Saturday, 4 October 2014

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

103. Watercolour Study for Landscape

Study for Landscape, Watercolour on Bockingford Cold Pressed Paper

Pen and Ink tonal notan on cartridge paper

Saturday, 14 June 2014

101. Misty Mountain

Derwent Charcoal Blocks on Clairefontaine Pastelmat, 
40cm x 30cm (c. 16" x 12")

Hi Everyone. I'm still experimenting with my charcoal blocks and have decided to submit this to the DPW Mountain Challenge this week. It's so strange working with a non-blue palette. (The colours in the box are Ochre, Sanguine, Mars Violet, Sepia, Black and White.) Again, I've broken the rules - this time omitting to add a bit of 'life' (such as a bird or a figure) as I want it to look quite barren.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

100. Gallery Drawings: Velazquez

After Velazquez, The Rokeby Venus,
Conté Crayon on A4 paper

After Velazquez, The Rokeby Venus,
Willow Charcoal on A4 paper

Diego Velazquez, The Rokeby Venus, 1651

Hi Everyone, well I hadn't been able to get to the gallery sessions for eight weeks! Where did the time go? Fortunately, I was able to go last week and it was good to see everyone again.

As usual, we were given a background talk, then we were told to draw three lines: one thin, one thick and the third blurred. We then had to use white Conté on black to reproduce sharp or blurred lines as he did but only drawing the left hip and down the leg. We turned over and drew her more fully (top) and were asked to show something of the weight of her body too.  We then changed to white paper and charcoal. Time was up before I could include Cupid or the mirror, etc, but, as ever, it was a great session.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

98. Waiting for Breakfast

Derwent Charcoal Blocks on Clairefontaine Pastelmat, 
30cm x 40cm (c. 12" x 16")

Hi everyone, I hope you are finding time to create. Was there ever a better marriage than charcoal and Pastelmat? Hmmmm… maybe charcoal and Sennelier Pastelcard, which I love, but Pastelmat is my all-time favourite.

They tell us we shouldn't have someone leaning out of the frame (on either side) but I want to give the impression of him looking out for his food.

Monday, 26 May 2014

97. Firenze, Ti Amo!

The Dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore,
Pilot G-Tec C4 on A4 paper

Hi Everyone, we've just returned from a week in Florence to celebrate our birthdays and wedding anniversary. Within an hour of arriving, we sought out il Duomo. It is much more imposing in real life than in any photograph or sketch; the sight of it when you come around the corner and see it is amazing. Highly recommended.

I have lots of sketches and will post them up periodically.

Friday, 16 May 2014

96. Going Somewhere

Landscape, oil on wood panel, 4" x 4"

I knocked this out before going off to a meeting. I used a mix of brushes and a painting knife. The title comes from my husband's comment: "Well, it certainly looks as though it's going somewhere!" 

Saturday, 10 May 2014

95. Gallery Sketches: Veronese

After Veronese, The Conversion of Mary Magdalene (c.1548), Pilot G-Tec C4 on paper

This is one of the best exhibitions I have ever attended and I've been to some very good ones. 

Again, during my OU studies years ago, we touched briefly on Veronese so it was such a privilege to be able to view 50 of his paintings in one (very large) place. The man was truly a genius, able to paint figures (and facial expressions), architecture, fabric, flora, fauna, textures, etc, etc. We were given a small booklet which contained a little introduction to each of the 50 paintings and I scribbled extra notes into it from the audio guide. I then wrote some of them up in the following few days. I think the two paintings above are my favourites but really, as 'Brucie' says, they're all my favourites!

We went in the middle of April but it runs until mid-June.

Friday, 9 May 2014

94. Gallery Sketches: de la Hyre and van Honthorst

Rendering fabric, Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100 3B on A4

In the first image, Vicky told us to choose a section of the painting, Allegory of Grammar (1650), and draw the folds by doing a line drawing of the shape of the fold then filling it in. That was excellent advice as it worked for me.  

Picking out highlights, Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100 3B on A4

We then took a clean sheet and blocked out an area by shading then used an eraser to pick out the highlights of the fabric. A few people preferred this method and produced lovely tonal drawings. To be honest, I preferred the line method but it could just be that I should have started with much darker shading.

