Charity Prints for the Donkey Sanctuary

You may have been following my Facebook page where I’ve been updating followers about Jimmy and Lorcan, two very special donkeys that I have been painting to raise money for the Donkey Sanctuary. (Read my last blog entry to get the full story here.)

I am delighted to announce that both paintings are now complete and I wish to share with you the final paintings. (Please note: the final prints won’t have a copyright watermark)

This is Jimmy, he’s a character, he loves posing for the camera and pulls the funniest faces, I just couldn’t resist painting him! He was only a year old when he was relinquished to The Donkey Sanctuary from Ennis, Co.Clare. He was hand fed by the staff and he received expert veterinary, farrier and dental care and is one of the many much loved donkeys that can be visited at the Sanctuary.

Painting of Jimmy the Donkey

And this is Lorcan. When Lorcan was only a year old he was chased by youths into barbed wire leaving his ears badly damaged. Now at the ripe old age of 19 he is very well taken care of at The Donkey Sanctuary and is very popular with visitors. He enjoys lots of love and affection and on a wet day snuggles up in the barn.

Painting of Donkey Lorcan

Lorcan’s story was made extra special when on Friday last one of the limited edition prints of Lorcan was presented to President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina on their visit to the Donkey Sanctuary in Liscarroll. I’m sure Lorcan will take pride of place in the Áras!

President Michael D. Higgins and wife Sabina accepting a print of Lorcan from the Donkey Sanctuary

L/r Sabina Higgins President’s wife, Paddy Barrett Founder The Donkey Sanctuary, The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and Noel Carton Head of Operations The Donkey Sanctuary.

These prints can now be ordered from me at and purchased here from my website. A limited edition run of only 50 signed and framed archival prints for €75 each will be made of each donkey with proceeds going to The Donkey Sanctuary. The prints are the perfect unique Christmas present for the animal-lover in your life or why not put it on your own wish list and treat yourself to a beautiful piece of art?!

There are only 50 prints of each donkey available so to avoid disappointment please make sure to place your order today so it arrives in time for Christmas. Orders can be collected from The Donkey Sanctuary in Cork on request. If you want the print delivered, please allow €8.60 for delivery to anywhere in Ireland. Each print will carry the story of Jimmy and Lorcan and arrive in a lovely presentation box with a certificate of authenticity. You can place your order in advance by emailing your name and address directly to me at
Prints of Donkeys from Donkey Sanctuary

Paintings for the Donkey Sanctuary

Paintings for the Donkey Sanctuary; A treat for art lovers and donkey lovers!

Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that the Donkey Sanctuary is the other charity I have chosen to work with this Christmas. I am currently working on two Paintings for the Donkey Sanctuary and I will sell limited edition prints of the paintings to raise money for the charity before Christmas.

I am familiar with the charity for years as the Sanctuary is close to where I grew up at home in North Cork. Breda Clancy is the lady behind fundraising for the charity and she loved the idea of me creating some Paintings for the Donkey Sanctuary. I travelled up to Liscarroll at the end of September to take some photos of the donkeys. If you’ve never visited the sanctuary I highly recommend it. Kids absolutely love it and you can walk the grounds and visit all the donkeys on the site. It’s sure to turn any frown upside down!

It’s true the saying, never work with children or animals!!

It’s true the saying, never work with children or animals as the donkeys certainly have a mind of their own and getting the photos I wanted proved difficult. Stuart and his team were very patient with me as they guided about 5 different donkeys in front of the camera. Finally we found that the temptation of a ginger nut biscuit perked their interest and before long I had the photos I needed!!

So my Donkey Sanctuary muses are Jimmy and Lorcan. This is Jimmy, he’s a character, he always pushed his way in front of the other donkeys to have his photo taken and pulled the funniest faces, I just could’t resist painting him. Photo of Jimmy the Donkey

Lorcan is probably the smallest donkey I’ve ever seen, often nudged out by the bigger donkeys when it comes to getting your attention but his unusual bent ears made me notice him. This is the lovely Lorcan.
Photo of Lorcan the Donkey
Turns out when Lorcan was only a year old he was chased by youths into barbed wire leaving his ears badly damaged. Now at the ripe old age of 19 he is very well taken care of at the Sanctuary and is well able to fight his corner when a ginger nut biscuit is up for grabs!

The Paintings for the Donkey Sanctuary will be completed later this month, in time for Christmas, and will make a beautiful gift for any animal lover with the added benefit of supporting a much loved charity. A limited edition run of only 50 signed and framed archival prints (€75 each) will be made of Lorcan and Jimmy with profits going directly to the charity. Each print will carry the story of the donkey so you can follow their unique journey. You can place your order in advance by emailing

Feel free to share this post or leave a comment below about Paintings for the Donkey Sanctuary.

Siobhán’s Paintings Selected in International Art Competition

I’m on top of the World…I have great news to share today.

