Monday, February 26, 2007

Beginning, Middle, and another Middle

I don't know if it's the time of year but I cannot settle to finishing a project. I now have four 'in progress'. You have seen two of them, another one is a graphite drawing of a meerkat, but he only has an eye done up to now, so isn't worth meeting yet. The fourth is an acrylic painting on canvas, of yet another cat. You wouldn't believe that I'm actually much more of a dog than cat person.

I decided I wanted to do a painting rather than a drawing for a change, as I do feel that rightly or wrongly, some buyers prefer to purchase a work on canvas. Anyway I wont need to put it under glass it works out.
It is 11 x 14 inches, Liquitex acrylics on canvas and the cat is slightly larger than life.
As always I did the eyes first, bringing them more or less to completion, then started putting in some tones. I have to tell you this is my way of working, I cannot work the whole painting at once as recommended in most 'how to' books.
There is more of the cat than shown in my scans.

Just to show you the latest progress shots of my other projects.

I really will finish these before I start anything else, poor Van Gogh, that means I have to leave you again.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Lazy Days

The weather was nice for a change last weekend so we decided to take the puppies on a different walk.
We live close to Bolton Priory, a ruined Augustinian monastery on the banks of the River Wharfe which always makes for an interesting walk.

On this occasion though, we decided to walk from further down the river at Barden towards the Strid. The Strid is a short stretch of the river where the water is forced into a deep narrow channel, well worth a visit when the river is in spate. It is said to get its name from being a stride wide, but you don't want to try it out as over the years fatalities have occurred there.

This is the view from Barden.

Roxy and Rio enjoyed the different scenery and the many cuddles they got from different passers by.However they had to remain on their leads as they are not yet to be trusted on the recall, and there was stock in the fields.

Rio soon tired of lead walking and closed his eyes pitifully every time we stopped to admire the view or take photographs of the many trees. We decided not to go as far as the Strid as he complained we were making his legs shorter with all the walking, so we turned round and strolled back to the car.

Roxy however remained enthusiastic until the end.

The kitten painting I'm doing is at the stage where I need to look at it for a few days before moving on, I need to make sure I have the background right.

In the meantime I started another drawing of two sleeping cats. This is colored pencil and acrylic on blue pastel paper, round about 10 x 8 inches.

I am pleased with the progress so far, you do have to be aware that the colours are not quite true to life, the scans were not quite right.

Friday, February 16, 2007


I am still struggling to get started with my Van Gogh project for this month although I have taken some photographs of the trees I intend to work on.

Everytime I sit down to start, I find some displacement activity to involve myself with. Most of these activities involve clearing up after two very bored puppies who want to be playing in the garden. It is so wet here though, that they are forced to spend most of their time inside. which leads to trouble with a capital T. Juno is so fed up with them leaping on him that he simply flattens them if they come within reach of his furry paw. Roma has disowned them completely and confided that she would like them adopting. Personally I'm inclined to agree with her.

However in order to do something productive I have done a small series of ACEO's. They are all done with Coloured Pencil, the first two on black colourfix, the third on black pastel card.

The first one is sold, I will be listing the other two on eBay later today.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Water, Water Everywhere

Van Gogh had to be put on hold over the weekend as we had a flood.
A pipe in the cupboard where I keep the dog towels, dog bedding etc decided to explode. Now you probably think this is an exageration, but if I tell you my eldest son was soaked to the skin in about 60 seconds as he tried to stop the deluge will give you an idea of the force of the water.
Of course my husband was out and I couldn't turn the water off. In the time it took for me and Rob to change places, the water was coming through the ceiling, gushing from the light fittings and running down the walls.
To make matters worse I had been in the middle of making a chicken curry for lunch, and never ones to miss an opportunity the pups managed to eat the vegetable skins and half the raw chicken.

Saska and Clinton were horrified at this disruption to their morning and retreated from the chaos to the peace of our bedroom. The other four took up vantage points and helped us, by tripping people up, getting into the water etc.
I think they rather like the idea of having a permanent waterfall in the cupboard.

Drying things out is taking considerably longer than wetting them did, but at least the pups had no side effects from their rather unusual lunch.

I did continue with my kitten, I have darkened the background to make him stand out more but much more work is needed on it yet.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Progress on my New Cat

I went to visit the Spring Fair at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on Tuesday as my Limited Edition Giclee prints were on display there.
The Spring Fair is:
"The UK's largest retail exhibition, twice the size of any UK competitor, and
"The largest showcase of British designed products in the world"
I am represented at the trade shows by the K2 gallery and it looked as if my prints were selling well, so fingers crossed for a successful week.
Back to new work, here are the updates on my latest cat

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Juno and Van Gogh make their Marks

I admit the two things aren't really connected, I just wanted to comment on them both in the same post.
Juno went to his first show of 2007 yesterday, Midland Collie Club Championship show. He behaved perfectly and won his class, Graduate dog for anyone interested. He is still looking slightly immature as he is at the 'teenage' stage, but I was very pleased with him.

This is an earlier photograph, but he had a professional photo shoot yesterday so hopefully there are some nice shots to follow.

Being self taught I intend to use 2007 to have a look at different artists, mainly Old Masters, although I might sneak someone very much still alive in the pot.
The aim is to look at an individual for a month to try to discover more about their working methods, and then see how I can incorporate something from them into my own work. A little touch of informal, formal art education.
This is a project that I am undertaking together with other members of my online artist friends, Fineline Artists .

In January the artist chosen was John Singer Sargent. Although I didn't participate if you are interested in him have a look at the following blogs.
Maggie Stiefvater
Katherine Tyrrell and
Nicole Caulfield.
All these members of the group produced a work based on something they had absorbed from the work of Sargent, all are well worth a read.

For February the artist is Vicent Van Gogh.
The following fineline artists are all taking part in the projects:

My initial research left me feeling unmoved by a lot of his work, I really found it difficult to relate to most of his paintings.

One I found that I really do like is 'Starry Night over the Rhone'

However, during his short career he produced a large number of drawings, and these did inspire me. As my own personal struggle at the moment is with creating realistic backgrounds in my work, I have decided to study Van Gogh's landscape drawings, in particular the ones that include trees.

I want to look at how he created the marks that made his trees look solid and fit into the wider landscape. I also want to keep in mind that a lot of his drawings were preparatory work for his paintings. It was a revalation for me how much preparation Van Gogh did, I always thought his paintings were completely spontaneous. I guess that is the first thing I've learned about him.