Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Happy New Year Everyone!

It's that time of year again when I can look back and ask myself "what did I achieve?" Well to be quite frank no where near as much as I'd put on my list, as usual started things, got way laid and never finished them. Things like the website - still not finished, commissions still going but not finished, working on some of the paintings I'd like to do, My next book, not even got the basic notes written up!.
I've worked alot this year in Ink and Acrylic but I feel the need to get back to watercolours - with it's unpredictable marks that leave you chuckling to yourself, because you know your going to tell everyone it's meant to be like that!!
Yesterday I managed to get down some words for my next book but that's as far as it's got, I want to do a book on working commissions and "working in shadows" however I think i'm going to be chasing my tail again as I write my new year's list of goals.
Whats on your list?? mine reads like the andrex roll including lose weight for Holiday, finish commission, finish website, sell more work, do solo exhibition and student via teacher exhibition, write books and that's not the half of it. So that's where I'm off to now write more on that list. See you all in the new year - where I hope to be doing more demonstrations that i can upload to the blog, if i can remember to stop and take the pictures in the first places

Saturday, 27 November 2010

my way!

This week has seen me tackling some oils and pastels in my classes.
I'd almost forgotten how much fun pastels can be. They're so spontaneous and mucky!!
It's probably the one media that you can get very realistic effects without much effort. Using these can make sketching much quicker and as there is no drying time involved, you can produce a number of finished pieces in less time.
this month i have managed to finish one large flower painting, which my daughters have absconded with to their bedroom. I'm still working on my commissions, the project is slow as every glaze on every character has to dry before the next. For those who know me, know I don't do very small paintings and these paintings have a lot of small details on them, which also slows my progress down, but the end is in sight. Just one and 1/2 characters to go and a little tweaking here and there and I'm done.

I hope that this next year will see me produce more of my own work and maybe I'll get more of the work out there. I'd like to produce another book next year that's based on the process of creating art rather than the finished article. I noted even while working commissions that if I neglect to follow the process I make some monumental mistakes, that require a part or all of the painting to be repainted.
I have made some of the most stupidest mistakes, through not concentrating properly on my process/procedure.
There have been mistakes which I really have no excuses for - moral of story! have a plan, make sure it works and stick to it.
A plan like, research first, sketches and exploration next, colour studies and tonal thumbnails, followed by a quicker full colour small version, in a quicker drying media, then make any corrections cogitate on it for a while or let the client if there is one do the cogitating. Although many artists have their own way of working they will eventually introduce their own way of working that keeps their work at it s best.
Whats yours??

Friday, 22 October 2010

update on web building

i cant believe that is nearly November and i still haven't finished my website more to the point I haven't even finished one single painting I've started.
As I'm still working on some commissions its been nion impossible to get any other work done or for that matter started!
Needless to say I haven't started the Christmas cards for this year, and time is running out. Last years cards were negative space paintings which turned out rather well. This year will be touch and go whether I get any done in at all. The original plan was to paint some small Victorian  vignettes, in monochrome with just a splash of colour somewhere.
My commission work is coming on well but is slow going as there is a lot of small detail on two of the paintings. And as I don't have all day everyday to work on them, due to teaching, they will have to take precedence over other things. 
Recently some of my students have asked do some fantasy art with me, which is quite refreshing as this is where i started and where most of my commission work is. I drew a fairy with some pitcher plants and painted part of them in watercolour. Some of the best fantasy art I've seen has been those which include something from reality, whether this be an object or building etc added to the composition. I like the idea of using siomthing that we are familiar with in there so there something more beilevable to begin with, it makes the job a little easier. check out some of the artist on the you'll find some of the best in the world here and you can access some workshops while your about it!
happy painting!!

Monday, 20 September 2010

getting ready

Another season of teaching has begun this week, For of those who are new to my classes a very big welcome, and I hope you will enjoy the journey. You are amoung friends!  For those of you who been with me for a number of years welcome back and hope you've done your homework!!
This season I want people to really find their own style and their expression, while still learning the techniques the professionals employ.
I have been working on another set sketches for the original commission I've been working on for 2 years now, so i have decided to write a complete full colour leaflet on working just one commission from scratch. Which I hope will illustrate in more detail the problems that occur just at thee sketching stage and how the interaction between client and artist works. This is one area of industry where the 'customer is always right' this is because this industry is hugely over subscribed and if you cant give the client, what the client wants then they will go else where. Which brings me to my next point if this industry is that over populated then doesn't that go some way to proving that anyone can do it?

