Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas countdown

Where has November gone? December looks like it is going the same way - far too quickly - I can't believe it is only 2 weeks and a bit to Christmas!

With my nose stuck in front of my easel for the past so many weeks (lost count) completing Christmas orders I pretty much haven't had time for anything else. I haven't bought any cards, presents, decorations, i.e. Christmas essentials, and my kids are starting to get a bit worried while my husband moans about being an artists widow. I have planned to take Sunday off to, amongst other things, put up our tree so hopefully that will spur me on to buy presents to go under it (at least that's what my kids are hoping).

So what has been taking up all my time and flying off the easel? Unfortunately I can't show you as it has all been Christmas orders so have to be careful that I don't ruin someone's surprise. I can, however, show you this border collie cross saluki as the recipient is not a fan of the Internet or computers and stays well away.

She really is a beautiful dog, especially her eyes - it's almost like she has dark eyeliner on. Anyway, she was a pleasure to draw and more importantly my client was delighted with the finished portrait.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The singing cat

You know the saying about buses how none appear and then 3 come all at once - or something to that effect? - well it feels a bit like this at the moment with my Christmas commissions. Not that I am complaining - far from it, I love what I do and it is great to see people are finding my website out there in cyberspace. So I am now fully booked with orders for Christmas and it looks like I'll need to work day and night from now until then - not easy working nights if you are a soap and 'I'm a Celebrity' fan!(sad I know).

One of my latest commissions was of a cat named Tom and I thought I would share it with you, being that little bit different from usual.

Tom is sadly no longer with us and what's more, the majority of the photographs with him in them were lost when my client's computer crashed. As a result I was shown 3 photographs that showed enough of him to work from and as soon as I saw this pose of Tom it made me laugh. Tom, I learned, was a big friendly cat, very vocal and strong in character. My client decided to go with this pose as it brought back lots of memories - if he was not asleep he was being vocal so it was very typical of him. I love the picture and although I never met him felt I knew him by the time I had finished his portrait.

The portrait is currently sitting in my lounge ready to be mounted before being delivered and it really does make me smile every time I look at it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Keeping track of time

I am often asked how long it takes me to complete a portrait and my answer is always an approximation as I never physically take a note of the time I spend on a painting/drawing and more often than not I work on more than one portrait at a time making it difficult to be precise.

To satisfy my curiosity (I secretly wanted to know) to how long exactly it took me to complete a portrait I decided to keep a time sheet for my latest commission. So everytime I picked up a pencil I would 'clock-on' and note my start time and 'clock-off' when I stopped for whatever reason - even if just for a few minutes. This exercise was a bit of an eye opener for me as although I would spend all day working on the portrait, once I had added up all the hours minus my breaks for checking emails, telephone calls, taking photographs, website updates, paperwork, lunch, washing dishes - the list goes on (note I didn't mention surfing the Internet!!) - the actual time spent drawing wasn't as long as I had thought.

Obviously each drawing is different and some take longer than others - brindle coats spring to mind - so I can't say 'yes, it takes me ?? hours to do a colour pencil portrait' but as I said it satisfied my curiosity. So without further ado here are a few stages of my latest commission, Poppy and Misha, and the time taken to reach each stage.

Stage 1 and 7 hours 55 minutes later - to which my husband replied 'so it takes you nearly 8 hours to do two eyes, an ear and a bit!!' - Men.

