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.
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
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
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)
After promising to give myself the day off on Monday following my art fair I ended up working to complete a pencil pug drawing that I started at the fair. It’s great to draw when you’re at an art fair, customers love to see you working and talk about techniques.
Here’s a sneaky photo that I took at the fair, I loved it and hope to paint it one day..
So ‘That Pug Look’ was completed on Wednesday, he is only 6 x 6″ wide and framed in a 7×7″ frame. If you’re interested in purchasing him or viewing my other artwork and commissions click here to follow the link to my website or click on the finished drawing of That Pug Look.
That Pug Look
Before I get on with my next commission I am carrying on with trialling oil painting. This time I have chosen a composition that I feel I can work with better. Being a shorter haired dog , a dalmatian means I can focus on the tones rather than the fine fur detail. The photo is by kind permission of someone from Dalmatians UK facebook page.
The pose is perfect and the light is being cast from above to the right. The only tricky thing is the constant whites.
I can’t believe I have not finished my drawing of Misbah’s push up warm up but I have been busy with print sales this week and preparing for my art fair on Sunday. However the bits I have been working on have been quality. Here is a timelapse of me drawing Misbah himself.
On Sunday I am attending the first art fair for Cheshire Makers which is being held at the Lion Salt Works in Northwich. Art fairs are a great opportunity to meet your public, to network with other artists and showcase your art (if you’re lucky you might also get some sales!) This is where I am this Sunday…
I’ve been working on trying out my oil painting skills – very mixed results. Trying to paint a dog was particularly interesting because I know how to draw a dog but not how to use the paints properly. It’s great having a go at another medium but can also be frustrating when you don’t immediately get the results that you want (it’s also expensive).
I’ve put it to one side for now, I could scrap it or finish it. I can’t help but think that it would make a wonderful pastel drawing instead ….
For the last few days I have been attending an art fair at Chester Racecourse. It was a wonderful experience, firstly in managing to sell some of my artwork, meeting customers and meeting some wonderful art people who, like me, have such a passion for their particular form of art.
This is not the first time a customer has not liked a commission I have done for them and I would be naive to think it will be the last. It must be a hang up of having orders over the internet where you don’t really get a true sense of what the customer wants. This particular time I was completely taken aback. Artists as a rule are generally highly self critical so we tend to know if a drawing has not turned out as we wanted. I am usually quite good at pitting things for the client and meeting them roughly half way but much more often than not the finished piece far excels everyone’s desires as original art does tend to do in the end.
For me it has come on the back of the usual slump in sales that January and February tend to bring and I was relieved to have this particular commission. Has it upset me? Yes, which is why I wrote this blog post as I was actually quite chuffed with the drawing and was only thinking how much my art had progressed from last year, when I probably thought I had reached my pinnacle. All the self doubts that artists also have now start creeping in. I remembered that I had not sold my last two cricket drawings which normally fly off the shelf. Despite my attempts to self promote my pet art it has remained stubbornly quiet. My first drawing on Daily Paintworks flew out but nothing has sold since. All the money I have spent on equipment and my studio now seems a huge mountain that I will never match in sales, and the art fair that I had planned to attend in March now seems a waste of time because nothing will sell – I feel sure of that!
However, there is a niggle that remains. A little pin prick of an alarm that keeps pulsing in my negative brain – I’ve been here before and I got better afterwards. Much better! Failure leaves scars, I drew a portrait for a neighbour across the road of his wife about 5 years ago when I had only just begun to take on clients. He didn’t like it, I didn’t take any money for it, destroyed it and moved on. I was embarrassed and avoided him (I probably still do actually) and even though I certainly did move on, getting better and better I have never accepted a portrait commission for a human again.
So possibly when faced with failure perhaps I haven’t really used it as a strength but simply skirted round it and gone off down another path and perhaps that’s what creative people do. Thoughts?