Saturday, 8 October 2011


This is Ruby a Cairn Terrier.  I have restocked with Polydraw and it is such a long time since I used it I felt I needed to reacquaint myself with it so this is just a quick sketch to get me started again and it took just over an hour.  Size A5 with Polychromos.  I had forgotten how much I like working on Polydraw.

Here are 2 other pictures that I started at the UKCPS exhibition and recently finished.  The cat, another quick sketch, is done with Polychromos on Fabriano Classico and the portrait is from an old family photo of my Mum taken in the 1920s.  Polychromos Sepia pencil on Mellotex both about A5 size.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Self portrait finished

The dress look a bit grey in the scan, in reality the highlights are brighter and the shadows more of a lilac colour.  I'm not sure I have got the mouth quite right but I will live with it for a while.

Self Portrait WIP5

I did manage to do some work on the hair while stewarding at the UKCPS exhibition in London but it will still need a little more work.  It was a hectic 4 days especially the last one with meetings, taking down of pictures, packing and dismantling everything.  We arrived at Westminster Central Hall at 8.30am on Saturday and finally got home at midnight.  It was great to meet more members and chat to others about my enthusiasm for CP.  I had a lovely surprise on Friday when a friend from 30 years ago turned up to have a chat.  We had been out of touch for 20 years so lots to catch up on, thank you Pam.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Self Portrait WIP4

A few more tweaks to the mouth.  The Prismacolors weren't subtle enough so used Polychromos pinks, it is still a little lipsticky looking so I may tone it down more.  I have been gently touching in some shadows on the face with dry pencil as and when I spot something. 

A little experimenting on some spare paper and I quickly discovered I need to work the hair from dark to light.  So the hair slide is in and the first shadows of hair using a mid brown (I was very blonde at that age then went mousy before going almost white).  I have also tested a Neocolour white blended with spirit and I think it will work nicely for the dress.  I don't seem to have pale enough colours for the shadows on the folds on the dress but with an application of white over the top tones them down nicely so I feel more confident about doing the dress now.

Self Portrait WIP3

I added a layer of Derwent W/C blue grey to the background and blended it again, I am happy with it now as the colour recedes.  Then of course I couldn't wait to have a go at the face.  The Zest-it has smoothed out all the lines and wrinkles (if only it could do it for real).   I have also tweaked the mouth a little more.  I will probably put more colour and definition back in the face but will wait until the hair are dress are done.  I have a dilemma, what colour should I do the dress.  I have no idea what it was originally but I think it was probably white and I'm not sure how well white will take on the light grey pastelmat with zest-it.  If I do it girly pink then I think this will fight with the some experimenting needed I think.
I have been trying out the same technique on Strathmore vellum but the zest-it doesn't work as well as on Pastelmat.  I really enjoy this method of working as it is so quick compared to conventional ways of using coloured pencils.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Self Portrait WIP2

I adjusted some of the shading on the face and worked a little more on the eyes and mouth before scribbling in some greens and blues on the background.  In the second picture I have used Zest-it mineral spirit on the eyes, mouth and background but still have to do the flesh.  Notice how the spirit enhances the colour.  The background in this photo looks much bluer than in reality and I much prefer it so will have to give the picture another coat of a blue/grey.  I seem to be going great guns with this and I really don't want to do much more until I do the demo at the exhibition so will have to start something else tomorrow to make sure I keep my fingers off it.

Self portrait WIP

Feeling both inspired and daunted by the UKCPS Exhibition I realise I need to up my game if I am to gain a place next year.  I can aspire to the skills of other artists but the imagination and creativity seem to be beyond me.  In those few moment before falling asleep or waking up the ideas come flowing but translating them into a piece of art is another matter.   So a little more experimentation is required.

