Friday, June 23, 2006

Dianna Ponting Workshop

I have just attended the workshop that Canadian artist Dianna Ponting held in Lancashire, UK.
Dianna is a lovely lady and a wonderful artist, I thoroughly enjoyed my two days.
We were using pastels and Dianna had brought lots of her own for us to try out. I was particularly impressed with the Holbeins and the Terry Ludwig darks, although I still have a real fondness for Unison. I like Schminke and Sennelier but find them both very soft and only useful in the final layers.
I was working on Royal Sovereign pastel card in Raw Sienna, which is quite harsh and retains plenty of pigment.
On the first day we all worked from the same photo, but on the second we moved onto our own projects.
I was going to work on my friends Norwegian Forest Cat, but forgot to take the photo, so I used one of my own photo's of a mother and baby Ring Tailed Lemur.
I didn't get a lot done, but pastel moves much faster than coloured pencil so I hope to finish it over the weekend.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Drive-ing Me Mad

Another week of chaos in the Mason house, just when we had all recovered from the kitchen rebirth, the builders came to block pave the driveway. I have to say that these two guys are excellent, they come early in the morning, only require their cups to be refilled and tidy up every evening. However once the original drive was dug up, and the steps removed we were left with a two foot drop to ground level. No problem, until you remember that I've torn my calf muscle and can only move my leg a fraction in any direction. My two sons continued to hurtle out the door, dropping to earth with a thud, they even continued when the newly laid cement was drying waiting for the block paving to be added to the two semi-circular steps. They suggested I blame the four huge footprints on cats when the builders queried them the morning after.
We also can't walk on the paving that is already down until the silicon sand has been added, but you try explaining to my dogs that they have to walk down a strip 4 inches wide when they can see terra firma all around.
I think the paving has been re started three times now and I can see the £ signs shooting upwards.
Five days later and the paving is creeping nearer the door, sons and dogs are banned from leaving the house in case they move it yet again. Clinton is looking at the lounge window wondering if it is open wide enough to fit a Collie through, guess what's underneath it, correct, unsealed block paving, I think I'll close the window.

In the midst of chaos I have managed to continue with Gabby, Norwegian Foresat Cat 3. I have added some pines, a bit of grass and started underpainting a path for her dainty feet. Pity my sons and dogs haven't got feet that size, less reworking of the drive would have been needed. That has reminded me that one of the neighbourhood cats used the level, packed sand as a litter tray.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Grass is Always Greener

My torn muscle has kept me away from the computer for a while as I need to keep my leg elevated, so my blog has suffered, but the swelling is a little better today so I'm back.

There is a double meaning to today's title, on the one hand it is the working title of a wildlife work in progress, on the other it refers to someone 'borrowing' my name and art.

Last week I was alerted to the fact that 8 of my images had been posted on DeviantArt by someone using my name. I was upset, more by the use of my name than my art, as I fully accept there was no intention to sell my work, just use it to get attention.
I was also, to put it mildly, simply furious and emailed several online friends to tell them what had happened. The instant support I got from my friends in the on line art community was wonderful and helped me through a difficult few hours. Several people posted comments on DA identifying the artwork as belonging to me, and my great friend Katherine Tyrrell highlighted my problem in her blog, see
I complained to DA, and have to commend them for the almost instant response to my email, they removed my artwork and banned the person who had posted it.
End of story, well almost, I'm still unhappy that this person used my name and have to wonder why they didn't create their own artwork to share, perhaps the 'grass is always greener' It did make me wonder if I should continue to post my work online, but I decided the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Back to my artwork, this is a coloured pencil portrait of four Zebra, three looking one way, one the other, hence 'the grass is always greener'
It is on Arches hot press watercolour paper and is approximately 16 x 8 inches. I wanted to do something a little bit different rather than just a Zebra portrait.
My focus will hopefully be on the Zebra facing the viewer, but it might be a while before I get there, the stripes tend to form one blurry mass when I've worked on them for a while.
I'm creating the black by layering the following Prismacolour pencils, Cloud Blue, Deco Orange, Light Blue, Pumpkin Orange, Grape, Indigo Blue then Polychromos Soft Black. I am burnishing some areas with the Cloud Blue. The white is mainly Derwent Signature, Rutile White which I use a lot as it it is a thick creamy white when layered heavily.