Sunday, 28 June 2015

STUFF ... A Title I use when I can't think of anything else!!

Well, Mum-in-Law's funeral is tomorrow and I think we're on top of everything - I've ploughed through dozens of photos and enhanced the best of them (some are 80+ years old) so we'll have a slideshow of photos showing throughout the service.   We've worked out an 'order of service' and printed out the schedule with words to the hymns etc ... so we just need to relax tonight ready for the service which is going to be very emotive.

I  have some pictures in a local exhibition and David & I  had to 'steward' at the gallery yesterday between 12 and 3pm.     No sales for me yet, but I've had some wonderful feedback from visitors as I'm the only coloured pencil artist in the exhibition so people are curious about the technique.

Whilst stewarding, I worked on the graphite drawing I started on Thursday of another RAF officer.    This one is Wing Commander of the Squadron Crew I'm portraying (so he's the Boss)!!   It needs more work but I've just emailed to ask for critique so far so I'll know how much tweaking needs to be done

This is where the portrait 'is at' now

They are all going to be head, shoulders and chest portraits as its important to show the RAF 'Wings' and Ribbons in each case ..

They will all be A4 sized, graphite on Mellotex Paper

and a couple of WIP pics along the way

Monday, 22 June 2015


I haven't had much time, or inclination, to draw recently as Mum-in-Law passed away last Sunday so David & I have been busy dealing with all the formalities and the funeral planning. 

I have got another graphite portrait of an RAF Officer on the waiting list but in the meantime, this is something that I've been playing with for a while.

I bought an unusual picture frame secondhand and it needs a drawing with a dark or black setting so it was a toss-up between drawing a bay horse on black paper or this lovely lady on dark grey pastelmat.      My first attempt at getting her skintones right failed horribly and she ended up in the bin.   This is going a little better but still needs more work.  

I photographed this lady and a group of friends during the Burning of the Sardine ceremony on Fuerteventura.   To mark the end of Lent a giant papier mache 'Sardine' is paraded through town followed by 'widows' and mourners dressed in black.   The Parade ends up on the Town beach where a priest gives his blessing and then the 'sardine' is set alight - all followed by beautiful fireworks and music.     

Coloured pencil on Dark Grey Pastelmat:

This is where I've got to so far.   She was holding a bouquet of artificial flowers/feathers in my ref photo.    It was a complicated arrangement so I'm kind of making this up as I go

The photos aren't wonderful as my camera has emphasized the whites/highlights but I'll worry about getting a better shot when she's finished.

and a couple of progress photos along the way

This shows the blues mauves and reds I used to get a deep black background.  Plain black pencil would just look very flat, much better to build up with lots of colours to give it some life.       For her skintones I had to use lots of white pencil under the more usual skintone colours and exaggerate the highlights ... I find the white gradually 'soaks' into Pastelmat so just left it to do its own thing for a couple of days.    I'm using mostly watercolour and Polychromos pencils (oil based rather than wax based) to avoid getting a waxy build up which would need to be fixed to avoid wax-bloom.   I think spraying fixative would muddy the skintones and destroy all the many layers I've used so far.

Monday, 8 June 2015

08/06: The Big Issue ... finished (I think)

OK .... where to start?

Firstly, Grand-daughter No. 2 eventually deigned to arrive in the early hours of Tuesday (just 13 days late) but to add insult to injury she just crossed her legs and refused to 'pee' so Caroline couldn't leave hospital and go home till 9pm the next evening ... methinks this latest arrival has a very strong will of her own!

Sophie (Grand-daughter No. 1) with new arrival, Abigail Katie ....   Sophie doesn't have bad teeth, I think she'd been snacking on chocolate!

Sadly there is no improvement in Mum-in-Law's condition and we continue to visit regularly but she doesn't recognise or interact with us.   She was so looking forward to this latest baby and we hope she will recover enough to enjoy her.

I've been very slow to finish this latest coloured pencil work - the nearer it got to completion, the less I wanted to work on it which was strange as I've quite enjoyed the challenge of all those knitted sections.   Anyway, I'm calling it finished now and will mount and frame it ready to go into a local exhibition being staged by Canterbury Society of Art from 24 June till 7 July at the Horsebridge Art Gallery, Whitstable.  I intend to enter 3 or 4 pictures so just have to decide which ones and make sure they're ready to show.   The rules state that pictures should not have been shown at previous Canterbury Society of Art Exhibitions so I'll be choosing from some of my older pieces.

I keep calling this the 'Big Issue Seller' because that what he is/does ... but am wondering if 'coat of many colours' might be more appropriate as a title?

Monday, 1 June 2015


I've done a little more work on the knitwear this morning but now we have to pick up Grand-daughter from playschool and take her home to (Caroline's house).    We'll probably stay overnight (or longer) as Caroline is in hospital waiting for arrival of Grand-daughter No. 2 who is very comfortable where she is and shows no signs of making an entry to the World yet.     Despite being 12 days overdue now, the hospital staff seem happy to let things go another 48 hours if necessary as the baby is happy and in no distress (unlike Caroline who just wants it over and done with now).

I'm beginning to make sense of his clothing now ... he is wearing an official Big Issue red Gilet which is very faded and torn, revealing some of the jumpers and sweatshirts underneath ... getting there slowly