Sunday, 5 January 2014

Tess and Sally

Back in 2006 I attempted a double portrait of my 2 dogs. I had owned them at different times, first Sally thoughout the 70's and 80's (she died in 1987) and then Tess from 1987 through to 2003. Sally was a joyful Jack Russell and a lot of fun. She became very protective of my daughter when she was born in '78, so much so that one day, as we were walking through a local woodland, a large Red Setter came lumbering directly towards my daughter who was only toddling at that stage, and Sally sprinted in front of the Setter and threw herself bodily into the large dogs throat. The Setter turned and scurried away.

Tess was a troubled Collie/Whippet cross that we found at a rescue centre. Her heavily pregnant mother had been found abandoned in a ditch and close to death. The mother didn't survive but the rescue centre managed to save Tess and her 6 brothers and sisters before she died. Tess was a seriously traumatised animal who shook with fear whenever a man approached and who curled into a trembling ball at the sound of a chain. Some months after bringing her home we happened to bump into someone who had taken one of Tess's brothers and they reported the exact same traumatised behaviour. Though it took many patient years, Tess eventually put her fears behind her and developed the most gentle caring nature.

But back to the portrait. It was one of my earlier pencil pieces and I hadn't discovered the art of blending, or even proper shading. Still, I was very pleased with what I achieved as the portraits looked like the dogs in question and the framed picture has been hanging in my lounge ever since. However, just lately I've been looking at it and thinking it's really not that good ... or at least, I felt I should have done better. And in the end curiosity got the better of me and I just had to have another go at it.

One of the main objectives of my web site and this blog, is to encourage beginners to have a go, and to enjoy the art journey. And one of the things I always say to beginners is keep all of your work so that you can look back in the future and see how much progress you've made. For that reason I display BOTH of my portraits together. The differences are very noticeable and the message is very clear .... though we may not always feel as if we are making progress, as long as we're drawing or painting, progress IS being made.

Looking back at old work shows us how far we have come, but doing the same picture again is even more revealing .... and even more rewarding.




17 comments:

  1. So nice to see you posting :) Your first drawing was super, but this last one is even more wonderful! Congratulations! I hope your christmas and new year was great. Before ending this comment:
    I have a small question about adding a picture as a link. You have done it in your blog, so I though I should ask. In one of my latest posts I show a painting of my swans. I would like it to lead to a page were I explain how to buy a painting from me. But anyway I do it, It only leads up to showing the painting in a larger size. It doesn´t lead to the page I want it to lead. I don´t know what I do wrong. How did you do it?

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    1. Thank you Catharina. As for the link, I'll send you an email to explain. It's easy when you know how. ;-)

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  2. Hello John, I like both of the drawings. The second one has more finish, but the first one is a good drawing as well.

    I agree about not throwing work away. It's useful to be able to see how we've progressed, but sometimes earlier work doesn't seem as bad as we thought it was either.

    All the best for 2014.

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    1. Thank you Keith. That's a valid point you make and I guess it's just helpful to look back, period.

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  3. Nice to see you back in blogland, John. Remarkable progress! I just had a clear out of my paintings, and I threw away a lot. But it is nice to see progress.

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    1. Thank you Judy, it's nice to be posting again but I really must try harder to get round other peoples blogs.

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  4. John it's good to see you blogging again. I agree with Keith, both are well done. The second is more finished. But must say I like both of them. You are gifted my friend.

    All the best to you,
    Joan

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  5. I think you should be pleased with your first drawing, it's good. However, the new one is more accomplished mainly due to the depth of tones you've achieved.

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  6. Oh my, what a difference ! Although the first one is excellent the second one is definitely much more defined, a real stunner ! Good to see you back again.

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  7. John, what a wonderful post! So sad about the Mom though. I love both drawings...thank you for sharing your thoughts on drawing...wonderful work as always! so good to see you back!

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    1. Yes, it was sad what happened to the Mom Suz. Thank you for your lovely comment.

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  8. you must be pleased with this one john ...wonderful work

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    1. Yes, I'm really pleased Jane. I've been looking at the poor first drawing for a long time telling myself that I can do better, but I was still hesitant over trying it again for fear of not doing so well. LOL. Glad I did it though. Thank you Jane.

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