‘Last Sleep’


Starting to feel more finished now, I am really happy with the background and will hope to complete one more veil of colour over the darker areas to smooth the paint brush marks out. Then on to finishing the flowers and sleeping mouse.

‘Last Sleep’

ella-wolfnoth-last-sleep-nov16 ella-wolfnoth-last-sleep-oil-paint

‘Last sleep’ oil on board, darker background being painted in, I avoided this stage for a while as I was scared I would lose the layers I love dearly, I now love the new darker layers more.

Colour Veils


‘Last Sleep’ colour layers, I always put off this stage for as long as I am able to, enjoying the underpainting map before it is hidden forever, I always feel this stage of a painting is like being in early teens, not complete and quite a way off, showing some potential, but quite undeveloped! The fist layers I have washed in with veils of colour to try not to over saturate the underpainting.

Last Sleep progress, background


‘Last Sleep’ refining the background, always a scary stage moving forward and covering the details underneath, but they will come back later in a different form.

Last Sleep progress


Last sleep (16 x 22″, oil on traditional gesso board), another layer of the under painting, previous layers and pencil marks now hidden, I shall be sad to lose this layer to the next, but it must evolve.

New art cards


New art cards, proofed and ready to collect this week. I can not wait to give these little gems to people.

Last Sleep, oil on traditional gesso board

I have been quietly working away on this beauty and watching it unfold on the board, it has been slow going between other jobs and trying not to rush finish it, but I feel like I am making good progress. This painting is also a lot larger than my usual A5 boards, ‘Last Sleep’ is 16 x 21 inches, below are some progress pictures.

ella wolfnoth-last sleep oil on board AUG16.3

ella wolfnoth-last sleep oil on board AUG16.4

The process so far:

> Traditional rabbit skin glue on my board, two thin coats, sanded.

> Umber wash to tone the board, OMS and umber.

> Various amounts of sketching and scaled drawing to get the right composition at this point, it can take a while to get the drawing as I imagined it in my head. I use a wax based pencil Faber-Castell Polychromos or a Pitt Pastel, this way I can erase as much as I need to. When I am happy I seal this layer with a fixing spray.

> Umber under painting, sometimes called a grisaille, it will help me to determine the darks lights and mids of this painting, I try to omit all colour at this stage. This is where I am at in the image above so far.



A dear writer friend of mine asked to see some of my sketchbooks, to me they are the usual mumblings of working out paintings, colour palettes, gesso recipes, ideas and thoughts! To her they were a glimpse in to an artists mind, they were precious visual diaries, with scraps of colour here and inky words there. They were the unfinished ideas and pages, blossoms of new ideas and thoughts, all combined in perfect little books spilling out of the edges into her hands.



Dreams usually inspire my thoughts in someway and it can be a source of brilliant ideas, I recently had a dream about a dormouse visiting me, and we had a wonderful time together in the dream, she was also sleeping in a bed of flowers, o so still while sleeping and I did not want to wake her, but I was also unsure if she was still breathing. I woke up form that dream thinking ‘I must make that into a painting’.

The next early evening while out with walking Olls, I found a dormouse in the middle of the road, it looked like they had been hedge cutting and she had fallen into the road, exposed and cold on the concrete, I picked her up along with a bundle of grass and carried her home to get her warm and fed ready for releasing when she was strong enough. I did not have the heart to leave her in the road for a car to squash her or a cat to find her.

After following advice we could find on the internet, and realising our mouse was a vole, also making a den in a small box somewhere warm with grass, and feeding her goats milk, she took her last breath in my hands, she was just not strong enough to survive, being so young and tiny. We gave a great little funeral the next day and planted a foxglove on top to complete the circle of nature and life, also to remind us of this precious little gift.

Both my dream and finding the tiny little mouse-vole inspired the painting I am working on at the moment called ‘Last Sleep’.

Here is a picture of her sleeping, she also bears resemblance to my sketches of the painting before I started. A spark of inspiration.



Long over due a post here! In between breaks in gardening and pottering, recent finished painting ‘Night-time’ 4×6″ oil on wooden panel, on traditional gesso. Process and final painting. Super happy with the finished painting and the star details in the background.

ella wolfnoth-nighttime-sml-2

Moth Bow Drawing

moth bow ella wolfnoth

^ First rough drawing stage to map out shapes, lights and darks, I always love this stage; seeing ideas from my sketchbooks come to life on gesso board. I do not have a final name for her yet; just ‘Moth Bow’ for now; I am sure she will let me know when she is ready.

> Pencil on traditional gesso, 8 x 10 “

Colour Planning

colour planning ella wolfnoth colours ella wolfnoth

I always like to think about the final colour of a painting as I am working towards finishing the drawing stage; I hope to have colour harmony through out the painting; it also helps me to look at reference materials and colour match any colours I like at this stage.


beetle bow

^ ‘Beetle Bow’ 8 X 10 inches, oil on wooden panel.

First colour layer done, second colour layer and details to finish. Frame made locally.

Beetle Bow


^ ‘Beetle Bow’ Oil on wooden panel | On traditionally prepared gesso ground 8 x 10″ | Process from pencil to first oil colour layers



^ ‘Patience Garden’ oil on wooden panel.

Process from traditional gesso, through drawing layers, to oil blocking.

Colour palettes, greying with compliments.


palette1 copy
^ Ultramarine blue warm – orangey red warm
Ultramarine blue – orangey yellow cool
Cerulean blue cool – orangey red warm
Cerulean blue cool – orangey yellow cool

palette2 copy
^ Cadmium yellow deep warm – magenta warm
Cadmium yellow deep warm – cobalt violet cool
Yellow lake cool – magenta warm
Yellow lake cool – cobalt violet warm

palette3 copy
^ Cadmium red deep hue warm – chrome green warm
Cadmium red deep hue warm – viridian green cool
Alizarin Crimson cool – chrome green warm
Alizarin Crimson cool – viridian green cool


Above a selection of colour palettes, using compliments to find greys

to find warmer greys, and cooler greys.

Patience Garden Evolving

ella.wolfnoth paitence garden 1

ella.wolfnoth patience garden 2

^ ‘Patience Garden’ oil pencil on wooden panel, after blocking in the background, I can now work on the details on the petals and flowers with grey and white for highlights.


wolfnoth-sml2wolfnoth-sml 3

^ ‘Patience Garden’ pencil on tradition gesso. Blocking in the bigger areas with grey pencil.



^ Faber Castel Poloychromos, graphite mechanical pencils, pencil rubber. All the tools I like for sketching ideas, rough sketches and polishing drawings.