Stage 2, 12 hours 5minutes - Poppy (cream and orange coloured) is near completion.
Stage 3, (hope you're not bored - had considered missing a stage here but thought I've started so I'll finish) and 15 hours 5 minutes later.
And finally Stage 4 taken after 17 hours and 35 minutes.
At this stage I normally sit on (not literally) it for a few days and finish of anything I feel needs finishing. With Poppy and Misha I darkened areas here and there and worked more on the fur around Poppy's eyes. Total time spent, including touch-ups, 18 hours 40 minutes. And yes I kept a time sheet for the next portrait I did - no reason really, just for me because I wanted to.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Absent - but still here

It's been a while since my last post but there are good reasons for this and not because I've been glued to the Internet. I have been very busy, and at times extremely frustrated, working on my Christmas commissions. Extremly frustrated because I've not been happy with the results I've been getting on an adorable Westie I have to draw - I have started it 3 times now and 3 times it has ended up in the bin! I've had challenges, don't get me wrong, and challanges are good but I always get there in the end and it just wasn't happening with my Westie. So to avoid all my hair being pulled out he has been temporarily put to one side where I can see him, hoping that when I look at it again properly it will all fall into place (whatever it is that's not working).

In the meantime I worked on something completely different - a family portrait - which is now finished but I can't show until after Christmas as it is a present - it's a small world after all and it could ruin the surprise. So no pics to show you in this post - not even an ACEO - as I can't find the time at the moment to do my own work. However, next up on my easel are Poppy and Misha, 2 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Tom, a tabby cat with a difference - not forgetting my Westie of course so should have something to show you soon.

On a different note, I decided to join ArtWanted.com last week and currently have 4 drawings on my portfolio page. It is still a work in progress and intend to add more work and categorize things better but it's a start. To visit my portfolio page go to www.ArtWanted.com/laurajean.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My 1st ACEO

The Huntress
2.5 x 3.5 colour pencil on drafting film
It has been my intention to try my hand at ACEO's for quite a while now but for some reason or other just never got round to it. Well, if I am being honest selling on Ebay had a lot to do with it as I haven't a clue how to set up as a seller, and that's just to start with - no point doing ACEO's if you don't try and sell them on Ebay and to do so it helps if you know what you are doing. Readers of my blog will be aware of my issue with time and lack of it so hence my delay in jumping on the bandwagon as it were.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with ACEO's let me enlighten you. ACEO's or Art Cards, Editions and Originals are a very popular way to collect art that is affordable. They can be drawn/painted on any surface using any medium with the only rule being they must measure 2.5 x 3.5 inches - the size of a trading card. Both originals and prints can be sold on the Internet.
As it turned out 'The Huntress' did not start out life as an ACEO but as an experiment using colour pencils on drafting film (will talk more about this in another post). Again, this has been something I have wanted to try for a long time with my excuse this time being I could not track down drafting film. Although a small drawing to begin with, 5x8, I decided half way through to crop it down to the size of an ACEO, preferring the crop to the original. All I need to do now is figure out Ebay and how it works - yes there are still some of us about - while I work on more ACEO's.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

2 more make 4

Leaving 1 still to do. Yes, I am talking about the guinea pigs. So without further ado here are Raffles (2nd time around - different pose)

And Ailsa (my favourite, I think)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Atten - shun

Something else I have started working on after being pencil sharpnerless and thought I would share with you.

And a close-up

This is taken from a photograph I have been wanting to use for some time of 3 beagles (all related to Bru - you may remember the oil painting I did of him chewing a stick). I just loved the way they are all sitting to attention waiting for that certain order.

Wanted to try my hand at watercolour again (it's been a long time) and thought this would be a great one to start with. It was/is my intention to loosen up more and not be so detailed and had to stop myself a few times from getting out my 000 size brush!! Still got quite a bit to go on this when time permits.

Scratchboard Cats

With one thing or another it has been a busy last few days but not so much on the art front. To start with my trusted electric sharpner suddenly died on me - no sharpner, no colour pencil drawings - and as it turns out everything I have on the go at the moment is using colour pencils. Yes I have 2 children who I am sure own a pencil sharpner of some description somewhere but, as with paper and sad as it may sound, I guess I am fussy when it comes to sharpners too!

Anyhow with school shows and all the duties that go with being a mother I couldn't find the time to go out and purchase a new one straightaway so, while the colour pencil commissions took a back seat, I thought I would work a bit more on my scratchboard cats.

