Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Elephants at a standstill

It doesn't look as though I'll have much time for art this week. I didn't get to draw at all yesterday, (time again to do some wages paying bookkeeping work) and it doesn't look as if there'll be time today. Of course I could be drawing instead of writing this! My recent book sale has just ended so I have books to pack up and get sent off, need to do that asap to get some much needed funds to cover my recent spending spree!LOL I'm off to a dog show tomorrow, so have to groom Taivas this evening, then a committee meeting tomorrow evening, dog walking and shopping for a camera case on Thursday and somehow I've got to fit in a haircut. Phew! So if this space is a blank until Friday you'll know why!

I'll leave you today with a drawing I did about three years ago, my first and only horse. I guess it's not very good but I was pleased with it at the time. Btw it was done from a book of tutorials by Lee Hammond.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Elephants update

My elephants are making slow progress - This 'African journey' is turning out to be a long one LOL! Today I redid the background tree - though you can't actually see it on this crop - and did quite a lot of work on the first elephant and a tiny bit on the second one. I'm reasonably pleased with how it's coming on, though didn't appreciate the comment from my husband who came in just as I put the finishing touches to elephant number two's tusk and said "why is he eating a banana?" I hope it doesn't really look as though he is!

My new toy

No update on the elephants this morning for the simple reason that yesterday I didn't pick up a pencil! That was because my new camera arrived and I spent each spare moment having a little play and getting to know it's basic functions. I think I'm going to be very pleased with it. Today it's raining so I won't get a chance to go out and experiment, so maybe by this evening the elephants will have made some progress! Meanwhile here's an earlier picture for you. This is Rosie a dear little dog that lives near me.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Background problems

I have discovered the reason that I do not do backgrounds - I am hopeless at them! I shall try and improve on what I've done before the drawing is finished, at the moment it looks terrible. The sky isn't too awful but my feeble attempt at grass and trees, well you take a look! I'm sure you'll agree. Sadly, there's a lot of foreground grass to do. I think it will be back to head studies for me after this. Well, I can't put off the moment any longer - here it is!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

African journey wip two

I've done very little on my elephants today but I'm going to post an update anyway, mainly because I realised after posting yesterday that you couldn't really see him clearly at that size. So today I've cropped it down just to the part I'm working on and will upload it at large size - you should be able to see it - including the imperfections! I'm thinking I should take a leaf out of another artist's book (yes that's you, Wendy) and get working on the background before I do much more to the elephants. The thing is, I don't really do backgrounds! Or at least only ones that are one colour. Grass and sky will be rather a challenge for me LOL.

I'm really liking working on mountboard, I can see I will use up the small supply I bought quite quickly. It's a lovely smooth surface and takes the colour easily.

I have so many future projects planned that I think I have enough for the rest of this year - and into next! In no particular order - a robin (thanks Jan), a New Forest foal, a meerkat, a kookaburra, a zebra (can't you tell I've been to the zoo recently) and my Ashley! Plus I have a possible commission or two which I take on purely as more practice, I don't charge anything for them. (Or not yet anyway, she thinks hopefully!)

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

African journey - wip one

Hooray! Today I've finally started on my elephants which I think will be titled 'African journey', though that may change. I'm only at the very beginning, but I'm enjoying and liking it so far. It probably won't have the detail that my dog drawings do, I think it's going to be a bit more 'impressionist' - if that's the right word, mainly because it's difficult to see the fine details in the photo reference. Btw the photo has been supplied Sue, my friend who has just been to South Africa to compete in an Iron Man competition. Anyway, here's the first work in progress shot.

I spent yesterday afternoonon on a shopping expedition to check out some cameras and I'm pretty sure I've decided which one to buy and I'm quite excited at the thought of having a camera that has full manual controls - even though I'll probably take a lot of terrible shots to begin with!
I had a beautiful walk this morning (with Mary from Forest walks blog) at Shatterford, I could have done with that new camera as we saw a small group of deer. Luckily the dogs were on leads so we got to take a good number of pics before they moved on but they were just too far away to get anything really good. I posted the best one on Flickr plus several lovely foal photos and a great capture of a pony having a good roll.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Very little sleep and a very quick sketch

Those of you that have been reading my blog since the start will know that I like my sleep! Last night I only got four hours - and today I had to be up and away very early to get to a dog show where I was helping rather than showing. I've felt dreadful all day and just got back a short while ago - that will tell you that once again no time for art. I did get some nice photos at the show which will hopefully be good enough for some future projects, a lovely young rottweiler male and a delightful young whippet.

