Thursday, 5 January 2017

2017 ....

Well, the silly season is over and its back to some semblence of normality again (you may recall I'm a Bah Humbug sort of person)!

I really didn't get much artwork done in the latter part of 2016 - we were very busy but I'm sure I could have tried a little harder to make some art time.   If I was the sort of person who makes New Year resolutions I would add that plan to the usual 'lose weight' improve my Spanish, cut down on wine etc etc ... but we'll see.

We are going to be travelling a lot in the first 3 months of the year starting with a few weeks at our house on Fuerteventura (Canaries) from this weekend whilst work is being done at at our house here.

So ... I had to submit my entries for the UK Coloured Pencil Society's Int'l Exhibition today.   Entries have to be in by 3 February and I don't know when I'll be around for long enough to deal with it.   I haven't done anything new - these are all old practice pieces which I've tweaked a little in order to have something to submit.  You may recall some of these as I've probably posted them here at some stage:

The first is my coloured pencil drawing of a fisherman we often see around Corralejo harbour on Fuerteventura.    After hours spent at sea the fishermen congregate at a nearby bar for daily card sessions which become very intense and noisy at times.    He always looks very fierce but I guess his piercing stare is really due to hours spent squinting into the bright sunshine ...

This is the finished drawing:

I've added more detail to the background and more layers to his skin and clothing.    I also thought he looked a little too 'clean cut' and as I couldn't add any more white whiskers over the darker pigment I scraped away the top surface of the paper with a craft knife which has 'roughened' him up a little!   This was the earlier version:

This is Sax on the Beach.   I've never really been happy with this drawing as I struggled so much with the fiddly bits on the saxophone.    But there is a 'music' category in this year's exhibition so thought I might as well take a chance with him.   He is part of a  'hippy type' band of people who travel around holiday resorts in Europe and perform for money as street musicians/artists.    They are known as La Familia Flotante (the floating family) and they are actually very, very good - especially the saxophonist!   I photographed them several times whilst they performed by the Town Beach at Corralejo, Fuerteventura.

Again, I added a few more layers of coloured pencil - he was drawn specifically to fill a tall narrow frame I had at home:

 and the earlier version

This is a coloured pencil drawing on drafting film over a black backing sheet.    The subject (Spock) belongs to a fellow artist.  I met/photographed him last Summer - he really does have the most amazing curly coat.

and finally, the sikh character I drew earlier this year.     I've called this one Wisdom as apparently having a turban in saffron colour is a symbol of wisdom and I think he has a wise face and kindly eyes.

Now I've submitted them I can't do any further work on them which is a good thing as I'm very good at overworking pictures!

Saturday, 31 December 2016


Hope you all have a very happy, healthy and creative 2017

Wednesday, 28 December 2016


I'm embarrassed to see how long it has been since I last posted here .. but life has been a little hectic.

We spent nearly 5 weeks at our home on Fuerteventura in November/early December where we were very busy furnishing a house we purchased to rent out long term.    It was great fun sourcing all the furniture (good quality secondhand pieces) but hard work removing it all from our house where we'd been storing it for weeks to the new place once we got the keys.  We're getting a bit long in the tooth to be shifting furniture - even with the help of some good friends out there.   But we got the place looking very nice within 3 days and our tenants moved in 2 days later.   

When we got back to England we had lots to catch up on and, of course, we hit the 'silly Season' in full swing (Bah Humbug) ...

I finished the final commission of the year and that was well received thankfully.   It was a surprise Christmas present but, sadly, the dog had passed away recently and the ref photos were not good so I did the best I could but I always get a feeling of disappointment and frustration if I can't see as much detail as I'd like.

This was the end result (photos aren't great because the weather was very grey/gloomy/foggy before Christmas and these were taken in artificial lighting.

Pastels on dark grey pastelmat paper

I'm not taking on many commissions these days as we've got lots going on here, and on Fuerteventura so its difficult to find time to sit peacefully and just draw ... deadlines for 2017 exhibitions are looming and I do have to work on some pieces for 2 shows I'll be exhibiting work at around Easter time.   

I hope that adrenaline will kick in soon and I'll get a few smaller pieces on the go and will make sure I post progress reports here a bit more regularly.

I hope everyone had a good Christmas break and that 2017 will be kind.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Mini Wirehaired Dachshund - Pastels on Fisher 400 - update

I don't know what's going on with Blogger tonight ... this is my third attempt to publish a post ... first the picture wouldn't upload, then it uploaded but was giant sized and then all my text disappeared

Third time lucky !!!! fingers crossed ...

Briefly, my client and her husband popped round to my house on Friday to look at the portrait  and comment on the dog's colouring.    They both recalled that the dog's coat is darker (more golden/brown in places) than it appears in the photos so this afternoon I've been doing some tweaking, and putting in a subtle, blurry background to make the dog stand out a little more from the gold coloured paper (Fisher 400 sanded).

Once again, I left it late to take a photo and the light was poor but hopefully I'll be able to work on it a little more on Wednesday and will get a better photo (we're out and about tomorrow having lunch with friends so I don't think I'll have any 'art' time)

Monday, 3 October 2016

Mini Wire Haired Dachshund ... WIP II

I think I have to call a halt to this now until my client can visit and comment on the hair/fur colour.   In each picture the dog's coat looks different - I believe this is fairly accurate but will leave it to my client to decide

I think she has only met the dog once though .. and she can't recall its name so ... fingers crossed ... I can get some guidance and then I can finish the portrait and move on.

Oh .. and also need to know if a (very simple) background colour is required.   

Pastels on Fisher 400 sanded paper