Lotti Brown Designs

-- Art to Give us Joy, Love, and Energy Through our Connection with Nature and our Pets -- Pet Art & Custom Pet Portraits - Wildlife & Bird Art - Floral Art --

Summer Roses Art - Behind the Scenes

artworks, behind the scenes, joyful blooming, nature, new collectionsCharlotte BrownComment

Gorgeous, colourful Summer Roses art - beautiful blooms to delight the eyes and fill your heart with joy...

 'Summer Roses' colourful rose art print by Lotti Brown

'Summer Roses' colourful rose art print by Lotti Brown

As part of my Joyful Blooming floral art collection, I wanted to create a traditional floral rose artwork... but in my own style...

I love roses - the delicate petals, the velvety touch, and the delicious fragrance and when we moved into our country cottage, over a decade ago, I chose some beautiful, proper old-fashioned English roses for our garden. So, of course, I wanted to draw our own roses for my rose-inspired artwork...

I wanted to capture something about their elegance, their delight, their sweetness, freshness and openness that makes them the very essence of Joyful Blooming - I hope that I've achieved some of that...!

 Detail from my pink and yellow roses artwork

Detail from my pink and yellow roses artwork

Summer Roses Art - Behind the Scenes

Here's how I made my artwork digitally from my original rose drawings...

Click on the images to see behind the scenes of the creative process...

 My completed rose artwork in all its glorious colour!

My completed rose artwork in all its glorious colour!

I'm so pleased with my roses artwork - as my favourite garden flower I so wanted to create an artwork that could show some of the delicate magnificence of this beautiful and nostalgic flower - if you're a rose lover, I hope that you love this roses artwork too...!

 'Summer Roses' framed and unframed fine art prints are available in my store

'Summer Roses' framed and unframed fine art prints are available in my store

 Click image for all the print and frame options in my store

Click image for all the print and frame options in my store

'Summer Roses' Artwork
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 Colourful 'Summer Roses' framed art print

Colourful 'Summer Roses' framed art print

Joyful Blooming - New Art Collection

artworks, behind the scenes, inspiration, joyful blooming, nature, new collections, personal musings, well beingCharlotte BrownComment

I love looking at and drawing flowers - the delicacy, the colours, their beauty and their energy to bloom and shine.

 Drawing flowers

Drawing flowers

But, for me, my Joyful Blooming collection also has a much more personal resonance...

 Joyful Blooming art collection - floral art

Joyful Blooming art collection - floral art

It's about when we come into our own, having the confidence to bloom in our own true colours and with all our energy - for ourselves and for others - being the best we can be, even if we're perhaps not as tall as some others, as bright, as strong, or as beautiful...

And trusting that we can share something of what makes us uniquely beautiful in our own way, so that this might inspire joy to others and even to ourselves.

 Hollyhocks art print by Lotti Brown

Hollyhocks art print by Lotti Brown

It's taken me so long to feel able to start to grow as myself and to bloom.

I've also had to learn to prioritise my own self care so that I can use my precious energies for my blooming…

Making self care important isn't about standing alone but in finding those places where you can flourish and bloom together, like a beautiful garden.

 Beautiful flowers, all different, enrich our lives

Beautiful flowers, all different, enrich our lives

It's a personal journey for us all, but everyone benefits when we each bloom in our own special way. 

Creating this collection has actually required far more deep soul searching than I would ever have imagined)... and I thought it was just going to be all about pretty flowers!!

 Flower art 'Joyful Blooming' collection by Lotti Brown

Flower art 'Joyful Blooming' collection by Lotti Brown

Ultimately, I've learned that the blooming requires a quiet time, a fallow time, a growing, a nurturing, maturing, recovery and recuperation, and an acceptance of the quiet of not-blooming, just as much as the confidence to 'just bloom'.

 Wisterian art by Lotti Brown

Wisterian art by Lotti Brown

Flowers seem all the more precious to me now, and I see in them a reflection of our human nature and our potential to shine, bloom, and share love and joy...

You can see more of my Joyful Blooming collection in my store here...

New Art in Store

announcements, artworks, joyful blooming, nature, new collections, shoppingCharlotte BrownComment

Just to announce that I've new art in store today...

 Joyful Blooming floral art collection by Lotti Brown

Joyful Blooming floral art collection by Lotti Brown

My 'Joyful Blooming' flower art collection is vibrant, beautiful and filled with all your favourite florals to inspire you with joy...

 Colourful flower art 'Joyful Blooming' art collection by Lotti Brown

Colourful flower art 'Joyful Blooming' art collection by Lotti Brown

Keep Growing (Like a Tree!)

personal musings, nature, behind the scenes, well beingCharlotte BrownComment

Shall we all be like trees? Some thoughts inspired by trees…

The answers we find in our search for our selves, our creativity, our future are not the answers, not the definitive ones. They’re just steps.

We need to keep learning to stay creative, to develop our techniques, our ideas, our skills and our talents.

Time moves and the perfect answer does not stand still with it. A beautiful tree does not stay a sapling, young, lithe and fresh - it grows, develops, takes root in the earth and reaches for the sky, opening out, spreading its reach and sheltering others as it grows.

 The beauty of a mature tree

The beauty of a mature tree

The mature tree is all the more beautiful for its age - protected by its strong skin, sturdy to the core and able to weather the inevitable storms by the extent to which it’s retained its flexibility and to which it’s spread its anchors far and wide.

The mature tree shows the scars of the events of the years. It can be weathered, craggy, gnarled, and is only the more beautiful for how you can see its unique life story in its trunk and branches.

Keep growing - with your self and your creativity.

Your life story and how it develops is what makes you grow more beautiful.

Taking Time Out from Expectation

behind the scenes, nature, personal musings, well beingCharlotte BrownComment

The freedom to be oneself, express oneself freely, outside of the encumbrances and expectations of society is important to me.

I feel that getting away from all the distractions of everyday life and turning our attention to the things that really matter to us, by spending quiet time in nature and with our pets and loved ones, is a way that we can connect with what's important to us and gain calm and clarity in our thoughts and feelings - to know ourselves and be ourselves.

 A walk with the dog somewhere green can help calm the mind and still the thoughts

A walk with the dog somewhere green can help calm the mind and still the thoughts

Sometimes, everything about our society and culture - books, magazines, TV-shows, even the views of family and friends - feels like it’s decided your path for you.

And the pressure of conformity - to be the way that society expects you to be - it feels like it can crush your spirit and deaden your soul, so that the beautiful flower that you were meant to be, wilts.

Spending quiet time in the green, with animals, with birds, restores a sense of self - time to think, energy and confidence to stand tall and act as your true self and follow the path that feels like the right one to you.

Spending quiet time in nature allows us the space and time to hear the whispers and nudges of your soul - and with the support of our nearest and dearest, stand proud as ourselves to take steps along a pathway we choose for ourselves.

nature_tree_sunrise.jpg

For me, nature and art allows me to feel whole - I'm motivated by the desire to express my true self and live a life where I feel fulfilled and happy.