So for today I'm just uploading a sketch. I started doing these quick sketches a couple of weeks ago, in an effort to improve my freehand drawing skills. I set myself a time limit, try to draw without erasing (or very little) and then look to see what is wrong with it. This one of Taivas (which took seven minutes), has I think captured her personality but unfortunately she looks as though she's reflected from one of those fairground distortion mirrors LOL. She's rather long and thin!

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Chocolate cake & presents

I know this is meant to be my art blog but I have to share my chocolate cake with you - it's just a shame you can't taste it LOL More presents, I'm so lucky - a beautiful book about the New Forest, a dvd boxed set of Charmed, plus some other books. I should be kept out of mischief for a while with all those to read and watch and not forgetting my next art project - which I should have started today but haven't! Guess what - I've been reading and eating chocolate cake! There's a reason for the paw prints - Raffles (from Mary's Forest Walks blog) is very keen on having some of my cake - the paw prints are his! LOL

Finished Ducky and feeling old.

Ducky is finished! I am surprised how much quicker it was working on black paper - even though I didn't really know what I was doing LOL. I did him much faster than usual so perhaps I will use a black surface again sometime.

Yesterday while walking we saw a heron, he flew in to land quite near us (sadly not close enough for a photo) and a group of about twenty deer moving across the forest in the distance.

Today is my birthday and after a hectic week I am feeling old, but not as old as I will next year when it is the big five zero! I opened some presents yesterday as I was out to lunch with friends - what a lucky girl I am. Three pretty tee shirts, a 'Radley' purse, David Gray cd, Winnie the Pooh socks (no, I will never grow out of Pooh), a book (about a dog of course), a beautiful orchid and a book token. Then I have more to open today, a luscious chocolate cake and a celebration this evening!

Next week I am planning a trip to look for a new camera, perfect timing for a birthday present to myself!

Now here is my completed little duck, quite nice I think. I now have to get down to planning my next piece, I am going to attempt elephants! This will be on mountboard - you remember I bought some this week - and will be larger than usual so I will have take photographs rather than scan it for the w.i.ps.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Where I draw

Yesterday afternoon and evening I have to confess I was feeling very gloomy and despondent, having sold only four cards in six hours at the craft fair! I felt like I'd wasted the day, when I could have done so much drawing. But after I'd sat down and made use of the remaining daylight I thought that actually I'm pretty lucky. I'm here, I've got something I love doing (even though I find it hard and frustrating at times), and I definitely shouldn't be miserable just because nobody bought my cards! I did get positive comments about the prints of my three dog drawings which made me feel good. As I got very little done yesterday in the art department I'll just post a pic of 'Ducky' on my table top drawing board, which is a fairly new acquisition and has made drawing much easier for me - I used to have my paper flat on the table and got dreadful back and shoulder ache from bending over for hours. The drawing board swivels to vertical or horizontal positions and tilts to any position too! As you can see I am not the tidest of people! In fact, I work surrounded by clutter. I don't like it but we have very little storage space so it's unlikely to change. 'Ducky' is nearly finished, I just have work to do on his feet and the background and then I'll show him off properly.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

No art today!

I had very little time for drawing yesterday and consequently I have no progress on my 'Ducky' for you. I was frantically busy all day, walking dogs - taking dog training class - shopping - walking dogs! Then when I finally had some time in the evening I ws getting ready for todays craft fair. It's only my second attempt to sell the cards I make, mainly from my art and photographs but a few crafty ones too. This time I am also taking along some mounted prints of three of my pictures, see below. I bought some lovely art silk and art matt paper to print on and they do look beautiful, especially the one of Taivas. By this evening I will either be happy and chirpy or gloomy and doomy, depending on how the day has gone. LOL

