Friday, April 30, 2010

Three Graces (restart 6!) - 12

Things are never what they might appear to be. Here are two balls...are they just tennis balls, or symbolic of something else?...there's a Death's Head Hawkmoth in a it alive,will it escape?...or has it just been trapped in a killing jar to be carefully preserved?
Tonight I'm off to hang an exhibition. It's my third year at The Willington Arts Festival. I am exhibiting as part of the Arts Trail. Hopefully I'll bring you a few photos tomorrow.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Three Graces (restart 6!) - 11

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Three Graces (restart 6!) - 10

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Three Graces (restart 6!) - 9

Monday, April 26, 2010

Three Graces (restart 6!) - 8

Friday, April 23, 2010

Three Graces (restart 6!) - 7

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Three Graces (restart 6!) - 6

I had thought it would be good to have 'Cello Girl' to be the third member of the trio, but decided in the end to go with this character with what would be if in colour long curly red hair. I love red hair by the way! I began by dotting in a single wavy line down the centre of the hair and then continued to expand around it.
The challenge was to create the many curls and the highlights which would give texture. Here below you can see the three together and you can see the outline where I propose to extend the hair to. This is as you know a very time consuming process...for the curls you see here, there is four hours of solid dotting! I'm really enjoying this part of the work! I've meant for years to produce a colour picture of long red curly hair....that will be a future project which I'll contemplate with relish!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Three Graces (restart 6!) - 5

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Three Graces (restart 6!) - 4

Having once again laid awake thinking, I started work today by trimming some Tennis Girl's face off...(down the left hand side) This has balanced the face a little better...I did the same with the Maid's face which you'll see tomorrow. As I often say when I'm at the start of a picture, I need to get the faces right in order to carry on. I feel I have achieved this in this instance, so I'm able to go on with renewed confidence!

I thought you'd also like to see the kittens on their fourth day of life.Here you can only see two of them, but already I can see how much they've grown. In their first seven days they should double their birth weight...they are currently feeding for much of the day...their mother Wilbur is eating more than I've ever seen her eat before! We're now looking forward to the kittens opening their eyes which usually occurs between 7 and 14 days.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Three Graces (restart 6!) - 3!

My maid character is now established...the third Grace with her back to us has yet to receive any attention.This is less of a problem as we don't see her face.
I've spent a while considering where I'm going artistically...I do tend to become introspective.I think all artists are their own worst critics, and I am no exception. I often wake up in the middle of the night wondering how to improve what I'm doing...and questioning my motivation and rationale...I wonder if I'm actually deluding myself..I often find myself believing my own doubts. It's even worse when I'm viewing the work of other wonderfully talented artists. There is a balance to achieve where one is aware of what others do and the means and visual language by which others express themselves...but also the nurturing of a determined and selfish desire to confidently produce what I feel I need to do irrespective of what others may say.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Three Graces (restart 6!) - 2 and more of the kittens! you can see I'm tentatively progressing with this characteristic face.So far so good!
But here's a few more pics of the kittens! In this one above you can see Bindi with it's white forehead marking. The light brown gets called 'The Vicar' sometimes....I wonder if these names will stick?

Here's Wilbur returned after a trip to the food bowl...I'm amazed at how nature provides an animal with all the necessary instincts for giving birth ....not that she had much choice!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Three Graces (restart 6!) - 1

I was going to write 'you'll have no idea how far I've traveled in the last two weeks to have these few dots before you now!'...but I think many of you will already know the trouble I go to when I want to achieve something I'm happy with. Dozens of sketches have been produced..tracings of sketches..and tracings of those tracings...and all a step closer to what I'm looking for....Yes this is the 6Th version I've begun work on, but rather than wait to see how it goes, I have a good feeling about what I have, so I thought I'd share it here. So easy does we go again!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wilbur has kittens!

I really have started work on the fifth restart of 'three Graces'....honestly!....But I keep being 'single parentednessed' and have to step aside from my 'day job'. today was one of those days ,but also complicated by the fact that my lovely cat Wilbur gave birth to three lovely little kittens.

The first kitten was mainly black with white feet and a tiny white mark on it's forehead...I provisionally called it 'Bindi'!

The second kitten had a black and white pattern, with a pronounced white collar...I provisionally called it ' The Vicar'
the third kitten was a light brown in colour....Jan loved this one and wants us to keep it ...she wants to call it 'Mirriam'.....when we firs got married , we had two ginger kittens which we called 'Moses; and 'Zippy' ( Zippy was short for the Old Testement's Moses' sister Ziphorah)...Mirriam was Moses' wife.

