Saturday 30 December 2017

30 December: Fed up ... Finished?

That awful moment when you realise the background idea hasn't worked but can't do anything about it!

I've spent an hour trying to recover it but the paper is suffering ...

So this is it ... I'll leave it to one side for a couple of days before deciding whether to do anything more or to bin it

Happy Days!

Friday 29 December 2017

29 December - Olavipe Girl, a little more progress

Well, we didn't get snow in Whitstable but its been very gloomy all day with squally winds and torrential rain.  Makes it difficult to draw, even with a daylight bulb in my tabletop lamp - its even harder to take decent photos

So here's what I got done today

This was after a couple of hours fiddling with skintones, adding another layer of colour to her scarf and colouring her top.

and then more colour/detail introduced to the scarf and top - although its mainly white, I can see pink/blue tones in the detail of the headscarf.  They are subtle and actually I don't think they show in this (poor) photo - but they're visible in real life. 

The photos really distort the image as they're taken with flash and in artificial light.    Fingers crossed that we get some sunshine in the next few days and I can post better pics.

I think this needs a bit of something in the background - in my photo the background is just a blur and it would be good if I can replicate that (backgrounds really aren't my thing but I think one is needed here).   Will need to build up courage for that!

I think in all this has taken around 5 hours so far, although I'm easily sidetracked. 

Thursday 28 December 2017

28 December. Where did 2017 disappear to?

I haven't done any artwork since June, hence no Blog Posts for 6 months.

We have spent most of the last 3 months on Fuerteventura, having bought another apartment to put on Long Term rent to enable us to earn a Euro income to counter any currency fluctuations during the Brexit proceedings.   The apartment needed lots of work - a total refurb in fact, so that has occupied our time.     All finished now and we have a 'holiday let' in residence till 1st January and our long-term tenant moves in after that.

We came back to England for Christmas and New Year (which was/will be spent quietly) and then we're off to India for just over 3 weeks in January.  

I have a few days before I need to think about packing a case so I thought I'd try to get a coloured pencil piece done for submission to the UK Coloured Pencil Society's Annual Exhibition which will be held in Stratford on Avon 2 to 11 May.    The deadline for submission of entries is 11 February so if I don't get something finished before we leave for India I'll miss the boat.  

I had decided not to bother this year because of our time constraints but last year I achieved Gold Status with the Society, having had work juried into 10 annual exhibitions so it would be silly not to try for Diamond status (entries accepted into 15 annual exhibitions).   The standard of work just gets better and better each year, with entries coming from all around the World so I probably won't get past the jury but .... nothing ventured, nothing gained as THEY say!

I do work quite quickly with coloured pencils - unlike many of my fellow cps artists.   If I can't finish a drawing within a few days I tend to overwork it and spoil it so I aim to have this finished at the weekend and then will see if I think it makes the grade.   

Whilst looking through my photos from last year in India I came across a few characters I thought at the time I'd like to draw .. this young girl was one of them.    I started this after lunch today so soon ran out of natural daylight.  The photos are poor as a result and I have a horrible feeling that when I see the picture in natural light tomorrow I will realise that I've been OTT with the colours I've used.   They look ok in this light but the flash camera has accentuated some of the mauves and light pinks - it may be one for the bin tomorrow morning.

Its coloured pencil on pastelmat paper and size is 16" x 12"

 As usual, I drew the eyes in first.   If they go wrong I don't bother carrying on.   Then I put the first layer of white pencil onto her scarf and started on the facial skin tones

 This is taken with flash camera and really is a poor photograph.  All the light colours have picked up 'glare'  - but I just wanted to record how far I'd got by 3.30pm.   I'm not good at keeping track of hours worked but reckon this took around 2 hours.

There's still a long way to go, obviously, but at least I've got my backside into gear and made a start on something and I'm actually enjoying being back at the drawing board.

Friday 15 December 2017


Friday 30 June 2017

Suzy dog ....

Well, its embarrassing how long ago I last posted/visited Blogger

We were away for 5 weeks and internet access is not so good so I tend to stick to checking emails and the dreaded FB.    We run a FB page for long term property rentals in Fuerteventura and need to stay in touch with owners and wannabe tenants.  

I'm afraid artwork has taken a back seat

Anyway, its ages since I've drawn anything and as a friend pointed out, my last foray onto Blogger was in April so I thought I'd better get my backside into gear - or at least tackle a drawing before I totally lose my confidence.

