Tag Archives: pastel drawing

Scribbling In The Wind

23 Oct

Nice day so went for a walk out of the city, along the Pennard Pill valley route to Three Cliffs Bay. It was cloudy and very windy so I only stopped to do a quick scribble, with Daler Rowney soft pastels onto Khadi paper. There’s a stone spiral, called by locals “the labyrinth” where the valley meets the beach, so I scribbled this with the hillside in the background, a blaze of russet and rich browns against the overcast purpley-blue sky.

My lovely nephew (in the middle) along with these other wonderful young people have benefitted from the Children In Need charity and now they’re giving something back. They’re the Surprise Squad (more about them here) and you can follow their adventures on BBC1s “The One Show“, 15th – 18th November. I know that times are hard, but if you can spare a quid or two, please consider donating to Children In Need (here). They really do make a difference to young lives. Thank you xxx

Giving It A Go

22 Oct

It’s almost half a century since I rocked up, in flares and platforms, at the Foundation Course in Swansea Art School, determined to be a painter. Then I did the module in printmaking and retired my paintbrushes. Until the pandemic lockdown started in Spring last year. We were only allowed out of the house for an hour a day and I discovered Ed Sumner’s Cheese and Wine Painting Club on Facebook when I was looking for something to do to pass the time. After so many decades I thought, “Why not give it a go”. So for 15 months I have been copying great works of art, which is Ed’s way of teaching, and that gave me the confidence to start choosing my own subjects to paint, with varying degrees of success. This landscape in acrylics is based on a pastel drawing I did en plein air at Birkrigg Common in the Lake District last month.

I used a textured canvas, I scrape leftover paint from the Painting Club sessions onto spare canvases. Waste not, want not. Then I applied the coloured “ground” that Ed Sumner recommends doing. And from then on, I followed the original drawing, using Liquitex Heavy Body acrylic paints and a mixture of brushes and palette knives. I can see the influence of some of the artists we have studied, especially van Gogh and Hockney; I need to keep working at it to find my own style.

Here’s my original drawing. I prefer it to the painting, I love the immediacy and the nature of the Daler Rowney soft oil pastels onto a very rough Khadi paper. But I’m still a novice at painting so I must get more practice in.

My lovely nephew (in the middle) along with these other wonderful young people have benefitted from the Children In Need charity and now they’re giving something back. They’re the Surprise Squad (more about them here) and you can follow their adventures on BBC1s “The One Show“, 15th – 18th November. I know that times are hard, but if you can spare a quid or two, please consider donating to Children In Need (here). They really do make a difference to young lives. Thank you xxx

Painting From A Drawing

25 Sep

I’m starting to paint my own work now, after 18 months of copying great artists with Ed Sumner’s Cheese and Wine Painting Club on Facebook. I did a pastel drawing when I was visiting the Lake District last week and I’m developing it into a painting. Here’s a section of it, using Liquitex Heavy Body acrylic paints onto stretched canvas. It still needs a lot of work.

Here’s my pastel drawing, using Daler Rowney Artists Pastels onto Khadi handmade paper. I stopped to sketch on a walk across Birkrigg Common.

This is me with my young nephew who has been helped enormously by LATCH: The Children’s Cancer Charity over the past 3 years. We’ve got together to raise funds for LATCH, which is a small independent charity. Please click on the link below to find out more. Thanks xxx

LATCH, The Children’s Cancer Charity, Painting Fundraiser

I’ve been painting these ‘fakes’ with Ed Sumner’s Cheese and Wine Painting Club on Facebook since lockdown started in Spring 2020. I’m selling some of them to raise funds for this lovely charity which has given so much support to my young relative over the past few years.

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If you would like to see the paintings and maybe buy one, please click on the boats picture to visit the page. Thanks xxx

Simple Heads No. 1

31 Aug

I get so precious about my art work sometimes to the point where I can hardly do anything so I’m trying to do a simple head a day for a while, see how I get on. Normally I work directly from life but I’m going to work from imagination on these, which is way out of my comfort zone, but that’s ok. I started this by drawing directly onto Khadi paper with a black soft pastel (Daler Rowney artists series) then I sprayed it with fixative so it wouldn’t get too messy. After that dried I had a bit of a play with gouache paint in cerulean blue, magenta, lemon yellow and white, trying to keep things as free as possible.

A Chance To Own One Of My Artworks

I have some small screenprints for sale, inspired by my drawings of the taxidermy collection at Swansea Museum. I have given these antique artifacts a modern twist by combining them with images of rubbish – old fruit nets, bubble wrap and plastic – highlighting the problem of human pollution and how it affects wildlife.

To buy my work on the Swansea Print Workshop site please click the image to the left and to see the complete image.

20 percent of the cost of each screenprint sold goes to support Swansea Print Workshop, which receives no public funding.