The point is that 70% of what we do is about observation, observation, observation, knowing a little about your brain functions will help you understand why sometimes your work isn't right. That wonderful on board computer of yours takes in everything it sees in minute detail and stores it from when you are born, but as you get older and things are given labels the brain will assimilate almost everything it sees into basic shapes and colours, smells, taste etc this means as we mature our awareness of detail is lost somewhere in our brain never to be heard of again.
As we practice our drawing you will notice more and more the frustration of not getting it right but, with no idea how to put it right - this is because your brain doing the drawing  all by it's self but it's telling you, you don't need to know exactly whats there to be able to understand the form. Not true! as you'll find out ...
concentrating on questions such as what do I actually see will help, you see a little clearer. How many of you draw without really seeing? all of you?

Try drawing only what your eyes actually see - it will open the door to a whole new world.

not finished yet!

can you guess what this is???

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Next stage of commission

Hi All
For all those who know me you'll probably remember that I've been working for over 2 years on a commission for a group who work in the gaming industry. Well last week I have been given some more work to complete the project. Although I cant tell you whats it's about nor can  I show any of the drawings I've done, due to copyright, I can discuss the process with you!
As mentioned before you will all find your own process by which to work by, but I find with most professional artist's - we all start in our sketch books..
So in mine there is now experiments with the formats for the final pieces as well as the first sketches of creatures that require some dynamic gestures. As you can imagine if you don't understand anything about anatomy then your going to struggle with doing any believable figures whether they be animals, humans, android's, aliens and beasts or what ever you think of . 
While doing my first few sketches which should have been relatively easy, turned out to be more time consuming than expected, why? because i didn't have a firm grasp of quadrupeds and their anatomy.
Moral of story?? study the basics first! - bones and muscle are probably the most you'll need know as an artist. This will give you some aspects of perspective to.There a number of good artist anatomy books out there, find one and take your time to draw each section, and another thing don't just draw these parts just once it's not enough to help you learn properly nor is it helpful in using what you have just learnt in other pictures. So utilising what you have learnt wont be evident in your later works!


Leonardo Da vinci 

Leonardo da vinci
They did, so can you.
New challenge fill those sketch books with anatomy!!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

hows it going?

Hi All
Has anyone started their story yet? anyone started doing sketches in their sketch books?
Well I have I started with some ideas that are based on the key elements of the story I remember. This is opposed to reading the story again just yet, because I wanted to let a little more imagination take place.
And as memories play tricks on us I thought it would interesting to see what I come up with.

As you know I chose Alice in Wonderland, while I was thinking about the things I remembered from the story - I realised that I could separate certain elements from "Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass".
So I have decided to continue with this for a little while longer until I feel it necessary to get the stories straight. I also thought about the original author and how he had come to write it. It was quite interesting to find out who Lewis Carroll was and what kind of life he would have had, and who was Alice? Alice Liddell that who she was, with this in mind I want to now do some drawings in ink of the real Alice - who by the way had short black bobbed hair. There's alot to play with in the history of the story so I'm going add some of the real life stuff into the drawings, such as the tiny door - which was the canon's garden gate at the cathederal where Alice and sibblings where not allowed to play, but could only look through the gate. The rabbit hole referred to the quick passage the deacon took to get home from the Cathederal to his home.

 Ooo theres so much to play with, this could take a great deal longer than I had antisipated, so I decided to start with little pen drawings which I have been doing on trading cards and postcards. This was in the hope it would take quite so long!!! Wrong...... it's just as long as I dont generally do things too small.
The next problem is where do you keep all these little cards so they dont get mucked up?

In a scrapbook! thats where - I had to construct this from board that you can buy from making little scrapbooks. I'm not sure which is taking more time?

