Thursday 19 February 2015

19/02: PETER PAN Contd

I'd hoped to get his jacket finished today but it wasn't to be, too many distractions!     Tomorrow my sickly computer is going to hospital so this will be the last Blog post from here for a while.    We are making a short trip back to Fuerteventura for a friend's 60th birthday so I will find out my model's real name, I can't call him Peter Pan forever ...

You can probably tell from the dark cast on the photo that the weather is grim this afternoon - grey skies and heavy rain ...  no more artwork for me!    

Perhaps I should do some housework now ... or perhaps I'll just grab a glass of wine and chill out instead LOL

Tuesday 17 February 2015

17/02: PETER PAN HAS HAIR ..... plus freebies

I didn't get any artwork done yesterday as the decorator came to finish/paint the ceiling in our lounge.  So finally, 8 months after our flood damage we're in a position to hang the light/ceiling fan and get back to normal yeaaaay!

We also went to lunch with David's cousin and her hubby and enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine with them - I never drink and draw!

This is today's progress picture - I keep tweaking his skintones and still need to add more fine detail to his features, but his flowing locks kept me busy for hours.   He has dark hair with sunbleached/auburn strands and 'salt & pepper' grey hairs on top of his head so quite a challenge.

Now I've got lots of his hair in place I plan to start on his denim jacket but that won't be till Thursday now as its our usual Wednesday stint as volunteers at Pilgrims Hospice eBay office tomorrow.

I'd read about some white pencils which can be used over smooth surfaces and work well on top of darker coloured pencil layers ... its always a problem adding white over colours, particularly if there is a build up of wax on the paper surface.      So I ordered a pack on Sunday and they arrived today which is pretty good going - free delivery and they came with a little surprise in the envelope - a packet of sweeties ...     I've had a quick 'play' with the pencils and they certainly work better than any other white I've used in the past so 'happy days'

I also received two free biros today - they came with a gift I'd ordered online as a birthday present for a family member ... 

Although both gifts were inexpensive items its a nice touch and one that is guaranteed to endear the senders and ensure I'll recommend them in the future

Sunday 15 February 2015

15/02: PETER PAN (slowly slowly) AND STONE PAINTING

I'm struggling with his skintones a little so will wait till I've got more colour in his hair and clothing which might help bring it all together a bit more.   The area around his eyes, in particular, needs a lot more work.    When I took the photo, he asked if he could have a print/copy of the portrait if I drew him so I need to get the likeness truer - even if this is more flattering with fewer wrinkles (for the moment)

and David (hubby) bless him has helped me out by painting some of my stones black.    I collected these stones months/years ago intending to paint some new animals but just never got around to it ... the stones have been sitting out in the garden till today.   David dried a few of them out (in my oven)!! and now they're painted I'm much more likely to make a start on them.

I can't believe its 9 years since I did any stone painting ... these are some of the 'out-takes' from that time.  The better ones got snapped up by family members as ornaments and these ones have been 'living' in my garden so they've stood the test of time.   I did varnish over the acrylic paint which has obviously protected the colours a bit.   The mice have lost their pink tails but thats only to be expected as they were just pieces of string (dyed with food colour) which I glued on.

There are a couple of 'rabbit' stones in the garden somewhere but they seem to be hiding.

Its a fun thing to do and the shape of the stone dictates what sort of animal it will become.   These aren't very big stones - I 'liberated' them from a local beach so had to select smaller ones because of the weight.

Saturday 14 February 2015

14/02: PETER PAN - first stage

I've made a start on my next 'Fuerteventura Character'.     We met him when he was relaxing at Domenoteca Bistro in Corralejo chatting to Domenica (the owner).       Apparently he manages or owns Peter Pans Pizza and Snack bar in Town ... we've never sampled one of his pizzas but walked past last week and there were some lovely aromas drifting out ...

I can't remember his name so will call him Peter Pan for now ... he really is a bubbly, smiley man

Here I've just started mapping out features and adding a bit of colour to check where I've indented to show white whiskers/hairs.  Again, I'm working on Derwent watercolour paper which is white - despite what my camera has decided to do to this photo!

For my sins, I've agreed to demonstrate coloured pencils during one day of the UK Coloured Pencil Society's Annual Exhibition in London this May.    If you've been following my Blog posts you'll have worked out that I tend to approach each portrait differently so I don't follow rules or have a routine ... I'm what a fellow artist friend describes as a 'flitter' so I'll have to think carefully about what I'm going to do and make it look as though I know what I'm talking about 

That's it for today ... off to visit family members now

Friday 13 February 2015

13/02: CORRALEJO TRAMP FINISHED (for the moment)

I've spent the morning working on the beard and darkening his jacket and think he is about finished so I've given the portrait a light spray with fixative which will give some UV protection and also will prevent the dreaded 'wax bloom' in areas where I've applied heavy cover (coat mainly). 

