31 May 2007

EDM #8 and EDM #78

EDM challenge 8 was to draw a watch. I've got a few watches; this one I bought on my recent trip to Switzerland. It didn't seem right to come back from Switzerland without a new watch! I really like it, though it can be a bit difficult to read because the hands are silvery metal that don't always show up very well against the pale face. It's done with my .25mm rapidograph.

Challenge 78 is related in that it is to draw something that is a souvenir of somewhere you've been. In 2005 we were lucky enough to spend a summer in California and, during that time, make a trip to Hawaii. We've been to California quite a few times -- in fact Liz and I lived there for a year before Sarah was born -- but this was our first time in Hawaii. This is a Kukui Nut Lei; we all got one at the hotel we stayed at on Maui. It was a wonderful trip. The only downside is that Sarah now wants to spend every holiday there!

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Watercolour portrait, WIP

I've decided to do a watercolour based on the graphite portrait of Liz that I've been showing here. This is a new challenge for me; I've never tried painting a portrait before, so it's a bit scary. In fact, I didn't even have much idea how to mix a good skin tone; in the end I found the yellow ochre a alizarin crimson are commonly used, so that's what I've tried, with the addition of cobalt blue for shadows. This is just a first wash, there's a lot more to do.

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29 May 2007

Liz, stage 5

I think I might declare this finished. At any rate, I'm going to to leave it for a few days and then come back to it. It didn't turn out too badly in the end, though I don't think I'll be using this type of paper for drawing on again. I had to resort to using my .3mm mechanical pencil to get into the small crevices in the paper!

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28 May 2007

Liz, stage 4

Here's another update of my portrait of Liz. Coming along quite nicely, I think. Slow progress, but I've no reason to hurry over this one.

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27 May 2007

Liz, stage 3

Here's another update. At one point today I almost gave up and started again on different paper as I'm having so much trouble with this. It would be great for something that had lots of texture, but I don't really want my wife's skin to have lots of texture! In the end I thought I'd keep going; it will be good practice for another version, if nothing else. I've started work on the hair as well as changing the right eye yet again and doing a bit more work on the mouth.

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26 May 2007

Liz, stage 2

I've not had much drawing time this week, so I haven't made much progress on this drawing, but I thought I'd post what I've done so far. I've corrected the eyes, though I notice that in the process the irises are now not round. But that's easily fixed. The mouth needs more work, but as I said, that's the hardest part! And the hair...I might not have mentioned that Liz has curly hair...

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EDM #120

Here are a couple of torches. I'm amazed I could find two; normally torches are one of those things that I can never find when I want one, even though I must have bought loads of them! These are both done with a Rotring Art Pen.

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23 May 2007

EDM #1 and EDM # 110

I'm very upset because Liverpool were cruelly robbed of victory in the Champions League Final by AC Milan. (I'm talking about football, or soccer if you're in the US, in case you're wondering!) Although I live in Oxford, I'm originally from Liverpool, so this is a BIG DEAL. I didn't think it would be a good idea to work on my drawing of Liz in this mood! However, I needed something to take my mind off the pain, so I did a couple of quick sketches. Quite why I thought it would be a good idea to draw a burning candle using sepia and black ink, I'm not sure...just shows what my mental state is like! The shoe is a memory of a holiday in Hawaii in 2005. You couldn't get them in the UK at the time, but now they are everywhere, so I don't feel so special wearing them! But they still remind me of being on the beach in Maui...heaven! These are also my responses to EDM 1 and EDM 110.

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22 May 2007

Liz, WIP

I'm starting a drawing of Liz, my wife. It's based on a photograph that I took when we were on holiday in Switzerland last month. I've not done much work on it yet, but thought I would show the progress so far. I'm doing this on a 1/4 sheet of Arches HP paper. I'm not sure that's going to turn out to be a good choice; it's a bit rougher than I'm used to working on, so I hope I can make the skin look suitably smooth! Plus I still have the dreaded mouth to work on, generally the hardest part on the face, IMHO. Luckily, she's got her mouth shut, so at least I don't have to worry about the teeth. So far it's all done with a 2B .5mm mechanical pencil.

