Saturday, 28 February 2015

28 Drawings Of Cat - Day 28

Today is the last day so I've collected all the drawings together. It has been an exhausting month, starting when I had that horrid lurgy, progressing to a very enjoyable but tiring trip to London and then onto the last stretch where I tried to be much more experimental.

Along the way I have learned all sorts of things through the making, reading all the comments and looking at every one else's work. In particular, I am going to think more about the use of line and incorporate it more into my paintings. Graphite was easier to use than I remembered and I'm going to be exploring this more in future. There really is something about charcoal I really don't like and using it always feels like a battle, so I'm giving up that fight presently.

Here are all the prints I did - many failures, as you can see but I really felt I was learning while printing and later, bugging people with questions. I am keen to do more printmaking - it was so much fun, gives strong results for the time spent and will really let me experiment with tone vs line and composition.

Every year of the challenge it has been knackering but moves me on tremendously in my art-making, widening my ideas and techniques and deepening my understanding - so I'm looking forward to what the rest of the year brings and will be ready to start all over again next february - but who knows what challenges I'll set myself then?

Friday, 27 February 2015

Red Cat - day 27

The other day I was reminded that I have some chunks of burnt sienna. It can be a messy thing to use so did this in the studio, at an easel - the only drawing this month that has been and I think you can see the difference - more movement, more swing. I also used the whole width of the paper - still only a4 sized, but it'll be the biggest drawing of the bunch - for me charcoal, chalk and my bits of sienna rock are for big drawings - unlike ink, pencil and watercolour that seem to suit small better. There are always exceptions though - I can see possibilities in using the liquid graphite on a big brush, getting big sweeps of tone on the paper, then going in after for detail.

This kind of idea getting really has been the big benefit of doing the 28 drawings later every year for me - I'm all fired up with possibilities now and hopefully you'll all see the benefits in my work over the next year.

Oh, and I just had to do a cleaning one at some stage - after all, it's what she does the most, after sleeping.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Oil Painting of Mrs Cat - Day 26

Finished - maybe. For today, at least. At this stage I generally stop, put the painting up on my studio wall somewhere and see if it annoys me while I'm working on other stuff. In a week or two I'll take it down, have a closer look and either do more to it or decide it is done and put a layer of retouch varnish on it.

Then it goes back on the wall until I decide to either do more to it (it it's crying for attention) or send it to a gallery. Depending on how long it's been it then gets a final coat of varnish or gets taken directly to the framer.

After that it depends very much on other people what happens - although I have a sneaking suspicion I might just keep this one for myself!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Monoprint Failure - day 25

OK, so today is a cheat in that I actually did the print yesterday - but I had the ink out for the linocut and really wanted to experiment a bit more - that's what it's all about, right?

Sadly my experiments didn't go very well - there clearly is some kind of trick to doing monoprints, either that or the ink I've got is just too cheap - it was drying out before I had finished drawing. Also the charcoal paper I used was probably not the best thing as the lines on it have come through clearly. Again, more research needed - this is one of the reasons I like doing the 28 drawings later challenge - it gives me so many ideas to explore until the next one!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Linocat - Day 24

The lino was cut on sunday night in front of the telly, but I've not had a chance to try printing from it until today as I suspected it might be a messy business.

Which it was. Having never done any print making before the whole thing was new to me so I didn't expect quite so much mess at all the stages - from all the little bits of lino cut out to ink getting everywhere. I also didn't expect the ink to be quite so sticky and thick - none of the finer cuts really came out, sadly, but on the plus side the ink being thick has given the fur a lovely mossy look.

