Sunday, May 30, 2010

Commissions & Frustrations!!!

8x10 inches
Coloured pencil on drafting film

Vanessa and Allyson
5x7 inches
Graphite pencil on drafting film

These are my latest two commissions, but sadly it has been a frustrating weekend, and one of those frustrations stems from the fact that I now have to redo this portrait of Vanessa and Allyson - I sprayed it with fixative this morning (as I always do with any artwork), only to find that little black speckles appeared all over the portrait, which couldn't be removed. There must have been some pencil dust left from doing the darker hair and this has blown around when the fixative was sprayed. My first word of caution, is to always check that there is no dust left on your drafting film portraits when spraying fixative!!

My second source of frustration (and it would seem I'm not alone with this one) comes from the twelve hours I spent yesterday trying to install the full version of Adobe Creative Suite 4, after previously installing the trial version a week earlier. It seems this is a very common problem, and after uninstalling the trial version, downloading adobe clean up software, doing 5 system restores, downloading a licence repair tool, and now having a corrupt installation disc, I now have to ring Adobe for a new installation disc and still don't know if it will install. My advice to anyone who is thinking of installing this software is DON'T INSTALL THE TRIAL VERSION!!! Wait until you receive the key for the full version and install that, and this will save you a lot of headache down the track!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Couple of Commissions

Silly Fish Bulb Toes
5x7 inches
Pastel on Pastelmat

2.5 x 3.5 inches
Coloured pencil on drafting film
There are never enough hours in the day, and the weeks are flying by. These are a couple of the commissions I completed this week. The cat was blessed with this unusual name because it has extra toes on each paw (7 toes per paw), and apparently it has something to do with the Simpsons as well (never having watched the show, this is a mystery to me)
On a different note, I purchased a dip pen for ink last week and find that I can only use it for about 30 seconds before I have to redip it in the ink again, (even though the nib still appears to have ink in it), which doesn't endear me to this tool. If anyone has any pointers as to how to get the ink to flow better and for longer, I would love to hear about it. I really like how it is possible to get very fine lines with the dip pen, but don't have the patience to stop every minute or so to dip the pen again. :(

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Miniature Painting - Hush Little Mouse

Hush Little Mouse
3 x 3.5 inches
Acrylics on Drafting Film
What fun I had with this little painting. I have to say a huge thank you to Deb and to Akiko for inspiring me to try the acrylics on the drafting film. After working for a few years now with pencils on drafting film, and so already being a big fan of this surface, it was only after seeing the beautiful paintings done by Deb and Akiko, that I thought to try the acrylics also. Wow - this is definitely my new medium. It was easy to build up transparent layers, and because of the nature of acrylics, you have the freedom to work either from dark to light or light to dark. I never thought I would be a convert from watercolours to acrylics, but after trying them on this surface, I would say I am!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to all and my latest commission!!!

Montgomerie Family
8x10 inches
Graphite pencil on drafting film
I think Mother's Day is not only a day to reflect on our Mum's and to give them thanks but to sit back and bask in the love that our children bestow on us, and be so grateful for having had the opportunity to be a Mother. With four sons, who are all busy and wrapped up in each of their own lives, (and lets face it boys and men don't often find it easy to verbalise their feelings), I was so touched and grateful as each, in their own way let me know that I am loved and appreciated - I feel so very fortunate!!! My wish is that each of you, whether a Mother or not, will be surrounded by loved ones on Mother's day and that your day will be a wonderful one!!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Commissioned Illustration - Sunset Gathering

Sunset Gathering
9x12 inch
Watercolours, ink and coloured pencil on Canson Mi-teintes Tex Paper
Here is the illustration that I mentioned in my previous post. After starting it a couple of times, a couple of months ago, I initially told the client that it was probably too far removed from what I normally do, and that I didn't feel I could create exactly what she was after. My instinct has always been to paint and draw in a photorealistic style, and this particular client (she has the patience of a saint!) wanted something that looked a bit more cartoon like, and this was a quite a struggle for me. Those of you who follow my blog will know that lately I have been experimenting with different styles and genres, in an effort to move away from the tight style of realism, to something a little more creative. Many people appreciate realistic art more than art that is more illustrative, but to be honest, I find photorealism much easier to achieve. I was frustrated with myself for not completing the illustration when it was first commissioned, and was determined to persevere to completion - I started it again four times in the last week! I'm not sure if I am completely happy with it even now, but at least I have the satisfaction of knowing that I completed it!!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Little watercolour Portrait - Laura

2.5 x 3.5 inches
Watercolours on 300gsm Smooth Arches paper
When I first got back into art in a big way a few years ago, I mostly worked with watercolours, and I think of all the wet mediums, it is still my favourite (although I have a long way to go in mastering it). This portrait of our eldest son's girlfriend was done quickly, as I was trying to decided whether to offer commissioned portraits in watercolours.
I am currently working on a commissioned illustration, which I started again for the fourth time, (this is partly why my blogging has been so sparse in the last week or two). Part of my frustration in working with watercolours is finding the perfect support to work on. Whilst most watercolourists seem to produce beautiful paintings on traditional surfaces, I find even the smoothest papers don't allow me to paint the way I want to. So after unsuccessfully trying to do my illustration on Rtistx panel, 600gsm Smooth Arches Paper (not smooth at all!) and then Colourfix paper; I then thought I would try the new Canson Mi-teintes Tex which is actually a pastel paper. This surface is perfect for what I am trying to achieve. I used to work predominantly on Fredrix watercolour canvas, and whilst I found this a fabulous surface to work on, I also found that because I work in miniature, the texture of the canvas gave my prints a grainy appearance that I wasn't satisfied with. The Canson Mi-teintes Tex accepts watercolours in much the same way as the watercolours canvas, but gives a smoother finish, and at only $1.60aud per sheet, it is also extremely affordable. Fingers crossed, I will complete the illustration in the next day or two and will keep you posted :)