Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Let's see where this goes.....

This is a 'sketch' done in oil thoroughly diluted with Zest-it Clear Painting Medium [only harmful if you try to drink it!]. I had applied dilute red and orange to the ground many weeks ago but didn't have any ideas for it at the time so put it to one side.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Is Anyone Out There?

A rather cold version of one of the views at Marston done in oils, using a small painting knife plus a secondary and tertiary palate of colours.
4"x4" on Pebeo canvas panel.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Gifts and Fruit

I mentioned that we'd been asked to illustrate 'gifts of the Spirit' to go with the 'fruits of the Spirit'. These are my contributions: the left is a 7"x5" acrylic painting before I cut it away, framed and wrapped it (I like the paint splodges!). The tidied up image was given as a 'gift' to an unsuspecting couple in the congregation (five other similar-sized paintings were given to other audience members to illustrate the fact that a true gift is not earned but given out of love, friendship, goodwill, etc., just because...
The gold box is a much larger painting after I cut it out; I propped it up against a meeting room window in order to photograph it before it was put on the backdrop with the other large ones. The 'gifts of the Spirit' are wisdom, mercy, leadership, serving, healing, hospitality, faith, prophecy and miracles (1 Cor. 12).
A heartwarmer: Only the six artists and the speaker knew the artists would be giving gifts during the service and we agreed to choose someone we either hadn't seen before or didn't know much about. Later, one of the recipients came and told us it was his birthday that day and he hadn't received any other gifts!
Back to the current challenge now...

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

June week 4: The monthly exercise

This week there is no weekly challenge - instead it is time to work on the monthly exercise: "Illustrate a scene from a favourite book".

Friday, 17 June 2011

Rest Time

This is from 'briankosena's photostream' on flickr. He explains that although the children had been brought in for a rest, this little girl didn't seem to need one.

She is resting her head against her arm and the grid pattern is her uniform, which isn't quite accurate.

Her ears aren't quite right and her nose and mouth are slightly too far to the left but I'd already spent 40 minutes on it. (Great exercise, Gry: thanks.)

Derwent 'Onyx Medium' and 'Onyx Dark' on Goldline cartridge paper; 4x4".

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

June week 3: Aging

Find a picture of a young(ish) person and make a quick portrait sketch. Try to use to add age to the drawing, using what you have learnt from the last two exercises.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Maccydees Lady

Not wanting to waste any more time, I also went to Flickr and found this lady. (There was an interesting story attached.) Her face was actually wider, her head at more of an angle and her expression more 'knowing' but I've run out of time.

This lady does not have that many lines so doing the drawing made me focus on the identifiers that make a person look 'old': grey hair, lines, loose skin, large ears, liver spots, a bent frame and, oftentimes, a wise expression. (Gry mentioned some others in her post.)

(Medium Derwent Onyx on A6 copy paper.)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


I made this drawing from a picture on Flickr. I wish I had time to draw more faces, but I only had time to make three - this one is the best.

I am fascinated by the way our faces change with age, the way it shows the life we have led. It is more than just wrinkles. The skin sags which changes the expression of the face, especially the eyes. Skin, hair and lips get paler, which can make the colour of the eyes the more striking. The nose and ears continue to grow throughout life. I chose a very aged face, but really the challenge is to draw faces at different ages.

What I want to do with the weekly challenges this month is to explore how to draw a person's age. It may seem only tie loosely with the monthly challenge, but it is a problem I have had when I have tried to illustrate scenes from books, so I thought it was worth working a bit with.

June week 2: Youth

I am continuing the theme of drawing different ages - it something that many artists struggle with. This week the challenge to make a drawing of a young child or infant. Again it can be from imagination or reference.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Interim Illustration - Live Painting at LCF

Apologies - this is not an 'old face' but it is what has consumed me and some of the LCF Creative Arts Team for the past week - and it is an actual 'illustration'.
The text is from Galations 5:22-23: "... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..." Seven of us worked on this one. We painted the trunk and leaves ready for the 'live painting' event this morning. I painted the oranges last night before it was mounted on the wall as it would be difficult to reach once it was up and so I had time to focus on writing the words. One of the artists used steps to paint the grapes. Each of us had our own fruit to paint but, as I had painted the oranges last night, I simply wrote the related words beneath the fruit once each artist had finished painting.
It was great to work together while Alan was speaking and the audience reaction was fantastic - many people came onto the stage and photographed it after the meeting. Thanks everyone!
(Emulsion on 9 lengths of lining paper.) Now for an old face...

Sunday, 29 May 2011

New project and challenges

Sharon and I have been talking about how we could get to do some more illustration rather than just drawing exercises. It is difficult to fit into our busy lives as illustration often requires more research and sketches than a simple drawing exercise would do.

I have come up with an idea - we will try to have a monthly illustration challenge for the next couple of months. At the same time, I will make some weekly drawing exercises that can lead up to the illustration challenge and help us to get started. New challenges will be posted on Mondays and Sharon and I will try to post a result in the same week. The idea is that the weekly challenges should be quick and possible to do in 30 minutes, but at the same time lead up to the montly illustration, for example by getting us started on character design.

June's challenge is going to be:

"Illustrate a scene in a favourite book"  

and the first weekly exercise will be:

"Draw an old face - either from reference or from imagniation"

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Five a Day

This is a demonstration I did earlier today recapping three of the many elements of drawing: line, tone and colour. I glossed over composition and negative space, although they are evident in these studies. It is important to do these little studies before embarking on a final piece. The fourth drawing is also a 'study' but incorporates the five elements mentioned above. I added the banana to complement the yellow flower pattern on the bowl.

I used Sennelier oil pastels on DR Murano soft
pastel paper.

I was amused to learn that the lovely bowl - which belongs to one of the students - cost the grand sum of 10p at a car boot sale. That's $13 to you Leaf!)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Imaginary vs. Real

Inspired by Carol Marine's Daily Paintworks 'Ten Minute' challenge (which she posted back in February) but which is still open, I adapted the task to two 30 minute pastel paintings. The left apple was painted out of my head and the right one from life. The left one looked like an apple until I painted the real life Pink Lady next to it - it now resembles a cherry, I think!

I've drawn a few pears recently and may paint some more for inclusion here; if I do, I'll try to do it Carol's way - four or six to a page. We'll see.

For info, I used Unison and Sennelier pastels with a touch of Conte crayon on Clairefontaine Pastelmat (Natural Sienna).

Surreal Landscape

Last week I made another happy visit to Cass Arts after visiting the Mall Galleries. (I go to either the small but well-stocked shop behind the National Gallery or the huge three-storey Islington shop which always threatens to make me miss my train!) This time, I picked up a box of artist quality Winsor and Newton oil paints (10x 21ml tubes). The RRP is over £46 but these were on offer for £17.50! (Cass Arts prices are always competitive.) I can't use turpentine or white spirit so I use Zest-it (no headaches). I used a touch of Liquin in this image but prefer the Zest-it.

This image is a small 4"x6" painting on W&N canvasboard. The sky is a graded blend using a large watercolour brush and the land was done with a painting knife. I did it for no other reason than to enjoy the buttery feel of good quality oil paint.