Friday, 18 December 2009

Christmas Hols have arrived!

I've not been able to post my art recently, partly due to the fact I've been busy doing a Xmas commission, but mainly because I've not had much time. I've been caught up in the chaos of Christmas. The boys have been busy transforming my home with tinsel, and singing like angels!
School has finished today and we have a busy schedule ahead of us next week, such as letters to Santa, and a visit to his grotto..... I've decided to have a holiday from my art over the holidays, but instead will be armed with my camera. We still haven't had the snow that we were promised, but we have our fingers crossed for a white Christmas.
Anyway, I know I won't be organised enough to post over Xmas itself, so will wish everyone an early MERRY CHRISTMAS! See you all in 2010, I've lots of projects planned, I'm hoping Santa will bring me lots of art equipment!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

A colour explosion

Just started this today in my art group. Another portrait of my son Spencer. He's sat amongst some beautiful highly colourful flowers. This is an A3 in gouache,I may also tinker with some watercolour pencils at some point. I've started very loose so not to be tempted to paint individual flowers yet.
As I've just received another commission I'll have to come back to this. Unfortunately I won't be able to post this commission until after Xmas, but I can tell you it's of a very sweet cat.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Finished my first dog commission

Well this has been one of those paintings that I was unsure what the final result would be. Obviously I knew what the dogs were going to look like that was fixed. I've ended up much closer compositionally to the photo then I'd first intended. I liked my first autumnal wood scene but felt the main emphasis was been taken away from the dogs. As this is a commissioned dog portraiture they obviously needed to take centre stage. I decided that a simplified background with darker tones would bring out the dogs. The bridge was also light in tone, I just felt the dogs were being lost. Anyways I'm finished, here the original snap shot again.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Have I made the right choice?

Well changed the background, I think the dogs are coming out better. I was feeling it was all too light, oh I don't know any more!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Done some background...

Excuse the title not very imaginative! But the fact is I have added a woody background scene today. Started to consider the bridge the dogs are on. The planks in the foreground come around at a odd angle. As previously mentioned I really like the shadows on the bridge so want to get to grips with these. Once I finish the bridge I can assess the tonal values and hues when looking at the picture as a whole composition.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Just a quickie!

I spent an hour on this just playing with the dogs eyes and expressions. Tried to get some more texture in the fur. Tomorrow I have a lovely free day, so will start the background. I've some lovely autumnal shots of woodland landscape, the scene in the piccy isn't of significance so I think the different scene would be great. I've still lots more to do on the dogs but need to see the picture as a whole. The dogs are very blonde so don't want to work their fur too much yet as I think the right background will help to bring them out.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Little by little...dogs wip day 4

It's just been one of those weeks. My eldest son went back to school today after his illness, youngest son had been ill earlier in the week, he's had a mini relapse and looked awful today.......
So, again not too much time for this painting, I squeezed in a sneaky hour this afternoon and started the other dog. Something strange happening with his hind leg. I had another go at the hind leg of the dog on the right, I think its okay now. This is for a commission so here's the reference photo again, so I can compare and contrast!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Day 3

I always seem to have a day in my wip when I post up a new days picture and have to play spot the difference! I have had a look at the shoulders, and worked some tonal values in using a green hard conte pastel. The perspective or proportion is still not right on the hind leg, I'll have a look at that upside down, see if I can work it out.
I still have a patient to look after, my eldest son managed to convince me this morning that he was still ill, backed up with a temp of 39c. So again not much time. I am going to do the other dog tomorrow, I have really tackled these two in the wrong order, so will cover the first dog with a sheet of paper whilst I do the second.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Day 2 Wip, Toby and Sam

I've not had a good week as far as getting some art done. Monday and Tuesday my youngest son was sick, crazy temperatures making me think he had swine flu, but he seemed to recover too fast. Got him back to school today, now my other son has gone down with the same thing. Here's hoping its also only going to be a 48 hour thing. Right back to the art. I had a go at this whilst the patient was flaked out in front of the telly. I think it demonstrates why I don't like using grids to transfer images. I haven't anatomically understood this dog's pose, just relied on the reference points. So tomorrow I need to work out the proportions, and stop messing with fur. The shoulders are crazy, I think maybe I should have just suck to being Florence Nightingale!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

My first dog commission, wip, 1

Just received a pastel commission for these two soppy things! Not the best quality photo, but I love the composition. I'm going to play with the colours of the background, as there is alot of green. I like the idea of the path in the background and have an idea how to include this. The shadows are great on the bridge so these will certainly be a feature.