I've felt so empty in the past, lost and alone, pursuing a career that had started to feel soul-destroying, and ended up very sick.

Living a life with meaning is incredibly important. For me, if I can feel a part of the world through nature and art, if I can create, share, and inspire others, I feel fulfilled.

Health is holistic and so very linked to mental and emotional well-being - and it's our responsibility to show self-care towards those areas of our lives.

Connection with nature and the 'real world' is really connecting with your true self - being you, being authentic - courage to be yourself and follow your own path.

Awesome Places to Connect with Nature (...and you can bring your dog!) Part 3 - Yorkshire Wolds

nature, well beingCharlotte BrownComment

Beautiful Walks in the Yorkshire Wolds - glacier-carved landscapes, history, archaeology, hills, dales, art, and big infinity skies...

A soft spot for me as one of my local awesome places to connect with nature - as one of the most rural and least built-up parts of England, the Yorkshire Wolds really is a hidden treasure just waiting to be explored!

 Beautiful gentle hills and wallowing dales in the Yorkshire Wolds

Beautiful gentle hills and wallowing dales in the Yorkshire Wolds

It's really nice just to wend your way slowly through the tiny back roads across the top of the Wolds, admiring the magnificent views and discovering the pretty little villages for yourself - but here are a couple of walks that we've recently enjoyed...

I'll also pop in a couple more recommendations for where to visit at the end...

Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village

 A Wolds Walk to Wharram Percy

A Wolds Walk to Wharram Percy

This is a lovely walk to explore the remains of the deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy and continues up into the Wolds for a circular walk to admire the landscape.

The best place to start your walk is at the Wharram Percy car park where the path to Wharram Percy is well signposted.

The path descends down quite steeply, it's stony and uneven and can be quite treacherous if it's muddy (as it was when we went) so wear appropriate footwear and go carefully. It's about three-quarters of a mile to reach the village...

English Heritage caretakes the village and has provided information boards to help you navigate the village and understand what you're seeing.

Much of the village is now reduced to lumps and bumps in the field, but there are the remains of a newer farm building still standing, and as you explore further, the remains of the lovely medieval parish church to discover...

yorkshire_wolds_wharram_percy_walk_5.jpg

We found a lovely quiet spot to sit and rest overlooking the medieval fish pond - it's a place that feels far from the modern world, nestled, as it is, in a small dale with the hills rising up around the village on all sides.

 Time to sit and rest in a tranquil location

Time to sit and rest in a tranquil location

You can quite imagine that the people here in medieval times could've been quite isolated in their little community, which could've contributed to the eventual abandonment of the village...

Actually, archaeologists have recently suggested the theory that people in this village burnt and dismembered their dead for fear of them coming back to life to terrorise the village (this was not an uncommon fear in medieval times, it seems). Eerie thought, but somehow it doesn't take away from the feeling of peacefulness that's here now...

 The medieval church at the deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy

The medieval church at the deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy

We left the site past the pond with a steep (and again, very slippery and muddy) path rising up into the hills. There are cattle in these fields here so if you take your dog, as we did, exercise some caution if passing close.

Once up onto the crest of the hill, the path continues along the top of the hill, looking down into Deep Dale. ..

 Glaciers carved out these dales in the Yorkshire Wolds near Wharram Percy

Glaciers carved out these dales in the Yorkshire Wolds near Wharram Percy

The impressive hills and dales here were created by glaciers millions of years ago - and it gives them an interesting swoop and curve as you can see where the glaciers carved their way through the landscape.

Continue to follow the path at the top of the hill, looking down into the dale, until you reach a footpath on your left that takes you into the flatter fields on the top of the Wolds where you can see for miles and you feel very close to the huge skies...

(In fact, the big skies are one of the things I like best about living in East Yorkshire - they're amazing!)

 Exploring a little off the main footpath - on top of the Wolds you can see for miles

Exploring a little off the main footpath - on top of the Wolds you can see for miles

Here the footpath is flat and easy, following the line of the hedge on your right until you pass a small copse of trees and return to a small country road. Here, go left and continue along this road (remembering to listen out for traffic) and you will soon return to the Wharram Percy car park on your left.

 Spotting wildflowers on the walk!

Spotting wildflowers on the walk!

The walk takes approximately one-and-a-half to two hours allowing time to explore in the village.

English Heritage info for Wharram Percy deserted medieval village

 

Spiral Walk at Thixendale

This is a short circular walk from the pretty Wolds village of Thixendale to visit the artwork 'Waves and Time' by Chris Drury, nestled in the landscape...

 'Waves and Time' (previously 'Time and Flow') spiral landscape art by Chris Drury near Thixendale

'Waves and Time' (previously 'Time and Flow') spiral landscape art by Chris Drury near Thixendale

Here we started our walk in the village of Thixendale - park considerately on the roadside. There is a pub which serves food in the evenings and weekend lunchtimes (The Cross Keys). There is also a small village shop for sweets and snacks and the village hall is open most Sundays to serve refreshments to weary walkers.

We left the village with the pub on our left and turned right on the road to follow the lower fork of the lane to the start of the footpath which you will be able to see on your left after some short distance...

This is the walk along the bottom of Thixen Dale itself... one of the long narrow dales carved out by glaciers...

 Walking along Thixen Dale

Walking along Thixen Dale

The footpath here is wide and flat and the hills rise up either side....

There may be cattle in these fields.

 An interesting line of trees along Thixen Dale

An interesting line of trees along Thixen Dale

Follow along the dale bottom until you reach the meeting point of two glaciers where you will be able to find the 'Waves and Time' artwork seemingly growing in a spiral out of the earth...

 'Waves and Time' by Chris Drury

'Waves and Time' by Chris Drury

Here, the footpath splits three ways - we turn almost completely back on ourselves to take the chalk path up the hill...

 Spiral earthwork with the footpath back up the hill

Spiral earthwork with the footpath back up the hill

There's always someone to stop and say 'hello' to...

 Yorkshire sheep

Yorkshire sheep

Look back down onto the 'Wave and Form' artwork as you ascend the hill...

 Land art at Thixendale in the Yorkshire Wolds

Land art at Thixendale in the Yorkshire Wolds

It's amazing to think of the forming of this dramatic landscape, millions of years ago, with glaciers forcing their way through the land.

The land here seems so old and solid now - and rises steeply from the dale bottoms to the tops of the hillsides where the earth touches the light and limitless skies that seem in complete contrast to the solidity of the earth, but still joined together, one clinging to the other...

As you reach the top of the hill, look out for the footpath on the right that leads to the road. Turn left back down Huggate Hill to return to Thixendale. The road is a quiet country lane, but do listen out carefully for traffic.

More Wolds Art

Are you a fan of artist David Hockney? He has painted many works near here! A really useful site if you'd like to know where, is this unofficial Hockney Trail which has tracked down many of the exact locations. You can also get info on David Hockney in Yorkshire here and get the Hockney Pocket Guide locations pdf here

You might also like the Yorkshire Wolds Secret Art App (new in 2018) to give you artistic inspiration on your journey across the Yorkshire Wolds

Also nearby to Thixendale is the gallery of local wildlife artist Robert E Fuller - an interesting visit with wildlife cameras and lots of wildlife information as well as his studio and wildlife artworks (no dogs)

My own artwork is also inspired by the wildlife of this local area (although I live in one of the flat parts)...

