Tuesday 15 December 2015

15/12: CATS AND DOGS ....

I made some more progress on the cat portrait this morning so feeling a little happier about it.   It isn't actually wanted till end January (for a birthday present) but we're entertaining Mum at Christmas and then going to our home on Fuerteventura for New Year so I wanted to get a head start on this.

One more session on it should see it at the point where I can ask my client for input about the colour of the fur etc as the ref photo is a bit bleached out.   Looking at the profile photo he supplied, and looking at other stock breed photos online I'm guessing the colouring is silver/cream and maybe even a little bit of red in places.

I think I mentioned previously that this is pastel pencil on brown Clairefontaint Pastelmat and the paper gets a pink tinge in certain light conditions ... I think the 2nd photo is more true to colour (taken in better light)

I hope to make a start on the next cat at the weekend (final Christmas one).   This one can be hand delivered as the owner is local to me.

 David and I are going to a local wildlife park/safari park for a presentation by David Marneweck of the KwaZulu-Natal Wild Dog Project.   I love African wild dogs and they are endangered with less than 450 free-ranging Wild Dogs left in South Africa.    It will be interesting to learn more about the gorgeous animals and what is being done to help protect them and increase the numbers.

Aren't they beautiful?    I was rather hoping we'd get the chance to photograph the ones they have at the park but don't think that's going to happen unless we pay mega-bucks for the privilege!

I do have a few photos in my files but usually when we visit the park the dogs are sleeping and not as alert as these (photo courtesy of the KwaZulu-Natal Wild Dog Project website.

Monday 14 December 2015


The light was very poor this morning and I struggled to see pastel shades on this brown Pastelmat paper, even with the daylight lamp in use.  

I don't know for sure, but am guessing this is a Chinchilla Persian cat so I spent some time searching the web for photos of Persian cats to try to see more detail re. hair direction etc. as I can't get much info from the ref. photo even though I've increased the picture size using reshade.com a useful 'free' programme recommended by fellow Artist/Blogger Jan (thanks Jan)  

These are the original ref photos I received and although the detail is clear in the 2nd photo I didn't think it would make a good portrait

So I turned the work down and a couple of weeks later the client found a small (but better) ref. photo.  Although its taken in bright/harsh light, its a much nicer pose.  

This afternoon I had yet another dental visit which entails an hour long drive each way so no work achieved after lunch.

Now we're getting ready to join the local Art Society's Quiz Evening ... I've never been to one before but hope it will be a good way to get to know more of the members - I don't often attend the weekly meetings as they are geared towards painting rather than pencil/pastel work but I do exhibit with them regularly.  

Saturday 12 December 2015


Final highlights and whiskers added and I've heard back from my clients saying ...

"We absolutely love the picture, truly amazing"  so I've signed it and wrapped it .... another one under the belt.

Now another cat (tricky one this time).   I turned the commission down initially because the refs were extremely poor and the cat is deceased so no chance to take more pics.   Then my client came up with a better photo, albeit a small one.  I've agreed to do the portrait but I know I'll struggle a little with fine detail so must try to work a little bit looser.

Thursday 10 December 2015


I've been working on the black cat portrait today and have reached the stage where I can email my clients to check they are happy so far.   If there are no changes required I should be able to finish this at the weekend - lots of whiskers and a few more highlights will make a big difference


Tomorrow we're off to Christmas Lunch with other Air Ambulance volunteers.  The venue is an 18th Century Inn which looks gorgeous on the internet - original beamed ceilings and log fires - should be fun!

Saturday afternoon we'll be popping along to the Horsebridge Gallery in Whitstable where our Made in Whitstable Group exhibition is in full swing.   A Christmas Hamper is up for grabs for the lucky winner of our raffle - a basket of goodies worth £60.   On Sunday morning I'll be taking my turn at stewarding the gallery so I'm not going to have a lot of free time for art but I should finish this cat and maybe even outline the next cat ready to work on next week.   

Tuesday 8 December 2015


About this time of year it always seems that there is too much to do in the time available before Christmas doesn't it?  (or is it only me that feels this way)?

We got back from holiday last Wednesday and I immediately had to attend another endodontist appointment (2 hours in the chair for root canal treatment) and a meeting of the local Art Group I will be exhibiting with from tomorrow.

On Thursday it was Mum's 80th birthday so we took her out for a celebration meal.

In between I have finished the Black Cocker spaniel portrait - she was approved and has been despatched today.

I've been making some adjustments to the Springer Spaniel portrait as my client and her family wanted a few 'tweaks' to the fur colour.  Just awaiting approval of these changes so I can call it finished.

and I made a start on this black cat who has the delightful name of 'Hiccup' .... its a Christmas present and I'm working in pastel pencil on light grey pastelmat.  Size 16" x 12" 

Just working on the base colour at the moment and I'm trying to leave some of the whisker areas fairly clean of pastel to help me get nice white ones at the end (that's the idea anyway).

This was the final version of the cocker spaniel

Tomorrow David has a hospital check-up in the morning.  Once he's free we have to go to the Horsebridge Gallery in Whitstable to hang the pictures I'll be exhibiting with the 'Made in Whitstable' Group.  I haven't even decided which ones I'll be hanging yet ... so need to get my act together as I have to print off labels for the selected ones.    I then have another appointment at the endodontist (he only works on Wednesdays - nice job)! so no artwork tomorrow - back to the drawing board on Thursday.

Once the black cat is finished I need to start work on a Persian cat (memorial portrait intended as a birthday present for my client's wife shortly after Christmas) and a tabby/white cat which is a Christmas Gift but local to me so I don't have to worry too much about finishing it in time for the last post/delivery ...

I've also been asked to prepare an Artist Interview statement for Jackson's Art Supplies - the company from whom I received the fabulous box of coloured pencils as first prize in their recent competition.  I need to answer 10 questions they've asked me and sort out some photos to accompany the statement which will appear on their Blog.

I'm sure I'll get it all done in time, but feeling a little stressed this afternoon!