Category Archives: Charcoal

More charcoal portraits from life, drawing Moeen Ali and thoughts on County Cricket…

Whilst welcoming visitors to my studio through Cheshire Open Studios I have been continuing with my portrait from life practise.  I visited Two Doors Studio in Alsager again on Friday morning, this time the second owner, Ruthie sat for me whilst I sketched away.  We talked and talked, it was quite therapeutic but during the time I took lots of photos with my phone and began sketching.  There was a certain look when she talked, gazing into the distance that I liked, a playful little light in her eyes…..

Here are some progress drawings..

and here is the finished portrait…

original charcoal portrait of a lady woman drawn from life wearing glasses

Ruthie


At the end of the week (23 – 25th September) I will be running my first art auction online.  It is something that quite a few artists do via facebook.  I have decided to keep it to my cricket drawings and prints initially to see how it goes.  The purpose is to obviously make sales but also allow customers to possibly get some discounts and to get to see all the drawings and prints in one place.

If successful I will run another along with a selection of other artists to bring you original drawings and paintings in an auction style event.

Here is the link to my event – DON’T MISS OUT!

https://www.facebook.com/events/235281573540614/

 In line with the auction I am also working on an original cricket drawing.  My first that will be available for sale for some time. ..here is a progress slides show..

 

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 The finished piece I have called ‘Extra Special’ as he is a very special cricketer and he is executing a great extra cover drive.  Here is the finished piece, you can view it on my website in more detail here or click on the image below…

original charcoal drawing showing movement of a batsman hitting a cricket ball by uk cricket artist

Extra Special


No sales this week but lots of excitement in the world of cricket as the County Championship comes to its conclusion. It’s my first year following championship cricket, I can’t really believe I have not followed it before.  Previously I have only really followed England cricket and had began to listen to it on the radio via TMS as I worked in my studio.  It is a great companion, light hearted, addictive, funny and a real breath of fresh air from all the rubbish usually on the radio.

Missing my test match special days I started listening to the county cricket coverage on Radio 5 Live Extra.  It seems an age ago that I first listened to a cricket match at Durham where they went off for snow and you could hear the wind whistling around the commentary box through the radio broadcast.  Living in Cheshire, without a first class county I have no real team to follow so kept an open mind.  Having to get used to a whole host of local radio presenters was a challenge, some are better than others, some are very funny and sometimes it can get quite heated.  All held together marvellously by Kevin Howells and the BBC radio team.

The real positives that I have to report are the following:  I now have a better understanding of how players move up through the ranks – previously they had just turned up for England and I didn’t know their history.  Now there’s a great range of talented cricketers all vying for national selection.  The real passion and knowledge of county cricket comes across so strongly through the radio coverage – these broadcasters know so much, they’ve seen so much and they share that with us in such funny, brilliant ways.  Finally due to the wonders of the internet you can follow the matches you choose, since most of them are broadcast on the bbc website.  As a result the last few weeks of the season were so addictive and so compelling I’m surprised I got any work done.

My favourite moment had to be Cally (Yorkshire) explaining how the ground would empty at Scarborough in time for the B and B brigade to get back and get settled in time for the evening meal – usually about 6pm

My thought and word of wisdom is this – as a result I went to watch a county game at Warwickshire.  I am a cricket fan and I have always been one.  There isn’t a whole lot of unconverted cricket fans out there, but by making county cricket more exciting, more accessible (possibly cheaper) with more competitions and opportunity to watch it gives more of an opportunity of current fans to get along and watch.

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Misbah’s sweep – original Pakistan cricket drawing

Took a break on bank holiday Monday to go to a proper cricket match.  Visiting Edgbaston for the first time we watched Warwickshire beat Somerset in the Royal London semi-final by only 10 runs so it was pretty close / tense.

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It was great to watch Jonathan Trott again, haven’t seen him play for a while.  I’ve been listening to county cricket commentary on my radio most of the summer so I know alot of names but not how they play.


My piece this week is a commission.  Misbah Ul Haq performing his excellent reverse sweep shot.  His class shot that he’s performed the world over.  Here is the progress shots of the drawing as I work in my customary manner of building up the shade.

 

 I also prepared a timelapse video of my drawing Misbah’s face.  Unfortunately it did not record so I prepared another one drawing a different section…..

 

It’s a little bit wobbly but you get the general idea…..

Here is the finished piece, the original is sold but I have made 50 limited edition prints available.  You can visit my website shop here or click on the image below to follow the link for prints.

misbah, misbah ul haq, pakistan cricket drawing, cricket art, cricket art, cricket artist,

Misbah’s Sweep


On Friday mornings I am going to be drawing portraits from life.  Something that I have wanted to try for a while.  I will be in Two Doors Studio (Alsager) in their cafe to draw willing victims.  Currently I can’t charge for this service as I am only practising, it is going to take a while to made the adaption from photographs to drawing from life.  Hopefully this is something that I can eventually offer as a service.  Here is photo of me concentrating very hard…

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Although I have being working on the Misbah commission, my portrait drawing ‘The Glance’ was sold (very quickly) and much to my delight.  I will make prints available of this drawing and let you know when they are ready….

pastel portrait drawing of a young woman glancing and looking into the distance

The Glance

Cricket Art in charcoal & Open studios

I always feel better when I start a new cricket drawing, not sure why. I think it just feels comfortable and easy going.  This week I am drawing the wonderfully quirky image of the Pakistan Captain – Misbah Ul Haq doing his famous push up warm up before going in to bat.  His partner Shafiq walks past with a grin on his face.  It’s a great image.  Here’s some progress drawings where I am making scratchy marks for the shadow areas and the proportions..

