Friday, 24 December 2010

Season's Greetings

The Rodent Revellers wish you a merry Christmas and happy New Year.  Prismacolor on pastelmat size A4.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Train Driver

I have been under the weather since the NEC with the seasonal virus which has laid me low.  No enthusiasm or energy for anything until today.  So finally got this finished.  Just need to think of a suitable title now, any suggestions?
Also received a wonderful comment on my Charlie portrait from well known Canadian CP artist Bernard Poulin "... "Charlie" is the most huggable portrait I have seen in a long, long time".  I was well chuffed.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

NEC Art Materials Live event

I will be on the UKCPS stand at the NEC on Thursday, please come and say hello.

Back at the drawing board - Train driver WIP

At last I am back, pencils in hand, inspired and full of enthusiasm.  Hope it lasts.  This picture is from a photo I took on the Somerset Railway last year.  If fact the driver was so much like my brother-in-law I have tweaked it slightly to give a closer resemblance.  I am using black Stonehenge paper with Prismacolor and Caran d'Ache pencils.  The finished picture will be A3 but most of the right hand will be black paper with a few gold lines.  I am taking a risk here with composition as the driver will be looking out of the picture and the focal point to the extreme left but I can always crop it if it doesn't work.

Picture 1.  I started with the sky as I knew this would be the biggest challenge.  Could I get it smooth?  Could I disguise the pencil marks with clouds NO WAY!!    Three hours later, using every technique I could think of I gave up.  The sky looks far more grainy for real than it does in the photo.

Picture 2.  Another sheet of paper and with next years UKCPS mixed media exhibition in mind out came the pastels.  No problem sky done in ten minutes duly sprayed with fixative and ready for the CP onslaught.  A couple of issues I hadn't bargained for, the fixative didn't completely fix the pastel and had also changed the properties of the black paper so the CP behaved differently.  Ah well another learning curve, I like a challenge.  I think I prefer working on the f'ixed' paper as it is less absorbant and therefore requires fewer layers.  I keep smudging the pastel as I am working but it lifts easily with Blu-Tak and a soft rubber so I am not too bothered at this stage. 

Picture 3. Face and cap finished, starting to define the overalls.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Where have I been?

I cannot believe it is over a month since my last blog, where does the time go?  However, although I have done very little in the way of painting I have been doing lots of other arty things.  My picture of 'Charlie' got a Highly Commended at the  UKCPS annual exhibition held in the Art Gallery in Stamford, Lincolnshre.  I made 2 visits, one to help set up the UKCPS exhibition and again to do some demonstrating, help to take down an pack pictures as well as attend the AGM in my capacity as Local Groups Co-ordinator.  I have also had a day in London at Westminster Hall for a meeting about next years exhibition which is going to be quite an event.  The UKCPS will be celebrating their 10th anniversary and Faber-Castell, our sponsor, their 250th.  Speight of the Art will also be their promoting art for children. So lots more to do on this as the months go by.
Also we have had out 3rd Coloured Pencil Experience workshop in Somerset.  It has been so successful we have had to book a bigger venue for next March as we couldn't fit everyone in this time.  New people attend as well as regulars and everyone seems very appreciative of their day spent with coloured pencils.  I also have 2 others booked in Devon and Dorset in the Spring, do come if you can, no experience required and you don't have to be a member of the UKCPS.  Email me for more details and an application form.
I have also been involved with 'The Big Draw' at the Ilminster Arts Centre and have agreed to take a Coloured Pencil Workshop there starting in January.  More details are on their website.
Fellow UKCPS member, Terry White asked me to help him set up a local group in Cheddar that meets every other Wednesday morning and I am also helping a friend, John Morland, to run his U3A drawing class.  John is a self taught watercolour artist and has done some amazing landscapes in the past, he now enjoys passing on his techniques to others.
Phew!!  This week I hope to get down to some painting again.
'Charlie' Highly Commended at the 9th UKCPS International Open Exhibition

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

UKCPS Open International Exhibition 2010

The exhibition is now on at the Arts Centre in Stamford Lincolnshire until the 1ar October and I will be demonstrating on the 30th Sept and 1st Oct.  Other demonstrators will be in attendance on other days too.  I was so chuffed that I received a 'Highly Commended' for my picture of Charlie

Monday, 6 September 2010

Diversity Exhibition at Ilminster Arts Centre

All up and running at my Exhibition at The Arts Centre, Ilminster.  Bev Lewis, Diana Connor and myself spent 3 hours on Saturday afternoon hanging our pictures with much help from the gallery.  This is our first major exhibition and we were exhausted.  A lovely gallery but not easy to get good photos but these give a flavour of it.  The exhibition is on until 18th September, come and meet the artists on Wednesday 8th and have a go with coloured pencils.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Oh dear, I have sadly neglected my blog.  Too much to do, so little time exhibitions coming out of my ears but happy to say I sold 3 pictures at my local art group in Somerton and my Tabby Cat sold at the Open Exhibition in Clevedon.  I actually managed to get all 4 of my pictures juried in for the first time and as a result have been approached by a local gallery.  ALSO I have been awarded Signature Membership of the UKCPS very exciting. So good news all round.

