Tuesday, September 30, 2008


is a medium I'm quite frightened of! I think it is perhaps the most difficult to use. My artist friend, Barbara, has created gorgeous, colourful works in watercolour, including mixed media works. She spent some time with me today teaching me something about how watercolour works, how to apply it on the paper and so on. I won't show any of my less than exciting results but I enjoyed seeing how the paint moves in water, and on dry surfaces, and the colours that can be created. I think I've got a bit more confidence to try it out again. Here is a picture of a rooster that Barb painted and I loved the simplicity of it, the way the paint worked on the head, that little line on there that she painted and his gorgeous tippy toed feet. AND Barbara let me bring him home! Thank you Barbara.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Life drawing 24 August 2008

The coloured one is the Crayola large size Twistables, with some compressed charcoal. The others are drawn with some compressed, some willow and some white charcoals. The top picture isn't quite right, is it? The model, as you can see from the other drawings is slim; seems I've drawn more of a pregnant figure. I like the media that I used, compressed conte - umber. The thicker black lines of the other drawings are done with a huge piece of willow charcoal - about 1" thick - makes the most fantastic black marks - and the most intensely blackened fingers.

The size of the paper for my drawings is A2. Time for each was between 2minutes and 10minutes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Life Drawing 17 August 2008

The warm up drawings are done on lightweight buff paper, compressed charcoal with white conte. The others are on white cartridge paper, compressed charcoal and soft pastel.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chain Reaction

is the title of this mixed media work (acrylic, indian ink, canvas 50x40cm). This is part of a series I am working on which is very different from anything else I've done.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pastel on canvas with medium WIP

Just visited Lesley Finn's blog and read her post about mixed media using different kinds of pastels and mediums on canvas. Reminded me that I've got a painting I need to move on with. I took this 36 x 24 inch canvas to life drawing and drew the model from life with pastels (pink and yellow for some reason...). I sealed with acrylic medium as I went. Since then I've worked over it with more soft pastel and started to place her in the landscape - our local landscape which historically has been a gold mining area. The land continues to be raped by commercial interests (no apology to certain people who really don't like me to talk about it in those terms). Next step is to seal it again then decide how and with what to proceed.

Mixed Media on canvas

"Apparition 1" 20 x 25cm on canvas and "Plain time" 30 x 40 cm on canvas - acrylic paints, oil pastels, liquin.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Life Drawing 10.8.08

These are drawn on a lighter weight buff paper, media is charcoal - black, red and white (all compressed). The charcoal was a thick stick that was very black with pressure. The faces/heads do not look like the model - couldn't draw that with that chunky charcoal.

I get a lot of hits on this blog from people searching for life drawing poses. It's interesting how slight changes in the model's stance can make for a more interesting drawing. I like the hands to show and it is usually possible to change the pose a little to accommodate that. A slight twist in the torso, an arm lifted up, head angled up or down, all these things show in the body and make for a more interesting drawing. At times I've also looked through art books and found poses in paintings that have been useful.

I started life drawing with Wellington (New Zealand) art school, The Learning Connexion. The tutors suggested many ways to approach the drawings from drawing the outline to blocking in the form (I still like to block in lightly with the side of a piece of charcoal or pastel then draw highlights, shadows and lines after that). We were encouraged to draw with the other hand (amazing good exercise I found) and to draw with different kinds of music playing (especially effective if using coloured pastels).

We were also given exercises such as drawing (with each hand) without looking at the paper for the entire drawing, then to draw with only quick glances at the paper. And to look for a while, then draw without looking back at the model. To draw just the shadows...to draw a moving model... There are so many different ways to approach life drawing.

The scribbled quick drawings (see last week's drawings) was an idea from high school art courses from many years ago.

I enjoy quick gestural drawings, they seem to convey the energy of the pose in a way that I often lose in a longer drawing.

Cropped drawings (drawing only part of the body during a pose) are a good idea ...one that I often forget about! These can provide useful resources for more abstract works (if using drawings as a resource for painting, collage, mixed media).

One can draw on black paper in colours or just with white and draw the highlights and light on the body. Buff or grey paper can be the mid tone and you can draw with black and white for the shadows and highlights.

And as for the media to use...there is so much to choose from. I seem to have settled on compressed charcoal - I love the look of willow but I would need to spray the drawings before taking them home to avoid damage. I admire pencil drawings but I'm not patient enough, thoug I have started enjoying using conte pencils.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

One One One

On Friday night we went to the Crown and Badger in Tauranga with friends and there was live music - the band is called One One One - covers band and very good at it. I didn't have a sketchbook with me so scribbled these on some till paper and the back of some of bar's advertising material with a borrowed ballpoint pen.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Life Drawing 3.9.08

Different model from below. Again, using the Crayola Twistables, conte pencil, charcoal, white compressed charcoal.

Lifedrawing 27.8.08

Some drawings from a recent class. The coloured drawings are Crayola large size twistables that glide over the paper, don't mix, don't smudge and are bright. The model was moving slowly from one pose to another. The other drawings are done on a lighter weight buff paper. The reclining coloured pose is a bit odd.

Monday, September 01, 2008


I have hardly touched the programme but tonight I had a play. Not sure if I will again! It is an interesting way to draw but give me paper and pen any day.