Thursday, May 31, 2007

Norwegian Elkhounds - a WIP

Keeping a blog really brings home to me how time flies by and I often look at what work I have done between posts and more often than not think I could/should be doing more - like now.

It's almost two weeks since I last posted and in that time I have been working on a large colour pencil portrait of two beautiful Norwegian Elkhounds and this is where I am at (pic has been cropped) .....

Working with colour pencils can and does take time - a lot of time - but, despite having an overwhelming urge to paint something quickly, I still favour them above other media and think the finished result is worth it. That doesn't stop me wishing on occasions that I had more to show at the end of a working day and have been known to despair at 'how little' I have achieved that day. All that said I do love watching the portrait 'come to life'.

The Elkhounds were originally going to have a full outdoor background with lots of greenery but the more I worked on the dogs the more I felt the greens would overpower them. I was reluctant to start the background and, after many a sleepless night to think the best way forward, it's been agreed to turn the portrait into a montage. A lot happier with this decision I am now working on four pencil head studies to complete the portrait. All going well I should be able to show you 2 of these tomorrow - 3 if it turns out to be a productive day!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Artists block?

What a week - and not in a good productive way with work flying off the easel. Instead I have binned two attempts at my latest commission as I wasn't happy with how either were progressing. Normally, although frustrating, this wouldn't be a problem but when I'm on a tight schedule with deadlines to meet it is precious time wasted.

Three days on and a switch from pastels to colour pencils - not to mention many thoughts of self doubt - I am a lot happier with how it is turning out. This is going to be a large portrait with full background so will show some in progress shots in another post - need to work on it a bit more to have anything worth posting (am also hoping to have an A3 size scanner over the weekend to make things easier).

I can however show you a portrait that is finished - except for a bit of tweaking here and there - of two short haired tabbies. Brothers Harry and George are drawn on Fabriano Artistico paper with colour pencils, size 16 x 12.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Cairn Terrier

My latest commission using pastels is of a Cairn Terrier called Sherry. I was told she is soft and gentle and being a terrier, bright, alert and full of life. The photographs certainly showed this and I wanted to capture this side of her in her portrait.

Personally, and I don't mind admitting this, I find this type of dog, i.e. terriers of the long haired variety, the most challenging to draw - mind you I haven't tried a poodle yet! It's all that hair which I find a bit ....... overwhelming before I even start. I don't help myself by trying to portray every hair I see and can get lost in the detail.

With Sherry I made a conscious effort to see her as 'tonal shapes' and not 10,000 single hairs layered this way and that and found pastel as a medium helped in not getting too caught up in the intricate details.

On a totally different note I wanted to share with you - you being just about the last to know - a bit of good news. As regular readers will know I have been taking Zara (my gorgeous boxer puppy) to training classes with my daughter and earlier tonight she passed The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Bronze Award. She did really well and was so good - well done Zara!! Silver award here we come.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Springer Spaniel Montage

This week I started working on a montage that's been on my waiting list for an embarrassingly long time now. The main subject is a beautiful Springer Spaniel called Meg and will be a first for me in two ways ......

At 24 x 18 inches it will be the largest colour pencil portrait I have done to date and all going well will look quite impressive when finished. It is also my first montage on paper (I have completed many in my head). Doing a montage has been on my 'must do' list for ages but thanks to work commitments haven't found the time. I will still get this done and then plan to offer 'montages' as an option on my website.

In the meantime I'm enjoying working on Meg's montage which I have named 'Meg and friends' (there will be a rabbit, partridge and pheasant in there as well). So far I have made a start on the main pic of Meg which shows her amongst the reeds - another first when I get round to doing them! This is what I have done so far ..........

And putting the reeds off to another day, a couple of head studies ......