Friday, 24 July 2015


Apologies for the long absence.   We've been really busy sorting out Mum-in-Law's flat, getting everything cleared ready for the decorators to give it a quick make-over ready for sale.   All the smaller items have been loaded into our car and taken to charity shops, dog rescue home (blankets/towels/bedlinen etc) then the larger furniture items were either collected by Red Cross/Scope charities or by house-clearance guys to take to the tip.   

Each trip takes a whole day by the time we drive there, do the necessary work, and drive back - especially with the Kent motorways being gridlocked with Operation Stack in force.     Operation Stack is the name given to the closure of one of our main motorways which is used as a parking lot for all the lorries which can't get across to France because of industrial action and/or trouble with illegal immigrants at Calais Port.   No fun trying to commute in Kent at the moment.

Anyway, I finally got time to work on the girl in the black hat last week.    In a moment of stupidity I decided to give her a quick spray of fixative so I could add more coloured pencil layers .......... and her face turned green!   The fixative reacted with some of the pigment and the black paper and she looked like the TV witch Grotbags

So a 2 second fixative spray led to 3 hours of remedial work until finally I got her back to almost the position she was in beforehand.      I'd always advise people to test spray fixative on different colour pencil/paper combinations before applying to original works but didn't heed my own advice this time.    I think I got away with it but am letting the colours settle down for a couple of days as I've noticed before that coloured pencils do seem to 'soak' into the soft surface of pastelmat a little.    One more session should see this one finished (if I haven't overworked it) ... time will tell


  1. I do hope the painting will be ok. I hate when I have to start something over again!

    Good success on getting the rest of David's mom's stuff taken care of - I know how difficult all that can be!

  2. It looks great. Is it a self portrait?

  3. Thanks Jan.

    Hi Peter. which one? ... think the first is more like me these days but no, its a Spanish lady I photographed at at the Burning of the Shrew Fiesta on Fuerteventura. The locals celebrate the end of Lent by dressing up like mourners and following a giant papier mache sardine through town to the beach where its set on fire ... followed by fireworks and dancing through the night. The Canarian folk loe a good party!

  4. Grotbags? That gave me a giggle! I think your piece turned out beautifully, Sue! Looks amazing despite having turned green in the middle of it all.

  5. I hope it stays OK after all that extra effort. Is it just the photo, but she looks generally a little darker than she did. Maybe the contrast with the clown above. It's a fabulous picture though.

  6. oops :/ I think we have all done something similar, we know to test fixative but sometimes just forget until after

    i think you did a good job on getting her back to the right colours, and hopefully they stay

  7. Hi Sherry, Jo and Jennifer :-)
    I've just seen the picture on a different monitor and agree it looks very dark ... much lighter in reality. I really need to get my computer calibrated (whatever that entails). The colours have kind of settled now so plan to finish the drawing tomorrow and get it into a frame to stop me tampering with it any further.

    I think I mentioned before that I drew this to fit a specific (unusual) frame so just hoping that it works ... if not, its back to the drawing board (literally) to produce a picture that will suit the frame

    ... watch this space!

  8. Stunning portrait. Thanks for warning. I do occasionally use pastels so a warning I will remember. So hard clearing out a home and sad too. Take care

  9. Sue, I'm sorry you're having such a rough time over there. But at least you were able to rescue your Lady in Black!
    Kathryn xx


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