Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween

'When Marion met Norman'
29cm x 20cm
Graphite & Carbon Pencil on Paper

I love horror movies, and Halloween is the perfect time to watch a good shocker. This inspired me to do this drawing, taken from unconnected stills from the classic Hitchcock movie 'Psycho' (1960). This is still one of my favourite movies, and remains genuinely disturbing, especially the last few minutes when the audience can hear the mad thoughts of Norman Bates. I don't really think I've captured Janet Leigh at all but Anthony Perkins is just about recognisable. I used two stills from the film, which was conveniently made in black and white with plenty of good strong contrasts. I used carbon pencil for the background, applied with a brush as carbon dust then blended with a tissue, the figures are all in graphite pencil. This was well out of my comfort zone as I don't normally do people, let alone people who are supposed to be recognisable. But it was quite enjoyable to do and I'm really liking the moody effect you can achieve with carbon pencil

For those who might be interested (but why would you be?) - in the original Robert Bloch novel of 'Psycho', Marion was named Mary and Norman was a fat older man with glasses. A bit of useless information for Halloween...

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


Feeling a bit chilly here and the North wind does blow... that's probably because my gas central heating boiler has decided to give up on me. I put off the inevitable call to the plumber for as long as I could but finally gave in this week as I was hearing some alarming noises emitting from the boiler but no hot water or heating. It turns out a couple of valves inside need replacing, which I guess isn't too bad, it could have been worse. As a result I haven't done much artwork this week but I do have a Halloween inspired picture I've done that I'll post on Friday...

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Virtual Sketch Date - October

Time for another Virtual Sketch Date, and I have to say I've really enjoyed the ones I've done so far. Of course one of the best bits is seeing what other artists have done. Here's my first version (one just never seems enough...)

'3 Pears'

23cm x 15cmm

Graphite & Carbon Pencil on Paper

Every time I see the work of Marsha Robinett on 'The Extraordinary Pencil' I'm impressed so I wanted to try her style, particularly with the use of carbon pencil. The blackness you can achieve is impressive but not without effort, the rest of this is goood old fashioned graphite. I think I'll be using carbon pencil again. If you've not see Marsha's work it's brilliant and inspiring, go see it!

For my next effort at this reference I went to watercolour. I quite liked the result but when I scanned the piece it went very yellow so I've took a photograph too to comapare but it came out really dull looking, as you can see.

'3 Pears'

21cm x 15cm

Watercolour on Paper (scanned image)

(photographed image)

Neither of them really captures the colours in the original. This is the first time I've noticed such a marked difference between the original and the scan - I've always scanned before. And yet the photograph looks very dull, but then I'm not a photographer. Anyone else have this problem?

Sunday, 12 October 2008


21cm x 30cm
Coloured Pencil on Black Paper

This is my cat, Magic. It's the first time I've tried to draw her, and the reference photo I took was poor to say the least, but I quite like the result anyway. She's very black and if you photograph her all you get are those eyes, so it was a bit of a no-brainer to draw her on black paper. It's not the most detailed piece I've ever done but I think it captures her well enough.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Water Lilly

'Water Lilly'
21cm x 16cm
Acrylic on Paper
Back in August my brother and I visited Burnby Hall Gardens with my Mum. While there I took some photographs of the impressive collection of water lillies. This picture is a kind of hybrid of a couple of different photos, I liked the lilly in one and the leaves in another. I'm still fairly unfamiliar with acrylics but enjoyed using them and even like the result (rare for me).
I skipped my Art Class last week, it was my birthday and I was far too busy drinking cocktails to go to class. Normal service will be resumed this week. And the Fair has come to town so I'll be over there with my camera at some point during the week...

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Four Toms

'Four Toms'
25cm x 17cm
Watercolour & Coloured Pencil on Paper
This has been sitting in the "sin bin" for a couple of days. I wasn't sure if I liked it or not, I'm still not sure. I've heard that some people let their pictures 'rest' for a couple of days then go back to them so that's what I've done. I think it's the brown paper bag the tomatoes are sitting on, it looks a bit too yellow to me now and isn't very recognisable as a paper bag at all...

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Art Class - Week 4

Should I stay or should I go now... Decisions, descions. Not much change in this weeks class, except the tutor gave me a hint that it might be worthwhile after all. He said he knew I was capable of representing objects quite faithfully but he wanted me to look at a 'project' to bring all that together, it was all a bit fuzzy art-speak but it did get me to thinking. I'm looking for some direction now. I'd like to try doing a trompe l'oeil piece maybe, or something with exaggerated perspective perhaps. I still don't feel 100% about the class but I think I'm a bit further away from quitting than I was.