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Monday, 24 December 2007

Christmas Eve and still going strong!

Done it!  Last commission finished.
Christmas cards designed and (nearly) ready to go.
Pressies wrapped and, surprisingly, I am looking forward to Christmas like a wee kid....  
OK so I don't believe in Santa but who cares...it's such  a great time of year.  Getting the family together to have a laugh is soooooo precious.
Pencils are resting until the New Year.  
Must get my Résumé and other nitty gritty details organised.
Cheers from here and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Discovery of 2 great contempary oil painters

Time for a wee break in a hectic schedule to introduce all of you who are not familiar with two very talented artists...
When inspiration gets a bit low and the motivation needs a good kick up the behind, I tend to skimm the  web looking for help.  Usually I find help in admiring work of other artist, it is always the reminder I need to "keep at it", to keep trying.
Ok enough said about me.  
Who are these artists I hear you ask?
The first to have caught my attention is  Belgian artist Olivier De Nato whom I had the honour of meeting (by chance) at our local art source.  Curiosity made me google him and well....what can I say: poetry, stunning, rich, real. Hyperrealism to perfection.

The other artist was one introduced to me through a newsletter named "Informed collector". Scott Tallman Powers's work has a delicacy rarely found, a finesse that is soo appealing and well worth taking time to discover.
As it so often the case words are just not enough!
 
Lack of time is preventing me right now of going into long description and detail (phew I hear you think!) but I will end by saying: check them out: they are GREAT!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Counting down the days to Christmas, adding on the pressure

All well at this end.
Second of Advent looming around the corner and commissions seem to be coming along smoothly enough.
The pressure is on. I have started a new portrait and this time of a friendly old dog who has just sadly died from cancer. Emotions are running high with his owner. I hope to do him proud and bring a little smile back to his lips. At the end of the day isn't that what commission work is all about.
Unusual for me to be posting such a calm and serene blog entry at this time of year...is it age or experience?
On that thought back to the drawing board once more.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

"Head to Toe", Equine close up pencil drawing



"Head to Toe" is a pencil drawing of a dapple grey gelding going about his daily exercising. The reference photograph was taken this summer and crying out ever since to be converted to graphite.
When riding daily, this was a very normal site for me. A horse on the bit, relaxed and enjoying his work. Now this is something that I truly miss.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Latest commission, little westie portrait


I love it when a plan comes together! A cliché but holds true right now. Commission completed and accepted!!!
Here is Keltie a lovely little West Highland Terrier. I've drawn him in profile as it seemed the best way of bringing out his eyes. Westie are always hiding behind a little bit of a fringe. Had a ball drawing this hairy chap, it was not as hard as I had initially believed. I reckon the fact that the hairs are white and not black helped heaps!
Inspiration still running high so its back up to the studio for me. Cheerio

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

QUICK drawing entitled Look Out, learning speed



Completed this little drawing in 1h50. Third in the series "2h drawings".
The results is mediocre (to say the least) but the lessons learned priceless.
Speed scares me and freezes my senses. Taking up this challenge on a weekly basis is targeting one of my biggest weakness head on. Whether it will help on the long run goodness only knows but sitting back and saying I can't do it for sure wont. New one next week. Who knows maybe it will be a little better. Cheers

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Just a few words from a flattered pencil artist.

Yep!
I am flattered.
Flattered that someone in a time of great sorrow would thing of turn to my work for help. Today I have just been asked to draw a dog who sadly died of cancer 2 days ago. This is the second order this Christmas season when someone has asked me, within days of loosing their companion, to draw a portrait in their memory. I must admit, being asked to portray deceased pets and individuals happens quite often but never within a couple of days of the subjects death. I feel very humbled that someone should feel that one of my drawings will be a source of comfort and maybe help in the mourning process.
I also feel very pressured (in a good way!) to do my utmost to bring the portrait to life. The degree of difficulty is also higher as I am not able to meet and observe my subject.
All in all, this type of portrait is a major challenge and, I believe, what this business is all about: illustrating an unforgetable memory.


Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Juliet Harrison an equine photographer.