I have just received notification that my watercolour painting “If I Could Talk I’d Tell You” (Watercolour of Terrier below) just won 2nd overall prize in the 3rd Annual ‘Animals’ International Art Exhibition.
Terrier Dog

The Exhibition is run by Light Space & Time Online Gallery in Florida. The gallery received 581 entries from 13 different countries from around the world, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Panama, Poland, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and the United Kingdom. In addition, the gallery received entries from 36 different states.
Watercolour Painting of Cow
My painting of “I’ve ‘Herd’ It All!” (Red Cow above) also won a special merit in the same competition. Here is a link to the results of the competition . Given the calibre of the other winning artists, I am absolutely thrilled to be chosen as one of the overall winners. To get this sort of recognition is amazing and encourages me to keep painting.

Any suggestions of what my next painting should be!?

How to bring an animal to life – Painting with watercolour

Painting with watercolour

Today I’m going to share with you my step by step process of painting with watercolour . I enjoy painting animals in portrait style as I feel it helps me capture their personality. The up close and personal style helps connect the viewer to the painting.

Winsor and Newton Palette
Here are the supplies for painting with watercolour; I believe the best watercolour paper on the market is Arches watercolour paper 140 lb. I use it for its smoothness and the way it holds water and colour very well. The brushes I used for this painting are; No 10 watercolour sable -round by Winsor and Newton (for larger areas), a Series 16 sable brush (this comes with the pocket box Winsor and Newton Artists’ Water Colour I use (see image above)) and 0 Miniature Pure Kolinsky for finer details.

For this painting I cut 11″ x 9″ from my Arches paper (paper comes in A1 size). I work from a series of photographs I take myself and select the best angle/expression of the animal.This is the photograph I decided to use to create my watercolour…

Photograph of goat from Sunview Farm

I start by lightly, but accurately, sketching the goat on the paper with a 2B Derwent pencil. When you are painting with watercolour you must always paint from light to dark. Watercolour is an unforgiving medium, unlike oil where you can layer over layer to cover a mistake, the same isn’t true for painting with watercolour. I started with blocking in the pinky/peach of the ears and nose. Taking the lightest pink colour I build it up slowly, rubbing out the pencil lines as I go.
Early steps of a watercolor painting of goat
I also like to work on the eyes early on in the painting as these are the most important details to get right. People connect with the eyes (the windows of the soul). It helps me relax into the painting when I get the eyes right! It’s also a good idea to block in the smaller darker areas like the nostrils at this point too as it helps you to judge the tones of the other colours in between.

Small gentle brush strokes are used to create the goat hair, again, light at first and darker and darker until you have built up the coat of the animal. Midway through painting of goat

Painting with watercolour is really rewarding but can be really frustrating.

When you paint from photographs it’s really important not to paint everything you see. Go back and look at the photograph again, can you see the lightest area on the face of the goat, it looks really white and all details of the hair have been washed out? I ignore the photo in this instance as it is not giving me the correct information. I have learned to take notes about the animal and its’ colours while I’m photographing so that when I go back to the studio to work on a painting, I can ignore the information the photograph is giving me and use my own notes to get the colours correct.

Painting with watercolour is really rewarding but can be really frustrating. I go through stages of loving it – to threatening to throw it in the bin! It’s worth persevering with it though as you can produce some beautiful results. The way I paint is quite detailed and takes a lot of time (sometimes up to 20hours to complete a small painting). But when you see and hear the reactions of someone seeing a finished piece for the first time, it’s all worthwhile. Here are the final stages of the painting; I’ve added more detail to the goat and the wooden fence that surrounds her.Final stages of painting

For all the goat lovers out there, I can’t end the blog without telling you a little bit about April. April is an 18 month old Alpine, Toggenburg, Saanen, Anglo-Nubian. She lives on Sunview Farm owned by Anne and Brian Bond in Terelton near Macroom in County Cork. Although born on April 1st, let me tell you, she is by no means a fool, as she answers to her name with a little bleat every time! (no joke). This year she won 2 reserve championships from Cork Summer Show and Dunmanway Show and won best in show at Bantry, beating her mother Maisy into second place. Maisy didn’t talk to April for 2 weeks!!! 😉 (only kidding!!!) Apologies for the goat pun, I couldn’t help myself!

By the way, Anne and Brian make delicious goats cheese; Sunview Goats Cheese

Here I am with the finished painting of April which I have titled “I’m All Ears!”.
Siobhán Duggan Irish artist holding one of her paintings
I also include the link to the print on my website for a closer look.

Thank you for reading and I’d really appreciate it if you could share this post with friends who love animals (especially goats!) or if you think they would enjoy reading my tips on painting with watercolour.

Limited Edition Prints of Animals

So why Prints of Animals?