The fixative will also give a tad more 'tooth' so if I do decide to work more on the beard for instance I will be able to add more whiskers.  

I've cropped it slightly to fit this 18" x 14" mount - aperture size is 14" x 10"

Just going to start a new subject now ... another character I met in Corralejo and who has a lovely smiley face

Thursday 12 February 2015


Lots of concentration needed for this stage ... unusually for me I decided to have a practice on a spare sheet of paper to see which method of portraying the moustache/beard works best on the Derwent paper as it isn't one I've used often 

In the end I decided to indent using the end of a large paperclip as my tool.   The problem with indenting on white paper is that its then impossible to see where you've made impressions.    I got round that by lightly shading over the surface with a grey pencil to reveal the indentations

When I get to the main section of beard I'm going to have to do a lot of 'negative' drawing, filling in the shadows to make the whiskers stand out .... quite a challenge

and the darker the clothing the more the indented whiskers show up.  Had to scratch out the colour on the hat where I'd filled in the indents but managed not to tear the paper surface

It didn't seem as though I'd made much progress today, despite spending several hours on this, but comparing it to the last WIP photo I'm happy to have got this far.

In theory one more day should see this portrait finished (pending later 'tweaks' of course) and so I need to decide which of my 'Fuerte characters' will be the next subject.      I need to have works available to enter into exhibitions at Easter and June/July when the Canterbury Art Society stage their Spring and Summer Exhibitions.   Although I work faster in pastel, I want to stick with coloured pencils as I will then be able to enter them into UK Coloured Pencil Society exhibitions - hedging my bets!

Monday 9 February 2015


So far, so good .... a little more progress on the cp drawing of the 'tramp' I started yesterday.    It took an age to get the hat looking the way I wanted it to even though I was trying to keep it simple

First I drew lots of little circles between the 'ribs' of the knitwear,  then added a simple line through each circle

 and then carefully outlined the circles and shaded with black/grey and Ultramarine Grey (a Van Gogh colour) to get the depth of colour I wanted and a slightly 'fluffy' look

It will probably need a bit more work at some stage but I was happy to leave the hat and move onto his skin and all those wonderful wrinkles .....

I'm not sure how I'm going to tackle his wayward moustache and beard yet ... will probably do a bit of indenting and then make the rest up as I go along.  I'm not a great one for planning ahead :-)

We have an important day out tomorrow - a'booze cruise' to France to replenish the wine stocks for ourselves and a friend.   We're lucky to live so close to France as we can be there and back in half a day.   At the moment the Ferry company is offering return crossings (taking our car) for just £24 and they're giving us 6 bottles of wine free of charge.   So realistically our crossing is free - thank you P&O Ferries.

Then Wednesday we're back working at Pilgrims Hospice eBay office doing our voluntary jobs so no more artwork now until Thursday, by which time I will have decided how to tackle the facial hair on this character (hopefully)

Sunday 8 February 2015


We're back from Fuerteventura where the weather was decidedly not its usual sunny itself.    Although the shade temperatures were around 20degrees, it was windier than usual and very cloudy every day, definitely not beach weather most of the time.    Its the coldest winter for decades in the Canaries and is being attributed to the Gulf Stream being erratic ...

But, we did more walking than usual and I took my camera everywhere and kept 'snapping' away so I've come home with lots more subjects on my 'to do' list.     They are mostly of the two legged variety this time, although I did meet some gorgeous cats and dogs

This drawing is of a 'tramp' who lives on a bench in a small park outside one of the largest supermarkets in Corralejo, Fuerteventura.    He's been around there for many years and rumour has it that in a previous life he was a doctor and that his family visit him periodically to 'clean' him up.  Not sure how true it is but he's certainly a character and I do love 'lived in' faces.   I'm sure he's much younger than we think but years sitting in the sunshine (and drinking) have taken a toll.

I started on the bobble hat but soon got distracted and penciled in some of the major wrinkle/lines.  The hat is going to take quite a while I think.  I'm trying not to get too bogged down in the knitting design but just doing enough to suggest some texture.

I'm working on Derwent watercolour paper which is creamy white - the colour cast here has been added by my camera (poor light) but I won't bother adjusting the photos at this early stage.   So far I've used Polycolor (koh-I-Noor) and Prismalo (Caran D'Ache) pencils but will probably introduce Prismacolors and Derwents when I progress onto his skin/eyes

Oh and I should add that although he's wearing a hat so I don't have to draw hair, he has a bushy beard and moustache so that will keep me quiet when I get to that stage