Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mallard in Mixed Media

I've got back to the Mallard at last. This is a terrible photograph as the light is poor but it gives you an idea of how she's progressing. There is definitely no orange tinge to the sky in real life and the eye is darker, the touch of charcoal reflected the flash.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Red Kites in Yorkshire

I went to a Game Fair at Harewood House today. Harewood is about 30 minutes from where I live and I always enjoy a visit because Red Kites are usually visible gliding overhead.

The Yorkshire Red Kite project began in 1999 and has been highly successful. Many chicks have been successfully reared and the Kite is now a common sight in the area. Today was no exception, in fact we got spectacular views of a couple of birds. This one will be appearing in a painting in the future.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Comparison of Pastelmat, Pastelbord and Fisher 400 paper

I have recently read several discussions among artists about using supports other than paper, so here are my experiences with the above.
'Eye to Eye'
cat on Pastelmat, for the 2009 SOFA exhibition in September
Made by Clairefontaine, acid free, 360 g/m2, available in various colours as single sheets or in pads.
Two sizes of sheet available: 50 x 70cms or 70 x 100cm's.
Can be purchased in the UK from Great Art or Tim Fisher.
I have used both the black and the white.
I found the surface mid way between colourfix and velour, certainly much softer than either the Pastelbord or Fisher 400. It took several layers, you could get a nice sharp line and on the black it was possible to get a really white, white. I have found this difficult on some black surfaces.
I could not get as many layers as on the Arches paper I often use, but this didn't matter to me as the colour saturation was good.
Katherine Tyrrell has done a review of Pastelmat on her Making a Mark Reviews Blog.

Cat on Pastelbord
Sold by the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, London, SOFA 2008

Made by Ampersand in the USA.
Ampersand Pastelbord is described as "a clay and gesso hardboard panel with a granular marble dust finish" The pastelbord is available in four colours, sand, grey, green and white.
I have not found a supplier in the UK, I have had to use mail order from America which makes it expensive.
I ordered samples of all four colours although up to now I have only worked on the sand one. The Ampersand website shows the four colours and gives much more information on the product, including the diversity of media you can use on it.
So far I have used acrylic, coloured pencil and neocolorII.;
This is the hardest of the three surfaces and can be framed without glass.
Again it takes several layers but I found it harder to get the fine lines for my fur than on either of the softer surfaces, it is possible, just harder to do. It is again possible to get white, whites and paint highlights in acrylic if you don't mind mixed media.
The benefit to me of the Pastelbord was framing without glass.

Fisher 400
I wrote about this in my last post.
Developed by UK artist Tim Fisher it is a sanded pastel paper.
Supplied by Tim Fisher in the UK, International customers are welcome.
I probably enjoyed working on this surface the best, it almost 'grabbed' the colour, was easy to blend and burnish yet retained sharp edges where I wanted them.
You can read an in depth review of the paper here by super talented artist Nicole Caulfield. Nicole also uses Pastelbord for her work, her portraits are stunning, especially the one she did of my son., 'Rob'
Great Art website
Making a Mark Reviews - the introduction

ACEO Cat on Fisher 400 Paper

I wanted to try my new Fisher 400 sanded pastel paper so decided to do a small work.
This is a small work, ACEO size (2.5 x 3.5 inches) using coloured pencils.
The paper was created by Tim Fisher, it is pale buff in colour and the surface is lightfast.
I found it took several layers of pencil but could burnish areas I wanted to.
I will definitely be doing a larger 'furry' piece on the paper.

The image is just about life size on my screen.
The original is now sold.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kitten Finished!

I managed to finish my kitten, add the feather and make it to the printer.

This is the final scan for the prints.
You can purchase the giclee print from my website or by emailing me

Friday, May 15, 2009

Still More Kitten

I've been really busy with my 'day job' so painting has had to be left untouched.
I did complete a bit more fur today, I do want to finish him over the weekend because I'm taking it to the printer on Tuesday.
I've been throwing feathers in the air today to see how they float to the ground, I knew the ducks would come in useful for something.

Friday, May 08, 2009

More Kitten

Continuing to work on the kitten, this is all that fits on the scanner.
I have been wanting to take some photographs of a male mallard for a painting. The local duck population must have heard so this morning a pair decided to audition for me. My husband was not impressed with finding the garden pond playing host to them. They did not leave the water in the same condition that they found it.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Jay

My bird for today is the Jay. These birds are quite shy so I was pleased to get some nice photographs of a pair of them in a local wood.
I will have an update of my art tomorrow, I'm just too tired to photograph or scan it tonight.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Coloured Pencil Kitten - Part 3

I decided I needed to ground my kitten but I didn't want a complete background. I've decided to sit him in a patch of grass. The shape of the patch will probably change as there is lots of space all round and I might create a few longer blades behind him.
I've included a close up of the grass, keep in mind this is larger than life size. First I create a dark underlayer, then I erase light patches, fill them with different colours to represent blades then repeat until I've got the depth I want. The close up shows various stages.