Here's a lovely portrait of the third kitten with Mum. she's only three hours old here!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Three Graces update

Hello lovely reader..I just wanted you to know work has ground to a halt at the moment.I'm currently on my fourth re-start of 'Three graces'. you see I believe so much in the message of the picture, I'm willing to keep going until I get it right....and I will. I've had an awful weekend work wise.I've not been able to get any prolonged time to concentrate for a week or so. This should rectify it self somewhat as Jan has now returned from Hong Kong, and the kids will be going back to college/school next week.

In the meantime, thank you for your continued support...i only hope that i can repay your loyalty by producing on paper what is currently in my head!.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Ready to begin again...


I managed to get into town early this morning to buy a new pad of water colour paper. sadly the shop I use didn't have my usual which is an A2 sized pad with 300lb Cotman cold pressed paper. I like to use the watercolour paper because it's acid free, robust, takes erasing if needed and absorbs the ink quickly. I also prefer to use the reverse side. However, I was therefore forced to buy a single piece of paper rather than travel across town to another store. I bought Cotman paper again , but 200lb paper ( it was the thickest they had !) It was however bigger than A2, so I've decided to make my picture larger...the figures will be the same size, but I can now have a more in the back ground..

I've only done pencil work today, so I thought I'd post this clip from new series of Doctor Who. I know most of my readers are not in the UK, so hopefully you'll be able to see this clip...if not, then I'm sorry. I've watched Doctor Who since it began back in 1963. The new series features Matt Smith as the eleventh regeneration of The Doctor. We saw episode one last Saturday, and I give it the thumbs up....brilliant!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Three Graces

Returned to work today...things didn't go well, problems with Tennis girl's hair. So I've decided to restart. Sadly i've run out of paper, so have to wait till tomorrow morning to get to the shops. I know exactly where i've gone wrong and know what I need to do to rectify it.It's all part of the process and of course it's better to have the slip up now than later down the line after weeks of work!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Many apologies for not posting here ...I've not worked since last Thursday...a combination of being away at the weekend, having a couple of poor nights sleep , Easter and a family meal today celebrating a 50Th wedding anniversary. tomorrow I'm saying goodbye to Jan who's off to run a course of Psychiatrist training in Hong Kong again .So all being well, I'll get back into the swing of things thereafter....although the children are all still on holiday, that means being superdad too!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Martin Elliot 1947 - 2010.

Martin Elliot, the photographer responsible for one of the biggest selling and iconic images or the 1970's died at the age of 63 after a long Battle against cancer. Elliot took the photograph of his 18 year old girl friend on a tennis court in Birmingham, England in 1976 . Fiona Butler had to borrow a tennis dress, racket and balls for the shoot reportedly never made a penny from the multi million selling poster that was published. Mr Elliot however retained the copyright to the image and went on the earn a huge amount of money when the image was published by the Athena chain. 2 million copies of the poster were sold and found their homes on the bedroom walls of many a young man at the time.

First published in a calendar, marking the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 1977, the image captured the public's imagination as that same year, Britain's Virginia Wade went on to win the women's Singles Championships at Wimbledon. Elliot was almost apologetic when speaking about the image. He stated that he used only one roll of film a "..which is pretty feeble for a photographer" he said.

Ms. Butler, now aged 50 said that she remembered the day very well,and was quite amused that the photo taken that warm sunny September afternoon could become so famous.She also stated that she was proud to have one the most famous derrieres in history.

Meanwhile, I have had a lovely break with our friends Alison and Mark in York, and I'm enjoying time with the family eating our Easter eggs and cooking a meal... I'll be returning to my own version of 'Tennis girl' tomorrow as 'Three Graces' continues!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Three Graces - 4

I spent some time working on more sketches ready to transfer, but my main aim was to Begin dotting. So I began on the first grace; Here you can see my first few dots to outline her eyes.his is the crucial moment when everything can go wrong. Thankfully it seemed to go OK.

My next task was to establish the eyes and shadows. I wanted her eyes to be blue, but obviously in black and white, they needed to be lighter grey I also needed to start the nose and mouth (see below).I think this is probably the first time I've been happy with a face so early on in it's development....that's the result of better preparation I think.
A strange thing then happened..and it's something I like. Once I'd rubbed all the pencil line out, her expression changed from a sort or cheeky wistful look to this more ..well, sad and serious face. sometimes it feels as if faces created take on their own personality independent of my input!haha!
The more I considered the next stage which would be to start on her hair, I felt that the shorter bob style I'd originally chosen didn't fit in with the composition. The grace on the far left has long hair, the middle grace has a bob, so it would balance if this grace had long hair.therefore she will have long wavy blond hair...there will be some appropriate decoration to her Alice band to add later.
Eater is upon us here once again, and we're going away to visit friends in York tomorrow.So I don;t think I'll be posting until Sunday at the earliest. So may I take this opportunity to wish you a very peaceful and happy Easter.