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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Christmas time again....

Christmas time again...
Squeals of yeah, leaps of joy and loud countdowns are being performed by under age members of our family while, other (slightly older) members have turned into forms of chickens and can be seen flapping around quite strangely.
Another funny festive few days are most definitely just around the corner.

Before carrying on with my chicken dance, I want to take a moment to thank you all for taking the time to visit my blog and follow my work. Many of you have left kind and encouraging comments. I appreciated your feedback so much.

Wishing you all a fandabedosy festive season filling your lives with love, joy and laughter.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Stung by silence

Peeking out of my cave studio with a big guilty look on my face and a wee timid wave.
The winter weather/ pre-Xmas rush have me totally in their grip and have mercilessly stung me with silence.
I have been neglecting you all. Sorry!
As the sting is likely to have lasting effects (I'm optimistically estimating two weeks) and due to the nature of my work (top secret presents) I can't show you any progress reports or finished works for a while to come.
In an honest try to make amends, I have a mix (seasonal and not so seasonal) of images I would like to share until the act of secrecy has been lifted.

"Snowed Under"
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

"That Way"
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

"Right at ya!"
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

"Touch of Red!"
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

Thank you all, once again, for your support this year and understanding.
The sporadic postings have been way too numerous and bordering on rude. Once again I apologise.

Back soon!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Amazon and Polo...

Christmas commissions are in the making, all a little hush hush until the merry day is passed. Needless to say, the studio has been swamped with loud music, empty coffee mugs, pencil shavings and lights burning well into the night.
While all this was on the go great news reached my inbox...

"Holding On" has been chosen to appear in the upcoming Polo Players Edition more specifically in the "Making History" article featuring a quarter century of Polo and equestrian art.
Chuffed to bits, the way I am every time a graphite piece makes it alongside the strong contenders that are oil and acrylic...

Last spring, I was approached by a ICA publishing. They were putting a book of contemporary artists together.
International Contemporary Artists Vol1 has been created showing the visions of 262 artists from 42 countries and is now available on Amazon.
It's a stunning book filled to the brim with talent and great works of art.
Once again, I am chuffed to little bits to see "Complicity" and "Hurricane" feature in such great company.

Between you and me, had to giggle at the notion of having been able to reach out with the tips of my pencils and touch two totally alien worlds: Amazon and Polo.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Florestan I A champion Sire writing history

Mention Florestan and you automatically mention: success, beauty, quality and ... history.
Florestan I is a German Warmblood (Rheinland) breading stallion with amazing statistics.

Since 1989, this Fidelio-Rheingold son has sired over 5000 mares (yep three 0's after the 5) which has resulted in the following historical statistics. (Actually, I have it from good authority that he is so successful that it is near impossible to count all of his offspring...)

55 registered sons in the Stallion registry
200 State premium mares in Germany alone.
Approximately 2000 show horses registered at the German National Equestrian Federation.
1.2 Million Euros life time earnings.

A bronze statue of Florestan I can also be found in Wickrath Germany

Knowing all this, you can now all fully understand the honour and the excitement I experienced last spring when I was given, not only a private photo-shoot with the star but also the request to draw a portrait of him. (A great big thank you to Andrea Stricker, his groom and rider, for her time.)

I went for something different.
I wanted to steer away from the classic head-shot.
I was looking to portray the cheeky, clever, smart and inventive horse that he his.

His professionalism was amazing.
Like a model, he enjoyed every moment spent in front of the camera and gave me pose after pose, spoiling me with workable material.

However, it wasn't until I caught him off guard that I knew I had my moment, my portrait.
A glimpse of the normal, ever inventive, young at heart champion sire.

This pose captures everything: his beauty, presence , charisma and character.
At 24 he's far from feeling or looking his age and has definitely mastered the art of holding on...

"Holding On"
Pencil on Paper. 29x40 cm

Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

Monday, 8 November 2010

"Grégoire ".

Pencil on Paper. 18x24 cm
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. 2010. All rights reserved.

Two weeks ago I was in Brussels delivering these golden curls and receiving a mother's seal of approval.
Child portraits are something so delicate and mesmerizing to create.
I was on tender hooks throughout the entire portrait.
Drawing the soft pure and innocent features of a child requires accuracy and very high concentration. Well, I felt that's what I wanted to give this gorgeous wee chap.
Gregoire (French for Gregory )has just turned two. He's a wee boy with bundles of energy and sunshine smiles. Being the youngest of three boys he is not into being left behind...
Emphisizing his sunny nature and energy were crucial to the success of this portrait.
Through this pose, a summer feeling of energy and fun was created and his surfer curls subtly emphasised. Having him look away from the viewer adds a certain sense of movement and his eagerness to "get on".
I was really chuffed with the way the portrait looked on delivery day.

