Friday 31 July 2009

31/07: WIP Chocolate Lab x Rottweiler

This is my latest commission which is pastel on Fisher 400 (sanded) paper.

When I received the ref photos I thought Oliver was a black lab - the main pose reference is quite a distant full body shot and he looks incredibly shiny and very black. The others show him swimming in water so his coat looks even darker. I was subsequently told he is in fact a chocolate lab x rotty and has a brown tinge to his coat.

As always, I've put some eye detail in first so Oliver becomes a 'personality' to me. I'm struggling a little with this one as it is very difficult to see detail around Oliver's jaw/neckline. I am working in a much looser style than usual as the photo is less detailed than I would like so am just putting down a base layer of pastel here.

I've started to define his nose and begun to map out some of the distinguishable shadows and highlights to help me build up the contours of his face. This is still a fairly light covering of pastel, just to form the base of my portrait.
I've decided to stop at this point as I'm not sure what is happening around Oliver's neckline. We have a busy weekend lined up so I probably won't get the chance to work on this again until Monday. Probably not a bad thing as I'm sure I'll pick up on more detail when I look at it with fresh eyes.

Thursday 30 July 2009

30/07: WIP Black Lab in Graphite

I haven't put in any time on my commissions for a couple of days so thought I would post some WIP pictures of Sealy, a black labrador I drew in graphite last month. Unfortunately, Sealy had passed away and the owner could only produce a few old reference photos which showed very little detail. With the owner's guidance, and using reference photos showing similar looking dogs, I was able to build up a likeness that the owner was very happy with.

I always like to draw the eyes in at a fairly early stage as it gives the picture some personality and helps me to relate to the character.
I've started to block in a little more colour and do some work on Sealy's nose

I've started to build up colour on the right side of Sealy's face (as we look at it) and am constantly reworking areas to strengthen shadows. At this stage all the work has been done using clutch pencils - grades HB, 2B and 4B.

The second ear is now complete and I've drawn in the hair on the neck/chest area

Finally, using a 7B pencil I intensified the colour and Sealy is finished

Wednesday 29 July 2009

29/07: Kent County Show

David and I had a day out at the Kent County Fair recently and I thought I'd post a couple of the pictures I took there.

Here's a wonderfully happy little Jack Russell who had us in stitches at the Flyball demonstration. All the other dogs were Border Collies but this little guy ran rings around them all - he flew!

I had to smile at the attitude of these piglets - they were totally unfazed by the attention and showed their contempt for the crowds quite pointedly!

I fell in love with these young alpacas - they are impossibly cute aren't they?


Art in Pink

Well I've got no work done today .... I spent hours trying to work out how to load a slideshow onto my blog and it became a bit of a crusade. When the penny finally dropped it was soooo easy - but isn't that always the way once you break through the mental block?

I finally twigged that I wouldn't be able to use pics from my Photobucket account as they are marked Private and therefore cannot be shared. I decided to transfer a selection of them to Picassa where it would be OK to mark the file as Public. But in the process I seem to have instructed Picassa to take over the management of all my picture files on my computer - I've just realised it has been running for hours uploading pics ....... and I don't actually know what its doing. If it is going to make all my pictures public I'll be in real trouble - who really wants to see David topping up his all over tan at the sand dunes on Fuerteventura?? I may have to uninstall the programme and wipe out all the work I've done today on the slideshow ..... why am I such a dummy with computers??

I had intended to start a piece of pink artwork to add to the goodies for sale in the Art in Pink Zazzle Shop I do hope you can find the time to visit (and maybe contribute some pink art yourself) as its all in support of the Art in Pink breast cancer awareness campaign recently started by Victoria (a fellow artist). Members of Melanie's Pet Portrait Forum will be able to read about the campaign as Melanie has set up a dedicated section here

I do have to get back to commission work tomorrow but will definitely get some pink art started to work on in between the 'paying' stuff.

Tuesday 28 July 2009

28/07: Out to Dinner !

I think I've done quite enough technical stuff this afternoon. I must find out how to place my photos where I want them - but that can wait until another day.

At the Kent County Show last week David (hubby) correctly guessed the number of potatoes in a very large pot. So in return for the 50 pence entry fee (which went to a very worthy charitable cause) we have won a meal for two at a Shepherd Neame restaurant of our choice to the value of £75. I say WE because I filled out the entry form so have been designated the winner of the prize!! But we've decided that he will be my guest tonight .. we are going to the Marine Hotel in Tankerton which is a 10 minute walk from here.

The weather looks as though it will be kind to us so I hope we can have a stroll along the coastal path first to build up an appetite.

28/07: latest commissions

I've had a run of black & white and black animal commissions recently. My latest two, completed this week, have been Buster (Staffy) and Charlie (cat) and as I'm working on sanded paper the pastel pencils have been 'eaten' at a great rate of knots. I had to make a quick trip to the local art shop to stock up on Saturday.
Nothing is likely to change in the next couple of weeks as I've got a dalmation, a black lab and a black Schnauzer in the queue now. Actually I've been told the black lab is a chocolate Lab cross Rottie and have now received some clearer ref photos which show he has a brown tint to his coat. If anybody would like a ginger cat or a chestnut horse painted pleeeeeeease get in touch urgently :o)

28/07: Boxer finished

Now I've made the decision to join the world of 'bloggers' I really must be more disciplined about photographing my work at various stages of progression. I tend to get so carried away with my drawing that I don't think about taking pictures until either the light has gone or I've made so much progress that its too late to record the step-by-step stages. All part of the learning curve I guess :o)

This is one such picture. Molly's portrait was commissioned as a birthday present for my client's Father and she was a joy to work with - such an expressive face ... this was my second portrait completed in pastels on Fisher 400 paper (Gizmo was the first) and I just love this combination. As an artist who likes to blend pastel with my fingers I soon discovered the drawback with sanded paper - I ended up with very sore fingertips (or ouchy stumps as a fellow artist so aptly described the problem).
Molly's owner was very pleased with her portrait so the end result justified the discomfort!!

28/07: First Post

I cannot believe it has taken me a whole afternoon to achieve what a 5 year old could probably do in 10 minutes - I am a real technophobe but determined to become a 'blogger' and keep it (reasonably) up to date .....

I'm going to try to add a few new bits every day until I'm more confident with blogging and then will hopefully will be able to link with other 'arty bloggers' as there are so many out there whose work I admire.

In the meantime, here are some of the commissions I've completed in the last few weeks:

This is Gizmo, a beautiful rescue cat who was commissioned as a surprise present for my client's 35th birthday - She was an absolute pleasure to paint (in pastel). This was my first attempt at using pastels on Fisher 400 paper - the background was coloured with watercolours - a medium I'm not very au fait with, but in this instance I'm very happy with the way it turned out.