This unique style of work has been my relaxation since school days, to the irritation of teachers and tutors alike. "Stop doodling and get some proper work done" remains lodged in my mind. Not many pieces have been made as they have always been a sideline, but despite that the style has had considerable success. The high spot of it's career was being described by the art critic Brian Sewell as 'Surreal  elegance."​ 

Each one begins with the long curved ink lines, and I keep turning the artboard to help with the overall balance. I then add images that suggest themselves in the spaces available, and those in their turn suggest my next move, all the time turning the board for a continual fresh view. None of this involves drugs or alcohol.

Occasionally I have done work to commission, such as wedding gifts featuring details from each of the couple's lives.    

I've added this latest Kotuzow because over a year ago I significantly damaged my right shoulder, and consequently thought I'd never be able to work like this again.

Thankfully a friend inquired about one to be based around instruments and related musical items. I promised nothing, but was over the moon to find that within certain limits I can still produce these pieces to the same standard.

I'm open to commissons again if anyone's interested...  

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wix boz


'Foxy Lady'


I was told that Sula loved water, especially the sea. She had a very enjoyable eight years amongst us. I only wish I'd met her.

Gyrfalcon with reflected Osprey.

Samantha and Sky

This was a challenge, portraits not being my strong point. Five attempts later..a happy customer.


I didn't meet paddy, but I enjoyed drawing him a lot.

The cat with no name.

I didn't get the name of this lovely tabby, now alas no longer in this world. She has had a lot of positive feedback all the same.

The Three Graces

I went a bit over the top with these three, but it was a joy to do.


This is Cleo, I didn't have a lot of reference to work with, so I emphasised her beautiful eye.

Harry and Freddie

I enjoyed painting these enormously. After not using oils for over two years it was a treat to get back to them.

The latest


This is my brother's cat, who's full story is to be found on my blog at http://philmcginness.wordpress.com/

Tidesbrook Saphire

Saphire is a prize winning bay filley. Yorkshire Show class winner no less. I felt as if I was painting royalty. I especially liked painting what I've since discovered are called quarter marks.


Mir was a Birthday commission, so I've only just been able to put her on public display. She was a joy, always something in her mouth, and a permanently wagging tail.


Leo belongs to two good friends. He is another rescue dog, but as gentle as they come. They visit Mull each year, and the photograph this is taken from was taken on a beach there. (After Leo had been enjoying the surf and rock pools, and was soaking wet.) It's hard to see on a photograph, but his eye reflects two walkers on a moonlit night, the Plough Constellation visible in the sky.

Waiting for his Guy

This painting will be submitted for an exhibition in London's Mall Galleries. It's of Guy Gibson's dog Nigger, killed in a road accident the night before the famous Dam Busters raid.


Baron, tweaked.

I took out the small pencil portrait and have replaced it with the re-worked version. I'm happier now, his nose annoyed me before.


Freya is very loved, and judging by the photos I've seen of her with her toys, as soft as butter. She wears the pink diamante collar because her owner got so fed up of folk thinking her a boy.


I'm sorry to say I know no more about Baron than that he died in the arms of his owner, who called Baron his 'best mate.'


I made the mistake of not taking the chance of meeting Roxy, getting her colouring right was quite a job.


Murphy was requested in a looser style, but as you can see I had some difficulty with that. In the end I used a 10mm flat brush for everything, but the eyes.

Just clipped

I managed to use more of my pencil range on this one than any other so far.

Kotuzow No.140

This was a communal effort done through Facebook. Friends suggested subjects, and I fitted them in.


This is our Nelson. He was found living wild and scavenging for food and shelter while very young. It took some doing, but he was eventually caught and fostered until a permanent home could be found. He was being looked after by a Mr.Nelson, which is where his name came from. He's about eleven now, a lot calmer, and showing a bit of a white beard.



Bingo was just 14 weeks old when this was done, what an adorable face!

After the storm.

This was an exercise in acrylics, I was missing my beach scenes.


Muffin deigned to live with us until age got the better of him. We moved house and he vanished without trace. Six months later we had a call from our ex neighbour to say there was a familiar face outside our old address 'shouting' for attention and food. He stayed with us at our new address from then on...


I grew up in Jungle Book, and Bagheera was my non wolf favourite. Mine copy was printed in 1943 and beautifully illustrated by Stuart Treselian.