And Now, The Ghost

24 Sep

ghost final


Following on from yesterday’s post about my latest reduction monotype, this is the ‘ghost’ image that is formed by putting a second piece of paper through the press after the first image is taken off the perspex plate. This gives a paler, ethereal monotype, where the pigment has broken up into little grains, rather like an Impressionist painting. Some French Impressionist artists, notably Degas and Monet, were said to have used this technique and worked into their ghost monotypes with oil pastels. I’ve tried this and it works really well, but you need to use best quality artist’s soft pastels; cheaper, chalky ones don’t work and they fade. The original was an impressionistic landscape drawing I did during a visit to Pakistan earlier this year.

Hard Feet And The Best Curryhouse

11 May

It’s the end of a tiring week; I’ve had a very productive time in the studio and a good session at the life drawing group, but that means I’ve been on my feet continuously every day and I’m looking forward to some chilling-out time this weekend. We started this evening with a curry at our local first-best-curryhouse-in-the-world, The Vojon, which is just one letter away from the third-worst-poets-in-the-universe, The Vogon [you’ve got to be fans of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy to get that one].

This is one of the life drawings I did last night. Sometimes when I’m faced with an intimidating expanse of pristine white paper, I just get  handful of pastels and SCRIBBLE ALL OVER IT! Then it’s not intimidating any more. You’ve got to show it who’s Boss. Then I drew over it with compressed charcoal. It was a great pose, I love foreshortening and I used a very free and expressive style with the linework, but her feet…….. oh dear, they were SO hard. I kept drawing them until we ran out of time and I’m still not happy. Sometimes with foreshortening, no matter how accurately you measure and draw some bits, they don’t look right in the drawing because they don’t look right anyway.

Now I’m going to watch The Big Bang Theory on catch-up TV. Goodnight 🙂

The Celtic/Welsh May Cat, Y Gath Mis Mai

25 Sep

Pastel drawing: The Welsh May Cat.

Sparta, our two-year old tortoiseshell [calico] cat is simultaneously a tiny, sweet, adorable, cuddly little kitty and a rampaging murderous scourge of anything smaller than her that moves. Worse than that, she brings her prey into the house. People tell us she’s bringing us ‘presents’ but you know, I’d rather go without her little gifts. The worst thing of all is that they’re often alive when she throws them at our feet and we’ve often had to deal with terrorised rats, mice, voles and birds trapped in the house.

This morning we found a fairly large rat hiding in our hallway; it had probably been there all night. We devised a strategy to try and get it out the front door as it didn’t seem to be injured and it’s horrible to have to kill an animal. It was hysterical with fear and it’s not a good idea to get too close to a panicked rat, but eventually it rushed out the door. And all the while Sparta lolled about on top of the boiler in the kitchen, looking bored!

My father-in-law, who is a fluent Welsh speaker, told me about the Welsh ‘Cath Mis Mai’ translated as ‘The Month of May Cat’. According to Welsh tradition, you should avoid giving a home to a kitten born after the month of May as they will invariably bring their prey home. Sparta’s birth month? September!

Here she is in a pastel drawing I did on BFK Rives 250 gms paper that I had previously coloured with acrylic pigment mixed with acrylic medium and metallic powder.



Two Drawings of the Third Kitten of the Apocalypse

16 Aug

Pastel drawing: the third kitten of the apocalypse.

Our dear old tomcat, Bola, died in August two years ago when he was nearly twenty years old. He was a great big black panther of a moggy with the sweetest nature. We had our two younger ones, Bobbit and Ming the Merciless and decided that we wouldn’t have any more kitties. No-one could take Bola’s place anyway. But our nieces had other ideas and turned up with a photo of an adorable little family group of kittens and a sob story and so we were ‘persuaded’ to take in a little newcomer. Melvyn didn’t want another tomcat. Even though we’ve always had our pets neutered, our toms never lost their liking for leaving little puddles around the house so we chose a sweet little tortoiseshell [calico] female kitten from the photo.

A few weeks later our nieces arrived with a tiny ball of fluff in a carrying box. She was pretty with beautiful markings, mostly black with unusual orange and cream patterns and lovely gleaming white socks and bib. But there was a strange symmetrical formation on her forehead. The pattern in her fur formed a sort of death-head mask effect. So we decided to give her a name to match and chose Sparta after the film 300. I sent a photo of her to my friend Anne who emailed me back with the words ‘Oh My God – it’s the Third Kitten of the Apocalypse!’, which has stuck.

Digital drawing: Angry Sparta.

The top drawing is one of mine, done in pastels onto Somerset paper on a dark grey ground of System 3 acrylic. The bottom drawing was done by Melvyn straight onto his laptop using Adobe Photoshop and printed out in archival inks onto Somerset photo paper. They both show clearly her death-head marking, but Melvyn’s also captures the dangerous expression that lives up to her name.

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