I am using a very small black and white photo on a contact sheet taken in a studio when I was about 2 or 3 so there is not much detail.  The size of this pictures is a little bigger than A4 and I am using Prismacolor on light grey pastelmat.  In the past I have layered colours but this time I have gone straight in with the desired colour and tweaked a bit as necessary.  It is very grainy at the moment but I will by using Zest-it to smooth it out.  I don't like the harsh shadow on the forehead, although it appears like this on the photo so this will go.  The eyes are not quite right yet.  I always seem to have a problem lining features up when the head is on the tilt, I naturally want to straighten everything in line with the paper.  I may also have the top lip too wide but the mouth is slightly open so will wait a while before I adjust that.  I have used white, cream, a range of pinks, jade green, tuscan red and burnt umber.  I will work on the background next, this will be interesting as I need to reserve the curls.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

UK Coloured Pencil Society Exhibition

UKCPS Exhibition

Here is a link to the gallery of the UKCPS 10th anniversary exhibition currently being held at the Central Methodist Hall, Westminster, London.  It really is an exhibition not to be missed.  The standard is very high and there are daily demonstrations, workshops, a silent auction, have-a-go area and prints and cards for sale.  The exhibition finishes next Saturday and I will be in attendance on Thursday and Friday this week.  If there are any UKCPS members going along please make yourself known to the desk and if you can offer a couple of hours of your time to help with stewarding so much the better.   Your society needs you.

I was delighted to find a little red dot on my zebra picture.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Rat Catcher new version

I did after all decide to put a little colour into this, I think I prefer it without but unless you try you don't know.

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Rat Catcher finished

I have decided not to put any colour on at this point, I may change my mind later on.  There may be a little more contrast on this scan then the original but it's very close and better than the photo version.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The Rat Catcher WIP

This graphite drawing was inspired by an Edwin Smith black and white photo.  I have changed and added a few bits.  I have used mainly a 2B pencil on Mellotex.  When it's finished I am thinking of putting a little subtle colour into it with coloured pencil.  This bit has taken about 5 hours and the size is about 23x20cm.

Thursday, 11 August 2011


Size 14x20cm, Prismacolor on creamy yellow Pastelmat with some blending with Zest-it.  It's a while since I did a portrait and I am really pleased with the result.  Again it was one that I started at a demonstration last Saturday and I so enjoyed doing it I managed to get it finished.  I guess it has taken me about 6 hours.

King Charles Spaniel called Charlie of course

Well it is ages again since I updated my blog but at last this week I have managed to get some proper art done.  This is my second picture of Charlie but he was only a pup last time.  Unfortunately I forgot to photograph it before I framed it so this one is through glass.

Prismacolor on Pastelmat size a bit smaller than A4.  Wish I had given him a longer neck but as he was only intended as a demo piece  I wasn't too particular on the crop.  e is not for sale and will stay in the family.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Sketch Books

We have been doing lots of DIY trying to make more room in my bijoux house.  The floor space in my art studio measures 6'x7' and was full to the gunnels.  With some clever rethinking and a lot of hard work it is newly decorated with 2 drop down tables, shelves and a wall cupboard.  We now have room for Paul and his laptop and me and my table easel.  We have both done some serious decluttering and as a result I found all sorts of sketches, paintings and experimental pieces that were too good to throw out but not good enough to frame some going back to 2006 when I started doing art.  So, with the UKCPS exhibition in mind and the request for sketch books I spent most of yesterday trimming and sticking them on spare pages in part used sketch books.  I am not really good at using sketch books as I find I like to try things out on different papers and a little scrap is much less daunting than a huge page or I end up doing one little bit in the middle and not much else.  It was great to revisit some of the old pieces and see the progress.  I haven't bothered putting then in any order just as when they cropped up in the pile but most of them I have been able to date by year.  Three of the books are A5 and I had to pop into town for a suitable A4 book for the bigger ones that I didn't want to fold.  I still have a few A3 pictures with no home but they will stay in the portfolio for the time being.

I have kept book 3 exclusively for pen and graphite while the others contain a majority of coloured pencil.  I started this pup in January and somehow managed to cover his legs in glue so he got trimmed and became a portrait.  He needed some finishing off so he is my last entry.  He only measures 2" square.  Now I need to get inspired to get back to painting on paper rather than walls and doors.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Chuffed to bits

I entered the SAA Artist of the Year competition for the first time and was so surprised to receive a letter telling me that my entry 'Itchy Feet' in coloured pencils was awarded 'Commended Finalist'.  There were 6,000 entries and I am in the top 62.  The exhibition will be at 'It's All About Art' at The Business Design Centre, Islington from 21st to 23rd July 2011.