Up on the drawing board and next in-line: two hairy - big eyed- four legged- wee hounds...

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Big Ben new equine portrait finished

"Big Ben"
Graphite on Paper. 27x11 cm
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

Monday has turned into to Wednesday...late as usual!

Here is the promised updated and finished portrait of Big Ben.
The references I had to work from were, for various reasons, a little off.
This left loads of room for my imagination. I have used powder graphite to create the darker values. They limit the detail but give a lovely soft feeling.
Big Ben is just that: big. His features are are also a little larger than usual.
The frontal view was picked as it shortens his nose .
The result: all the attention goes to his large kind eyes.
Next step: the framers.

Friday, 29 October 2010

First steps in new equine portrait.

It would be fair to say that a million words have not been flowing off my keyboard lately. Sorry for the sporadic posting. Life has a habit of keeping me on my toes with all sorts twists and turns. This week has been no exception.
Sadly, all this spinning has kept me away from the buzz of the cyberwaves.
Actually to be very honest, in order to get away from the twirling demands, we (pencils, cats and I) have been hiding deep and low in the cave studio and working on my latest commission.
Time has been spent on Big Ben, a great big (surprise!) bay gelding. Sadly, due to injury, Ben is not able to live a full active life but is incredibly well cared for and loved by his owners.

Below are the first few hours into the drawing. I am using a 200g Hahnemuehler paper and Derwent's 2B, 6B and B.

So far so good. I'm a happy with his expression meaning: green light to go ahead and complete the portrait.

All being well will be back at the drawing board on Monday and will be sure to post an up date then.
Have a great week-end!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Work progressed on "Bricks and Stones."

Bricks and Stones has been pulled out of it's packing box.
A sprinkling of work has been added to the baby steps.
Working on the contrast between bricks and the Clyde's velvet coat is great. The end result can only be startling. Not a regular occurrence to find a horse standing free in front of a stone wall.

The stone wall is starting to take on a life of it's on. The intricacies found in walls are mind boggling and really something to get my eager little scribble friends dug into. There are going to be cracks, patch-ups, distortions, crevices, breaks, unbalanced layouts. Basically an engineers nightmare come true: not one brick will be alike.
Each and every one a little bit more broken or distorted than the other.

Fun stuff!
Next update coming soon ...

Sunday, 10 October 2010

An old iron ...

Last week has been a blur, a messy distasteful blur.
Technical hitches, hick-ups and burps have been plaguing the studio ever since the move.
Last week they hit an all time high.
The intensity turned up just the right amount to blow things out of control; over and out of laughable margins.

All my contacts (data of) were spotlessly erased, in one clean swoop (back-ups included!).
15 years of contacts, whooshed out, overwritten, lost, scarperred!
90% is (thank goodness) retrievable but 10% is not and that is NOT good!

Why, I asked myself, am I so floored by this situation.
Simple, the time span: 14 years 11 months 28 days are a massive 5,477 days.
131,448 hours which have encompassed countless meetings, encounters, running into new acquaintances, bumping into old friends, meeting fellow artists, shows, exhibitions, inquiries, interest... a network of varied and treasured contacts.
All, so crucial, so vital to an active studio.
Loosing access to all this priceless data simply gave me the feeling of starting from scratch, of having been brutally shoved back to square one and strangely of being cut off from a part my world...

Horrible flashbacks of landing my old iron on "go to jail, go directly to jail do not pass go do not collect 200" , in an all too familiar game of Monopoly, came to mind...and stayed!
It hurts, it's not fun, it's stupid and worst of all you know just how vulnerable you have become.

Sadly this is not a game.
No roll of the dice can bring on new hope.
I do not have a "get out of jail free" card.

BUT (yep this is a big but!)
I do have: lovingly hoarded business cards, a big black out-of-date Filofax, old postcards earliest dating back to 1995, invites, notes, letters also dated from the last decade, lists (lots of lists...) and they are quite simply my most amazing "chance card".

Who knows, this time next week, I may well be landing my old iron on "go" and collecting a cool 400!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Inside view of my studio

Up and running and drawing!
My pencils are enjoying their new home as are both Wilbur and Bernadette.
The space we have been allocated is just fantastic!
Our previous work area was really cool too. Totally different and just much much smaller.
Here, well this is pure luxury with space for the indispensable drawing board and red trolleys but also for my (big) favorite sofa, all my music, books, fellow artist, mementos and ... a chess board.

