Tag Archives: paint

Travel – Woohoo!!

Outdoor space under a vine-covered pergola (in my mother’s garden, Erice, Sicily

The little shady spot, in the photo above, is going to be where I shall sit painting, drawing and writing under the shade of the grape vine for a short time in the six-weeks that I shall be travelling.

This is the first time since the start of the pandemic that I have been able to travel and I shall, in effect, be re-tracing my steps to where I was before corvid began.

I used to be able to travel frequently (for many years I was aboard an aircraft at a rate, on average, of one flight per week) but my logistics planning skills hadn’t been forgotten. In truth they slowed a bit but part of that slowness was due to a degree of anxiety and depression: the anxiety caused by a tight budget and the depression (albeit slight, as I have regular ebbs and flows) as a result of the financial situation and the realisation that I need to sell more just to be able to visit by family in Europe. Boo hoo.Poor me. Life goes on so stay strong.

Apart from visiting my mother and most (hopefully all) of my many beautiful daughters, and my grand-children, I shall be writing reviews of my travels, as I usually did in the past. This includes quite a bit of photography, so there should be some food reviews and images to publish. I have, for budgetary reasons, had to limit the number of hotels and meals I can include in my trip. I expect to lose weight!

I will be taking my paints and watercolour journal with me so expect to have material to produce some paintings on my return to Brazil. One important thing to do on this trip is to buy watercolour paints and paper. My stocks have been in short supply for most of this year, hence I have not been particularly productive.

My ceramic tile designs have been quite successful so, while in Sicily, I shall be looking for inspiration and hope to release a new range or two when I get back.

The travel arrangements include:

  • 10 flights
  • 7 buses
  • 5 trains
  • 2 boats (ferry)
  • metro and taxi
  • 3 hotels

Although much of the accommodation will be with family I would, in the past, have added 5 hotel stays to ensure I stay well-rested and healthy! I doubt I will cut back in future so shall plan and ensure I have adequate funding for the entire trip. Being frugal is one thing but health, especially at my age, is just as important.

Thanks for following.

I hope my next few travel-related posts will be entertaining!


Latest news

Clover flower

I ought to have provided an update on my productivity for the month of July but as it was almost zero I failed to do so last week.

There were a couple of paintings I managed to create in between other stuff that kept me away from my easel, one being a clover flower on 1st July.

Much of the other stuff was little more than journal painting. The fact is I have run short of watercolour paints so no way to produce much unless its predominantly blue, such as the Purplish Jays I painted at the end of the month.

A pair of Purplish Jays

The other bird portraits I completed were a pheasant, that was having a dust bath, and a Toco Toucan.

Toco Toucan
Ring-necked Pheasant

Until I can get hold of quality watercolour paints I will limit myself to design work and painting in my journal.

Social Media

Having created a new instagram account for my photography I discovered that Meta had blocked my account for, so they say, infringing some rules. Given that the account (shootinages2022) was operating for just a day or two after confirming my email address, with about a dozen photos uploaded to kick off the account, I found it odd to have been accused of something I hadn’t done. So I deleted the account and also deleted my design studio account. I will keep my watercolour bird account until I find a suitable alternative app.

I am also reviewing my Facebook and Whatsapp accounts with a view to moving to apps that offer a similar service. Facebook has been particularly annoying of late with, on one occasion, a total of 25 posts of ads or irrelevant suggestions between posts of friends.

So all Meta apps are now under review. I have found alternatives and plan to test them in the next few days.

I shall publish the results here, hopefully at the end of this month.

Have a nice weekend and thanks for following.

June Update

Jaguar (Pantera onca) 30cm square watercolour on paper

Hard to believe that half of 2022 has disappeared already!

June has been a fairly productive month, though still room for improvement. Planning makes a big difference yet one would think that I had not been planning this year. I have plenty of experience in strategic and operational planning in my previous career which has not gone wasted. There are other issues at play but I seem to be overcoming them slowly but surely.

So what have I done in June?


Over 40 paintings completed in June. Most were bird portraits but a few other subjects completed to mix things up a bit.

The Rockpooling Project

Almost complete. I let the two most challenging subjects to the end and, to be honest, I am not sure if I will complete them in a hurry owing to the complexity of the creatures: two types of sea urchin – spiky little monsters!