Scratchboard cat 2, if you remember, was finished waiting to be 'painted'. Now managed to get this done but I'm really not happy with it.

I obviously have loads to learn when it comes to this stage as nothing seems 'vibrant' enough next to the black. I think that I'm perhaps not scratching enough and leaving too much black but am always wary of overscratching and losing the tones and form.

Colouring Scratchboard cats 1 and 2 has put me off doing the same to 3 which is now nearly finished and I am therefore going to leave it as it is for fear of disliking it. I like having just the eyes in colour anyway - more striking - and not really sure why I added colour to cat 2 in the first place. Here is where I am with cat 3 (feel much happier with this one)......

Oh, and by the way , I now have my new sharpner so it's back to my commissions.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Horse on Black

Well here she is in all her glory and what a joy she was to do too.

As I have already mentioned in another post I have really enjoyed working with colour pencils on black paper even if this would not be my ideal choice of paper (Daler Rowney's Canford). So I am now making it my mission to find that perfect black paper to work on which could prove a bit of a problem as, you will soon find, I am soooooo fussy when it comes to paper.

I wouldn't have this problem if Fabriano did the decent thing and produced one in their hot pressed watercolour range! Until that day I will continue my search and keep you posted on my findings.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I've been Googled!!

3 months and 12 days my website has been floating out there in cyber space fighting to get noticed and it has finally happened. To say I am happy is an understatement - after all I am competing with thousands of portrait artists out there trying to get a top spot in the search engines and I've done it - well for the time being - you can never tell with Google can you? Couldn't tell you under what search my website comes up in as in my excitement I forgot to ask. Ask? My potential client who phoned to enquire about completion dates. Fingers crossed it - my website - keeps getting noticed.

Anyway enough of my euphoria. Made a start on my guinea pig commission and managed to complete 2 this week - 3 more to go but in the meantime here are Raffles and Iona.

While working on the guinea pigs I have started a colour pencil horse on black paper that was shouting "Please do me, please do me..." from amongst my 'must-do' pile. Having given in I actually found working on the black very enjoyable and something I will be doing a lot more of I am sure. Here is where I am with it at the moment, probably 3 hours work later.

To do this on white paper would probably take me twice as long (if not longer) so really likeing the 'quickness' of it. Mind you I would know instinctively what pencils to use on white but they don't look the same on black so a big learning curve here. Next time I will try the colours out first instead of jumping straight into the drawing!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Colour Pencil Week

Spent this week working on two colour pencil portraits with nothing inbetween - no oils, graphites, scratchboard - just colour pencils. Oh, and many hours on the Internet of course.

Don't know about anyone else but I've come to the conclusion I spend too much time on the computer/Internet. It's all relevant though - she says convincingly - and all art related. I'm not doing online shopping or playing games so it's not all bad right? Maybe I'm nosey as I generally like to see what other artists are up to in the world - I read their blogs, websites, check out art forums and even sites on SEO (not forgetting keeping my blog and website up to date). You should see my favourites list, my daughter actually commented on it's size the other day!

I often come away really inspired, which is a good thing, wanting to do this and that (also have a large must-do list) but there never seems to be enough time in the day to do everything I want. I know, I know - I am trying to spend less time on the Internet (need to at this time of year anyway as the Christmas commissions come in) and have an aim of trying to complete one non-commissioned picture a week. Think I'll keep them small to start with.

Anyway - back to the two colour pencil portraits. Angus the Bitsa/Sheltie is finished and I am waiting word back from my client.

Also completed a drawing I've titled 'Arabian Grace'.

This was done on mountboard - a first for me and probably the last (well on that particular mountboard anyway) as I found it hard to get complete coverage with the pencils despite finding the smoothest mountboard I could. I found I had to blend with a cotton bud after 2 or 3 layers and then work on top of this to get the look I was after, i.e. no white 'dots'!