I am now preparing for my first group exhibition to be held at Ilminster Arts Centre from 6th to 18th September.  Hanging on Saturday, Private View Sunday 5th between 3 and 5pm.  Do come along for tea and cake.  We will also been in residence on Wednesday 8th promoting the UKCPS, coloured pencils and giving people the opportunity to have a go.

I will also be demonstrating at the UKCPS annual exhibition in Stamford on 29 and 30 September.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

UKCPS Exhibition 2010

I am delighted that all 4 of my pictures entered for the UKCPS exhibition to be held in Stamford, Lincolnshire in September have been accepted.  Last year I had one rejected so I must be doing something right.  For more information on the exhibition check out the blog.

Itchy Feet


Times Past

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Blue Turban, Pink Shirt

I have been busy getting pictures ready for a couple of art club exhibitions, can't believe how long it takes filling in forms, labelling everything and choosing which picture to put where.  Anyway 4 pictures have been duly delivered to Clevedon for the juried open and I won't know until next week which ones have been accepted.
My lovely man gave me a set of Staedler Fineliners so I have been playing with them today and this is the result.  I love the vivid colours, they blend well with a waterbrush and although the colour range is small they mix easily.  This picture is partly imagined size about A4 on Fabriano Classico.  I think I could get hooked on these, just need to find the right subjects.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Llama in graphite

An up close and personal picture of a llama, graphite on Mellotex, size 15x12 cm.  I started this ages ago before I did the llama in CP and I only had the bottom right hand corner to do so one hour today and I finished it.  I may still darkend a few bits.


Here is one I have been working on over the past week in short snatches between doing other things not related to art.  This was fun, totally imagined, size 17x24cm Derwent W/C pencils wet an dry on Fabriano Artistco.  The light areas are a little brighter in reality.
I have a couple of art club exhibitions coming up in August and have decided which pictures to enter, just need to label, sort out the paperwork, deliver them and put my name down for stewarding.  I am now thinking hard about the exhibition I am doing in Ilminster in September with a couple of friends.  It seems to be coming up fast. I would have loved to have done completely new stuff that is themed but my work is rather eclectic and I do really want to sell pictures from the cupboard.  The financial situation has put such a damper on selling art at the moment, just hope I can at least cover my costs.
I have been going through some of my older work and realised I have moved on so much in 3 years that I can't possibly exhibit some of it so I have decided to recycle the frames.  I am also considering reworking some of the pieces, not sure if this is a good idea or not.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Harvest Mouse

I'm on a roll today but now the dark clouds have descended and the light isn't good enough to start another.  This one is 12x22cm  on light grey pastelmat.  I have used mostly tinted charcoal pencils with a touch of yellow and pink pastel to brighten it up.  I do like the charcoal they enable me to get the darks in quickly but they feel a little scratchy and slightly set my teeth on edge so I find myself gritting my teeth and ending up with an achy jaw.  Must think of another subject for tomorrow.

Running Scared

With nothing particular in mind except 'small, quick and loose' I rustled this one up in an hour this morning.  It is only 10x18cm on a yellowy Pastelmat.  I started off using tinted charcoal pencils for the background but then changed to pastel pencils for the hare.  I think I might try some more like this.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Rose Bug WIP3 and Finished

It was really nice to do something completely different and work on sanded paper for a change.  So much quicker and I have managed keep it painterly.
I am having a moan, I have just been filling in entry forms for my local art group exhibition and noticed that all greeting cards are to be priced at £1.50.  Mine are already priced up at £1.80 and £2.00 so I will boycott cards this year, hope others do the same. Agh!!!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Rose Bug WIP1 & 2

I am working on this rose, a real change for me.  Derwent Artist Pencils on Fisher 400 size about 7"x5".  It doesn't look much at the moment but if it works I may do a couple more like this to mount and offer for sale at my local art club exhibition next month.  This underpainting is done with dry pencil.  Next stage is to bring in some detail but I am hoping this will still look painterly rather than botanical.