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Adding the shadow areas and checking that the proportions are correct.

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The exhibition is carrying on at Bickerton, nice to see another red dot on one of my drawings and to see that my piece Owl Babies now has a new home.



This week I’ve been working on putting my limited edition prints onto canvas.  Its been a learning curve as I have never stretched canvas before.  I am able to print out on my printer for a canvas for 15 x 10 inch sizes but for bigger I would need to out source them.

Here’s the first one of ‘That Taylor Catch’ – I am really pleased with it, the colours are just as sharp as the prints on paper.  They can be bought like this or bought in a frame (more details of the framed pieces to follow)

canvas limited edition print of james taylor taking a catch at short leg

That Taylor Catch Canvas


On the 7th August I will taking part in an Art Fayre at the Lion Salt Works in Northwich.  A full day when I will have cricket drawings, prints, mugs and cards as well as my animal drawings and prints.  I went on a little visit to check out the venue.  It’s very smart, with a cafe and if you’re interested in the history of the place there’s a great museum.

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art fair at lion salt works northwich cheshire

Sales this week are:

The original of ‘That Taylor Catch’ is on its way to somewhere special as well as a print.

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

Faith & the Goose – original charcoal drawing

In my studio this week I have been working on my competition drawing of Faith and the Goose.  I am entering it into the Society of Graphic Fine Art’s Draw 16 competition.  I don’t expect it to win but it would be lovely if it got accepted and hung in their exhibition in October.  This is part way through the drawing as I have begun work on the goose, blending and shaping the charcoal.  I want the goose to look friendly because that will soften the look of fear on the girl’s face making the drawing quite sweet.  I want the drawing to make people smile, not for them to be afraid for Faith.

charcoal progress drawing of a young girl standing on a bench in a park with a goose walking over to her she looks scared

Progress drawing

I am also preparing my studio for show,  I would like people to feel they can come and visit, take a look at the original drawings and prints, chat about commissions and see me work.  So I’ve been busy framing and putting pieces on the walls, preparing prices and ensuring that its the comfy cosy place to visit and stay a while that I think it is.  If you would like to visit drop me a quick text, email or facebook message and I will let you know when  I am in.

art studio gallery of alsager cricket and pet artist

Taking the day off on Saturday we went for an art trip to Kirkstall, Leeds.  This was a fact finding mission to take a nose around their art trail.  I have entered my studio into the Cheshire Open Studio event in September and wanted some ideas.  It’s surprising to think there are so many artists who live so close to each other.  But, I reckon the same could be said of quite a lot of areas.  There are quite a few in Alsager that I know of.  It was so lovely to visit other artists in their studios and although I was worried about getting studio envy I was ok.  The only envy was possibly for the wonderful summer house at the end of one beautiful garden.

The tips that I picked up was to have a bowl of sweets or nibbles, to have a write up on display about me and my art, have a visitor book for people to sign, add their contact details and comments.  The things not to do was to have lots of friends in the studio.  It’s a tricky balance because in some places it felt fine and we were left to browse but in other places we felt intrusive and uncomfortable.

The great line I’ve picked up this week in my reading is The artist sees only that in the model which may help him to build up the look he would record (Robert Henri)  To me this means that when I’m looking at the model or the subject of the drawing I need to consider what it is I am trying to portray.  For the Faith & the Goose drawing it was the expression on Faith’s face, therefore everything needed to relate to that.  I had to draw the goose to show what she was afraid of, to draw the bench to show her position in relation to the goose and to show she was at a park.  Hmmmmm

charcoal original drawing of a little girl standing on a bench looking at a goose with a frightened expression on her face

Faith and the Goose

This is the finished piece of Faith and the Goose which has now been emailed off to SGFA.  Fingers crossed and we will see how it gets on.

Finally for this week I am going to explore drawing portraits from life – a true ambition of mine.  I would like people to come to my studio and sit for me to have their portrait drawn.  Initially it would need to be as practise because my drawing skills are not up to scratch on portraits or from life.  Plus I’m not sure what materials I would prefer to use – charcoal, graphite or pastels so lots of experimenting needed.  If you feel that you have an hour to spare and would like to sit for me then please get in touch, I can’t pay you but I give you a cuppa and lots of chat.

Faith & the Goose – progress drawing

This is a progress drawing as I am part way through it.  The drawing will be entered into my very first competition.  I am entering into the Graphic Fine Art competition.  I have no real hopes of it winning but I would love for it to be selected.  Selection means it will go on display in an exhibition in London – a real dream.  I  have picked for my subject my friend’s daughter who had a scary but quite funny reaction when a goose tried to say hello.

I loved the photo when I first saw it and asked if I could use it as a subject.  It should be completed this week.  I am working it in charcoal because that’s the best way to achieve the extremes of light and dark within the drawing.  The obvious focus is Faith so everything is drawn from her.

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‘That Taylor Catch’ – original charcoal cricket drawing

It’s been great fun drawing this cricket art, I can safely say that every part of the drawing has gone exactly how I planned it.  In part that was due to the fact that it was such a good action shot that it spoke for itself.  Also, I knew from the outset what I wanted to achieve and where the focus was going to go.  The original drawing is not for sale but I have made a run of 50 limited edition prints – if you are interested you can click here or click on the drawing to follow the link to my shop.  Please note, the wording ‘limited edition print’ will not be on your print.

charcoal limited edition fine art print of james taylor taking a catch in an england test match by cricket artist

That Taylor Catch

As I went along I have also been making  progress clips that I have put all together in a video….

 

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