Showing posts from 2008

Maker of smiles, illustrators of memories

Christmas continues in the blogosphere and you are, I'm sure, curious to see what a few of us created for the occasion?
Presents have been unwrapped and many of us (commission artists) are now able to unveil our artwork.
This is why today's post is not directly about my work but that of some of my fellow artists.

Did you know that all too often commission artists are looked upon with a certain disrespect?
This is mainly because we are considered to be selling ourselves and copying photographs.

Total rubbish.
Being commissioned to render a loved one is MUCH harder than copying a photograph.

Why? The artwork has to be above average artistically, spot-on accurate, come from the heart and display total understanding of the rendered subject. All these elements are crucial. Should one of these fundamentals fail the artwork will hold very little credibility (if any at all!).

Oh this could get so very long... !

We are simply wizards of our chosen mediums. Artists with a skill for recreating so…

Warm Christmas Greetings


"Grandad's Story" finished graphite drawing.

"Grandad's Story"
graphite on paper, 33x25cm

This is how my pencils render love.
Thank you for patience ( a whole three weeks of patience) have a lovely week-end.

"Grandads' story", graphite drawing final steps shown.

Flowing smoothly (and slowly) to the last stages of "Grandads' Story". The above steps show how the ear, neck and shirt developed over a period of two sittings (roughly 5 hours) I've added the hat in a penciled-in version. Once I have brought the two subjects together (by balancing and harmonising the values and textures) the hat will get its own final tweak.The last image gives you a wee view of the connection between the two figures (as well as the hat).The shadowing is still wrong so I'm off up to the studio to get that sorted...Back soon.p.s: please ask any questions you may have: answers will be forthcoming and not too long winded!

New step into "Grandads' Story", new non equine, non canine drawing.

Gone with the flow and more progress has been made. Yeah again!
The shadowing and light is proving quite a challenge.
I'm tackling it with determination and layers of 2B and F.
See what tomorrow brings - hopefully loads of progress I'm really dying to see the finished piece and tweak away to my hearts content...

Progress on new pencil drawing "Grandads' Story"

Yeah!A little progress  has been  made on "Grandads' Story"...Amelie is nearly finished -the tweaking and final detail layer will be done after I've drawn the second subject. The dress has been mapped out and still needs a whole load of attention. I've decided to keep the pattern as it adds to the portrait (summer feeling and "colours").There will be more posted tomorrow..the flow has picked up again and always a good thing to go with!

Apologies for the scan quality...sadly it  looks as though my good old faithful scanner is just that: old and tired... Quality control will pick up: promise!

End of week hello.

The week flew by.My silence: a direct result of a virus "thingy" (the one that hit our household a whole 2 weeks ago). Not only has it made my family ill... but proceeded, shamelessly, to nibble away any work and me time...Today, the sun made a rare appearance and sent us off for a good battery recharging traditional Sunday stroll (i.e: a walk).For your viewing pleasure: a couple of "proof pics" that explain, in the way only pics can, the afternoon we so enjoyed. 

I hope you, wherever you are, are enjoying or have enjoyed a great second of Advent.Cheers for now.

Rembrandt's drawings and sketches: powerful strokes.

Albertina, Vienna. Black Chalk, 230x340 mm by Rembrandt in 1637.
"A woman Sleeping".
Brush and Wash in Bistre, 245x203 mm by Rembrandt in about 1655.Have you ever wondered who this lady actually is and (now) what the link could be with the elephant? Both are rendered by Rembrandt back in the 17th century, and through pure coincidence, I discovered who Rembrandt sketched sleeping back in 1655.This beautiful figure is very likely Hendrickje Stoffels, Rembrandt's second wife and mother to his daughter Cornelia (born in 1654). The original can be seen in the British Museum in London.Last week, a nasty virus (our youngest was its victim) kept me away from crossing my studio's threshold but luckily not from catching up on some long overdue reading. One of the books I picked up and couldn't put down was: "Rembrandt Drawings - 116 Masterpieces in Original Color". 2007, Dover Publications, Inc. Mineola, New York.I loved it. This hardcover has …

Snow and the week ahead

The week-end came and left this chap in the garden swaying to the laughter of the girls.No progress worth displaying has been made on "Grandad's story" due to some strange virus which has made my youngest needing loads of TLC.Will be posting as soon as possible but until I do I will leave you with one or two pics of cats in the snow and a fun link ( posted by fellow blogger Jo Castillo. (Follow it and you find out if your blog has a male touch or that feminine je ne sais quoi!)Oliver loved it, Jess  on the other hand was so interested she stayed curled up in a ball most of the day...Back soon with more graphite updates and bits and bobs.

