Sunday, March 27, 2011

Losing My Marbles

Losing My Marbles

29cm x 19cm

Coloured pencil and Pan Pastels on wood

What fun I had doing this artwork and it is a reflection of all the things I love - animals, colour and a touch of humour. For those of you who like the background in this artwork, and if you have not already done so, please have a look at the beautiful animal paintings on

Sam Dolmain's Blog. His inspirational art has taught me that it is Ok to be fearless with colour and to put down the colours you love, and not just the colours you see. This is the direction I would like to take with my art, combining realism with bright colours.

Just a note about pencils - those of you who follow my blog would know that I have always been a fan of the oil based pencils such as the Polychromos, but I have found when working on the Gesso on wood, that my old Derwent Studio pencils work best. The Polychromos tend to sit on top of the gesso more and will powder off, whereas it is easier to achieve better colour saturation with the Derwents. This is just my experience and it also depends on your techniques when working with coloured pencils - I tend to push the pencil into the surface with short stabbing strokes, rather than sweeping it across the surface.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Miniature Art - The Philosopher

The Philosopher
10cm x 10cm Including frame
Coloured pencils, Pan Pastels and Acrylic (the frame) on wood
I thought I would try a miniature artwork using the coloured pencils on gesso. And this time I applied two coats of gesso. I think next time, I may just try the one coat again. Unfortunately once scanned the pencil on wood looks more grainy and broken up than it appears in real life, and I think that is accentuated because it is a mini, which I scanned in at 600dpi. The actual pencil area is only 7cm x 7cm (2 3/4 inches x 2 3/4 inches). This fabulous chimp obligingly posed for us a few years ago at Taronga Zoo and when I stumbled across the reference photo a few days ago, I thought it would be the ideal image to try a mini pencil on wood.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Portrait or Predator?

Portrait or Predator?
28cm x 28cm
Coloured Pencils and Pan Pastels on Wood.
Here I opted for a slightly different style of Trompe L'Oeil and this time the frame part was primed with the colourfix primer as usual, whilst the inside portrait was primed with gesso. I did some research on coloured pencils on gesso and found very few samples of this combination and so assumed that the gesso would not be all that receptive to the pencil. Actually it was amazingly receptive and beautiful to work with!!! Fantastic for getting fine detail and also fantastic for smudging the pencil around. All the background was done first with Panpastels which also work fabulously on the gesso, followed by some smudged pencil work. I will definitely try this combination of media again.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


37cm x 37cm
Coloured pencils and Panpastels on wood
Some artworks prove to be lots of fun and some end up being more of a chore. For some reason this artwork ended up being the latter and yet I have had the image in my head for weeks and have been so looking forward to bringing it to life. It could have something to do with the fact that it has taken two weeks to do, (I do get sick of artworks if they take too long) with interuptions from naughty computers playing up and taking three days to fix, followed by a battle with a head cold. I am loving working on the wood, but still struggle to achieve the absolute realism that I am after. I suspect it is all about the preparation of the surface - too much tooth, and the pencil breaks up and has a broken look, too little tooth and the pencil doesn't adhere, so obviously this is something that still needs to be fine tuned. The pan pastels were used in the background only to give the transparent look of the runner.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


11x14 inches
Coloured pencils on matte board
This is the commission I mentioned in my last post and I was fortunate that this was presented sooner than expected and happily Hope's Mum and Dad gave their blessings for this to be posted. There weren't actually any bubbles in the reference photo, but it seemed like the perfect addition to her little outstretched hand. What a lovely commission to do too, from the beautiful colour of her hair, to the interesting details in her dress, and of course it helps when you are given a good quality reference photo to work with.