Sunday, 8 August 2010

After Walter Crane

Ink and watercolour in A4 sketchbook

I find myself really enjoying copying illustrations and it is giving me a lot of good practice - I am learning so much.

Because I used my sketchbook for this one the watercolour wash in the background did not work so well, (a white background would have been cleaner) but I am happy to have the practice.

I have learned that sometimes it's best to leave things well alone.

Positivity wins the day and determination to improve both my art and my outlook is paramount to progress.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Back to Fitness

20 mins sketch graphite on sketchpad

Working my way back to fitness, both physically and creatively. Poor health has kept me from my artwork for too long.

No more time for tears. No more wallowing. Now is the time for action.

One day at a time... gently stretching myself a little further each time, always improving, growing stronger all the way. I will show them, I won't be beaten.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Girl Holding Lemons

Graphite sketch of Girl Holding Lemons

Inspired by the Bouguereau Challenge at WetCanvas (Classical forum) this month.

First of all using graphite I did this preliminary sketch of the painting by the French artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau. I want to do several sketches before I even attempt to paint so that I can work out any difficulties beforehand.

Getting the hands correct was a bit of a problem and I shall have to watch that when I come to paint this. The foreshortening on the hand to the right (or model's left hand!) in particular was awkward and I feel I must study this more thoroughly.

Sorry that the left of the sketch is dark but this is due to poor scan of my sketchbook.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Teddy and the Cookie Jar

Teddy with the Cookie Jar - Ink sketch

Pencil sketch

Just sketching some ideas in readiness for my painting. I have already started the painting but I need to add stuff and these are some studies which should help when I get back to the painting.

I have recently been in hospital and unable to paint or even sketch. Glad to say I am on the mend and soooo happy to be getting back to my artwork. I have missed it so much.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Alice in Wonderland

Pen and graphite

My interpretation of Alice, inspired by the illustrations of Sir John Tenniel. I love doing penwork and this was no exception, it's just so therapeutic. I added a little shading with graphite for the background.

Just watched the Disney Alice in Wonderland (with Johnny Depp) - it was brilliant, very entertaining.

Wouldn't it be great to take off to a Wonderland and figure everything out so that when we returned our problems would easily be solved?

I find painting works in a similar way for me. It's like escaping to my own magical land for a while and when I put down the paintbrush I am better able to work through my real life difficulties. Painting is just magic!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Hunca Munca - after Beatrix Potter

Ink and watercolour wash 7" x 7"

I really enjoyed reading the stories of Beatrix Potter to my children and now I enjoy painting some of her little animals just for good practice. They are so delightful and Hunca Munca is one of my favourites.

Here she comes with her dustpan and brush to clean up the dolls' house.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Feeling the Rhythm

Acrylics in sketchbook

Thanks to my friend, John for the loan of the photograph - I was struck by the sunny atmosphere and hope that I have captured some of that here. It is unfinished but then, that's what a sketchbook is for isn't it? To practice technique etc... not to finish. I could work up a painting from this and may do so in the future - I think it is worth exploring further.

I think the acrylics are growing on me. Surprisingly, I find I am using them more just lately.

Music has rather a magical effect doesn't it? The beat of a drum, the strumming of a guitar or the sound of a piano... all do something to the soul, lift the spirits and make me want to dance. You feel your foot tapping to the beat and it's hard to ignore... it's irresistable. Even for me, someone without any real sense of rhythm but who nevertheless loves to dance.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Thinking Time

30 min study in acrylics (in sketchbook)

Quick study of Sargent's "Miss Eliza Wedgewood". Sargent's work was in watercolours but I have used acrylics just sloshed about in my sketchbook. I rather like the looseness of this. Sargent's is better of course, but I am secretly pleased at how this has turned out considering the very small amount of time spent on it.

Thinking time is needed when painting. I find I spend an awful lot of time just thinking about what I am going to paint, how I am going to paint it and even when I have painted it, time to reflect on what I have accomplished and how to move forward. Art is not just about action, but also about thought.

When the sun is shining and I feel its rays warm upon my head, it's easy to slip into daydream mode and then I find my thinking works so much better. During cold spells it's much harder to get the brain working properly. :) Roll on Summer!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Self Portrait in Acrylics

14" x 10" acrylics on paper

This is the finished self portrait in acrylics. See below for the process of how I got here.

