Tuesday 31 January 2012

Bottle and Clementine WIP 3 Final

I've been rather busy this past week with this and that, you know how it is, but returned to this drawing today and here is the final version.  As I hope you can see, it has been refined here and there ... nothing drastic.  I worked quite a bit on the bottle, although it doesn't look like it! 

I mixed some blues, Delft, Teal, Mid and Pale Ultramarine, with Terracotta and some Oranges to get some of those subtle 'murky' shadows.  I used Dark Violet, Heather and Grape with different shades of Blue to achieve the purply shades.  Much the same on the background but with added Chocolate and Burnt Carmine for the darker shadows. I freshened up the clementine a little with Deep Chrome, Middle Chrome, Deep Cadmium, Naples Yellow, Straw Yellow and Champagne ... and touches of Chinese White on the bottle too.  I'm not really name dropping (!), just showing off ... I've got the full set of Derwent Artists pencils doncha know!  Hehe.  Won't tell you what I used on the table, I'm bored now!

In hindsight, I'd have preferred to do this on Burnt Umber Colourfix but I've run out of that and am waiting for new supplies.  Interesting exercise, anyway, and I'm pleased I finished it and I certainly got to know these pencils which I've never used before.  Not sure I like how they perform on sanded paper, as compared to Coloursofts or the other brands I use.  They're probably much better suited to smoother supports or mountboard.  We'll see ... early days yet.  

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Bottle and Clementine WIP 2

I managed to get a few hours work done on this yesterday, mainly on the bottle but a little on the background too.  I've not touched that clementine, in fact it has been covered over, most of the time, with a piece of paper to protect it from pencil dust.  On the glass, I used the pencils fairly loosely, in fact more or less as I would use pastels.  Holding a pencil half way down the shaft and using quick sketchy strokes helps me to resist the temptation to get into too much detail.  I'm also not fussy about sharpening the points too often ~ I only really need a sharp point when I want to draw a fine line.

A word about drawing glass

I've heard lots of people say that they can't draw glass, or they are afraid to tackle it.  I find that a bit puzzling.  When I 'draw glass' I don't really see it as 'drawing glass'!  After all, an object made of glass, especially clear glass, is merely reflecting the environment around it so what you are drawing are those reflections.  And reflections, to me, are just blocks, or shapes, of different colours.  All you need to keep in mind is the outline form of the glass object and you don't even have to draw that, just remain aware of it.  Someone once said it's wise to draw just what you see and not what you think you see.  I think that's really good advice and particularly appropriate when setting out to draw something made of glass.

Ok, so let's see if I can put some of my wise words into practice on this one!  Now that I've covered the paper with pencil colour, it's time to look at the whole thing, refine things and make adjustments.  I need to check those ellipses to see that they make sense and that the objects sit convincingly on the table.  I also need to refine those large shadows on the bottle to ensure they 'read' correctly colourwise against the background, they are rather too grey at the moment.  Oh and the clementine needs some work too!  And then, of course, there's the background to finish.... and lots of edges need softening .....

Saturday 21 January 2012

Still Life, Bottle and Clementine WIP 1

10" x 8" Derwent Artists Pencils on 'Elephant' Colourfix sanded paper

I finally got going on a new drawing, from my own photo ~ put the flags out!  My still life drawings usually consist of one object, or a variation on one object, (lol) but I pushed the boat out with this one and dared to put two different things together.  I had an idea to draw some glass with something organic so I went to my local greengrocer to choose some fruit or veg that might look good with one of my glass bottles.  I came out with three plums, a bag of clementines, a lemon, two conference pears and an extremely small bunch of black grapes. 

Before buying said fruit I examined each piece very closely, you know, with an 'artist's eye' for shape and colour ~ would those grapes dangle nicely next to a bottle? Is the lemon an interesting shape and an attractive shade of yellow? Might those pears lean just the right way and sit on a surface attractively?  I'm not sure that examining the produce quite that closely was the usual kind of behaviour the greengrocer expected from her customers, and who can blame her?!  She did ask me if I needed help with a rather concerned expression.  Maybe I should have gone to Sainsbury's instead ...  no-one would have noticed!