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Nice weather for ducks

Taivas & I had another wet walk in the forest yesterday morning, with Mary and her flatties, Raffles & Missy. We went to Pig Bush, always one of my favourite walks so it was pleasant despite the rain but I couldn't take any photos! Still I suppose that saved me some editing and flickr-ing time and gave me more time to spend on Ducky. I did get quite a lot done yesterday so I'm hoping you'll be impressed - LOL - though I think the hardest part is yet to come so I could still ruin him! I've begun to add a soft, blended background - I hope I'll be able to deepen the colour of this a bit more.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Little duck progress

I didn't have much time for art yesterday, having had training with Taivas, then being out and about in the afternoon - returning my daylight lamp, very annoying. And it has to go back again, when we got it home we quickly discovered (despite trying it briefly in the shop), that it had the same fault as the first! I did manage to make some art purchases while I was out though so all was not lost. LOL I have bought some mountboard in several different colours and sizes, I know a couple of artists who never use anything else. I'm looking forward to trying it, maybe even for my very next piece which will have an African theme!

When we eventually got home I HAD to do some proper, paid work! Without my little bookkeeping job I couldn't buy my art stuff, do any dog shows, go to concerts etc etc.
Oh, and yesterday I had one of my Flickr photos go into the top 500 for the day it was posted! My first one for ages to make it. (Flickr has nearly 500,000 photos added daily, so the top 500 is quite nice, though not necessarily an indication of quality, more that the photo has great appeal or is unusual in some way)

Now here's 'Ducky' stage two, he's improving I think. I wanted to tackle his rock fairly early on as I wasn't confident about doing it, but I'm ok with how it's turned out. Not brilliant and I don't have the wet sheen that it has in the photo, but I hope it does look like a rock!

Monday, 14 May 2007

Hello Ducky!

I made it to the forest in the pouring rain! My girls enjoyed themselves, both coming home exceedingly dirty and in need of a hose down.

The wet weather brings me nicely on to my next project - Ducky - which I started a couple of days ago. A bit of a departure from my usual work, I am attempting a piece on black paper. I'm not at all sure at this stage that it's going to work, purely because I don't think I'll get the depth of colour I like. Other artists work looks amazing on black paper, they obviously know something I don't!
Ducky was a dear little Ringed Teal that lived with his missus next door to me. Sadly they were both killed, probably by cats, within a few weeks of each other at the end of last autumn.

Here is the first stage and you will see what I mean about the colour!

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Ghillie in all his glory.

Here I am on a very wet Sunday morning, later on it will be me that's wet as I plan to take the flatties into the forest. Poor dogs, I've not been feeling well enough recently to give them a long run so I've promised myself that I'll make the effort today.

Taivas has just made an attempt to wake to neighbours nice and early by hurtling round and round the garden saying "grrr grrr" as she goes. That is the nearest I can get to putting the funny noise she makes on paper - it isn't a growl or a bark but somewhere in between. One of her endearing little ways! LOL

On to the art and the main point of the day - my completed 'Ghillie'. I must say, I am pretty pleased with it. It isn't perfect but I'm improving with each piece which is the important thing. 'Ghillie' is now on his way to be with his owner in the USA, I felt quite sad as I carefully put him in his protective envelope - he's the first piece I've done that has left my possession.

I've uploaded it at a higher resolution than than the other stages so you should be able to click on him to see a larger version.

Sorry folks, I've tried three times to get an image that will enlarge and it's just not working and I haven't a clue why.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Ghillie again!

This morning I feel more like a zombie than a human being! I was out on the town last night (well actually out on the village but that doesn't have quite the same ring to it), and despite the fact that I never drink alcohol - little known fact number eight - I am feeling fragile. That's more to do with lack of sleep, I'm a girl who needs my eight hours, on five I don't function well at all!

Did have a good time though, eight of us to the local bistro - delicious food.

Here's the next stage of Ghillie, it's not a great deal further on but tomorrow will be the finished piece so that's something to look forward to. LOL

Friday, 11 May 2007

I've been tagged

I've only had a blog for five days and I've been tagged - thanks Wendy! It sounds like a lot of fun but gives me a little problem as I don't know seven other bloggers yet. I'll do my best though. For those that I have tagged here's what you do. First write in your blog seven things that not many people know about you, then give the names of seven bloggers that you are tagging & why. Go and leave a comment at their blog telling them they've been tagged. So here goes with my seven things.

1. I have a phobia of fungi, in particular mushrooms. Yes, it's weird! I can't look at mushrooms, touch them or even have them in the house much to Clive's disgust.