This was a challenge on WetCanvas to produce a self portrait in acrylics and not to display until 20th February, which is why I had to wait until now to reveal!

First the pencil drawing from which I have worked - made myself look chubbier than in real life, but who cares. I will chisel it down a little when I paint.

Transferred the image to watercolour paper 14" x 10" and I also printed the line drawing on a piece of acetate to help later when I need to check if my placements are still correct. When painting I often lose sight of what goes where and the acetate is a real boon when re-establishing the features. When placed over the painting you can see exactly where you went wrong and get back the likeness.

Then painted in acrylics, using the paint very dilute and building in thin transparent layers, which gives a very soft translucent effect very similar to watercolours. Had sooo much trouble with the area under the nose and the neck, but I have to post this image so you can see... it looks so funny. I feel I look like the poisoned dwarf with facial hair - not a good look! LOL. Oh it's good to laugh.

Then I worked more on it, darkened the background, fixed the mouth, lightened the neck and under nose area getting rid of the facial hair and produced the final painting, which I hope is a little better. :)

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

After Edward Lear

Ink in A4 sketchbook

Had great fun with this one. I really do enjoy inkwork.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Abstract Landscape

Acrylic on Paper 12" x 9"

This is an experiment in abstraction... not sure if it works, but I liked the colour combination. May try this again 'cos it was fun!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

How to Get a Likeness?

Pencil in Sketchbook (A4)

Sketching self portraits and finding that trying to get a likeness is not easy. I see myself differently to what others see.

I suppose there is a vague look of me about this.... though I look too young... skin too smooth. Maybe it's me around 30 years ago! LOL!

It's strange but every self portrait I do is either looking far too young or far too old... can't seem to hit a happy medium, which is where I'm at right now. Never mind, there's always the next one!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Sketching in the Dark

Pencil in Sketchbook (A4)

Whilst waiting to collect my daughter from work I whiled away the time sketching the car parked in front of me. It was dark with only the street light nearby so I couldn't really see what I was doing, but fairly pleased with the outcome.

It was a lovely way to spend the time.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Yay!!! What a day!!!

Acrylics on Canvas 14" x 10"

What a glorious day of painting I have had. The painting that I did in the previous post was an experiment and from it came the above. As I stood looking at my Purple Haze of mountains this scene began to take shape in my mind and so I painted it.

When I visited the Lake District (Cumbria) sometime ago I saw a white house in the valley which I believe used to belong to Beatrix Potter. It was such a lovely scene and appealed to the romantic in me. Ok, it's not exactly like this... after all my memory isn't what it used to be, but this is my white house in the valley.

I may work on it a little more, but I hope you like it.

Just Playing...

I love to play and experiment with paints - it is always a very exciting voyage of discovery.

Today I wanted to rediscover acrylics. First of all using just Pthalo Blue, Titanium White and a little Payne's Grey I painted my Mountains in Blue. I painted on canvas, which was a first for me as I have always used either watercolour paper or acrylic paper for acrylic paints.

Here is the same painting, but I painted a glaze of crimson alizarin over the top. In real life it is actually more purple than here.

It was fun, but now I have been looking at it for a while and have some great ideas to push things further - I have decided to really go to town with this one. Keep watching.... I will post the result shortly.

Best wishes

Sunday, 3 January 2010


Pencil in sketchbook

When I see reflections on water I always want to sketch... I just wish I were a little better at capturing them, but I'm sure with practice it will all come together.

New Year always seems to be a time for reflection... taking stock of the happenings of the previous year and thinking of the improvements for the future. One of the reasons I love the start of the year.

Positives for today:
1. New doors to replace the old - kind of symbolic I think.
2. Sound of snow melting from trees in sunlight.
3. Watching my dog enjoy the warmth from a blazing fire.

Saturday, 2 January 2010



I need to colour this as it will improve it no end. I love drawing cartoon figures and I rather like this one - the character of little Emily may be worth developing further... we will see.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Pencil in sketchbook

2010 is here! Yay!!!

I'm still practising the trees. This is the latest and I am hoping that drawing them will help improve my paintings also.

I love New Year with all the new beginnings of hopes and dreams, it's such an exciting time. The whole year stretches before me and I see the things I want to happen, now all I need do is make it so!