Saturday, 27 December 2014

Would I manage it?

I've had a couple of commission for Christmas which have been a bit tricky especially the cat!! The first was an English Springer Spaniel......two attempts at this one... the first didn't quite "get" him and I also added a bg which I decided not to include the second time round. I know I mention in every portrait blog that it is a tricky balance in getting a likeness and adding a bit of artistic licence and thankfully it would seem like I got this one right as Henry's owners love it!!

Here is the reference... isn't he just lovely?

And here is the painting
As you can see I have used a selection of colours especially in his ears.....I always find a touch of blue will lift a "brown dog" and the dark browns are a mix of blue and brown....mixed on the brush so you still keep a bit of interest in the washes.

The next commission was more difficult as I had trouble finding just how to depict all the fur. Millie is a Norwegian Blue show cat and so very pretty. My first problem was what colours to use and I settled o cerulean for my blue... it isn't a colour I use a lot of but gives more of a silver grey when mixed with burnt sienna (rather than Ub or cobalt) . It is quite opaque which is one reason I tend not to use it but in this case I felt it would give me the best option. I did have a few goes at this one, practicing the soft fur mainly with wet in wet washes, building up the tones in the fur  and then deciding how to go about the bg... here is the reference and my efforts

As you can see I have exaggerated the fluffiness as I wanted to convey that above anything else... the owners were delighted and she now sits over their bed....

Saturday, 13 December 2014

By the Canal

I've had another busy few weeks though I'm not complaining!! Running the workshops and doing the demos are so much fun and such a privilege to be able to do. I meet such lovely people and sometimes am lucky enough to get feedback like this

"Everyone loved your pictures and teaching style ..we are all at the age
now that we need things to be 'not too complicated'!
We all know that we need to sit down and practise more
Anyway everyone was inspired, wanted to stay all day and wanted to know
when you are coming back.. so I will be in touch again when we have sorted
out dates."
I do often get lots of good feedback but am very grateful to the secretary of Art in Adlington for taking the time to e-mail this to me. I visited the group last Tuesday and there were both familiar and new faces there... they were a captive audience and I did run over as I got a bit carried away!! 

I have also been working on a couple of commissions... one has caused me a few problems but today I have completed and mounted and framed them ready for collection. 

I was also practicing some new workshop pieces not ready for showing yet....when I work on these pieces I not only have to be able to produce the painting but able to translate it into a language that the students will understand and be able to have a good go at. There is no point in me being able to paint something if I can't explain what I'm doing and why..... the groups and classes I run are very mixed ability and I have to pitch it so that the majority get something out of it... not always easy!! 

As I usually have more than one piece on the go at any one time in between the workshop pieces, i also slotted the next image in!!! During the Summer my cousin and family visited from the Far East and there was a barge festival in Burnley where my sister lives. We took the family to see it as we knew they would enjoy seeing the colourful narrow boats with their distinctive art. My brother in law John Robinson is a photographer and enjoys capturing a host of unusual shots and so the festival was a heaven sent opportunity for him. This is one of the images he took and have had it in my "to do " file since the Summer

I didn't want to spend too long on the drawing (I never do!!) and so although I did predraw this it was a very quick sketch and may not be a terrific likeness but I wasn't particularly after that. I wanted to capture the light and as you can see I haven't changed much at all and even kept very close to the original colours as I saw them... not as much green in mine but I only added the bg at the end as my initial intent was just to capture the gentleman nothing more, and of course I couldn't leave it alone and kept adding more and more!!!

Will hopefully get more of my own painting done over the xmas break so hope to update my blog a little more often than I have been doing lately .....