Tuesday, 28 October 2014


I have a horrible cold which is making me feel a bit yukky so really I shouldn't draw when feeling under the weather as I know from experience I'm liable to do silly things ... today was no exception.

I decided to use some Zest It solvent to speed up the darkening process on her skin .... went straight in without testing and ended up with a 'flat' dark brown/black cheek (left side as we look at her).   Ordinarily I'd have thrown it in the bin at that stage and started again as I wasn't too far advanced.  But I'm out of Pastelmat paper and awaiting a delivery which probably won't arrive till the weekend so I decided to let the solvent dry and try to rescue the picture - I've managed to get some lighter layers on top.

Jury's out at the moment ... the girl is very dark/black skinned so this is actually pretty true to life, but I'd got to like the lighter more subtle shading I'd been working on even if the skintones weren't true. 

I took this photo tonight and the light is poor but I'll do some more work on her on Thursday before deciding if it stays or goes   LOL

and a few birdie pictures ... as I mentioned, I took rather a lot of photos at Rotterdam Zoo and here are some of the feathered subjects

Some very brightly coloured specimens to brighten up a gloomy October day

and who can resist these little chaps


Not all are zoo exhibits ... we encountered quite a lot of gatecrashers too:

Mandarin ducks just don't look real do they?   Well, the males at least - the females are quite drab.   Perhaps this should be the next coloured pencil challenge ... it would certainly use up some of the brighter colours in my collection that don't often get used.


Thats it for now ... off to nurse my cold.   Lots of comfort food called for methinks  :-)


  1. Neither of us believe in colds, Matt hasn't had one in many years and I have only had a few in that same time period.

    I think the girl is looking really good not that I am an expert. Love the bird pictures. I have been wondering for a while why owls (an other birds I think) stand on one leg. Guess I should check with Mike. Although he is so busy running he probably won't answer me.

  2. Sorry, forgot to finish off I do hope you soon feel back to A1 condition. Chicken soup with barley perhaps or a good rum toddy.

  3. Love the birdie photos and do hope you try one or two of them.

    Also don't think the girl is ruined. I know you have a ways to go with it but the tones you have seem perfect already.

  4. First of all, Sue...this painting is absolutely gorgeous...the skin tones are truly beautiful!!!! and the photos are amazing especially the mandarin birds which DON'T look real..lol I hope you paint them someday!!!

  5. Sue, I still think she looks exquisite! LOVE all those glorious bird photos - they are fantastic!
    Sorry to hear you are down with a cold. I hope you are well SOON!

  6. Sue,by the time you get her black hair done I think you will find her skin tones will be perfect. You may have to do a small adjustment but I really think you have done a lovely job. Love the purples and lilacs you've used.


  7. Jo, I don't believe in getting colds either but this one sneaked up on me ... I don't normally drink spirits so am just hoping that copious amounts of wine will do the trick LOL. I'm sure Mike is very busy with the forthcoming exhibition etc.
    thanks Jan, Hilda, Kathryn and Bev, it was a shock at first but I think I can salvage the picture (fingers crossed) I don't normally use solvents these days but I blame the cold for addling my brain! Thanks Bev, I think the camera has exaggerated the purples/lilacs a little but those are the colours I've been using to 'lift' the dark areas a little.

  8. Giant grey pigeon! love them, such odd looking birds

    hope your cold goes away soon!

    and I think the portrait looks wonderful, very pretty girl and the skin tones are lovely

  9. Hi Jennifer
    Glad you recognised the Giant grey pigeons ... really wonderful characters aren't they?

  10. Oh I think she is looking marvelous and I am sure you can salvage this piece, Sue. In fact, I would think that you can add a luster to her skin with what you've accomplished by using the solvent, a great highlight point on that cheek. But I am no great shakes as an artist so pay no attention to the (wo)man behind this curtain! LoL The birds are beautiful and I especially love that gray headed wispy feathered one!


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