Monday, May 31, 2010

Winter Sunrise

Overlooking Hill Cove to Keppel Island (I think) from above the bottom settlement, soft pastels on Ingres paper. This is based on a photo I took facing into the sun a couple of hours after sunrise, the under exposure of most of the photo gave a sunrise feel to it so I worked it into a sunrise scene. Taken on an absolutely stonking winters day, take a look at this album: Mt Donald

Ref photo:


Didn't rate the Ingres paper much, too soft, too textured and I found the tooth deteriorated quite fast, think I've been spoiled by using pastelmat. A poor photo of the painting too I find, maybe something about the texture of the paper messes up my black fur does.

Friday, May 28, 2010

General Jackson

My Dads basset hound, polychronos coloured pencils on white cartridge pad.
Interesting going back to coloured pencils after working with pastels for a while, oddly reassuring in some way even though they impose far more limits than pastels. It's noticable how you cannot get the quick results with this medium compared to pastels as well, you've got to work at it with pencils. This little drawing took over 2 hours.

Unlike work I've done before this came out exactly as I imagined it would. Working on this has emphasised, for me, the value of short pencil strokes and patience when trying to achieve a nice 'fur' look.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Some old stuff

A few old bits and pieces from when I started drawing again.

Glass of water, Graphite on white paper (a good exercise in observation is a glass of water, draw what you see not what you know is there), and flowerpot, pastels on white paper, just a quick doodle I did when I first dug out my old pastels.

This is a little pastel sketch of a photo I took in a building in Vienna, back when I took it I had it in mind that it would make a good subject for a painting so I had a crack at it.
Sketch of Boom as a pup, Conte on white cartridge pad.
....and Boom again, biro portrait (interesting using biro like that, no room for any correction at all)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Self Portrait

Just did this last night, white & grey pastel and charcoal on black pastelmat. I've been meaning to try light on dark for a while, great fun. The reference was a photo my wife took one evening while we were in the Atacama, very strong, low sunlight.

I've found that on my last couple of portraits (this one & pedro) that I'm inclined to think less about what I'm doing, the painting just seems to happen somehow, rather enjoyable but don't know if this is a good thing or not as far as the results go...

Diamond Corner

My first attempt at doing a landscape in pastels. 30 X 40cm grey pastelmat. Again found the discipline of lanscape painting a hard task after the portraits I'm more used to. Started out OK building up the basic colours in carres pastel:

When it came to putting in detail I found my Conte soft pastels a bit dissapointing, even on pastelmat & fixed they just would not lay down the pigment as I wanted. My old scraps of pastel I had left over from my school days are actually much better, fortunately there was enough of them to to finish this, might try some Unison pastels I reckon.

Don't really know what to make of this, I'm reasonably pleased with the result but don't know if it's really what I was after.

Ref photo:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Someone a bit older, Pedro

Finished this last night, carres pastels on yellow pastelmat. Peter Robertson (AKA Pedro) the owner of Port Stephens Farm down in the south of West Falkland. An old man of great character which, I think, comes across in the portrait quite well.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Finally my new art materials have arrived, conte soft pastels, carres pastels, pastel pencils, blending stumps, pastelmat...the works! Started this last night on pale grey pastelmat. This is my neice Abagail (calls herself 'Gabba' so now everyone does) age 8 months (ish), never used pastelmat before, amazing stuff. This is not quite finished yet I think.
The 'studio', with all my new goodies! very pleased with them although I am finding the soft conte pastels are surprisingly hard compared to the scraps I had left in my art box (no idea what they were but must have been something quite good I think).
Did a bit more work on Gabba last night, here's the finished version.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Really finished this time!

Right...Confession time...this wasn't finished, having said it was I flipped it on my computer to have a fresh look at it and damn! face was out of balance (too fat on the lit side) so I just fined down the face and did a bit more work round the eyes a bit for a better likeness. It is now mounted, framed and presented now so it really is finished.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Finished my baby portrait last night...well...I'm not going to do any more to it anyway, when is a painting ever really finished? Quite pleased with this, my 6th effort at portraiture. I am enjoying doing them but really must have a go at other subjects.

Here is my 'studio' (aka: dining table) with the painting in progress, a little bird told me I'll be getting an easel for my birthday though.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

progress on the baby portrait

Getting there now I think, reshaped the nose & mouth and knocked back the contrast a little. A bit more work this evening should do it I reckon.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Baby portrait

Portrait of my baby nephew, soft pastels (as ever). This is taken from a photo that my father has that caught my eye, dark fabric behind and lit strongly from the left. Not finished yet but getting there (I hope)

charcoal underpainting:

....and progress so far with the pastels, mouth and shadows of the right cheek are wrong I think, more work needed.