Self Portrait in coloured pencil

Friday, 28 December 2018

Work in Progress: Young Wolf

Work in Progress: Young Wolf

It is a long time since I took the photos of this young wolf. He was 6 months old at the time and absolutely delightful. I started his portrait in pastel at the time but then post polio syndrome hit me and I wasn’t able to continue. It was a few years before I recovered sufficiently to take up drawing again. 
But I have always wanted to do this portrait and have started a couple of attempts at it. Now I am determined to draw him at last. 
I am drawing him in mechanical pencil on graphic film as part of a series for an exhibition. As these drawings are small, I can draw sitting on the sofa of an evening. The only extra equipment that I need is something to quickly protect the current drawing from any cat who suddenly decides that they want to jump onto my lap. I bought a pad in a plastic folder that has 5 extra pockets to hold future drawings ready set up. 
I started this drawing a while ago. I had been using a 4B clutch pencil and, now that I have picked it up again, I see that I had made it too dark. So I have been working hard with putty rubber and the Tombow MONO zero eraser and I am happy now with the ear on the left and nearly happy with the top of his head. I drew Jasper’s portrait mainly with a 0.3 2B mechanical pencil and a 0.3 2H mechanical pencil on the “white” areas, so I am blending in the erased areas of this wolf portrait with the 0.3 2H mechanical pencil. 

The portrait of Jasper is finished but I haven’t scanned it yet. 

My last blog showed a photo of my dreadful tiling. I spent Christmas, with much appreciated help from my son, building a kitchen unit and moving furniture upstairs and downstairs. My kitchen is already working better for me though there are still problems to solve. One is the door to the unit. I found the door took up too much room when it was open and also I had trouble with the hinges. I am thinking of sawing the door in half vertically and hinging it so it will be a bifold door. 
The point of the unit is to hold the cat litter trays away from the dogs. The cats are happy with it so that is promising. The top shelf is holding the cat food and a spare bag of cat litter so it is looking promising. 

It would have been nice to start the New Year with everything organised. But it is much easier to cook my dinner in there and that is great. I was so tired of living on sandwiches!

And you can’t see how bad the tiling is. 
(See Fliss in the cardboard box rather than one of the beds! Typical cat.)

Friday, 21 December 2018

Jasper as a Puppy

Jasper as a Puppy

I have been drawing Jasper from an old photo that I took when he was a puppy. He is still as cute!
I am drawing in pencil on graphic film. I use a mechanical pencil with a 0.3 mm 2B lead so I don’t have to spend all my time sharpening a pencil. The lead that I am enjoying using these days is Uni Nano Dia Lead. It has nano-diamonds in it which make it very smooth to draw with. 
I also spend a lot of time using erasers, both kneadable ones and the Tombow MONO eraser which is a retractable eraser that is only 2.3 mms at the business end. Between the fine pencil and the small erasers I can make delicate pencil marks to suggest puppy fur. 
So far I have spent 5 hours on this portrait. Small drawings are not as quick as you might think. 

As well as drawing most days, I have been getting on with the plan for my kitchen alcove. I was expecting to start tiling last Sunday but I had to scrub a patch of black mould and leave it to dry. I didn’t want black mould trapped behind my tiles. So I did the tiling yesterday. The walls are so uneven that I am not worrying about how bad the tiling looks. Most of it will be hidden behind the unit anyway. I am capable of doing decent if not perfect tiling, but I would have had to replaster first to get the walls flat, and I don’t want to lose the time. The whole point of this is to make my kitchen more efficient so I can spend more time drawing and painting. 
The walls are uneven because this house was built back in the 1870s using sandstone from the local quarry. It is poor quality sandstone with lots of inclusions. I think it is referred to as pudding stone. The general effect is that the walls are built of rubble. There are a couple of internal walls made of lath and plaster with horsehair in it. There are the remnants of the old gas lighting if you do a bit of archaeology under the old plaster! 
So here is a photo of the alcove this morning. I have done grouting since, so it looks worse (until I clean it off).

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Busy Organising

Busy Organising 

This week I collected 2 of my “portraits” from the framers. 
Didn’t he do a wonderful job!? 
On the left is Jasper’s Eye which is a scraperboard. I did it from a kind of selfie. I was sitting on the floor and Jasper was behind me looking over my shoulder. The miniature on the right is a portrait in acrylics on ivorine which is an artificial ivory that isn’t made any more. I have had the two artworks for years because I couldn’t think of the best way to frame them but I knew that Adrian could do it. I have written about him before. If you live in this part of the world check him out:
Adrian Brunskill at Your Life as Art, 13/14 Devonshire Arcade, Penrith, CA11 7SX, telephone 07712569787 

The other thing that I have been busy with - well my iPad broke where the cable plugs in to charge it. Luckily it was charged at 80% when I discovered the problem, so I turned it off and ordered a new one. It was a while before the new one arrived and then I had to spend many hours transferring information to the new iPad. Of course I wasn’t backed up! (I am now except for photos which I always transferred to my laptop.) It took me until today to be set up sufficiently to catch up with my blog - I have an app that makes it easier. 

Finally I have been wishing to make improvements to my kitchen for months but it was quite recently that inspiration struck me. Then I had to work out a plan for the project. The first job was to pull out some drawers and shelves from the alcove. It had been stuck in with expanding foam because I had been getting cooking smells from next door. This is an old house built about 1870 and there are a few cracks. First I tried to use chisel and a knife to cut through the foam but it didn’t work so I had to use a 24 inch saw. That worked. 
I am going to tile the alcove and then I am going to build the corner base unit I bought. I am going to use it to house the cat litter trays so the saw is going to come in handy to cut cat sized holes. One will be in the blank face, and the other one in the door. The alcove is only 75cms wide so there should be space for a slim cat to get in and out. And there will be the hole in the door. 
I will publish an update when the base unit is in place. It won’t be finished then as the work surface is currently acting as a desk in my bedroom and I am waiting for my son to visit and bring it downstairs for me. The desk now in the kitchen will go in my bedroom. 

Here is a photo of how half my kitchen looked this morning. I think that the easel will go upstairs to my bedroom with the desk.