Tuesday 15 November 2011


It has been a busy couple of days .... but pretty productive and as I'm out all day tomorrow (Pilgrims Hospice voluntary job) I thought I'd risk overloading this post and sending you all to sleep!

Here in the UK we're gradually switching from analog TV to digital TV - working according to postcode (zip) areas.   My Mother's current bedroom TV will not work from April 2012 when the switchover happens in her area so what better Christmas present than a new bedroom TV - saves me hours of wandering round shops looking for pressies ... but life isn't that simple.    We bought a TV and delivered it on Saturday ... plugged it in but no signal ... we bought an indoor aerial (another £25) and drove to Mum's yesterday ...  after an hour or so wiggling it round and holding it high and low we found the optimum reception spot - about 6 foot up in the corner of her bedroom ... so a shelf must now be fixed on which to stand the aerial .....  I guess I may end up building the shelf as David is not a DIY man and I'm not sure I can stand the moaning/bad language!!

We also visited Roxy my 'old girl' as she has an embarrassing problem - well she isn't embarrassed but I am!   My horse had lice/mites!   She's had itchy legs for a while which I tried to treat with 'Front Line' spray but the problem got worse and she has sores on legs and hooves so the vet has prescribed ointment which should clear the problem before the onset of wet/muddy winter weather.     Actually this is a fairly common problem with horses who have 'feathers' on their legs.    Before she was retired I always kept Roxy's winter coat  clipped off for work - so no feathers.   Now she is retired she stays 'au naturel' and hairy!!

Anyway, on to arty stuff:

I heard back from my client that he loved Shona's hair/eyes but thought her mouth wasn't right.     I thought it was pretty accurate based on the ref. photo but the photo I posted a few days ago does exaggerate the white highlights, particularly round the mouth and hubby (David) had already commented on those.  So I scanned the picture (rather than photographing it) and got a more true image.

out of interest, David spent some time 'playing' with a computerised grid programme to compare the original ref. photo and my portrait and this is what he came up with.   It was really useful for me as, although I'm pretty pleased overall with the accuracy I had made her ear lobes too big and I need to reduce the 'lip liner' effect and soften the edges of her lips.

A portrait drawn from a photograph is always going to be an artist's representation of that photo, hence here I have brightened the highlights in the eyes which is something I find myself doing frequently to add more 'life' - or at least that's my perception ....

So I've now altered her ear and softened the edges to her lips (not shown here) and my client is happy!!

and ...... there's more ....

this is where I am with the double portrait I started a few days ago .. pastels on light grey pastelmat paper.  I now need to contact my client with a link so he can see the WIP pictures and comment ....

 Here' I've worked on the dog a little more ... defying all the rules which say 'work left from right if right handed' etc ..... I'm flitting all over the place working on bits that catch my attention :-)

His fur was very deep/rich colour so I'm using lots of different shades of reds and browns

more work on strengthening the colours in his coat/fur

Now bored with dog fur/coat ..... moved back to 'human' and added a little more colour to her hair and started work on strengthening colour of blouse which is slightly more red than pink in the reference photo ... I could never use this as a tutorial as I've broken just about every rule in the book I think :-)   and so what!!??

I should also add that these are all photographs ... taken at different times of day in varying light conditions 


  1. Sue I think you did a wonderful job on the girls portrait and the double portrait is coming along great! Thanks for sharing and stay warm! Looking forward to the completed portraits.

  2. Great post Sue, thanks for sharing all that work with us! Arials? Yep, nightmare here too, have to connect TVs directly to the roof arial to get any reception. Portraits? Rules? What rules? Whatever works for you I say, and it certainly seems to be working for you. The grid exercise is really interesting and useful too. Glad the 'girl' portrait worked out well, it looks great! And I really like the other one too, nice composition. Keep smiling! x

  3. Beautiful work on the young lady. Love it. love the hair especially.

    The double portrait is coming along great,,,can't wait to see it finished.

  4. You make me tired just reading about all you accomplish in such a short time! Everything looks great too - how do you do that? lol

    I work all over the paper too as if I don't fix things that catch my attention at the time, I might miss them later!

  5. Wow, Sue! You sure have been busy! I'm so impressed (but not surprised) with your people portraits! Wonderful job!!

  6. Hi ladies and many thanks for all your lovely comments :-)

    Didn't get very much achieved today as have been trying to iron out computer problems ... all I managed to do was lose my screensaver picture (my horse).

    We are awaiting some 'extra memory' to arrive to see whether that helps - desperately trying not to have to take the computer back to 'factory settings' as I've been advised to do by the 'help desk' we pay for.

  7. Both look fabulous and using that grid, you can see just how damn accurate you are! I also love the second one, it is full of life. A bit different to the normal portrait...I hope you manage to fix your computer problems. In my experience the helpdesks are not normally too helpful. Last time I fixed it myself and ended up telling them how to do it!


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