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 - - 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

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 which can be really irritating. Will try again tomorrow.