Thursday, May 31, 2007

A very wet Bath

I know, I know, you would expect a bath to be wet, but this was Bath with a capital B. We were showing Juno and Roxie at Bath Championship show last Sunday and it rained for the whole 500 mile round trip and the entire time we were at the show.
The ring was under cover which was fine, but to get there entailed a hike through the mud.

Now I used to think Juno bounded about when he first arrived at a show, but Roxie is in a different league entirely.
Here she is on being released from the car, can you imagine how much mud she spreads over everything. We are thinking of tying her in a sheet at the next wet show, in fact I'm thinking of showing her tied in a sheet. At least then, the judge wouldn't actually be able to see how little of her was touching the ground at any one time. I'm sure judges sometimes wonder if she actually has four legs.

The ring itself had very long grass at the edges and as Juno was in a big class we spent quite a long time stood in it. Juno became convinced that there were 'things' moving about down there. He was so fascinated that he could not be convinced that he ought to have his nose up and tail down, so he moved with his nose down and tail up. The beautiful Briard bitch in the next ring also contributed to his tail carriage, he might have impressed her but sadly didn't do the same for our judge.

Roxie did better and gained a place in her class, but she was also interested in what might be hiding in the grass. She thought there might be snakes, and used that as her excuse for only having one leg on the ground at a time.

Please all cross your fingers for better weather next weekend!

Now to share progress on my cat, it is going well although I still need to make the fur a little more apricot, it is a bit harsh in some places yet.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

House Paint help with my New Cat

I still haven't really tried out my new Derwent tinted charcoal pencils because I've started a new Norwegian Forest Cat portrait.
I'm going to be at a Championship cat show in July (more later) and want to show potential clients what a commission could look like.
The breeds at the show will be Norwegian Forest, Maine Coon and Birman.
As most of my own photographs are of NFC's that is what I'm starting with.

I've decided to offer two main sizes for commissions as I'm going to use pastelbord, 11 x 14 inches and 12 x 16 inches.
This is 12 x 16 and will be in coloured pencil, I will use solvent in the later stages.
The cat belongs to John and Caroline Tipper of the Tiganlea Norwegian Forest Cats.

I have only done the eye up to now so to make this post more interesting I thought I'd share my method of looking for the local colours in my reference.
This is where the house paint help comes in. I don't use the paint just the paint sample cards.

I have realised just how much the eye can deceive when trying to decide which pencil or paint to use for the local colour. To try to be more accurate I have used various methods to establish the colour. I will only share one of these, as the others are even sillier than this one.

While drawing a Rough Collie in pastel I have been known to take the painting and hold my own Collies fur against the board. Now nice tempered though my dogs are, this does not come on their list of 'what shall we do today'. They usually struggle which results in the said fur being left all over the painting. All I will say in conclusion is be very careful how you try to remove dog fur from pastel.

However on a recent visit to the local DIY store I spotted the answer to all my problems. There, sitting quietly in a display cabinet was a rainbow of colours, the paint sample cards.

I released several of these into my custody, then went back and obtained several more. The samples are free and looking at the amount thrown onto the floor the ones I took had moved onto a better life.

They are perfect, I punched a hole in the side of each colour and now I can place the little strip over whatever reference I'm using. This can be a photograph, or my dogs or the grass outside, the possibilities are endless.

Here are a few of the ones I've been using to look at the colours in this cat.

So, that's how house paint can help in the creation of your next painting.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Finished at Last

I got the horse finished at last and sent on its sea voyage. I was really pleased with how well the varnishing turned out. I used a silk rather than gloss varnish and liked the slightly dull finish.

The grey squirrel hasn't been back to visit for a few days so I was pleased to see two of the young yesterday. One was really athletic and ran up and down our two silver birches, jumping easily from one to the other. The other plodded up the tree realised the gap was too wide for a jump and sort of slithered back to ground level, crept across the lawn pretending it wasn't really there and struggled up the other tree. Obviously tired it then sat there for the next hour while it's sibling played at teasing the dogs, running about and stopping frequently to swear at them. I could see that it's mother had taught it well.

I have bought some of the new Derwent tinted graphite pencils so will hopefully be able to share with you what they are like to use.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Just Horsing Around

Sorry I haven't been updating on a regular basis, life got in the way. I am going to try to update at least every other day with something, even if it is a photograph rather than artwork.

The dogs are all as mad as ever, although over the last couple of months we have noticed Saska is really showing signs of old age. On wakening from a deep sleep she often doesn't recognise us for a couple of seconds and does her best guard dog routine. But she still enjoys her walks and chasing her ball, sometimes now though she lets one of the others bring it back, she tells us she's training them in the art of retrieve.
Roxy got her first rosette at a Championship show last Sunday, she is starting to look a little bit more mature. Sadly Rio is quite small still and we do wonder if he is going to grow large enough to be shown. He isn't worried though, and likes staying at home with my sons, who spoil him when Roxy is away.

The squirrel has had to be put on one side while I sort out my entries for the Fine Line Artists latest exhibition.
The theme of this show is 'Portals' and it is taking place in June at the Jitterbug Cafe & Roasting Co. in Ontario, Canada.
We have all interpreted 'portal' in a different way which should make for a very interesting exhibition.
For my first one I decided to use portal as being a doorway, in this case a stable door.
Only ever having drawn one horse before I am finding this quite a difficult challenge, however he is looking more horse, and less frog like now.

I am using my Ampersand Pastelbord, it is 30 x 40 cm and is the sand coloured one.
I have used coloured pencil, then Zest it solvent on the background. The solvent really saturates the colour and makes blending very easy.