Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ground Squirrel Demonstration - Part 4

I've added several more layers to the top stripe and am happy that it now looks to have quite a lot of depth. I've left the bottom purely coloured pencil so hopefully you can see the difference. I've also started adding layers of acrylic to his head, the top part is finished as I don't think I will improve it by adding any more paint. I do find it difficult sometimes to know when to stop before I create mud.
At this stage he does look quite flat so I'll do some work on giving him some shape next.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mixed Media Cat on Pastelbord

I put the pastels away again, I don't seem to enjoy them at the moment even though I used to use them almost 100% of the time.
I went back to my coloured pencil, neocolor and acrylic on pastelbord.

The cat is the same Norwegian Forest, owned by our friends John and Caroline Tipper.

The size is the same 7 x 5, the background is neocolor with coloured pencil on top, then brushed in using a hard stencil brush.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

When is Lilac known as Lavender?

When it is a coat colour in a cat.
In order to accurately portray the coat colours in the various breeds of cats I want to paint I have been looking at how colour is inherited. I studied genetics as part of my degree in Zoology so can understand the theory. So far so good with colour, but then I moved on to the inheritance of coat patterns, at that point my brain gave up for the day.

My main problem came when I realised that the same genetic colour can have different names depending on both the breed of cat and the breed association.

So lilac can become lavender, tortoiseshell and white can become calico, black can be ebony etc.
When I then started thinking about spotted, tipped, pointed etc, not to mention ticked, mitted and agouiti I decided much more research will be needed.

The one thing I do know is that all cats inherit some form of the tabby gene so perhaps I should stick to tabbies, now would that be mackerel or classic.
I will continue to share my findings as I go along.
Just for a change I dug my pastels out today.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ground Squirrel Demonstration - Part 3

I haven't done very much over the last couple of days, but hopefully enough for you to see the difference between the area where I've added acrylic and the area of pure coloured pencil.
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

Ground Squirrel Demonstration - Part 2

I'm including a photo of my drafting table so you can see how I work.I usually have the image showing on my laptop which I place at the top left but I was using it for something else this morning.
At the right you can just see my home made Mahl Stick which I rest my hand on to stop the acid from my hand spoiling my acid free paper. Basically it's a piece of foam wrapped around each end of a piece of garden cane.
I always have my Gray Scale and Value Finder close, even if I'm using colour.
Also at the right is a scrap of Arches paper which I use throughout to test colours, fur patterns etc.

I've drawn my Squirrel on the same paper as the graphite version, Arches Hot Press and I will use my drawing rather than the photograph to check values.
This first image is all coloured pencil, finding values and fur direction and laying down a base.

Here I'm starting adding acrylic to the head but the rest is pure coloured pencil.

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

Ground Squirrel Demonstration - The Drawing

I've chosen a Ground Squirrel to demonstrate how I use mixed media.
I took the photograph half way up Pikes Peak in Colorado, there were several Ground Squirrels and Chipmunks running around the car park. This one kept popping out of his burrow then darting back inside.

Stage 1 is the graphite drawing, approximately 7 x 8 on Arches Hot Press. I'm using the drawing to work out any problems, both with the detail and with the lighting.
Hopefully I will finish the drawing tomorrow and start on the painting. I'll include more steps to show how I work.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Brushes for Miniature Painting

Due to several requests I'm preparing a small demo to show how I combine acrylic and coloured pencil. I'll post it sometime over the next few days.

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

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gouache or Acrylic?

I've decided that acrylic is not giving me the results I'm looking for when painting Miniatures. I am struggling with the speed at which it dries and am also finding the colours look a little bit bright.
Because I'm using tiny brushes with tiny amounts of paint it is dry almost as soon as it hits the surface. This has been causing me growing frustration, so I decided to start again.

I decided to use gouache because it will work if I want to add coloured pencil. I also changed the polymin for Arches Hot Press paper.