Paying tribute to fellow artists is something that I hold dearly and that I am trying to make a regular feature on this blog.

The artist I would like to introduce today is Juliet Harrison.

Juliet is a talented photographer who, like myself, is passionate about the equine world, passionate about portraying it in black and white.

Most of the time in our world of art, fine art and photography interact, hold hands and sit along side each other.

The question has always been if photography can actually be considered as an art form?

It is the easiest medium to use but the hardest medium in which to establish a specific style, a physicality.

It is my belief that photography becomes and should be considered an art form once a photographer has established a clear footprint. Once a photographer has managed to give his or her work a signature.

Juliet Harrison’s work qualifies.

Her black and white images define her vision. A vision which she has signed and made her own. A vision through which she has found and defined her style, her footprint.

Her equine photography, as it should be, is very specific to Juliet’s vision of the equine world.

Her work is beautiful in its simplicity.

There is boldness seldom seen in equine photography making it fresh and controversial..

Black and white are her colours, light and contrast her brushes.

She uses light effects to highlight shapes and frame movements. Works such as “at the Pull”, “Tony my Peace” or “Dapples” have this edge, this harmonious focus on reality.

Her subjects are bathed in light. Juliet uses the grain like a pencil artists uses the tooth of the paper creating a clear yet mysterious touch to her work.

The effects achieved are surprising, complex yet simple. Her skillful use of light and creative perspective shows harmony and serenity. Something intangible yet memorable emanates from her work. The viewer is mesmerized, becomes lost in reverie. Horse and light collaborate, fuse together creating layers of power and harmony which are unique, which are Juliet’s footprint.

Her work bonds reality to a monochrome world where emotion, shape and shade and shadow take centre stage.

Her Landscape series is a sensitive, intimate journey displaying views of the horse’s anatomy. Layers of movement, light, contrast, lines and emotion are clear to see in “Undulating Hills” Hilltop” and “Valley”. A beautiful journey into a very private equine world.


If you would like to discover more of her work, please visit her website at http://www.lechevalthehorse.com/

Monday, 12 November 2007

Sketch of young foal...a trial



OK so the challenge was put out: draw from a given ref photo in 2 hours and than show the result. I rose to it.
This sketch "Sketched Youth" is the result of 1 hour and 20 minutes fast loose drawing. I used sepia and brown charcoal..not the best sight in the world but such a major breakthrough out of my comfort zone. I may even do another one and who knows it might improve. Cheers

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Reflected layered and finished, my new figurative drawing


Here is Reflected..a little stepping stone in my figurative art.
A drawing studying a childhood fascination with reflections, reflections of all kind.
I tried to bring emphasis to the reflected image as opposed to only the little girls curly locks. Framing it with lines and using subtle contrast, the viewer is drawn to trying to imagine the little girls expression, the look in her eyes.
I used the really smooth Mellotex paper and spent a long time rendering the darks. The smoothness of the paper really gave a nice texture to the window pane.
Lessons in patience and technique have been learned and my fingers are itching to get back up to the drawing board.
Back soon but in the mean time all the best

Pencil artist genius Mike Sibley





All sorts of reasons have brought me to want to mention the artists whose work I admire and whose work is really too good not to mention. These artists all have a direct influence on my work or way of working and are helping me become the best artist I can.

This is why would like you to discover the phenomenal work of Mike Sibley.

When you think of pencil you automatically think sketches, drafts, layouts but there is a great deal more to pencil, to the art of graphite than you could ever think possible.

One of the best in the business is Mike Sibley. Look and study his work and you will be mesmerized (in my case inspired). His eye for detail and sharp controlled use of pencils is just plain stunning. Specialising over the years in drawing dogs, he has brought every canine race to life. The realism achieved is uncanny, extraordinary.

Trial and error have enabled him to fully understand all the intricacies of both pencil and paper. By mastering his technique to perfection he has knocked down any kind of barrier. Textures, light, shape, features there is absolutely nothing he can not render incredibly well.

My favourite pieces have to be "Just thinking" a drawing of incredible skill, showing a gorgeous Newfoundland looking at a scavenging gull. In the back ground a boat. The drawing shows sensitivity, integrity and mesmerizing skill. The hardest thing is to take your eyes off it!

