Friday 30 October 2009

Autumn in the Park WIP 2

A few more hours work done on this over the whole piece and this is a pretty accurate representation of my drawing. It's quite difficult to get strong colours on this particular grey/green pastel paper. I do work with fairly light strokes and do not layer heavily as I like the subtlety of colour that this technique produces but, even so, I can usually achieve rather more strength of colour by this stage in the work.
I shall continue to add more of the same colours. I'm using probably all of the mid and dark greens in the Prismacolor and Derwent Coloursoft ranges in that foliage - I think the Coloursoft pencils suit this paper better because they are more chalky than the Prismas.
I'm impatient to get this one finished now because today I had a flash of inspiration for a new white still life set-up. I'm charging up my camera batteries as I speak in readiness to take a zillion photos of said new composition!

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Autumn in the Park WIP 1 plus Susan Boyle

8" x 10" on grey/green Canson Mi Teintes paper (reverse side)

Just started this landscape using Prismacolor and Derwent Coloursoft pencils. Haven't done a landscape in eons so I just fancied giving one a go and see what happens. I've spent approx. six hours on it so far, half of which was spent drawing the composition. The scene is a local park in early November a couple of years ago, the cyclist came along just at the right time when I snapped the photo! I have moved some of the elements for a better composition - not with a software programme but by my own hand on the paper, as it were. I'm using the pencils kind of like I would with pastels - scribbling away, dipping in and out with different colours and hoping it works! Now I've uploaded it I see loads of things that need adjustment. Early days yet, lots more work still to do on it.

And......I simply have to mention a song I heard a few days ago on the radio, Susan Boyle singing "Wild Horses", an old Rolling Stones classic. It stopped me in my tracks because it is so spine-tinglingly good. Here is a video of Susan giving a wonderful live performance of it on the America's Got Talent programme. Note that she doesn't fly onto the stage on a trapeze wearing next to nothing, she isn't surrounded by wriggly male dancers, she isn't under 30......oh and her voice hasn't been modulated or electronically 'enhanced'. How refreshing!! She doesn't need all that rubbish, she simply commands the stage with nothing but her humble presence and that wonderful voice. I understand her debut album, which includes this song, is due out on November 23rd and it will most definitely be on my Christmas Wish List!

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Autumn and a Leafy drawing

8" x 11" Coloured Pencil on Hahnemulle Bamboo Paper

This drawing is derived from a bunch of leaves I gathered a few days ago in our local park. I did it quite quickly with a combination of Prismacolor and Derwent Coloursoft pencils. I would have done it on coloured paper but I wanted to try out this newish type of paper. It's fairly textured and I quite liked it but I wish it was available in colours other than white. I really wanted to put a background to it but a) it would have taken forever on white paper and b) I couldn't decide how on earth to do it! I took this photo of the Sycamore tree from whence the leaves came (the lady and her dog posed especially for me to give a sense of scale..... no they didn't really, I'm lying!).

And.......following the same theme, here's a pic I took last week of a magnificently old tree which takes pride of place at beautiful Ashridge Park, not far from where I live, in all its autumnal splendour.

As I'm in poetic mood, rare for me (!), and we are having an especially colourful autumn, I'll leave you with a verse from a poem called "Last Week in October" by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) who is one of my favourite authors.
"The trees are undressing and fling in many places
On the gray road, the roof, the window-sill -
Their radiant robes and ribbons and yellow laces;
A leaf each second so is flung at will,
Here, there, another and another, still and still."

Thursday 15 October 2009

Two Tulips - Finished and Birmingham trip

Well, I've added some more colour and tweaked it in places - I know, it doesn't look a great deal different from the last post but I so didn't want to overdo it! I did add a touch of yellow to the background (breaking my cool greens only rule!) but I thought it needed livening up a bit. I don't know whether I like it or not but maybe it will grow on me and at least I think I've achieved what I set out to do. One thing I did ponder over was how to get that shiny tulip petal look whilst not burnishing it and not filling the tooth of the paper - ah well, you can't have everything!

