Friday, February 26, 2010

Another Sample Pet Portrait - Dreamy

8x10 inches
Pastel pencils and pan pastels on Pastelmat
Another sample portrait done - if this image looks a little familiar to you, I did draw it once before in coloured pencil for an ACEO. The reference photo for this and the other little artwork was provided with kind permission by Tanakawho
from Flickr creative commons. I so enjoy doing the animal portraits on the Pastelmat, so ordered some more yesterday.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Just for fun - Pixel

9x12 inches
Pastel pencils and Pan pastels on pastelmat
This was not a commission, but an exercise I wanted to do to assess the suitability of pastelmat for doing pet portraits. In the past, I've always done them on velour because it gives such a lovely, soft look to the fur, but I have also had lots of problems getting the pastel to stay on the velour, even with multiple coats of fixative - so frustrating when you have spent hours on a portrait. I am definitely a convert to the pastelmat. It is easy to achieve the same soft results, but the pastel stays put!!! I'm in love!!! A huge thank you to bwhistler from Flickr Creative Commons for giving his kind permission for the use of his gorgeous reference photo for this artwork.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tiny commission - Frostbite

2.5 x 3.5 inches
Coloured pencil on drafting film
This was a commission for a wonderful customer who bought many of my ACEO's when I was producing them in a big way. As a way of saying thank you to my customer for all her support, I offered to do her a larger portrait at no extra charge, but she said she would rather have a tiny one. It is funny with miniature art, many of my well meaning friends, and even other artists, have asked me why I don't work larger, or "it is a shame that artwork isn't bigger!" What many of them don't realise, is that in most instances it takes me just as long to produce a tiny commission like this, as it does to produce a larger one. Miniature art reminds me of when I was young and would get a special present for my Birthday that I treasured so much I would carry it around with me and sit it on my bedside table at night. These little miniatures are so small they can be popped in a handbag, or sat on a dresser. Large works of art can be appreciated from a distance, but miniature artworks invite us to come closer to really study the artwork and look with wonder at each tiny brush stroke or pencil line. We can hold them in the palm of our hand like a little treasure. I get mesmerised by looking at other people's miniature art and seeing what they can achieve in tiny spaces.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Latest commission - Raela and Dom

Raela and Dom
8x10 inches
Graphite, black pencil, Cretacolor negro and pan pastels on drafting film
One of the challenges I find working with graphite is achieving strong contrasts. I know a lot of artists combine charcoal and graphite very effectively in their artworks, but I find pure charcoal and even charcoal blends don't go well on the drafting film. I picked up a bundle of darker coloured drawing pencils from the artshop to have a bit of a play. Most must have contained predominantly charcoal, and basically scratched at the surface of the drafting film, but one - the Cretacolor Negro (we must have old stock, because I read the name has since been changed to Nero) works well on the drafting film. Apparently, it is charcoal based, but oils have been added making it much smoother than regular charcoal based pencils. I do use pure black pencils in my portraits sometimes, but then it can be a challenge blending the black with the graphite for a natural transition. In this portrait, Dom's hair was done entirely with the Cretacolor Negro, and you can blend it slightly with the tortillon as well. This pencil gives a softer black than a black pencil, which I was really happy with. The decoration in Raela's hair had no definition in the reference photo and was actually quite hard to pick out from the background, and for this I used a Faber Castell black pencil, followed by black Pan pastel for a smoother result. Always learning!!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Latest commission - Peter the Red

Peter the Red
8x10 inches
Soft pastel and pan pastels on Pastelmat
Not much to report today. The Pastelmat used in this portrait really is a joy to work with and I would be interested to hear if anyone else has tried it and what their thoughts might be. I am keen to try some pet portraits on this surface to see whether it is suitable for fur. Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend and be back soon!!!! :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mark down on Commissioned Pastel Portraits

I am currently working on another pastel portrait and am enjoying this medium so much that for a short time only, I'm offering 10% off on all pastel portraits for people and pets. The sale should show up on Ebay as a markdown over the next 24 hours, but if you purchase from other sites, just mention this blog for a 10% discount. This discount is not available for any other mediums at this stage.

