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Showing posts from May, 2008

Study in graphite of horse's leg

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The coffee shakes finally wore off (bad time management there!) and the finishing touches were finally drawn with a steady hand.
Here's "Elbow Room".
The wee story behind this drawing is the direct result of Albert Camus' fantastic quote "freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better". 
SO, I decided to take a (well needed) break from commission and exhibition work, let go of the various pressures and see what my mind would give me. I became deaf to "what might be nice to draw" and set myself instead a biggish technical challenge.  How do you or rather how would I give a vertical line energy?
"Elbow Room" is taken from reference photos I have had (stashed away in both my mind and studio) for over 7 years. This is the foreleg of a Rh.D. kaltblutt stallion stationed at the Warendorf National Stud (Landgestuet Warendorf) . I used pencil (2B & 6B) for the entire drawing. The shadow on the left leg is "glazed" over with loose charc…

ACTION, using the power of the internet...

Another "in between post"... I've had too much coffee and have the shakes. Not ideal for the finishing touches I am tackling. Good time to stop and think.
Millions of peoples lives devastated.
Nature is lashing out.
Helplessness and grief radiating.

Pondering, reflecting and now reacting.

Power. We all have very little in the light of the current natural disasters that have hit Burma and China.
The Power to react: we all have.
I have chosen to click..to use the power at my finger tips.
I have never been politically inclined but I guess this makes me an.... online activist?
Feels quite OK...

If you would like to find out what the heck I'm rambling on about check out the Hunger Site.
Well worth the visit and I 'm sure, like me, you'll end up clicking more than once...

"Jess" cute kitten, new pet with the makings of a mascot.

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The week-end has come to an end and before the week takes off with speed here's a little "in-between post" posts. - A post with a strong ohhhh loooook factor!
This is our wee Jess. 6 weeks old. A wee cutie, a fluffy ball. She is the new addition to the clan.  The girls, as you can well imagine, are over the moon and so, I believe, is Jess. Kittens seem to adore the clumsy attention that young children poor on them, the over enthusiastic hugs and well meant over doses of cat milk.   Well, needless to say that my Mac's hard drive is pretty full of new (feline) pics, all of which of course will now need to be processed. There are also new drawings brewing at the back of my mind... Who could resist? I'll keep you posted.
Her colouring is "bang-on" with Black on Grey on White's colour scheme...I will have to find a VIP place for her here. Thinking caps is on.
Cheerio and sleep tight.

Rien Poortvliet, Dutch artist and illustrator well worth remembering.

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I proudly present
Rien Poortvliet (1932- 1995)
Rien was born in Schiedam, Holland. (His name may not ring a bell straight away but mention the word Gnome and bells sound, resound, loudly, happily...)

Rien's "shortish" BiographyHis parents were strict Dutch Reformists. They had Rien's future firmly mapped out and were quite opposed to the idea of their oldest son going to study art.
Rien's talent was apparent at a very early age. After finishing his primary education he went to work for an advertising agency. (Where he was able to let his talent mature and learn the "in's and out's" of the publishing world.)
Poortvliet's heart really lay in illustration and it was by the end of the 1960s that he felt it was time to resign from publishing and change career. He became an independent illustrator. Not having enough work when starting out on this new journey (rings loads of loud bells for many of us out there!) he made ends meat by publishing a book o…

Approved, polished, framed: Final steps in Jack Russell pencil portrait

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Here they are, two peas in a pod, cheeky, tweaked and framed.  Basti and Titus have been approved and will be making there way off to Germany.

Kept my pencil away from them over the week end (most of you have no doubt noticed the revamped blog.... This is a direct result of not allowing myself to go back too soon to tweak). Hope you like the new look I've given my "Black on Grey on White". 

So: spent today, tweaking and polishing a few areas, scanning and recording all info for my database.

To get a clean and a web perfect image of my work  I took two individual scans (300dpi) of the drawing.  I then I joined them and cleaned the new image using  Photoshop Elements.  
I have this Photoshop version on trial for the next 27 days.  It's good.  Actually, I am pretty sure I will be purchasing it. It seems to fit the bill perfectly.  Between you and me, I am quite chuffed as it is a fraction of the price of the full blown Photoshop (of which I would only end up using the 1/…

Finishing stretch in new commissioned canine portrait

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Here they are: pretty much finished.
I spent another 4-5 hours on Basti. Working on his ear and teeth mainly and achieving a little more shape to his head and nose.
The result so far is quite OK.
Now I put the drawing out of sigh. Not seeing it for a couple of days means: fresh eyes, being able to instantly pick out any mistakes, sternghten the weaknesses and/or "not so strong"patches.
During this time (of absence) I contact the client(sending them a scan for their approval), get the paper work done, process the commission (size, medium, date...) into my database, clean the scan, organise the framing and finally publish it to my portfolio website.

Here for your viewing is a raw (dirty) scan of Basti and Titus. The portrait will still be tweaked I am sure of that.(I can allready see a few spots!)

Off to find a nice safe place for it hide for a few days.

Have an excellent week-end!

Canine commission: start of second Jack Russell

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After reaching a bit of standstill on Monday, I carried on by starting with the eye on the second Jack Russell . Basti is much darker, has slightly bigger and darker eyes as well as a straight ear.
For the eye I sketched it out with a 2B, drew the pupil in using a 5B and I went from there. When drawing eyes I find it very important to keep picturing them in my mind (how I remember them)as opposed to what I see in the reference photograph. It keeps them real. This true for every feature but just a tad more so for eyes: they make or break a portrait!
The pencil used for the darker areas was my clutch filled with Cretacolor 3B. I only let go of it in order to pick up my 2B to draw the darker shading of the tongue.
At the end of this phase I have probably clocked up another 12 hours (give or take a few minutes!)

