Monday, 5 September 2011


2 predominantly black cats in pastel ... and my studio was a real mess.    I received feedback on the  black cat portrait  this evening so will go ahead now and make finishing touches.   I did a lot more work on the black and white kitty then decided to set to with the cleaning materials.   My studio is habitable again -  and  I can now use my computer keyboard without getting dirty fingers and the 'grey film' has disappeared from the screen!!

Here's the kitty ... I have emailed the photo to my client so awaiting comments.  The double mount is just laid lightly on top and, as you can see, I haven't quite aligned them correctly but it has been so overcast today I just wanted to get a photo quickly during a brighter spell between rain showers.

So having complained at length about black pastel dust getting everywhere, what did I do next but make a start on the Laurel & Hardy picture I've been asked to do as a birthday present.    I'm using charcoal which is a first for me and its nearly as messy as pastel (well in my hands anyway)!!   Early days yet ... if I don't get on with charcoal I'll re-start the picture using graphite but won't be able to achieve such deep blacks.

 and just to keep with the black & white theme .... a fellow attendee at Mike Sibley's Kent workshop emailed to tell me he had finished the drawing/assignment we all undertook on the final day.  There wasn't time to finish the drawing in class but Mike encourages students to complete the work at home and email the results to him for critique - he publishes them on his website.     I probably won't have time to complete mine till end October but I did spend about 20 minutes on it today as a 'change of scenery'    - I'll try to scan and post it here tomorrow as an incentive to get it finished.

Quite looking forward to starting on a Golden Retriever for a change of colour scheme but that will be a few days away yet!


Katherine Thomas said...

Thats an enchanting little kitty! You do such nice work!

sue said...

Thank you Katherine - much appreciated :-)

Jan/ said...

Beautiful kitten - the black and white kitties are my favorites.

I think you'll like working in charcoal but I think it's messier than pastel. Probably depends on your support though. If you're using a sanded support, it's gonna be messy! Maybe you should try PastelMat or ColourFix Suede for black animals!

Can't wait to see what you did at the workshop too!

Pauline said...

He is so sweet and reminds me of a stray I had that used to go missing all day until we discovered him asleep in a birds nest high up in a fur tree.
You could try a black charcoal pencil or even a black pastel pencil for your L&H picture Sue.

sue said...

Thanks Jan and Pauline - I believe the picture is a couple of years old so this 'kitten' will be a mature cat now ... but my client couldn't get a photo that she liked and its to be a surprise birthday present so she couldn't spend too long trying.

I've made a false start already with L&H as I selected a heavyweight cartridge paper to work on. It has too much tooth and leaves visible white spots in the dark charcoal.

So I've re-started using Fabriano Classico which is a little smoother. I thought about using Mellotex but as that has no tooth at all I think it will be too smooth!.

Early days though .. this is a big learning curve for me. I am using charcoal pencils as well as willow charcoal sticks. said...

lovely portrait Sue, kit has super whiskers! Hope you get on well with the charcoal, it's one of my favourite mediums, I find it much more expressive than graphite ;-)

sue said...

Thanks Geraldine.
Must confess I'm not a Laurel & Hardy fan and the picture isn't something I'd tackle from personal choice.

As you'll appreciate there isn't much detail to get to grips with - lots of blacks/whites/greys which is why I thought I'd try charcoal. But ... I'm up for the challenge so 'watch this space' :-)