2. I have the auto immune illness systemic lupus erythmatosus. I was diagnosed 18 years ago.

3. I have extremely poor sight - ok, my friends know that already!

4. I lack self confidence and have never, ever taken anything back to a shop and complained.

5. I've run a dog training class for 15 years, it absolutely terrified me when I first took it on but I'm just about getting used to it now.

6. I have an appalling sense of direction, no let me amend that to I have no sense of direction! I could get lost in John Lewis (actually I frequently do)! Btw JL is a department store.

7. I actually like spiders!

Now, who can I tag. I might have to come back and edit this if I find more people.

1. My friend Mary, her blog is Forest Walks. We've known each other a while but only started walking together last year, finding a shared love of wildlife and photography. I'm tagging her as she would do it to me if Wendy hadn't already done it.

2. Gayle Mason - Fur in the Paint. I only know Gayle from her blog and her brilliant tutorials which have given me so much help. I hope she'll forgive me for tagging her.

3. Jan - Down Yonder Green Valley. I only know Jan because she left a comment here on my blog so I've started reading hers!

While I'm on I'll add a picture I did a couple of years ago - it's one I'm still quite proud of. One that gave me a good feeling when I completed it.

Stinky Miss Taivas and Ghillie stage three

I'm up earlier than usual this morning, today I want to start my next art piece as well as finishing designing and printing cards for next week's craft fair.
I had a lovely walk in the forest yesterday, with my lapphund and my friend and her two flatties. You can see photos on my flickr pages or at her blog which there is a link to on the right - she is 'Forest Walks'. We saw deer (so did Taivas, oops!) and also a few foals. The most amusing part of the walk was that Taivas (my lapphund), who is quite a fastidious little dog, fell into a bog. She was carefully picking her way around the drier places to get back to me when - PLOP - in she went. Both of us were laughing so much we didn't get a photo. Goodness she did stink! Home for a hose down which did not amuse her either.
Now here is the latest on Ghillie and the point that I always start to have doubts as to whether the drawing will be any good. I still find rendering fur very difficult, also getting the shading right to give the depth. I keep telling myself "patience and practice". I am always in a hurry to get a piece finished - I must learn to slow down!

Thursday, 10 May 2007

More about me and more Ghillie

As you know I'm an amateur artist living in Hampshire, UK. I live there with hubby Clive and our four crazy dogs! Actually only three are crazy (my dogs), one is quite sensible (his dog) LOL Mine are two flatcoated retrievers and a finnish lapphund, his a labrador. Two are now oldies, nearing their twelfth birthday and sadly we know we won't have our labrador for much longer. She has a tumour in her hip which has eaten away at the bone. For now she is still enjoying life, lying in the sunshine in the garden during the recent spate of warm weather we have had.

Over the years I've participated in many of the dog 'sports', but now I just show my youngest - she went to Crufts this year, which was fun.

Back to art and the fabulous Ghillie. Here he is at stage two, with his nose completed too. As I'm doing the rest of him I go back and add little touches to eyes and nose but nothing that makes any major difference. How I wish I had begun drawing years ago - I would be so much better by now!

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Ghillie - the beginning

Today I thought I'd show you how a piece of my art begins - it's nearly always with the eyes, just occasionally I'll do the nose first. These have to be right or the finished piece just won't be any good. So here are Ghillie's eyes, looking very strange staring out of the paper! Ghillie is a liver coloured flatcoated retriever who's owner has very kindly allowed me to work from her photograph of her handsome dog. Incidentally, the eyes took me approximately two hours each. Layer upon layer of very light colour. I'm sure there must be a quicker way but this is what I've found (with my limited experience) gives me the best result. More of Ghillie tomorrow.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Happy Lappie

It's a dull and windy morning but I shall be out walking a bit later. I wanted to upload a pic I completed a short time ago - it's called 'Happy Lappie' - partly because he looks happy and smiley but also he was nicknamed 'happy dog' while he lived in the UK (he's now gone home to Finland). I hope he cheers up anyone that visits today!

Monday, 7 May 2007

My Girl

I'm a beginner artist living in Hampshire, UK. I've been drawing for approximately 3 years, but for 18 months of that time I did no work at all due to a shoulder injury. "My Girl" was my first piece when I started again.