For all of you interested here's a wee guided tour...

New work area: great light, space and view. Behind work by Kim Santini, Juliette Harrisson and Linda Shantz.

Old well loved yellow sofa.

One of the 2 studio cats in action (also known as Jessy Jane or Jess)

Music, books, reference photographs and files

Printing and Prints area. Above work by Karmel Timmons. Over looking the action: Wilbur & Bernadette.

Side view of new cutting and framing area.
In frame works by Donna Ridgeway, Kim Santini, Tami Oyler , Jenn Pratt, Kathi Peters, Susan Leyland, Linda Shantz and Juliette Harrison.
In blue flower: Jess still "at rest".

On this wall work by Degas, Klaus Philip, F.C Turner, Mary Herbert, Catherine Thiry, J.D. Harding, F.Roux & George Wright Pinx. Jess is she's on the sofa!

I really tried to layout this space with efficiency in mind. My new mid year resolution: keep clutter at bay.
To do this, I have to admit to having recurred to solid professional help.
Alyson B Stanfield (unknowingly) came to my rescue.
Mid-summer, knowing I would be moving and re-structuring, I decided to go all the way and downloaded "Peak to Productivity".
I downloaded the mp3 from the ArtBizCoach Store.
A wise decision.
Sometimes all you need is to hear it, get that extra motivational push and things fall into place. My filing and organisational skills are now back on track.
Great to feel out of that "clutter rut"!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Bismark, new pencil drawing completed

Made it!
Unpacked the boxes, made a comfy space, re-tuned the hi-fi. As a result have actually got a flow going which in turn allowed me to complete my first commission in our new home.

As many of you know we have moved and it shook us all to the core (unforeseen events, mistakes and situations added to the already existing stress that comes attached to any international move).

Two weeks ago the prospect of getting to create and scribble were looking very grim.
Today, that is history.
Pencils are up and running.
Motivation and energy levels are following.
All sorts of wee hitches are still present and adding their own kind of excitement. They are however not worth wasting too much time over as I am sure they will be sorted some time soon.

So, it is with great pleasure that I would like to introduce Bismark a fluffy canine with a great gentlemanly charcacter. (please forgive the over dark contrasted of the wee hitches that still needs to be sorted!)
Pencil on Paper. 22x26 cm
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

Tomorrow is another day.
On the board a very special equine.
Will share as soon as possible.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Complicity and Hurricane win at the American Art Awards.

Graphite on Paper. 2009
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved

There is great rejoicing and lots of strange woops: Complicity and Hurricane have been strutting their stuff at the American Art Awards and have come home with rosettes.
"Complicity" won the dry media category (pencil, charcoal and ink) and came in second in Human Realism. Yeah!
Graphite on Paper. 2010
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved

"Hurricane" came in a cool second in Animal realism. Cooool!
The icing on the cake: Quality Time won last year!

"Quality Time"
Graphite on Paper. 2008
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved

Once again, one year on, I'm still so very chuffed, honoured as well as being over the moon at seeing graphite making a stand.

Pencils just rock !!!

Happy dances and cheery waves from the walls of my new studio in Bonn...

Thursday, 9 September 2010

His name was Johnny, Johnny Jo...

His name was Johnny, Johnny Jo.

His middle names: funny, silly, kind, stubborn, daft, sweet, fun, JJ...

Sadly all his names are no more.

Johnny passed away this summer leaving a wee hole in our hearts, a bundle of happy memories in our minds and a big very empty red bed.

Johnny Jo

God speed Johnny...

Friday, 23 July 2010

Contracts, Shows: upwards and forwards.

Ever had the feeling that all the twists and turns of life will never straighten; just for a wee while, long enough to be able to stop smell the roses and catch your breath?
Boy is it a test of stamina.

Twists and twirling turns are in abundance down this end. Being in four countries over a period of three days is slowly becoming the norm. Meaning a strange on/off relationship with the cyberwaves and yo-yo working in hours in the studio.

The astounding thing is that there are all sorts of great things still happening. A signed 5 year contract with the NRW landgetsuet, a 3 day solo show and new commissions.

"Fuerst Piccolo"
Pencil on Paper
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

There has to be a moral in there somewhere.
To be honest I will postpone trying to find it until the movers and their boxes have been and gone.