 Ferny Fox

Ferny Fox

 Summer Hare

Summer Hare

Explore my wildlife art in my online gallery or in my store

Useful links

Wolds Way National Trail

Walking the Riding - interactive map

Walking the Riding home page

Thixendale Village site

English Heritage Wharram Percy

I also recommend nearby:

Sledmere House and Gardens (dogs in gardens only)

Burton Agnes House and Gardens (dogs in gardens only)

Wolds Village, Bainton - Restaurant/Tea Rooms with beautiful accommodation, gift shop and art gallery all on site (dogs in courtyard only)

Tawny Owl Art - Behind the Scenes

artworks, behind the scenes, inspiration, nature, shopping, new collectionsCharlotte Brown

Dark, magnificent and mysterious - my beautiful tawny owl is 'Mistress of the Night'. I want to show you what happened behind the scenes of this atmospheric art print...

 Tawny Owl art with moon and tree - 'Mistress of the Night' by Lotti Brown

Tawny Owl art with moon and tree - 'Mistress of the Night' by Lotti Brown

The tawny owl is the dark and mysterious one of our British owls - quite common but rarely seen. She is mistress of the night and master of disguise with her dark wings beating unseen in the black of the night and just her distinctive hooting echoing and letting you know that she's somewhere near...

I sometimes catch a dark shadow but see the tawny owl so less frequently than the snowy white barn owl who I often see even in daylight.

It's such a privilege to see the beautiful tawny owl and we celebrate her soft and shadowy flying as the Mistress of the Night...

 Showing intricate detail of my tawny owl artwork

Showing intricate detail of my tawny owl artwork

Behind the Scenes of the Art

Here's a little look behind the scenes at how I created my tawny owl art...

Click on any of the images to see them full size and with a description of the process...

 The completed night-time tawny owl art print with shining moon and ivy

The completed night-time tawny owl art print with shining moon and ivy

I really love the feel of my tawny owl artwork - the artwork is dramatic yet gentle - soft yet strong and magnificent - just like the velvet wings of the tawny owl that make her Mistress of the Night...

 My tawny owl art print is available as a framed or unframed giclee art print or mini artboard, in my online art store - click image to see

My tawny owl art print is available as a framed or unframed giclee art print or mini artboard, in my online art store - click image to see

 Click image for all the print and frame options and details in my art store

Click image for all the print and frame options and details in my art store

Tawny Owl Art Print 'Mistress of the Night'
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Tranquil moon and tawny owl art print, 'Mistress of the Night'.

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My 'Mistress of the Night' tawny owl art print is available from my online art store as a fine art giclee print with a choice of print and frame options. See it here...

You can see more art in my nature and wildlife art gallery

Springer Spaniel Art - Behind the Scenes

artworks, behind the scenes, pet artCharlotte BrownComment

Colourful Springer Spaniel art - a beautiful dog, full of life and joy...

 Meet George - a super Springer Spaniel art print by Lotti Brown

Meet George - a super Springer Spaniel art print by Lotti Brown

If the Springer Spaniel is your breed you'll know this gorgeous dog for his love of life and larger than life personality, as well as his sweet friendship and loyalty towards your family... a dog who greets every morning with energy and enthusiasm, ready for a day of fun...

Meet beautiful Springer Spaniel George who is so enjoying his romp in a summer field of buttercups and long grasses...

His ears bounce as he bounds through the grass on the scent of something delightful, his pink tongue lolls and his trusting eyes seek yours frequently to reconnect with you across the space between you as he enjoys his playtime fun...

 Springer Spaniel art - showing artwork detail

Springer Spaniel art - showing artwork detail

I so wanted to show this wonderful breed in their element, at play in the grass, and to celebrate that very special connection and trust between dog and owner through the Springer Spaniel's delightful, trusting expression...

Springer Spaniel Art - Behind the Scenes

Here's how I created the artwork from my drawings, putting them through Adobe Illustrator to create the final artwork...

Please click on the images below to follow the process...

 The completed spaniel artwork - love, life, fun...

The completed spaniel artwork - love, life, fun...

I think the completed artwork really shows the beautiful nature of this very special dog and captures a cherished everyday memory of summer playtime amongst the fields and flowers...

I love the colours, the stunning russet of the spaniel's fur and the sunny yellows against the calming purples and greens... and I love way that the curves of the grasses and flowers echo those gorgeous curls in the spaniel's lovely long ears...

 Framed and unframed Springer Spaniel art prints are available in my online art store

Framed and unframed Springer Spaniel art prints are available in my online art store

 Click image to see all the print and frame options in my store

Click image to see all the print and frame options in my store

Springer Spaniel Artwork
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Beautiful Springer Spaniel art - a playful and loving breed!

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My Springer Spaniel art print is available in my online art store - with framed and unframed art prints available... Check him out here...

You can see more of my pet art here in my pet art gallery - or you might prefer to commission your own pet portrait...

'September Squirrel' Artwork - Behind the Scenes

artworks, behind the scenes, inspiration, nature, new collections, shoppingCharlotte Brown

Gorgeous squirrel art with warm autumn colours from nature: 'September Squirrel'...

 'September Squirrel' art print by Lotti Brown

'September Squirrel' art print by Lotti Brown

A glimpse of russet red amongst the trees... a red squirrel exploring the tree tops - one of the most exciting wildlife spots in Britain!

I've been lucky enough to see a few red squirrels over the past few years - mainly in beautiful Scotland. Here's a sweet squirrel that I saw at a wildlife hide in a forest in southern Scotland...

 Red squirrel in Scotland

Red squirrel in Scotland

It's always exciting to catch a glimpse of a squirrel amongst the trees...

 Detail from my squirrel artwork

Detail from my squirrel artwork

Autumn is a great time to see these lovely little creatures as they build up their store of food to last the winter.

I wanted to create my artwork with warm autumn colours - browns, oranges and greens - lovely, rich colours that speak to me strongly of nature and this wonderful time of year...

Behind the Scenes of the Artwork

Here, I share the processes of creating the art from my original drawings...

Click the images below to see the full-sized image and find out more about the process...

 My completed squirrel artwork with rich autumn woodland colours

My completed squirrel artwork with rich autumn woodland colours

 Framed and unframed squirrel art prints are available in my online art store

Framed and unframed squirrel art prints are available in my online art store

 Click image for all the details about print and frame options in my art store

Click image for all the details about print and frame options in my art store

'September Squirrel' Art Print
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Beautiful and detailed autumn squirrel art print - with warm woodland colours and bracken.

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You can buy my squirrel art print in my online art store

You can see more wildlife art in my nature and wildlife art gallery

Moving to the Country

nature, personal musingsCharlotte BrownComment

It took me a long time to properly connect with nature and not just take it for granted - surprising, really, when I'm a country girl born and bred...

