Saturday, June 30, 2007

Squirrel, Floods and Photoshop

Anyone living in the UK probably knows about the floods in Yorkshire, we have had so much rain I'm thinking of trading in my car for an ark.
Twice I've been stranded as the trains failed to cope with the wrong sort of water. Which joins the wrong sort of leaves and the wrong sort of snow as reasons for delays and cancellations. However this time I'll forgive British Rail, just.
I check all the dog paws every evening for the first signs of webbing, and even cast sneak looks at the human feet, so far so good, no mutations appearing yet.
As we live on a hill it is easy to trivialise the flooding, but I do feel for all the people whose lives have been turned upside down.

The squirrel is moving slowly forward, but I need to finish her next week so hopefully I will update more frequently.
Finally, I have been practicing my new found skills with photoshop, using layers to create mock ups for possible future projects.
Here are a couple of possibilities, on these the lighting is not consistent and would need working on.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Where I've Been

At the end of last week I attended Mike Sibley's 3 day graphite pencil technique workshop.
Mike is well known worldwide for his graphite drawings of dogs, his drawings are simply stunning. If you're not familiar with his work have a look at his website.

To see his original work was an absolutley jaw dropping experience and demonstrates just how much is lost when viewing images on a computer screen.
Several members on the course were my internet friends from the animal and wildlife forum on the Artpapa site. They were a great bunch of people and I hope we all meet up again some time.
I'm actually going back for a two day course in July where Mike will share some different techniques.

The main thing that I came away with was the ability to see rather than just look, which hopefully then translates into three dimensional rather than two dimensional form.

The setting for the workshop was a beautiful village hall situated in the countryside and by the end of day two we were all studying the trees, walls, even the hens which were wandering about in the most minute detail.
Just in case you wanted to see the hens, here they are.

To illustrate looking rather than seeing, the first exercise we did was to draw four objects from memory, there was much scratching of heads as we tried to remember the key pointers of rock, bark, leaf and feather. We then studied the objects and had another go, everyone's second drawing was much better than the first.

We then spent time looking at negetive drawing. I knew the theory and have even tried this in the past but it all fell into place once I'd watched Mike's various demonstrations.

On the second afternoon and day 3 we all started work on a line drawing Mike handed out. I can honestly say all 12 versions turned out differently, although non of us managed to complete very much.

Here's mine, I do intend to finish it, I'm just not sure when at the moment.

It was a fantastic 3 days, talking art with other like minded individuals and best of all learning from a true master at his craft.

Thank you Mike.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Doing Too Many Things at Once

I seem to have been busy for the last few weeks and fast falling behind on everything. It is not helped by the stress in the household at present, due to two teenage boys sitting very important exams.
My youngest soon wants to be a Doctor and takes his exams very seriously, my eldest son alternates between wanting to be a Pilot or a Formula One driver. I almost have to tie him to his desk to do some work, but at eighteen I have decided he is old enough to know how much work he needs to do. He has been offered a place at two Universities to study Computer Science and already has the grades needed for one University so his dedication to study is not great.
I have done a little work on my squirrel and my cat but I am still working on the large commission. I can't show you the commission yet as it is to be a surprise 50th birthday present. I do hope to show it in the future though.
Last week I had a sudden desire to do something completely different, I wanted a break from fur.
I have always liked atmospheric images so decided to create my own. Of course I couldn't ignore animals completely, so I put Juno into the starring role.
This is on 30 x 40 cm pastelbord, using mainly Unison soft pastels from the dark set.
I have made up the background so far, but I am using a reference photo of Juno that I took whilst on holiday in Scotland. I am going to use one of my own tree photographs for the large tree that will be on the right.
I will add the backlighting from the moon at the end as I have a terrible tendency to drag my hand through the blue and spread it everywhere.

The Fine Line Artists Exhibition is now on at the Jitterbug Cafe & Roasting Co. for more details and to see the artwork on display have a look at the Exhibition page on the Fine Line Artists website.