Look forward to saying hi again in August, mid August where I will be posting from our new home, from the hills of Bonn.
Until then wishing you all a great few weeks of creating and loads of summer fun.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Powered Together finished.

Deadline reached and my new commission is now ready to be shipped.
Powered Together was commissioned by the NRW Landgestuet for their annual stallion show (Warendorfer Hengstparade) in September.

I'm really chuffed with the way this drawing has come out.

"Powered Together"
Pencil on Paper. 39x30cm
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved 2010

Power, strength, speed, beauty, skill, trust and harmony are present in overdose.
Elements that my pencils adore rendering.
Meeting with my clients in a couple of days. Looking forward to hearing their thoughts.

On the drawing table another beautiful stallion. Will post a few updates soon.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Powered Together slowly coming together...

Another week has been and gone leaving spinning heads and square circles in its wake.

Pencils were, however, exercised and good progress has been made to "Powered Together".
The mid-July deadline is definitely within reach!

Here below, proof of the progress....

Powered Together: Step4

Powered Together: Step5

The dark stallion now has a rider, both horses have the correct number of limbs.
A few pieces of the puzzle are however still missing.
Having a ball drawing this powerful action piece. Loads of fiddly parts that are really helping keeping my mind off the tumult that our "not so long now" move is creating backstage.

Thank goodness summer is in full swing and the sun on top form!

Wishing you all a wonderful warm summer week-end wherever you are.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Move, moving, (nearly) moved ...

The 200 year old house in the south of Belgium is about to be replaced by a 40 year old house in the hills of the former German capital.
We are moving our tri-lingual family and lazy cats to a new country, a new life.

Move, as you can well imagine, is the "in" word, used in all sorts of manners, tried out with different intonations and set in just as many contexts.
As a result, "in" now not only shapes our days, our actions but has also overflowed into my work.

Below the third step in a very spectacular "Pas de Deux"...
Powerful poetry in motion.
"Powered Together"
Work in Progress step 3
Pencil on Paper

Completion is scheduled for mid-july, in the heat of pre move fury, in a haze of action and a cloud of tumult ....
To be continued ....

Monday, 21 June 2010

Blue Weimaraner named Ida

Detail of portrait study


At last I can show you one of the drawings that kept me scribbling for most of May. Long days and long nights were on the menu as I scrounged hours,minutes and seconds wherever I could find them.
Big thank-you to my friend and fellow artist Linda Shantz for her precious musical tips. She introduced me to Biffy Clyro (the best Scottisch band of the moment) & Mumford & Sons. These guys got me through the hours and dead-line stress with a good rythm in my stroke :D

The result is "Ida". Ida is just gorgeous: a blue Weimaraner with the most amazing light eyes I have ever seen.

The colour and texture of her coat were brilliant to draw, I guess simply because it is so out of the ordinary.(Miles away from curls and long hair)
Smooth shades of grey that transcend into darker values subtly but quite radically.

Pencil on Paper. 38x55cm
Sheona hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

Ida's portrait is now hanging in Germany up North where, hopefully, summer is swinging a wee bit more than down here in the south of Belgium!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Bricks and stones: baby step added

Time was shuffled around and re-arranged over the week-end to give my pencils a wee gap to add a few more bricks and muscles.

Below the result of a few hours: a Clydesdale with an ever increasing chest and a wall with a new wonky bricks.

Next update coming soon....

Saturday, 12 June 2010

A new work in Progress

Due to big urgent commissions needing all my attention, weeks have gone by without Black on Grey on White featuring any WIP.
So, it is with great rejoicing jubilation that I post the first steps in my new non-commissioned drawing: Bricks and Stones.
The reference comes from my good friend & photographer Juliet Harrison. She spotted this Clydesdale while visiting Scotland last summer and let her camera record a wonderful vision.

The piece is big and complex with strong contrasts in both light, shapes and textures, a great subject and an unusual composition.
Masses to get my teeth dug into.

"Bricks and Stones" Step 1

Tools chosen:
Mellotex paper
Derwent 2B & HB
Staedler Clutch F & 6B

The first step shows a few bricks who still need a big chunk of attention.
I'm drawing them as they come, having only mapped out horizontal lines to give me guidance. They are still time consuming as I have to figure exactly how best to render them. A first darker layer is made in 2B which I then refine with my HB...
Not sure it's the best...Off up to work it out.
Will post soon.
Wishing you all a wonderful week-end wherever you are.

