dodging them and have to say I'm enjoying them and if I say so myself...I think with reasonable success.
Started teaching again this week, the first class since before the summer, was quite nervous at first but soon got back into the swing , just as well as from next week will be doing 5 classes a week.
I see on some of the art sites a big hooha over the winner of a big competition in the States, and once again the subject of using photos rears its head. While I think the important thing in this is actually having the skill to make a successful rendering of a photo, I do not think anyone should make a total copy and call it their own. I use photos all the time, my own, but would not have a problem using photos belonging to others, for inspiration.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Back again.

I have been missing for a while so thought it was about time I got back to this blog. I have'nt been idle mind you, I have been painting hard. A friend of mine gave me an old sepia photo of the harbour in my village, I guess it dates around the early 1900's. Anyway I thought I would paint it, don't usually work from anything but my own photo's or sketches, but I thought it would be a challenge. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the guy who gave me the photo bought the painting before it was even finished, which is the top painting, and then the coxswain of the lifeboat saw it and commissioned me to paint a similar painting to present to some RNLI big wig that was retiring! As if that was'nt good enough, I have a third person interested in another one, though I am not sure I want to do it again.
I'm still walking the cliffs every morning, it's been stunning the last couple of weeks, the weather has been good and there has been an explosion of plant life, I am struggling to identify all the new wild flowers that are coming up.I keep threatening to paint a series of Irish wild flowers but have'nt done so far.
Very busy with classes, I am currently running 5 a week, it's amazing how many people are interested in painting, and even more amazing how much talent is out there only waiting to be found and nurtured.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Statement of intent.

I started this blog as a means of introducing my art to the internet, but it always seems to end up as a diary of my daily doings with my art thrown in, so I think I'll leave it like that and just ramble on, and if people start picking up on my art all the better, if not then its not the end of the world.Its hard to know what people think as very few leave comments, and to be honest very few read my blog!

I am not a famous artist and never will be, but I do work as a full time artist now and also run art classes, which I love. I am very lucky as I have a studio in the same building as a Gallery, the Stephen Pearce Gallery so I have a permanent exhibition of my works. I have a website called "The Art of Phil Davis" and it would be great if readers would have a look and comment on my work, good or bad! The painting shown here is called "Peeping through", I dont know the name of the plant , but it was growing in a hole in a concrete post.

Anyway , thats enough rambling for today, so will sign off.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A beautiful morning

A really beautiful morning, and all around wild flowers are appearing and more and more of our migrant birds are returning. Several Chiffchaff along the cliff path, amazing to think that these tiny warblers spend the winter in Africa and then fly the thousands of miles to our shores. Primroses are everywhere though many are now looking past their best. Several flowers have appeared that I have'nt identified yet, but it is all part of the fun, I always carry a camera and take shots so that I can check when I get home.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Painting a day!

I've been fascinated by the work of some of the "daily painters, so i thought I would have a go. This painting is acrylic on daler board and is 5x7 inches. I usually work on quite big canvases so it was a new discipline to work so small.While I don't put it in the class of some of the other daily painters I am not totally displeased with it. While I probably won't achieve a painting everyday I am going to try to do more, I really like the idea of working small and finishing a painting in a couple of hours.
Was a bit late taking my walk today as I had a class first thing this morning. An absolutely stunning day made better by a beautiful Peacock butterfly, my first this year, also a Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and a male Wheatear, plus several pairs of Chough doing acrobatics in the sky, all the time calling with there sharp notes which their name describes. Nice to see the buds on the sycamores, almost ready to unfurl.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


It's 3.30am, Thursday morning and I'm waiting for a friend to pick me up.We're heading to Wicklow to see a bird, a Great Spotted Woodpecker no less, which is very rare in Ireland, but common as muck in the UK and all over europe.
Why are we going????
Because we have'nt seen a GSW in Ireland....logical ...is'nt it?
Last week it was Northern Ireland for a DUCK. A Barrows Goldeneye, admittedly this is the first record for Ireland, so it makes some kind of sense....does'nt it?
I thought I was cured of this "twitching" but looks like I was wrong....at least it gets me out of the studio for a bit.

Monday, April 7, 2008


I have a new class starting this morning, and as usual before
a new class I am beset by doubts about not only my ability to teach, but also my ability to paint. So as usual I look at other people's work on line, and guess what?..I feel worse, especially when I look at the stunning work of somebody like Karin Jurick, the depth of colour and amazing light she achieves is awesome.
The painting is one I did two springs ago, and it always reminds me that spring is a time of renewal, and it serves to renew a small bit of my confidence.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Absolutely awful morning, heavy rain and strong wind, so decided to go to my studio early and do some work.

