My dear friend who runs a forge called Sculpted Steel.
Late last year I asked my friend if she could make me a cat for my garden. She took on the commission and I drew a quick sketch of what I wanted.
That was a few months ago. There have been a few hiccups and ups and downs, but I finally collected “Escher” today.
He is finely made. The details are brilliant. He even has green eyes! My friend took on board my request that the whiskers were to be curled roundcat the ends to stop anyone poking themselves in the eye. It has been finished off with green car paint.
Escher is now in a quiet part of the garden. He might even frighten off the neighbours cat, at least can’t pounce on the birds!
I saw Adam from Hulton Art pottery today, which is based at the Spode pottery site. I bought a wall mounted bracket (which is still wrapped in bubble wrap) but along with it he gave me a terracotta tile of what looks like a cheeky little devil..
I can’t help liking his wide smile, the twinkle in his eyes, his spikey, possibly flaming coat, (the tile, not Adam!).
I asked if it was OK to paint this little guy, because he made me chuckle with laughter. It looks like something mediaeval that could have been a gargoyle on an old building. Adam told me it was made in about 1997, soon after he had completed his training in pottery, so it seems really special. I feel privileged to have something that has age and character. This cheeky little devil is probably going to find a home on a window ledge somewhere.
I feel like he is related to the green men I have been painting over the last few years. Maybe they all have a feeling of spirit of the Earth in them. An old hidden life that we have lost as the world becomes ever more urban around us. I like the idea of faeries and little people getting up to mischief.
I remember one if my favourite paintings when I was a teenager was Richard Dadds’ the Faeiry Fellers masterstroke. He was put into a mental asylum because of ‘madness’ but I don’t know his history apart from that. Dadds’ painting has amazing tiny details. If you can try looking it up on the net.
Anyway I might post a follow up picture of the little devil if I ever finish it.
Just spent two hours going from a blank canvas to this. I’m trying to paint Planetary nebula NGC 2044. May have got the number wrong?
Anyway I saw the canvas last week and decided to have a go at something. I was going to paint the moon but decided on something a bit more colourful….hmm there I go again!
Anyway, astronomers out there will see its not accurate, but its bloody difficult to hold a book in one hand and the canvas in the other…not doing my back any good. Its now 2am. I have an appointment at 9.30am, I dont know why I’m still up? Well yes I do, my artists block is well and truly broken. I have finished 8 tiny paintings today and started this!
I sort of explode sometimes with art.. can’t help it. I am so full of ideas sometimes…..but…bed…ok..bed..hmmm…coffee? No..bed…
This is the finished painting. Sorry about the lighting!
Some paintings I have worked on and a Mini Mona Lisa. ..
The first four are recent paintings that I have worked on because I was not happy with them. Water and Earth are both part of a series (including Air and Fire) I also want to improve them.
Leaves was originally a single leaf but it was very simple and I wanted to add more to it. The leaves are from my imagination. I sometimes use art as a way of helping my memory. If I can remember what something looks like I can use the memory for other paintings and not necessarily use reference photos. I dont have a photographic memory but I sometimes describe an image to myself, like the way a gutter and drainpipe are attached to a house. If I can describe it I can draw or paint it.
Autumn pottery is based on a “pot bank” the kilns that were used for firing pottery in the past. Now they use gas tunnel kilns. The plants are roses and cotoneaster. They are to represent vegetation growing around old, derelict pot banks. The blue background could be sky, or the water from local canals.
The final painting was a quick copy of the Mona Lisa, taken from a very old book on anatomy for student artists. I know it is wrong, the face is too thin, the smile is wrong. But for half an hour’s work its not bad. It’s on a tiny canvas about 1 inch by 2 inches.
So there you are, more paintings, its something I do.
I went to a pastel drawing workshop today. We were shown how to use various grades of “toothed” paper. It was like drawing on fine sandpaper .
The smoothest grade was used with soft pastels (not the oily sort but the dry powdery ones). You could use a silicone spreader, I think it was called, or your fingers and hands to blend the colours.
First you make broad sweeps of tones, all of similar colours, so a light blue, mid blue and dark blue or grey for instance. You smudge them on the paper, then you add layers, working into each layer and dragging the pastels about with the spreader/smudger. You can get interesting marks and edges using this tool.
Then you overlay other colours to contrast, say an orange or a pink, adding detail as you go. Finally adding the darkest and lightest colours, which seem to float on top of the others.
The second paper was rougher and you must not get it damp or the surface will come away. It was coloured a turquouse blue. This paper was so rough you were not supposed to smudge it as it would destroy the texture. You had to draw with thinner layers of pastel and in a much more impressionistic style.
The third paper was really rough like sandpaper. The tutor said sometimes people fetch the skin off their fingers blending it. Better to swiftly smudge it with the flat if your palm. This paper could be wetted with an alcohol based liquid which allowed the pastels to blend and run. As the liquid quickly dried you could draw over it and smudge it with the silicone spreader. or use a pastel pencil for more definition.
I gained a lot of information from the workshop and will be doing some more work in pastels.
I have had some cards and prints done!
The top painting is of a light at Spode. I was pleased with the prints that came out. The tones are good, and the image is clear. I’m glad I used a local fine art printing company.
The second card is of a painting similar to the green man above. It was a second version I had done, without the curves at the bottom of the painting. (I don’t have a photo of it).
The green man is on a gardinere in salts mill, saltaire, Yorkshire. It was an example of Victorian pottery. I took a photo with my phone and used it to work from.
I will be trying to sell them at a few craft fairs over the spring and summer. It’s hard to judge if people will buy them, but you have got to try !
I did not have my soft pencils with me last night..I was drawing at the life study class I go to on Wednesday evenings.
So I used a fine knibbed ink pen instead. It made shading the figures more difficult, using more cross hatching than I would do usually.
I also had to solve the problem of sketching in a small, square, sketchbook because I could not find the one I usually draw in. So for the standing figure I turned the paper at an angle so that it fitted in across the diagonal of the paper.
I recently was given an old book of anatomy for figure drawing for student artists ( I will have to check the title)… the drawings look so old fashioned and precise. I’m afraid my eyesight these days prevents me from being as accurate as I used to be, and sometimes I get the proportions of the figure wrong.
A case in point is a small painting I did of this model in acrylic on canvas. I decided to block in the colours first, because she was sitting on a vibrant red/pink cloth and there was a yellow carpet and floor, with strong diagonal staging behind her.
Unfortunately I ran out of time on this. I may try and make her head larger as clearly it is too small.
I quite like the composition. The diagonal angle of her body contrasts with that of the stage.
I will continue to draw and paint figures. It helps to work out how people are “put together”.
The painting is too sketchy. I dont know whether to shorten her legs or her body as well as enlarging her face. It’s a conundrum which I want to solve. But not today.