In "Barn Patrol", Mike achieves flawless rendering of the dogs but has also been able to take his drawing that little bit further, add another level. The entire background is as precise, studied and real as the foreground. It could stand alone.

"Just Dreaming", the title is so appropriate. Again the balance of thick woolly dog coat contrasted against smooth water is pure "eye candy". You look and look and … look again.

("Just Thinking", "Just Dreaming" and "Barn Patrol" have been illustrated in this blog entry with the kind permission of the artist.)

Mike is an artist of indisputable skill and vision. His work is living proof that graphite knows no barriers, shies at nothing and can conquer realism perfectly. Every shape and form known to man can, with skill and patience, come out of the tip of a pencil.

If you would like to see more of his work please do not hesitate to go straight to his website at: www.sibleyfineart.com

Cheerio for now

Monday, 5 November 2007

New drawing coming along nicely, finishing layer missing

Ok, so my last entry was a couple of weeks ago and my mood a little frustrated.
Things have evolved and my mood calmer.
Half term is over and the girls back in school.
Today was my first day back at the drawing board after a week of "family management".
My new piece "reflected" is nearing completion and will be out in the open in a couple of days time. It has been a very difficult drawing where I have been tackling hair, wavy silky fine hair.
Before posting I want to tweak it and add the little "oomph" that is missing. I am quite excited as it is something very new for me.
Another mile stone so to speak.

Oh and before I sign off here is another great blog to check out. Empty Easel full of brilliant advice and some great articles and resources for art lovers and artists alike.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Artsit dedicated to art vs mum of two young children

Ever had the feeling that your feet are never going to stop stamping out of frustration?
Read on: this is my way letting off a little steam.
I'm a Mum. I'm an artist.
Both are driven by the heart, demand loads of love, energy, understanding and devotion.
Are they compatible? Absolutely.
Are they rivals? Absolutely.
Both careers require time in bucket loads and are not 9 to 5 jobs (no matter how hard one tries 24hours is the absolute max you can get out of 1 day!)
Both require huge amounts of flexibility (which eats up on the others time!) and both are rivals on the depletion of inner energy levels.
Who ends up winning?
Well at the moment my mother instinct has the upper hand (I am very glad to say!) so where does this leave my art?
Gathering dust?
Hiding under piles of work?
On hold until tomorrow?
Waiting for the children to grow up?
NO, no no! (thank goodness!)
Having to surrender, now and then, some of my art's needed time, flexibility and inner energy leaves me with a determination and drive, when I am working, that I have never given it before.
The determination to succeed and become the best artist I can, despite the unpredictability of motherhood, seems to be actually fueled and not hindered by this rivalry between being a Mum and an artist.
It really seems to make me so much more determined and want to tackle bigger challenges.

So, back up to the studio, x mas orders are coming in fast and so is the common cold!

Ciao ciao.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Quality Time, a new graphite drawing of father and child


Relieved, proud and elated.
Gentle Tom was not a one off...Quality Time is finished and shows another precious childhood moment.
Spent roughly 50 hours on this piece. Commission work has been coming along really well and allowed myself a little treat.
Ups and downs, this piece has seen a few but overall a great learning curve and I'm up for the next challenge. First back to the drawing board to get cracking on the next commission. Cheers.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Putting a dream out to pasture


Have you ever had one of these moments where you feel incredibly sad but also relieved?
This is how I feel right now.
I brought my gorgeous mare to her retirement home today.
It's a great place where loved and well cared for horses come to live in peace. She walked off the trailer and into her new home with a serenity and a calmness I have seldom experienced.
It was with a sense of great relief that I watched her walk off confidently and happily into her new home; relieved at her acceptance, relieved at knowing everything is going to be OK.
The sadness comes from knowing that I have closed the last chapter (for the time being) on my life with horses. Family commitments and too little time have meant that, for now, horses are a thing of the past.
It's a strange feeling knowing that something you have worked so hard with for so many years, with a passion and a devotion you never suspected you possessed , should have no more room in your life.
Rugs, blankets, bandages, wraps, grooming kits, shampoos, potions, bridles, saddles, numnahs, ropes, head collars, boots, medication, girths, all are packed away safely hoping to see the light of day again. A symbol of a deep hope maybe...