Lizzie was a sweet natured dog, sadly no longer with those who loved her.


Darcy is now eight years old, and is still being mistaken for a puppy. He has been described as a Rottweiler in Spaniel clothing. A very sweet natured and lovable 'would be Rotty' all the same.

White Tiger.

As soon as I saw the original photograph I wanted to try and paint this white tiger. I used acrylic at that time, otherwise this style would have taken months. He now hangs in the home of a friend, who considers him a reassuring guardian.


Having seen and been utterly stunned by 'Punchy' painted by Anthony Gibbs, I was eager to have a try at a male lion painting, this time in oils. This comes nowhere near to the marvellous 'Punchy' (You can find him at Nature in Art just north of Gloucester.) but a lot of people have liked him. He is the first thing I see every morning, and the last thing I see every night.

In Pensive Mood.

This is taken from a photograph, and the look in this great Silverback's eyes says so much. I find it a little haunting, knowing how endangered his species are, almost as if he knows what is happening. The painting itself was damaged in a fall from a shelf, one of those awful moments you can see happening but are utterly unable to change, but I'm happy to report he now has a good home. The new owner liked him enough to have the canvas repaired.


Prince was his official name, but once at home he was 'Nobby.' I first saw him where we take our two dogs to kennels, practising Dressage in the ring there. That was it, I had to paint him. His owners kindly passed on some photographs, and this is the end result.

Happy Day's End.

Some years ago now a fellow member of the Guild of Aviation Artists sent me a .jpg of his old dog dozing on the settee. It was such a lovely image I promised I'd do a painting. It took me two years to get round to it, but in the end I managed him. It's a look all dog owners know, and it's one that brings a lot of pleasure.

The Arctic, Sunrise or Sunset?

This was a challenge for me. I used some very rough underpaste to shape the ice floes, and some new brush techniques to try and catch the light and reflections. The sky looks strange, but I have seen cloud formations like this. Did you know that there is a Cloud Appreciation Society? www. cloudappreciationsociety.org

Alien Sky.

This is another unlikely sky. The view is looking over the Solway Firth to Dumfries and Galloway. The evenings here bring some marvellous skies.

Criffel Summer.

This is the view over the Solway Firth. I've done a lot of these views over the years, in everything from pencil to oils. I have family roots in the area, and our childhood holidays were invariably spent in Allonby. Somewhere on this beach is a tiny blue Matchbox racing car. I buried it as treasure when about seven, and was never able to find it again.

Elegant and Surreal.

As Brian Sewell once described my Kotuzow style of work. I thought it very kind of him, knowing just how critical he can be.

Still Quiet...

This was painted around the time of Monty Halls' Great Hebridean Escape. Watching it had raised a lot of old feeling for this kind of landscape and sky, having spent some young years in Caithness. I was trying to capture the stillness of a quiet sea and sky like these.

Allonby Beach.

This is another of the Solway, looking over to Criffel. I'd added birds to enhance the lack of movement on an evening like this, when the tide is a mere sliver of shadow coming and going over the sands.

Lancaster PA474

This is a special piece of work for me, now on someone else's wall. I was invited to join a small, fixed number, group from the Guild of Aviation Artist's when a member had to drop out. Last man in so to speak. We all spent the day in the hangar at RAF Coningsby. I'd never worked with white on black before this so it was a risk. I was trying to catch the reflections, something that has always fascinated me. It was just a wonderful experience to spend quiet time with the Lancaster.

Gran Torino.

If you've seen the film, you'll know this isn't based on it. I like the way a car slowly disintegrates into a skeleton of it's old self. Nature comes to live in and on it. It flakes and rusts, and in this case, someone uses it for target practice. I've known areas where almost every farm had one or two wrecks left to rot. As kids they were a fantastic playground, so perhaps that's where my liking comes from.

Plymouth Fury

I did a series of three of these canvasses. We had visited York Raceway to watch some drag racing. These big Americans were parked up ready to go. I liked the reflections in the chrome on this one, and the two tone colours.

Dodge Challenger

Another from York Raceway, but this I took for the graphics. Part of my career was as a Graphic Artist, which left me with a liking for typefaces. Add to that this Dodge actually starting up as I was nearby, and I was hooked. Be it V6 or V8 it's a sound to stir a sternum.