I am very lucky as my studio is located in the Stephen Pearce Gallery in Shanagarry, Co Cork. There are 8 studios there , all practising different disciplines, painting,sculpture, photography etc. We have a constant flow of people through the place and a permanent exhibition of our work. I don't think there is anywhere quite like it in Ireland, and I would be interested to hear from other artists around the world if they know of any where like this.

Friday, March 28, 2008


All of a sudden, as if by magic , Yellowhammers are everywhere. For the last few years they have bred in the bushes behind my house, and yesterday there were a pair singing to each other. In every ploughed field along the cliff walk, were small flocks of this stunning Bunting along with Linnets and Meadow Pipits.

Some might be surprised at the name of my blog "The Art of Phil Davis " , when many of my posts are about birds , but my art started with birds, sketching and trying to paint the birds I saw, so birds are a huge part of my art and my life. It was through painting birds that I moved on to other subjects and eventually to become a proffesional artist.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Peregrine & Wagtails

Walking the cliffs yesterday morning saw this male Peregrine being buzzed by two Pied Wagtails, not sure what they expected to achieve as the falcon was totally oblivious to them.

Real signs of spring coming with wild flowers shooting up everywhere, looking forward to some good weather so I can get out with the paints.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lesser Celandine & White Tailed Eagles

As promised in my last post, this is my first in the series " Irish Wild Flowers". The main body of flowers is coloured pencil and the background pen and wash.
The big birding news over the last couple of days is the appearance of 4 White Tailed Eagles in my area. These birds are all young birds and from a reintroduction scheme in Killarney in Co Kerry. One bird would have been exciting enough, but to have 4 in the area is amazing. Unfortunately there has been no news of sightings today. I will upload my sketches of them in the next few days.
The other big news, well for me anyway , is that I sold another painting this week-end, which is great for the ego, and the bank balance.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring is sprung

Took my usual walk this morning, except went somewhat further along
the cliffs this time, much to the discomfort of my feet. A Northern Wheatear
was the first bird I saw and this was indeed the first I have seen this year, a migrant from South Africa, heading north to its breeding grounds. Along the path towards Ballyandreen I found this beautiful little flower which I am fairly sure is Common Dog Violet, but not being an expert on wild flowers, I am open to correction. I have intended for some time to do a series of paintings of the wild flowers of Ireland, and to this end started a painting last week, using coloured pencil, of Lesser Celandine. I will post an image here when I've finished it, in the vain hope that somebody might actually read my blog and comment on it!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Art Blogs & Art Sales

As a newcomer to blogging I am amazed at how much some people put into it. "Making a Mark" , Katherine Tyrrell's blog is totally amazing and so full of useful information that the mind boggles. How she finds the time to put so much work into this and her other blogs is a mystery to me. I have to say that but for her I would not be blogging, my biggest problem is keeping up with the information she dispenses.....thank you Katherine.
On a different note, sold a painting today, its called "Panama and flip flops".

Friday, March 14, 2008

Morning Walk

Did my usual walk this morning , strong ,cold easterly wind with rain
so not much sign of anything, this Stonechat on a bramble close to the path
and a Peregrine above us for a while. Raven calling in the distance and a few Meadow Pipits and Gulls. Nice to see the Spring coming with all the fields showing a green glaze as the crops start poking through.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ballycotton to Ballytrasna and back.

Walked the cliff path this morning from Ballycotton to Ballytrasna and back, my usual exercise with Brid, my wife. A pair of Ravens were courting along the edge, so will have to keep an eye out for the nest. Heard a Whimbrel calling, the first of the Spring and on the way back a Peregrine was hanging in the wind, when another called, they are almost certainly breeding as well.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Never considered myself a watercolourist, having never had much success at them. I find them quite frustrating as one has to plan ahead and its very difficult to repair if you mess them up.

However after reading a book on mixed media decided after many years to
try again, this time with a less purist attitude. the painting here is one of my
recent attempts which I am reasonably pleased with. What do you think?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Blogging Beginner

Not very good at this at the moment as I never seem sure what to say, so I will treat this as a diary, something I have never kept, and see where it goes.

Am just heading over to my studio for a class. This morning is the last week of a six week course I have been running for beginners. I also run 3 other courses a week at the moment , another beginner on Wed nights and an improver on Tues and Frid nights. It is amazing how many people are interested in learning to paint.

Will return to this later today.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My First Post

Hi everybody, I am a newcomer to blogging so I hope you will all bear with me. Over the course of time I would like to use my blog to introduce people to my art.