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21 May 2007

30 second poses

I recently went to a life class for the very first time. Slightly bizarrely, it was held at the gym club where I'm a member! The part that I enjoyed the best was doing a series of 30 second poses. It sounds scary at first, but actually is quite liberating, as no one can expect you to produce anything very stunning in such a short time so there is no pressure at all. What's more, the model can take up poses that would be impossible to hold for longer periods of time. I really enjoyed it; can't wait to have the chance again! Anyway, here are some of my drawings.

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Wheatfield Church

Wheatfield Church is one of England's 1000 Best Churches, according to Simon Jenkins. It is a small church in the parkland of what was once a prosperous estate before the house burnt down in the nineteenth century. The church is still in use, though only in the summer as it has no electricity. It's a lovely spot, despite being within sight of the M40. I did this quick pen and ink sketch before my lovely daughter got bored!

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19 May 2007

Sketching in the garden, and EDM # 119

I was planning to go out sketching today, but the weather wasn't really good enough, so I contented myself with some sketching in the garden. We have a number of acers in the garden, my DW particularly likes them. I'm not sure what the other one is (I'm not the gardener in our family!), but I like the blue colour. I've also included a rock from the garden, which is this week's EDM challenge!

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17 May 2007

Problems with comments

I'm having some problems with comments at the moment. Serves me right for fiddling too much with my template, I guess! I hope to have it fixed soon.

16 May 2007

Rainy Day

I've been busy at work, and tired (my DW's been away, see secret 4 below!) and I'm fed up with it raining all the time! So, I haven't been very inspired to do anything creative for a couple of days. But here are a few quick things I did get time to do. Let's hope summer starts again soon!

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14 May 2007

Look out for Madeleine

Bloggers everywhere are doing their bit for the search for the missing child, Madeleine McCann. The story of her abduction is reported by the BBC here. Here is a photograph of her. If anyone has any information about her whereabouts, they should get in touch with the international Crime stoppers on +44 1883 731 336.

13 May 2007

I've been tagged

I've just been tagged by Robyn of Have Dogs, Will Travel. Thanks, Robyn, it was fun! I expect you're familiar with this; you have to tell seven secrets that most people don't know about you and then tag another seven bloggers. The former is fairly easy; finding seven people who haven't already been tagged is more of a challenge! Here are my seven secrets:

  1. I've suffered from depression on and off for years. Drawing is one of the things that helps to keep it more or less at bay most of the time. Meditation is another; I think drawing and meditation are quite similar in many ways. Both are about being completely absorbed in the present.

  2. I'm 50 this year. EEK! I've already had my mid-life crisis, and I've got the leather jacket to prove it. And the electric guitar. But I stopped short of getting the motorbike!

  3. I secretly like getting done up in full academic dress once in a while.

  4. When my wife is away, I sometimes stay up until 1.00am, watching old movies, eating crisps and chocolate.

  5. Before I moved into academia, I worked as a social worker in Scotland for 10 years. I found dealing with child abuse too difficult to handle in the end. It's never straightforward, you have to make impossible decisions with very little support. It's a miracle tragedies don't happen more often.

  6. When teachers don't know the answer to a student's question, they say "What do you think about that?"

  7. I'm a big fan of The Archers, a soap opera on the radio set in a small village somewhere in central England.

Here are the seven blogs I'm passing the tag on to. Please let me know if you've already been tagged before. I tried to check, but I might have missed some.

  • Teri C of Teri's Painted Daisies. Based in Arizona and Wisconsin (though luckily for her, not at the same time!), Teri produces beautiful paintings, particularly of flowers.

  • Lin of View From The Oak. Lin is fortunate enough to come from North Carolina, where she produces lovely work, mainly in watercolour and ink.

