Sunday, April 20, 2008

Wishful thinking

Jeanette Jobson from Illustrated Life has found this great site (see her post on 19 April) where you can have your work displayed in an art museum – well not literally, but you can see what it could look like. I couldn’t resist and had to give it a go.

This’ll probably be the nearest I get to such an exhibition but had fun doing it all the same. If you want to have a go check out Museumr.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fabriano paper and watercolour

8x10 Graphite pencil
Private commission

Isn’t it strange how some papers are good for one medium but terrible with others. My paper of choice when working with coloured pencils is Fabriano Artistico hot pressed watercolour paper (140lb) – I love this paper and haven’t yet found one to top it. I even fought its corner with a fellow artist after she complained about it being terrible for working on with her watercolour paints. As far as I was concerned it could do no wrong, no matter what medium was used.

Imagine then my disappointment after discovering it is hopeless with watercolour (in my opinion). I’ve just spent the day fighting with the paper, willing it to love my watercolours, but alas, it wasn’t to be and the painting is now no more. Watercolour paints are not my forte and no doubt if they were I would have put up a better fight and at least finished the painting - even if deciding never to use the paper again.

I can't help feeling - however strange it may sound - that it had something to do with me not using my normal weight of paper, ie. 140lb, and instead used the 300lb. I know from experience that the heavier weight paper doesn't work well (again in my opinion) with coloured pencils so it might be the same with paint.

All in all a very frustrating day – I have to keep reminding myself that it wasn't wasted and instead is all part of the learning curve.

8x10 Graphite Pencil
Private Commission

A lot less frustrating, and certainly more enjoyable, was working on my latest commission - two pencil portraits of a brother and his sister. If I’m not drawing animals it’ll be people. Faces have always been a passion of mine - they continually fascinate me and I always get great enjoyment from drawing them.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


10x12 Coloured Pencil

My confidence received a much needed boost recently thanks to Mike Sibley. You will all have heard of Mike, I’m sure, and his website Starving Artists. This site was set up as a means to help promote emerging artists and their work and of which I am a proud member. Those familiar with Starving Artists will know about ‘the Editors Choice’ section on the front page where a different drawing /painting is chosen by Mike to go here each month. Well, I’m delighted to say, my drawing of Red was chosen for this month.

To say I was pleased is an understatement – there are so many talented artists, many whose work I admire a great deal, who are members here so I was up against excellent competition.

Mike had this to say about Red – “I admire this drawing by our Gold member Laura Hardie for its simplicity, accuracy, character, textures, rich and vibrant colouring... the list goes on. Laura has produced a great piece and her attention to detail gives life while not intruding on the viewing pleasure. It adheres to my favourite advice by Pierre Parisien: "Don't show me that what you are doing is difficult".

This really couldn’t have come at a better time for me – thank you Mike.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Beating Artist Block

10x8 Coloured Pencil
Private commission

Hard to believe it’s April already. By this point in the year I had planned on having a lot more finished drawings/paintings than I have currently managed to do and consequently am running behind on my goals for the year - not good. Granted, life has a habit of throwing things at you unexpectedly that can change plans somewhat, but if these ‘obstacles’ are then added to having a bad bout of Artist Block, as in my case, things are that bit tougher.

Without going for the sympathy vote, I’ve found myself really struggling these past two months with my own work, or should I say lack off. You know the feeling, when you’re in a rut and sit and sit (and sit and sit) and can’t come up with anything - your creative juices have basically come to a halt and won’t budge. It happens, but becomes really frustrating (and worrying) if it goes on and on.

Normally taking a break from the studio to clear my head, usually with a long walk involved, is enough for me. But what do you do if several walks, and days, later things haven’t changed? There are a number of things you can do to help get back the artist in you and I have personally found one or more of the following has helped me in the past ….

  • Visit galleries and the Internet – there are so many wonderful artists sites and forums on the Internet that can be really inspiring. A note of caution here – if your confidence is at an all time low you could find yourself spending time comparing your art to others and end up convincing yourself you’re not good enough, making matters worse.
  • Go out and about with your camera – always a good one to do.
  • Start a sketchbook and paint/draw in it every day – there is no pressure for your work to be ‘perfect’ and you can experiment to your hearts content. This is something I definitely need to start doing again.
  • Speak to other artists and bounce ideas of each other – great for your motivation too if this is affected, which is often the case.
  • Have a brainstorming session where you come up with titles for your paintings and then put an image to it.

I have to add a final one here and that is to read other artists blogs. As well as many being a great source of information and inspiration they can be really helpful and may just give you the push that you need. If you aren’t already doing so I highly recommend you read Maggie Stiefvater’s ‘Greywaren Art’ – if anyone can tell you how it is and point you in the right direction, she can.

I’m sure there are many more ways to help with Artist Block that I’ve not covered – let me know what works for you.