Just had a little start on this today, not much to show yet, but lots of pondering upon approach.....

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Off to sell my wares.....

Xmas is creeping upon us, so its a good opportunity to try to sell my pastel and gouache paintings direct. I will be at Latchmere School, North Kingston, Surrey at their craft fair Friday 13th November 7.30-9.30pm. I'm hoping I might sell a stock painting, I also want to promote my commissioned portraiture locally. My paintings start from £40.00 so pop in if you can.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Done it, I think!

This has been such a difficult but rewarding painting. I'm really pleased with the end result, I never thought it was going to turn out so well. The more I use gouache the more I like it. It can be very annoying that it drys out so fast, but its so forgiving when you make mistakes. I'm finding it works really well with watercolour pencils, which I'm using to create more subtle shades and tonal values.

Friday, 6 November 2009

I've sorted the stripes, now wrinkles...

Yes I'm moaning again! I am enjoying this now as I can be more loose. But just as I'd got to grips with the stripes, I now get wrinkles on top! I've tinkered with some pastel today mainly on the mane (no pun intended).

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Starting to think I will finish this!

Again today I was distracted by the zebras head, something about the general skull shape didn't look right. This time I believe its time well spent, and I felt happy to move on to the mane and body. I've started to use some watercolour pencils with the gouache they are working well to achieve some texture and shadows.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Spot the difference!

Believe it or not, I spent another 2 hours on this today. Tomorrow I am going to do the mane and body. I need to see how the head works as a complete zebra, I think I'm getting too focused on the detail rather than seeing this as a whole. I think its a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

This is so differcult to draw!

I think this has to be the most challenging thing I've ever tried to draw. I've never so much as drawn a horse before. The stripes constantly confuse the eye, I really have struggled. A while ago I painted a peacock with its tail fanned out, that was simple compared to this. I still haven't got any of the softness of the coat. I intend to finish this, I don't tend to quit easily!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Take a deep breath and paint...

Zebra wip 1
After putting it off for a few days, I got started on my latest gouache painting. I decided to use ochre for the under painting. Getting some paint on to this has made it simpler for my eye, so I'm beginning to be able to look at it without going crossed-eyed. Its really hard to see beyond the stripes. The stripes are obviously very important in giving the zebra contours, but I don't want to overlook the texture and direction of the fur. My aim is to draw the Zebra so its animated, and strokeable.I'm trying to not get over stylised, which is tempting when you've a strong pattern such as these stripes. Anyway less waffle, more painting...

Thursday, 29 October 2009

In a moment of madness....

I think it must be the result of the stress of half term, I've decided it would be a good idea to paint a zebra. I make no excuses for griding up the sketch, after several stripes may eyes were confused. I decided in the end best just get painting, sketching was making it even more confusing! Its going to be another gouache painting on A3 paper, these paints are good for correcting mistakes!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Friday, 23 October 2009

The Colourful Fish, finished!

Well, I've finished, just in time for half term! I found this so interesting to paint, plenty of variety to stop me getting bored. The children are from my son's class, this was their class assembly. I didn't include Spencer as he looked a bit grumpy, I think he had stage fright! I'm going to email the children's mums to get a verdict on the final piece....

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

This is taking forever! I was hoping to be finished today. I tackled the sequins and glittery fabrics today, they took so long.....I'm going to have to say this is mixed media, as I've now had a go at it with pastels too.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Day 4, Small but important...