 Green fields and trees - nature is part of us and we are part of nature

Green fields and trees - nature is part of us and we are part of nature

First, a small Lincolnshire village, surrounded by fields, heathland and woods - then an even smaller village in Wales - hills and vales, and the sounds of cattle and sheep...

The overwhelming smell of grass at hay-making time as the huge hay lorries thundered past my bedroom window in the light of summer evenings - and I lay still, with cucumbers over my eyes to soothe the itch of hayfever, and my dad's giant hanky clutched to my red-raw nose. (Hayfever absolutely sucks!)

I left the countryside for the 'big city' at 18 when I went away to University and then found a job in the historic city of York. For several years, being in a city was exciting and stimulating - but then I got to missing the countryside - badly!

When my husband got cancer, we decided to run away to the countryside (he was brought up on a farm in the North York Moors, and later in a small Yorkshire village).

We wanted for him to be able to finish his cancer treatments and recuperate in the tranquillity of the countryside. We were finding living in the suburbs of York completely stifling at the time...

But even when we moved to our cute country cottage in our tiny East Yorkshire village, we still didn't quite take full advantage of the nature all around us.

 Lovely walks to enjoy and drink-in nature

Lovely walks to enjoy and drink-in nature

Still stressed from the traumas of Ian's illness, we still lived the commuter life. Though we appreciated the scenery we passed through in the car and the quieter location, we rarely walked out in the fields all around the village.

All that changed when I was, quite literally, forced to make changes in the pace of my life and to look again at how I lived it...

A couple of years after moving to our country village, I got sick with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME). I had to leave my work and become self-employed - a great opportunity to do something different... although it didn't necessarily feel that way at the time.

Working from home meant that - joy of joys - we could get a dog! As I slowly recovered, I started walking in the fields every day (to practice and make sure I would be up to looking after our new dog properly) - and soon we welcomed our first dog, Ginger, into our home - a wonderful, retired racing greyhound.

 Ginger in barley

Ginger in barley

Ginger loved walking through summer barley - the bristly fonds rubbing against his sides seemed to feel amazing for him - so we had a fab time on our summer walks, stepping out happily, side by side together.

But it wasn't, actually, until I got my second dog, rough collie Noah, that I really started to appreciate the precious time spent in nature - and how essential being able to be out in the green is to our well-being.

 The green of nature - with my dog

The green of nature - with my dog

We're supposed to be in nature and nature is a place where we can stop and see the beauty in this world - look at what's around us, listen to the sounds, feel the wind on our faces and the earth beneath our feet...

And lose what's whirring around our heads and instead ground ourselves in this real world we're living in.

 Taking some time to watch the world around him!

Taking some time to watch the world around him!

Noah loves to stop and stare - to watch the world go by and enjoy this very moment and everything that's going on around him - right now!

It's taken me some time to really appreciate the huge difference that this taking time to connect with nature makes - but it's essential.

I love to do this through my art, but I understand, now, that part of my art is feeling mindful and grounded in real life too - in daily walks in the green...

I feel like it's where we're supposed to be!

Border Terrier Art - Behind the Scenes

artworks, behind the scenes, pet artCharlotte BrownComment

Beautiful and colourful border terrier artwork - 'Jessie and Summer Daisies' - lovely, contemporary pet art for border terrier lovers.

 Colourful border terrier art 'Jessie and Daisies' by Lotti Brown

Colourful border terrier art 'Jessie and Daisies' by Lotti Brown

I love scrappy little border terriers - wiry-haired, clever little explorers who love to chase rabbits. They're feisty and fun but love a cuddle at the end of the day with their best friend... there's nothing small about their character...

 A look of doggie devotion - border terrier love! Detail from the artwork.

A look of doggie devotion - border terrier love! Detail from the artwork.

I wanted to surround beautiful Jessie border terrier with these gorgeous big daisies - she's busy exploring a summer field or garden, having fun, and chasing bunnies but checks back on her owner just for a minute... ever the faithful friend.

Behind the Scenes

I created my border terrier artwork from my individual pen drawings of the dog and daisies, scanned them all into the computer and put them through Adobe Illustrator to create the final artwork...

Click the images below to take you through the process...

 The completed border terrier art by Lotti Brown

The completed border terrier art by Lotti Brown

I love this border terrier artwork of sweet Jessie - a lovely summertime feel and oh, that perfect look of slightly quizzical devotion on her pretty little face!

 Border terrier framed and unframed fine art prints & mini artboards are available in my store - click pic to see

Border terrier framed and unframed fine art prints & mini artboards are available in my store - click pic to see

 Click image for print and frame options in my store

Click image for print and frame options in my store

Border Terrier Artwork
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Beautiful border terrier art ‘Jessie and the Summer Daisies’…

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Dog Moments of Connection - The Power of the Dog

personal musings, pet art, well beingCharlotte BrownComment

I love that having a dog means meeting new people, getting to know people, sharing a little of our stories... person-to-person connection growing through a dog.

When you have an unusual and very fluffy dog - particularly one that loves meeting people and calls them over with a massive grin - people want to come over and say hello to him and give him a stroke.

 My smile and fluffiness invites new friends!

My smile and fluffiness invites new friends!

There's a few things that people say in this situation - one, in particular, I really love. They say, "Aw! Isn't he fluffy!" ... "It's Lassie!" (this one is inevitable, but some youngsters don't actually know Lassie these days!) ... "I bet he takes a lot of brushing!"

My favourite, though, is, said with a huge smile, "You don't see many of these anymore," usually followed by, "My mum/my auntie/my grandma used to have one of these when I was little."

I really love this, as with a smile and a little encouragement, you get to hear what they loved best about their faithful friend.

And the power of the dog is that this isn't just a memory but a whole emotion. As people speak about their remembered pets and furry friends, their faces soften, their voices slow and mellow, and a smile transforms their faces.

 A rough collie is born to steal the show!!! We get photo-bombed by our collie and it's done with such a smile! (He knows what he's doing!)

A rough collie is born to steal the show!!! We get photo-bombed by our collie and it's done with such a smile! (He knows what he's doing!)

I remember particularly the day I met several lovely people sat outside a large city supermarket, waiting with my rough collie Noah for my husband to get some supplies for our holiday.

I met some very interesting people, including a charming gentleman who told me of 65 years of living with greyhounds, bearded collies, lurchers, horses, donkeys! He recalled travelling 100 miles by horse and wagon over a week to Appleby-in-Westmoreland horse fair - and a pair of 40-year-old donkeys called Noah and Moses from his childhood, prompting him to consider getting a pair of donkeys for his grandson.

Little connections, stories told, forgotten... but now remembered.

My favourite, though, was a gentleman who, stopping to greet our dog, told us about when he was a child and the elderly neighbour's rough collie, Duncan, who he used to take out for a walk to help out his neighbour.

He told us about getting to know Duncan and enjoying walking with him every day, building up a friendship.

He made a big smiley fuss of Noah, which Noah loved! He spoke with him and accidentally called him Duncan!