Your turn!!! try combining some of the crafts you do with your drawing/painting and see what happens.
I've been using trading and postcards in watercolour paper all available from the SAA (society for all artists) which means I can add colour if I want to, at a later stage. remember you can have more fun in your sketch books where you can experiment with lots of different looks.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

New Website

Hi All
I had a thought this morning, that I should probably be spending most of my time working on my new website, but as it,s the summer hols I've spent most of time with my youngest trying to sort out their bedroom. Who would have thought that it would have taken 8 hours a day to go through all their stuff and rearrange the place. While we were doing this we came across some old art work stuffed behind the beds and wardrobes -belonging to my youngest, who immediately said "throw that" didn't even think twice. Only one did she keep! her Viking boat. Perhaps we should all take a leaf from a child's book, children don't seem to view their art the same way adults do. Children don't think about these pieces as works of art that are precious, they just see them for what they really are -  something I did but can do AGAIN!!! only this time better.
While I was there I found sketch books from my eldest who is a little more proficient in her drawing and I don't think there was a clean page in it, the corners where all turned up, fingerprints, smudges, doodles at the side of a drawing that have no relation to the piece, and tears through the some of the pages. Again no fear - of the white page and no fear of getting it wrong. And when it isn't right they have no fear of starting again!
So how many of you can say the same?
Which brings on to my point about about the website - after having lost the original work of the web site, I started again from scratch, only do the same thing again, by that I mean, I worked for hours on a page then forgot to save it properly. so when I went back to it the next day I could find it and had to start again - for the third time. Now going back to the child book thing above, having lost the work for a second time I decided that I was going to re-illustrate a child's book that would then become the website and now have a theme to it. I chose Alice in Wonderland, always one of my favourites and if you do the research in to it's author it's even more interesting.
So you know that sketch book challenge I gave you - why don't you try taking a book and creating the illustration s to it???

Monday, 19 July 2010

oh the wounders of technology!!

Hi All
The title should say it all, but of course it doesn't, i hope what happened to me doesn't happen to any of you.
This week while working on my new website I managed to delete everything from my computer by accident!
That is everything from my photos to my new web pages which I'd spent months working on. I know your all asking how do you manage that - well it's like this you see - i run vista on my laptop which has this stupid hover mode on it, so the cursor when moved over anything will automatically take you to or do what it hovers over. So this means as I type this I don't need to use the cursor so it's left somewhere at the edge of the work, but in my case my cursor will jump to where it's left and continue typing where it jumped to.
With most things I'm usually very careful because i know this can happen but what happened on this particular occasion took me by surprise. I was trying to delete a file and left my mouse right at the top of the page sort of on the address bar. I was using the nav keys to go through the files and delete the ones I don't want, while doing this I get a dialogue box come up asking me if i want to delete this file, which of course I do because that's what i working on - only i didn't realise that the next box says are you sure you want to delete files? I hit the enter button to confirm but still hadn't read the whole sentence which must have said permanent delete on it.
Well i could have died when I realised what was happening - the cursor which was now hovering over the very top bar which read C:/computer/pictures and was hurriedly deleting all my files PERMANENTLY!!
Shock horror nothing i can do, but try to find a piece of software that will retrieve them.
I find one but it wont restore them in one piece their fragmented so I still cant use them.
Losing 4 months of website building was bad enough but when i realise that some of my photos of paintings I'd done had gone I was mortified. Many of these don't belong to me anymore and we have no idea who purchased them.
Don't you just love computers!!!
Guess what I'll be doing all summer ha ha
Moral of story make sure you back up everything somewhere else!!
Back to the drawing board.

Monday, 12 July 2010

recording your progress

Hi All
I've just finished teaching for another day, and one of the things that struck during the lesson was that students and sometimes myself, don't have evidence of the their progression through the one piece their working on. During many lessons due to time constraints we neglect to start with the basic drawing in our sketch books and the all the refinements that go with that.
So for me my process would start with research first of chosen subject then a series of sketches - not just one. All writing and notes should be your sketch with your first initial sketches. Many times I find students telling themselves they are unable to draw something again but all should be in the habit of repeating the draw/sketch multiple times.
This process alone benefits the understanding of the form your drawing but also other components such tonal value, perspective, negative spaces, colour theory, composition and use of equipment and supports.
Might sound like a lot to get round but like everything, if you repeat it numerous times you'll remember it and use more often.
The other benefit of this process is to explore the subjects and expand the imagination, how many of you have told yourself you have an imagination?? not true it's all there your just not using it. So I challenge you to take a sketch book and fill it with only one subject but explore it from different angles and even close up and then change some of the aspects of it. Then try changing the format from say rectangle to square or to very narrow to horizontal or even vertical. Then you could play around with different media or colour changes.
Guess what I'm off to do now?? exactly what i preach - I'm off to my sketch pad where I'm going to explore some more ink drawings for my website. Talking of which I'm looking at creating an all new website called INKSTIC hence the ink drawings!!!  ciao for now xxx