I once read this quote by Mary Beth Danielson: "If growing up is the process of creating ideas and dreams about what life should be, then maturity is letting go again."

I feel she really hits the nail on the head.
Horses were my dream, my life and all that this entails.
Now life has asked me to show maturity and let go.
I have.
This chapter of my life is well and truly out to pasture.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Drawing of a little friendly pony named Beauty


This is a gorgeous little guy known by the name of Beauty. I took the reference photos down on my knees he's so small. His portrait is the first of a double commission, he has a little brother (literally) that I have also been commissioned to draw.
Have started on his portrait today and hope to have him finished to post by the end of the week. Like Beauty I am drawing Bonfire on Steinbach paper using graphite pencils (6B, 2B and 2H) and a touch of charcoal.

What is art?

What is art?
Now that must be one of the most controversial and complex questions to answer.
Controversial in its subjectivity and complex if only by the number of art forms there are.
This actually means answers (usually long and longer) can be given at so many different levels and in no definite way.
Having said this, answers have been given and in quite a large way.
So why ask I hear you think.
Well, I believe it is an important question for every artist to think about at least once and to attempt to give a coherent answer.
(You can read a a good critical article on defining art by Arthur Dirks about why and what)

So I will put my thinking cap on and probably bore you all to tears.

OK here goes. If you don't want to read any further you could always check out the wikipedia, free encyclopedia for their definition and answer to Art.

A spontaneous answer would be the classic: "it's a fantastic means of expression". How shallow is that?

Start again.
Art, is something comes straight from the heart.
It is something which comes alive without boundaries. making it unlimited.
Art is something that takes your mind places, your heart places.
In my case it has been a steady discovery of myself, a wonderful way of facing fear and dealing with life. A reason for stepping up to reality.
Art is the reward for patience, deep emotion and gritty determination.
Art causes the viewer to react, to feel, to think.
It connects with the viewer and becomes something that you (the viewer) cannot take your eyes off. Something that stays anchored in ones memory.
Great art stirs thought and something very deep within.
There is something intangible that makes it special and at the end of the day it really boils down to what we like.

Have I come any closer to answering the question of what makes art art? Maybe not but one thing for sure is that I have been pondering about the answer for days now. Focusing on making some kind of sense of the ramifications the question has lead to. The nice thing is that there is no wrong answer and I feel as though have dotted my I' and crossed my T's.
Back to the drawing board to let loose some of that gritty determination...
Ciao ciao

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Kim Santini, painting with colour and personality.

There are several artists out there that are having a great influence and indirectly helping me with my art and my understanding of the art world. Over the next few months I would like to pay credit to them, pay credit to their talent and the way in which they generously share their knowledge and experience.

The first talented artist I would like to mention is Kim Santini

Kim is the founding member of the CAG and fellow EAG member.

Kim Santini’s work is worth taking time to enjoy.

Once in a while you are struck by an artist, by their use of colour and light.

By work that is alive, colourful and vibrant.

I remember the first time I saw Kim’s work. It had all these attributes and more. It struck a chord.

The painting was entitled Patience.

I stopped, looked and really enjoyed.

“Patience”, a close up painting of a donkey, shows an imaginative use of colour and light to portraying a classic pose of a donkey. Kim brings emphasize to the donkeys mood by her use of colour and interpretation of light. Detail is left to a minimum.

The result is one of serenity, calmness and beauty.

Throughout all her work the colours appear bold, are always strong, leaving a very marked presence.

Somehow the looseness and carefree brush stokes really highlight her joy for life; her way of combining and using colour make her work memorable.

Her subjects are overflowing with life.

In “Rapt”, a portrait of a black lab, you wouldn’t be surprised if he was just to come out of the canvas to say hi.

In “Turlington” the emotion in this Border collies eyes so beautifully rendered.


Kim is also a dab hand at “controlling” her use of colour. This can be seen and enjoyed in Caravaggio.

