Portrait drawing from life – Bickerton Art Exhibtion – 24th July 2016

This week I have been honing my portrait drawing skills in preparation for drawing from life.  It is so very different drawing from life rather than from a photograph, I felt overwhelmed at times by the amount of detail that I needed to get through in such a small window of time.  I used Rich (my husband) as the model, I had to sit him fairly close to get a clear image, even he felt too close as if he was invading my personal space.  So that’s tricky!  I wanted a 3/4 angle which is a great angle for a portrait but then he spent the time looking away from me which he didn’t find great as he was talking to the wall.  After half an hour I had sketched out some areas, then I took a photo and we had a break.  When I looked at the photo I could see immediately that I had got the light completely wrong.  I spent the next half an hour using the photo to correct the light and to work on the detail.  It’s going to take me a few times to get into the hang of this.

In the end I scrapped the drawing of Rich above and started again on a different paper.  The paper I had used was drawing paper that was just too smooth.  It meant the charcoal didn’t catch too well and was looking like a smudgy mess.  So I started again on my preferred paper which Canson Mi Teintes pastel paper.  The reverse side of this versatile paper is quite smooth with a little tooth – makes it great for charcoal.

portrait drawing practise in charcoal

This isn’t finished, I have worked the left eye and stopped part way through working the right eye.  Basically I am bored of it now.  I could complete it but I have achieved one thing which is knowing the correct paper to use, from this point on I was only working from the photograph anyway which is not what I am trying to do.  I have asked my daughter Abbey to sit for me next – keep plodding on.


The quote that I picked up this week from Robert Henri is receipts are for slaves  I have no idea what that means but it stuck in my head.  Any ideas?


Bickerton Village Hall are holding their 10th Annual Art Exhibition starting on 23rd July.  I have managed to enter this time.  For such an out of the way place its very popular and even I was amazed by the amount of art arriving at the dropping off time / day.  I will be demonstrating on Saturday 1-3 and will have some of my prints with me.  The exhibition is for originals only.

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It is the first time I have entered an exhibition and I was a bit pants at knowing what to do.  I totally embarrassed myself because I had to take my drawings to an allocated table, take them out one at a time and hold them up.  We then confirmed the title and the price, then a lady stuck stickers on them.  I started to panic when she stuck 167 on a piece that I had priced at £205.  I thought maybe they discounted them, but when she did it again on another piece I had to say something.  Turns out the number is the catalogue number and not the price! Silly me….

On Saturday I went to give a two hour demonstration.  A little nervous to find out how my drawings were doing on this first day I set myself up with my easel and charcoal then went to hunt them down.  I found three of them straight away but needed help to find the other two – there are simply so many wonderful pieces of art there.  I was delighted to to discover that one of my drawings had a little red dot on it.  Kerching – I’m so pleased that this particular drawing is finding a good home.  I’m planning to nip back on Tuesday just to see how they are doing – oh and probably get another wonderful homemade cake.


My studio / gallery is looking great now and I’m itching for someone to come along and pay it a visit.  I have taken a 360 degrees photograph so that you can see what it looks like without even stepping inside.  If only it were truly that wide and long.

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Everything is now up on the walls, my print rack is full and my cards and mugs are on show.  Don’t forget if you want to come and have a look drop me a facebook message or text and I’ll confirm if I’m in.


On Friday night I attended a social media workshop with a local facebook group that I have recently joined.  Etsy South Cheshire is a group of makers who live in South Cheshire and all sell on Etsy.  The idea behind the group is that we support each other and organise art and craft events in our local area.  This particular meet up was a little workshop to help us make the most of social media.  It’s great to share ideas in this way and to learn from each other what works and the pitfalls we have all taken.

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Great to see me looking very attentive on the left hand side.


As if the week wasn’t full enough I’ve been drawing Charlie – my lovely cocker spaniel.  I wanted to show how charcoal can look so stylish as a medium even on a coloured dog.

My plan is to draw him also in graphite to give customers a clear idea of what a portrait in charcoal looks like and what a portrait in graphite looks like.


Sales This Week

These are the drawings that all have new homes this week…

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….. and I have managed to secure 5 commissions so I’ll be pretty busy next week

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