This may not look much different, but I'm pleased, I have all 4 likenesses, you can click on the picture to enlarge. Now I can get going with all the rest, hopefully it should come together now quite quickly. Only thing I'm uncertain of is the bottom LH corner, I think I may put more weedy crepe paper like the background. Ready to tackle some sparkles now. I've been reading that to achieve brightness of light you use complimentary colours rather than pure white. I'm going to try this in the blue sequined fabric, by adding yellows and oranges to capture the sparkles.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Day 3, The Colourful Fish wip

I'm glad I stopped to take a photo at this point, I was feeling as if I wasn't getting anywhere, but when I compare it to yesterday, I think I'm slowly working this out. Got two resemble likenesses, two to go! My art tends to be very stop start as I'm interrupted with my everyday life. I do think this can affect the flow of it, I can loose track on my thought processes.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Colourful Fish w.i.p

I'm using gouache for this A3 painting. Have started very boldly, using strong colours for the under painting. I want it to be magical, a child's dream of an under water world. I've just started to put some detail on one of the girl's faces. I'm adding fine detail with water colour pencils, these are a new thing, so not sure how this is going to work!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

The Colourful Fish

Here's a sketch for a painting. I am going to try gouache for this one. I haven't used these paints for probably 20 years, but remember liking them when I did. This is hopefully going to be a colourful sparkly affair, the kids where dressed in lovely aquas and jades to create a beautiful under the sea scene.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Been into town

Jumped on a train into town today, something I don't do often enough. I met an old college friend, who lives right in the city, so relied on her instead of an A to Z. We decided to have a wander round the back streets of St Paul's, ending up at Smithfield Market,(famous meat market). I had a quick read of the tourist info up on the wall, apparently in olden times fed up husband would not only bring their cattle to sell, they would also throw in their wives to see if their could get an upgrade, it would seem divorce wasn't an option! Took some interesting shots at the market, it was very quiet as trading had finished for the day.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Finished! A Quiet Moment

Ironically whilst drawing this I haven't had many quiet moments! I've finished for now, I tend to get fed up with stuff, then revisit. I didn't feel totally settled into this, or in control! I ended up working alot of this upside down to stop me make assumptions on the perspective and form.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Wip, finally get some more done!

As the title suggests, this has been a very drawn out affair. Got a couple of hours today whilst my son Spencer (who's the subject of this piece) was at a party. I have discovered another useful technique with pastels. For the folds and creases on Spencer's trousers I first used a hard conte pastel in the darker tone, then went completely over this with a very soft pastel in the lightest tone. Then used a stump tool to blend and rub away the soft pastel to create the different tones. I decided to to take the plunge and start the water. Still very basic tonal values, there is the beginnings of the movement, but no convincing ripples. Also have to consider the splashes of water and water droplets on Spencer's hand.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

High winds, great conker stash!

Just look at all these beauties. The strong winds today have resulted in hundreds of conkers. My boys couldn't believe their luck! We collected a mountain of conkers in 10 minutes. My friend informs me that if you put a conker in the corner of your room it will keep away the spiders, sounds crazy, but I've plently of conkers so may try this one out. Another strange piece of advice given to me this week was to put Vicks vapour rub on your kids feet, then put their socks on, apparently this will stop a night-time cough! Not so sure about trying this one!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

A Quiet Moment w.i.p., day 2

Had a very busy day today, so unfortunately the progress on this has been limited. I'm still using mainly conte pastel (hard), as I've worked mostly on the stone steps. Have started to introduce some colour, generally experimenting with the palette I want to use. I think I want to keep it simple.
The steps are making me feel sea-sick when I look at them on this photo, so I guess the perspective still requires some work! Next I'm going to consider the drawing of my son, then get stuck into the water. I'm leaving the water to last as I think I will need lots of soft pastels, so don't want to have to lean my hand on them to work on other areas of the drawing. At some point I will have to go for it, so I can see how the drawing works as a whole.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

A quiet moment... w.i.p. day 1

This one I think is going to challenge me. Its a totally self indulgent piece.I love the lighting on the steps, the ripples on the water of the fountain, and the little boy is my son, so it goes without saying I love the subject too!
I've sketched out the composition with conte. The perspective of the steps I found challenging, hope I get it right as its so key to the composition. Looking forward to doing the water, it has some beautiful movement in it, just hope I have the skill to capture it!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Summer's Day, Finished