Finally, we went into the next room and looked at van Honthorst's Christ Before the High Priest (top right); the painting has a very dark tone but is lovely. We then had to combine the two methods to show the light and shade in the painting. I enjoyed using both methods and, given more time, may have made it a bit darker. An excellent and informative session, as usual.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

92. Happy Easter!

Acrylic and emulsion on lining paper, 8ft x 20ft

Four of our team walked around adding heavenly bodies to each strip.
Black emulsion then acrylic colours with white emulsion 240cm x 56cm (x10)...

… Meanwhile, I started squaring up a small web image on a large scale.
6B pencil on lining paper (masking tape)

Two artists added three tones then I painted the outline.

Fourth tone and test background added by me

Blue and green oceans painted entirely with Bernice's fingers and palms.
Clever!  :)
Acrylic and emulsion

Initial hanging before sealing edges with double-sided tape.

Somebody's tired!

Checking relationships.

Fingers cut to fit world before I took the latter home to paint the countries
and the theme for the weekend.

Some tracing and some drawing. I didn't enjoy the tracing at all!
Ooops! I forgot Trinidad and Tobago; sorry peeps!
Careful not to ruin B's lovely paintwork.

Ready for Good Friday evening and the
Easter Sunday Celebration: 'Hope for the World'

Happy Easter everyone!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

91. Gallery Sketches: Cima da Conegliano

Sketch of Peter,
a detail of Cima da Conegliano's The Incredulity of Saint Thomas,
Derwent Onyx Dark (just less than A4)

We were given a white pencil, a sheet of toned pastel paper and a sheet of white (I used my sketchbook for the exercises on white).

I must try to write in a straight line!

Two minutes dominant-hand, 90 minutes non-dominant hand
and the longer drawing.

After Katy's art historical explanation, Marc told us to pick one of the many faces and, starting with the nose, draw the head in 2 minutes. We then had to use our non-dominant hand and draw the same head in 90 seconds. He then told us to use the toned paper to draw a different head in one minute then turn it over and pick either of our chosen heads to work up a longer drawing. He wouldn't let us use the white pencil until towards the end when we were told to then focus on the highlights. Another excellent session.

Not shown are the images on the back of the toned paper but it's too dark now to photograph them. I owe you a photograph!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

90. Gallery Sketches: Anthony van Dyck

After Anthony Van Dyck (to whom it is attributed),
Sketch of Drunken Silenus being supported by Satyrs,
Derwent Watersoluble Sketching, Light, and Derwent Onyx Dark

The painting is in an elaborate frame with large flourishes at the halfway points, horizontally and vertically. One of the tutors suggested we start at the centre of the painting with Silenus then use those points on the frame as a guide, the way you'd use a grid when squaring up.

The session was full and the two preceding talks were excellent as ever. We were asked to draw the whole scene and quite a few people managed it, including tones, etc. I was being too nit-picky to start but then I got going. To be honest, I am happy with what I got down; I am really grateful for these sessions which provide an opportunity to refresh my art history and work from masters' paintings. At the end, we lay out and compare our efforts and we all agree that our drawing has improved because of these sessions.

Friday, 4 April 2014

89. Gallery Sketches: Pollaiuolo Brothers - Saint Sebastian

Life Model, Tom, assuming the archers' poses in the painting,
4 minutes (x2) then constantly moving through the poses,
Derwent watercolour sketching pencils on A4

Life Model, Tom, assuming the archers' poses in the painting,
12 minutes, Derwent watercolour sketching pencils on A4

The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, Antonio del Pollaiuolo and Piero del Pollaiuolo, 1475

Thursday, 3 April 2014

88. Gallery Sketches: Trek

Sketch of Jan Jansz Trek's Vanitas Still Life, 1648

I was looking forward to doing this painting as it looked to be a real challenge and a Vanitas painting is always so full of meaning. As it turns out, I felt the need to add some colour to it once I got home because there was so much detail, some of the elements were becoming lost. 

Jan Jansz Trek's Vanitas Still Life, 1648

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

87. Gallery Sketches: J M W Turner

(After J M W Turner.)
Conte and wax crayons on black pastel paper, A4

Above is a (wonky) photocopy of 
Margate(?) by the Sea by J M W Turner
and beneath it is my 5 minute sketch of the piece, Mars Lumograph 100.