Want to try colour pencils on black paper next and looking forward to it.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

New Work on the Easel

Thought I would give you an update of new work I currently have on the easel starting with the next commissioned portrait I will be working on. This is Angus who is a Bitsa (a bit of this and a bit of that) although I am told he is very much like a Sheltie. I had the opportunity to meet Angus on one of his morning plays in the park and take a good number of photographs. The weather was perfect and I managed to get a number of good shots, including these all important close-up head shots, or so I thought.

Sitting eagerly infront of the computer to see the great pictures I had taken my enthusiasm was soon lost as I realised there was not one good photograph amongst them! The majority were all too dark and seeing features or details in the fur was near impossible - and this was with my new, top of the range, expensive digital SLR! So I am working from a photograph originally given to me by my client, which he is happy with of course, and using the best of my bad lot for reference. Anyway, here are a couple of progress shots...

I have also been commissioned to do 5 guinea pig portraits - a first for me (drawing guinea pigs that is), which I am looking to make a start on over the coming week. The photographs I have been given to work from are unusually good, couldn't have asked for better, making my job a lot easier.

I will of course continue to work on my own artwork - I have a list of drawings and paintings I really want to do as long as my arm which seems to grow on a daily basis! Have started on a couple from this list but both are no more than outlines at the moment and not worth showing but will keep you posted.

Finally, for this post anyway, an update on Scratchboard Cat 3 (I really will have to give them all titles).

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Boxer and 2 Chocolate Labs

Had a productive last two days as it turned out and managed to finish three portraits I was working on. All took longer than I anticipated but I'm happy with the results all the same.

Bruno you know about (providing you read my Blog of course) - the Boxer completed in colour pencils.

He was delivered today to, I am pleased to say, a very happy client. I don't know how other artists cope/deal with this stage - 'revealing' the finished portrait to the client - but I am nervous every time. Granted not as nervous as when I sold my first portrait but still anxious as to how they will react.

Thankfully, touch wood, fingers crossed, etc I have not had any bad experiences but this doesn't make it any easier and it never improves. I genuinely want people to be more than happy with their portrait and would hate to think otherwise.

Moving on to the 2 Chocolate Labs (remember them?). I have been working on them for a while now but both portraits are now finished and awaiing approval from my client - nervous again as explained above. Hopefully all will be well. Here they are - Margaux is first followed by Dory.....

Tomorrow I will give you an update of what is currenly on my easel with hopefully a couple of WIP's.

Monday, September 18, 2006

WIP Updates

Schools are on holiday - AGAIN - I seriously can't remember getting as many days off school in my day as they do now. What, I hear you ask, has school holidays got to do with an Art Blog? For me it can mean the difference between a productive and non-productive day so have been doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that when I can.

First up is Bruno......

I have been working on him over the weekend and finally feel I am getting somewhere. Not much to do now (I think) just some work on the neck which, considering progress to date, could take longer than it looks.

Next is Scratchboard Cat 2 (still haven't come up with a suitable title)......

Have started adding colour - decided on watercolour instead of inks - and have learnt that I don't like this stage. For some reason unbeknown to me I can spend hours on the scratching stage but don't have the patience to do the colour. It could be that where I love to see the image coming alive before me while scratching I don't like - or rather it is not what I expected - when I add colour.

I could well be doing ot wrong - it is after all only my second attemp - but it looks like layer upon layer of paint needs to be added to get any real colour showing against the black. But if I do this I could loose a lot of the detail as the scratches get covered up . Make sense? Might leave my scratchboards colourless in future but would love to know how other artists achieve it without it looking washed out and pale like mine!

It still doesn't put me off scratchboard - yet - and have started another cat with the most amazing, beautiful blue eyes.

Should hopefully have some finished work to show soon.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Slave to Detail

It's official - I am a slave to detail! This is not a bad thing if I can control it.