“Caravaggio” is just superb. The palette is smaller, the effect enormous. Kim’s portrayal and interpretation of the sunlight on the baby boxers coat quite stunning.

A great artist with spirit and life, Kim’s work will make you stop, make you look, listen and remember...

Kim's energy and outlook on life have been a great eye opener to me. She has shown me how good it is to be oneself and all that one can achieve by just "getting up doing!". that life is to be lived with movement, feeling and memorable colours.

Monday, 17 September 2007

New art project, drawing of hands and cats.


I felt it was time to master a great but (I find) very difficult paper called Mellotex.
I had the great opportunity to assist Mike Sibley's workshop in July and saw first hand the stunning results this master achieves using this paper. Apart from possessing an incredible talent, I am hoping that this paper has a lot to do with his stunning drawings. (Checking out his work is really worth it and a definate feast for the eyes.)
The very interesting thing about this extra smooth sheet of paper is that forgives no sloppiness or rubbish pencil strokes but on the other hand allows for an incredible range of greys and textures.
Needless to say that over the last couple of days I have been going through a string of emotions ranging from utter frustration to letting out very loud sighs of relief.
Here is the second step of this "out of the comfort zone" drawing. I am soooo curious to see what my end result will be. The journey there is definitely a great learning curve ... no short cuts allowed just concentration and control.
More to come.....

Friday, 14 September 2007

The internet maze

It is truly amazing how far and deep one can travel through the Internet.
I joined on on line news letter (really interesting I must say) by a chap called Clint Watson. Fineartviews comes out daily with great info. Well this has lead to a new website through fine art studio online and a whole load of very informative and important information.
The avalanche has begun and before I know it I will no doubt have gone from dabbling in to actually knowing a little about the art world and business.
I have woken up and am now pushing further.
The direct result: my first WIP on the CAG about my entry the Traditionalist
The indirect result...a million new ideas and ways to go.
Back to work

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Schools in

Summer is over, school is in and the house is empty. My work has been coming along well. Have completed 2 commissions in the last 10 days with loads of energy to spare ...which is I guess why I have started up my blog again. Expect more chit chat inthe days to come.
Great to be back.
For all of you out there interest in one thing or another about the Hamilton-Grant art doings, I have been working on my new website. Nice, classy and no fuss. Will get the shopping carts up and running soon. Marketing and promotion will then be close behind on the run up to xmas.

So, I'm off up to my studio to get started on a new piece...still life or a portrait.
Great having such a choice and sooooo much more time to do it in.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Long time no word

Ok so my last posting was on the 9th of March...ages ago.
Been busy with real life which has been sending me lots of different kinds of lemons...all sour in their own way and with my art.
The later has been going well although a little too slow for my liking.
Been working on commissions as well as private collection pieces.
Wee 3 day old filly has been my inspiration for two pieces, another couple are in the making. If you are curious just click here and have a wee peak. Titles are Cheeky and Zig Zag

Will be back on my blog soon I hope with a load more info, much much more than tonight
Cioa ciao

Friday, 9 March 2007

My wee Lamb







Here she is my gorgeous Lambda. Just finished this drawing for the first online show for the Canine art guild.


Dogs are definetaly hard to draw, the hair and texture to render is such a challenge. Somehow this was a little thougher again. Lambda was with me for all 16 & 1/2 years of her life. It was as if every pencil stroke took me down another path of memory lane.


It was a wonderful yet sad experience. Remembering all the times we had and the comfort she gave me. It also really made me realise how much I still miss her. I guess I probably always will. One thing is for sure she will always ever be my one and only wee Lamb.

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

All ears




Here is the first in the series (hopefully ) of new canine portraits.


I became a member of the CAG a while back and it is has been the right move to get motivated and inspired to start up my canine work.


This little dog is Jack Russel know by the name of Cleo. I took the photos back in 2001 while in Washington DC on a "commission trip". She was so small but had a definately an xl character. The big ears and the oversize collar just had to bee drawn.