Well, over the years I have painted oil and watercolor paintings of animals for the sheer joy it. Capturing a look or feel for the animal gives me great joy. While owning an original painting is a beautiful thing, not everyone has the budget for one. That got me thinking about prints and how it would be pretty cool if other people could share in the joy of owning one of my paintings. That’s when I decided to create Prints of Animals.

Of course they are not any old print! For me the finished product had to be superior in quality to other prints on the market. I spent a long time sourcing reputable printers in Ireland. I felt it was really important that my Prints of Animals matched the colours of the original paintings as closely as possible; in depth, presence and luminosity. A big ask, you might say, but I’m pretty determined and I found a print expert as fussy as I, and an absolute genius at what he does. The quality of print is so good it’s hard to tell the original from the print without running your finger over it! That makes me a happy woman!

Close up detail of print

Close up detail of print

As a graphic designer, working with paper for years, the quality of paper I chose was very important to me, and in my opinion is worth every penny. My
Prints of Animals are printed using the finest material, archival pigment inks and the best equipment available to ensure maximum longevity, print quality and colour accuracy. I feel that that these prints of animals are a reflection of me personally, and as an artist. It just wouldn’t feel right to produce them on anything less than perfection.

The added value of these prints of animals is that there are a limited edition of 100 prints of each painting. Each print is numbered 1 of 100, 2 of 100 and so on, titled and signed by myself. To ensure it is a genuine print, I issue a certificate with each print which includes my studio embossed logo and details of the print. We all like to give gifts that are special, have a story, and can be traced back to the designer/artist. If it’s for you or a friend, it makes the perfect gift.

Certificate of Authenticity

I’ve been selling these prints of animals for only a short while, and already I am learning about the people who buy them and the reason they buy them.

When ordered online the framed print comes in a lovely presentation box. I am particularly fussy about presentation and believe that when you buy online you should expect a nicely packaged gift. On receipt of your first purchase you receive a 10% discount on your next print. (I like to look after my loyal customers!)

I’ve been selling these prints of animals for only a short while, and already I am learning about the people who buy them and the reason they buy them. For example, I have found that people love them because of the expression of the animal, sometimes they are bought because the name of the print strikes a cord or the animal reminds them of a childhood pet. As long as they make someone smile and feel happy, I have succeeded in doing what I set out to do.
The most recent sale was to a gentleman who bought “I’ve herd it all” print for a friend of his turning 80 soon. His friend is a farmer who has reared shorthorn cattle all his life and he bought this print as he knew he would love it! How sweet, I love that!

Framed Limited Edition Print

Bought as a gift or for your own home, it gives me great joy to think someone would think so much of my painting, they would hang it in their home to enjoy. That’s is what it’s all about, and I love it!

Check out some of my prints of animals here and please check back often, as I will keep adding to this gallery over the next few months!

If you liked this blog and would like to share it, please click on the links below, I would be delighted if you would.

Life in an Irish Cottage

Watercolour Painting of Irish Cottage

Life in an Irish Cottage

This is where we live, my husband Ben and I. It’s a small little Irish cottage with a big heart nestled in the hills near Macroom in the County of Cork. I moved in with Ben when we got engaged in November 2011. Ben is Australian and moved to Ireland over 10 years ago – it still baffles me how he found this little Irish cottage in the middle of nowhere! I’m glad he did, as I get to live and work in a very beautiful part of the world.

Our Irish cottage is close to The Gearagh (An Gaoire) (irish name for wooded river) which is known for its rare plant life and a haven for birdwatchers. Before I moved here, this part of the country was unknown to me and months later I’m still finding my way around the little byroads and boreens. Getting lost can be fun as you never know what you’ll find; a heron perched on a branch by the roadside, a fox dashing across the road or a friendly cow peering over the ditch (and me kicking myself that I didn’t bring my camera to catch it!!) Finding my way around is one thing, but settling in has been easy, it’s so tranquil and peaceful and everyone you meet is friendly (although, bumping into people out here can be rare!)

I’ve always had a grá for the Irish cottage and always dreamed one day of living in one.

It’s important that this painting of our Irish cottage marks my first blog entry. While friends and family have encouraged me for years to paint more, it was Ben and moving here that gave me the courage to show my art to the rest of the world. I painted this watercolour of the cottage for Ben in 2011 while we were going out only a short time, it was a gift from the heart and something I knew he would love. I’ve always had a grá for the Irish cottage and always dreamed one day of living in one, with a pretty garden and vegetable patch. Not only do I live my dream, I get to design and paint from here while married to an amazing man that understands the need for me to be creative. The more you get to know me, you’ll see I love the simple things in life and this blog is a way for me to appreciate the wonderful things that life can bring.

Some Irish-isms for my non Irish Friends:
Grá = love
Boreen comes from the Irish word Bóithrín which means ‘a little road’

Feel free to share or leave a comment below. I look forward to sharing more images and stories with you about life in an Irish Cottage.