I love, love, love drawing in pencil, it gives me great satisfaction. Perhaps it's because it allows me to give such attention to detail? Drawing is also so flexible, much of this drawing was completed in front of the tv downstairs because all you need is the paper, a few pencils, a pencil sharpener and eraser, unlike when I am painting in watercolour when much more equipment is required. Then I use my studio (although for years before having a studio I used the kitchen table). Here I used a colour photo and turned it into a black and white drawing. Conversely, when I am painting in watercolour I often use a black and white picture, or take a photocopy of a colour photo or picture, this allows me to see the tonal values - light and dark areas. For pencil drawing I always use three grades of pencil, HB, 3B and 6B. However with this drawing, I also used a 9B for the dark background, blending it in with my fingers. I've called him Malcolm - why? - just because he looks like a Malcolm to me! He's also been added to my gallery, under Drawings. What would I change about Malcolm? His moustache is far too dark, I used 3B so I would use HB as I did on his hair to the left of the drawing. I deliberately left out the stubble on his chin and would chose to do this again.
On Christmas Day my twin sister Gillian announced that she had heard somewhere that people that are left handed die on average nine years earlier than right handers. Given that both her partner, his father and I are all left handed and were all there, I asked her what would she do without us all. She replied that as she would know she only had nine years left she'ld make sure and do everything she'd ever wanted to do in her life! Not quite the response I had expected! I have heard that left handers are more creative than right handers, remembering Gillian's stick men from her school days I tend to agree!
I'm having a break from watercolour and working on a pencil drawing - a portrait. I've included the outline here to demonstrate a before and after effect. I used a photo that was enlarged by lovely Roy to A4 size then I used tracing down paper to trace it onto paper - many artists do this, although purist's probably think this isn't real art; if Hockney can do it then so can I, why make things difficult for yourself! I found the picture on Google Images and contacted the owner by email asking for permission to use it, to date they haven't come back to me so I decided to go ahead anyway. If they say no I'll have to remove it from this website.
Fusion of Fuschias
_My first blog is about my latest watercolour that I've been working on for the last two weeks that I've called Fusion of Fuschias. Why that name? I decided to use two photos of hardy fuschias (Mrs Popple and Dollar Princess) as my points of reference and incorporate them into one painting, attempting to be more creative with my ideas. I used masking fluid to block out the fuschias then wetted the whole paper thoroughly before randomly applying watercolours over the whole paper creating patterns along the way. I then loosely added more wet-into-wet purposely causing the dreaded blooms or cauliflours to form and happily allowed whatever else happened, to, well, just happen! I wanted to break all the usual watercolour rules - I'm a rebel at heart!
While the paint was still wet I used sandpaper and 'grated' bright pink and vibrant orange watercolour pencils into the paint, used rock salt in places and a twig from the garden to draw in random lines wherever I wanted to. Once this was dry, after removing the masking fluid I then painted in the fuschias with a rigger, wet-into-wet and wet-on-dry, blending along the way. I tend to be very organised and like detail so this painting was an attempt to be more fluid and relaxed, but painting the fuschias in this way appealed to my need for detail! The leaves were stamped on using leaves from the garden and painting the backs of them then literally randomly stamping and pressing down on them over the paper, overpainting and firming up some of the veins once the paint was dry. I wasn't happy with the background I had created on the left of the paper so I washed it all out as much as I could with a big brush then stamped a few more leaves in to cover up the mess. I then tried white gouache for highlights, but didn't like the effect much - you will see one of the top larger fuschias to the left has a gouache outline on the right (coloured over with a bit of purple watercolour), so reverted to my favourite method of scrubbing out white highlights with an old hard acrylic brush - I think they may be called fitches??? I know, I know, it makes sense to practice on scrap paper first, but I never do this, I just want to get on with it! I often scratch out highlights with an old razor blade but not on this picture. Oh, I also stuffed up my signature in the bottom left corner (theres a theme emerging in this picture of stuffing up the left side - the background, the gouache outlining and now the signature - is it because I'm left handed???!!!) hence the mad dark blue colourings! My lovely partner Roy is also my best critic and tells me how it is, straight, and told me he thought the painting was messy and the background and the foreground merged too much. I agreed with him and felt disappointed yesterday with the results of my creativity and on the way home from work tonight had decided to write this one off and 'file it' in the back of a draw in my studio. Imagine my surprise when I got home to find Roy had mounted, framed and hung it on the kitchen wall and what a difference this makes, it looks really great. Thats when it starts to feel good, when a painting speaks out, and it makes all the effort worthwhile!
Susan C. Adcock