But I think I might read up a little before my next linocut.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Stretch - Artgraf Watersoluble Graphite - Day 23

This was done with water soluble graphite from Artgraf, that comes in a little tin I bought at the Royal Academy last week. I thought that graphite might suit a picture of kitty with the grey winter trees behind her and I am fairly pleased with the results although as always with new media I can think of a few ways to do better next time. I used a chinese brush, which is my favourite for life drawing - I can really see this stuff being very useful indeed in the life class, especially if using pencils as well. The finished work has a lovely granulated, slightly sparkly look, which might suit a future project I'm thinking about. So although not entirely pleased with this drawing really glad I did it as I think it will lead to lots of other, better works.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Paper Cat - Day 22

Finally caught up, day 21 done on day 21. And what an unexpected bother it was. Maybe I should have used glue, or photographed it, rather than trying to scan it, which meant thinking in reverse and trying to move teeny bits of paper around underneath other bits of paper. The blanket is of course her favourite and we shan't mention what she's doing.

Cat Statue - Day 21

Right from the start of the month I knew I wanted to do a little statue at some point. But I've never done any three dimensional making so wasn't sure what to use. Initially I thought I'd use fimo or clay, but then I saw some plasticine in the art store and since it was both much cheaper and less complicated it seemed like a better option.

However I may have bought too small a pack - this little statue is only a couple of inches high, so adding any kind of detail was pretty difficult, especially without tools. If I do it again maybe I'll use a pencil or something to draw on whiskers. Still, sometimes simplicity is a good thing, and thinking in three dimensions was a nice change.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Kitty Portrait - Day 20

Only anther week to go so I've looking back to see what I've done and what I've not yet managed - next week should have more experimental (for me) works, as hopefully I'll have a wee bit more time. I'm also getting more familiar with cat anatomy, which should allow a bit more freedom, and have already used all my normal ways of working.

One of the things I noticed I hadn't done was a close up, so here it is. Using white pencil in a tonal manner is new, too, of course, and more difficult than I expected.

Friday, 20 February 2015

In The Studio - day 19

A wee update of what is going on in the studio

Another layer has been added to the kitty painting - really just darkening the darks and finding the pattern on the blanket. Hope to finish this in one more go over the next week sometime - you can see the earlier stages at day 12.

In comparison with Day 3 there hasn't been any huge changes - two new tea cup paintings started, two much closer to being finished and one done. Various bits and bobs have been done on the portraits as well so that they are pretty much all at the stage where they have had most problems sorted and just need finished. I haven't had the time to do that recently though as need at least 4 uninterrupted hours - here's hoping the next couple of weeks will be better!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Yawn - Day 18

It has been a busy few days and I am knackered. So, it seems, is Mrs.Cat, so this is a very quick drawing from us today. I was trying to get some energy into the drawing, use the pencil in different ways and so on, will have to have a look how well I managed tomorrow.

Trafalgar Lion - day 17

A day late with this posting - not a lot of internet access yesterday, sorry folks.

Anyway, hopefully this chap is instantly recognisable!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Preview of the preview - day 16

This little largely unintelligible drawing is a sketch of the wall on which my painting is hung at the Lynn Painter Stainers Prize exhibition - I have just spent a fair bit of time having a good look at the show and there are some stunning paintings. Tonight is the official preview and prize giving, so am about to get dressed up ready - very exciting!

What about the cats, though? Today has been a bit hectic, so I'm cheating today and showing you a couple that were done yesterday at the National Gallery, hope that's OK with everyone.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Ruben's Tiger - Day 15

Today I traveled down to London so had no time to draw the cat. Instead, I went to the Rubens exhibition at the Royal Academy and drew the tiger from his Tiger, Lion and Leopard Hunt painting.

The exhibition was very interesting, had loads of different artists so you could compare styles as well as having sketches and drawings - very interesting to someone trying to learn how to paint better. Also the lighting was good for a change - no problems with glare, lso for most of the works you could get up real close.

I'll be down here for the next couple of days, so will do my best to keep drawing cats - just not mine!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Valentine Kitty - Day 14

It's Valentine's Day and I thought I'd share the love a little to the cat. But I don't think she was very impressed by her rose and she tried to eat her ribbon. Oh well.

Friday, 13 February 2015

You Dancin? Day 13

This morning I got the ink and dip pen out to see if I could capture how kitty looks when in play mode - we did a little photo shoot last weekend and I've been itching to use these photographs.