This little dog belongs to a friend in Fuerteventura - I photographed her (Suzy) last month and decided she'd make a nice subject for the pastels.    This was a 'quickie' as I intend to give it to Suzy's owner next week, I think I spent around 5 hours on it during the last couple of days.   I'm not entirely happy with it - foolishly I sprayed it was fixative to ensure it survives air travel and I should have known better as lighter colours/white always soak into the pastelmat when fixed so need to be refreshed afterwards.

This is Suzy, in pastels on Pastelmat paper and she was drawn 10" x 7" to fit a mount/dusky pink frame which I have at home and which will complement my friend's newly decorated lounge!

Saturday 15 April 2017

Seagull Sales

The weather was quite nice yesterday so David and I walked into Whitstable town - David's not a great one for walking but I bribed him with the promise of a bag of chips to eat on the beach!

Being Good Friday/Bank Holiday the town was crammed full of visitors - great for the local community but the queue at our favourite 'chippy' was a mile long (OK not quite a mile, but offputting to us).    We settled for chips from a different provider and they still tasted good eaten out of paper whilst sitting on a beach groyne!

We popped into the Horsebridge Gallery and sadly it wasn't very busy but I was chuffed to find 2 red dots on my wall ... two of the seagull pictures have been sold.   I think because the weather was nice most visitors were on the beach rather than indoors.

We are stewarding at the Gallery tomorrow afternoon so I'm keeping fingers crossed for good footfall and perhaps another red dot or two ... the forecast is for light showers in the afternoon so that might encourage visitors to head indoors and the Gallery does have a lovely cafeteria on the second floor!

these are the two with red dots  ... two down, six to go

Easter Weekend

Happy Easter weekend to everybody ... hope you're having a great time.

We're having a lazy day today - recharging batteries etc

On Tuesday morning we hung my pictures in the Horsebridge Gallery where I'm sharing in the 'Made in Whitstable' exhibition.   We then had to visit our dentist as David had toothache for a couple of days but sadly the offending tooth was deemed unfixable and had to be removed ... but he cheered up in the evening when we went to the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, London to see the Tall Ships.

More than 30 Tall Ships have gathered on the Thames at Woolwich and Greenwich for four days before setting sail for Quebec to mark the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.  They leave London around 5pm tomorrow (Sunday) heading for Portugal, Boston and finally Quebec

I'd booked ticked for us and two friends to do an evening sail on the Wylde Swan and watch a firework display on the river bank at Greenwich.   We were on board from 8pm till around 11pm and the staff kept plying us with delicious plates of cheese/cold meats and pickles and then several types of hot chicken snacks - curried, chinese style and in BBQ sauce.     Background music from the 1960s was playing quietly (and who can resist singing along)!!

I took lots of photos but the quality isn't brilliant as they're hand-held camera shots in dim light ... but you get the idea

 Peter Burke's 'Assembly' at the Royal Woolwich Arsenal ... 16 larger than life cast iron figures which are a little spooky IMHO - especially when seen in the half light

David and Steve taking photos before we boarded 'our' ship

Cap'n Clinker .... David having fun!

Part of the Thames Barrier - looks quite pretty at sunset!

Staff quarters ... which are very 'compact' but I guess nowhere near as cramped as they'd have been in 'olden days'.    Its a shared room - males one side females the other side with privacy curtains in the sleeping compartments and a small locker per person.

I photographed this image from the tv screen in the bar which was showing scenes from a recent journey made by the Wylde Swan.    This shows what it looks like under full sail ... quite amazing isn't it?

Monday 13 March 2017


I found time to finish the Gulls this afternoon ... I have 8 ready to mount and frame. 

They are quite 'basic' but the whole idea was to keep them simple so they were fast to produce and can be offered for lower than normal rates at the Exhibition I'll be participating in over the Easter week.   The Gallery is in my home town of Whitstable (which is a seaside town) so I'm hoping these might attract buyers looking for 'topical' work.

I will have some dogs/cats/humans in the exhibition as a back-up but I found they didn't sell well at the last couple of shows ... all depends on the visitor and footfall though

David asked why I haven't drawn a 'pair' of gulls, or several 'pairs' of gulls as that's how we see them most often on the roof of our neighbour's house having noisy conversations with each other - but I've had my fill of gulls for now and also my fingertips are very sore from blending pastel into the sanded paper (my own fault but I do it every time I use Fisher 400 paper and I never learn)!!

These are the pictures with a mount/frame just laid over the top to show how they look.  I still need to sign the pictures but will wait for a couple of days in case I decide to do a little more tweaking first

By the way, if anyone has trouble seeing these photos (are they too large)? please let me know.   I know Jan can see them with no problem but I'm never sure whether to leave the size as Large or Extra Large - 'Original Size' option is too big for my layout and overlaps the borders.     These are all 'Extra Large'