Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Horse on film

After a few touch-ups here and there and leaving it for a while to see if anything that wasn't right jumped out at me (it didn't) I am calling my horse on film officially finished. And I'm really quite pleased with it - it looks like a horse which is good.

I'm sure you'll agree with me that 'Horse on film' is not a good title to give it which is why, having been unable to come up with one myself, I am looking to you for inspiration. I'd really love to know what you think so let me have your ideas for a title - you could get a print for your troubles!

Limited edition prints will be available in the near future to purchase via my website but I will give the first of the run - signed, numbered and with a Certificate of Authenticity - to whoever gives me the winning title. There's no rush either, I'll make my choice and reveal the winner on Saturday 15 September, giving you over two weeks of serious thinking time. Now over to you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Collie and Google

My website has been up and running for just over a year now and, I am happy to say, have had a lot of interest in my work because of it. In fact 90% of my commissions come via my website. How people are finding it however remains a mystery to me as I can't find it myself when I do a search! How Google rank websites is beyond me - even more so than Photoshop - and it seems that no matter what I do to increase my chances of it appearing on the top pages it's not happening. I'm just not technically minded, never have been and fear never will be, so maybe expert help is needed but where to start and who to trust. Something to think about.

Something that didn't involve any technology whatsoever was my latest commission of a beautiful Collie called Maggie, completed using coloured pencils. If only everything in life was as straight forward.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Drafting Film

My horse on drafting film was put to one side while I worked on the Springer Spaniel montage and it appears that during this time it had been slowly disappearing under a thick layer of wax bloom. I got a bit of a shock when I saw it because drafting film has a cloudy/frosty look to it anyway and it looked like the colour had literally come off.

I very rarely get wax bloom when working on paper so looks like it could be more of a problem with the drafting film. I am still at the learning stage with this support and, as I said in a previous post, you can't layer like you can on paper and I've definately over layered which wouldn't help with the dreaded bloom.

So with my horse half finished what have I learned, apart from layering, and like about drafting film?
  • I can finish a picture in half the time - OK, so this one has taken 14 hours so far but we (me and drafting paper that is) are just getting aquainted and know that in time it will be a lot quicker to work on.
  • It is so easy to erase mistakes if you happen to make any.
  • I like the feel of the pencil on film - almost creamy - and colours blend better.
  • Colours can be added to the back of the film - a bonus if like me you find you can't add any more pencil on the front.
  • The finished portrait/picture can be mounted on whatever colour support you feel best comliments it.

To give you an idea of how the coloured support can affect the mood and look of the finished picture I have scanned my horse with a few backings. First with black .....

With a bright red .....

A slightly less garish orange .....

And last but not least with a plain white, my favourite so far .....

Try to ignore the background (this will be finished at a later date and has scanned brighter than reality) and look at the colours in the horse and how they change. I've actually been working on her with a black support behind but prefer the white at this stage - all could change when its finished of course.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Blog changes

When I joined the world of blogging I mustn't have had my creative thinking hat on when I came up with 'My Art Blog' for a title. So with it forever niggling away at me and a year and a bit later I have eventually done something about it. My blog has a new title - 'Animal Art Adventures'. Still not 100% sure this was the one but I'm a lot happier with it and makes it a lot easier for linking purposes.

That was the easy part, now I have to work out how to add pictures to the sidebar!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Springer Spaniel update

Regular readers of my blog may remember my Springer Spaniel montage - well I am happy to say it is nearing completion having spent the last few days working on it.

This definately comes top of my 'embarrassingly late' list as I have been working on it on and off now for four months. I have never taken this long with a commission - I wont go into the whys and whatnots but am so grateful to my client for being more than understanding and patient.

The main pic of Meg amongst the reeds is now finished and I managed to get a pic of this for you to see, although not a great one due to the crop. Gives you an idea at least. All that's left to do now is the pheasant.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Photoshop and me

I've made no secret of the fact that myself and Photoshop do not get along - I cannot, despite great help from fellow artists, get it sussed and as time goes on fear I never will. I follow instructions step by step and to the letter and while there are times I get it to do what I want there are more when I'm sitting there totally confused - like today when I tried to join two pictures together. I've done this successfully in the past but today Photoshop decided to remove the colour! Why - does it really hate me that much?

I have been working on the Springer Spaniel montage - mainly on the main pic - and wanted to scan where I'm at for my website and blog. Being a large portrait I had to do this in two halves - no problem - but as soon as I joined them the colour disappeared!?!?! I've spent more wasted hours than I care to think of trying to get Photoshop to like me and unfortunately today wasn't the day we gelled so can't show you where I'm at with the montage but can tell you I've made some progress with the reeds and that they're taking a frustratingly long time to do.

Something I could do - hooray - was scan and crop my first of many horse portraits I'm working on in between commissions. This is the first drawing/painting I've done for me in months, in fact coming up to a year and I'm really enjoying working on it.

She's in coloured pencil on drafting film. Working on this surface is great but as with everything, has it's negative points - the main one being layering. As an artist who builds layer upon layer of pencil to get the depth and colour I'm after I found I needed to change my technique quite considerably on this surface. I do like how the pencil feels and looks on it however so will definately be exploring it more.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Collie and horses

My plan to start working doubly hard had to take a back seat this week as I played Florence Nightingale to both my daughter and Zara, our dog. Thankfully nothing serious in both cases but it did take me away from the studio.

I was able to make a start on and finish Elmo the Collie however, which I'm pleased about. Although primarily a black dog, I saw lots of violets, blue and yellows in the black which I had to put in and are there if a bit hard to see in the scan.

Have also spent time this week gathering reference material - mainly horse related - for paintings and drawings I have in mind to do (lots and lots of ideas going on in my head!). Hope to start one - no I WILL start one over the next few days. Horses are going to be a main feature in my work over the coming months as apart from being beautiful, strong, majestic animals I want to take the time to really study them and become more confident in portraying them.