It really hit me today when working on Bruno the boxer dog. He is only 10 x 8 and no matter how long or how much pencil work I have done on him he doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast. Mind you my husband doesn't help with comments like "... is that all you've done" or "... press harder with the pencils" ! But it's true - I do feel like I should be further on than I am and put it down to my obsession with detail.

Bruno's brindle colouring is perhaps not the easiest colouring to portray if, like me, you find yourself almost looking at each hair individually. I really can get 'lost' in a photograph and need to train myself not to scrutinize it to death looking for the hairs under hair etc.

Anyway here is where I am with him now ......

Inbetween the many hours I have spent on Bruno and the two chocolate labs (see how they are progressing at www.petportraits-bylaura.com/wip.htm) I am still scratching. Scratchboard cat 2 (temporary name until I think of a good title) is almost finished and ready to be painted. I will be using inks this time instead of acrylics to compare which, I feel, works best. Will keep you posted - until then here's where she is at the moment .....

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Prints, Printers and Technology

Didn't do any drawing or painting at all today unless you include 30 minutes or so when I added a few extra strokes onto Bruno the Boxer dog - my latest commission and a current work in progress. I just couldn't give it, or anything else for that matter, my full attention as my head has been spinning all day thinking about PRINTS.

If you have had the chance to look at my website you may have noticed that it's my intention to offer Limited Edition Prints of my artwork for sale in the near future. Well I have given myself until November to have this up and running - mainly because I have promised a client they would be ready then!

The 2 options open to me were (a)find a reputable printer who did good giclee prints at a reasonable price or (b)do them myself. Although option (b) did not look good in the beginning (the need to buy a good printer costing lots of money) my husband and I agreed it would be a good investment so could get one. Great news - I even have a model in mind that I want - I thought it was just a case of ordering, waiting for delivery and then printing. Not so!

In order to get a good crisp, clear print I would need to have a high resolution photograph or scan of the picture to start with. Up until now I have been photographing all my work for showing on my website and for my records. With the help of a fellow artist who has given me invaluable advice I have since discovered that although suitable for that purpose or for printing cards the file sizes were too small to work from and detail and quality suffered as a result the larger the print.

So to cut a long story short - if it is not too late to do this - I need to either change the image recording quality on my camera or scan my portraits instead. Scanning would however involve me using parts of Photoshop I just cannot get to work no matter how hard I try. I've followed step by step instructions till I am blue in the face with no luck - I'm sure I have a faulty programme!

All in all a long, stressful day trying to fathom Photoshop and learning more about what my new camera is capable of - something that has been on my to-do list for ages. Why cant technology and me get on?

Back to painting tomorrow I think.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Scratchboard Cat finished

Well here she is - my scratchboard cat is now finished. I decided to use acrylic washes when adding colour. Apparently you can use watercolours, acrylics or inks to do this so am going to try inks on the next one.

Now all that is left to do is give it a title before adding it to my website.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Cats and Horses

Dogs have to be the most frequently requested of all the pets that I am asked to portray. Although there are still many breeds of dog I look forward to drawing/painting I want to build up a small collection of cat and horse portraits in my spare time to show (and hopefully sell) on my website.

So the majority of today was spent looking for suitable reference material. Have found a couple of good, clear cat photographs to work from that would make great pictures but none of horses. I'll just have to keep searching while working on my cats.

Staying on the cat theme my scratchboard cat is now completed as far as the scratching goes. It is now ready for colour and I made a start on this today. I'm hoping I have done the right thing as it looks so different with colour added - and I've only added a little!!!

Mind you today has been a funny day in that I wasn't happy with anything I worked on. Started another cat on scratchboard last night so thought I would paint the eyes today - I spent 2 hours on the one eye (the other is barely visable and in shadow) trying to get it to look right and I'm still not happy with it. Didn't dare go near the 2 chocolate labs I am working on for fear of things happening in 3's. Tomorrow is another day and things might look better then.

