Friday, April 27, 2007

Living on the Edge

I'm lucky enough to have a quite a large garden which is visited by a wide variety of animals and birds.
We buy bird food by the sackful in the winter to stock our feeders, which as well as attracting many birds also attracts the grey squirrels.
I know many people regard these as pests, but we don't have the native red squirrels in my area so I don't need to feel bad about being fond of my grey's.
One female squirrel who I think is feeding young, is particularly tame and feeds right outside my window. She is easy to photograph and after I had taken several nice shots of her I decided it was time to put pencil to paper.
I intend to call this 'Living on the Edge' partly because she is balanced right on the edge of a feeding dish, high above the ground, and partly because they are in conflict with man throughout some of their range.
I need to add here that the collies are much less fond of the squirrels, and tell me in no uncertain terms that I should let them out to play with them. In turn the squirrels have come to recognise the dogs can't reach them and stand there making rude squirrel gestures.

I have recently received some new paper to try. This is Mellotex which comes in various weights and shades of white.
I ordered the 340gms as I like a fairly heavy paper and this is ultra white.
After my Meerkat I am still in graphite mode so decided to continue to use graphite with the addition of Graphitints.
The graphitints are made by Derwent and are watersoluble coloured graphite. They can be used dry to give a hint of colour, or wet if you want a brighter effect.
They are manufactured in 24 colours but not all of them are lightfast so I restrict my use of them to the ones classed as lightfast.

The size will be about 18 x 14 inches and I am using a HB mechanical pencil and graphitints in cool brown, dark indigo and cloud grey.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Feeling Old but Pleased

Well today my eldest son is 18, a milestone for both of us. To think of my baby boy (good job he doesn't read this) as being a young man has just added years onto my official age.

At times over the last couple of years we have wondered if we would make it to today, as we have both faced serious health issues.
But, following major heart surgery my son is hopefully as good as new, and following the completion of treatment for cancer I pray I will be around for a long time to come.
So, although having an 18 year old makes me feel well and truly middle aged, I'm truly grateful that I am here to have those feelings.
Tonight we will be going out for a family meal and celebrating a new phase in all our lives. We are now moving on from computers and car envy, to girls and car owning, which is a whole new worry. He does seem to do things the right way though, as he has recently changed his car but kept his girlfriend.
On the art front, I worked really hard this week and finished both Rio and my Meerkat. I decided for the print of my Meerkat to go with Sepia which I thinks adds a little bit of warmth.
So here are:-
'Puppy Love'
'Sentry Duty' aka 'Does my Bottom Look Big in This' original
'Sentry Duty' print

I am going to start a squirrel in graphitint later today, (before the celebratory wine) so will share my progress with you.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Does My Bottom Look Big in This?

I was showing the progress of my Meerkat to my cyber chums, and my friend and fellow artist Katherine Tyrell came up with this title "Does My Bottom Look Big in This?". I have to say that looking at his pose it fits him really well. So it is now adopted as the official working title.

For all things art have a look at Katherine's blog, Making a Mark

Anyway here is the progress of my Meerkat.

And a close up.

I've been giving Roxy some individual attention lately as she was starting to rely on Rio to protect her from everything and anything. So we've been going on walks in the early mornings or evenings without the other dogs.

One evening we saw a stoat, it ran up and down the top of the wall next to us and then played hide and seek peeping in and out of the stones. Unfortunately my interest was much greater than Roxy's who watched for about two minutes and then decided to act like the stoat. She hurled herself about at the end of her lead until we were both tied in knots and the stoat had got bored and continued on its way.

Here are a couple of views from the 'stoat walk' including Roxy with Roma in the background.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Rio in Repose

I'm having a break from graphite, so my Meerkat is waiting in the wings.
This is Rio at four months, just after the splint was removed from his jaw, his expression says it all.
It is coloured pencil on sand coloured Ingres paper, about 14 x 12 inches.
I am working much faster than usual, not aiming for as many layers, but to capture his expression. The last scan represents about 3 hours work.