Virtual Sketch Date November: "End of Summer"

Jeanette Jobson author of the blog Illustrated Life graciously offered a great reference for us all to get stuck into. I loved the light (that special autumn glow) and the shadows of the leaves created. I saw so much in this reference but wasn't until I saw the rope that I knew where I was going! I was sticking to black and white (no graphitints) and going to "radically zoom" and flip (not literally of course...)!Working in black and white, I feel, always makes shape and symbolism that extra bit precious. This time was no exception. Summer has hung up its coat and left us for another year, leaves are just shadowed memories.The result a big drawing 33x24 cm on Strathmore Bristol smooth. The tooth of the paper was used as the foundation for the bark and the rest followed. All the drawing was done in 6B. The shadows are layers of graphite topped with charcoal."End of Summer"Graphite on Paper, 33x24 cmHere's the reference photograph.  Another great challenge th…

New, non equine non canine, drawing...

Here is the reason for my couple of days of silence. I spent a few hours last week at the drawing board with Amelie, working on rendering her expression, her baby skin, her fine hair and flowery cotton dress. Progress is good but slow...I am absolutely loving this to bits and not rushing or cutting any corners. After the more dramatic and speedier technic used for the soluble graphite- comparable to speeding down the German motorway: thrilling, stimulating as well as a little edgy. This piece can be very easily compared to a leisurely stroll down a quiet country lane where one just has to take the time to smell the (wild)roses and watch the butterflies flutter by. Mellotex paper and 2B, F & 6B pencils are the tools I've chosen and this simply because you cannot in anyway rush this paper and it allows for soooooo much detail. A few more strolls down the country lane are needed (and will be taken) to complete "Grandad's Story" . I will be posting more steps o…

Chirstmas cards: snow scenes from Montana.

My favorite time of year is around the corner.
Admittedly, I'm  wee bit late with my  cards, I am nevertheless proud to present "Montana Snow" and "Snowed Under".   They are (surprisingly) my first official Christmas cards and will be for sale shortly... watch this space! I was inspired... I've never seen horses in such strong snow. (Being a softy, I always stabled mine during the winter) and these shots jut made me think winter and warm fires!
The great references for these cards were bought from Donna Ridgeways photo reference site. Donna, herself an artist, loves to take her camera wherever she goes.  The result: a very big selection of great images, not only equine but of  Montana's scenery, wildlife, plants and architecture, many of which are for sale to other artists as reference photos.  Thank you Donna!  I hate to think how cold it was when these shots were taken but I'm so glad you had you're woolly hat on and were ready to brave the weather!

Last stage in new equine (soluble) graphite drawing

Closed for inventory yesterday...sounds like a sign that would appear on a shop door in January...!Feeling very organised and ready to confront the up and coming holiday season head on.Here are the final stages on "Above the Bit."
Step 5 and 6 are basically focused on rendering and slightly detailing the mouth. This is the stage where I found it the hardest to stay loose. To render an impression rather than the full visual detail. I worked using a flat tip as opposed to a sharp point. The metal was done with a fine paint brush.Step 5: The mouth and nose addedStep 6 (zoomed in) Work on the metal, all the edges are still to be cleaned and worked. This scan also clearly shows the tooth of the paper. This is not visible to the eye from a distance so I chose (with difficulty) to ignore it.Below is the signed and sealed version of  "Above the Bit".  The title is so obvious forming a nice contrast, I feel, with the crop I chose to illustrate. Once again had a great time dr…

New soluble graphite equine drawing

Mid term is now over and I am busy running around in all sorts of odd circles. The only place I seem to settle is behind my drawing board and as a result I have made some progress with my new equine drawing. After completing "Welcome Impact", I knew I would bring out my soluble graphites again. I am using the same Vellum paper and working "medium-big". My main objective (apart from learning more about the soluble graphite) is to limit detail and achieve strong contrasts.Here are the first steps Layout and first strokes. Went for the darks to establish my tones. 2B Derwent used and Cretacolors' soluble graphite 8B.Working out the lay of the grey coat, the sweat marks under the throat as well the lines created by  the leather bridle and the bit.This is where the ugly stage starts to turn into something a little more real.  The leather has been done with a layer of soluble graphite and finished with a very fine and barely wet paint brush. The horse's coat is r…

Frederic Edwin Church THE 19th Century American landscape artist.

Mid-term has set in and my drawing board has been cleared away until Monday next week.The time for drawing and creating seriously diminished. The time for discovering and relishing in what others have done with a mastery strangely enough increased.I'm not one for landscapes...well not until I  (virtually) saw Churches' 7 foot wide Aurora Borealis. This masterpieceis anchoring the To the Ends of the Earth, Painting the Polar Landscape  at the Peabody Essex Museum. (Runs from 8 November through 1 March, 2009.) I had to dig further. I did and... found a master. The purpose of this post is not to bore you with my interpretation of his work, or the impact it has on me, or even to tell you that he was born in Connecticut on May 4th 1826 and died 74 years later in New York his reputation  firmly established and incredibly well respected. The purpose is rather to let you enjoy in silence the magnificence of his work. However, before I bring on this silence, let me just throw in a few …