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Saturday, 21 December 2013

Cheery-hohoho ….

Time to say cheerio for this year. 
Pencils are resting after another scribbled packed year.
So without any further ado and a massive cheery-hohoho, wishing you all a merry Christmas and a  fandabidosy New-Year!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Something totally new, well nearly...

Took an invigorating jump out of the old routine (of Christmas commissions) and into a batch of new discoveries (texture and movement of feathers, self-filming, relaxing in front of camera, getting into the zone when in the spotlight, drawing without spontaneous OTT dance moves…)

Pencil in hand, a new challenge of rendering a feathered subject was taken up and deciding to hit two birds with one stone (super bad pun intended!) went ahead and learned how to capture the process on my iPhone.
The result (an succession of photographs shot at 3 minute intervals over a five day period) is really fun.

Next step: repeat with a new drawing and improve on the whole relaxing and just scribbling thing...

Pencil on Paper 24x23 cm
Sheona Hamilton-Grant 


Monday, 25 November 2013

"Unstuck" …new "Paper Clone" drawing.

Finding myself all caught up in totally new terrain has been frustrating yet stimulating, unhinging yet grounding.
In a wee winter nutshell: inspiring!

My new Paper Clone had to be fun, difficult and unusual.
I had a picture in my mind.
My pencils had another at their tips.

I managed, with the invaluable help from a groups of artist friends (thank you so much!), to learn from my mistakes, to bust new barriers and to bring "Unstuck" to life.

Pencil on Paper 48x42 cm
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved

Monday, 18 November 2013

It's nearly Christmas! Christmas shopping help for the art enthusiast

Do you have growing gift list, a tighter and tighter time frame, and growing angst at the oncoming Xmas stress? 
Can't help wondering how great it would be to get all of your Christmas shopping done ahead of time this year?

Maybe I can help!
How about a Limited Edition Print?

This year, in time for the Holidays (yeah!), a wonderful selection of my favourite drawings have been selected, assembled and reproduced into very small edition prints (keeping the exclusivity high). 
These are lovely pieces of art you can share with friends and family.

 Exclusive Limited Edition Prints
available through my new catalogue or online
(Prices start at 40 Euros)

Buying my prints is convenient and easy and best of all can be done from the comfort of your own home.

All prints are available online.
Simply follow this link, have a wee browse until you find and select your favourite.
Click the "buy now" button and the ball will be rolling to have your new artwork delivered in plenty of time for the festive season.

A super way to make that inspired gift all can enjoy.

P.S: by ordering now, I will not only be able to personalise it with a special note but you will also benefit from a 15 Euro launch discount (valid until 31.12.2013)

Monday, 11 November 2013

Tweens discover Max Ernst

Who else will nod in sympathy when I admit to finding organising memorable Birthday parties tough?

Finding that cool weather proof party idea, (one that has not been done a million times), a great venue (yep house is too small), something that's not too hard on the already pulled to a max time frame or thin wallet is somewhat of a challenge.

This year the "party mission" grew in difficulty: number one daughter has now reached the grand old age of tweenhood...

Totally unsure in how to proceed, I turned to what I know best and where many of my problems and solutions lie: art.
Success: the Kunstmuseum in Bonn organises a number of different (fantastic) birthday workshops!

Having Max Ernst (1891-1976) turn up (well his legacy) and lend his ever trendy talented approach to surrealism and art was magic.
The girls rolled up their sleeves, got chatting & laughing.
Submerged themselves in a world made their own by the simple use of wire, plaster and creativity.
All went home, a couple of creative hours later, a skip in their step proudly clutching their first wire sculptures.
Memories shaped.

I love art!

Introduction to Max Ernst, his life and work in front of his bronze sculpture "mon ami Pierrot" (1970)

Sleeves rolled up

wire, plaster and extras

Multi varied adorned coloured wire sculptures + couple of painted wood creations

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


"Chinese Whispers" and "Shooting Star" are off to Lausanne Switzerland to be in this years Drawing'13 exhibition.

Really wish I could be there... in person.

Friday, 11 October 2013

"Henry" latest commissioned equine drawing

Drawing Henry was easy.