Finished today, put the detail of the shirts in, and played around with the contrasts. I would have liked to achieved brighter highlights in the hair, but unable to get the pastel to build up any further. I guess tooth overload!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Summer's Day, Work in Progress

Haven't really had any time to do anything to this since the weekend. Spent some time today starting to consider the textures on the hats. I've taken the opposite approach to my previous pastels, using soft pastels fairly early on, then working finer detail with conte pastels(hard). This approach has been fairly successful, however struggling to achieve the highlights on the blonde hair.

Monday, 21 September 2009

My first pastel portrait commission

This is my first commissioned pastel portrait. Just had a lovely email from the boys' mum, she's really pleased with it. They were great to draw so expressive, doing so much with their hands!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Monkey business

I've been playing.....
Love the shapes of this, definitely worth a ponder.....

Summer's day

Day 1
This is a pastel I started this weekend, It's my son Spencer, with two friends from school. I took this at the school's sport's day, it was a scorching day, so the kids all have very rosy cheeks and are decked out in their sun hats! I was working on this at the craft fair I had on this Saturday, mainly to stop me getting bored being sat on a stall, and obviously to look like an artist! I've lots more to do, the hats have some great details, and there are some lovely shady bits.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Lioness wip, finished

Day 3

I've really had to get on today, so haven't taken any more wip. I've added the background so I could see where I needed to add tone and colour. I'm pretty happy, I could probably spend another day on this, but can't, so here it is.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Day 2 Lioness Wip

Day 2, stage 4
I'm hoping the reason I can't see a difference is that I had to take this photo under my day light lamp! I decided to work on this upside down a bit. Its a great way to spot errors, your eyes can't assume things.
I'm fairly pleased, if a little slow to progress. Tomorrow I'm going to work on the background, then decide how much more colour and tone to give the lioness.

Day 2, stage 3
I've decided to spray this with a layer of fixative. I've used some softer pastels to get the softness of the fur, but now want to work some finer detail in. I'm using conte pastels, which are hard, to achieve some finer detail. I've stopped thinking I'm finishing this today, as I haven't even considered the background yet.

Day 2, stage 2

Still getting to grips with the bone structure and muscles. Have started to consider the fur, used a stump (pastel tool) to get a feeling of the direction of the fur. Now I'm really thinking this isn't going to be finished today!

Day 2, Stage 1.
Well, mixed feelings today, I wanted to finish this today, but I am a long way off that. However its going okay, so will crack on. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so won't rush it. I've put some colour and light in her eyes, and continued to add form.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Lioness Wip, part 2

Had some more time to spend on this, which is good as I'm wanting it finished tomorrow. Started to try to understand the form of the lion, where the muscles are and how the weight is distributed. Its so tempting to get stuck straight into the fur, but I don't want her ending up looking like a giant fur-ball!

Lioness Work in Progress

I've started another pastel, I decided to stick with them for the time being. I have got a canvas ready with a project in mind, but for now I'm enjoying the novelty of pastels.
I have spent an hour roughly drawing out the composition. I'm using conte pastels, which are very hard I have blocked out main colour and tonal areas. He doesn't look very soft, but I wanted to get some feel for his form before getting involved in all the fur. I've used hard pastels at this stage as I think to achieve the softness of the fur I will need to slowly work in layers of detail, finishing with the softest pastels. This hopefully will help not to over load the paper, I think I mentioned this approach in my elephant painting.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

New Toys!

I've just had my birthday and got lots of new stuff!
I'm feeling very professional now, I've been managing with a old sketching easel and relying on the good light of the Summer. But decided to update so asked everyone to give me art vouchers for my birthday. Got to get busy sorting out my work, and mount it. I've a craft fair this weekend. Got another pastel planned so will get cracking on this also, in hope to have it ready for the weekend. So much planned, so little time.....