I'm pleased enough with the result-the paper was a serious nightmare...watercolour Ingres paper so rough and fluffy.... bit the bullet and carried on....never again! All down to experience. the next can only be better and I reckon I've learned quite a bit through this one.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Another day in Feb

School half-term, busy being a full time mum (enjoying it greatly!) but wondering how to find the energy to get up to the drawing board to keep up to speed with my work. Somehow I have the feeling that I never got back into gear after the xmas break....!
Not to worry, battle on and rejoice.
Drawing a great looking German warmblood at the moment. Nice horse, difficult composition (had to adjust the neck...hope it works!) Decided to keep record of my progress. Will be posting shortly on the outcome.
Off to the drawing board... Cheers for the now

Friday, 16 February 2007

February little update


Few new orders come in which is great.
Finished my most complexe drawing yet. Gentle Giants. Really enjoyed drawing it. Just love the subjects.
Not sure what to make of the end result.
Thought about composition, background and foreground.
Kept detail very present and drew a big size. New paper. Battled the whole way through. The graphite just did not seem to take the way I am used to and feel therefore that I have not been able to get the effect and feel that I want. Will post it on the EAG forum and see what the feed back is there.
One thing for sure, this piece of work certainly tought me a great deal. One step further in the right direction.
Back to the drawing board. German warmblood waiting.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Oh my....!

Waow what a week-end!
Wanted to blogg this great piece of news on Friday... anyway here goes...
My latest piece for the EAG show "Together Alone" has been selected Editors Choice by Mike Sibley (no less) on his Starving Artist webiste.( www.starving-artists.net ) Yep Editor's choice. Fandabidosy....!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was so honoured and very very speechless...just absolutely GREAT! It is so nice to have this piece perceived the way I was hopping it would be.
Started my new piece, this time for the CAG Muse show coming up in March.
Also organised all I need for starting with colour (more specifically pastels) will try and keep a daily up-date here on my progress once I've got started.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Memories of Remmi

I realised after reading my entry yesterday that I don't have all of Remmi's art work displayed.
So here are all his portraits. Moments of action and elegance as well as a close up of his eye.
Still walking down memory lane....

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Together Alone


Finished another piece, this time for myself (yep!)
An entry for the next EAG online show. It was a trip down memory lane.
Thank you for this show. Thank you for making me go down this lane. It was the closure I needed..

Together Alone is the latest portrait of my greatest muse: Rembrandt Borbet.

Remmi and I became friends back in 1993 when I went to work for top German dressage rider Nicole Uphoff.
The choice of a muse for this show was hard. When one spends a lifetime with horses they all become very special. However, there seemed to be no doubt that Remmi would be the star once again. He was the muse for my first commission as well as the start of my career. I have drawn no other horse as often and with as much feeling as I have drawn Rembrandt.

Now for a little background info: who was Rembrandt Borbet?
To cut a long story short, he was one of the most successful dressage horses of all time. Under the saddle of his owner/rider Nicole Uphoff , their performances were legendary: winning everything they could at least twice over (Olympics, World Championships and European Championships).
Where do I fit in? Well I went over to Germany in the summer of 1993 to work for Nicole and became very close to Remmi. Due to a bad injury he sustained during a prize giving,(he had a fracture) he needed to be nursed back to health. 6 months of hand-walking a very exuberant horse is a challenge in its self…only Remmi was a show off and loved to strut his stuff when he felt he had an audience. This was very often the case: bus loads of people would come to see him and admire him and boy did he revel in it! We struck an agreement … no silliness unless absolutely necessary (gunshot, bomb, screams..) and it worked: the pin stayed in place and he came back into work. (He was so fit that he was at the 1996 Olympics…!)
During the time I worked there, I came to love this horses so much I still miss him to this day. During the four years we spent together it was clear to me that the versatility of this professional dressage horse should be somehow illustrate for all to see.
I have drawn his movements: his extended trot, his extend canter and his piaff that made him part of what he was. I have also illustrated the gateway to his soul (his eye) and now with “Together Alone” I feel I have finally captured his “off -duty” side, his bond with the equine world, his arrogance.

He’s dead now….
This last piece of him is my "thank-you" for what he gave me, my tribute to his memory and a facet of my love for him.
He was a star, my star and nothing can replace the moments when we were together alone…