A warm friendly aura encircled him, reflected in his eyes, echoed in his sun-bleashed forelock, highlighted by his bold sprinkled blaze, completed by his soft snuggly nose.

It was an honour to immortilise this noble soul.
It is so easy to see why he is sorely missed.

pencil on paper
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

Monday, 30 September 2013

"Uncrushable", second "paper clone"

Ever wondered if, we artists, like writers, have to tackle the notorious "page blanche" syndrome?
The big white gaping blank page hole?
We do.
These infuriating times, times when everything you know goes blank, do plague our creative muses.

Paper Clone and "Uncrushable" are results of blank moments.
Symbolic pieces. Drawings tentatively touching the third dimension.

Nothing is quite as it seems.
Nothing crushed remains crushed forever.
Strength and beauty always rise to the surface.

Pencil on Paper
42x50 cm
1550 Euros
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Chinese Whispers ... a summer perspective

Summer's ending, schools have started and the studio is where I am heading with a wee skip in my step. (We've been apart for too many moons!!)
Over the last three months, work has had a strange staccato rhythm with interruptions sometimes hitting very loud fortissimos.
The emphasis now is on creating a beautiful flowing melody with strong Vivaldi tones and Beethoven hues.

"Chinese Whispers" is the result of this interesting mix of working rhythms and scribbling hours.

I love this drawing simply because it's all about perspective, emotion and lazy manic summer days.

Chinese Whispers - DETAIL
Pencil on Paper 
30x59 cm
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

Chinese Whispers
Pencil on Paper 
30x59 cm
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Pencils rock! MPAS Awarded Status of Master Pencil Artist

The Pencil Art Society, a young society well on the way to becoming a force to be reckoned with, has a philosophy that totally struck home. The Society is just what the pencil art world needs: a strong dedicate voice lobbying the power, the beauty and the versatility of pencil art.
Member artists have a talent in abundance and I really could not miss the opportunity to  discover their pencil world.

The amazing news that followed was so very humbling and made all the "struggle moments" over the years so very worth while.

On the first of August, along with three other fantastic pencil artists Denise J. HowardKaren Hull and Wendy Thompson, we received wonderful news: The judges selected us as the first artists to receive Master Pencil Artist Status (MPAS) 
Woot woot woot!!!!

~ The jury has examined all information and portfolios submitted by those PAS members wishing to obtain Master Pencil Artist Status (MPAS).  I have great news for you!  The judges have granted you MPAS.  Congratulations from the Pencil Art Society! (...) ~ Pencil Artist Society

The happy dances that followed were memorable in their exuberance and had allin the studio giggling and jigging ... for days.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Nemo a bundle of fluff

Born into a world that did not want him, this wee chap’s fate changed.
He can now be found frolicking around the daily life of his new warm and loving forever home. 
His cuteness and adorability reaping smiles, hourly.
A joy to be around, a joy to draw.

Meet Nemo ...

Pencil on Paper, 32x27 cm
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Artist stalls blog!!!

Mea culpa.
Stalled my blog!!!!
Life went into overdrive.
Foot slipped off the clutch, releasing it too way quickly, timing went up the creak and the word flow came to one terrifying standstill, lasting not days or even weeks but months.
Two to be exact.
Neglect like this has not happened in the 6 years I've been blogging. Quite shocking!

Behind the scenes, in the depth of the studio, my pencils have been active, totally ignoring (and forgiving) my poor blogging skills and have been working scribbling near to non-stop.
No bad driving going on in the studio....
Instead new explorations have been concocted, fun combinations have emerged.
The result a combined rendering of my favourite subject (Hurricane) and favourite substrate (paper)...
Fingers crossed life resume a touch of normality ...soon.

"Paper Clone"
Pencil on Paper, 35x49cm
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Short Drawing Tip #5: Mechanical vs Wood case

Mechanical pencil (also known as clutch pencils) or wood case?

Not sure how to tackle this vast subject and give it it all it is due so I'll base it on my experience and nothing more.

When starting out, all I used to draw with was a 2B wood cased Derwent pencil.
With the one grade of pencil, I taught myself to draw all the tones, shades and contrasts.
(psst: I was totally oblivious to the fact that you could fill a mechanical clutch pencil with anything other than a 0.5mm HB lead!)

