Category Archives: Pastel

3’s A Crowd – original pastel dog drawing commission

original pastel drawing of two jack russells and a beagle

3’s A Crowd

This was a tough commission.  The original drawing is 20 x 16″ on pastelmat.

When originally asked to do the commission I was presented with a photograph of the three dogs in this pose.  It’s taken by a professional pet photographer.  My initial reaction was to say that the photo was great and could not be improved upon with art.  However, the customer insisted that he wanted something bigger and completed in art.  Reluctantly I agreed, as most pet artists know a great photo can lead to a great piece because when the photography is so clear it makes my job a lot easier.

Decisions – I thought the best course of action was to focus on the dog’s faces and make everything else loose and impressionistic.  I figured that if I drew the bench and the trees and grass in great detail then it would detract away from the dogs themselves.

Here are my materials for the commission – Unison soft pastels (Emma Colbert set) stabilo carbothello pastel pencils, conte soft and hard pastels all on pastelmat.

 Here is a slideshow showing progress shots taken as I went along…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The piece took just over 2 weeks to complete….

Just in! – original pastel drawing of womens cricket

 

womens cricket drawing by cricket artist in pastel and oil

Just in!

My first colour painting of my favourite subject – cricket and my first women’s cricket drawing for quite a while.

This piece has been spinning around in my head for a while so its so good to see it in reality in front of me.  The inspiration for the piece came from watching video footage of England women’s Katherine Brunt diving to  make it safely behind the line.  Making figure sketches from the video and scrolling through reference photos of diving saves I finally came up with a shape that I wanted.  I have wanted for a while to do an abstract piece of cricket art.  This piece isn’t fully abstract but it’s getting there.  The reasoning behind it is that working on commissions for both cricket figure drawings and portraits the predominant motive is always to get a good likeness.  It’s something that I constantly battle with.  When someone sits for a portrait then often they are still and expressionless so a likeness is easier to measure and work on.  When they are in full movement and full of expression then they don’t always look like the person they are.  In these cases the likeness comes from the body and the body language.  Too often the clients struggle with that concept, expecting the face to look just like a portrait.  It’s a continuous frustration with me as the artist.  By working in abstract we move away from the ‘likeness battle’ and onto a much more personal interpretation.

The desire to produce a piece of abstract cricket art has been there for a few months but not a clue how to go about it.  Flicking through an artist magazine I came across an American artist called Michele Poirier Mozzone who went on a similar abstract journey as myself.  Wanting to work in abstract she spent 6 months trying to produce unfulfilling pieces that weren’t quite what she wanted.  One day she took pictures of her daughter swimming from underwater up to the sunlight.  The resulting photograph produced  beautiful abstract colours slicing through the water with the safe realism of an actual figure to work with.  It was perfect for her and set her on a new journey.

Reading her discoveries a clog clicked in my brain and I knew exactly what I wanted.  I contacted Michele to check out some technical points and the drawing ‘Just in!’ became a reality.

20170209_140110292_iOS.jpg

Following Michele’s advice I produced a light oil paint wash which would show through subtlety the following pastel layers.  It took a little longer to dry than I planned, the figure was painted a bit heavier and would not accept the first layers of pastel until a bit more drying time was taken.

My pastels and working area.  For this drawing I was keen to use my new box of Unison pastels. Unfortunately I had purchased the pet portrait box so there was quite a few colours I wanted that weren’t there – looks like I’ll need to get another box 🙂 I also use Conte soft pastels, hard pastels and pastel pencils.  All pastels are great but the reason that I use Conte is that the soft, hard and pencil all match so you can use exactly the same colour in all forms.

Some progress drawings.

I hope you like this drawing and its journey, prints are available click here to go to my shop and  feel free to leave a comment….or check out more of my cricket art on my website

Cheshire Open Studios

This week is all about getting ready for my Open Studio event which starts on Saturday.  I have no idea how it is going to go.  I hope I make some sales but I am equally looking forward to meeting other artists if they come and visit.

I have been lucky with the weather, a couple of nice calm and sunny days.  My artwork is on display and I’m working on a portrait drawing whilst welcoming visitors..

Whilst I am putting up posters and completing health and safety checks I am still working on my ‘Fruit Salad’ pastel drawing.  It’s taking shape and looking bright and wholesome as I hoped….

