Sunday, 11 April 2010


My lovely hubby bought me a new computer on Bank Holiday Monday and its taken the best part of five days to configure everything.   Why must upgrading be so difficult?   The latest programmes no longer support the old anti-virus or email packages and the printer won't talk to the new machine ..... what a nightmare!!

Anyway, I think everything is sorted at last and this machine is certainly much faster.  I'd had the old one for five years so I guess it was almost an antique in 'computer years'

Since returning from holiday I've been experimenting with different combinations of pencils/pastels and supports.  I have quite a collection of papers that I've tried and abandoned over the months/years and thought it was time to revisit them to see whether I like them any better now.

I've concentrated on drawing cats as I think I may still be in time to submit a picture or two to the SOFA Summer Exhibition if I can come up with something I'm happy with.  So its been almost 'a cat a day' for the last week!   I joined SOFA (Society of Feline Artists) last year but was too busy with commissions to draw any cats 'for me' and I hope to remedy that situation.   This year I will be accepting far fewer commissions (until the run up to Christmas) as we need to do a lot of work in the house and Garden this Summer.

This is an experiment using Prismacolour coloured pencils on Colourfix paper.   I really struggled with this and didn't like the combination at all - in fact I gave up before finishing the drawing and have just cropped the bottom of the picture out.  

This is drawn in pastel on Clairefontaine Pastelmat and I was much happier with the coverage - the only problem I have with Pastelmat is the limited colour range - this is 'Natural Sienna' which is a great colour in daylight but looks almost orange and a little 'garish' in artificial light.

I love this little chap ..... drawn in pastel on green Canson Mi-Teintes paper.   Canson do a fabulous range of colours but, having got used to the heavy duty sanded papers, I find this paper quite 'flimsy' at just 160gm2 and coverage is not as good (IMHO).  I will be 'test driving' some Murano paper later in the week and suspect I'll have similar views on that range.  But, I'm committed to re-trying the various brands I have gathering dust here ....... I'll probably be leaving the velour till last as I bought quite a lot a couple of years back when it was very 'fashionable' before I fell out of love with it. 

I know I've shown this next one before but I entered him into the UKCPS Spring Exhibition at Keswick.  Closing date for entries was yesterday but, because space at the Gallery is limited and the exhibition will probably be oversubscribed, it will be 'names out of the hat' to select pictures to be hung.  We won't know the results of the ballot for a while yet.   If I'm not one of the successful entrants in the UKCPS exhibition I will probably see whether it can be submitted for the SOFA exhibition.   Actually, this photo was taken before he was properly finished but as he is mounted and framed now it's not so easy to get a decent photo because of the glare from the glass.  He was drawn in coloured pencil on Fabriano Artistico HP paper and the title is 'Curiosity did what?'

and, finally in the cat series, this is one I started today and all I've done here is sketched the outline and fur direction very roughly in white pastel pencil.   As usual I've started with the eyes and I'm looking forward to progressing with this one tomorrow.   It will be drawn in soft pastel/pastel pencil on Sennelier La Carte on the 'dark blue grey' colour.   At 360g this is is real heavyweight paper so its no wonder I'm finding the Canson rather flimsy by comparison!  I will be posting some WIP pics for this one I think.

I have a couple of coloured pencil pictures on the go as well - really trying to get out of my 'comfort zone' and add scenery/backgrounds.   I'll post those on another occasion though.   

8 comments: said...

Wow Sue, you have been busy, love all the work here, and was interested to read your comments on paper etc. as I am trying various combinations at the moment.
I don't use CP's much and am really making an effort to get to grips with them, but keep going back to pastel as I can't seem to get the same depth with the pencils :-( I don't want to give up with them as I love the detail obtainable, and found your kits today very inspirational

sue said...

Thanks Geraldine.

I'm really enjoying having the time to experiment. It seems that the range of papers and pencils available to artists has expanded rapidly over the last couple of years and I was getting a little frustrated about not having time to tackle my 'to try' list.

Some members of the UK Coloured Pencil Society 'swear by' sanded papers for pencil work and get wonderful results so I will try again, maybe using a different range of pencils. Prismacolours and Pastelmat just didn't work for me this time.

sue said...

Oops ... that last sentence should have read 'Prismacolours and Colourfix' :o)

Jan said...

Wow, Sue! These are ALL really, really nice. I like the kitten on the ColourFix a lot. (BTW, how in the world do you get such good pics on sanded paper? I've tried both my digi camera and scanning but it all looks very rough and blotchy - not the way it looks irl.)

Good luck on the SOFA show and any others you enter!

sam said...

You have been busy Sue, I like your different techniques. The natural sienna looks like a really nice colour)

sue said...

Thanks Jan.
Maybe I'll go back to the cat on Colourfix and finish it then - or maybe I'll just use the reference and re-draw it using different paper :o)

I usually photograph my pics as our scanner is basic and won't take pictures bigger than A4.

Thanks Sam. Natural Sienna is a lovely rich colour but under artificial light it looks very bright so I'm wary of using it for commissions now. It would be fine for anyone drawing in backgrounds but I tend not to do so.

Dors said...

All so interesting Sue. You take all the hard work out for us. :D
I wish you All The Best for the entry to UKCPS. Hope yours is accepted.
it's gorgeous. The cat the BG Stunning work.

Thank you Sue for sharing your experiments. always appreciated.

sue said...

Thank you Dors.

Of course, my conclusions will probably be very different from those of other artists but I'm trying not to get too firmly stuck in a rut using only one type of pencil and paper - although at the end of this experimental period I may well end up reverting back to the current favourites :o)