This was an invaluable lesson and still find today that I will complete most of a drawing with a 2B.
Relying too heavily on different leads to achieve a desired effect can take away from the spontaneity of your drawing.

Since those early days, things have changed: my heart has taken a shine to the mechanical cousins.
They are able to give a consistency in quality of leadweight, length and sharpness unrivalled by the wood cased pencils.

I have three Staedlers Mars Technico filled with 2mm  2B, 4B and F leads, two BFH Totiens filled with 2mm 6B & 4H leads and my old faithful Faber Castell filled with a 2mm 2H lead.
Also in the mix are my two experienced techniclick Pentels filled with 0.5mm 2B & F.

... and the there where 8 - all "Scribble Friends"gathered

I keep them sharp thanks to my faithful blue sharpener with a fancy name (Staedler 502 Mars 2mm Lead Pointer)
Important to note: A sharp point = detail.
Therefore blue mister fancy name is crucial to the success of the drawing.
This is definitely where the quality of the sharpener plays a key role.
Longevity and reliability are necessary. I can definately vouch for it, having never had to try another leadholder sharpener... ever.

"Blue mister fancy name" alongside the most used of my clutches: my 2B Staedler technico.

I also collect the graphite dust, which I store in an airtight container. I use the dust for added effect when drawing sand and dirt.
Blue mister fancy name has the point cleaner missing, so in order to clean excess graphite off the tip, I carefully spear wee lumps of Blu-Tack which sit stuck to my drawing board.

Speared Blu-Tack on drawing board

SDT #5
Try out both a 2mm 2B mechanical and 2B wood case pencil , you will 

very quickly where your preference lies, what you feel comfortable with and which you enjoy holding and using the most.Keep the 2B lead and draw one drawing using only the one lead. You will learn so much, in a very short time, about the power of pencil :D
Keep your point sharp for added detail and don't forget to collect the

graphite dust for finishing touches. Clean excess graphite off tip with BLu-Tack.

P.S: If you're interested in knowing more about wood cased pencils, I have reviewed my pencils in detail The full page post can be found in my pages.

Discover more of my Short Drawing Tips (SDT):

Short Drawing Tip #1: Paper Choice
Short Drawing Tip #2: Warm-Up
Short Drawing Tip #3: Protect your Paper
Short Drawing Tip #4: Dust don't Blow

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Lemon attack!

Sweet and sour lemons.
They're coming from every direction, fast and furious.
Seriously, life's throwing lemons like there's no tomorrow!
In some sort of defensive response, I find myself very very busy catching them in the hope of making some sort of lemonade!
(Not really liking lemonade and having no firm idea what a good lemonade should taste like is not helping!).

So, I'm juggling! Juggling the little lemony things,  juggling them into a fusion of harmonious mixes, working out delicate blends of sweet and sour that would knock even Jamie Oliver and Michel Roux's socks off!

There's no hiding place right now, a fighting smile the answer.
The day life's' lemons forget about "moi" is near.
Until then it's a stoic chin-up, warmish smiles and making darn sure to remember the little things in life really are the very best.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Short Drawing Tip #4: Dust don't Blow

Always resist all temptation to blow dust, graphite or eraser debris off of your drawing.
It is all to easy to have little particles of spit hit the paper!

Brush your paper clean.
The best way is to use a soft bristle brush.
Any soft bristle brush will do.

I use a draftsman dusting brush which can be found in all good art stores.  (I like the size it covers a wide stretch of my drawing in one swoop!)

Tip #4

Never blow on your work to remove eraser debris or dust but use a fine bristle brush.

In case you've mist the first few SDTs, here's where you can discover more:

Short Drawing Tip #1: Paper Choice
Short Drawing Tip #2: Warm-Up
Short Drawing Tip #3: Protect your Paper

Monday, 8 April 2013

Short Drawing Tip #3: Protect your Paper

This is a very simple short tip but one I hope you will find useful.

