Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Pastel Pencils

"Sally" - Pastel Pencils - 8" x 6"

It's been a long time since I last participated in blogland as 'life' gets in the way sometimes, as we all know. Though I'm not properly back into my art yet I did have an opportunity a few days ago to draw or paint for a short while. Last Christmas my daughter bought me a small set of Pastel Pencils because I'd expressed an interest in them and I thought it about time that I got them out and had a play. I don't know what sort of thin card I used so don't know how typical it is or how it compares to 'proper' pastel card but this oddment was lying around so it seemed sensible to use it for my first trial. I have to say I found the experience quite enlightening. I  found the mixing of colours on the 'canvas' and the blending process so much easier than with coloured pencils. On the negative side I did find sharpening the pencils difficult as some of them kept breaking and obviously they don't keep their point for long. All in all I really enjoyed my short venture into Pastel Pencils and hope to do a lot more with the, in the future.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Scurry racing

For some time now I've fancied trying to draw something bursting with drama and action but finding a suitable subject hasn't been easy. A few weeks ago I had the idea of Horse & Carriage racing having seen a photo of Prince Philip doing just that. Searching the web I discovered the Facebook page of photographer Paul Orchard whose wife Chris Orchard races scurry's. Paul's site is oozing with fabulous photo's of this action-packed sport and one photo jumped out at me. Dropping him an enquiring line I was delighted when he replied saying I could use his photo as a reference.

The picture is of Chris Orchard (driver) and Charlotte Kenyon (counter balance) and the scurry is being pulled by ponies "Rough and Tumble". The event was the Horse of the Year Show  at the NEC in October 2015.

Friday, 12 February 2016

If at first ...

As we all know, not every drawing or painting comes out  to our entire satisfaction. Some artists will paint over work they are displeased with, or scrap it and do it again. That is something I have never done .... until now.

You may remember that just before Christmas I produced a pencil portrait of my father. Though I was fairly pleased with it, there were a few things about the drawing that have always bothered me. Nothing that stops me thinking it's a good portrait and a good likeness, but just little things that maybe only I would notice. These things have been niggling at me and causing me to think I could, and should, have done better. So here is my second attempt .... "Dad 2".

Saturday, 30 January 2016


Ever since I did the drawing of the steam locomotives a year ago I've been itching to do something else involving steam or smoke. I recently came across a photograph of an urban landscape that ticked my boxes ... and tickled my fancy. It's a dark scene and isn't the sort of 'art' that people would want to hang on their wall, but technically the challenge was just what I'd hoped it would be and I really enjoyed it. ;-)

Friday, 15 January 2016


Though we're already two weeks into 2016, I'll still take this belated opportunity to wish all of my blog followers a very happy, healthy, peaceful and arty 2016.

Mid-January already .... where does the time go? One minute we're finishing off our Christmas shopping and getting ready for the big day, and then, in the blink of an eye, we're halfway through January and we have nothing left of Christmas other than some nice memories and a big dent in our bank balance. Bah-Humbug!!! ;-)

Following on from the portrait I did of my father, which I finished just before Christmas, I was both delighted, and honoured to be asked by a very good friend if I would do a portrait for them. Obviously I didn't hesitate and soon received an emailed photograph of the subject, "Vina" (short for "Davina"). The finished pencil drawing was so well received that it has kick-started my 2016 art pursuits in the best way possible and I have a head full of idea's that are bigger, bolder and more challenging (for me) than ever before. I march onward excited and enthusiastic. ;-)

Tuesday, 22 December 2015



It's been a while since I last played with my pencils, January last year to be precise. but I felt the sudden urge to dust them off and tackle a portrait of my father who we lost last year. Dad has figured in my blog many times over the years. He was a keen woodworker who, although he lacked precision woodworking skills, nevertheless managed to "knock together" some fine pieces. My garden still holds a Gazebo, wooden bench, pair of wooden chairs with matching table, a dovecote, a small log cabin, a decorative wheelbarrow planter, a Train planter and numerous bird tables and nesting boxes. Most of them have been posted here at one time or another. His last piece (made in his 95th year) was a Dolls house mackled together from bits of old plywood, and it came complete with items of furniture fashioned from off-cuts of which there was always plenty strewn around his shed floor. He was extremely pleased with the Dolls house and wanted to give it to a local nursery or play group but it really wasn't good enough for that .... too many unfinished edges and dangerous corners for it to be safe for little people to play with. To ease his disappointment I told him I'd love to have it in my garden as a feature amongst my plants and he seemed to like the idea, so it has stood proudly in one of my flower beds for the last 2/3 years.

I'll be coming back to the Dolls House and it's contents in a future post. In the meantime I knocked out this small pen sketch by way of saying "Merry Christmas" to all my followers.

You're comments and encouragement are very important to me and I can't tell you how much I appreciate your continued support.

Merry Christmas one and all.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Ink & Coloured Pencils

As I sat watching television a few evenings ago I drew this Robin in my sketchbook using Pen & Ink. I wanted to see if I could demonstrate it was a Robin just by tonal values alone. There is hardly any difference between the tonal values of his red breast and his brown feathers when viewed in greyscale so I tried to exaggerate the tones in my drawing but it didn't work too well.

Dissatisfied with the result and thinking he didn't really look like a Robin I decided to add some colour using coloured pencils. I liked this effect very much and I think that is probably because the ink drawing was a finished piece in it's own right, rather than just the preliminary stage of something more. This became more apparent when I drew the Chaffinch and Blue Tit. They don't work as well, in my opinion, because they have much less ink detail which is probably because I was well aware at the ink stage that colour was too follow.

I liked the effect of the Ink with Coloured Pencil so much that I went back to a couple of previous pen drawings and added colour to them in the same way. Though I always like them in their original ink form (yes, I actually said "I liked them" lol) I have to say that I like them even more with the added colour. Oh, I didn't risk ruining the original pen drawings as I printed them out and worked on the copies. This is definitely a mixed media that I will work with again.