For this lovely man, he was taken right back to these warm, comforting, childhood memories. He felt again the happiness, the connection between himself and his doggie friend. And that was triggered by that meeting with our dog!

Something that's so priceless and precious.

These are the moments of connection that I love. Dog ownership at its best!

 There's nothing in the world like a rough collie grin!

There's nothing in the world like a rough collie grin!

If you'd like to celebrate why your dog is precious to you, I can create a special custom pet portrait for you to have always...

Pretty Hedgehog Art - Behind the Scenes

artworks, behind the scenes, nature, shoppingCharlotte Brown

Pretty hedgehog art 'Ragged-Robin Hedgehog' - hedgehog with sweet pink flowers.

 'Ragged-Robin Hedgehog' art by Lotti Brown

'Ragged-Robin Hedgehog' art by Lotti Brown

A lovely little hedgehog surrounded by pretty pink ragged-robin flowers...

I love the snuffliness of hedgehogs and remember the year, when I was a child, that we had a family of babies born in our compost heap and tiny hedgehogs pootling around the bottom of our garden - a real treat.

Hedgehogs are becoming more scarce now, particularly in rural areas, so I wanted to put this little hedgehog amidst some beautiful flowers where she can find things to eat and somewhere to hibernate safely come wintertime. 

I love ragged-robin flowers and I thought that the spiky petals would look really good with the hedgehog's spines.

 Detail from the hedgehog artwork

Detail from the hedgehog artwork

Behind the Scenes of the Artwork

Take a look at my creative process in the photos below, taking my drawings to a finished artwork via the computer.

Click on an image below to see a larger picture and read about the process...

 Completed sweet hedgehog artwork with ragged-robin flowers

Completed sweet hedgehog artwork with ragged-robin flowers

I think my hedgehog art print is really soft and sweet with pretty summer colours of dusk, gentle oranges, browns and pinks... gorgeous and snuffly!

 Framed and unframed hedgehog art prints and mini artboards available in my online store - click pic to see

Framed and unframed hedgehog art prints and mini artboards available in my online store - click pic to see

 Click image for more details about print and frame options

Click image for more details about print and frame options

'Ragged-Robin Hedgehog' Artwork
from 18.00

Summer hedgehog art print with Ragged-Robin flowers

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You can buy my sweet hedgehog art print from my online art store.

You can see more of my wildlife art in my nature and wildlife art gallery.

New: International Shipping and New Art Products in my Store

announcements, artworks, new collections, shoppingCharlotte BrownComment

It's a big day for my store with so many new things to tell you about!

I hope you'll be just as excited as I am...

  • New international shipping direct at checkout
  • New frames
  • New mini artboards
 Exciting new art products in my online store

Exciting new art products in my online store

New international shipping direct at checkout

While my store has always had international shipping available, you had to contact me for a quote - but now, shipping costs will be automatically added to your cart at checkout for a number of international countries including the USA, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Finland. Shipping within the UK, of course, still remains available.

I really have researched long and hard to find the best shipping options for you, for a fast and cost-effective delivery. And I believe I've found a great solution, especially as it's also introduced some wonderful new products to me, which I've added to the store as I think you'll absolutely love them (more about this right below)...

I've created shipping options for the countries that I see using my website the most, but it's still possible that your country isn't included. If your country isn't included in the drop-down menu on checkout, please just get in touch and I will provide you with a quote or add the country to the list. Shipping is available to almost every country worldwide.

New frames

As I said, my search for an effective international shipping solution led me in directions I didn't expect, and one of these was to provide my artwork in new simple and elegant black frames as standard...

 My new standard black frame

My new standard black frame

My new frames are a beautifully simple 'swoop' style that draws your eye into the artwork.

 New stylish black frames

New stylish black frames

Each frame is individually hand-built in the UK by Fine Art Trade Guild craftsmen and made from solid pine and the artwork is fitted using conservation-grade mounts/matts that won't discolour over time.

 Beautiful new 'swoop' frames

Beautiful new 'swoop' frames

The frame is fitted with clear acrylic plexiglass for greater UV protection for the artwork and reduced glare compared to standard framing glass. It's also safer to post and more lightweight, which means reduced shipping costs - yay!

Framed prints are available in 3 sizes:

  • 8" x 8" print mounted in a 12" x 12" (30cm by 30cm) frame
  • 12" x 12" print mounted in a 16" x 16" (40cm by 40cm) frame
  • 16" x 16" print mounted in a 20" x 20" (50cm by 50cm) frame

If you've already fallen in love with one of my old frames, just get in touch and I can still organise that for you as a custom option.

Which brings me onto my final new thing... something I'm so excited to have found and to be able to bring you...

New Mini Art Boards

My new mini art boards are a fun and cost-effective way to collect my art - starting at a very mini 6" by 6" (15cm by 15cm) these firm artboards are an ideal way to showcase artworks propped up on your desk at work, on your bedside table, or mantelpiece with no frame required!

 Colourful mini artboards are the perfect fun way to collect and display art with no frame required

Colourful mini artboards are the perfect fun way to collect and display art with no frame required

They are professionally printed with crisp and vibrant colour and a beautiful shimmer created by the subtle texture of the 1.5mm 4-ply watercolour board that it's printed onto. You can pop them straight into a frame if you choose...

And they make perfect little stocking-fillers or birthday gifts for all your friends and family!

 Joyous art to inspire you every day on mini artboards to keep or gift...

Joyous art to inspire you every day on mini artboards to keep or gift...

Mini artboards are available in 3 sizes:

  • 6" x 6" (15.2cm x 15.2cm)
  • 8" x 8" (20.3cm x 20.3cm)
  • 10" x 10" (25.4cm x 25.4cm)

There's more information about all of these in my store - once you're there, just click on any of the artworks to get started and check out the product description.

If you've got any questions about any of this, please just get in touch and ask me - I'm happy to help.

 New frames and mini art boards now available at Lotti Brown Designs

New frames and mini art boards now available at Lotti Brown Designs

All About My Frames

artworks, pet art, shopping, faqsCharlotte Brown

I wanted to share with you a bit about the beautiful frames that I have selected to go with my art prints and custom pet portraits so that they arrive with you ready to hang.

They are specially chosen to complement my art and also to look stylish in your home.

 Corgi art in stylish 'swoop' frame

Corgi art in stylish 'swoop' frame

I offer an elegantly simple black frame in a curved 'swoop' design.

The frame is a high-quality solid wood frame built by hand in the UK by my trusted framing partners who are members of the Fine Art Trade Guild.

 Fox art in black frame

Fox art in black frame

The frames feature a 2mm-thick conservation-grade single mount, which will not discolour over time, and clear acrylic plexiglass that provides UV protection for your artwork and reduced glare.

 Clear acrylic plexiglass in your frame adds to UV protection for the artwork and reduced glare

Clear acrylic plexiglass in your frame adds to UV protection for the artwork and reduced glare

My frames are sent ready to hang with all back and hanging fixings in place.

swoop_frame_reverse.jpg

The standard frame is an elegant, simple black 'swoop' style frame in solid wood

  • Frame width: 45mm
  • Frame rebate depth: 32mm
 Beautiful black curved 'swoop' frame in solid wood

Beautiful black curved 'swoop' frame in solid wood

 Frame details

Frame details

Without a Frame?

