Thursday, 28 January 2010

A Cold Morning


Another try at a pastel painting, I really enjoy doing them and learning along the way. This one is of a cold, cold morning in a UK park.  The ground was frozen and hard and freezing mist hid the distant trees.  Far too cold to sit and draw so I had to rely on my memory and some reference photos.
The more you sketch the better your visual memory gets and it's easier to imprint a scene in your mind.  Sometimes just a few lines and marks can bring back the colours, feelings and sounds. With this one I wanted to get the silence and cold grey light and I had to keep the image in my mind until I got back home.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Thank- you

Thank-you to Anne for her lovely package all the way from Scotland.
Earlier this month Anne celebrated her 300th post on her blog
 Frayed at the edge , and she had a prize draw... guess who won?
It arrived this morning, making me smile on a grey dismal day.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Something Bubbly


I admit I sat and watched this snail for ages.  I waited and waited for him (or her?) to come out of his shell.
All he did was blow bubbles at me and no matter how I coaxed wouldn't show himself.
Drawn first in Derwent Graphitints,which I then wet and  added coloured  pencil for some extra colour.

I  realised that I'm not very good at bubbles and will have to practice.
This one was done for an EDM challenge, which was draw something I chose a snail!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Juicy Raspberries - Monthly Sketch Project January

The last challenge for this month on The Monthly Sketch Project is a bowl of  raspberries.

This beautiful photograph was taken by Chrissy.   You can see more of her fantastic work here .
This sketch was done with watercolour pencils and coloured pencils, and I wanted capture the juiciness of the berries, which wasn't as easy as it first looked!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Catching the Moment

A couple of days ago I was passing this old gateway, part  of ' La Certosa',
as I pulled up to have a look the sun popped out lighting up the old stone.
So I sketched quickly the scene from my car. (As you do!)
Sorry about the crease down the middle, I used a little moleskin sketch-
book that I keep in my bag.

La Certosa was re-opened last year after 60 years of decay.  I have never
actually seen it until now as it was covered in scaffolding and boards.
It was a kind of wax museum in the grounds of the town's main
Villa built in 1797.   Inside there were life-size statues of monks with
wax faces depicting famous people of the time...including Nelson!
Apparently people came from all over Europe to see it.

Now the statues are no more and it'll be used for meetings and conferences.

Monday, 18 January 2010

A Shifty Little Chap

Watersoluble Graphite pencil and
coloured pencil.

This is from my sketch book.  He is a gnome/gargoyle at Villa palagonia,
(Villa dei Mostri).  He looks a bit shifty to me!
I'm going to try and sketch as many as I can, but some are too high up to see.
As soon as we get some better weather I will get some more
photo's and sketches, althought the best time to go is just before the sun
goes down in the summer...the stone takes on a honey colour and the
shadows get deeper.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

It's a long way down

Pastel 15x20cms

This is a pastel painting of the steep path leading down to a local beach.
It's locally known as the 'Baia dei Francesi' (french Bay), due to the large
numbers of French tourists who stayed there in the 1970's and 80's.
I'm sure it has a proper name and I will have to find out.

Here's a photo from the footpath.looking down. (No hand rail either!)

Pastel is not a medium I've used much, but I did enjoy doing this
one.   I tried spraying it with a fixative from the local art shop and
found that it made the colours darker and dull, not exactly the effect
I wanted.  I wonder if there's better way of fixing pastel or a really
good brand of fixative available?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Virtual Paintout - Corsica

Arbellara, Southern Corsica

This is the first time I have taken part in the Virtual Paintout, run by Bill Guffey.
The idea is that you draw or paint a reference taken from Google Street View.
This month the location is Corsica.  I spent a fair while walking round
with the little yellow 'fella', a great way to see some different places. 
I decided to have a look at some of the little villages inland and I must say
the vegetation and scenery is fairly similar to here.  One day maybe I'll get
there for a holiday?
See the Virtual Paintout blog here

Coloured pencil over watercolour pencils.  13x21cms

Monday, 11 January 2010

Lemons and more Lemons

It's the time of year here when the trees are full of lemons and oranges.  As I look out the window all I can see are yellow blobs in the trees, waiting to be harvested in February and March.  Of course the kitchen is already full of enormous fragrant lemons and juicy manderine oranges.  I just need to find some more lemony recipes,  We had a lovely lemon risotto this week and I'm working up to a lemony chicken and lemon cheesecake!

I have been playing with my watercolour pencils sketching lemons (what else?), I scanned them as I went along.

First I sketched the lemon with the 'dry' pencils.
                                                       Then water was added to dissolve the

                                                       I used normal coloured pencils
                                                       over the top to add more colour/

I usually use water soluble pencils for sketching landscapes on location.  If you run out of time you can always put the wash on at home.
Lemon Recipes welcome!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Monthly Sketch Project for January

January's Monthly Sketch Project entry.Rosehips in the snow
from a lovely photograph by Jennifer Rose, see  here .
Done with Derwent Graphitints (used dry and smudged) and coloured pencils.
I added a bit of 'extra' snow at the end with a white watercolour pencil dipped into water,
something you should avoid if you  don't want to ruin your pencils,
but it was all I could find that was white enough.
Acrylic paint would have been better but mine was all dried up
and tippex was the only other alternative!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

The Year Ahead

Yew trees and lake
 Mixed media
A New Year and a new start, out with the old and in with the new?

I won't list my goals for the year ahead as it puts the 'pressure' on and I don't really work well like that.  I prefer to work at my own pace and eventually I will get there in the end.  This is infuriating for those who know me!
Last year I did manage to achieve most of my personal goals which gives me a nice sense of satisfaction. But not everything goes as you hoped and when that happens you just have to pick yourself up and try again.  Onwards and upwards as they say!
Writing this blog helps  focus on what I want to achieve for 2010,  including new projects, activities and improving my art.  Reading other people's blogs  is also a source of constant inspiration.

The picture above was done from memory in pastel and coloured pencil, just to see how they worked together. Learning and trying out ideas always feature high on my list.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year

Ducks on a frozen pond
coloured pencil

Happy New Year!
 I'm just back from my Christmas hols in the freezing UK.  I took many lovely photos of the wintery conditions, only to have my daughter accidently delete them all!  That means I will have to go back again when there is snow again...but for now what I had was quite sufficient!  I came back with a streaming head cold to blue skies and 20°.
I felt sorry for the ducks, wherever I went ponds were frozen over and the poor things looked quite desolate standing on the ice. 
I did get some great reference photos of frozen leaves and the tiny crystals that form around them which I will play around with for future paintings.


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