I have just about finished. This is certainly the best picture I have done of this beaded girl but still not totally happy with it.  The skin is quite painterly and I would have preferred it smoother.  I should have layered more carefully in the early stages.  I put the paper on a sheet of rigid plastic placed on a hot water bottle to try to blend a little more.  It certainly helped to melt the wax enough to blend with finger but it then became rather dull so had to work over it again.  I can hear my teachers comments on my school reports echoing in my ears.  'Must take more care  and not rush things!' agh if only I could.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

On the drawing board

This is a picture I have had a go at many times with various mediums and have never managed to achieve the look I wanted.  The last one being an oil painting earlier this year. This one started by accident while I was trying out different pencils on Stonehenge Black paper.  The reference photo was at hand and I decided to keep going.  Underneath my trusted Prismacolor are a mixture of Graphitint white and Derwent Tinted Charcoal.  The white seemed no different to any other white and the Tinted Charcoal was really too dark for this paper but interestingly the Prismacolor seemed to glide beautifully over the charcoal pencil.  So a little more experimentation required there I feel.  I also discovered that the Prismacolor plain wax pencil worked very well as a first layer reducing the amount of white I needed to cover the surface.  There is white under all the skin area even the darkest shadows.  I have just about finished the viewers left cheek, eye and the ear, but this morning I can see the right eye needs to be larger and I have a slight skew on the mouth and nose area.  The right cheek still needs a lot of blending and I have the beads and dress to do.  I am still not totally happy with it but feel it is my best interpretation of this sweet little girl that I have done to date.

Off to Art in Action near Oxford on Friday, hope it doesn't rain but not looking promising.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Beach Girls

Here are 3 pictures I have been working on over the past few days entirely from my imagination (unusual for me).  They are all 30x14cm, coloured pencil on light grey Pastelmat using Zest-it to blend.  I don't think they are worth framing but they were fun to do and may inspire me to do a bigger picture sometime in the future.  On the other hand I may print them as greetings cards.

Ladies in Lavender

Life's a beach

Scotch on the Rocks

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Llama in Coloured Pencil Finished

Finished at last although he may get a few more tweaks.  If you want to see the full WIP click here

Monday, 5 July 2010

Llama in Coloured Pencil WIP

I have been working on my llama today and I am really pleased with progress so far.  There are 4 updates. Click here to see the full work in progress. But here is where I am so far.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Coloured Pencil Experience Workshop

We had a very successful meeting at our second Coloured Pencil Experience workshop in Somerset today.  14 of us managed to brave the heat, avoid Glastonbury Festival (just down the road) and tear ourselves away from the football and tennis.  Many who came were new to CP and Bev, Diana and I were kept on are toes doing demonstrations, giving a helping hand and offering advice.  The heat got to most of us by 3pm so we finished a little earlier than planned but I hope everyone has gone home with renewed enthusiasm for getting their pencils going.  In the first picture we have Bev Lewis showing us how to create long whispy fur and secondly  Diana Connor passing on her botanical expertise.  My demo was the llama on the previous post and techniques for working on black paper.  If anyone who came is reading this post I hope you enjoyed your day and I look forward to meeting you again and seeing your progress at the next meeting.  I also hope we have inspired those of you who are not already members to join the UKCPS and help promote coloured pencil art.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Llama in Coloured Pencil WIP

On Saturday I am doing a Coloured Pencil Experience workshop in Somerset with fellow CP artist Bev Lewis.  We have 16 people coming and I needed to get something started for a demo.   So as my new technique worked with the portraits I thought I would try fur.  You can follow my WIP on this link.  If you run the slide show you will see a description for each stage.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Llama Face WIP1

I started this yesterday afternoon whilst sat in the sun.  I have only to complete the bottom right corner.  Graphite on Mellotex 6"x4".  The llama is mostly white so quite a challenge for me to get the shading.  I might put this aside today and start on another llama picture in coloured pencil but still debating on which technique to use, so many choices.  Why can't I get white paper to look when I take the photo?

Tawny Owl

Last year I took some lovely photos while visiting Secret World.  Paul, my partner, is a volunteer rescue driver for them, picking up injured animals to be assessed, nursed and hopefully released back into the wild.  This is a resident owl who is quite tame and seemed very happy to pose for me.  I have been working this picture on and off over the past week trying out different Zest-it techniques on Pastelmat.  I am not totally happy with it as I lost some of the lights around the face and haven't been able to recover them.  I did try using fixitive but the white still didn't want to take.  I may resort to adding some white acrylic.  The body area is much better as I put down a thick layer of white Neocolour in the light spots and I would certainly do this again.  Painting feathers do not have the wow factor for me and I think it shows.  This one probably won't get to the framer.  Size is 26x18cm.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Nikita and a Lavender Field

After looking at Nikita sat on the mantelpiece for the past 24 hours I realised she needed a lot more work and not just a few tweaks.  She now has more contrast and shadow.  I have done more work on her eyes, nose, mouth and hair and hope this is much better.

