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Tuesday, 28 October 2008

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 masterpiece is 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 jumbled (loud) words so descriptive of his grand legacy.

Ephemeral, extraordinary, meticulous, topographically exact, greying greens, "Wagnerian Weather" (Adrian Searle, The Guardian), romantic, phenomenal, grandeur, dramatical, substancial, technical genius, immense, magnificent...

Enough said... Here is the jaw dropping painting for your own special viewing followed by a selection of the Master's work.

"Niagara", 1867

"Iceberg Flotante",  1859, Frederic Church.

"Cotopaxi", 1862

"Vale of St Thomas", 1865

"Icebergs and Wreck in Sunset", 1860

"Mount Katahdin from Millinocket Camp"

"Niagara from Canadian side", 1857

"View from Olana in the Snow", 1873

"Heart of the Andes" 

Brilliant stuff!

Hope you enjoyed your virtual"getaway" as much as I did.

Back soon, 

cheerio until then.

All images are from Wikimedia and Museum Syndicate.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Virtual Sketch date, pear drawing

"Two Pears in a pod" 

28x15 cm, Pencil on paper

Here is my interpretation of this months Virtual Sketch date

Both pears are done in graphite, the bigger one using Derwent 2B and the smaller one using Derwent Graphitints.

As usual my strange vision zoomed into only a part of the reference photo. The lay and the shadow play of this particular pear, for some reason, inspired a "quick" sketch.  (This piece was done in just under two hours and therefore, I hope, still qualifies as a sketch.)

On reflection: my feeling is I should do it again and this time have the colour in the foreground... off balance the way it is right now.

Million thanks to Belinda Lindhart for providing the pick.

Have a great week-end! 

Friday, 24 October 2008

The result of a week with Anton... Rhodesian Ridgeback drawing

"Anton", Pencil on Paper
21x26 cm.
A week with Anton  has come to an end, sadly, he was great company. A handsome fellow.
Above is the finished portrait, below the steps I took to get there.

Step 5:  Carried on working out the nose and forehead. Will also do more work on detailing the eye.

Step 6: I've decided to add a mini twist to the perfect pose. Saliva. I feel this will give the portrait that little extra, an unexpected difference.

Close up of the saliva in progress..not full sloppy drool but a decent quantity and annoyingly there.

Step 8: Moving on  to the ears, will tweak nose, muzzle and saliva later!


Step 9: More work on ear, darkened all the values, tweaked a little here and there.  Added more depth by working on the mid tones. Added detail with a very sharp 2B.

Try as I may, my scanner will just not pick up the very fine detailed pencil work.

One thing I did forget to do:time myself...the first question I am usually asked. Not to worry! I'll just have to say it's all in a weeks work!

Thanks for following, sketch day tomorrow...I'll keep you posted.

Cheerio and have a great Friday Night.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

A few more steps into my Ridgeback drawing

The rain came and stayed and really dampened any urge I may have had to peek outside.

Instead, like a turtle, I have stayed curled up in my studio and spent some quality time with Anton.

Here for you viewing are a few more steps into our new relationship.

I am using Hahnemuehler Nostalgie paper and my clutch pencil filled with 2B and 3B Staedler.

The three steps above show how I am working out the lay of the hair on the side of his nose as well as trying to achieve depth. I have still a detail layer to add to his nose. I will do this after establishing the rest of his face and eye.

Cheerio for now, I'm back up to the studio for another session with my new gorgeous friend...

Monday, 20 October 2008

New canine commission: Rhodesian Ridgeback

After last week's excitement with soluble graphite, I have gone back to familiar territory for my latest commission.
Anton is on the drawing board.  He is a gorgeous gentle and noble Ridgeback.
Here for your viewing is the result of the very first 20 minutes work. 
I always start with the eyes and if I feel they are coming alive carry on with the drawing working from left to right. 

I feel they (Anton's eyes) are alive enough to work from here over the next few days. I will post more steps with technical details as they come along.
(Off now to catch some shut eye before the sunrises.... ciao ciao )

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Finished highland pony drawing

Here is the finished version of my highland show pony. 

A great drawing to produce...I loved using the soluble graphite: never thought I would be able to produce work with a paint brush...!

The trick to this technique seems to be nothing more than layering. Dry "normal" graphite was used as a base layer, I then added a layer of the soluble graphite which I  worked with a "barely" wet brush. This layering was repeated until the finished effect achieved.

Pencil used: Prismacolor water soluble graphite (dark) on Strathmore 400 series Bristol Board Vellum 2-ply.

"Welcome Impact"

Graphite on paper, 21x27 cm

P.S: Hope you like the title. Symbolises both how I feel about discovering this medium and hopefully how the viewer will react when seeing this lovely pony showing off...!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Fifth step in new equine drawing

Step 5: refined work on neck muscle and mane

Unfortunately found only a limited amount of time to work today.

More work was done on the neck muscle and figuring out the movement and definition of the mane.

I really wanted to post the fifth stage of this work in progress before taking tomorrow off.  

Thank you all for watching and all the positive feedback.