Anyway here is where I am with my first scratchboard cat.......

and with my 2nd.........

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Still Scratching

The latest update on my scratchboard cat.

Finding it quite addictive and could happily scratch away for hours if I had the time. Not 100% happy with how it is progressing - finding it difficult to get different tones and feel it is in danger of looking 'flat' the more I add. I am hoping that this will sort itself out when I add colour at the end.

Have learnt one very important lesson though and that is to use the correct instrument for scraping. I had been using a craft knife that was obviously a bit blunt - though I didn't realise this until I tried a new blade and WHAT a difference. Only wish I'd realised sooner as I feel I can get a greater range of lines with a sharper blade helping me a bit with my tonal problem.

Anyone familiar with scraperboard reading this and can offer advice please let me know - it would be much appreciated.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Something new

My garden is now finished and looking great so things can go back to normal. My 2 chocolate labs have had an undercoat of Burnt Sienna acrylic paint to seal the pencil drawings and take away the white of the canvas board. They are now ready for the oil paints which I plan to start tomorrow if I can pull myself away long enough from looking at my garden.

And for something new (to me that is) ....... scraperboard. I was made aware of this by another artist on a great pet and portraiture art forum - www.pet-portraitartist.com/forum - and was immediately taken by the amount of detail that could be achieved using it. From what I gather, scraperboard is paperboard (or clayboard) covered with a layer of white clay or chalk and then coated with India ink. A sharp point - I used a craft knife - is used to scrape through the black ink to expose the white.

The process actually took me back to my college days when I did etchings in Printmaking. I could go back even further to childhood when you would cover paper with coloured wax crayon followed by a layer of black ready for your picture to be scraped into it. Whatever scraperboard reminds me of I am really enjoying the results and love the fine detail that can be achieved.

Many artists leave the finished image white against the black - stunning in itself - but you can use watercolour paints, inks or acrylics to colour it if preferred. I plan to do the latter when I complete the cat I am currently working on. I have attached a couple of pictures, and a close-up, to show you how it is progressing although they fail to show the amount of detail there actually is. Keep checking back for more updates on it's progression.

Will definately be looking to complete more pictures using this method to become more familiar with it as I'm sure there is lots to learn.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Latest drawing

Another for my 'Close Encounters' series - a 'titleless' horse study (again any suggestions?) size 16 x 25.5cm, that I finished yesterday. Sorry about the photograph (scanner isn't working) - will hopefully get a better one for my website.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Severely distracted

Big problems re: my garden makeover - so much so that what was promised to be a 1 week job is now into week 3 and it's still not finished! Not good news as far as my painting goes. Being 'project manager' coupled with the fact my easel looks out into the garden to all that's going on, I am always interupted one way or another.

As a result both Margaux and Dory, my 2 chocolate labs, remain at this time pencil outlines. I have not had the chance to put paint to canvas all week with all the distractions going on. The good news is the garden is coming together and all should be back to normal mid week giving me a chance to make a start on my labs.

My easel hasn't been totally deserted however and I have managed to make a start on a series of drawings and paintings I have been planning for some time now called 'Close Encounters'. Instead of doing head and full body studies I want to look at the animal from a different angle/perspective by zooming in close.

This colour pencil study of a horses eye is the first in the series and measures 14.5 x 21.5cm.

I am still looking for a title to give it so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Busy, Busy, Busy

Have been very busy lately both on the easel and on the homefront. Despite being right in the middle of having the garden revamped with all the problems that brings (more than you would think) and having 2 bored children vying for my attention, I have managed to complete a couple of pictures.

Had been working on this drawing of a Maine Coon Cat for a while fitting it in when I had the time - why can't there be more hours in the day?? - and finally got it finished this week.

This wasn't a commission and therefore 'let myself go' more with the colours using the mauves, purples and blues I saw in his hair (they don't show up very well in this photograph).