I have been neglecting my blog recently but I haven't been totally idle as I have been taking some coloured pencil workshops which have required quite a lot of preparation.  Hope to get back to drawing for pleasure again next week.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Children's faces

I don't seem to have had much time for my art lately as I have been preparing for some recent workshops and helping with a U3A drawing group.  It always surprises me how much time and thought needs to go into things like this even if it is a repeat session.  Anyway it has been fun, I have met lots of new people interested in CP and hopefully some of them will consider joining the UKCPS which is the main point of the exercise. 

One of the faces above started out as an experiment to show the drawing group that you could use different types of pencil other than graphite and the different tones you can achieve with just one pencil.  I enjoyed doing it so much I did a few more, a couple of them were inspired by illustrator JH Dowd and the others from my photo collection.  I have used a Polychromos Burnt Sienna on Mellotex which is very smooth.  Each face is only about 3inches high
I am slowly getting to grips with my MacPro and the training sessions have been a godsend.  Still a lot to learn but at least I am not having to think about every move now.  I am so impressed with Apple and their customer service, there are many other companies that could take a leaf out of their book.

Also been getting used to a new automatic car with a recently installed 'loft conversion' which is a top box that sits on the roof rails, we raise the lid and sleep in it.  Thank you Boab for introducing us to this ingenious tent on wheels, can't wait for warmer weather.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

New Computer

My lovely man has bought me an early birthday and Christmas present, I have a MacBook Pro and this is the first time I have used it...YUMMY!!  I'm in 7th heaven!!  Paul was getting fed up with me complaining at my Vista which is very slow after 3 years hard work and needs rebooting several times a day.
A big thanks to Eliot at Apple, Cribbs Causeway whose knowledge and patience got me over the first steps.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Basset in graphite

I started this a few weeks ago as a fur demonstration for a U3A drawing class.  Today I decided to finish it.  It is the first time I have done a background in pencil and in reality it is not brilliant although it looks fairly smooth here.  Not sure what I am doing wrong so will need to experiment more before trying another but I was quite pleased with the dog.  The white fur looks a little blue due to the photograph, I should have scanned it really.  It's about 7" square on Mellotex.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Laycock, Wiltshire

I have been helping out at a U3A drawing class and last week I was asked to demonstrate buildings in graphite.  This was the outcome finished off today.  13x17cm on Melotex. I have really enjoyed doing this so may do some more.  This is from a photo I took last summer as I was coming through the the church gate.  Next time the subject is people so will have to get my thinking cap on.

Crabbing WIP2

This is coming along slowly. This is a closer crop to show more of the detail on the ropes.  The sky looks rather speckled but is much smoother in reality.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Crabbing WIP1

I started this one just after Christmas but since finishing the spaniel I haven't felt like painting on these endless grey days and have been out making the most of the sunshine when it has appeared.  I am also taking a CP techniques workshop in Ilminster for 11 people so that has required some planning and also doing the promotion for the 3 Coloured Pencil Experience workshops in Somerset, Devon and Dorset.

Today with the sun shining in my tiny studio I felt inspired to get this one moving again. Size is 54x40cm on mountboard.  I have used pastel for the sky and underpainting of the sea with coloured pencil for the detail.  Both will still need some work towards the end.  Today I have spent about 4 hours on the wooden jetty  The horizon looks a bit wonky in the photo but in reality its OK.   There is a lot of shadow in the evening light but I am still hoping to achieve some subtle detail.  There are 3 figures crabbing on the right that I haven't drawn in yet, hence the title.  I wasn't sure I liked the mountboard but I've got used to it as I have been working, I think it is a good support for this detailed subject.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

King Charles Spaniel

Happy New Year to all my followers.  This is my first picture of the New Year, this King Charles Spaniel is appropriately named Charlie.  He was about 6 months old when I took the reference photo and he is absolutely adorable.  I am usually a big dog person but this little chap is so cuddlesome I could take him home.  However I do get the chance to doggie set him from time to time.  I have used a new paper, Strathmore Bristol Vellum so it was really an experimental piece.  I would certainly use it again.  Size is 9x12 inches and I used Prismacolor and a few Derwent W/C pencils for the background.   I have decided to call it "Not me Mum!" he's got that guilty look as though he has just chewed my favourite shoes.