If you already have a favourite frame at home, or if you'd just rather get your local store to do the framing for you, that's perfectly fine. In fact, in my store, all my art prints are available as a mini artboard or loose print (which comes unframed and unmounted, rolled in a cardboard tube) so that you can deal with the framing requirements as you choose.

If you're ordering a custom pet portrait commission, just tell me that you'd prefer to source the frame yourself and I can quote you accordingly.

How do I care for my artwork and frames?

Avoid hanging your artwork in direct sunlight, close to a fireplace or radiator, or in a moist environment such as a bathroom.

Simply wipe frames gently with a soft cloth or feather duster. Avoid using cleaning sprays on the frames.

To clean the acrylic glazing in your frame, dampen a soft cloth with water and wipe gently. Do not spray household cleaners onto the glazing.

swoop_frame_detail_2.jpg

Will my Artwork be Sent Safely?

Yes!

Framed art is sent in a tough cardboard box that will protect the frame on its way to you.

Acrylic glazing, instead of glass, helps to ensure that there are no breakages in transit.

 Tough packaging will protect your framed artwork as it wings its way towards you

Tough packaging will protect your framed artwork as it wings its way towards you

 Unpacking the artwork

Unpacking the artwork

 Corner protectors will protect the corners of your frames in transit

Corner protectors will protect the corners of your frames in transit

Unmounted prints (loose prints) are usually sent rolled in a cardboard tube.

In the unlikely event that there is any damage when your artwork arrives, please get in touch with me as soon as possible.

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Our Bond with Dogs - Book Review – Martin Clunes: A Dog’s Life

book reviews, pet artCharlotte BrownComment

I believe that we humans and our dogs have a very special bond that goes well beyond a simple domestication of a wild animal. It’s like we’re meant to be together, meant to have each other in our lives.

 Us - with our rough collie taking centre stage as always!

Us - with our rough collie taking centre stage as always!

I was talking about this to my husband the other day, and we suddenly recalled an ITV series about this that we’d watched a decade earlier.

I particularly remember the series as our then-dog, a greyhound, Ginger, hadn’t been with us all that long. He never took any notice of the television, even when dogs were barking on it, but during this show, wolves howled… and Ginger pricked up his ears and really took note!

The series was Martin Clunes’ ‘A Man and his Dogs’.

I decided to revisit the themes of the series with the accompanying book to the series ‘A Dog’s Life’…

And I couldn’t believe how pertinent it was to what my husband and I had been discussing.

The book examines our relationship with dogs – how it started and how it developed – what dogs were to us and what they are now – with visits to learn about the dog’s wild ancestors (wolves, dingoes and African wild hunting dogs); modern breeds (including different working breeds that no longer work); and with the story of Martin Clunes’ own doggie relationships and the troubles and fighting within his own canine household and his efforts to remedy these.

The whole premise of the book could quite aptly be summed up in the very first sentence to the introduction:

There is a fact generally acknowledged, dear reader, that a man is not a man without a dog.

(Martin Clunes doesn’t specifically state it, but for ‘man’ I read humankind throughout the book as I feel like this was the intent.)

It seems that our modern dogs are descended from Asian wolves (through Europe). Our modern dogs are 99.9% wolf genetically!

So what happened to allow dogs to live in harmony with us humans while their wolf cousins remain wild and untamed?

 Wolf or dog? Husky artwork by Lotti Brown. Click image to buy this print in my store

Wolf or dog? Husky artwork by Lotti Brown. Click image to buy this print in my store

Visiting Wolves

Martin Clunes visits a wolf project in Devon where he discusses the idea with wolf-expert Shaun Ellis, who feels that the environment and experience dictate that the modern dog’s behaviour is different from his wild ancestor.

Early humans would have wanted to use the wolf/dog’s skills – “their ability to hunt and move faster than us as well as their acute sense of smell that can help us as an early warning system” as well as warmth, companionship, and simply the fact that dogs make you feel good.

Co-evolving with Dogs

In Australia, Martin Clunes talks to vet Associate Professor Paul Mc Greevy from the University of Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science, who believes that “dogs domesticated themselves.”

They were attracted by our rubbish and “we then capitalised on dogs as resources for guarding and keeping the place clean.”

“The first step in the domestication process was accomplished when those parent dogs [of the first pups selected from those early proto-dogs] overcame their fear because of their need for food.”

Paul believes there is a ‘missing link’, a ‘proto-dog’ between wolf and dog – “wolf shaped but having certain characteristics that allowed it to come closer to us than most wolves would.”

Paul believes that man and dog have co-evolved together:

“We were both beneficiaries in this process. Dogs don’t have to hunt any longer. They don’t have to worry about competing with other dogs or being killed by them. We provide them with warmth, shelter, and companionship. At the same time, we’ve used them more than we have any other species. They’ve been used in warfare, for food, for haulage, guarding, hunting, transport. We’ve used dogs for every possible use a domestic animal can be put to. We’ve even used their fur as fibre. So they are the most useful of the domestic pets and we owe them a great deal.”

Early humans would have first domesticated the puppies of the bitches who lived closest to the camp and fed on our food waste.

Dogs were drawn to our resources and we were drawn to the closest pups.

“It’s called co-evolution and it’s still going on,” says Paul. “But …. we, as guardians of the dog, need to look at the bigger picture when it comes to keeping dogs healthy in the future.” Domestication is a process that’s still going on and what we want now in a dog is a good companion.

Visiting Dingoes

Also in Australia, Martin Clunes gets to learn a little about the Aboriginal view of the dingo, the Australian native wild dog. Baden Williams explained the Aboriginal view that, “Through Dreamtime, we’re related to one another.”

Dingoes came to us …. for protection. They’ve never been a pet – they’re just part of the family, like the kids. The same respect is given to the dingo as would be given to another person. A dingo’s a playmate for the young ones, a companion for the older people, and they act dumb with the others. You treat it as your kids.

As our traditional, western view of dogs is very much that they should not be mistaken for a child, this is quite something to ponder (and maybe it’s actually our treatment of our children that could be brought into question on this point when criticism does arise).

As Martin Clunes points out, “…it seems to me that men and dogs look after each other’s needs, so a dog deserves to be treated well.”

For Aboriginal people, a dingo is part of the family. It’s seen as an independent spirit, still a wild animal. A dingo “…contributes more to the family than just companionship … They can understand what we say and they respond to our feelings,” providing warmth, protection and healing.

So humans and dogs seem to really have this common bond that carries through right to the present day and our devoted relationships with our own dogs.

How we got to modern day dog breeds.

Of course, these days, we have hundreds of different dog breeds to choose from. Many developed from original working dogs, bred to serve a specific and useful purpose. This is why we have such a variety of sizes and shapes of dogs in the modern world.