Have also been working on what I call my 'Wedding Couple 2' - a watercolour pencil portrait of my client's mother and father on their wedding day. This will be a gift for their wedding anniversary. You can see how this is progressing at www.petportraits-bylaura.com/wip_3.

And finally - have made a start on my next commission - 2 oil paintings of 2 chocolate labs. Will hopefully, time permitting, put paint to canvas early next week. Will keep you posted.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Finished Portraits

Finished two portraits I have been working on lately. The first is Barney, a 7 year old Cocker Spaniel, completed in colour pencils. I have to say that, to date, I found this to be the most challenging portrait I have had to do with the colour pencils. It was all that hair - especially in the ear - curling here there and everywhere. I did have good reference photos to work with though which really helps and I was happy with the finished portrait.

2nd to be completed was a 16 x 12 oil painting of a beagle called Bru. My reference photo showed Bru, KC name Bruadair Buadhmor, at 5 months old chewing on a stick. I loved the composition and (not being a head study) gave me the chance to work with a background - something I should really do more of when I get the chance.

When I get the chance ...... this is something I don't seem to get a lot of at the moment as there is so much I have in mind I want to paint/draw that there just isn't the time to do it all in - that is another post though!

Well I have tried numerous times but can't seem to upload my painting of Bru - there always seems to be a problem with connecting to Blogger.com which can be really irritating. Will try again tomorrow.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Website Updates

Been working - ALOT - on my website over the last few days - most of it behind the scenes trying to better my chances of ranking high in the search engines. Time will tell if it was all worth it.

Also updated things you can see on the website - mainly my 'shop' www.petportraits-bylaura.com/shop.htm where I offer original works of art for sale. This is a first for me and it will be interesting to see how it fares.

On the portrait front I have completed what I nicknamed 'The Wedding Couple' - a portrait of a couple on their wedding day 25 years ago. I enjoyed doing this portrait as I did not have to replicate the colours of the photograph I was given to work from and instead used pinks, purples and blues. Working on this portrait has inspired me to work with my watercolour paints again and have a couple of things in mind to do with them when I get time. Here is the completed portrait.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Back to Work

As predicted the good weather didn't last long (probably a good thing) so it was back to the easel today. Started working on Barney, a 7 year old Cocker Spaniel I am doing in colour pencil. You can view how this portrait progresses at www.petportraits-bylaura.com/wip_2.htm . I will post Stage 1 tomorrow after I have photographed it.

Talking of photographs...... I am very happy at the moment as I got an amazing camera yesterday for my birthday - a Canon EOS 30D Digital SLR. No animal or body was safe as I went around trying it out. I LOVE it and I've only started!!! There is so much more the camera can do than I know about yet but am looking forward to finding out. It will come into it's own when I need to photograph dogs for commissions (renowned, in my experience, for not sitting still) as it takes up to 25 continuous shots in one go - brilliant. I have lost count of the number of perfect shots I have missed because my camera wasn't ready!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Too hot to work!

All has been quiet on the easel over the last couple of days due to the gorgeous weather we have been experiencing lately. Living in Scotland you have to take advantage of the good weather when you can as we rarely get any!!

For some reason I find it hard to concentrate on what I am drawing/painting indoors if the sky is blue and the sun is shining outside. I haven't been all bad while lazing in the garden though as I have been doing some much needed reading on Search Engine Optimization. Now that my website is up and running I need to learn how to promote it and make sure that as many people visit as possible (and keep coming back). There is so much to learn and do but all worth it I'm sure.

Looking forward to a future commission I have coming up of a chocolate lab puppy. Received the photographs tonight and she is gorgeous. Will keep you posted on that one.

Monday, July 17, 2006

My First Post

Well I have taken the plunge and now have a blog - I'm quite excited about it all really. By reading my posts I hope to give you an insight into the ups and downs in the life of a portrait artist and share with you my stories from behind the easel.

So here goes - my first post - fingers crossed that all goes well when I publish!
Speak to you soon.