I went to the UKCPS Exhibition in Birmingham almost two weeks ago now so I'm mentioning it somewhat belatedly! I was struck by the diversity of the coloured pencil work on display, the different methods of working and subject matter. It's odd but the pictures I expected to like I wasn't that impressed with. Others that hadn't impressed me on the computer screen looked a great deal better in real life. It just goes to show that it really is worth seeing pictures 'in the flesh' if it's at all possible, although, of course, that is not always practical. It felt good to see my own two pics in there - I feel quite proud of that. I did take some photos of the exhibition but they are rubbish - the photos on the UKCPS blog are much better!

Anyway, I've never actually been to Birmingham City Centre so that was a first - sorry all you Brummies out there but I wasn't that impressed! Although the shopping experience was brilliant, quite frankly I fear the city planners, probably back in the 1960s, have made a right pig's ear of the place, haven't they? I found it quite bizarre. I snapped this photo (Ok, I'm a lousy photographer!) to illustrate the apparent incongruence, to me anyway, between the old and elegant church and the concrete mess that surrounds it. A beautiful ancient church to the left and a lacklustre concrete branch of Borders to the right! It's sad that this kind of scene is so common in many of our towns and cities.

To redress the balance a little, I'm told that there are other much nicer areas to experience in Birmingham City, especially down by the Canal.'s a photo I took of the famous bronze Bull who stands proudly at the Bullring Shopping Centre. Now I liked him....he's fabulous isn't he?!

Monday 12 October 2009

Two Tulips WIP 3

Here we are then two or three hours' work later. Using the same colours as previously, I've added another layer of colour overall. I'm doing this very gingerly because of the aforementioned paranoia about over-saturating the colours! I'm fighting the urge to put some stronger, brighter colour on that background - but I'm not giving in. I'll be strengthening the reds on the flowers next but using the juxtaposing method rather than blanket layering and the next post will see it finished. I'm still liking it so that's got to be a plus.'s a pic of Keith who had been watching my picture develop with some interest, I thought. However, I fear that boredom took over and he decided that watching me drawing was rather like watching paint dry and he'd much rather slip into this mode!

Friday 9 October 2009

Two Tulips WIP 2

Another five or so hours work completed on this. I did the background very loosely with Derwent Coloursoft Green, Dark Green, Mint, Grey Green and Sea Green. I chose to stick to the cooler greens because I want the background to recede and, hopefully, make the flowers pop forward. I think it's working and I'm quite pleased with it - so far.

I've also started adding some reds, oranges and yellows to the petals and I'm doing the stems with warmer greens - Limepeel, Chartreuse and Moss (Prismacolor), again a ploy to push them forward. I hope all this attention to colour theory pays off! Still more to do on the petals but I hope I don't overdo it - oooh the tension is too much! (hehe).

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Two Tulips WIP 1

Approx. 10" x 8" on Canson Mi Teintes with Prismacolor and Derwent Coloursoft coloured pencils.
Back to the drawing board after a hectic couple of weeks of family and domestic matters. So good to be back in the sanctuary of my art room. Having ruminated a bit on what to draw next, I've settled on some flowers (just for a change!). I know it's autumn and I should getting inspired by all the lovely new colours appearing everywhere but I've had some photos of tulips hanging around waiting to be drawn since Spring so I've started this little picture.
Although it's looking a little insipid right now, rest assured that these tulips are going to end up red - bear with me on this one! I've spent some time juxtaposing colours (Bet Borgeson style!) such as Spanish Orange, Pale Vermillion, Poppy Red, Carmine Red, Hot Pink and Scarlet Lake (Prismacolor) on the petals. I've used Poppy Red, Limepeel and Chartreuse on the stems - so far - and I'll be using more reds and greens, Prismas and Derwents, later.
My plan is to try and capture that shiny texture and vivid colour so characteristic of tulips but without too much colour saturation. I will also be adding a background of muted cool greens - gosh, aren't I brave?! Wish me luck!


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