Among the 8 or so illustrations that I did complete in June are:

Product design

At the end of May I had 325 products on sale. During June I added another 50 taking the total up to 375. Among these were Sicilian style ceramic tile designs in shades of blue (six of these each in two sizes) based on designs I had already created.

Next Month

July is not expected to be quite so productive as I have a ton of admin and personal issues to deal with. I hope to arrange to travel … though there are a few dependencies … so all a bit uncertain.

I have a long-standing project to deal with too, which involves preparing at least one book for publication. I started the project a long time ago with the intention of publishing at the end of 2020! Maybe I can publish it this year.

Thanks for following.

Feel free to follow me on Zazzle (and take advantage of promotions to buy!!)

April / May Update

Sea hare (Aplysia punctata)

In my Easter update I mentioned that April had, up to then, been a slow month. Indeed it had as I managed just a dozen paintings.

In contrast, however, May has been a much busier month as I worked on a few bird paintings, a rockpooling project, and product designs for my Zazzle store.


In the past two months I painted 25 birds, twelve completed in April and 13 in May. In the April group are a set of three that were requested. The subject, specifically, was left to me so I chose a set that I felt would look together – Hornbills:

The birds painted in May were, mostly, repeat subjects to replace ones painted in the past.

And a sample of news bird paintings:

Rockpooling project

The paintings made for this project, in support of Scilly Rockpool Safaris, are illustrations of the species found in the rockpools on the Scilly Isles. My daughter, her husband and, principally, my grandchildren (especially Orkney who can be seen doing his stuff on their website homepage), operate the safaris which is aimed at educating visitors to the islands about wildlife. I have visited once (for their beach wedding) and was amazed at how much wildlife exists on the small isles.

So far I have painted over 40 illustrations and have another 10 or so to do this month.

The Sea Hare (at the head of this post) is one of the sea slug species that have been completed. The examples are shown below.

In addition to these illustrations, a few of which were made a year ago, I have prepared some colouring pages for the visitors to take home.

Product design

I now have 325 products on sale via my Zazzle store, Alan Skyrme Design Studio, with about 20 new products added per week. I had mentally set a target but wasn’t sure if it was achievable. Practical experience helped so I now do 3 per day rather than more, or fewer, to instil some discipline.

There is always a temptation to do more but I need the discipline to ensure I can plan ahead without disrupting my workflow.

The Zazzle Store is divided into Collections. I have 11 collections at this time, though will expand to a maximum of 15 over time. The collections are:

  • Ceramic Tiles
  • Paper plates, napkins and party stuff
  • Ceramic coffee/tea/soup mugs
  • Wall art
  • T-shirts
  • Home Products (throw pillows etc)
  • Practical Products (tote bags etc)
  • Home and Office (mouse-pads, stationery etc)
  • Vegan/vegetarian inspired products
  • Seasonal gifts, calendars and cards
  • Bird, animal and nature inspired products

The products can be regarded as a bit expensive in comparison to other outlets BUT, they are all customisable so buyers can use my designs to create other products, or add narrative to personalise products, AND Zazzle often provides store-wide discounts – some of which are very good, so well worth visiting regularly to check for bargains.

Thanks for following. Feel free to buy my products!!!

March Update

One of my chinese ink sets (I have two)

March was a hectic month, more so with administrative issues, but I managed 22 paintings of various types including product designs.

Some good news in respect of design sales relates to the traditional Sicilian ceramic tile design that went to a buyer in USA. There had been a false start to these design sales last year when an order, for a UK-based buyer was cancelled. No reason was given for the cancellation though I suspect they had not taken into consideration the need to pay import duty as the tiles are created in USA.

I plan to create more tile designs as they are fun to do and the market for them seems to have potential. I shall continue to create both traditional style tiles and more contemporary styles.


All of the pieces I produced in March were in watercolour medium. Fourteen of them were my bird paintings, mainly bird heads, while the remainder were sumi-e style paintings with the objective of placing them on product eg tee-shirts, tote bags etc.

The Green Oropendola was painted on a 9cm x 12cm framed canvas. I had found a supplier that had wooden framed cotton canvases that can be used as supports for acrylic, guache, oil or watercolour so I decided to try one out. I plan to buy more!

