Friday, 22 June 2018


A week ago I saw an art program on TV and it included a brief look at an artist using Charcoal Pencils. It reminded me that I have a set that I've never used. I was impressed by the blackness of the blacks and the extra 'drama' in the resulting picture as a result. I achieve reasonable blacks when working with graphite but 'graphite shine' can be an issue if too many layers are applied. 

Anyway, I was feeling inspired enough to dig out my unused set of Charcoal Pencils and have my first experience of working in this medium. To appreciate the 'blackness' of charcoal I chose a subject that needed plenty of deep juicy blacks so chose this Gorilla. 

To be honest I found the Charcoal pencils not only messy to work with (compared to graphite) but difficult to sharpen. I found blending took more effort than it does with graphite and trying to erase unwanted marks was impossible. 

I'm really pleased I gave this medium a try and learnt a great deal just by doing this one picture, but I don't think I'll be rushing to do another charcoal drawing. 

Friday, 8 June 2018

Boat at Craster

A couple of years ago I was on holiday in Northumberland, a most magnificent part of the country. As well as visiting the more famous locations such as Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island, and the wealth of stunning castles in the area such as Bamburgh Castle, I searched out some of the small fishing villages on the coast. One of them was this jewel in the crown called Craster.

Craster has a very small harbour and I found only a handful of small boats, mostly beached on the overgrown pebble and shale beach. I spent the most wonderful couple of hours strolling out onto the harbour wall with my camera snapping shots of the boats and seagulls (I just have to take photo's of seagulls in flight - lol) and then sitting on an old wooden bench where my wife and I enjoyed a cold drink and a sandwich. This pen and ink drawing is of the view we had from that bench. I would add that drawing it now has brought it all back much more vividly than simply looking at the photo's again.