Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
It's not the sharpest of photographs but I was so excited my hands were shaking. This is not a common visitor to our garden.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
For all who celebrate Christmas I hope you have a very Merry one, for all who don't I wish you Happy Holidays.
I'll be back with some artwork later in the week.
Friday, December 19, 2008
I thought I'd share a photoshop tip for sharpening an image without altering colour.
Create a new background layer
In the layer palette select luminosity (the colour and saturation in the lower layer will be retained)
In the filter menu select unsharp mask and adjust the sliders until you like the result
I have found this works better than applying unsharp mask direct to the image.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I thought it would be useful to let you in on a few of my tricks for taking photographs of garden birds.
I place feeders in locations surrounded by vegetation that the bird can perch on, as my aim is to avoid photographing on the feeder whenever possible. I want natural looking shots to use as reference material for future paintings. I do however try to ensure that they are never placed where cats can sneak up on the birds.
Once I've placed the feeder I try not to move it as the birds seem happier to visit familiar objects. I also keep them filled as I've found birds continue to visit as long as food is available.
I rub cheese and fat into the tree trunks as I've found this attracts Woodpeckers, and keeps them reasonably still while they peck at it.
I always provide water, Blackbirds in particular love to splash about in it.
If I had to give one tip to increase the chance of successfully photographing garden birds, it would be learn about their behaviour.
I've found that most species tend to have fairly predictable visiting patterns.
Long Tailed Tits tend to visit early and late afternoon, passing through quickly, they never stay longer than a few minutes.
The Woodpecker visits early afternoon and spends several minutes on one particular tree.
The Jay and Sparrowhawk visit early morning, the Jay tends to be on the ground but is very shy and hard to photograph. If the Sparrowhawk has caught a bird you can approach quite close while it's feeding, otherwise it just shoots through the garden.
The Blue, Great and Coal Tits are about all day often taking a seed or nut and perching on a branch to eat it.
So on and so on.
Oh and one other thing, you need an endless amount of patience and good humour when several Collies decide to tell you all about the one you're trying to sneak up on.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
I have also been thinking about how little my photographs actually get looked at because they are files stored on a hard drive.
So each day until the end of 2009 I am going to try to print one of my photographs. I'm just going to do a small version, probably around 4 x6, each one will be a subject I intend to paint.
I've bought some blank 8 x 5 cards and I will stick the photograph to the card. I will then record details about the photograph and which folder it is stored in on my hard drive. The back of the card will be used for thumbnail's, tiny sketches etc. Once the card is full I will laminate it to help preserve the information.
As often as possible I will use a photograph taken on that day, so for today it is a Robin on the garden fence.
I will then be able to share my photographs with people who don't have access to a computer.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
After taking the photograph I had to go inside for reviving coffee and a browse around all the goodies on sale.
I took out a subscription to Birds Illustrated which I've been meaning to do for quite a long time. It is a subscription only magazine and has articles of bird art/artists in every issue. I got 4 free copies with my subscription, so I'm going to go and get another coffee and settle down for a long read.
Friday, November 28, 2008
This is an old Stag that I photographed in Scotland last New Years Day. His whole attitude was one of patient endurance. I wonder if he made it through the winter.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
The only possible benefit I could find in leaving my warm bed at such an hour, was the almost traffic free M1.
Sales were almost non existent in the morning so I wandered about taking photographs. Thank you to all the owners who got their cats out of their pens for me to get up close and personal with.
I did meet a lovely lady who lives close to my home and has invited me to go and photograph all her cats in their own surroundings. I will be arranging that visit over the next couple of weeks and can't wait for the chance to add some different breeds to my portfolio.
Around lunch time the sales started and I ended up taking more than last year. Card sales were down but print sales were definitely up.
I think my new display stand helped as customers could pick the prints up for a closer look.
I had a new range of smaller, less expensive prints available but it was the larger ones that sold.
The highlight of the day came when the owner of the cat I'm in the middle of painting recognised it was her cat immediately, so did several family members and friends, including a little boy. This wasn't a commission, I had just been allowed to use the photograph. However the owner liked the painting so much she is going to buy it when finished.
I had been wondering if I should book a stand next year, but after having a fabulous afternoon, all being well in 2009 I will be back.