Finally on Thursday I completed the drawing.  It was such a wonderful piece to draw that tested all my skills and understanding of perspective and proportion.  Someone told me that it made her mouth water looking at it.  Here is the finished piece which is up for sale on my shop, you can see it in more detail here  or click on the completed image below

original pastel drawing of a collection of fruit still life

Fruit Salad


A quote I read this week can be applied to so many things not just art:

“ORIGINALITY: Don’t worry about your originality.  You could not get rid of it even if you wanted to.  It will stick to you and show you up for better or worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do.” (Henri)


Sales this week….

a framed print of ‘Unbelievable’

brendon-mccullum-dismissal-framed

 

 

The Glance – conte pastel portrait

All I have been doing this week is portrait drawing – actual portrait drawing and watching videos from 2 of my favourite portrait artists.  Despite the fact that being a portrait artist is my ultimate ambition I give so little time to it that it has quite shocked me that in the last 5 months I’ve drawn one portrait.  Here are some progress photos….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I practically enjoy all the art that I tackle – normally the more challenging the better, but this has been particularly rewarding to see the ideas in my head come out so well on the paper.  Here’s to more portraits……

To view and read ‘The Glance’ in more detail you can view it here on my website

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

The Glance

No sales this week as I have spent all my time doing this,  coming next is another cricket drawing – Misbah’s sweep…

That Greyhound Look – notes from the studio of a portrait artist

I finally finished my first oil portrait.  It took a lot of time and frustration.  There was countless times that I felt like launching the canvas across the studio, but I persevered and finally finished it….

oil painting of a dalmatian

That Dalmatian Look #1

There’s about a million things wrong with it.  Its far too clumpy and there’s too many textured brush strokes in the face, I wanted it to be very smooth and precise in the face area and quite loose everywhere else.  However, it’s a good likeness and I really love the background which I now understand really well.

The current trend seems to be painting outside, my art magazines and instagram feed is full of it.  So I decided to take my easel outside – not far, just into my garden.  Intending to paint in one sitting I was interrupted and had to carry on the next day, fortunately the weather was fine for both days.  Below are some snaps of the progress….

It’s far too dark really and by the time I had finished it I was completely bored with it.  It’s not the oil paints that are the problem.  If I wanted to draw or paint trees and plants I would have done it before with my pastels.  It’s just doesn’t inspire me I suppose.  I tend to love all the subject matters that I draw and get excited about the prospect of transforming it into a piece of art.  If I didn’t have this I would have given up a long time ago.  The next step obviously will be to do an oil painted portrait.  I’ve been dying to do it for a while…..watch this space.


My next drawing is another greyhound, this time however it’s a long haired greyhound.  The new bits are that I am completing it on pastelmat which is a first for me.  It was recommended and I can see why, it’s a great surface as it holds the pastel really well and is thicker and probably longer lasting.  The negatives are that the pastel does not blend well at all, there is more blending as you layer on the pastel but literally none at the beginning.  The other negative is that you can’t erase very well. I usually need to move things around a bit at first until I am happy with the proportions so that was quite tricky when I needed to move the eyes up a bit. ..

Here I’m finally happy with the proportions and I am beginning to work down the face, I’m using just one shade of pastel – a mid grey.  The other new thing is that this is a bigger size for me, its 50 x 40cm which is the next size up.

Working on blending and laying down the fur detail I am working down the face.  It’s great to see him come to life on the board and as I am going I am beginning to enjoy the pastelmat surface which holds the pastel well and therefore hold the colour well.

IMG_3026

 

IMG_1315

I have purchased some gouache paint in order to add the brightest white highlights.   I must admit to being terrified of applying it.  When I pluck up the courage I’ll post up the results.  After much searching on the internet as well as conversations with other artists I managed to pluck up the courage to put on some pastel colour and to use the gouache.  The gouache feels like liquid chalk so it works well with the pastel.  I’m pretty chuffed with the results, it has added another dimension to my work.  It has also made me realise that pastels are beautiful to use, particularly the wonderful colours they have.  More to come…..

Here is the finished piece.  I have decided to call him Chief as he reminds me of an Indian chief.  He is now framed and ready to purchase.  Take a closer look at him on my website shop by clicking here or clicking on the finished image below…

original pastel drawing of a long haired greyhound grey with brown eyes by Cheshire pet artist

Chief


My current piece is a cricket commission which unfortunately I can’t share with you at this time.  After it’s been presented I’ll showcase it.

There have been no sales this week so far 😦 however I am working on commissions so there is still plenty of art being created.

Ben – original pastel drawing

This is my latest completed commission – Ben, he is a red border collie.  It was a pleasure to draw such a colourful dog, he has a mass of orange, red and ginger fur  I selected this pose as I love drawing movement. With a focus on the face I wanted the rest of Ben to appear loose and fluid by using bold strokes with the pastel.  I used conte pastel pencils and sticks as well as carbothello pastel pencils.

pastel pencil drawing of a red collie running holding a stick

Ben

I came across this quote by Robert Henri – ‘the artist is interesting to himself and he is interesting to others’  I find this quite reassuring because I always think I must sound very boring when I prattle on about art

New commission & quotes

IMG_0937

This Ben – he’s my next commission and will be full of warm foxy colours.

Reading an article in Artists and Illustrators I came across this quote which I thought was not only relevant for art but many things when you start working, everybody is in your studio – the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas – all are there.  But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone.  Then if you’re lucky, even you leave” (Philip Guston)