Saturday, 18 May 2013


Though lacking the time to do very much art, it's very important to me that I try to keep things ticking over in my forum. It's only a small group so it's all too easy for discussions to dry up and for people to drift away. Regrettably, since I promote it as a forum for beginners that has a tendency to stop accomplished artists joining in. I say 'regrettably' because accomplished artists have so much to offer beginners by way of WIP's and simply sharing hints and tips about technique. To that end I frequently set painting and drawing challenges to try and drag beginners out of their comfort zones.

The most recent drawing challenge is of a wooden duck called "Henry". The challenge was to make him look wooden and varnished. This is my effort and although it only took a couple of hours, it was nice to be working with my pencils again.

A few weeks ago we spent a few days in the Peak District and the nearest village to where we were staying was called Longnor. On our first morning we went for a short walk round the village exploring the pathways and  narrow alleyways between the old stone buildings. It's an enchanting place full of character. One view in particular, of the church behind old stone houses, caught my attention and I would have loved to have pulled out my sketchpad and pen there and then. As it was I contented myself with a photo and the promise to myself that I'd tackle it back at home. For a bit of fun the other day I pulled the photo up onto my computer screen and tackled the sketch as if I was there in the village. It only took 10 minutes, if that, but I love this technique of washing over non-permanent ink with a wet brush.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Trying something new.

Though I haven't been getting any time for art recently, I was away on holiday for a few days the week before last and I decided to have a go at painting a flower by following the instructions in a new book I have by Michael Lakin. He is a wonderful botanical artist and I thought it would be interesting to try his technique.

The subject is a Rose and included with the book was a tracing, so I can't take any credit for the drawing. The painting process was hugely different to anything I've tried before. It involved putting on pale graduated washes, letting them dry, and then adding another, gradually building up the painting in layers. I know some of you already work this way and I was keen to experience it for myself. In total I put on something like 7 or 8 layers. It was interesting putting a wash of French Ultramarine on top of the Cadmium Red petals ... something I would never have dreamed of doing.

I started the painting nearly 2 weeks ago and it has taken me 3 sessions in all to complete it. I was surprised at what a slow process it is. I shall definitely try this method again soon but I'll leave it until I have enough time ... it's not a method to be rushed, that's for sure.

And big apologies for not getting round your blogs as much as I'd like ... I'm missing all your wonderful art.