Monday, 7 June 2010


Wilbur, bless him, decided to stay behind in April and "man" the studio. Personally, I'm convinced he got stage fright and wanted to blast out some way-out music and dance is socks off.

Once across the border, his absence was noticed.
Thankfully, while out hunting for last minute supplies, I bumped into Bernadette.
Bernadette, lying along side tubes of oil paints and miniature canvases, caught my eye or did she wink?
Whatever she did made me smile and continued to do so while sitting on my passenger seat as she tapped her wooden hand rhythmically to the Foo's.
Wilbur has met his match.
The doll is "mid-way mad".
A few pics of her in action to prove it.
She disappeared one quiet morning leaving her spot of choice (centre stage) to catch a few rays of sun.
Bernadettes' spot of choice during the show: right up beside the gold medalist himself Rembrandt.

I hunted her down,


saying hi to Paradox

( a statue created in 1993 in memory of the world famous stallion Paradox).

p.s: serious art work is still happening in the studio with both Wilbur and Bernadette enjoying the music. However, all drawings flowing of the board are birthday commissions and can't be shared until a later date.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Chocking my right arm...

Un-obliviously (nice new word don't you think?) I choked my right arm.
Let me translate: Blind to the weight and size of my files I fed my computer way too much crash down.
Result: a disaster and a massive wake up call!

All work is now backed-up on DVD's and allowing one of my most important tools to breath again. Big fresh breaths of IT air.

In the chaos and "restructuring" I realised I never showed you a portrait of the late "Bracken".

Bracken was a rescue and a canine that found a 5 star life with a great couple. After a tough start, he discovered what it is to be the beneficiary of a good life, of a life filled with canine luxuries and surrounded by love.

Pencil on Paper 19x21 cm

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The day I rode Hurricane

Would you agree that, as an artist, knowing your subject is not only important but crucial?
Which is why I could not believe my luck when the opportunity to not only photograph (once again) but actually ride one of the most charismatic horses I know arose.
I'm a long way off knowing him as well as I could but I can honestly say a giant step closer than I was... the day before I rode Hurricane.

Below the two of us in action - I hadn't been on a horse in nearly 5 years. Amazing (and comforting) to see that all the instincts and feelings were still there and he did not seem put out by my lack of strength and agility. A real gentleman.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

New Jack Russell pencil portrait

Pencil on Paper. 16x18 cm
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

Somewhere between the paperwork, housework and computer work, I found time to pay my drawing board a wee visit.

Paula is my newest commission and is off tomorrow to Germany (a surprise "bday" present). No worries about the secret: the birthday person doesn't know of my existence.

For this portrait I pulled out my well loved - well known Hahnemuehle paper and 2b mechanical pencil.
The studio rocked to the Muse, Snowplay and Nickelback while my pencils enjoyed a well needed work out.

Next drawing will be all about canines again, this time big and grey. Think I'll get Biffy Clyro to rock the studio walls...

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Press conference and various steps before the big day.

All started with an idea, followed by structured inspiration, focused hard work, meticulous co-ordination and then a real live press conference.

My one man show "Black on Grey on White" opened Friday the 9th of April in the Warendorf National Stud with a vernissage which welcomed over a 120 guests.
It was a magical evening.
Meeting friends, acquaintances and collectors.
Sharing my art, my world with an enthusiastic and receptive audience.
Launching my book "My Colours of Graphite".
Saying thank- you speechlessly.
Seeing red dots appear and left behind (5 so far).
Collecting bookings to keep busy well into the new year.

So proud, so overwhelmed and still at a loss for words.
Images of the events will help explain, I'm sure, just why my emotions are still getting the better of me...

Press Conference April 1st 2010.
Georg Frerich, Hurricane, Susanne Schmidt-Rimkus, me, Nicole Uphoff-Selke and Herr Klaus Oortmann

10 minutes before the reporters arrived (trying to look cool and relaxed)

Room 1 one week before opening (lighting just put up)

Room 2 one week before opening (panels arrived after finishing with lighting)

One week later

Room 1 all ready to go

Room 1, 9th of April, waiting for the first guests to arrive.

Room 2: smart and tidy. The lighting is really good it's just my photos trying to prove me wrong

Room 2 different angle: in the midst of the panels...

Room 2 looking just as posh and polished as room 1.

The evening

Book launch with Susanne Schmidt-Rimkus and Nicole Uphoff-Selke

To be continued

p.s: Wilbur decided to stay home and take care of business here in Belgium.
However, I did meet Bernadette....