In fact, I was talking to a friend and neighbour the other day about the fact that small children often mistake our rough collie for a lion. When we had our very tall greyhound, children were often convinced he was a ‘horsey’. She commented that it was impressive that even small children were able to (reasonably reliably) recognise most species of dogs as dogs, whether they were miniature Yorkshire Terriers, massive Great Danes, or somewhere in between…

 Greyhound or horsey? Our greyhound often used to be mistaken for a horse by young children - an easy mistake to make, especially in wet or cold weather when he was wearing his coat (horse blanket!).

Greyhound or horsey? Our greyhound often used to be mistaken for a horse by young children - an easy mistake to make, especially in wet or cold weather when he was wearing his coat (horse blanket!).

With tiny scraps of dog, great hulking giants, long-legged or short-legged pooches, long fur, fluffy fur, curly coats and smooth coats, flat-faces and long-noses, there’s such an amazing variety on show that, yes, it is truly impressive that a small child can fairly well identify that essential element that makes a dog a dog. Perhaps it’s something to do with our special bond and co-evolution with the dog?

Visiting vet and dog expert Bruce Fogle at the Natural History Museum in Tring, Martin Clunes discusses dog evolution and dog breeds with him. Bruce believes, “The dog is self-domesticated.”

“These [Asian] wolves [brought to Europe when Asian people migrated across the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia] took advantage of the new environment that human habitation created when we became agricultural. Wolves realised there were rich pickings by moving in on our campsites. The ones that survived were the ones small enough to live off what they could scavenge, because they were no longer catching large game. The humans had captured the large game."

Breeds like the pariah dog are genetically very close to the original wolf:

“If you compare its teeth to the Asian wolf, you’ll see that they’re more compacted. The vrain is smaller because the animal no longer has a large territory to cover, so navigating territories was no longer so important. The intestinal tract is shorter, because it had a smaller variety of foods to eat. All those changes were due to natural selection, not to our intervention.”

Probably one of the first ‘breeds’ humans intervened to develop would have been sighthounds like the saluki. The breed is thousands of years old and would have been specifically selected and bred for longer legs and thick muscles for fast running and hunting.

Dogs that barked loudly or at the slightest sound – like my collie! – would have been selected and bred for guarding.

Some dogs would have been selected and bred to give companionship, comfort, or just because they were appealing in some way – the same then as now.

Nowadays, ‘breed standards’ have strict rules about size, shape and colour. Many of the characteristics we originally selected for were actually a mutation or deviation from the norm in the original dog and were (and are) the cause of pain or health issues.

By breeding from a limited gene pool in order to meet the breed standards, “we haven’t always helped our best friends.”

Dogs like the Bernese Mountain Dog, as little as 40 years ago, were actually an aggressive breed, in general, originally bred as guarding dogs. Breeding since that time for a gentle temperament has created a gentle companion, a placid family dog, but has shortened life expectancy and increased risk of serious medical problems because of such a small group of dogs being used in their breeding.

 Bernese Mountain Dog by Lotti Brown. Click image to find the print in my store.

Bernese Mountain Dog by Lotti Brown. Click image to find the print in my store.

In fact, as we become more aware, now, of specific medical problems amongst pedigree dogs, this is one of the criticisms often levelled at organisations such as the Kennel Club who apparently promote pedigree breeds whose very breed standards seem to perpetuate features that can cause medical problems – such as the breathing difficulties endured by many of the flat-nosed breeds.

For Rough Collie Fans

I was particularly interested, in the section on working dogs, in the piece about canine acting royalty, Lassie – a rough collie – actually a male ‘actor’ called Laddie. I was relieved to discover that even Lassie, that paragon of dog obedience, isn’t the perfect canine that his on-screen persona makes him out to be…

Bob Weatherwax, rough collie trainer (of Lassie), says that rough collies aren’t as easily manipulated as some other breeds.

There’s a lot of things collies just don’t want to do. The reason why is because they were bred to sit up on a mountain with a shepherd and just guard the sheep. They’re tough dogs… That’s what they’re meant for. They’re bred to be suspicious.
 There are plenty of things my rough collie doesn't want to do - he knows his own mind perfectly well!

There are plenty of things my rough collie doesn't want to do - he knows his own mind perfectly well!

So this explains why my rough collie, Noah, is so watchful and antagonistic about any stranger walking past our house and so vocal about anyone stopping to go about their business or pass the time of day (“…lurk suspiciously,” thinks Noah) nearby – and why he alerts me faithfully, and noisily, to this every time. (Once he’s ascertained you’re not suspicious, you will probably get to pass quietly!)

Even superstar Laddie gets “upset or spooked” so I think I can allow for my rough collie’s little bit of nervousness around the unexpected. Clearly, it’s all in the breed.

Meant to Be Together

I know, from my relationship with my own dog, how special our bond is with our furry family members. It seems that it might really be that humans and dogs are just meant to be together, have evolved together and exist together for mutual benefit.

 One woman and her dog!

One woman and her dog!

But an awareness of where our pampered little pooches have come from, their original family (pack), and their place and role in that family, can only help us in moving forward with our dogs as our family members and cherished companions – and making sure that our relationship with them continues to work just as well for the dog as for the human in the equation.

We do have a responsibility to our canine companion to look out for and work for their best interests, just as surely and genuinely as they look out for us.

I like the idea from the Aboriginal people of the dog being one of our family – deserving our respect and permitting him an independence as his own being, even while living in interdependence in our human lives.

 Meant to be together!

Meant to be together!

This is a really interesting book that takes a journey to examine the true nature of that special relationship that exists between humans and dogs, where it came from, how it fits with the dog’s ancestral pack roles, how it developed, and where it’s going.

Entertaining and easy to read with lots of stories and personal anecdotes, it manages to take some weighty topics and discuss them in such a way that you go on a personal journey with Martin Clunes.

I think the book would be an interesting and valuable read for anyone the least bit interested in dogs.

There’s so much more to the book than what I’ve discussed here, so if you love your dog, I heartily recommend you read it yourself.

Please note that the above links are affiliate links. This means that if you buy via this link I will receive a very small commission for my part in recommending the book to you. The price you pay is always the same and I only ever make recommendations that I genuinely feel are of interest to you and that I personally love.

Please note that all images (except for images of the book itself) are my own, included to illustrate my review, and are nothing to do with the book and are not included in it or associated with it in any way.

Let Me Take You By the Hand

behind the scenes, personal musings, artworks, natureCharlotte Brown

When I create my art, I want to take you by the hand and show you all the little awesome things that I see in nature.

Sometimes we get too busy to see them, or too distracted by other things going on. One of the jobs of an artist is to see the little things that other people sometimes miss - and to share them with the world...

 Detail from my Wren and Physalis artwork

Detail from my Wren and Physalis artwork

The act of creating art, for me, is just me saying:

"I saw this. It made me feel happy (or serene, or joyful, or intrigued).

I want to share it with you."

I anchor this emotion inside myself by re-creating it in art - the thing that inspired it, and the emotion itself, are both what I try to put into the artwork...

