This last week I completed my Weymouth Bay drawing and I’m quite pleased with it. My favourite paintings are those that capture the light and sense of place of a scene and I’ve been wanting to try to do something similar with my drawing. To do that with my picture I used a lot of cross-hatching, rather than smooth shading, to try to get a feeling of movement, of a dynamic sea and sky. I also made sure I didn’t touch some parts of the paper at all. Once the paper’s been marked it loses its brightness even if the mark is erased. For once, the end result is fairly close to what I wanted.
When I finish one of these Dorset drawings I take it to a local printers to be scanned and then made into cards and prints. The person I work with at the printers is currently on holiday so this is a photo of the drawing, taken before I’d signed it. I’ll hopefully have prints and cards available in a couple of weeks.
I also finished a fourth Dorset mini.
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It’s been a busy couple of weeks because I’m preparing for my first ever exhibition. It’s a joint exhibition, in a local cafe, with two very talented painters, and it’s very exciting. I’ll share more information about it soon.
My problem is that I don’t have a lot of work to show. Most of what I draw is either for someone in particular or personal to myself. What’s left are my Dorset drawings, so that’s going to be the main theme of my part of the exhibition. In order to avoid most of the wall being completely empty, I’ve been working on a new A4-sized Dorset drawing, which is very nearly finished (the Weymouth Bay drawing I’ve posted progress shots of here before); and a new series of what I’m imaginatively calling Dorset “minis”. These are postcard sized sketches of local scenes.
So far I’ve finished three and I’m pleased with how they’ve turned out.
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I decided this year that I’d try to get away from my desk a little and join things. The Mustard Seeds gallery was part of that and Artwey was another. Artwey is a “visual arts community for Weymouth and Portland”. It was a big step for me to join a community of actual artists and I’m still not entirely sure I ought to be there. The group has so many extremely talented members as can be seen if you take (and you should) a few minutes to browse the member pages.
Last week there was a meetup for new members. Smalltalk has never been my thing but it turned out to be a lovely hour or so meeting some very creative painters and potters.
One of the benefits of joining Artwey is that you have access to exhibition spaces during the year. Consequently I’ll be exhibiting some of my drawings in a few weeks time, for a month. I’m looking forward to showing some of my drawings in public.
I’m hoping to have my Weymouth Bay drawing finished in time for the exhibition. I drew the sky using cross-hatching rather than shading by ‘colouring in’. It’s the first time I’ve drawn a sky this way and I like it. The pencil marks are clearly visible (which I like) and I think they give the sky a dynamism that I haven’t been able to capture before.
This last week I’ve been pootling about a little with my drawing, with a couple of little sketches and a slow start on a new Dorset drawing. This Dorset drawing is going to be of Weymouth bay with Portland in the distance. It’s a bit of an experiment. My drawings tend to work best when there’s a strong focus with lots of detail and this one isn’t going to be like that. At least, the source photograph isn’t, but I’m going to need to find a way of drawing a focus as I go along. I have some ideas but I’m not sure if they’ll work.
In the meantime, I now have some of my prints available at the Mustard Seed gallery in Weymouth. This is a wonderful place that we’re lucky to have here in our little seaside town. It’s a community gallery. As a member, I pay an extremely reasonable contribution towards the rent of the space and commit to working in the gallery at least five hours a month. In return, I get generous amount of space in which to show my work, in a space right on one of the main shopping streets. I’m enjoying being part of this group of lovely and talented artists.
This portrait is from a photo taken by my wife Julia of her two youngest children. They’re a fine looking pair and I worked hard to do them both justice. As always, I’m not entirely happy with the result. I’ve never been entirely happy with any drawing. Isn’t that always the way?
What I do like about the picture, though, (and this comes from the original photograph) are the contrasts within it. It was fun to do, although the fur collar drove me a little loopy at the time.
I spent last week working on a commission, of Nimbus, a little cat with quite an expression. He’s been working on this look for a while, I think.
The source photograph was taken from Instagram and was therefore square and fairly low resolution. I find it hard to draw a good A4-sized picture without a high resolution source photograph and so my original plan had been for an A5 drawing. It didn’t seem quite right, though, and so I decided to draw it A5-ish in size but sat in a square on an A4 sheet of paper. I’m pleased with how this turned out. I still too often fall into the trap of wanting to fill the page (particularly if someone is paying me). That’s a habit I need to get myself out of as white space is every bit as important to a final picture as the drawing itself.
I also bought some new business cards, which I’m quite pleased with.
This last week I’ve been working on a double portrait I think I’m going to call J & C, at least for now. It’s the initials of the subjects (two of my amazing wife’s amazing children). Titles are important but I’m not very good at them.
I also picked up my bird project again. When I was a child I could identify most British birds but the years have not been kind to my memory and I was getting frustrated that I now know so few. I thought a good way of learning about them would be to draw them. At the same time, I could develop my coloured pencil technique. I still think this is a good plan but I’ve been making very slow progress.
Last week I was fortunate enough to be in Lanzarote with my wonderful extended family. I’d thought I’d complete a drawing every day but ended up failing quite spectacularly. I completed just two, at the start of the holiday. My days filled up with other things.
I did sketch the view from the balcony where we were staying. It was a spectacularly windy day, something Lanzarote is famous for of course, and I tried to capture that in this sketch.
The day after I walked from the town where we were staying, Puerto del Carmen, to the next little town along, Puerto Calero. On the way there I passed an abandoned building, teetering on the edge of the cliff, and stopped to draw it on the way back.
Now I’m back in England and am working on a double portrait. I’ll post a progress shot of that soon, but here is the portrait I finished shortly before leaving. I restarted this picture as the first version wasn’t working out. There comes a point when you have to accept a drawing can’t be saved. I’m pleased with how the second version ended up, though.
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