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Showing posts from August, 2011

work in progress, oil on canvas: Birch trees and snow, update 1

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 Detail 1
detail 2 progress so far ....
Still a little way to go but here is a quick update.  I'm waiting for the paint to dry before working on it further.

You can see a bit of pentimenti* - the copper shape shining through in the trees at the back - some will remain but the unnatural shapes, like the circle and almost triangle,  will be lost/adjusted in subsequent layers and glazes.

*Isn't that a nice word for an altered underpainting showing through?

Birch trees and snow, oil on canvas, work in progress

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oil on canvas 16x20inches
I've struggled to find painting time recently - but this is the start of a new canvas, one of a series along with this one in the previous post here, this one, and others if you search under the tag 'trees'  .

It is done over a still life painting that I didn't like with a lot of blues in it and some copper - the paint is very thinly scumbled in places, allowing the colours to come through and become part of this work.   Sometimes I really like working over an old canvas because of the things that happen, the colours that come through - sometimes shining through thin layers of paint and sometimes fragments, flickering through overlaid colour.

I had the previous sketch


propped up - but as always, the painting took on a life of its own.  Both are purely from memories of snow and trees and shining water and quick sketches done plein air.  Using the colour of the underlyng painting changed the feel entirely and the water somehow crept in there :&g…

using collage cut from old paintings and trying out Daniel Smith paint

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Winter, Misty Day. watercolour and mixed media 9x6ins approx
What to do with failed paintings?   cut them up .......... and re-use pieces, playing with ideas for future work.

These pieces for the trees were cut from wider trees in a painting I decided was a write off - a what-on-earth-was-I-doing? piece compositionally.

The birches were subtle colours and I thought it would be interesting to keep the background in greyscale to bring out the colours but keep the whole piece very low key.

They were done in a mix of media - Winsor & Newton artists watercolours, a touch of Inktense, some gouache, some coloured pencil. 

Daniel Smith paint

The background was washed in with Daniel Smith's Kyanite to try it out.   I don't generally buy greys, mixing my own, but these are supposed to be single pigment so I thought it might be interesting to look at.   I bought just the one  tube of DS to see what I thought of the brand.  Verdict: It's nice paint- but not special enough to pay t…

What size to work? working to standard sizes, or not; winter and autumn trees in oil and watercolour

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Early Winter Woods, oil on deep sided canvas, approx 24 ins wide, old painting
Do you always stick to a standard size for work to enable easy framing?  or do you allow the subject to dictate the format?

For me there is no question.   The subject dictates the format.     I tend to find the standard sizes are frequently not right for me.  I enjoy working on long thin formats, vertical or horizontal, square, just off square - all sorts.

OK it involves custom framing if they are on paper, or making my own canvasses up if on canvas.  Use the same framer regularly and the they will usually do you a competitive price - mine does, so the extra cost is minimal.

I don't frame canvasses, I use deep sided gallery wrap, paint the sides neatly and that's that.  

Winter trees, oil on deep canvas,  I no longer have it but it was 30/36 inches tall
My husband made up the stretchers for these long thin canvasses for me - B&Q cut the timber to the sizes I wanted when I bought it.   I had a va…

The Postcard Exchange

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The envelope from Ronelle Van Wyk
These exuberant, lyrical, expressive - so alive - sunflowers brightened a bad day enormously :>)



and the cards received so far.

This exchange has been so much fun - and it still has a long way to run :>)

You can see all the cards in the exchange so far,  here at Postcards from my Walk.

and now for something completely different - illustration: a birthday party invitation for emailing

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My daughter rang me this morning - no pressure - she said.  But could I do a party invitation for her to email for Sam's 4th birthday party, to send to friends mums - by tonight please?

So here it is - no time for thinking around or reworking.

The drawing is in coloured pencil and the writing was done in Photoshop, a line at a time so I could position it closely.

There is a bit more below this with the venue, date, time and RSVP stuff.

He is going as Batman - evidently :>) )

 So tomorrow I'm hoping to PAINT.

how to draw a cat 2: sleeping ginger cat in coloured pencil

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Another drawing of my daughters cat, sleeping this time with her beautiful bushy whiskers curling, fur glowing in the sunlight.

Again in the A4 moleskine folio sketchbook, done with a mix of Lyra and Polychromos pencils. 

This one is much closer up, so the fluffy, overlapping texture of the fur shows much more with lots of drawing back in with the Jakar eraser for the pale over dark sections and the whiskers.

I deliberately gave the background a mauve/blue haze of colour to cool down all those warm glowing colours and offset them.

detail of details drawn back in with the Jakar eraser
You can see the layers of colour in this detail and the lines drawn back in with the Jakar eraser, clean back to the cream moleskine paper.

How to draw a cat: Ginger cat in coloured pencil - close ups and thoughts on the process, technique, what it was essential to consider

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 Details of the cat in the last post

So how did I work?

My little Jakar battery eraser was essential for drawing back through the colour for those whiskers, adding highlights to the eyes and creating light fur over shaded areas or darker stripes.  It's such a brilliant drawing tool.   Coloured pencil on moleskine paper erases really cleanly and I think is my favourite surface for using them alone, rather than in a mixed media piece.   I also like warm cream paper.

I rarely erase as in correcting and didn't at all here - the first marks are faint, were in orange and were assimilated into the final result.    That gives plenty of time to move things a little before going in with more colour and more detail, knowing you are happy with where it's positioned.

It's so important to understand the layers of the fur and the direction - the skeleton and muscles beneath the fur, causing those shapes and changes of fur direction.  The brow and mouth must be parallel so that the ca…

Ginger cat in coloured pencil

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Coloured pencil in A4 moleskine sketchbook
This one is a present for my daughter.   In memory of her much loved cat who sadly is no more.

She was beautiful with eyes that appeared really blue against her fur, very unusual.


It isn't quite finished - I don't know whether to include her collar or not - have I got enough information on how her fur falls round her neck to leave it out?  decisions decisions ........

people sketching

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Lots of hospital in my life at the moment so drawing and painting has slowed down a bit.