Sunday, December 9, 2012


I approach each canvas a little differently regarding the underpainting, most being quite a light wash for colour and tonal values. As I had to receive feedback on the subject, as well as the background, I had to make the underpainting fairly substantial in this case so that the client could make some comments on the progress. Here is 'Gus' as an underpainting.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Commission of Gus

I am currently working on a small painting, 12" x 10" of 'Gus', a lovely Border Collie that lives nearby. Fortunately Gus could come over for a photo shoot that gave me plenty of time to get acquainted with him which really helps me transfer his personality to the painting. Once his owners chose the pose they liked the best, I then emailed them the preliminary sketch. This is only a tonal sketch to show the composition and is in no way an accurate, finished drawing. They were happy with the sketch and so I will begin the underpainting.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Spring Carnival of horse racing

With all the excitement of the Spring Carnival that sweeps Melbourne at this time of year, a new exhibition called 'Art Horses and Equine Art' is on show at Media House Gallery in Collins Street until the 16th November. When I was invited to participate in the show, the curator was specifically after at least one equine piece that had a racehorse theme... did I have anything... unfortunately, not! As I had a time restraint of less than 4 weeks and due to it's large size for the venue, I was unsure whether to take on the project or not. I decided I was up for the challenge as I feel it brings out strengths and weakness that lurk within. I had to approach my painting technique in a totally different way, no underpainting, just straight in with thick paint and little overpainting which I was keen to try in the forced situation. No time for noodling with colours, a good thing, make a decision and go for it! Not the way I have ever painted but excellent to experiment out of necessity. The painting was 36" x 48" and so was physically demanding at times but in some respects easier to work on using bigger brushes. My painting days were long and at times I painted on while being tired which I normally don't do and therefore found that quite challenging. With the days ticking away, I felt under a bit of pressure but managed to finish it in time, even though it was slightly wet on delivery. To sum up- I'm glad I took on the challenge as I learnt that I am adaptable in changing my painting ways for the situation, a bit like painting outdoors compared to the studio! Unhappy about having to rush it though and would have preferred to re-work some areas but glad that I was able to adapt to a change of pace!

"The Place-getters"  36" x 48"

Monday, October 22, 2012

TANZANIA - An amazing trip

One of the most exciting aspects of painting wildlife is to be able to get out in the 'wild' and observe animals in their natural environment. I have just returned from a 2 week trip to Tanzania which has been one of the best trips I've ever had, on so many levels. The flights, the camps, the drivers and guides were great and the group of people were I shared the time with were wonderful. I visited 3 game parks- Selous, Ruaha and the Serengeti, all of which were different in their respective ways with landscape and wildlife.I was blessed to see and enjoy some exhilarating and amazing sights whilst there. It was also very rewarding and at times deeply moving, to return to where I spent my childhood and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I now look forward to producing some artwork from this most amazing safari, I am so inspired. I took some wonderful reference photos and have chosen this one to post as it is 'classic Africa'.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


'Solitude'  20" x 30" 

This is definitely a fitting adjective for an artist's life but one that suits my nature very well. I relish the time in the studio where I am totally absorbed in art and time has no meaning. It is also the title of this oil painting that will be part of my solo show that opens next Sunday. I delivered all of my artwork today and it will be expertly hung ready for the opening. It is the culmination of a year's work and it is very rewarding to have it all finally framed and delivered.

Friday, September 7, 2012


"On parade"  10.5" x 12.5"

There's something very special about Clydesdales, gentle giants that are so entrenched in our history. They make wonderful subjects and this fellow was part of the Carlton United Brewery team, all decked out in his finery to be on parade. I found all the textures a real treat to work on in graphite. I will be putting this drawing into print in the near future.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Red panda

The main focus in my art for the last twelve months has been working towards my solo exhibition which opens in less than 3 weeks at the Old Post Office Gallery in Seymour, Victoria. I have a mixture of oils, graphite and coloured pencil pieces in the show. This little red panda, lit by a warm sun, was perfect to draw in coloured pencil and will be part of the show. I titled the piece 'Red alert' due to the fact this gorgeous little creature is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List as there are less than 10,000 left in the wild.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Duck's delight

I worked over the duck's feathers, darkening them to create more definition and also went over the water, softening the edges to get the nice reflective look. This is just a simple piece that has a serene feel. One of my favourite pastimes is sitting quietly and just watching animals and birds in their natural environment and then to portray that special moment in an artwork... hmm, so rewarding!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Water - duck on a pond

I've nearly finished the detail in the duck and have added most of the water, the key is to keep soft edges in the reflection so that it looks like water and have a difference in the values from the subject, close to being finished now.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Water was the theme of a recent workshop that I taught using the medium of graphite. It can be challenging and each time a fresh approach has to be taken depending on the subject and how to tackle the water in the scene. This is a work in progress of a duck on a still pond... more to come.

