Wednesday 28 April 2010

Cat Portrait: Minnie WIP 2

A few hours more work done on Minnie today.  I have now laid down the initial colours for the whole image.  It's always good to get to this point because now I feel that the 'donkey work' of putting in the main shapes and tonal areas is largely done.  I can now see the whole 'picture' and start to enrich the colours, adjust values and generally refine things where necessary.  The left hand side of the cat, for example, needs to go quite a bit darker.

This initial process takes a lot of concentration because I'm trying to establish the cat's markings, correct tonal values, anatomical accuracy and colour harmony all at the same time.  Quite tricky but I'm pleased with progress so far.  I'm running low on some of my pencils so I've ordered some more - why do I leave these things until the last minute?  Bad planning!

Monday 26 April 2010

Cat Portrait: Minnie WIP 1

8" x 10"  Coloured Pencil on Soft Umber Colourfix sanded paper

Well I finally got my PC back, it had to have a new power pack installed which set me back £110 of which the labour cost was £70.....hmmm.  Wish I was techie minded, could have put it in myself
for nothing!  Anyway, here we are with another drawing, not the one I had originally lined up to show - that was a daffodil which started well and then turned into a nightmare.  I think I am jinxed when it comes to drawing yellow subjects on dark paper, same thing happened with a carnation I did a while back!  Ah well, all those lovely yellow pencils I wanted to use will have to wait.....until next time.

Back to topic.  This is a drawing of Minnie, my beautiful 10 year old tabby cat.  She has been with us from a kitten and enjoyed solitary feline status until the boys, Keith and Bob, came along and daughter's three cats too.  It took her a while to adjust to the presence of all the boys invading her territory but she gets lots of fussing to compensate and they all get along fine now.

I was snapping lots of shots of flowers in the garden on a beautiful Spring day when I looked up and saw Minnie stretched out on the patio table, bathed in sunlight. I took a few snapshots of her and and this is a crop from one of them - the flowers will have to wait!

I'm using mostly Polychromos pencils supplemented with some Prismacolors.  The Poly range is a bit short on the lighter shades I need for this drawing so I'm using lovely Prisma shades, Peach Beige Ginger Root, Nectar, Rosy Beige, Pale Sage, Jade and Celadon Green.  There's still no substitute for the Poly shade, Ivory, though, which I'm using quite a lot on this one.  Here are a couple of quick snaps of the equipment I'm using.


For this portrait, I'm including more of the cat's body for a change.  As you can see I'm working my way down slooowly and there remains lots and LOTS more to do.

Saturday 17 April 2010

Computer Problems Grrr! And a bit of politics.

Just thought I'd better check in as I haven't posted for a while.  I've been having a few problems with my PC lately and then yesterday, it decided to crash out completely - I have no idea why, except that it seems to be a power problem, some kind of electrical fault I think.  I am using a borrowed laptop at the moment without any of my usual software or data files.  It's painfully slow but better than nothing I suppose!  It could be a week or so before I get my PC back and I'm hoping it is reparable as it's only two years old - but then, I'm told, that's positively ancient in computer terms!  I have a new drawing coming but cannot upload it yet - far too challenging to do that on the laptop!

And now, just thought I'd mention, for those of you who don't already know, that we have a General Election looming in the UK.  Everyone here is positively glued to the TV and radio to hear the scintillating commentary on the policies promoted by our illustrious political contenders in the race for No. 10 Downing Street.  If you believe that, you'll believe anything!  It's unsurprising, I think, that there is such apparent apathy and cynicism (or is it just me?) among the British people about our politicians in terms of both their behaviour in recent times - not good - and the stuff that generally comes out of their mouths. 

Now don't get me wrong, I have always voted in both national and local elections because I am proud of our democracy and believe everyone should vote.  My daughters will tell you how I always nag them to get out and vote, that they are lucky to have the right to do so and that Suffragettes fought, and some died, in the early 20th century so that women would have that right.  There is a lot of apathy though, especially amongst younger people in this country, probably largely because they have not known war or real poverty or, indeed, what it means to be disenfranchised.  I really hope that none of us has to experience any of those things again in order to be shaken out of this apathy.

There has been a lot of talk about the real possibility of a 'hung' parliament which essentially means that the major competing political parties will have to share power - instead of winner takes all!  Personally, I think that's a great idea, imagine...... the three main bods, or should I call them The Three Stooges!, Brown, Cameron and Clegg, all having to sit round a table and agree on policies instead of wasting their energy arguing with each other!  And.......would they all then have to move into No.10 together?   Oooh, very cosy!!

Ah well, I'm off to see if I can find a TV channel that doesn't have a politician or news commentator spouting off about the economy, education or the NHS to me.  Now there's a challenge!

Sunday 4 April 2010

Samantha WIP 3 Final

Thank you, folks, for putting up with my major rant about BT.  I should really go and bash up some cushions or something instead of broadcasting my frustrations!  It's crazy how these things get to you so much though isn't it?  They do say that internet access is fast becoming as important as other utilities such as water, gas and electrickery!  Thus, getting cut off can be majorly traumatic! 

Anyway, here's Samantha finished at last.  The scan is pretty accurate colourwise, although not terribly high quality in terms of definition.  I darkened the hair and neck, adding Dark Sepia, Walnut Brown, Burnt Ochre, Sanguine.  I also added more of the same colours as before to the skin tones and smoothed them out with some cotton buds. 

I had been concerned that the strong blue hat might have overpowered her pale skin tones but I think her blue dress helps to balance things out nicely.  One thing about sanded paper is that a lot of pencil dust is generated and the temptation is to blow it away as you work.  However, it can stain the paper so I had to be careful not to get those dark blues onto the skin and hair areas.  All in all, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.


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