Our instructions in this instance were to take the three colours given to us and use tone to re-create Turner's painting retaining the black of the paper for the darkest tone. The colours were sanguine and white Conte crayons and a yellow ochre wax crayon. It was impossible to work over the wax crayon so I just used it for the foreground grasses and blended the sky using the sanguine - hence the redness.

Can I see a smiley face on the page?

At the end of the session, we were asked to do another sketch of the painting but this time we only had five minutes so I opened my sketchbook and did it with a pencil (can't remember which grade).

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

86. Ten Minute Talk: Canaletto

Photocopy of The Stonemason's Yard by Canaletto and
pen and ink sketch of the painting, Pilot G-Tec C4 on 90g photocopy paper, 5" x 5.5"

I attended this 10 minute talk in the National as I was really early for the drawing session next door. This is a lovely big painting so my reproductions don't give it justice; it contains quite a few figures each with a story, including the child who has fallen over in the foreground and wet himself, poor thing!

It was in my OU art history that I discovered Canaletto and so I was thrilled to discover this painting being discussed. There are quite a few paintings by Canaletto and his studio at the gallery.

Monday, 24 March 2014

85. Drop-in Drawing: Armour

(After Sir Anthony van Dyck.)  Derwent Coloursoft on pastel paper, A4

On the left is a photocopy of 
Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1593-1641)
Studio of Sir Anthony van Dyck

A lot of people attended this event, including quite a few students and we spilled out over three rooms. A very enthusiastic and knowledgable tutor from New Zealand led us, together with other assistants from the gallery. She explained that, at the time, armour was more fashion than function and was very comfortable. People could also tell how wealthy the wearer was by the style and decoration. 

She told us to walk around and choose one of the many paintings by van Dyck depicting armour then collect some coloured paper and try to reproduce that armour. Some people also drew some of the high fashion seen in paintings of men and women in the surrounding rooms. I used my own pencils but had no coloured paper so used theirs.

My experience is that artists are very friendly people and this was no exception. These meets are a great way to work alongside and get to know a little about other artists (of all ages and abilities) as art can otherwise be a lonely business.

Friday, 21 March 2014

84. Colour Mixes: Oxide of Chromium

Oxide of Chromium (PG17)

I went to town on this one and added five extra mixes. Interestingly, I avoided it for years thinking it was dull but was intrigued that it was regularly used by Shirley Trevena whose work is far from dull. Once I tried it, I understood and have since used it in both my UK and Caribbean scenes.

If I were to describe the way this pigment interacts with the others, I'd say it has good manners, unlike say phthalo blue or magenta which have to hog the conversation and be the centre of attraction - I still love them though!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

83. Gallery Sketches: Pesellino and Fra Lippi

Sketch of The Pistoia Santa Trinita Altarpiece by
Francesco Pesellino and Fra Filippo Lippi and workshop,
Mars Lumograph 100 and Coloursoft pencils in A4 sketchbook

Initial sketches

Two weeks ago, I went to a talk on this lovely painting in Room 54 of the National. There were 40 seats set out for whoever wanted to come along. I had taken my own materials but all materials, including a drawing board, had been provided. There was a huge box of coloured pencils, enough so that the gentleman beside me had about 10 sticking out through his fingers!

We started with a 10' talk on the piece by a woman from one of the auction houses (shame, I've forgotten which one) and she also spoke to us about the little paintings included in the predella below the main image. Then a nice, enthusiastic artist called Mark guided us in what we should take into consideration when doing our sketches. He reminded us that the frame is important too as it's part of the whole image and he asked us to use colour to show how the fabric fell around the figures.

In my art history studies, I learned that this type of image is called a sacra conversazione (a 'sacred conversation') as characters from different times in history are grouped around the holy family. The figures I did in colour were St Jerome (347-420AD), the Bishop of Pistoia (15C) and an angel (timeless).

When the hour was up, Mark asked us to lay out our sketches so we could see how each person had interpreted the piece. There was some really lovely work and it initiated some great conversation while we packed away. Highly recommended.