I really wanted to get a sense of movement so thought I'd layer the drawings. The first two worked well together but I'm not so sure about the third (on it's own) drawing - but it is an experiment, and something I may try again or incorporate into a painting - we'll see.

For me it is also a relief just to draw in line - I know teachers really really hate people doing this and I know you don't get the sense of depth or tactile qualities that tone can give you but it is just so much simpler and easier and I think more suited to momentary things. What do you think?

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Starting A Painting - Day 12

A little slide show of a painting that I started this morning, showing the stages of the first stage of a Jane painting. It seems to run too fast, so will post each photo seperately.

First is the drawing, squared from photoshop, using watercolour pencil.

Next are the darks - if it doesn't read at this stage, then I need to go back to the beginning, re-draw, re-think. Not this time, though!

Then I add the mid tones, and generally things look much worse as the white of the canvas is still showing. In this case the white is oil primer on aluminium - an experiment!

Lastly I add the lights - these are much darker than they will be eventually, same as the darks are generally not as dark. Everything is grey/brown as well, so I can judge easier the colour of the next layer easier - in this case, there will be lots of blue toned greys and black, which is why the colours here are more brown, which should add a bit of contrast.

At this stage I stop to let things dry and for me to consider the painting while stuff is still changeable. It'll probably lie about my studio for a week or so while I work on other stuff, then hopefully I'll be able to finish this in one more layer, maybe two.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Reach For The Stars - Day 11

After yesterday's drawing I had a wee think about what it was I hated about charcoal (the mess, the difficulty in getting different tones, the lack of accuracy) and on spotting a big thick bit of charcoal in the box thought I'd try a diffemore direct approach.

And enjoyed myself much much more.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Me and Mrs Cat - day 10

Have I mentioned how much I hate vine charcoal? No? That may be because I've been wise enough to avoid the stuff for the last few years - when I have used charcoal, it has been charcoal pencils and dust, and has been at an easel.

Using it in a small scale (about a4) on the couch was just murder - at one stage I had to open a window to shake all the dust off as it was just moving about the paper and not adhering. Gah!

Anyway, done now and I hope you like it - a wee picture of us together, even if she is clearly just putting up with me.

Monday, 9 February 2015

3 for the price of 1 - day 9

From the top, letraset promarker, neocolour paynes grey and white, without water added, and quink ink withfine sketching nib and brush.

Not the most interesting pose, but she was on the cough so I got to draw her live for a change. What interests me is how small these drawings are - I seem to have automatically pretty much made them sight-size. Mind you, not having all that much time before going to work might have influenced things. One of the things I love about drawing from life is that you just do stuff, use whats around, and don't over analyse anything - and often thats how breakthroughs get made. Although not this morning!

Which is your favourite?

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2015 - Day 8

A week tomorrow I'm off to London to see this painting at the opening of the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize . I'm terrifically excited as this is my first London exhibition and looking at the other choices there are many amazing paintings hanging along with mine. Once I'm down there I will report back with how everything looks - or if you are in London, come along - it will be open all of next week at the Mall Galleries.

But even fancy-pants arty farty painters need to learn and do their daily drawings - so today I gave Mrs Cat her own teacake. She didn't seem overly impressed.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

All Black - day 7

Day 7 and I went shopping today for art materials - I realised that I didn't have any good, dark, 8b pencils - I think I must have used them all as I really, really loved these pencils once upon a time.

Now my hand has cramp as I'm really not used to this kind of intensive drawing any more, using a brush is so very much quicker. But being forced to take longer is possibly a good thing, I certainly felt that I was making more adjustments and decisions as I went along than I do when using watercolour so that it actually felt more like oil painting.