The contact made by your hand on the paper will leave a greasy film.  The natural oils in your hand will rub off and leave a fine film over the paper.
This change in texture is very difficult to work on, to draw on and should be avoided at all costs.
I use a piece of tracing paper, I like the smooth feel and the fact that I can still see through it, which I attach to my drawing board, not directly to my drawing.

Tip #3
When drawing always use a hand-guard to protect your paper from smudging and grease.

Hope these snippets of info are being beneficial to discovering a little more of the behind the scenes on how a drawing comes about.
Coming up over the next few weeks will be more simple short tips relevant to pencil choice, blending, getting darks dark, starting point, layering but until then you are very welcome to check out

Short Drawing Tip #1: Paper Choice
Short Drawing Tip #2: Warm-Up

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Short Drawing Tip #2 - Warm-up

Warm-up your drawing hand inside and out!
Sounds weird?

Over the last few years I have started to feel the flexibility leave my nibble fingers.
The result of 20 plus years of heavy carrying, pulling, lumbering and shovelling I donated to equine maintenance.

Two years ago, I wrote this post Hot mugs and sketched circles  in which I explain the benefits of holding a hot mug of water for as long as possible letting the heat penetrate as deeply as possible (outside warm-up) and how I then follow-up by scribbling in quick succession a series of mad circles swooping them in all directions (inside warm-up).

Actually, the post gains a wee bit more depth and explains how Renoir battled with arthritis ... ( if you have a minute you really should have a read or re-read: it's still amazes me how he (Renoir) overcomes crippling pain to produce such beauty.)

Today, I have added another step  to my routine and that is to scrunch (10-20 times) a miniature rugby ball (gets the blood flowing nicely).

Tip #2
Warm up your hand, arm, shoulder, body before starting a drawing session.
This really makes getting into a flow and finding a good rhythm that much easier. May sound mad but the result on paper has proved it to be well worth it!

p.s: if you missed tip #1(Paper Choice)  no problemo here's the link

Friday, 22 March 2013

Short Drawing Tip #1. Paper Choice.

The choice of paper is crucial to a successful drawing yet in it's importance (and choice) very overwhelming.
All you need to do is start searching the internet to be confronted and snowed under by soooooo much information and choice.

Paper choice is very personal and something that has to be tried out, literally.
Pencil (your pencil) has to make contact with the paper.
No amount of reading what other artists like and use will guaranty your own success.
Trial and error (sadly) are in this case your best friends.

As a guide and to help you shed a little light on the question "what paper?" here are a few relevant points to watch out for:

  • If you want a drawing with strong contrast, lots of spontaneity and are not too bothered about detail and realism then a "toothy" rough paper would suit you well. Strathmore Drawing paper is a nice quality toothy paper as is Fabriano Artistico .

  • Always always make sure you choose a good quality art paper. All quality papers are acid free. This ensures your work of art does not turn yellow a few years down the line.  I also like my paper to be thick (at least 250g), this way it can withstand much more handling (or in my case manhandling) without creasing or showing too many signs of wear.

  • Determine which colour you like the best for your work. Each paper will be of a different white. I find that by putting a selection of different papers together you can really get a good idea about the variation in shades of white. As a rule of thumb : realism works well on a crisp white paper  whereas a softer more flowing drawing is better suited to a warm-toned paper.  

  • Once you have found your paper, made the paper choice you know fits like a glove, make sure you stock up  and have enough to last the waves of inspiration. Nothing is worse than running out of paper when you are under pressure from both your muse and dead-lines.

  • Make sure you use a piece of paper larger than you need. This will insure extra room for spontaneity, miscalculation and a all over nice drawing experience. (I've had a few drawings falling of the edge the paper and it is the most infuriating thing.)

SDT #1 

Take your time in choosing a paper. Make sure you like the feel, the look (ie colour), the quality and the way it responds to your drawing.
Most art stores will allow you to sample papers, discover their qualities, before committing to buying. Use this opportunity to make your own personal choice, put a bunch of quality samples together, take them home and get scribbling!

p.s: this is #1 in my series of Short Drawing Tips. Hope you've enjoyed it. Over the next ten weeks, there will be a small tip a week. Stay tuned for #2....

