Self Portrait in coloured pencil

Monday, 16 November 2015

Sheila's Eye

Portrait of Sheila's Eye 
I did this Conté of a mare's eye on Canson Mi Teintes paper for my own pleasure. 
Although one thinks of Conté as being a drawing medium, I think of myself as painting with it. 
I would very much appreciate comments from anyone with knowledge of horses to tell me where I have made errors with the anatomy. I must have made some errors. It is impossible to be perfect. For example, is her hair growing in the correct directions? I had to work from photos and, as she is nearly black, it was hard to see the details. 
One thing that isn't the same as the photograph, is the reflection in her eye. I would have loved to show a meadow but the reflection showed a car park (well two cars anyway). 
I hope to have an opportunity to do another horse's eye but next time with a nice decorative reflection. 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015


Horsechestnut Flowers 

I have been working hard daily on a portrait commission for a few weeks now. But in the evenings I have been doing miniatures on the theme of the horsechestnut tree. 

You will rarely see me without a pen or a pencil near to hand. 

I am sad that there is a disease in British horsechestnut trees and dead ones won't be replanted because they are not native to Britain but to a small area in the Balkans. 

However conkers are so much part of the culture of British children that I and a like-minded friend think that it would be so sad that we are growing our own. And I decided to honour the horsechestnut tree by recording it through the seasons. 

I found a frame that holds eight miniatures and I am filling it with horsechestnut miniatures to give to my friend. I will give it to her after the Craft Fair but not before as I am going to put it on display and sell home made bookmarks of my horsechestnut drawings. The Craft Fair will be at St Laurence's Church and it is in aid of the restoration fund. Should I ask a price for the bookmarks or should I take a money box and ask for donations?

Above is one of my drawings. It is the flowers of the horsechestnut tree. I did it in Caran d'Ache Luminance coloured pencils. 

It will be a while before I add these drawings to my website. I didn't back up my website file and my computer died so I lost it. I will have to start again from scratch. I have not got time to do it until after the Craft Fair because I am busy working on that. I think I will make new buttons and title bar too. I expect you will recognise it. My self portrait will still be on the first page. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

A new Wolf

I enjoy drawing wolves. They are much easier than members of the cat family because their fur is coarser. I don't know if it is really coarser. Perhaps I should compare my dogs' hair with my cats' hair under a microscope. But I can certainly get away with a rougher drawing when I do a wolf. 
This is a 6x4 inch pen and ink drawing. The tongue and eyes are coloured using Caran d'Ache Luminance coloured pencils which are lightfast. 
I am now taking a break from pen and inks to finish a series of coloured pencil studies of the horse chestnut tree through the year. I started the series last year and I have a deadline of the 23rd of October when I want to display the group of drawings at a Craft Fair I am taking part in. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

A quick update

I am still working hard on the portrait of a young man that I mentioned last time. It is taking time because it is a miniature and I have to keep taking breaks to refresh my eyes and make sure I have each feature in the right place and size correct to 0.33 mm, before I do the next bit. 
This cougar, in pen and ink with pencil shading and touches of coloured pencil, is the same size as the young man but of course it is not a portrait of a particular cougar so the accuracy doesn't matter so much! It was quick and relaxing to draw. 
I have been having fun today learning about sampling algorithms. I wanted to know the best way to change a tiff to a jpeg. I have so many options! I went for Lanczos 3 separable. I have the vaguest idea of what it means but I saved the cougar in three different types of sampling and decided that this looked best. That is the visual artist's method! I am concerned about it because the application I am using, uses these sampling types for printing and I have been struggling to get a good print of the horse's head I posted last time. 

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Dufton Art in the Hills exhibition

I entered four artworks into the Dufton Art in the Hills exhibition. 
One was my self portrait which I did last year. I wanted to show off how good I am at getting a good likeness so it was important for me to go to the private view. 
While I was there, my pen and ink of a Wolf was sold. It is the first time I have ever had a red sold spot next to one of my artworks at an exhibition. It was nice to meet the lady who had liked my drawing enough to buy it. 
The other drawings were pen and ink with touches of coloured pencil too.
The man in the next drawing is my son. He has a little bit of coloured pencil to tint his face. I have found an even better reference photo of him talking to his horse so I plan to do one from that one day. 
The only touch of colour in the mare's head at the bottom is her eye. 
I have to have a break from pen and inks because I have an important portrait to do which I am keeping private.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Arabian Mare

Arabian Mare in pen and ink with coloured pencil 
Here is the mother of the Arabian foal. I think it was shortly before she gave birth. 
It is drawn in pen and ink as before, with coloured pencil enhancement. The size is 4x6 inches. 
I am pleased with this one. I learned a lot while drawing the foal and I was able to avoid the mistakes I had made. 
There is something so beautiful about Arabian horses. I have another drawing to do of the mare with her foal which is so cute. 
I am looking forward to drawing it but currently I am excited about another horse I am going to draw who has such an expression as she looks at her human. I want to show it to the world and that is the true meaning of my art: to show the wonderful value of love and trust, to the world. 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

A Pen and Ink of an Arabian Foal

Arabian Foal in pen and ink
Arabian foal 

Small, 4 x 6 inches, pen and ink drawing with coloured pencil embellishment. 
This is my first attempt at a pen and ink horse. I have drawn and painted horses and studied horse anatomy but this is my first foal. Isn't she cute!