Saturday, 26 June 2010

I posted a while back that I had thrown out some of my early work from college and school. Well I thought you might like to see of the stuff I saved to remind how far I'd come! If there is any one else out there who wants me to show of their early work feel free to email. While looking at these remember I only had poster paint and charcoal to use for most the work and few pastels. My kit's got a lot more involved since then, and a lot more expensive. Workman and tools springs to mind!!! hope you enjoy. 
The first one below was done when I was 14/15 years old and the charcoal ski boots was a still life I did when I was 16 it got a grade A but not for me, for someone else who pilfered it from my portfolio.

this one is a life drawing done in college of my friend Maria Juan Branco of 
This one is the first ever etching I got to do, the brief was to Illustrate a poem or something to do with the weather. I ended up doing a colour version but even at college I would revert back to my Rotring Isograph pens. I'm still using them even now, yesterday I managed another 2 pen sketches on water colour post cards, it's not really the right surface to be using the rotring pens on as the surface drags up and sticks to the very fine nib. So you can only do a little work before having to wipe the nib carefully, not my forte! f your wondering what they should be used on it's Bristol board, it has a very smooth surface that wont cause the nib to drag fibres up. Anything with a very smooth or even slightly shiny surface works well too.
It's a way of keeping your eye in and exploring ideas on a smaller scale that could potentially become a bigger more in depth piece. I'll upload them in a couple of days when I've photographed them.
I thought I might take one of the pieces from school and redo it to see how much of a learning curve I've travelled, it could be quite interesting. But for now I'm still concentrating on my website I can it taking a lot of months to put together. Till the next time  try redoing a piece from your past and post it on here if you like!!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

web design

 Hi All
I'm still trying to  learn how to use Dreamweaver to build my website but so far I have been unable to design it the way I want it. So I'm doing a mock up in serif webplus so at least I can have something to show for all the time I've sent on it.
I wanted to show you all I've been busy doing some art work for the website, I wanted some fun pieces done in ink and water colour

These are a few of the paintings I have managed to do all on a similar theme, I sat and wrote myself a list of just of the pictures I wanted in my website, I gave up after 1/2 an hour as the list was getting to long. So I just made a start with these and some small ink drawings.
You wouldnt believe how difficult it is to get a hompage the way you want it when your an artist, but I;m determined that one day I'll crack it. 
I've been asked what colours I'm using as they are rather bright, well I'm hooked on W/N Opera rose and Schminke's may green, and cadmuim red pale, you'd be surprised at the flesh tones I've been able to get from these 3 colours, I love the cleaness of the rose and the green and the vibrancy I can get.
Why not try permenate rose if you dont have opera rose and green gold these also make fab flesh tones, do yourself a colour swatch first so you can see just what they can do.
I'll leave with that one!!!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

learning curve

Hi All
I've spent last couple of days trying to my head round using Adobe Dreamweaver Cs4 to rebuild my website.
If you haven't seen my website it's this was the first website I ever built and i did all by myself using XP frontpage. I was very proud of myself getting this far all on my own.
But more than 18months ago the original pc we had XP on self terminated and fried itself. leaving me with no access to my website and no way of uploading more work, so it's sat there for all this time waiting for me to rebuild a new one.
Over the past few months I have designed the pages on paper so I have a clear idea of what I want. The only problem being is that i now have Vista and dreamweaver to work with and that means sitting for hours/days/weeks teaching myself how to.....
So this week I have got as far as getting the background and main photo for the homepage sort of figured out but not exactly as I pictured it. The next step is to figure how i get things hot spots working and being able to label them. All this technical stuff stops me from painting as much as I like but if I can master this I'll be very happy!
If anyone has any tips on getting it done faster please let me know!
As I want some animation on my website now going to go and draw on some acetate cells, that should keep out of trouble till tomorrow.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Hi All
spent most of the day going through my very old portfolio's from school and college, while looking through it all, I decided that I just had to throw some of it out to get some room. I'm at the stage now I cant get in the shed or under the bed and the walls are full. I'm sure I'm not alone!!
Anyway while I was sifting through the mess I came across some charcoal drawings I did when I was 15 although i could see who they were they more akin to sketches than proper drawings. I decided to keep them and show my students in my Monday's classes how much my drawing had changed during the years. I also found some drawings I did when at college (17) of tailors dummies and loads of still lives of junk set up by the tutors.
As for the stuff I did at school much of it was very punk rock or macabre, I kept a couple of them because my daughter wanted them but the rest are now recycling. I'd also forgotten how much I liked drawing with fine nib Rotring pens on tracing paper and clear acetate cells.
While doing all this I had a thought - maybe I should mount some of this stuff and embellish it a bit more - maybe I'll make a book of it all.
For now I've got to clear up the mess!!!
So far I've managed to do no art all yesterday and today - may be there's hope for some tomorrow!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Join in!