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Short Drawing Tips ... coming soon

It's fantastic!
So many of you are asking questions that I know the answer to and that I feel confident answering!
Happy dances!

Therefore, it may very well be time (after thousands of hours at the drawing table) to, finally, create a wee series of tips and share my experience with all of you here on my blog.

My Short Drawing Tips (SDT) are going to be short (yep!), exclusively about the technical side of graphite drawing (double yep!) and will all be based on my trials experienced and errors made.

Some of you may remember I shared my drawing recipe a while back with a more poetic focus.

The objective this time round, is quite simply to share, in a short and snappy way, how I approach my craft.
These SDTs are never going to boast being the right and only way, they are just what works for me.

Topics covered will be the very popular topics of choice of paper, pencil choice, drawing surface, sharpeners, fixatives, blending but also extra personal tips of the trade.

The keyboard used for the typing-up of my SDTs....

It's so exciting.

Short Drawing Tip #1 is nearly ready and will be posted here on Black on Grey on White on Friday. The plan is to have one new Short Drawing Tip appear every week.
Currently in the making are 10 SDTs.

should you have any extra special requests please let me know and I will be sure to consider them.

Off to get typing, ciao ciao for now.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Unique Trust, new drawing

Unique Trust
Pencil on Paper
57 x 46cm
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved

After spending a little more than six weeks hand in hand with my feelings, memories and pencils, I proudly present "Unique Trust".
In line with my 2013 resolutions, I was determined to jump out of my comfort zone and roam a little in the unknown suburbs of my drawing ability.
A different approach had to be taken.
So I went big much much bigger, stepped away from the classic head pose and began discovering how to convey a very special intimate, precious moment. 

"Unique Trust" happened in layers: a layer of technical knowledge topped with a double layer of whipped emotions, sprinkled with a wee bit of pencil magic. 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Getting started...

Currently on the board: a new drawing.
Pencils have been scribbling dreamingly and slowly on this new piece.
Leaving marks highlighting tenderness, trust and emotion.

Technically I wanted to push myself and work big (57x46 cm).
Emotionally it's all about pulling off combining that very special contact between horse and man.

So far :  one (half-closed) eye and two ears closer to my goal!

Pencil on Paper
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 24 January 2013 such thing

41 x 29 cm
pencil on paper.
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved.

"My horse is ugly!"
These words were said to me a few years ago after the subject of a portrait came up and they bothered me ... no end.

There is no such thing as an ugly horse.

Every time my pencils get scribbling they prove it, show the world just how erroneous those words were.
Each stroke merging tones, combining strength, proving in black on white the fallacy of this perception.

A beautiful chiselled equine face has a “wow factor” but take one, like Sandor (pictured above) shaped out of honesty, wisdom and kindness the “wow factor” is just as big and lands just that little deeper.
Underneath the muscle and the power is a mind blowing personality and astuteness that is anything but … ugly!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Chocolate Labrador Gizmo

The "Christmas Secrecy Act" is lifted (and has been for the last few weeks...wee bit behind again whoops!)

Christmas commissions #1 is the handsome Gizmo.
A great big chocolate lab with a lovely nature.
A beautiful subject to render, my pencils had no problems getting dug in with gusto and enjoying all the details from his vivid eyes all the way down to the small wave in his coat.

44x25 cm
Pencil on Paper
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved

Monday, 7 January 2013

Hello 2013

2013 is here!

2012 was a year in which I believe I stood too still.
Enjoying my comfort zone a tad too much... artistically not taking risks, trying too please, my curiosity asleep.
2012 is being archived just after this post.

2013 is when I step FORWARD pick up my pencils out of our snug comfort zone and into a colder  unknown & un-tackled world that we have ignored for too long

To prove my point, here's "Touched" my brand new drawing.
An amass of verticals and horizontals, stark and dramatic yet soft and tender.
A mix of contrast, texture and shapes.
A study of both equine and human body language.
A little girl lost safely in the world of big gentle equines.

" Touched "
Pencil on Paper.
57x44 cm.
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. 2013
All rights reserved 

2013 will be my year of marching FORWARD one focused step at a time.

... left, right, left, right, left, right...