Now that that special feeling, that emotion, are in a tangible form, I can share this emotion with you - I can properly tell you about what I saw and how I felt - and share it all with you.

"I want to show you the awesomeness of nature - how I see it, how I feel it - I want you to see it too, share it with me, experience it right alongside me..."

I hope that you enjoy experiencing nature along with me and that it makes you as happy as it makes me... :)

'Water-Sparkles Otter' Art - Behind the Scenes

artworks, behind the scenes, inspiration, nature, new collections, shopping, drawingsCharlotte Brown

Bold and colourful otter art by Lotti Brown: 'Water-Sparkles Otter'.

I wanted to capture the energy and watery nature of the beautiful and elusive otter - one of our most amazing wildlife animals...

 'Water-Sparkles Otter' art print by Lotti Brown

'Water-Sparkles Otter' art print by Lotti Brown

My beautiful, sleek, wet otter is surrounded by vibrant marsh marigolds, reeds and grasses to give a colourful artwork with a really watery feel.

I was inspired by a favourite film as a child: 'Ring of Bright Water' which tells the beautiful story of Gavin Maxwell's experiences of life in Scotland with an adopted otter.

I wanted the splashes of colour in the otter's fur to look like the sparkles of light and water from the film - and for the flowers and foliage to evoke those idyllic highland streams and ponds where the otter would play and swim - a little moment of tranquillity almost stood still in time.

 Detail from the otter artwork

Detail from the otter artwork

I also remember an amazing experience from a few years ago, stood watching an otter play on the island of Jura in Scotland...

With my husband, I spotted the otter on the shoreline from the car and we pulled over and got out the car to watch her eat a meal of fish - she saw us but had no fear and stayed to continue her feast - an awesome and unforgettable sight that I feel privileged to have experienced.

 Otter on the seashore in Jura, Scotland

Otter on the seashore in Jura, Scotland

The otter is amazingly sleek and lithe with wonderful arching shapes in her movements - you can just feel the strength, energy and absolute mastery and precision of the otter's body as you watch - and I hoped to try and capture some of that really special energy in my artwork, too.

Behind the Scenes of the Otter Artwork

Take a look at how I developed my otter art from my drawings with the help of the computer...

Click on the images below to see larger pictures and to find out more about the process...

 The finished otter and marsh-marigold artwork - an explosion of colour and energy - wild nature, untamed!

The finished otter and marsh-marigold artwork - an explosion of colour and energy - wild nature, untamed!

I love how we feel like we've just caught a very special glimpse of this very private animal in his element...

 My otter print is available as a framed or unframed giclee art print and mini artboard in my online art store - click pic to go there

My otter print is available as a framed or unframed giclee art print and mini artboard in my online art store - click pic to go there

 Click image for further details of print and frame options in my store

Click image for further details of print and frame options in my store

'Water-Sparkles Otter' Artwork
from 18.00

Colourful otter art print 'Water-Sparkles Otter' on a waterside surrounded by dramatic yellow marsh marigolds.

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You can get my 'Water-Sparkles Otter' art print in my online store.

You can see more of my nature art in my Wildlife Art Gallery.

Heatwave Hermit

nature, personal musingsCharlotte BrownComment

I love the sunshine – bright, clear days, soft rays of sunshine across infinite blue skies and the gentle caress of warmth on the skin…

But I have to say that I’m not one for the heat. I know there are some that are loving this summer heat, but at the risk of being a grumpy so-and-so, you can absolutely stick your heatwave… and preferably where the sun don’t shine!

For the last few weeks, here and across much of the northern hemisphere and beyond, it’s been too hot, abnormally hot… claggy, muggy, heavy, uncomfortable… and completely overwhelming!

 Hot August evenings in Yorkshire

Hot August evenings in Yorkshire

Life is reduced to venturing out in early mornings and late evening when, on most but not all occasions, we can enjoy a relative cool – so important when you have a hairy dog who hates hot weather too!

The middle of the day is spent with blinds and curtains drawn, blocking out the heat of the sun and trying to keep the house cool. We have a daily routine now, following the sun around the house, opening windows when it’s cool(ish) and shady at that side and closing up when the sun moves round… but still remembering to come back and open up to let the cool air in later.

On our recent week off, we decided not to brave the elements on day trips out in the heat – too hot for us – too hot for the dog to come with us – too hot for him to stay shut up in a hot house...

 A shady spot for the dog to hide from the heat

A shady spot for the dog to hide from the heat

(Luckily, when we’re at home, Noah gets to choose his own shady spot in the garden and does follow the shade as it moves through the morning, returning inside in the afternoons where it’s a little cooler than the scorching garden.)

Excursions have been short and sweet and we’re getting to know, now, which shops and cafes are welcoming, cool, and air-conditioned, and which are stuffy, overheated and unbearable.

I do feel like we’ve become heatwave hermits – timing our outings with the dog for cool mornings and evenings (24C at 8.30am and still 26C at 9pm the other day, so that cool is relative) – and having to shut out that sunshine just to stay cool and avoiding anything even remotely strenuous in the heat of the day.

In Britain, we’re just not used to it being this hot. And we’re not equipped with shutters and air-conditioning that do make life a little easier in countries where this weather is more usual.

I can hardly even bear to imagine what life is like in countries where it’s now even hotter, with wildfires breaking out (we’ve had some, too) and burning uncontrolled and the risk to health and life is increased.

I was only two when Britain last experienced such a heatwave (in 1976) so I can’t recall it at all, but it’s so completely out of the ordinary for us that it does feel unsettling. And the fact that such a huge area of the world is experiencing the same makes it even more unnerving.

It seems that we may not have a choice but to take more note of nature, as nature reminds us that it’s still a powerful force in our everyday lives, no matter that we sometimes feel like we humans have dominion over all things.

 The golden summer light is beautiful - but the accompanying heat is overwhelming!

The golden summer light is beautiful - but the accompanying heat is overwhelming!

Stay cool in the heat of summer look after your loved ones and your pets – and look forward to enjoying the best things about a heatwave – the cool, refreshing summer rain when it does eventually come!


If you can't wait for nature to oblige with some cooling rain, click and enjoy the rain experience below... hope it helps cool you down!

Nature - Going Deep

behind the scenes, personal musings, well being, natureCharlotte BrownComment

Spending time out in nature isn't just a matter of seeing beautiful plants and flowers, or interesting birds and animals that I want to draw and make art of - it's something even deeper that that.

Mindful time in nature - by that I mean, not a hike through nature but a walk, a stroll - drinking in the green, stopping to look at a leaf or a a flower.

Taking a quiet moment and letting your ears, and your heart, fill up with the sounds of birds calling, the wind in the trees, the rustle of breeze in grasses or crops, the sensation of wind, sun, or rain on the face...

 A beautiful spot to drink in the healing calm of nature

A beautiful spot to drink in the healing calm of nature

This special time in nature brings us to a deep, inner place of calm and clarity within our own selves - a truer knowledge of our own values, wants and needs.

It's from this deep place of calm, energy and clarity that creativity comes alive and where the soul feels open to speak out, to call out, and connect with our self and with the world.