The following are a couple of the sumi-e paintings. I used watercolour instead of the traditional ink.

These are “sakura”, cherry blossoms, painted in watercolour with a 3/4″ hog hair brush that I adapted to create the strokes I wanted.


My plans for April include more of the same. At some stage I want to review my style of bird painting which, to date, has been what I like to call “loose/tight” – neither extremely detailed not ultra loose. I like to evolve in my work and while I admire the work of other painters that is anatomically perfect I want to avoid that. Nor do I want to do loose paintings of birds with no feet – the feet of a bird is as important as its beak and its feathers – all defining the individual species. So maybe I will continue in my current style for while!

Thanks for following

January Update

Wrinkled Hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus corrugatus)

A busy month that has flown by.

My register of completed work indicates that I produced 48 paintings during the month, though that level of productivity is due mainly to a focus of lots of small bird head portraits. I tend not to worry about the number of paintings I produce, my main objective is to enjoy the art.

Two of my paintings in January were of birds created in acrylics using a palette knife on 30 cm x 40 cm canvas, the others were painted in watercolour, though 6 of these incorporated the use of Indian ink.

All but 8 of the 46 watercolours were, like the Hornbill above, approximately A6 in size (15 cm x 10.5 cm or 15 cm x 12 cm). As ever, the majority of subjects were birds or bird heads though I did a few landscapes and florals.

Campo Flicker (Colaptes campestris)
Great Blue Heron

The Shootstock website is still being updated as I held off to ensure the January paintings were all incorporated.

Paintings will, shortly, be uploaded for sale on Saatchi or my Pipra Rosa Etsy store.

Thanks for following. Check me out on Instagram – I post daily.

December Update

Plum-headed Parakeet (Psittacula cyanocephala)

I should have become accustomed to the passage of time but every year-end seems to arrive with greater swiftness than I can deal with.

Anyway, 2021 is now behind us. It has been a year marred by the pandemic, social distancing and communication through masks or internet. Let us hope 2022 will be better.

Despite the rapid passing of December I managed to complete 35 paintings. The secret to this improvement in productivity is, in part, knowledge that I had other tasks to deal with in addition to a dwindling stock of paper and watercolour paints.

To deal with these issues I began painting a series of bird heads on paper cut to A6 (15cm x 10.5cm) size. Of the 35 paintings, twenty were in this category – all watercolour.

At the end of November I decided to cut my A2 sheets of paper into a square format that provided me with 30 cm x 29.7 cm sheets, from which I produced, in December, 6 bird head portraits in watercolour. The end-cuts were then used to produce the A6 format papers.

In acrylic medium I produced 9 pieces: 6 birds (5 on 1125 gm/m2 paper cut to varying sizes , and one on 300 gm/m2 watercolour paper); an elephant scene on canvas; a small desert landscape; and a poinsettia on the heavyweight paper.

I also managed to do a small bamboo scene, sumi-e style, on A6 paper.

A selection of the paintings are shown below but my website will be updated shortly.

Elephant mother and calf (South Africa)
Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax) – South Africa

All of my paintings are available to buy as originals, the smaller ones may also be available as prints though I have yet to set a new policy. Until last year I had all paintings available as prints in addition to selling the originals but I changed my mind on print sales.

It seems that 2022 will be a difficult year too, at least the early months, but I hope to travel again soon.

Thanks for following. Feel free to comment or ask questions – I have stated that I try to respond within 24 hours but that hasn’t always been possible!

November Update

Bored Chimp!

Time rocketing by! I cant believe we are in the final month of the year. Two years impacted by the Covid19 pandemic with signs that it will continue with new variants.Assuming, of course, that the Omicron variant is not a means for the government to control our lives.

I was reasonably productive, certainly not up to the level I would like to see, during the month with a total of 20 paintings completed, of which 5 were acrylics (on paper and on canvas). The other fifteen were watercolours, mainly birds (or their heads!) with one landscape and a floral to provide a bit of variety.

