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Friday, 30 January 2009

Gone tweet and joined Twitter and the gang

Here's a thing. Twitter.
It's great.
Once you get started and get the hang of it well you just...tweet with the rest of the world.
Why? Simple, quick and fun are the three main ingredients that spring to mind. Many are using Twitter to promote their work, others to keep in touch and some just to say hi.
You really are wired and at the forefront of what's "happening" .
If you decide to come to the other side one great tip I must share: Tweetdeck. (Once you're in you'll understand)



Thanks to the following link I set up my really nifty badges.
http://labs.creazy.net/twignature/
http://www.vincentabry.com/31-logos-et-boutons-pour-twitter-2480

The first link is in Japanese ... but where there's a will there's a way.

Look forward to tweeting with you soon...

Thursday, 29 January 2009

A welly and a puppy. Part 2, the importance of subject knowledge.

I worked it out....the reason for yesterday's trouser dissatisfaction.
Limited knowledge and experience with...beige chino trousers.
I do not own a pair and never have. (Not knowing your subject so detrimental to your work.)
My husband does fortunately have a pair. They were pulled out, studied, felt and placed in direct view of the drawing board.
Did this help?
Most definately?
I fixed and jumped over the trouser hurdle and was able to get to my "real fun" part: the expression, the eyes, the soul.
Below, two more steps showing improved beige chinos and the cutest puppy coming to life.
(Oh and for all you graphite artists I stopped fiddling and I reverted back to my beloved 2B Derwent pencil....a small technicality with a big impact)



Wednesday, 28 January 2009

A Welly and a puppy, start of new graphite drawing

On the drawing board at the moment is the cutest of lab puppy.... and a wellington boot.
I shot the references for this new drawing last year in Scotland at the local agricultural show. (A real gold mine for reference pics and a brilliant day out for the family I have to add!)

Tools: Hahnemuhle Nostalgie paper. 3B, 6B, F & H graphite leads.

Steps: Here are steps one and two.
They show the progress made on the rubber boot and cotton chino trousers. I have never rendered rubber before and wanted to achieve its smooth yet dry irregular look. I found the best way of doing this was to use a flat tip 3B lead in a circular motion. A layer of 6B in the same way (flat tip + circular motion).
A sharp point is used to mark out the edges to the seam.

Step 3 shows the first stages of the cotton trousers...my concentration floundered and the result is poor. (I will come back to it tomorrow and see if I can save them from the "uglies" or if I re start from scratch.)
Wish I could blame a bad scan but I actually have not been able to find the right pencil combination.
I tried laying down the darker areas in with a touch of 3B, layering with F and then finishing off with a dry H.... this is when I stepped away from fear of tearing it up.... I wanted to save the welly (it's come out well)...


More tomorrow, million thanks for looking

Friday, 23 January 2009

Book review on how to master composition the Ian Roberts way.

Mastering Composition: Techniques and Principles to Dramatically Improve Your Painting Mastering Composition: Techniques and Principles to Dramatically Improve Your Painting by Ian Roberts



Starting this week off  with a twist,  a short (yet serious enough) book review.

This book has brought me so much sharing is a must. 

This is quite simply The BOOK that changed my approach to composition.

The book that brought me up a whole new level as an artist able to understand composition.


A definite reference and "forever book" for any artist looking to acquire more knowledge and take the right steps in getting there.

The one element I particularly enjoy is the layout: carefully thought through and user-friendly. This adds heaps to the enjoyment of learning something that can be down right boring. Roberts keeps all the elements he wants us to discover flowing smoothly and effortlessly on well written, illustrated and printed pages.

This edition also comes with a cd. A great wee bonus to help highlight and clarify the content of the manuscript by visually illustrating all of the essentials explained.

Since reading Ian Robert's book, I find myself frequently referring back to it, finding inspiration, finding new answers.

Just in the same keen way Katherine Tyrell indirectly recommended this read to me on her blog http://makingamark.blogspot.com , I am adding my own support and enthusiasm.

Most definately highly recommended.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

"Tall Grace",Graphite pencil portrait of Great Dane Miss Gracie.

"Tall Grace"

Graphite on paper, 39x22 cm

copyright Sheona Hamilton-Grant

This is my self-portrait -well not literally- I do look a little more human. The rest however, could be me right down to the silver watch band.

I love jeans: wear them daily and know them inside out (literally I wash them reversed) and have them in different shapes and same size. I love them so much I not only keep them for decades but have also been know to spend a little too much "dinero" on them. (I find a great pair close to "irresistible"!)

Jumpers: (as I have recently discover also referred to as pullovers in the US) I would be a very sad artist indeed should they be removed from my wardrobe (referred to as closet). As opposed to my jeans I have them in all sorts of different shapes and sizes (can't beat the baggy-curl-up-beside-the-fire-woolly-jumper).

Back to the portrait: This is Miss Gracie, Erin Vey's big girl. I discovered and (cyberly) met both ladies, through her blog Bark! last year and have been captivated by Erin's photography since.  Erin is a canine photographer who's work subtlely merges fine art into canine photography. It's beautiful. 

I was drawn to this photograph to the composition I could see, to it's powerful simplicity. I really liked the way the lines swerve and leave a great negative space yet keep the attention on Gracie's presence and elegance. 

I now have another goal: acquire such an excellent subject, shoot the perfect reference pic and then get up to the drawing board (big goals mean big rewards...right?)

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Jack Russel portrait drawn in colour pencils


Ascot is a rare view: the result of my tackling colour.

He is drawn in graphite with a touch of coloured pencil and watercolour.

