Thursday, 31 March 2011

Mothers' day stress

The original photo

Attempt 1: Pen and ink

Attempt 2 - watercolour

But it is a cold, lifeless business when you go to the shops to buy something, which does not represent your life and talent, but a goldsmith's.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 

So, mother's day is coming up and I've spent all this time painting, so what could be better than a drawing of her grandchildren.  Answer, a GOOD drawing of her grandchildren.  Being this nervous made me tense up, and the second attempt was okay but not great, I'm sending it anyway!  It's funny how I've painted my daughter as more as she is now than as she was 2 years ago when this photo was taken, and how I find her much easier to paint than my neice.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Fuzzy buzzy bee

Saw my first bumblebee of the year yesterday, a lovely buff tailed fuzzy hovering around the bamboo while I was bringing in the washing and my daughter was climbing on her playhouse.  A beautiful few days here in Scotland, although snow is forecast at the weekend!  Have cut back the rosemary and got plastic down on the raised bed warming the soil, just got to do the blueberries and if we avoid the snow the carrots, beetroot and spinach will go in the soil this weekend.  Spent yesterday planting peas and nasturtiums with the P2s at school which went well although it never fails to amaze me how many are still genuinely horrified at the sight of a worm.  This from the same children who see no worry in flushing their class mates shoes down the toilet... Enjoying the sun while it lasts!

Last art class - cubist watercolours

My very last painting and drawing class - sob!  Since I've been fascinated with perspective, anatomy and clothing I decided to break down the model's torso as much as possible using pen and ink to create geometric blocks and watercolour to provide indications of shading.  It's not Picasso, but it solidfies the direction of my interests.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

I was very happy with this last attempt at acrylics on an acrylic board that I got for my birthday.  Acrylic boards are great and I'll look out for more in the discount stores, they don't give like canvas on stretchers.  This wasn't supposed to be monochrome but ended up that way, I was mixing burnt umber with orange and white to get skin tones and focused so much on tone that colour kind of went by the way, but I prefer a restricted palatte anyway.  I actually started doing the head a little smaller but wanted to really focus in on the facial features after last week's figure drawing so I started again.  It's getting there

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


An elegant demonstration of the fact that, at least with my size of pins and wool, that a knitting stitch is not the same width as height.
Multiple of 8 + 4 (worked well for me, 8 x 3 is 32, plus 4 is 36)
1st row: k4, *p4, k4; rep from * to end
2nd row: p4, *k4, p4; rep from * to end
Rep the last 2 rows once more
5th row: as 2nd row
6th row: as 1st row
Rep the last 2 rows once more

Rep these 8 rows

Vertical Zigzag Moss Stitch

Another day another patch, a nice fiddly one this time.  It's multiples of 7, which made 35 a good number!  A pretty and pleasingly fiddly pattern to keep the brain working

1st row (right side): *p1, k1, p1, k4; rep from * to end
2nd row: *p4, k1, p1, k1; rep from * to end
3rd row: *[k1, p1] twice, k3; rep from * to end
4th row: *p3, [k1, p1] twice; rep from * to end
5th row: k2, p1, k1, p1, *k4, p1, k1, p1; rep from * to last 2 sts, k2
6th row: p1, k1, p1, k1, *p4, k1, p1, k1; rep from * to last 2 sts, p1
7th row: k3, p1, k1, p1, *k4, p1, k1, p1; rep from * to last st, k1
8th row: [p1, k1] twice, *p4, k1, p1, k1; rep from * to last 3 sts, p3
9th row: *k4, p1, k1, p1; rep from * to end
10th row: *k1, p1, k1, p4; rep from * to end
11th and 12th rows: as 7th and 8th rows
13th and 14th rows: as 5th and 6th rows
15th and 16th rows: as 3rd and 4th rows
Rep these 16 rows

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Oil pastels for life drawing

An example of living and learning, I find the inexactitude of oil pastels frustrating, but then I could have worked this more by scraping back, using thinners and using other media.  However, my proportions on the body are right and I'm happy with that.  The picture behind the model really caught my attention, done by a first year student and although the limbs are exaggerated there is still proportion and great beauty in the lines.  The subject obviously caught my attention too.  I was completely daunted by the model's geometric sixties dress to start with but I just got in about it and was fine.  A major problem was that the dress was black and white and I don't like using black, but the purple works well, and is still very sixties. I was happier with the treatment of the blue cloth, so it looks like working layer over layer works well.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Birthday presents

I couldn't post this acrylic painting before because it was for my husband's birthday, I have the same problem with another project which won't go up until Christmas!  It's him skipping stones on our holiday in Orkney, and he was thankfully happy with it!  I'm mostly happy, especially with the movement in the sky and water, and the body which was very difficult to draw, but I think I'd do a slightly better job of the anatomy now.  The funny moment was when I took it in to work on the body, in particular the stripes on the jumper which weren't dark enough and the details of light on the body to get movement into it.  I was happy with what I'd done and turned away to do the conte crayon sketch of the model, when my teacher commented that that was great, that I could leave it and go back to it.  I was finished! 

The second picture is by my 7 year old for her daddy's wall at work, his work smokes fish so she wanted to do a fishy for him.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Conte crayons

My first try with the conte crayons I got in Manchester, just a lovely tiny pack of the four original colours, sanguine, white, black and brown, and I really enjoyed using them.  Less dusty than soft / chalk pastels but more controllable and sharp than oil pastels and didn't need any fixing.  This was a good likeness of the model, who was this striking, and the use of coloured paper really made the highlights stand out.  I feel I'm slowly getting a handle on anatomy and being able to see hue rather than just colour. I think I like exactness and a more graphic style rather than a diffuse style, I'm drawn to line and blocks of colour