I saw this lavender coming into flower in Falkland last Sunday.  While I had some other pictures drying out I did this 30 minute picture using Pastelmat and Zest-it.  Size 21x19cm.  I turned the stone wall into a fence and put more flowers on the lavender otherwise the rest is much as it was.  The shadows have come out a bit heavy in the image and the grass is a little brighter in reality.  Fun to try something different but landscapes are truly not my forte.
I have been racking my brains for tools to use with Zest-it.  Up until now I have used bits of washing up sponge cut up into various shapes, cottonbuds which are really too fluffy, and spirit in a water brush which is good for detail and hair but still needs something firm to move the pigment.  Today I bought some make-up sponges which are wedge shaped but not really firm enough.  The little eye-make up sticks wtih sponges on each end are quite good but  they are a bit short and the spongy bits keep falling off.  I also bought some impregnated cotton pads for removing nail varnish and they move large areas of pigment but I don't know what lasting effect they may have on the paper.  What I would really like are firm Colour Shapers that are absorbant, any suggestions?
I tried this new method of working on Fabriano paper without success so I will be sticking to Pastelmat.

Friday, 18 June 2010


Nikita is my great niece, painted from a reference photo by David, Nikita's uncle and my nephew.  She is so fair it was quite a challenge and will still need some tweaking, getting the transparency of the skin is hard and this image makes her looks as though she has a dirty face but the original is more subtle.  I have used the same method as with Charlie, disolving the pencil with Zest-it and blending with a cotton bud, sponge and fingers.  I started the picture with dry pencils several months ago and it wasn't going right so it was relegated to the bottom of the pile for future consideration.  Yesterday I was doing a short demonstration for a friends art group and decided to dig this one out and apply the solvent and I am pleased I did as it has come together well.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Charlie and the Exhibition

Sadly the exhibition wasn't a great success as far as sales go but on the positive side we had a lot of interest in coloured pencils and some wonderful comments in our visitors book.  We also acquired a few more applications for our Coloured Pencil Experience workshop in Mark, Somerset on 26 June.
I was demonstrating with coloured pencils on the days I was stewarding  and Charlie is the result.  I used Derwent watercolour pencils on Pastelmat and blended with spirit on a cotton bud.  It gave a very painterly effect, this image is a bit redder than the original.  I was so pleased with the results I have entered it into the UKCPS 9th Open International Exhibition to be held in Stamford Lincolnshire in September.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Glastonbury Exhibition

A few photos of the exhibition currently showing at Glastonbury Galleries.  Bev, Diana and I worked hard yesterday morning setting up and people were trying to get in before we had finished so we are hoping for a good foot fall especially over the Bank Holiday weekend when visitors come to Glastonbury for the Earth and Spirit Fair. One of us will be in residence over the long weekend from 11-4 so do pop in and say hello.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Busy, busy, busy.....

I can't believe 9 days have passed since my last post, where has the time gone?  But then I guess I have been busy with all sorts of things.  Transcribing family history records for Somerset Hundreds, a day with my brother cooing over the new addition in the family, a 10 week old Border Terrier.  Preparing for my Glastonbury Exhibition on 29 May - 6 June.  I also have a craft stall at Stourhead (National Trust in Wiltshire) this weekend where I will be selling my felted hats and bags that I made during the long cold winter when my art had dried up.  (It will be great to see you there, if you can make it please make yourself known).  Yesterday, with wood, drill and saw in hand I was making hat stands.

Stourhead arts and crafts will be quite a family affair as my sister, Rona, will be selling her knitted mice and my daughter, Emma, designer bunting, her new venture called Threads and Tails.  I spent the weekend helping her with last minute preparations and doing simple sketches suitable for felt cutouts for decoration.  Here are a few examples. I also did some vehicles and animals too.  I am not very proficient at drawing from the imagination but  once I got started the ideas seemed to flow.  It's great being a member of an arty/crafty family, we bounce ideas off one another when we get together and then there is no stopping us.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Tabby Cat Workshop

Here are a few pictures from the workshop I did for Somerset Skills and Learning in Wells.  There were 11 students, all beginners in coloured pencil.  Everyone did an amazing job with the eyes and made them look round and watery.  We had such a variety of fur textures from soft to spikey and even curly as they all found there individual style.  A couple of people managed to finish the picture and everyone else was happy to put there finishing touches in at home.  Well done to all, it was lovely to meet such enthusiasm and I look forward to seeing you at a future workshop.  Hope you enjoyed the experience and that it has given you confidence to try some more coloured pencil art.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Wolf - Scraperboard

Remember scraperboard at school, I loved it and have since forgotten all about it.  But recently  I have come across a young wildlife artist Cristina Penescu , her work is amazing and I was so inspired I just had to have a go.  Well my order arrived in the post yesterday and I couldn't wait to get started and this is the result. 4x6 inches and 3 hours later.  No way do I come anywhere near Cristina's standard but I was pleased with the result.