Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Robin Finished

I've now finished my Robin, I'm reasonably happy with it.

There is a bit more all round so I am still thinking about the crop. I also want to adjust the tones on the bird, but I'll let it rest for a couple of days and then look at it with fresh eyes.

The biggest challenge was getting the acrylic to behave itself in such a small space. I found working with a tiny brush ( a 10/0) and applying the paint in tiny drops worked best, that way I could blend the colours quite easily. I did however use tiny lines to represent the feathers.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Going Small - Miniature Robin

I'm trying to get two or three miniature paintings together to submit to an exhibition later in the year.
I've had one or two false starts and realised in the process that my eyes are are not as good for close up work as they used to be. I have an optivisor, but when I put it on my dogs disown me, sure I must be up to no good. Today they were too hot to care, I just got one or two strange looks from Clinton when he popped his head out from under my drawing table.

Fingers crossed third time lucky. This Robin is from my own reference photograph, it is 3 x 2, acrylic on Arches HP Watercolour paper.

I might decide to crop a bit tighter when I can see the whole thing.
Tomorrow Roxie is at a show but I hope to be home in time to finish my monochrome cat as for once it is fairly close to home.
Most of the other dogs have dropped their coats and I can see Roxie looking at them enviously so I expect to be having a forced showing break soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Monochrome Cat with a Splash

I have abandoned everything else to complete another cat.
This is mainly coloured pencil with touches of acrylic on Arches Hot Press Watercolour paper. It will be about 16 x 8 inches.
It has more colour than the ones I've done in French Grey, but I am sticking to the monochrome colour scheme.

There will be a surprise addition to the picture once the cat is finished.

Watch this space.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Snow Leopard continued.

It was a sad day today as we collected Saskas' ashes from the Vet's. They had been put in a very nice little casket but we are going to scatter them on the moor where she loved to run.
We plan on just taking Clinton with us when we do it as he was her special friend.
Once we've done it every time we take the dogs for a run on the moor we will feel she is close to us.
I've done a bit more work on the Snow Leopard including adding a dark background.

I also went out to take some photographs of flowers, foliage and walls today, dodging the rain showers which were torential. Here's one of a Foxgloves which I plan on drawing at some point.

Friday, July 18, 2008

National Exhibition of Wildlife Art -NEWA

Last night I attended the private viewing of the 2008 National Exhibition of Wildlife Art at Gordale Garden Centre on the Wirral.

Earlier in the week I had been delighted to find that 'The Hunter' had been selected by an independent panel of judges for inclusion in the exhibition, so I was once again looking forward to seeing my own work in such prestigious company.

'The Hunter'

As with last year the organisers of the exhibition are to be congratulated for the professional way everything runs. Once again handing in day ran like clockwork, it only took minutes for my work to be checked in, labelled and carried away. This is not as easy as it sounds with high volume of submissions expected each day.

There is plenty of parking at Gordale and there are plenty of signs directing people to the exhibition.

The exhibition itself is a delight to wander round, and the on line gallery means that anyone unable to visit can still view and purchase work.

As well as simply enjoying looking at the diverse work on show, I wanted to use the opportunity as a learning experience.
After an initial look round I went back to study some of the work in depth.
My first impressions were:-
There were an awful lot of Lions and Tigers, all well done and different, but I might work on a more unusual animal or bird for next year.
Birds were popular, from simple graphic designs to paintings including detailed habitat.
To catch the eye from across the room a picture had to either have an excellent and different design, or be strong colour wise. There is so much art of a consistently high standard that to stand out is a real achievement.

On more careful study of images that particularly appealed to me, I found they all had one thing in common, a really strong design. Those artists had obviously put a lot of thought into how best to present their chosen subject.

Some of the ones I liked were close crops of animals, in each case the crop had obviously been chosen to reveal some part of the personality of that particular species.

Although I liked a lot of the work I had two favourites:-

'Achromatic' by Darryn Eggleton


'Pheasant' by Wayne Westwood

If you get time have a look at the gallery even if you can't get to the exhibition in person.


Home page for NEWA

Monday, July 14, 2008

Continuing the Snow Leopard

I started to draw the features of the Snow Leopard and realised that:-
1. I didn't like the right ear position
2. the eyes were crooked.

Therefore I used the ear from the next photograph as the Leopard had flicked it forward, and alsoadjusted the eyes. The grid lines made this an easy task, they also enabled me to see that the nose and mouth would line up correctly.
I then painted the eyes in acrylic and started working the fur using a mixture of coloured pencil and acrylic.
It is the scan that is crooked, not my lines!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

From the Photograph to the Paper

I want to do a study of a Snow Leopard in coloured pencil before I continue with my graphite version because I've realised the noses on most of my photographs are twisted (I have no idea why)

In order to correct anatomy, I find the easiest way is to use a grid for the parts I'm not sure about. The rest of the reference I can draw freehand, but using a grid helps me keep everything else constant while I alter certain parts.
I start by adding the grid lines to my reference photograph.
I have created a new pattern in Photoshop in order to do this and I add my custom pattern to the photograph as a new layer.

This is the complete photograph gridded out, I could have altered the grid using the transform function to just cover the features, but as I can quite clearly see under the grid lines I decided not to bother.

I then print the photograph out, size doesn't matter although I always like large reference material, so I printed an A3 version. When I start drawing I use the photograph on my laptop so that I can enlarge/lighten etc parts of the photograph as needed. This helps greatly when drawing the features.
The next photograph shows part of the image with the squares labelled with a letter and number in pencil.

I will next draw a grid on my paper, in this case I am using a heavyweight Fabriano Artistico hot press paper, 640gms.

In my next post I'll show you the adjustments I make with the drawing.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mixed Media Deer

I've worked a little more on the deer, trying to create the feeling of recession. I have a lot of adjusting to do, but once I put the antlers in I hope things will start to come together.
I'm using Caran D'ache Neocolor for the distant hills, I will work over this base coat in coloured pencil if needed.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

End of an Era

Pelido Chorus Girl - 'Saska'
19/06/1997 - 09/07/2008

Today was the day every animal owner dreads, we had to make the decision to have Saska put to sleep.

She broke her hock trying to jump over a gate and would have needed it pinning. After discussing all the options with the Vet, and taking into account that she already had chronic arthritis we decided that the kindest thing for her, was to give her rest.

She loved to run and hadn't been able to do that for several months so hopefully she's reunited with her friends, Dexter, Honey, Fleur and Chelsey, chasing after those pesky rabbits.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

More on the Red Deer

I am now feeling microscopically more human following my surgery, although the nausea is not completely gone. Each day I can move my arms with a little less pain so I have returned to the Red deer in mixed media and some Snow Leopards in graphite.

I changed paper for the deer, as the pastel paper didn't want to play with acrylic and I wanted to add some in the fur.

I restarted on Arches Hot Press watercolour paper, around 18 x 12 inches and am using a mix of coloured pencils and acrylic.
The coloured pencils are mainly Polychromos and the acrylic mainly Liquitex, with the addition of Chromacolor white.
I have only included the bit of the painting that has some work done on it.

The Snow Leopards are even larger, approximately 20 x 16, on Mellotex Ultra white paper, using mechanical pencils, 4B to 4H.

The reference material for both paintings is mine, the mountains of Scotland have been adapted to provide the basis of the Himalayas.

I photographed the Deer in Scotland, and the Snow Leopards at Marwell Zoological Park.