Gill's Elephants

Gill's Elephants

We are certainly experiencing 4 seasons in one day here in Devon, but this afternoon , just as the sun came out , and the light shone through the leaves on my Japanese Maple  , wow I thought.


Then I noticed one little rose on my patio, hanging on 


And a view across the fields, amazing what a difference the sunshine makes.


It's amazing how through life we all go in such new and varied directions. I moved around the country a lot as a child, but have managed to keep connected with a lot of people. It has been a true joy in my life.

One of my old school friends is a fantastic photographer, and I often use her work as inspiration ( she is happy for me to do so)

This blog is about my painting of her photo of 2 elephants at Whipsnade Zoo.

It's not so much about how to to it, but about how I approach it, this is a photo I have painted a number of times, I love it.

I use just one colour Paynes Grey.

First I sketch out the elephants

It can be liberating just using the one colour, it frees you from having to make endless decisions. Paynes Grey is lovely because it has a large variety of tones . So you can paint almost anything with it.

I like to start with the eyes, and 'feel' my way outwards. I play around with the water and see what patterns emerge.

I am feeling my way over the elephants skin

And down his trunk. Where there is a shadow use more paint, and where it is lighter use more water. 

Can you see the patterns emerging, try not to lose them 


So I spend many hours just watching the elephants come to life, when it's going well there is no better feeling in the world.


I listen to music, audio books, radio plays while I paint. I love what I do, and I hope this inspires some of you to loose yourselves in watercolour too.


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This is the first time to look at your site and blog. Brilliant. I love how the elephants turned out. Bring a guy who tends to work with pencil or pen and ink primarily, the one color would be easy for me to ease into watercolor. I need to try it. Thanks.

Jeffrey Baggett

So amazing to see the photos come to life & lovely to see the process 😍


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