Sunday, 2 October 2011

02/10: THE LAST POST ............. for the moment

We are off to Fuerteventura tomorrow to recharge our batteries after a  hectic few weeks and in preparation for a very busy run-up to Christmas for me with Xmas commissions. As we rely on using internet cafes or finding free wifi for our laptop out there, I won't be posting on my Blog for a while but will be picking up emails periodically.

For that reason I thought I'd call this update 'The Last Post'. Then I got worried that maybe I would sound disrespectful as 'The Last Post' is  traditionally the final salute to those who have fallen in war. I did my usual check by consulting GOOGLE and stumbled across the site of Derek Miller who lost his battle with cancer this year.

Derek's Blog 'final post' was written by him and published by family at his request on his passing. It is humbling reading and has brought tears to my eyes. But it has certainly reinforced the decision that David and I made 4 years ago to leave the 'rat race' and downsize house, share one car and generally enjoy our lives together. We lost two very dear friends to the 'Big C' far too early and that really put things into perspective for us.

The Blog is beautifully written and I'm glad I found it  - This is where you can find it, should you want to read his words for yourself 

and on a lighter note now ...

Yesterday was spent at Westminster and all went well I think. The exhibition pictures and shop items were all taken off display and packaged up, loaded into the vans of the various volunteers who will ship them back to the artists. It was a VERY long, hot and tiring day though!

I've been given permission to show the WIP pictures of this beautiful girl .. I won't mention her name, or the name of the recipient as it will be a Christmas present.

I'm using pastels on Fisher 400 sanded paper for this, and the other two dog portraits I'm currently working on.  The idea is that when I get back from holiday feeling VERY laid back I can simply put the finishing touches to all 3 - much less daunting than starting a portrait from scratch when in post-holiday mood.   This, and the Manchester Terrier should only take half a day each to complete, the labrador is less advanced (and larger) and will take a little longer

and a couple of WIP pics.   This was the first 'blocking in' stage where I'm just establishing areas of colour - but of course, I had to put in some eye detail first

Gradually building up finer detail using lots of blues, mauves, greys in that dense fur coat!

and here are a few WIP pics of the black lab .. again I won't mention names 'just in case' ....  it is also a Xmas portrait

Pastels on Fisher 400 - slightly larger than A3.  Although I have put some eye detail in, I'm leaving it fairly vague this time as the poor chap has lost his eyesight and I'm not sure yet how I will be asked to portray the eyes.   He is a 'senior citizen' but very handsome I think.

I've found myself using the method learned from Vic Bearcroft (after attending one of his Workshops using pastels on velour paper) inasmuch as I've found it easier to block in specific darker areas first in the knowledge they'll be lost a little when adding more colour (but can be reinforced along the way).  To save my poor fingertips from being shredded further by blending pastel by hand, I've been using an old paintbrush to push the pastel into the textured surface.  Unfortunately, the brush tends to remove more colour than it blends so this is pretty frustrating for me.    I'm looking forward to lots more 'finger painting' when back from hols with renewed skin tissue on fingertips!!


Jennifer Rose said...

my fingers are sore just from blending pastels on normal paper, can't imagine the state of them after using Fisher o.0

have a good time away (take me with you? ;p)

Chrissy said...

Gosh, I like him, the last one. The art is always wonderful but sometimes an animal captures you on a personal level ;) I hope you enjoy your respite, have a lovely time whatever you get up to ~ Chrissy X

sue said...

Hi J. Well at least we haven't resorted to cutting off ears ... so I guess a few bl**dy fingertips is small price to pay :-0

Thanks Chrissy ... I know what you mean. My client apologised that he couldn't get a good picture because the dog always sensed when he was being photographed. This was a picture he had on his mobile phone but I think its a brilliant ref - lots of character here!

Jan/ said...

Have a wonderful time, Sue! All of your portraits are looking good and I know you'll be able to get all of projects done as needed.

Karen said...

I think I spy a Finnish Lapphund! Beautiful breed (I have one) and this one is gorgeous. Love the lab too - we've had both a black and a yellow in the past. Such softies.

sue said...

Wow - I'd never heard of Finnish Lapphund's until recently. I agree, they are fabulous looking dogs aren't they?