Hi All
I had a thought today that if anyone wanted to add content to this blog you can become one of the authors, this would enable you to upload pictures etc to the blog, and help run the blog.
As it stands at the moment you can use the "comments " link at the bottom of each blog piece and this will let you add text to the blog. Other than that you can email the things you want uploaded and I'll put it on for you.
I would like to have more input from others that want to share but perhaps don't want to maintain a blog themselves.
I thought we should start a sort of gallery where we can all put a piece of art work on, and where others can comment/critique work.
What does anyone think??
I'll leave that one with you

Monday, 3 May 2010

Pen & ink

Today I'm getting things together to do a demonstration for an Art group in Essex. After a visit to them last week where I demonstrated drawing they requested pen & wash/ink for this week. All things being well we will outside working from the landscape.
It struck me as I gather my things that this is probably the least used medium of them all, yet I find it the most liberating of them all. I've used pen and ink since I was 16 and find it made look more carefully and draw even more carefully. It wasn't until some years later that I realised that my drawing had improved 10 fold just because I couldn't rub my mistakes out, that gave me a great sense of freedom but also made me aware that the more mistakes I made the more creative I had to be to disguise them.
And therein lies the beauty of ink it never looks wrong it always looks expressive and impressive no matter of your style.
Over the past 2 years I have worked extensively in pen/ink on a major commission, at the moment I cant show you any of that as it's under copyright and it's ready for publication yet.
For now here is some of my early stuff......

A series from my women warriors series
I've also created a range of bugs/insects from metallic ink tooa small detail of a dragonfly

Have a go yourself and get outside too - forget the pencil, leave it indoors and sketch. Don't worry about the lines the wobbly and un straight they are the more expressive it will be. Treat it as a sketch and don't go out with expectation of getting it right just enjoy it.
There's lot of different marks you can make with ink from dots to lines close together cross-hatching, you can always draw with the end of your paint brush or just a small branch/twig or a piece of bamboo dipped in ink.
Let me know how you get on!!!
That's all for today I'm off to draw a rather impressive iguana - I'll let you know how I get on.
All the best

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Exhibition in Aid of Macmillian Nurses

Hi everyone
Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Some weeks ago my friend ask me if I would submit some work into her exhibition, which she is to host her home. We had done this some years ago in Aid of the British Lung Foundation and went very well.
My friend suggested that it would be nice to have some small pieces of work that people could buy at a fraction of the price of the larger pieces.

She suggested 8" x 8" block canvas, so I agreed to do 8 of them, I had forgotten how small 8 x8 is but decided to try koi on 4 of the and poppies on the others.
Most of my students will remember me more for telling them to work bigger and here I am doing smaller, small is something I struggle with I generally draw very big and so the paintings are the same.
A bit of challenge laid ahead just trying to get the fish drawn on the canvas in the first place, I always render the backgrounds completely first and let them dry before putting a drawing on the top.
You have no idea how many times I rubbed the watercolour crayon off before getting them the right size for the block!!
When eventually finished I was quite pleased with the results, I finished them off with some gold leaf.

I was really looking forward to see all the art up and displayed, some of the artists work larger than myself  some smaller. It's great to see so may difference pieces of art in one place. When I got there yesterday some of my work had already been sold - guess which ones????
Koi again always the koi! I should have done more of them.

So I'd  like to thank my friend, her husband and her family for their continued support in my art and giving me the opportunity to make the art do something special for someone by raising funds for worth while causes.
Now today I have to I have to get all the things I'll need for tomorrows first class, tomorrow is the first of my private classes. I thought as this will be the first  should stick to doing something along the lines of a still life just to get people drawing and that way I will have idea where everyone is at.