Anyway, I spent a couple of days arranging different bits of fruit with my chosen glass bottle, different positions, different lighting, backgrounds and so on.  After seriously questioning my sanity a few times and asking myself why I don't just draw a feather or a leaf or something, I finally settled on this little arrangement.  I'm using pencils from my brand new set of 120 Derwent Artists pencils ~ joy of joys!  Once I've decided on the composition I then choose a palette of pencils I'm likely to need.  I might add to this as I go along, but generally I do stick to my originally chosen palette.  Here's a pic of the pencils I'm using on this drawing just to give you an idea.

The little red pencil there in the front is Deep Vermilion.  I've hardly used it but, unfortunately, it must be damaged because it breaks every time I sharpen it ~ unusual to have a damaged Derwent pencil, hmm.

I love the range of colours in this set and I've kind of plunged in, using them for the first time on this drawing, so it's a bit experimental.  As you can see, I've started with the clementine and covered most of the background.  I've worked quite a lot on that clementine ~ got a bit carried away ~ which is not ideal.  I usually work up the whole composition to the same level as I proceed so that I can check how each element relates to the others at every stage.  It just makes for a more coherent piece of work, in my humble opinion.  I'll complete the clementine, though, once the bottle has been rendered.

I'm rendering the background with loose, cross-hatched, broad strokes and then using a soft brush over it.  The aim is to achieve a smooth mix of subtle colours, darker shades on the right side as there is natural light coming through from the left.  I've just started the bottle and you can see those white guide lines which show me roughly where there are main colour changes.  I'll erase those dotted lines as I begin to apply colours to the glass.  I use fewer of those white guide lines these days as I'm learning to judge shape and colour changes by eye now much more and simply drawing in colour from the start.

I've gone on enough for one post so I'll get back to the drawing board and get cracking on that glass bottle.  Ta ta for now!

Thursday 12 January 2012

A New Year, first post

Just to say a very Happy New Year to my readers, albeit rather belatedly!  I've not yet begun any new pieces of art but the arty cogs in my brain are slowly coming to life and the pencils will be in action again shortly.

Since Christmas I've been indulging in other pursuits, like reading the new Charles Dickens biography by Claire Tomalin ('tis very good!).  This year marks the 200th anniversary of Dickens' birth and I've been watching all the BBC progs about the man and his work - great stuff.  I'm all Dickensed out now!  I've also been researching more family history which, as I've mentioned before, is highly addictive.  I've been focused on my mother's father's ancestors who originated from Liverpool, going right back to the 17th Century.  I know next to nothing about Liverpool, or indeed Lancashire, having never been there but I'm learning fast - it's fascinating!  Maybe I'll start a family history blog where I can ramble on about my ancestry ... hmmm.  Anyway, on to other things.

L.S. Lowry is one of my favourite painters and so to receive a calendar for Christmas featuring some of his paintings was an unexpected treat.

And ... a couple of kitty pics, of course!

This is Pants who is temporarily staying with us while eldest daughter is 'doing up' her new home.  She is a little madam, Pants that is!  Pants has a brother called Socks but he prefers to stay at a neighbour's house for the time being.  Pants loves to sit on top of the fridge where she can keep any eye all those other resident moggies!

And ... here's Minnie actually lying in Bobby's box, which, as you may remember, seemed like a physical impossibility.  Where there's a will ...

... there's a way!

Rumour has it that there may actually be some new artwork soon to be posted to this blog .... 

Tuesday 20 December 2011

'Tis the season .....

"I wonder why I'm stood standing here when I should be dangling from a tree by now ..?"

"Good Grief, now she's made me pose with some baubles just to show everyone how small I am ~ how humiliating!"

"You've got problems, she makes me sit right at the top of the tree just because I've got a halo and a silly gold-beaded dress.  People keep telling her I don't look like a proper fairy but she drags me out every year and perches me up there.  It's really uncomfortable actually."

"Personally, I think she's flipped ... Christmas does that to humans, it's really sad.  And, of course, she has messed up on a couple of drawings lately ... that wouldn't help either, would it?  Anyway, while she's faffing around with the rest of those gaudy baubles, shall we go down the pub?"

"Yea, good idea, that'll teach her!  Maybe we should wish that person who reads her blog a Merry Christmas before we go."

"What do you mean "that person"?  There might be more than one.  Unlikely, I know, but some people like to read stuff like this."

"Really?? ... hehe, they must be as crazy as she is then!"


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