Happy Monday world. It is 4am and dark, I have no idea what the weather is like but being California it is 99% guaranteed to be a beautiful sunny day! My coffee is slowly bringing me round after a weekend hauling ten tonnes of flagstone from the front of the house to the back. Which actually means that we lifted twenty tonnes of flagstone because we had to lift it into the dollies and lift it off again. My back feels like it lifted twenty tonnes and I probably only did a third of it, so after my mornings Pilates and a good walk and all the days chores are done, I shall feel especially happy to just relax and draw. I am really enjoying working on the secretary bird, not just because I love the photo so much, but there is a happy background, subject balance that I like as an artist. When my eyes tire of trying to pick out individual feathers I can relax and just work the background. The background will have far more different colors in it when it is completed, but for now I am just getting a good base layer of the one green. So here it is, the latest shot...
I would like to point out on this photo what just one layer of colored pencil looks like. If you look at the right hand corner you can see just one layer of the background green. The left hand side has three layers of the same color. I will probably work six to seven layers of this sane green before I begin to add other shades. Coloured pencil is definitely all about layering. If you ever feel that you are not happy with your work, you probably just need more layers. Just keep going.That is what I will be doing today. So have the happiest of Mondays wherever you are.
Hello world! A very happy Friday to you. It is smelling of spring here. The air is heavy with the scent of citrus, dianthus, rosemary and the occasional skunk! The birds are singing, the Hawks are performing their little mating rituals, I am done with my day's exercise and I get to draw today. I made some progress yesterday. As I thought the feathers on the head are quite complicated. It is time consuming to try and pick out and define them whilst at the same time keeping them pale. This is one of those interesting examples that illustrates that white is rarely white. When you look at the reference photo, at first glance it appears that the feathers are white, as you examine closely you see that a lot of them are actually quite dark grey and taupe colors and very few parts are truly white.
You can see here that I have begun some background work. I tend to work the background at the end of the day when I am tired and I want to do something that requires a lot less concentration. There will be many more layers to build on it. Doing it this way also helps to break up what would otherwise become boring. I know a lot of people are happy to just leave the background with the paper showing. I never feel that a piece is finished if I haven't covered every tiny piece with pencil. I love the sheen and polish that it gives. It does mean that my pieces take a lot longer to work. But one thing I have learned is that taking my time is always worth it. It is horrible to finish a piece and keep looking at it, thinking, 'I wish I had.....', it is so much nicer to finish and think, 'I am glad I did.....'.
So I am off to complete a few more square inches of this piece. Have the best of weekends. We will be shifting ten tonnes of flagstone, which should be fun.
Hello, good morning world. Happy Thursday. To those who say that life is too short to stuff a date, I am telling you - it isn't! We stuffed dates yesterday. Medjool dates, stuffed with coconut and toasted walnuts and tart dried cherries and dipped them in dark chocolate! I know it's odd, but it is the little things in life like that, that make me happy and days are full of little things to be happy about if we only stop to notice.
I am especially happy today because I get to do some more work on my Secretary bird and I have just fallen in love with the photo, from the excellent http://www.wildlifereferencephotos.com/. I know I am going to love a project when the photo excites me and this one definitely does. It took me a strangely long time to draw, so the only real work I managed to do in one day was to start the eye.
Now, I know already that the head feathers are going to drive me crazy! But what a fun bird! I just can't wait to work more on him. That is why I am here writing at 4am. I also think it shows the importance of picking a photo or subject that you truly love. If it doesn't excite you what will motivate you to find the time? And certainly the motivation to put in the love and care to finish a piece well has to come from loving the subject. I think the advice to draw what YOU love, is the best advice. And that is what I am off to do now. Have a wonderful day and find happiness in all the little things.
A very happy Tuesday to the world and Heather Mitchell. Thank you Heather for being the first person to ever post a comment on my blog! Which made my day as I am still finding talking to anyone and no one at the same time very strange.
If you are wondering why I am writing at midday instead of 4am, it is because I am stuck trying to make detail out on my latest piece, which I can't show you until I finish writing about the little Yorkie, who has, you will be delighted to know lost his mad grin! Today I want to tell the world that I love coloured pencils. Truly. Each piece I work on I fall in love with them more. The layers are so beautiful as they build. And I think I said that to someone earlier, the secret to working with them is just to layer upon layer, upon layer. And when you think you are finished add another five layers!
So here is the latest progress shot.....
Only a small portion in the corner to go and final finishing touches. Prints etc. are available now, click below for details.
A very happy Monday morning to the world. It's 4am and I am up as usual drinking coffee and looking forward to continuing my new piece of work. I love colored pencils so much that I get up at 4am so that I can have time for artwork in my day! Truly, I do! Exercise and chores out of the way, I can draw to my hearts content!
And little Yorkie is coming along nicely. I am mainly using Caran D'Ache Luminance for this piece, the unusual colours in their range are perfect for the colours of the fur. And the fur is turning out to eat so many amazing colours! When I look closely at the reference photo I see blues and purples and peaches, really gorgeous. And that unique violet grey colour that Caran D'Ache do that just seems to go into every single picture. And Titanium Buff. I would hate to be without that color. I will have to do a post n favourite colors. Only colored pencil addicts would probably understand it, but some colors are just so exciting!
Anyway, here is the progress shot.......
If the shot looks a little dark it is because I am working on a creamy, beige colored paper. Stonehenge. I would tell you which color it was if I knew. I would like to know. I ordered all the colors to try from dickblick.com, it arrived wonderfully packaged, but no way to id which color was which, so now I have no idea which colors to reorder, which is a bit irritating, so creamy, beige will have to do!
What happened to the leopard I hear you cry? Well the leopard is finished, but I learned a valuable lesson - I need to be more careful about choosing photos for reference. The photo was great, but it didn't translate as well to the finished piece. What looks good blurry in a photo does not necessarily look good blurry on paper. Sometimes blurry on paper looks like you couldn't be bothered to finish it! Well, I finished it and learned my lesson and the finished piece is on my website to view, but I really want to draw another leopard now, with a different angle to the face. It is a hard lesson to learn in colored pencil because of the investment in time. But perhaps hard lessons are the ones that we learn the fastest from!
So, a new day and a new project. I have no dogs on my website and I thought it was time I did. I found a reference photo of the most gorgeous little Yorkshire Terrier over on morguefiles https://www.morguefile.com/. They have lots of beautiful photos free for artists to use and this little dog had eyes that pulled at my heart strings. So here is the beginning .....
So here is another Monday morning and another weekend flown past. The weather was simply beautiful, although it should not have been, it should still be winter. One of the things that I love about working with colored pencils, and the whole creative process really, is that I become absorbed not just in the painting but in thoughts, sometimes of the animals and birds that I am recreating, sometimes in simply reflecting on life and how much there is to learn and the potential to grow as a person.
And so my work progresses slowly, as colored pencil work always does. This is several days work below. I am still refining those wonderful eyes and trying to bring out the fire opal beauty within them. And work on the nose has also begun. The background is gradually becoming darker and the fur is getting more and more layers. I jump about a lot as I work.
To see more of my finished pieces click here