Next challenge -what should I take as a still life and what should a still life contain??
So I have been trawling the Internet for examples of still life, this one I found is by George Flegel. I don't think you could get more in if you tried. However the painting is so well painted and covers a multitude of textures although mainly in the food department, which seems to appear in many if not 90% of still lives.

This is by Pamela Michelle Johnson it's a large canvas in oil a whooping 72" high, and the realism is phenomenal. Again on the subject of food visit her at and see the rest of her work well worth a visit.
I never had much time for still life although I did loads in the early days. I spent many hours working drawings on still life that consisted of rubbish and junk knowing that I would improve my observation and drawing skills no end. That didn't make me like them anymore for that.
Now I think perhaps I should spend some time doing some that interest me and that is probably true of everybody if you don't like the subject you wont give it your best.
So what do I think my student's will like - some like flowers some like animals and some like landscapes, how am I going to incorporate all that? After a rummage around the house I come up with a collection of objects that include a wooden horse head, an orchid plant, some old books, a large conch shell and an old glass ink well with an owl feather in it. The only thing that I can see being a problem is not having strong enough lighting to make interesting.
Why try one your self!
bye for now

Saturday, 17 April 2010

new art classes

Hi there! Hope you all enjoying the lovely weather we've had today.
I'll will be starting a new art class on the 26th April 2010, this will run for 6 weeks at a time. They will cover a multitude on techniques over a range of media, allowing everyone to work on their own projects at their own pace regardless of ability. For further information send email via this blog.

During this wonderful weather it's at great time to get out doors and do some painting. I cant stress enough the importance of working from life at least part of the time. Photo's although handy as references are no real substitute for the real thing. You will learn far more by practicing life observations than slavishly copying from photographs. You have to remember that camera lens don't work like eyes and are limited to 2 dimensions, where eyes can decipher much more information second by second than a camera. You notice that parts of your photos will out of focus this is because the camera cant cope with all the information that is necessary. Where your can take in everything around you process it and understand it in a shorter time than it takes to take the picture.

So if you thought the camera never lies think again! it's limited to flattening out 3 dimension objects and not portraying true colour and tone. That's why you look fatter in photos!!!!

The watercolours above are from a trip to cornwall, I made sketches first then made quick small watercolours as the weather was not up to much, but it does give the me a better idea or should i say memory of the colours as you can match them more closely.
Have a go - and I'll upload some more soon.
Happy painting

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Hi everyone!
Today I wanted to take look at process - the process that many professional Artists go through to accomplish a commission. It sounds relatively simple but it's one that has you loving and hating your own ability.
To begin with the idea that taking on commissions will provide you with an exciting prospect of doing what you love is only a half truth. Nobody can prepare you for the frustration that will ensue.
Imagine if you will you want to create a career painting/drawing/anything else creative, so you start by doing your stuff, things you like, things that excite you.
Soon someone calls you and asks you create something for them, this maybe a friend, family or client. Just as you think your going to get more of your work out there, your client says I would like you to do this, this and this and it must have this oh and can you do this? this is where the frustration starts.

It's pretty much what you'd expect from your family because you know they have no idea what their looking at, they just like it, but your client will!!! and they will want total control over what your doing, and as they are paying for the privilege so you must let them.

As fabulous as it is to have loads of clients wanting you, you will find that during the process of dealing with them you will lose a lot of sleep over the projects and wonder why your doing this.
This is mainly due to the fact that your client came with a prefixed idea in their head and they can see the finished result before you've done it.

So for a start make sure you meet your client face to face, write down all the keywords they use and make sure that you are understanding how they interpret those words, you'll be surprised at how much work it will save you in the long run if you just get them to doodle a sketch of what they mean. Although we communicate in words I have found them to be the biggest cause of mis-interpretation and the biggest cause of having to re-do work. In short what you call a spade might be some Else's shovel.

Once you have a brief please, please make sure you do sketches and don't proceed with anything until they are happy with the sketch. The other thing to watch out for is format not all clients understand our Art formats so you need to show them the exact support your going to be working on.
Next comes the tonal pic, work out if this is actually going to work once it's rendered, another thing to be crucially aware of is your composition - as said before you need to stick to what your client wants but if this does not lend it's self to a good composition, you will have to consult your client and possible start from scratch again. A bad composition and focal point will totally destroy your work and remember it's going to have your name on it!