Next time, maybe a more scribbly, line based style - we'll see. There were a few other purchases which I'll use before the month is up - one of my aims this year is to broaden my drawing skills, both in what materials I use and how I use them - I hope you are enjoying my efforts so far.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Day 6 - Relaxed Kitty

Day 6 and I didn't have much time at all this morning. Kitty here was determined to be awkward, refusing to let me draw her on her chair by keeping moving, then following me through and jumping up to be stroked as soon as I sat down - very nice, but no drawing could be done. Eventually though (when I was almost late leaving the house) she got bored and decided to stretch out in the hall instead - hence this very quick brush and ink sketch. Then I threw her out and went to work!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Where's The Cat? - Day 5

Day 5, and after enjoying using a brush yesterday I thought I'd do the same again - only this time with white gouache on black card.

The pose I chose perhaps wasn't the best one for this, as her lying with one of her paws up on the side of her cheek, at the base of her ear, perhaps isn't a very common cat posture - she does it all the time, though, and even sometimes lies with her paws over her eyes.

The blanket was fun and is related to a lot of the paintings I'm doing at the moment - I have recently become a little obsessed by pattern. The painting below shows how I start - with rough tonal values, In this case, I didn't like the original tone of the background and decided to add a leaf pattern today - and I really like the way the pattern looks now, so may not paint over it in a more finished way as planned - we'll see.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Let Sleeping Cats Lie - day 4

This morning I felt I wanted to do some fine line work and use a brush and watercolour, after the annoyance of yesterday's pencil. This is a technique I am more familiar with, having used it for years at life drawing to get quick poses down fast.

The paper I used was also my favourite paper - mi-teintes touch, which comes in a good colour range, doesn't seem to fade and comes in 335gsm so is fairly robust feeling - this was my first try at adding a waterbased media, and it behaved perfectly. My only complaint is the size - a maximum 50x65cm.

Todays drawing was on a quarter sheet, so around A4 size and I was happy with Dr Martin's liquid watercolour. Not so happy with Derwent's white ink - ended up having to apply around 3 layers as it seemed to sink in and fade - not sure if not was the paper's fault, or the ink's - I'll try watercolour and gouache in later drawings so will be able to compare.

Oh, and I meant to go back and add in the black pads of her feet, but forgot. May do it when I get home tonight!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Nosy Cat Day 3

Had a bit more time today so thought I'd try a ore detailed pencil drawing. Unfortunately black fur doesn't lend itself to that kind of work and I chose the wrong pencil - a derwent sketching light wash hb. It just wouldn't go dark, or layer satisfactory - I tried adding water, and that seemed to help a little, but still not happy with it. Oh well.

One reason I had more time was because although today was a studio day, I had to do various collecting/delivering paintings type of stuff. But I thought it would be nice to share how the studio looks presently - a tip, as I have been photographing for still lifes and everything has been pulled out. Anyway, here are some photos.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Day 2 - Being A Dafty Cat

Day 2 and I've drawn kitty-cat in one of her characteristic dafty poses - this is "please scritch me under my chin".

The drawing is in charcoal and chalk again, using pencils, and less than 10 cm. The paper is Strathmore 500 charcoal paper. I was excited when this first became available in the UK, as I have read a lot it about it from american artists - but was terribly disappointed - it is very thin and creases at the drop of a hat. The colours are reasonable, although not generally as dark as I'd like them to be.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

28 Drawings Later 2015 - day 1

Hello everyone again - it's 28 Drawings Later time of year again.

This year, my plan is to draw my neighbour's cat, Vader, every day - she's not always up, so some will be drawn from life (like today) while others will be from photographs - she really doesn't seem to like being photographed, though.

I'm going to be using all the bits and pieces of stuff that have been shoved to the back of drawers. Today's drawing is on a piece of ampersand pastelbord I brought back from New York. It was quite lovely to draw on, using pan pastel initially, then chalk and charcoal pencils.

If you'd like to see previous years, they are at 2014 , when I was preparing for my first solo show, 2013 , when there wasn't an organised thing, so I blogged every day instead. In 2012 I just kinda drew what was around me, similar to 2011 which was the very first one and I was new to sketching, new to blogging and just generally a beginner - the encouragement I got that year really encouraged me to keep developing ever since.