Gayle Mason's (Fur in the Paint) explanatory post has been a tremendous help. Her post on drawing cat eyes put me on the right track and it went from there. Gayle is not only a real expert at rendering, beautifully, animals in mixed media but is also very generous in explaining her process.

Digging in my heels and "just" going for it with lots of trial and many errors have been "what it took". I'm happy with the (almost)final result, the colours are discreetly present, there is depth and the portrait is faithful to my style. (I will put the portrait out sight for a few days and only then bring it back out to make any adjustments and tweaks before signing, spraying and framing.)

I only hope I have trialed and "errored" enough to be able to do another: Joris (Ascot's brother) has also been commissioned...

Friday, 16 January 2009

Muddy puddles, mandarines and Dettol.




Sadly, at this end, we are back to muddy puddles, grotty light and diluted Dettol.
The rejuvenating energy and sparkle that seems to tag alongside extra low temperatures and extra white snow has most definitely thawed.

January is cold time, flu time; too many visits to the chemist time. It is the time when my main mission becomes keeping these things in check and the many cold and the flu virus at arms length.

Confirmation came yesterday, a pleasant radio presenter, cheerfully announced that yes the flu viruses were on the rampage and would be affecting at least one in ten of us…

Ah, I thought, let the cheeky blighters come… Like a well drilled duty officer, I have the home fires burning, dish-out warm meals daily, have stocked -up on packets & boxes of tissues, checked the sell-by-date on the Vitamin C jar, filled the fruit bowl with mandarins (a firm favorite in our house) and washed the floors with diluted Dettol.
Agreed this has sidetracked me from getting a serious amount of studio work done but ... I just love the smell of Dettol.
Let these wee viruses come and strut their stuff… I am PREPARED.

Living in a special place means exceptional views.
Above: photographs taken from standing at front door (in slippers), below: while out on a walk.

I’m going to cling to these breathtaking views as I wage my war against the cocky, overly confident and all too powerful viruses and their pals.
(Tomorrow, I will show you the view on my drawing board.)


Sunday, 11 January 2009

A graphite artist looks ahead to her year 2009.

“Be yourself everyone else is taken. “ Oscar Wilde.


2008 was an important year: it was the year that got me to really see the difficulties, ramifications and complexities of being an artist.

The year that made me fully understand just how crucially important it is for me to let my soul get back behind my work if a new level is to be reached.

I lost focus on “me”, turning it to the technical.

2009 will be the year passion; heart and instinct are all invited (ordered) back in to do what they do best: inspire and push. The year I will act on Oscar Wilde’s brilliantly wise words on being ones self.

My goal is set, unaltered: learn all there is about pencil and art.

My chosen paths unchanged.

They are threefold:

  1. learning (knowledge is power),
  2. pushing boundaries (strengthening weaknesses) and
  3. sharing my findings (inspiring others).

These resolutions are maturing not changing. I will follow them; again. This year passion will lead.

Like with a good wine, the maturing process of becoming a good artist is done in stages: a gentle metamorphosis.

These chosen directions will bring clarity, stability and strength to my work.

They will allow my talent to decant, give me time to separate the rough from the polished.

They are resolutions I firmly believe in, they are worth the time; they are worth the dedication.

Art is a fragile.

It should not be rushed but allowed to grow in intensity, to develop a bouquet and be … spiced with magic.


"Quality Time"
Graphite on Paper, 2007
Copyright Sheona Hamilton-Grant

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Last year's highlight, Ex Arte Equinus.

My highlight of 2008 has to have been asked to be one of four the judges For Art Horse Magazine Ex Arte Equinus art competition. Kathi Peters judged the painting category, Susan Leyland was responsable for the sculpture section and Melanie Snowhite accepted to judge the photography. I was invited to be responsible for judging the Drawing category.

I was honored beyond belief  and took the job to heart. I learned a remarkable amount and grew stronger as an artist from looking at and being responsible for judging work of others.
The show was a resounding success and of a high standard.

To make a great show fantastic there is now a book being published (available in February).
The artwork for the book is chosen from Ex Arte Equinus competition.
The Ex Arte Equinus book will assuredly be a small treasure for artists, horse lovers and collectors alike and no doubt make history for contemporary equine art.

LinkIf you would like to see the results of the show, they can now be seen on line on the Art Horse Magazine website.

If you would like to find out more about the book all the relevant information can be found here.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Strange and unusual studio light and objects

A warm welcome back and greetings to all my new followers: brilliant to have you aboard.

I hope you have enjoyed a cracking start to the New Year.

My new working year has begun meaning Black on Grey on White is "back in action". Yeah!

As if to make the first day back that little more memorable there was a very distinct light filling my favorite room.

(To cut the descriptive rambling, here are 2 views taken from below.)



To all of you in the in the know about snow these are pretty "obvious" pics of a roof window covered in quite a large amount of the white stuff.  The snow's here again. Belgium is at a standstill and not enjoying it one little bit, certainly not at as much as the girls and myself...

Here's the other view, a much stranger studio view.

My blob of old, used & pierced BluTack (for those in the know about graphite tips & tricks a really efficient way of cleaning sharpened leads) was sitting quietly and so neatly begging for some kind of attention. The only attention I could give it today was a photo portrait of its strange and unique look. 

BluTack blob remained untouched (and a wee bit sad): today was a marketing, organising, catching up on email and fellow bloggers day.

Tomorrow will be a working " on the drawing board "studio day.

Eager to see where my inspiration will lead me and, who knows, catch a peak of BluTack blob's happy dance...!