Chimpanzee – above. The photo on which I based the painting (acrylic on 1125 gm/m2 paper, 50 cm x 40 cm) was taken at Curitiba Zoo (Brazil) about 18 years ago so not sure if this old boy is still around. He didn’t seem too happy but the zoo is quite a good one with good space for most animals. Some big cats at that time were in cages far too small, while the lions had good living environments. I’m not a huge fan of zoos … I prefer that animals should be protected within their own habitats

White-tailed Goldenthroat

The White-tailed Goldenthroat headshot was prompted by the first return visit to my garden by one of this hummingbird species in at least 3 years. I have regular visits by Plain-bellied Emeralds (daily) and Fork-tailed Hummingbirds (weekly) and hope the Goldenthroat will return soon.

I decided that I wanted to paint bird heads again so cut the remaining A3 sheets into 29.7 cm x 30 cm squares which will allow me to paint a few. The end cuts will be used to create small 12 cm x 15 cm paintings – birds, landscapes or whatever, using the remaining stock of watercolour paints. I am running short of some key colours that will prevent me from doing much.

Gwanghwamun Gate

Gwanghwamun Gate, Seoul, South Korea. Watercolour on 42 cm x 29.7 cm paper based on a photo I took in the mid-1980s. The gate has since been refurbished after the Japanese Government building, that stood behind it, was demolished in 1995/6. The gate seems to have been extended as part of the refurbishment. 
One of the hazards of painting in constant 30+ degree celcius temperatures is that the paint dries almost on the brush. I never seem to be able to paint fast enough though perhaps a looser impressionist style needs to be employed. I usually paint with the easel set near vertical (75 degrees) but reckon things can be improved with the paper nearer to horizontal ie 15 degrees.

Brassy-breasted Tanager

Brassy-breasted Tanager (Tangara desmaresti). This tanager, among several other tanager species, can be found in the southern Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil. I saw these on the Graciosa Trail near Curitiba – feeding on berries of some kind – and have painted this on A4 paper showing the entire body of the bird. . 
Watercolour painting on A3 paper cut square.

European Goldfinch

European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
A colourful European bird that I have seen in Cyprus and Sicily. While there have been a few reports of sightings in the south of Brazil I suspect they are either mistaken or of caged birds that have escaped. Painted in watercolour on A3 paper that I have cut to 30 cm x 29.7 cm

Sun and Moon

The Sun and Moon painting is in acrylics on a 20 cm x 30 cm canvas commissioned a while ago though delayed in completion for a variety of reasons.


The Mona monkey (Cercopithecus mona) is also known as a Mona Guenon. Although from Ghana/Cameroon I saw this one at the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad when I lived there. It is a good zoo with plenty of space for the animals though I always feel sorry for big cats as they never seem to have enough space when compared to their natural habitats.. 
Acrylic on 1125 gm/m2 paper, 50 cm x 40 cm

December will see me painting watercolours on a daily basis until I exhaust my supply of paint – that is being carefully eked out to last as long as possible. I shall then work on acrylics on canvas until my canvas supply (I have 8 canvases) is also used up.

December is a holiday month and a time when I have a number of admin tasks to complete. My agenda has been worked out until the year end with the last couple of days set aside for planning (as well as I can) my activities for 2022. I feel organised but my plans are usually just a general guide. A least I have a massive To Do list ready to attack.

Thanks for following. Feel free to see my site (updated every week) and my instagram account (updated daily).

Shoot Stock News

Shoot Stock

The Shoot Stock site has been updated though I am still wrestling with how to seamlessly connect additional pages to a section. Something to look into when I have some spare time as, although not difficult, I want to avoid coding which I used to do on my sites in the past.

A number of paintings have been recently uploaded to Saatchi Art, either for sale or simply to show what I have been working on on commission or for me.

The new large acrylics are not on sale as I have no idea how to crate them up. Finding a supplier takes time and the impact of the pandemic creates issues. Once I have worked out the methodology and cost I will be able to offer large format paintings for sale.

I plan to have a regular re-fresh of the paintings available on Saatchi Art so that I retain about 100 images on view with 10% only for show (ie already sold or not for sale), that is to say that there will be about 90 paintings available for sale via this channel. The older ones, that I remove from Saatchi Art, will be shown separately on my Shoot Stock site and may go on sale via my ETSY store.

Thanks for following. Feel free to comment or visit my Instagram account.