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 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