So far I am finding this much easier, of course I might have changed my mind by tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Supreme Cat Show

Like countless other people I have taken a huge financial hit over the last few months with a nosedive over the last two days. I have not found it easy to snap out of my gloom this time and that has carried through into my artwork. Yesterday I found fault with everything I was doing, so decided the wisest move was to do something different before I ripped everything up.
I caught up on some paperwork which included sending off my application to have a stand at this years GCCF Supreme Cat Show.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself last year meeting all those beautiful cats, so I'm looking forward to this year.
The show is held on the 22/11/2008 at the NEC and if you like cats well worth a visit.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dot to Dot, another Miniature Painting

I've started another miniature painting which I'm hoping to complete in time for an exhibition later in the year.
It's a Bald Eagle which I was lucky enough to photograph just outside the Rocky Mountain National Park while on holiday. I do plan to do a larger painting of it at some stage, as it sat still for quite some time while I snapped away with my camera. In fact it was far more patient than my two teenage sons.

It is acrylic on Polymin and will end up about 2.5 x 3.5 inches.

I'm using a 10/0 brush and working in dots rather than lines to try to get the detail.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Continuing Cat in Coloured Pencil and Acrylic

I've worked a little bit more on the cat but household tasks kept calling me today so not much progress has been made.
With the continual rain I seem to spend an awful lot of time drying paws or cleaning floors. The cleaning results from the muddy paws that make a dash to pass me when I'm already propping up a dog who has one foot in a towel. Why is it that my dogs can run and play on three legs if the need arises, but lift one leg to dry it and they either collapse, or lean so hard that both of us end up in a heap on the floor.
All except Rio that is, Rio doesn't like rain, even worse he doesn't like the ground to be wet when he needs to go out. The only way to encourage him is to go out first and convince him it doesn't hurt, this is a lengthy process. In fact you can add changing clothes and drying hair several times to my daily tasks . Yesterday it involved rounding up fish from flower beds but that is another story.

Monday, September 08, 2008

More Rough Collie

Not much progress because I've been working today, butI'm quite pleased with the likeness.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Rough Collie Painting

We had a real health scare with Clinton last week although he is completely recovered now. It made me realise that I drew him as a puppy but I hadn't done an adult portrait of him. I felt the need to paint him once we knew he was going to be alright.
I decided to use a photograph of him looking over the fence into the garden. I have already used one of Juno from this shoot to produce
'Wait For Me' Clinton is acrylic and coloured pencil on Arches HP watercolour paper.
It makes a change to be painting a dog again, it seemed strange to be painting long fur.
Clinton is lying under the drawing table, doing his best to add touches of fur into the wet paint.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Another Macro Cat

My series of macro cats has proved to be popular in print, so I have decided to add to them.This is acrylic and coloured pencil on Fabriano Hot Press Watercolour paper, approximately 9x7.
I use the coloured pencil first to put down some layers, then start adding acrylic to add depth and punch up certain areas. I then add more CP and more acrylic until I'm happy with the result. I use mostly Polychromos pencils with one or two Coloursoft as I find Prismacolours rather soft for using with the acrylic.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Society of Feline Artists 2008 Exhibition

'The Aristocrat'
Original sold by the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery
On Tuesday I travelled down to London to attend the Private View of the 2008 Exhibition of the Society of Feline Artists. Still jet lagged I did wonder if this was a good idea but I had a fabulous time.
I first met up with Katherine Tyrrell of the Making a Mark blog for lunch and a good chat. Katherine is excellent at finding nice places for lunch so we had a thoroughly enjoyable time.
Katherine went into the Gallery slightly ahead of me, and imagine my delight when she came back to tell me 'Aristocrat' had the coveted red spot to mark it sold. I later found out that it had been one of the first paintings to be bought.
We got time to speak to some of the other SOFA members and I found them a really friendly set of people. (Denise if you read this I have been showing off your business cards and have ordered some of my own).
The exhibition continues until the 20/09 so if you like feline art and can travel to London then it is really worth a visit.
Denise Laurent - The Painted Cat
The SOFA blog