Now back to the Snow Leopard, I've got an extension to the deadline until this afternoon!
Friday, November 21, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I was joined by several other demonstrators all working with coloured pencil but producing very different effects. I have to mention both Peter Woof and Suzy Herbert as I spent more time with them , I absolutely loved the pieces they were working on.
I think the demonstrating role was far easier than running the workshop, the members there worked non stop helping people have a go using coloured pencils. Hopefully those people will go on to become members of the UKCPS and create art using coloured pencils.
Once again I lost count of the number of people who were astonished at the effects you can achieve with a "crayon"
A special mention for Rachel who I never saw stop throughout the whole time I was there, and she was attending for the whole four days.
Hello to all the people who stopped to talk to me, I really enjoyed meeting you all.
Thursday was a major disaster for me as my husband managed to spill a full cup of coffee over the commission I was working on. Not only did the pristine white background suffer, so did my legs, feet and bag. I'd spent around 10 hours on the work up to the coffee incident so I was ever so slightly upset. However my husband was so sorry that he bought me the entire set of Luminance pencils so I recovered a little after that.
I thought that on the whole there were slightly less people visiting than last year which some of the traders agreed with. However they felt that individuals were spending more per head than last year so didn't think takings would be down.
I hope to be helping again next year as I really enjoy it.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
This is the first, a Maine Coon cat who is an Imperial Grand Premier. I met him walking round a show in his harness looking down his nose at the other cats as he strolled by their pens.
He is a stunning cat and I hope I can do him justice.
I wanted to use pastelbord so that I can take it to the NEC next week. Last year people seemed interested in using coloured pencil on board.
The background is done in neocolor and needs a little more work to smooth it out.
Size 12 x 16 and I'm using the sand coloured Ampersand Pastelbord.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I'm also trying to do a couple more cat breeds to offer as prints at the Supreme Cat Show, time is running out though.
I will be at the NEC on the 13th and 15th demonstrating for the UK Coloured Pencil Society and then back there on the 22nd for the Supreme. If you are visiting either event come and say hello.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Click here to bid.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Yesterday we were showing Roxie and Juno at Midland Counties Championship Show.
It was a beautiful morning, so even though the show was inside I took lots of photographs of them in the sun.
I tried one pear in watercolour, turned another one round and finished it in graphite. I can see plenty of things that need refining, but I will be using watercolour again. In fact I've started a watercolour cat, more of that in the next post.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I've started a Snow Leopard which I am going to donate to the Snow Leopard Trust when it's finished.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
I've made a start on a portrait of a wolf, it is my usual mixed media technique in acrylic and coloured pencil, approximately 16 x 12 on blue colourfix paper.
I think I might have drawn the nose a bit too straight, I'll alter it when I get more fur in if necessary.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
At this stage he does look quite flat so I'll do some work on giving him some shape next.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
I have added a wash of raw umber over the two darker stripes. Then I've painted fur in a dirty white (I don't clean my brush after adding the raw umber) on the lighter stripe and a mix of raw umber and paynes grey on the darker. The bottom of both stripes is pure CP. I've also added some washes of acrylic to the head.
I add the acrylic to give more depth and more punch, the washes add the depth and the individual strokes the punch. I then repeat using alternate layers of coloured pencil and acrylic until I'm happy with the result.
I have received confirmation that I have been allocated space at the Supreme Cat Show so for the next few weeks I am aiming to paint a few more breeds. I just have to find the cats to photograph now! Amazingly they don't tend to pose for me when I'm walking the dogs.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
On the last one I'm working in both acrylic and coloured pencil, going backwards and forwards until I achieve the depth I want.
Later I'll post a close up of the fur.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The other request I've had is to show what my small brushes look like. So I've taken a photograph of my favourites together with the painting. I've also included a 1 Cent to show the scale (similar in size to a UK 1pence)
From the left are a 7/0, 5/0, 2/0 and 2 Round, then a 1 rigger, followed by a 0 Filbert. I use the rigger if I want a long stroke because the small brushes obviously hold very little paint, and the filbert on the background.
I can't find my 10/0 despite extensive searching so I'll have to order another. I think the fairies have taken it, it will be about the right size for them to use.
A good supplier of all things for miniature paintings is Polymers Plus