Images

On The Drawing Board – Desert Draw

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Having packed up the furniture, sold the car, shipped the cats, enrolled very reluctant daughter in her new UK school and said a fond farewell to expat life, we thought that was it for living life abroad – end of a 23 year love affair with expat life and the thrill of exploring new countries, the UK beckoned and with it stability and finally putting down some roots. But hold on, we now live in Qatar! Yes the expat pull was just too much, is it a slight addiction I wonder… maybe the grass isn’t always greener on the other side – literally!

So we are back in the desert and back to drawing one of my favourite models -a characterful camel! I particularly like this one in his halter.image2 20180912_133036

Below is the finished drawing. Called him “Best Blanket Day” as he does look very smart.

Best Blanket day

 

On The Drawing Board – Baxter & Barley

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Baxter and Barley’s portraits will be a surprise Christmas present. Look at this amazing photo of Baxter! The client persevered with her photography (and my fussiness) and managed to get this great shot! Such a wonderful expression and great lighting. A good clear reference photo makes all the difference and this one is a pleasure to work from.  Whilst I get started on Baxter’s portrait, the client is trying for more shots of Barley, as they aren’t her dogs she is doing a great job of undercover photography!

 

Below is the initial sketch of Baxter, more to come once I have completed all the basics. At the moment just getting the main details and fur direction in.

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Starting to add more depth of shadow.

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Working on the final detail, just realised I need to do his disk!

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The finished scanned image.

Barley Client kindly sent me a photograph of Baxter framed, love her choice of frame.

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IMG_0032 (2)Well another wonderful photo, this time of Barley, the client really has got the photography side down now! Love the enquiring look. Below is the initial sketch.

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Pretty intense few days working on Barley, the reality is that Christmas is looming…….. Am working on getting all the basics in place, adding light, shade and structure.

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Continuing to add the basics.

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Slowly but surely. From an artists point of view, Barley is easier than Baxter because he has some ‘white bits’, black animals are notoriously difficult and you have to rely on good lighting. Barley’s white sections instantly give interest to a drawing and make him unique.

Now at the final detail stage, my favourite part!

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A day of analysing and putting the final touches to Barley. Below is a scanned image of the final portrait – is his expression dreaming of running through the fields, or his dinner?

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On The Drawing Board – Contentment

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Normally I work  in graphite and charcoal, however my first real taste of the art world as an adult, was with pastel.

In 1997 I moved with my husband to Abu Dhabi. As an expat wife you are suddenly thrown into a whole new environment, your daily routine has completely gone, there is no job to go to, no friends to call up and chat to, your husband goes off to work each morning but what do you do! Slowly you find your way, discover new avenues and hopefully, eventually, a job. During the exploration of my new environment, I met a wonderful lady called Christine Fore, a British portrait pastel artist. As a child I had always been interested in art, pondered art college and interior designer but in the end went into the field of dance. Being an expat, meant I had time to re-invent myself and follow an old forgotten dream. Christine inspired me to take an important step in that direction.

ContentmentMyself and a group of ladies would meet once a week round Christine’s apartment and she would teach us the wonders of pastel. Christine was such an enthusiastic teacher, we all got completely addicted, we even progressed to doing art shows together.

So this little pastel kitten, came from all the techniques Christine taught me during my stay in Abu Dhabi. Having since then immersed myself in graphite work, I hadn’t touched a pastel for years, had even given away my pastel set to a friends daughter who was showing an interest. Suddenly though I had an urge to create in colour, and went out and bought a pastel set. It was so enjoyable to see this cat take shape and in comparison to my pencil work, so much quicker. The pastels have now gone away for the time being, but I am sure it won’t be too long before they come out again.

I have Christine to thank for all those years ago, putting me on the path to taking my art seriously.

On The Drawing Board – Podge & Splodge

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Cat 1 (Podge)Cat 2These two very cute cats belong to a client in Kuwait, they are going to be drawn in two separate portraits as it was difficult getting them to pose together, plus the photograph of Podge (on the left) came out so well. His friend is called Splodge and the client is going to continue to take photographs of him whilst I work on Podge They look such a perfect pair, with their dark sides over opposite ears.

 Starting to put the basics in place, establishing the light and dark areas.

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All the basics now in place, lots of tiny hairs! Will move onto the detail stage, really liking this composition.

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Final stages coming up, need to work a bit more on the face and then onto the easel for final analyses.

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Podge is finished, below is the final scanned image.