  • Casey Toussaint of rue Manuel bis is an American living in the Loire region of France. She works in a variety of media, including walnut wood stain!

  • Omphaloskepsis is a blog by E-J, who comes from East Anglia in England. She is a very talented pastel artist, but she also produces sketches in a variety of media. I wonder how much time she actually spends contemplating her navel!

  • Margaret Hunt of MaggieArt is an award-winning fiber artist, but on this blog concentrates on her sketches.

  • Done4Fun is Sylvia's blog. She does beautiful work in many media, including pastel and watercolour.

  • Carole Kirk's blog has some really interesting experiments with various print techniques. You must check them out.

EDM #76 -- Draw some flowers

I've not had time to do much drawing or painting today, just a quick sketch of some stocks that I bought a couple of weeks ago and are still going strong. This will be my entry for challenge 76. They have a lovely smell, but I haven't yet come up with a way of capturing that in a drawing! This is ink and Derwent Inktense pencils.

I've just been tagged by Robyn, of Have Dogs, Will Travel, so I'll have to start thinking of seven secrets! It's not going to be easy. And, of course, I'll have to find seven new people to tag, so watch out!

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12 May 2007

Grady, finished

I think I'm going to call this one finished. I've darkened the middle of the mouth, the nostrils and the right ear, but otherwise it's not much different from stage 3. There's lots more that I could do to it, but I think not without changing it into a completely different style of drawing. Those of you who were kind enough to comment and said you liked dog drawings, you owe it to yourself to check out Mike Sibley. Now there is a real master of realistic graphite drawing! But I'm quite happy with my drawing; I think it captures the personality of the dog. I'm really going to have to practice those noses, though!! Thanks again for the advice and encouragement.

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11 May 2007

Grady WIP, part 3

This is getting close to being finished, if only because I've got to send it off tomorrow. I think the darkening of the inside of the mouth has really helped (thanks for that advice!), though it might need to be taken a bit further in the middle. The nose is better, but perhaps still not quite right. The nostrils could do with being a bit darker, maybe. Anyway, the next post will be the final version.

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10 May 2007

Grady WIP, part 2

This isn't going as well as I'd hoped, probably because I'm trying to work too quickly. That nose is driving me mad...I just can't get it to look right! Only tomorrow left to work on it!! I've adjusted the right eye, which wasn't round enough, and have started to suggest the hair around the right ear. Suggestion is all there is going to be, I think, given the time available. Still, I'm reasonably happy with the overall impression of the dog's personality.

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09 May 2007

Grady, WIP

After the bright colours of the last post, it's back to graphite today. I'm doing a drawing of an English Setter called Grady for a friend's birthday. I would have been tempted to try to paint him, but the birthday is on Saturday so I can't afford to make mistakes! In fact, it might well not be finished in time, but it should at least look reasonably good by then. Plus, I'm working small--it's about 18cm x 12cm. Plus, this will be my entry to the current EDM challenge (118), which is to draw hair. Dog hair counts, right?

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08 May 2007

Cherry Tree, finished

I think this is done, though I'm tempted to put some more darks on the tree. What do you think? This is done on a quarter imperial sheet of 140lb NOT Bockingford paper, using W&N French Ultramarine Blue, Permanent Rose, Burnt Sienna and Raw Sienna. And as luck would have it there is also an EDM challenge to fit this one too: number 15 -- draw a tree!

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Cherry Tree, WIP

I decided to do a painting of a cherry tree in blossom, but didn't get time to finish it today, so I thought I'd post it as a work in progress. I'm afraid that the middle part of the background has gone a bit muddy, but I'm going to add some detail in to it, so I hope it will still be OK. Time will tell!

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EDM #37 -- Some keys

Here's a line drawing of my keys, which is EDM challenge # 37. This is a sort of modified blind contour. Each key is drawn blind, but I looked at the paper to place the pen for the start of the next one.

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