You may find as I have, the only way to get things right so everyone is happy is keep starting again and re drawing and producing a small colour version. Keep your client working with you by involving all the way and that includes the colour scheme, as i said at the beginning they already had a prefixed idea and will still be wondering why they cant have exactly what they asked for!
You know as an artist that certain things just don't work in reality when it comes to painting so for instance keeping everything sharp and focused- in painting a real no no, but not to your client.
There are so many things that are going to get your goat, but as your go through the process more and more you'll learn to be much more methodical about how you arrive at your clients preconceived idea.
You will I guarantee you, there will be times when the customers is definitely wrong and want to give up, because you know that if they just left you to do your interpretation they'd be so much happier!! and process would be relatively painless
I'll touch on this subject again in the future, I hope do a video of a commission from the beginning going through the whole process to the finished result.
Don't let any of this put you off you have so much to learn about yourself from this.
That's all for today - thanks for taking the time to drop by.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

I wanted to share this with you, I was reminded today about the stages of learning I went through during my early years - I'd just like to thank Matthew Archambalt for some of his podcast that I found on Itunes the other day. It reminded me that learning to draw is the most crucial part of any art, especially for those of us who want to achieve realistic results.
Learning Atelier style drawing/painting takes a mass amount of effort and practice, and if your going to in daily practice then progress will be slow.

I spent many hours as a youngster drawing especially on the covers of my school books, only to be reprimanded. But I believe it was that constant doodling that made all the difference.
The painting to your left is actually a class demonstration that I did with a large class of approx 16 students over a 5/6 week period. We looked at Vermeer's work process and equipment, the oil paints available and the painting itself.
The painting is now 340 odd years old but still one of the most loved paintings of the public.
I challenged my class to work in the original stages that Vermeer had, and to only use the same palette that he would have used. I made them draw from scratch, the girl without any aids and only minimal help from me.
I should mention that some of my students were beginners and had never used oil paints before and very few could draw to the same standard as Vermeer.
Once the drawings were complete I showed them how to lay in the first layer concentrating only on the tonal value of the whole painting, using only white(flake) and umber. They got the hang of this after the second layer, I made them refine the whole painting using these 2 paints building form and interest.
This was then followed by the first layers of any colour all applied thinly and blended using soft haired brushes. You notice from mine that I omitted the fringing on her back and the intials in top left background just so theres no confusion.
The whole purpose of this, was enlighten my students the way of the Atelier style learning they embarking on and how this would have been to work for more hours than usual on the same painting.
I revisit this method of painting in another session, but for now I just wanted to highlight the need for practice everyday. I tell everyone if you cant set aside some time everyday then set aside 5-10 minutes everyday while you drink your tea/coffee in the morning and draw only what you actually see. If we look at Leonardo De Vinci or any other great master and try to work out how many hours they would have drawn for in a year you could looking at thousands of hours, so why would any of you think that to that good you could get away with anything less than a few minutes a day.
try it!! it will improve your ability in just a few short weeks and give you the motivation to do more.
only what you actually see! remember
til next time - Kat

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Hi There, my name is Kat, I'm a professional Artist who teaches on the side. I've been painting since I was 7, so more than 30 years. This is my first ever blog, but I was wanting to share some of the knowledge I have acquired over the years with anyone willing to learn or share!

I hope that we all get a lot from this interaction, as for many of us art is a lonely existence.
I've been teaching for many years now and for up to 30 weeks a year, the one thing I am asked most is how to get an imagination, note I said "get an imagination" this is how it's been put me on so many occassions. Although it makes me chuckle it's a serious question.
Many of my students come from academic backgrounds and draw/paint for a hobby, so they seem to be unable to tap into their creative talents, thus you find many hobbyists copying from photos, art books and magazines which stilt their ability to cultivate their own imagination.

If you suffer from this, it is a good idea to spend more time drawing from memory over and over again. The subject matter should be simple to start with a cup and saucer is a good place to start!
Look at it for a while, then face the other way and draw what you remember. This may seem like a point less exercise but it is the beginnings of your memories that will begin the transition from just copying to being able to create your own art!!
Virtually every form of art whether you like or not is formed by simple shapes that we all recognize, its just the way in which thay have been put together that makes the difference.

By doing you will be creating, by creating you will sharing, by sharing you will be embrassing our world and all that is in it!!