Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Planning For 2011

Maine Coon in graphite, 2.5 x 3.5 inches
It has taken me almost 9 months to feel comfortable with having retired from my day job. For the first few months I felt terribly unsettled which impacted on my art. Even though I now had more time I simply couldn't focus. My blog suffered as my posting became less regular and the finished paintings became fewer as when I reached the half way point I put them to one side and started something else.
I had a couple of occasions when I posted my feelings and thought I was ready to move on, well I wasn't, I soon returned to feeling unsettled.

But at last I have settled in to my new normal and having been planning to really concentrate on my art in 2011. I have made a start in the following areas:-

  • Over the last few weeks I have completed a number of small works on a regular basis, making myself finish what I've started. Initially I found it easier to finish something that I could complete in a couple of days.All of these have been sold thanks to my loyal following of international collectors.
  • I have collected a body of reference material ready to include in a series instruction booklets I plan to release throughout 2011 on drawing animals in coloured pencil.
  • I have decided which shows I am going to apply to attend as an exhibitor in 2011, with scope for additions.
  • I have made a rough plan of how I will break my time up on a daily basis.

I will discuss each of these aims in further posts together with an overall plan for 2011.

On a different note Katherine Tyrrell has published her selected artwork for her Making A Mark Awards 2010. I'm delighted to announce that she has picked 'The Right Side' as one of the entries in the 'Best Portrayal in Nature' category. If you want to vote (all the entries are well deserving of votes) the link is below:-

Making a Mark: Vote for the best artwork on an art blog in 2010.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Season's Greetings

I just want to say thank you to all my readers, I have appreciated all the comments and have even been able to meet some of you over the past year.

I would like to wish you all Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays and hope you all have a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful 2011.
I will be back soon to reveal what I hope to achieve in 2011.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More birds in the snow

The bitterly cold weather continues here in Yorkshire, it was - 11 degrees when the dogs went out first thing this morning. My dogs have big thick coats and like playing in the snow and sliding across their icy run diving on one another. The birds however are having a much less enjoyable time. I make sure they have a supply of food and fresh water which I replace every couple of hours. The reward is that I'm getting some fantastic photo opportunities.
The Nuthatch wasn't in my garden it was in a nearby wood which has several feeding stations available for the birds to visit.
I don't very often get Pied Wagtails in the garden but this one has visited each day for the last couple of weeks.
The squirrel and robin just made me laugh, the robin seemed amazed that the squirrel was taking the food and moved closer and closer to the squirrel, the squirrel however took absolutely no notice and carried on with its meal. I took that photograph in the wood.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tabby Cat in Oil Pastel

'Fluffy' 6 x 6 inches
I was clearing out a cupboard and found my oil pastels so it seemed like a good idea to stop cleaning and start creating.
I had a pack of three 6 x 6 inch Ampersand gessobords so decided to see how oil pastel worked on one.
I put a fairly thick basecoat down first which I then blended, using my finger for larger areas and a colour shaper for the smaller. On top of that I started adding more colour for the details, again using a colour shaper to draw out fine hairs. I kept the end of the shaper damp which I found made it easier to move through the pastel without dragging the colour in uneven strokes.
Once there was a thick layer of oil pastel I scratched into it using the broken end of a paintbrush (Cody was responsible for the demise of my brush) to create even finer hairs and the whiskers.

I was pleasantly surprised with the detail I could achieve.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Racoons Continued

I'm making slow progress on the three racoons, I've covered about a third of the board and worked some of that up to about 90%
I'm enjoying working from my own photograph as it brings back memories of the day we spent in Stanley Park, Vancouver in the summer. It is far easier not to slavishly follow the photograph when I can remember other details about the scene from actually having been there.
I have used reference material from other sources (always with permission) and I will continue to do so but that obviously restricts what can be done with the resulting artwork.
Most juried exhibitions and competitions now have a ruling that states entries need to be based an the artists own reference material, which is why I now have thousands of my own photographs stored on backup drives.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Strathmore Bristol with a Vellum Surface

'Wet Behind the Ears'
6 x 4 inches on Strathmore Bristol
I'm always looking to try out new papers and brought a couple of different pads back from Canada this year.
One of them was a Strathmore 500 series Bristol with a vellum finish. It has a slightly toothier surface than my usual papers but I found it nice to use with coloured pencil. It took many layers, in fact I ran out of patience before the paper ran out of tooth.
Once again it is a creamy colour rather than a true white but that didn't matter with this piece as I covered almost all the paper.
I prefer this paper to Stonehenge which I find too spongy for my liking although I know it is the paper of choice for a lot of coloured pencil artists.
I've now found a supplier of Strathmore paper in the UK, Castle Hill Crafts who offer a mail order sevice:-

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Cold Feet

This morning I swept the top of the fence surrounding the decking so that the birds could reach the food without getting cold feet. However most of them decided that the patches of snow were better to stand in than the cleared areas.

The garden birds are eating seeds, nuts and fat in huge amounts but in return they are providing me with endless photo opportunities.
I will definitely be painting birds in the near future.