Miniature Art Group on RedBubble

Our submission for a Miniature Art Group has been accepted on RedBubble and we would love to have any artists who enjoy working in miniature come and join us on RedBubble. There is no joining fee, or obligation to participate, just a wonderful interactive site, where you can share your artwork, sell some prints if you wish, and hopefully get to know other miniature artists. Hope to see you there!!!! :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Miniature Commission - The Brothers

The Brothers
2.5 x 3.5 inches
Graphite and black pencil on drafting film

This was one of my more challenging commissions. Not only was it small at 2.5 x 3.5 inches but because the upper bodies were to be included too, it meant the faces had to be very small. This is fine, if you are working on a piece such as A Life Well Spent, where it isn't a commission, and so there is no pressure to create a true likeness. In this size commission, you can't afford to be out be even a fraction of an inch, so I feel like I'm going to bed a little cross eyed tonight. (I still love working tiny though, and always love a challenge!!!!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Miniature Art - A Life Well Spent

A Life Well Spent
7cm x 9cm
Graphite on drafting film

This wonderful artist can be found on any given day painting and drawing away in a cave at The Rocks in the heart of Sydney. I was so inspired when I saw him huddled over his easle, but still enjoying what he does, and it was with his blessings that I took the reference photos. I can't tell you how many times I have started and restarted this piece in a range of mediums and sizes, (this was the piece I attempted to do the silverpoint in) and each time for various reasons it got put away and never finished. After meeting with some of the members of ASMA (Australian Society of Miniature Art) last week, I promised that I would do a piece using graphite on drafting film and do a step by step tutorial for our newsletter. I started well a few days ago, and did a couple of progress scans, but then today I got so engrossed in watching the Opening for the Winter Olympics and working on this piece that I forgot to do any more progress scans LOL. I'll have to do another piece for the tutorial!!!! What a wonderful Opening Ceremony it was too - congratulations to Cananda!!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Miniature Scratchboard Piece and latest commission

A Tender Moment (Miniature)
8.5 x 10cm
Scratchboard art on Essdee scratchboard

8x10 inches
Graphite and coloured pencil on drafting film

Here is my latest commission which I finished a few days ago. Lately, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I have had the urge to get back to my roots which is based in Miniature Art. A few years ago, I attempted a scratchbaord piece and thoroughly enjoyed the process. I had taken this photo of a mother chimp embracing her infant, and thought it would be perfect to try the scratchboard art out on again. The traditional Scratchboard tools are not quite fine enough for a miniature piece and so most of this picture was done with very fine sewing needles ( I think I've bluntened a few along the way). Happy Valentines Day to all for Sunday - may you all feel loved by someone!!!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Calling all Miniature Artists

8x10 inch
Graphite and coloured pencil on drafting film
After a break of a couple of weeks, I felt refreshed and ready for my latest commission - Zoe.
I met with some of the members of ASMA (Australian Society of Miniature Art), and this provided me with lots of motivation to get back to miniature work. I started a piece in silverpoint late last year, after being inspired my
Barbara Freeman's gorgeous silverpoint work, and have come to the sad conclusion that I don't have half of Barbara's patience, because the silverpoint can be quite slow going, even though the end result is worth it. So I have restarted the piece in graphite on drafting film and hopefully can make some headway this week.
On the subject of Miniatures, if anyone is a member of RedBubble, I am trying to create a group for Miniature Artwork (fine art) - there is currently no such group, only a group for ACEO's. I'm just working on finding a co-host and will then let you know when the group has been approved. RedBubble is such a lovely, interactive site, and there are very few Miniature Artists represented there, which I am keen to change. Come on all you Miniature Artists - I need you!!!!
It is very easy to set up membership with them, you can sell prints of your artwork direct from the site (no need to do anything but upload your artwork), and you will come across the most talented and inspiring artists, writers and photographers. There is no cost. The key is to join as many groups as you can, place your artwork in these groups, and this will maximise your exposure. I look forward to seeing you all on there very soon - please!?!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Step by Step Tutorial in Fine Art & Decorative Painting Magazine

I get so many emails from other artists asking me what my techniques are for working on drafting film, which makes me realise the hunger artists have to learn about different techniques and mediums. I have had a welcome break from commissions in the last week and have spent the time putting together a couple of submissions. The first one is a step by step tutorial on doing a Graphite Pencil Portrait of an Infant (some of you may remember this was a portrait I did of my nephew) and this submission has been accepted by Fine Art & Decorative Painting, an educational art magazine that comes out monthly. It is published in Australia, but has world wide distribution. This article should be published some time in the next couple of months, so if anyone is interested in knowing when it becomes available, I will keep you posted.
The second submission is a more extensive one for North Light Books. In the past, they have expressed some reservations about a book with drafting film as the main support, but I decided it was worth a shot anyway. That submission was sent off today, and I will let you know how it goes. At some point, I know I will find a publisher, but it just takes some persistence and a lot of patience.