The final stretch is just around the corner...will try and get it posted for the week-end.

Thanks for watching,
p.s: questions and queries are of course very welcome, I realise I ma…

Drawing Day 08: the start of a worlwide drawing event.

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Drawing Day is a worldwide drawing event encouraging everyone to drop everything and draw for the sake of art. The internet is an open canvas. Help us create 1 million drawings online this day and boost online art communities. Official press release for Drawing Day08.

Curiosity and excitement have gotten the better of me and I am spreading the word. Ironically this means dropping my pencil for a tick to get this news to you...!

Cool news for all artists, scribblers, doodlers and/or pencil owners: the 7th of June 2008 is Drawing Day a brand new concept. The aim is to make a noise (in a modern silent way) for the sake of art worldwide.

What? A worldwide drawing event
How? by collecting a million drawings.
Why? So everyone worldwide can stop for one day and remember the joy of picking up a pencil and creating their first piece of art.
Where?Here is where (and some of the best ways) you can share your drawings with the world.
Upload drawings to DeviantArtUpload drawings to FlickrDraw online at

Third stage of Work in Progress for canine pencil portrait

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Following to my last posting, here's how things are looking after a good long session today.
Third stage of work in progress.

In today's session I focused on:
completing the eye. Still needs darkening and tweaking.  This will be done at the end.straightening out the nose, loads of squinting, darkening and measuring involved. Do not enjoy drawing noses as much as I could. giving Titus a tongue  (with quite a bit of detail), I used a 2B (dark areas) and F pencil and giving shape to his nose, mouth and side of his face using a 3B pencil to map out the darker areas.  
To be very honest, I have come to a stand still...

Physical reasons: neck is a bit too stiff and brain in need of a break.
Time reasons: basically run out of it.
Technical reasons: missing too many tonal and value clues. Titus's portrait and pose will need to be compared to the rest of the portrait.  
This is a double portrait.  Yes, Titus has a brother Basti and he is to be portrayed along side of him.  (He is sketche…

Tools of the trade needed for drawing two Jack Russell terriers.

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I mentioned detailing the technical aspects of this commission. Well, seeing as it is the week end and a very sunny one at that I would illustrate a few technicalities with a photo rather than ramble on and keep you away from enjoying the sun.My important working tools chosen for this drawing(as seen in photo) are:
Paper: Winston and Newton 200g, smooth surface
Pencils: Derwent H, 2B, & 4B
               Clutch Staedtler Mars 3B (2mm)
Blue Tack
Bullet pencil sharpener and clutch sharpener
Glasses  and very importantly coffee (has to be out of one of my three favorite mugs...!)

These allow for a good few hours of drawing and recreating a chosen subject.
The second step in this portrait was working out the second eye. Focusing on getting the expression right before going further. I do this by using all my reference photographs. I know Titus which makes it so much easier to know what to look for. Shading and darkening still needs to be done but for now the initial feel is right.   Notice how t…

First step in new commissioned pencil drawing of Jack russell terriers

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Studio spring cleaned, exhibition in Windsor under way, Blog updated and reorganised (ok so this bit of the week took a wee while...still learning the ropes), sunshine still here with the weekend ahead and a new commission under way.
Everything coming along pretty smoothly (unbelievable).
Will post all the technical details of my new drawing with the result of a new day's work in a little more than 24 hours from now...
Right now, off to hit the pillow been a busy week. Sleep tight.

Opening of Equine Art Exhibition in Windsor England

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Jubilation and relief at this end as my work has arrived safely and in time for the equine art exhibition "Cavalcade II".  
This is the Figura Art Gallery's second equine themed art exhibition.
The exhibition show cases a selection of equine art in a variety of mediums: bronze, graphite, oil, watercolour and acrylic and runs from the 7th of May through to the  23rd of July.  
This is a major exhibition in my calendar, as the exhibition runs for a long period (three months)  and will co-inside with The Royal Windsor Horse Show as well Royal Ascot horse races... 
This year I have 11 drawings on display.  
Rest & Peace is one of them. Some of you are familiar with this piece from an earlier post actually my second post.   This wee chap has now been finished, framed and sent across the waters to England.  
Rest & Peace illustrates todays post simply because this is how I feel knowing thatmy work is out of a box and hanging proud.

Spring Cleaning away my studio's winter blues....

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For once the rain was not the "one" keeping me indoors....
No, the day was glorious unusually bright and sunny.  A real clichée of a spring day!
This, I am sure, is what brought on the urge, the incredible "not going to leave me alone" urge
to tidy-up, hoover, de-cluttered and refresh a studio still bogged down by the winter blues.

Don't run away yet, no cleaning, dusting or polishing technics will be  discussed or detailed in this post: promise.  
Allthought, I did get many household tools out and ended up using them 
(hoover, duster, glass cleaner, polish, rubbish bag...) and feel quite up on the subject.
Actually, I'd much preffer to show you what I found in my "organised" mess.
Apart from feeling on top of things again
(amazing how vanishing clutter can do that!),chuffed to bits for having conquered the pain of organising and knowing that no projects, commissions and tasks 
had been forgotten (found loads of ticked "to-do-lists"), I unearthed…