Wednesday, November 25, 2009

old tree and rocks with added colour


the tree with added colour


I worked further on the tree - and it's a little bigger now at nearly 14 inches.

I kept the colour range limited but added Pitt pencil in a warm sienna colour and a touch of icy blue mixed into the white.

Better? or should have been left alone! ?

Old tree and rocks

Old tree growing in amongst rocks and a drystone wall, charcoal, carbon pencil and chinagraph pencil

I painted this tree in ink and watercolour a few years ago and decided to do a slightly larger version in charcoal. I added carbon pencil for the darkest and most calligraphic marks and white chinagraph pencil for the highlights, on a soft beige pastel paper.

I liked the way it merged into the rocks, almost part of them. The tree itself makes me think of Japanese prints, something about the gnarled branches and the pine needles.

I've been really tied up with work and family health issues so it was good to be drawing again :>)

Friday, November 20, 2009

sketchbook exchange


some of my contributions to the Flying Pictures Project

Remember our Flying Pictures Project, sketchbook exchange?

Lindsay has just shown an exhibition, in the US, of our completed books (sent off on a wing and a prayer for safe return) and given a talk.

She sent us the printout of her words and we would all have loved to have been there - she summed it up beautifully and got across how much fun it had been, the underlying worry of each of us working in books containing such gorgeous work by the others, how we learned from each other, enjoyed discussions on our blog and privately. the buzz - and that we want to do another project together.

Lindsay has shown her contributions on her blog - as it was such a good idea, I thought I'd do the same :>)

Have you taken part in an exchange?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Working plein air - the hazards

Norfolk, changing seasons, some past plein air oil paintings, Vivien Blackburn

I'm up to my eyes in work at the moment and so paintings are going slowly. I have to wrestle with a printer in a minute - it insists there is a paper jam - and there isn't. I want to print Sam's book.

As I'm not managing to get out to sketch I thought I'd write today about the downside to console myself.

Like ...................
  • - the winter trip to sketch when the wind howled straight off the sea, usually we could shelter in the dunes and somewhere we'd be able to get out of the wind. Not that day. The top right hand sketch was done in a tiny 6inch square sketch book in oils. It was the only thing I could hold still enough - a larger book just kept flipping in the wind and my hand with it, every time I got the paintbrush near. It's about the only thing I managed that day for a long day out, 200 mile round trip and hypothermia.
  • - a bitterly cold day with uninteresting light, working on one beach, moving to another to get some shelter, realising mobile phone was missing on first beach (and stupidly switched off - so no simple matter of ringing it on friends phone to find it :>( ) - returning to original beach as darkness fell, searching miles of identical looking dunes by torchlight until the battery went - friend realising she had now lost her handbag somewhere amongst the dunes whilst searching - walking a mile along the beach to the home of the warden of the nature reserve - him helping seach - finding handbag but not phone - arriving back home in the early hours of the morning (it's 100 miles away) and finding my phone in friends bag 8>O, she'd scooped it up by mistake - and no decent paintings to show for a long, cold, frustrating day.
  • - driving away at the end of a day painting only to hear a clatter as we drove onto the main road - yes, the paintings I'd left on the roof as we loaded up - we did rescue them unharmed :>)
  • -spectators - running commentary from behind when a family, with miles and miles of dunes on an empty beach to choose from, chose to sit just above us. 'Look she's using her fingers now' - 'what bit is she painting?' - 'she's using a knife now' - ' you could do that ....'
  • -a bossy bossy grandmother directing every move of her grandchildren building a sandcastle - no artistic input from them, the poor kids were just the labourers! 'no, no we don't want that - fetch one of those.....' etc etc Until finally she spotted us sketching. 'Go and look what those ladies are painting' they were directed - no polite request - I'd taken such a dislike to her that I just looked her in the eye and deliberately shut my book! She moved off, still directing those poor kids every move :>(

  • - sitting working wrapped up like Mrs Michelin in layers and layers of - ok not very smart painting clothes - in our little igloo tents for shelter and being asked by passing walkers if we'd 'been there all night'????? bag ladies????? tramps and hoboes?????
  • - being told by another passing walker that they run classes at the local community centre if we wanted to learn to paint ....
  • - trying to stop midges committing suicide and gaining immortality by landing in my wet oil painting
  • carrying heavy bags of paints etc long distances along dry sand at the top of the beach - oh how I hate that dry sand for walking in, and the scrambling up the dunes - give me Cornwall where the tide comes in properly and sand is decently firm and there are rocks!
Now I feel a bit less deprived :>)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sam builds a snowman slideshow of illustrations and text


I;ve only had a very little time this week for painting and I haven't photographed it yet.

Here for the time being is a slide show of Sam's Christmas present book - the cover and illustrations in order.

As before, the blue lines and dotted lines are publishers guidelines and text boxes, which won't print or show in the final. My printer is having a nervous breakdown and I haven't been able to print it yet.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

update on the snowman book


front and back cover design for Sam's book

NB It's a screenprint, the guidelines and text boxes obviously aren't in the final print

I've been working further on 'the book' - sheesh it takes some time - scanning and then building it in Publisher - and the working out with a little torn pages mock up just how the pages work and what number is opposite/on the back of which. A definite left brained activity and not my strongest point!



The writing is provisional and needs polishing - I definitely need some more practice at this.

centre pages

I decided to only show Sam. their cat and the snowman, Mum and Dad feature as off stage voices only. It kept a simplicity to it and concentrated on the main characters. What do you think?

I used the font that I created from my handwriting on a fun programme and the snowflakes from the fun snowflake-cutter-programme - nothing is ever wasted is it? :>)

I might have another go at a font - a little less higgledy piggledy and easier for a child to read? is it worth it? By the time he's reading the book will be too young for him ........

I used the snowflakes to decorate each page of text but kept the illustration pages clean and simple.


This one is a screenprint of the print preview - no guide lines or text boxes but no colour either - it gives more of an idea of how the page will actually look.

c&c?