It’s been a while…

Clementine (graphite)

Clementine (graphite)

You may have noticed, it’s been a while since I’ve shown up here, written anything, or had any arty things to share with you…  I’m so sorry I disappeared, a year is an embarrassingly long time to be missing in action! But it was a huge year with lots of personal and professional challenges… I’m very happy to be on the far side of it rediscovering some balance and fun! If you’ve been patiently waiting for something new, thank you! You have amazing patience!

I did manage to keep some sketching going throughout all the upheaval, mostly at the weekly life drawing group at the Camelot Lounge. Many of those sketches were too rough or a bit too nude to be comfortable sharing on a public site 😛 However, I wanted to share one piece from last Wednesday’s Gyspy Sketch Club session which I’m particularly pleased with.

I have always had problems with faces and most of my drawings of the models at the club are torsos only, with no more than a vague oval and maybe some scribble where the face should be. I would love to be able to really capture a likeness, or just get some features in the right place so that my oval blob looks human! Mind you, most sketches are completed in less than 5 minutes so I’m generally focusing on getting the limbs and body down rather than bothering with an area I know I struggle with.

Occasionally during the evening the model strikes a pose that just can’t be seen very well (it’s a busy room), or isn’t very inspiring. For these situations the management have thoughtfully set up a video camera casting a slightly different view of the model on a large screen. This was one of those moments and I had just 10 minutes with a beautiful close up composition that was crying out to be drawn.

I think I started off with her eye and worked away from it, trying to smudge shading in and sort of mapping the area, trying not to identify it in my mind as a face (try tricking your brain into this!). Then, judging the distance between the outer edge of her eye and the edge of her face, & just putting in a line, next looking at her nose and how the upper edge of it by the nostril is almost horizontally in line with the inner corner of her eye. And a mark here and a scribble there, creating small areas of shading rather than outlines… suddenly I realised I had something that was starting to look like a face!

And then she moved to the next pose.


Every Day in May Challenge: Baby Elephant

"Milk" Baby Elephant (Watercolour)

“Milk” – Baby Elephant (Watercolour)

Another week whizzes by! I’m still just about managing to keep up with the Every Day in May Challenge, although I am now constantly one day behind… today I thought I had found time to complete the two outstanding pieces to bring me up to speed, but after searching for inspiration for the subject “milk” I found this gorgeous baby elephant on Paintmyphoto and that was the end of that plan.

Instead of finding two simple and quick pieces I spent the rest of the afternoon completely lost in this painting, trying to capture that mischievous eye and his beautiful pink/brown skin. At 10.30pm tonight I finally decided it was finished enough to submit for the challenge, however, now I’m wondering whether it needs a background …. And that floating hand is giving me much cause for concern! I might have to revisit this one.

Every Day in May Challenge – Magpie

Magpie (Watercolour)

Magpie (Watercolour)

My day job this week has seen my eyes and brain turning square!! It’s been a really heavy week of accounts and MYOB entry, trying to catch up with everything before Year end arrives, but I think I’m finally on top of the worst of it and looking forward to more time focusing on fun stuff.

Fortunately, I’ve still been finding time each day (or every couple of days) to keep up with the Every Day in May Challenge and a few days ago I painted this cheeky picture of a Magpie. It’s a subject I’ve fancied trying for quite a while and so I was pleased to see it listed for Day 16 of the challenge.

I’m extremely pleased how well he’s turned out, especially the ‘black’ areas… believe it or not they are the result of mixing just two colours together: Pthahlo Blue and a dark red which I think might be Perelyne Maroon – it’s so hard to remember when they’ve been on your palette for a while!

Many of the challenge pictures I’ve done so far have been quick and quite sketchy, but this one drew me in and I painted for far longer than I usually would in one sitting (or standing, to be exact)… time and the world just faded away for a while and it was a wonderful!

Me, a Self Portrait for the EDIM Sketch Challenge

Me, Self Portrait (Graphite Pencil)

Me, Self Portrait (Graphite Pencil)

I’m so sorry my blog is laying silent this week, and it’s not for lack of content as I’ve been busy sketching or painting every day for the EDIM (Every Day in May) Sketch Challenge. Admittedly some of the work has been short on inspiration or lacked the time to do a good job, but so far I have managed to complete something every day.

As I mentioned, every day we are given a subject starting with the letter ‘M’ and today it was ‘Me’ and hence we have a self portrait. I think I’ve only ever tried drawing myself twice before in my life, and this is the first attempt wearing glasses – but then I couldn’t actually manage to do it without them these days!

I think I may have got the eyes a little too big and my hair’s a terrible mess, but that’s nothing to do with my drawing skills… I just need a haircut! Anyway, overall I’m impressed with the result. It’s quite hard to spend so long focusing intently and staring at yourself, but trying to see past the familiar features to the shapes and shades instead.

Sketch a Day in May – Melbourne Cup Racehorse

Melbourne Cup Racehorse (watercolour)

Melbourne Cup Racehorse (watercolour)

A few weeks ago I found a Meetup Group in Sydney who go sketching together – Meetup being an online noticeboard for social groups to share their events. I haven’t made it to any of their outings yet, however the organiser has suggested a challenge of sketching every day during May which I’ve accepted. She’s even given us a list of subjects all beginning with the letter ‘M’ to complete, one by one.

Yesterday’s subject was ‘something specifically related to Melbourne’, and after lots of Google searching I settled for a Melbourne Cup racehorse. Starting with the jockey’s bright orange blouse I used just one brush for the whole picture and worked down and outwards. Colours are: Cadmium Orange, Pthahlo Blue, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue and maybe there was a touch of Alizarin Crimson as well…

I’m very surprised the horse came out so well… obviously all those years as a kid copying horses paid off! The jockey is a bit oversized, but almost looks human. Barely a suggestion of a face… It’s a shame they don’t look as if they’re going anywhere particularly fast!