Have a great week-end and see you all on Monday.  

Friday, 10 October 2008

New equine drawing: first four steps.

Step one: line drawing and definition of eyes and ears

Step 2: worked out expression and added to throat + balancing of tone and contrast

Step 3: Work begun on chin and neck

Step 4: mouth defined neck shape and muscle penciled out

Here we have my next drawing hot on the drawing board: a horse!

It has been soooo long since I last drew my favorite subject that working on this piece really feels like coming home and relaxing with a good cup of coffee!

I shot the reference photographs in the summer.  This is a highland pony competing at a local show in Scotland.  He was not only the perfect type but loving every minute of it and showing off as proud as a peacock!

I am using Bristol Vellum double-ply paper and .... ...water soluble graphite pencils.

This is so exciting: I have been drawing this fellow with a pencil and a ... paint brush!

Is there such a thing as a graphite painting? What an thrilling thought.

More steps tomorrow...and the way my inspiration is chomping at the bit it may very well be a finished piece (with an appropriate title)...

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Mid-week reflections

Three things have been on my "me" (professional/private) agenda for a longish time now...and the longer they've stayed there the more "impossible" they seem to have become...

This (mid) week has been a turning point. A week of conquering... AH! 

1. Try colour (been thinking about this for at least (dare I say it?) 2 years! )DONE

2. Make  a healthy soup from top of the range veg (not a fanatical cook you understand but always thought it a great way to prepare for winter...!). DONE

3. Up-date and 2x check client database (critical before the Xmas mailings get going.) DONE


# 1 : looks quite OK!

#2 : Tastes great!

#3  is Bullet proof (i.e strong and healthy!)

Mini conquerings, on the scale of 1 to 10 I reckon a 3: but who knows the world is my oyster right?

The moral of this post keeps ringing loudly : what the heck have we actually got to loose: GO FOR IT!  

To all of you out there fearing the current climate. Cut it down to mini little things and grab the energy! The world is as much your oyster as it is mine. 

Tomorrow, I'll show you what's on the drawing board... 

Sunday, 5 October 2008

The new Canine Art Guild exhibition "Helping Paws 2008" goes online

The fifth Canine Art Guild online exhibition is now live...!

"Helping Paws 2008" is now online!

A wide and varied display of dog art can be viewed (and the best: all is for sale! Definately worth a visit!). Each and every artist entered has pledge to donate proceeds of their sales to a  shelter or charity of their choice. Well worth a visit.

Here is one of my three entries "Close to Home"

"Close to home"

Mixed media (graphite/charcoal) on paper, 20x20 cm

200 Euros (20% donated to DCGR)

This is the best place for any dog: out in the open, on a long lead, beside its loved ones (not only one pair of legs but two!) discovering new sights and sounds.
This black lab is well surrounded and at peace with its life. 

Through my art I would like to heighten the awareness of how these gorgeous, quiet and loyal canines are in dire need of a warm safe bed of a good home.

The Dumfriesshire & Cumbria is a Scottish charity focused on re-homing retired or abandoned Greyhounds. As a charity they not only use what they raise for kennel fees, vet fees, fostering expenses and advertising but also try to raise public awareness of the plight of dogs at the end of their racing/coursing careers. To date 500 ex racers and coursers have found new homes.

Have a great Sunday!

Friday, 3 October 2008

Equine photography meets fine art and creates "Equiscapes".

Silly questions: sure you do, we all do!

This is the beauty with blogging you can discreetly, without total chaos, turn back time...!

Today, I am grabbing time by the collar and reintroducing you to fellow artist Juliet Harrison.  

Many of you may recall last years post focusing on Juliet's work. Unfortunately, it was way back before I had understood the important basics when posting on a blog.

I wrote my review and did not label or illustrate it ...  say no more!

So without further ado, here is the new improved version, which will no doubt leave a longer lasting impression...

Paying tribute to fellow artists is something that I hold dearly and that I am trying to make into a regular feature of on Black on Grey on White.

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

"Tony my Peace" by Juliet Harrison

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.

"Windswept" by Juliet Harrison

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 “Rhapsody in White have this edge, this harmonious focus on reality.

"At the Pull" by Juliet Harrison

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.

"Rhapsody in White" by Juliet Harrison

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, create layers of power and harmony which are unique. A power and a harmony which are Juliet’s footprint.

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

Her Equiscapes are all beautiful individual journeys into a very private equine world.  Sensitive, intimate journeys displaying new views and unusual angles of the horse’s anatomy.

Layers of movement, light, contrast, lines and emotion are clear to see in “Glacial Edge” "Waterfall” and “River-Bed in Winter”...they are stunning!

Enjoy the following chosen pieces.  

They trully define Juliet's footprint and describe what I may have failed to in words...

“Glacial Edge” by Juliet Harrison

"River Bed in Winter" by Juliet Harrison

You can discover much more of Juliet's work by visiting her website Le Cheval the horse.
P.S: Million "thank-yous" to you Juliet for providing me with these terrific pictures and allowing me to feature them here on Black on Grey on White (They fit in perfectly don't you think?)

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