Monday, February 27, 2006

Struggling with Juno in Oil.

I have decided that before I paint the Jorja family I would try an oil painting of Juno. I have never painted in oil before, although I have tried acrylic.
I'm using the photograph from the previous post and a 18 x 14 inch canvas panel.
The first step was to draw Juno on the panel using a HB mechanical pencil. I have drawn my own dogs so often, that this stage was fairly easy.

I then toned the canvas using a mix of raw and burnt sienna in acrylic. I chose the colours to achieve a mid tone into which I could work the lighter and darker tones and used acrylic because of its shorter drying time.

You can see here that I have slipped back into drawing rather than painting, I find it really difficult to give up the tight control I like.

A couple of friends whose opinions I greatly respect advised me that the first stage should be the blocking in of the main shapes so in the next stage I tried that.

The colours of the undercoat aren't yet right but I can correct in later layers.

As Juno has plenty of strands of fur round his head I decided that I should do the background next, in order to give it time to dry before I work the fur.

I used three colours, sap green, burnt umber and cadmium yellow medium.

I am using the Artisan water mixable oils, because the dogs are often in the room with me when I work and I didn't want them breathing in the fumes..

I was amazed at the ease with which I could create a background giving a suggestion of foliage. I found acrylics difficult to use because of their drying time, these oils were pure delight.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Jorja Family take the Lead.

Actually, they all walk very nicely on the lead coming back from the fields, not so good when they're going.
That has nothing at all to do with this post though. My next work is going to be 'The Collie Club' and it stars the Jorja family, Roma as a puppy, Juno as an adolescent and Jorja as an adult.
After playing around with some of my photographs I came up with the following arrangement.

Please note the lighting is not consistant, and the proportions are wrong but it gives an idea what I am aiming for.

I am going to use a full sheet of Fabriano Artistico, Bright White, Hot Press Watercolour paper. I usually use Arches but wanted a paper that was white rather than cream as I will not be putting in a full background.
The size will end up approximately 20 x 16 inches.

I have not yet decided if this will be completed in graphite or colour but by the time I have done the drawing I will hopefully have made up my mind.

The photograph of Juno was taken last year at Windsor Championship Dog show, he had just won the minor puppy dog class and was looking pleased with himself.
Jorja was posing for a biscuit in the garden and Roma was sitting in her basket in the conservatory, no doubt also hoping for a biscuit for looking pretty.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

New Prints

I managed to finish all my work on time and after a hectic day my three new prints are available
'Siberian Spirit' ,

'Persian Pride'

The printer had the most trouble in doing the set-up for the Persian. It was retaining the touch of colour in the eyes and the mid tones in the graphite that proved difficult. This is something for me to remember if I decide to use the same technique again.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Panic Among the Pencils

I am taking a couple of my originals to the printers on Thursday to have giclee prints made and as usual I am at the last minute. Neither piece is completed, and the dogs are getting concerned that normal services have been interrupted. Clinton is asleep under my drafting table and Saska is asleep on my feet, but the younger three are eyeballing me from the kitchen waiting for a sign that I am putting the pencil down. Sorry dogs, not for a while yet.
This is one of the pieces I'm working on, a Siberian Husky drawn in graphite on Arches Hot Press Watercolour paper.
I am struggling to get the detail in the white areas of the fur without overworking it. The right ear (as you look at the dog) has also given me trouble, so I will return to it when I get everything else sorted out.
I started with the eyes as always, as I feel if they are not alive looking, then the drawing will fail, no matter how good the rest of it is.
One area I enjoyed working on is the mouth area as I have a great love of including detail, and I could indulge myself without fear of overworking.
I have now disturbed the dogs by moving across to the computer so it looks like the panic will have to be put on hold while I see to them.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Obedient One

My oldest collie is Pelido Chorus Girl at Glenspey, Saska, who will be nine years old in March. Although she was bought to show in breed classes, she had some fur missing off her nose when we bought her at eight weeks, which never grew , so I decided to do obedience work with her.
Saska loved obedience, but on her own terms, she would work perfectly if there was nothing better to do. But after she left the show ring twice during the 'heel free' to rejoin the rest of her human family I decided to retire her from competitions. I couldn't stand the embarressment even if she could.
We then took up agility which she enjoyed even more, but as I have trouble knowing my right hand from my left we struggled to go round the course in the right order. So, we practiced obedience and agility for fun, and she settled into the role of bossing the other dogs about, and making sure any puppies were trained how she thought best. Sadly, when Jorja arrived, she pretended not to understand Saska's English accent and decided she was head of the household. In order to prevent continuing conflict we reinforced Jorja's position and Sassie moved down the pack.
Saska is now content to join Clinton as he follows me round the house. The two of them are watching me typing waiting for something more exciting to happen.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

More of the Furry Family

The next to be introduced is Glenspey Highland Minstrel, Clinton to his many friends. Clinton was only 3.5 ounces when he was born, so to enable him to survive I had to give him glucose and water every half hour for 48 hours. He always had the will to live and fought to feed even when his mouth was too small to fit on the teat. Because of the weeks of hand rearing he grew into my shadow, we are only apart when absolutely necessary. You can see his laughing look on his face during one of his holidays to Scotland.
His favourite occupation is playing with his many toys, or, trying to get me to play with his toys

Friday, February 17, 2006

Introducing the Canine Family.

Before moving onto art, I thought I'd better introduce the furry family. We have five rough collies living with us, all with completely different temperaments but all have the same tendency for dropping fur everywhere you least want it. They see it as a way of helping in the process of creating art.
First we have Glenspey Highland Dusk, or Juno
to his friends.
He is seven months in the photo, but he's now a much more grown up 16 months. He's going to a big dog show tomorrow, Midland Collie Club Championship show for anybody interested, and might pose for a more up to date photograph if he does well.
Juno is the most laid back of dogs, totally unlike his madcap sister Roma, who I will be introducing next. His favourite thing is trying to sit on your knee during the production of new art work, he can be very critical when he chooses.
As a show dog he made a great start, he has three Best Puppy Dog's to his credit, all gained at Championship shows whilst he was a minor puppy. As a family pet he is the ideal companion, Juno loves everybody and everything, except on the odd occasion the other male dog in the family, Clinton, usually if girls or food are about.
Next is Juno's sister, Glenspey Highland Dawn, or Roma,
she is also known by a number of less complimentary
names which reflect her extrovert character. Roma is five months old in the photograph and you can see a typical 'waiting for mischief' Roma look..Never having stood still again, she has no recent photographs. When I catch her asleep I'll show you what she looks like now.
Roma doesn't really like the showring, she prefers to stay at home and help with the gardening. However I might be pursuading her to accompany Juno and her mum Jorja to some shows this Summer as she has matured into a pretty young lady.
She is the star of the graphite drawing 'Roma' that I did when she was just a little older than in the photograph. She also stars in my pastel work 'Why Me' which can be seen on my website.
Next in age is Juno and Roma's mum,
Uptown-Girl Des Beldones at Glenspey
or Jorja to her friends.
Jorja was born in France and pretends not to
understand English when it suits her.
This is a new journal to share the progress of my art work as I struggle to capture each animals unique essence .

It will also follow the daily life of my own Rough Collies as they are an integral part of my artwork.