I use a Copic Multiliner pen with a 0.03 nib which is the smallest nib I have found other than the Rotring. I have had Rotrings and they have blocked up quickly. To make the lines thinner and lighter, once I have finished shading, I soften pen lines with an eraser, but it is important to do that before the ink dries completely. The ink must be nearly dry or it will smudge. This would not work on absorbent paper. I draw on a polyester surface.
I am not sure what happened here. It may have been unusually dry weather or just that I left the drawing too long before getting out my erasers, but the lines, especially on the legs, would not soften and they are stronger than I would wish. 
I am being very careful to soften lines in good time in subsequent drawings. (I have just finished a drawing of her mother which I will scan soon.)

Sunday, 3 May 2015

A Tiger Enjoying Water

Swimming Tiger 

Here is another of my pen and ink drawings with coloured pencil background. 
I was supposed to be concentrating on pen and ink drawings of horses, but I had already started on this drawing of a tiger and I couldn't resist finishing it. 
I am still learning how to do pen and inks in the 6 x 4 inch format. I have probably got too much colour in the background here. 
I use an eraser to soften the pen marks. It can make them lighter and/or thinner and makes the drawing more subtle. Here I let the drawing dry too long and I couldn't delete the excess ink. 
I know I am telling you all too much about what is wrong with this drawing. I should pretend that it is exactly how I planned. But that is not my character. 
The original does look much better than this scan. Scans exaggerate the black pen marks. 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

A lynx kitten emerging from a den under a tree

I had already done a pen and ink drawing of the lynx kitten with a fern. That one was the size of a playing card so I drew this version at 6 x 4 inches. At this size pen marks look more delicate and I have room to add more colours and details. 
I delivered this drawing and two others to the new gallery in Penrith. It is the Flying Bacon Café and Gallery. My three drawings are for sale there. 
I have been asked to do more drawings of this style, of subjects such as lions, tigers, wolves and horses. I am going to be busy. 

Saturday, 28 March 2015

New wild cat drawings

Sunny Lynx Kitten 
This is one of the new pen and inks that I have been working on recently. 
I am so pleased with myself for managing to meet my self imposed deadline of three works in three weeks. 
The drawing in pen and ink is drawn on graphic film and the reverse has coloured pencil which shows through.
It is slightly different in style from my ACEOs because it is 6x4 inches. I was able to put more detail in and I had room to apply more colours to the reverse. 
I enjoyed this drawing. It is the third one. I have learned a bit by now. 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Portrait Commission Prize

Remember the Open Day at Nicoll's Dental Practice Penrith on Saturday 28th March

In Aid of the BEEP Fund

The last time I went for a check-up to my lovely dentist I arrived early and sat in the waiting room in the warm puzzling over the above poster. I hadn't heard of the BEEP Fund before, so when I went in the first thing I said was "What is the BEEP fund?" Well, when Mrs Nicoll explained that the Birkbeck Medical Group raises money for equipment that doctors need to take to serious accidents to save lives, I immediately said that I would like to donate a voucher for a portrait commission to be raffled at the open day.
Besides refreshments, lots of free samples and goody bags, there are great raffle prizes donated by patients and staff of the dental practice so don't miss out! I am looking forward to seeing the denture studio (and no I don't have dentures).
For more information phone Nicoll's Dental Practice on 01768 867399

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Tiger miniature


Today I found time to scan the tiger miniature that I drew for my son and daughter-in-law Christmas gift. They saw it when it was unfinished. 
This is one of the ACEOs that I have done in pen and ink on graphic film so I can colour parts of the reverse. I enjoy doing these miniatures. This was the first time I have done a complex colour areas like the tiger stripes. In the past I have added simple colours to the reverse for simple decoration. Working on the stripes in reverse was a challenge. I suppose it was a bit like glass painting. I had to apply the colours backwards from a normal coloured pencil drawing. 
I plan to do some more tiger miniatures and I hope that I remember the lessons I learned from this one.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

New plans

I have been building a new website for myself. I haven't uploaded it yet because I still need to do all the keywords and things. 
After not very careful consideration, I decided to use Blogger for my Artblog. It will make it easy to update. Perhaps I will upload new posts more often than in the past if I use such an easy platform. 
I am not going to delete the posts from my old website yet because I hope to be able to link to them. 

The software I am using to build my new website is Macaw. I like it very much. It produces very clean code and I have achieved exactly the simple look that I want. It makes responsive websites too. 
I hope that as the app evolves I will be able to produce my blog as part of my website. I could do it now but it would be complex to keep it in order as Macaw doesn't have folders yet. I am sure they will eventually. Hint hint!

I have other plans for the future. One is to put together a portfolio of equestrian art. I have been keen on that idea for a long time. Once I have a few more portraits of horses, I will make an equestrian art gallery on my website. For now horses are included in animals. 

My other plan is a very new one!
A new art gallery/coffee shop has opened locally. My friend twisted my arm to speak to the gallery owner. I wasn't expecting anything. It is difficult to exhibit portraits especially as once they are finished they are no longer in my possession.  But I took my iPad in to show my work. He liked the miniatures I have done of wild cats. I do them in pen and ink and then colour parts of the image. 
The trouble is that they are the size of playing cards and I think that is too small for a gallery. And I make them to give as presents to my daughters in law who both love cats. I just have one left which is the one above. 
So I spent the last two days going through my reference photos of tigers, lions,cougars and lynxes. I don't want to do them big. It would be too tedious to do a large pen and ink. So I will do some at 6 x 4 inches and see if the gallery will take them.