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Splodge

The client managed, after lots of perseverance, to get this great photo of Splodge. Love the way he is rolling on his back so trustingly.

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Below is the first stage. At the moment I need to check with the client about his right ear, it looks like it has been tipped; something that is done to cats who live on the streets, as an indication that they have been spayed/neutered to ensure they are not trapped again. However in the other photographs I have of Splodge, the ear doesn’t seem to look tipped. Is it an illusion? Or maybe the tip is folded under the ear?

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Question about the ear answered, it isn’t tipped, so will extend it so that it doesn’t look like it is missing the end. Have also started on the tummy, lots of folds showing the muscle structure.

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All the basics in place, next stage the detail, liking the cute pads on his feet.

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Splodge finished.

He looks a bit lighter in real life, my scanner struggles with white images.

Splodge

On The Drawing Board – Mr Camel

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Camel (Christa)

With their haughty looks and wonderful eyelashes, camels are always a favourite with us expats.  This camel drawing has been specially commissioned by a group of ladies for a friend of theirs who is soon to leave Kuwait, a memento of her time here.

I love this photograph, am going to include the halter/harness to give the drawing a very traditional feel.

Stage 1 – the initial sketch.

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Stage 2

Have just started to develop the sketch, finding which direction the coat falls and the underlying muscles.

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Stage 3

All the basics now in place, next layer will be adding more light and shade. He is a handsome chap!

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Stage 4

Started the detail work on the left-hand side of his face.

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Stage 5

All the basic detail of the camel now in place. Would love to keep working on the camel but will tear myself away and get the harness to the same stage.

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Stage 6

Have added the harness, now onto the final detail. I think Mr Camel will be one of my favourite pieces, the great photograph really helped matters. If you click on the image, you can see it close up.

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Stage 7

Have completed another layer of detail; small but important details. Now onto the final stage of checking and improving.

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Finished Portrait – Mr Camel scanned.

Mr Camel

On the Drawing Board – Ghost

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Handsome Ghost lives at Rahal Ranch which is situated close to Al Ain.

If I was a horse living in the Middle East, this ranch would be my residence of choice. They practice natural horsemanship, which basically means from a horses point of view, that somebody actually tries to understand you rather than forcing you to conform with harsh bits and spurs. Tracy, the owner, is often to be seen cantering around the school doing flying changes without a saddle or bridle, actually only a piece of rope round the horse’s neck – seeing is believing!

Ghost lives in this wonderful environment and I happened by to disturb him one Friday lunchtime. Ok I admit, he was on a break, but Ghost could have co-operated just a little bit with my photography efforts. Every time I would get set up for the photograph, he  either refused to turn his head, or would turn quickly and charge directly at the camera as if to say “what do you want”!  We carried on like this for quite a while until I managed to get the above shot. It was almost as if he finally thought it would be quicker to pose so that I would go away and leave him in peace. I love a horse with attitude!

Here is the first stage of his portrait.

Have now completed the initial sketch, am thinking the powerful neck is going to be an important part of the drawing. His star and white nose also give a nice contrast to his face, this will show more when I establish the dark areas in the next session.

Have now started more detailed work on the left-side of his face. Horses have such interesting bone structure, plus of course the soft muzzle.

Now at the final stage, am working on balancing the light and shade.

Ghost is finished! Below is the scanned version.

On the Drawing Board – Hanging on!

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Hanging on!

IMG_2627This adorable little monkey I photographed in Baguio in the Philippines. Unfortunately he was being kept as a pet and was on a long chain tied to the post that he is clinging to. At the time, Baguio was hosting a garden show/competition and somebody seemed to think he enhanced the look of their garden – as I expect you can tell, I am totally against keeping wild animals as pets!

In any case, even though this photograph doesn’t hold good memories for me, I do love the depth of emotion in his eyes. I always strife to show emotion in my drawings, therefore I wanted to attempt this one. My husband in the background is saying ” A frightened monkey, Denise no one will buy it”! However instead of being commercial, it is more important for me to draw what moves me, so a worried monkey it is!

Have now worked for a few hours on the sketch, am working from top left down. I am going to continue trying to get the face part more detailed before moving onto the rest. So far so good, quite liking the look at the moment, still lots of work to do on the eyes though.

Have now worked every area to get the basic structure. Now comes for me the best part, putting him on the easel, stepping back and working from a distance. At this stage I refine the light and shade to start to unify the drawing.

Here he is, the finished little monkey. I am so sorry I couldn’t help him escape the situation he was in.