Monday, July 23, 2012


I recently spent a day at the races to get some reference material of the elite athletes in the equine world, the racehorse. I was attracted to this well presented black filly as she made her way to the starting gates in anticipation of the coming race, her dark coat gleaming in the warm autumn sun.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

'Winged Things'

I have been invited to participate in a new and exciting exhibition called "Winged Things & Other Wonders of the Natural World" which opens tonight at Domain House Gallery in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. The exhibition specialising in nature themes will run through until July 29th. I have sent 4 pieces along for the show, the two of them shown here are in coloured pencil. The emu drawing is titled 'Bad hair day' and the rainbow bee-eaters whom are seasonal visitors to the area are called 'Summer Visitors'.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pencil portrait of a cheetah

I have used pencils as my favoured medium for my whole life and I enjoy experimenting with a range of pencils and paper to attain different effects to suit the subject matter. So with 'Close watch', I used a very smooth paper to get the detail of the fur and expression of the cheetah even though it is a long haul time-wise, I enjoy every minute.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Try something different!

I have my favourite mediums and happily work in 3 different ones but every now and then, I feel it is essential to explore another medium just for a change and the challenge. I use a lot of detail in my pencil drawings, so I chose watercolour for the change so that I could explore the design and colour in a much looser way. It feels very foreign using watercolour as I am a tonal painter and the application of paint is in reverse but it is a great exercise to stretch my ability and experiment which keeps my art fresh. I picked a simple design and a favourite subject of mine with chooks and am pleased with the result of 'Pecking Order'.  I recommend that my students try this once in a while for the same reasons. Any thoughts on other ideas to extend your art and stay fresh?

Sunday, April 22, 2012


 The gallery that represents my work locally, the Old Post Office Gallery in Seymour, has a current exhibition that was connected to the Victorian Military Heritage celebration weekend in early April. Artists could choose to be involved with the theme for the duration of this exhibition. I had some good reference taken a while ago of some Light horseman on parade and with horses being one of my favourite subjects to paint, I jumped at the chance to portray this wonderful part of our history. The rider and horse were quite strong in the composition with the detail and the light, so I chose to subdue the background but carefully chose the colours to represent aspects of the subject. Between the peaceful blue of the sky and the Australian green, I put in the reddish colour to represent the dust and turmoil of Beersheba. The end result was 'In Great Respect'.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Last weekend saw me at The Man from Snowy River Festival in Corryong, a great weekend that has so much: great artwork, breathtaking scenery and lots of horses! I was honoured to win the Best work on Paper with the drawing "On the run". 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

'In hot pursuit' is now finished. It's one of my entries for the Man from Snowy River Festival Art Show held at Corryong in Victoria on the last weekend of March.
This is a great art show, as the horse and bush theme of the artwork and photography is always wonderful to see. If you can make it for the weekend, it is well worth the visit, there is so much to see and do. I will be demonstrating at the show so please drop by and say 'hello'.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The next stage shows the horserider almost complete. Once the ground shadows are in, I will put it aside for a few days and then bring it out to do the finishing touches with a fresh perspective. I find this really helpful in the final stages. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

This graphite 'work in progress' is depicting a horse-rider hot on the heels of a wild brumby which he plans to rope, settle and then lead in an open arena. The skill of horsemanship and the speedy little brumby is exhilarating to watch, each trying to outwit the other. To capture the action and tension with pencil and paper is equally exhilarating.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Start to the New Year

'Tiger Stride'

As the year begins, I mark out my calendar with the upcoming art shows and exhibitions that I participate in. One of the first, is the annual group show 'Wildart', at the Old Post Office Gallery in Seymour opening on Sunday February 12th. 'Tiger Stride' is my third attempt at coloured pencil, a new medium for me. I was introduced to coloured pencil by an artist friend, who encouraged me to 'give it a go' and I just love it, best of both worlds - pencil and colour! I still need a lot of practice before I feel really confident using it but I am really enjoying the challenge. Have you ever tried coloured pencil?


Welcome! My name is Kate Ferguson. This blog is to share with you, my passion for art and nature, along with progress, ideas and tips from my studio. I work in oil, graphite and coloured pencil, with my favourite subjects being mainly wildlife and horses. I look forward to networking with fellow artists and art enthusiasts and would love to include some guest posts along the way.