Sunday, August 07, 2011

New Blog

Laura's Pet Portraits Blog has moved to Laura Williams Pet and Wildlife Art. This is because I want to host the blog on a domain of its own and use it to advertise my original artwork and hopefully prints in the future, as well as my Pet Portraits.

I have chosen to move the blog from blogger to wordpress as wordpress has better template customisation and also the option of having pages which means I can almost create a mini website around the new domain name.

All of my posts from this blog has been imported to the new blog - so please take a look at the new one and follow that one, as this one will no longer be updated.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Why Pastels?

I thought I would share with you in this blog post about why I decided to have a go at pastel painting as one of my new mediums to try.

One of the reasons is that I can still use pencils! I've said before that I find it difficult with a brush to capture the detail I'd like as I can't seem to control a brush like I can a pencil. Because pastels come in sticks and pencils it seemed like a medium I personally would be able to create fine detail with.

It also seems a fairly 'claen' medium. By this I mean that there's no brushes or palettes to wash after painting. This suits me because I'm not the tidiest person, but it also means I can do an hour or so's artwork and not spend nearly as long setting up and tidying away afterwards. Of course, pastels can be dusty and I've already discovered that the velour paper picks up fluff as a pastime as well as being unforgiving when trying to remove smudges so I will need to be careful while I'm painting to not smudge pastel everywhere.

Being able to work dark to light or light to dark also appealed to me as I struggle with coloured pencil to remember to keep the highlights light and will often make a drawing darker and darker as i make the light bits too dark to begin with. By being able to add highlights after drawing the mid and dark tones I will hopefully be able to avoid this problem.

And, the main reason is because there are so many artists out there who produce such beautiful pet portraits and wildlife art using pastels that I felt I really should have a go and see if I could do it too. They create a really lovely softness when used to draw fur. Here are a few of my favourite pastel artists:

Sarah's Pet Portraits
Vic Bearcroft
Nutty Art
C.P. Art

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Monday, August 01, 2011

An experiment - Horse in pastel on velour paper

One of my New Year art resolutions was to try new mediums so I had a rummage through my art stuff and found my set of 72 Derwent Pastel Pencil and eventually a pad of Hahnemuhle Velour Pastel paper. I do want to point out that pastels on velour is not an experiment for most pastel artists, it's just for me it's an experiment - the first time I've tried it! (So please bare that in mind anyone who is thinking of commissioning me to do a portrait, lol!)

So, in my usual manner I dived right in with a full body horse painting, (using a reference photograph posted on the Pet Portrait Forum by the very talented Stephanie Greaves). The first problem I came across was I couldn't use my usual grid method of drawing the outline of the image as I did have a vague recollection of it being difficult to erase on velour paper. This presented its own problems when my freehand sketch wasn't the best (I really should get more practice at that!) so I've ended up with some untidy lines but as I am planning on it having a background hopefully I will be able to cover them up.

The velour itself is wierd to draw on - it is, as one would expect, velvety, so like drawing on a fluffy surface. The pastel only seemed to 'stick' to the surface if held in a certain way, but I'm not sure if that was due to the paper, the pastels, or more likely, me.

I only have pastel pencils and because I have started off by simply blocking in the darker parts of the drawing, using the pencil over a large area made it blunt pretty quickly and I don't have a knife or a pastel sharpener. I did manage to sharpen the pencil with the normal sharpener I have but I do think I need to invest in a pastel sharpener for when I get to the detailed bits.

After starting the painting I went online to get some tips and discovered two different methods for transferring the initial outline to the velour - if this experiment is a success maybe I'll get a chance to try them out! And I learned that blue tack and masking tape both remove pastel from the paper - must get some of both of those as well! And something else I tried out, which was recomended by a pastel artist was to rub the pastel into the velour paper with clean kitchen towel to create a pastel base which then makes the rest of the painting easier.

So, my attempts. This is only the first step, I have posted the reference which I don't normally do, but maybe even if, for me, this experiment is a disaster, my findings may help someone else - even if only to show how not to do it!!

Reference photo:

1st step of my pastel painting:

I will post more steps as I work my way through this painting - as I said, please bare in mind, this is a first for me!

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New pet portrait started

Hello and Happy August! - Where is the year going?

Anyway, I have begun my latest pet portrait commission today - a pony named Thumper in graphite pencil. I'm really looking forward to working on this one, the photographs I've been given to work from are a really good size and really clear, so going to enjoy getting stuck in with all that hair...

Here is the initial outline, drawn this morning:

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Latest artwork finished

Here is the last work in progress image and the finished image of my latest piece of artwork. It is 12" x 12" and in graphite pencil. It was meant to be for a local exhibition but due to me not reading information properly now isn't! So, now I'm not sure whether to put it up for sale or keep it, either as an example piece if I ever do a stall at any local shows or maybe even make prints of it.

Anyway, here it is:

And complete...

Title: "A peaceful moment"
Size: 12" x 12"
Medium: Graphite Pencil on Heavyweight Cartridge Paper

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Child and Pony update

I have been doing some more work on my graphite drawing of the child and her pony. It's a graphite piece and it's square, which is something new for me - can't believe in all the time drawing I've never done anything square - it measures 12" x 12".

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Child and Pony

Started a new drawing today for entering into another local exhibition that is on next month. I had thought about drawing something 'local' but decided that the horses did well last time and it's horse I enjoy drawing, so just to stick with what I enjoy and see what happens.

When I found the reference for this drawing I just couldn't resist - I am hoping my drawing will capture the peacefullness of the photo and the sense of easy companionship between the pony and his young handler.

Here is the initial outline of the drawing taken earlier today, more updates to follow tomorrow...

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Completed Pet Portrait - Molly

Molly, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, had her pet portrait completed today. I have thoroughly enjoyed drawing her, even with all that gorgeous curly fur on her ears and feet, the photograph was of such a cute pose, it was nice to do something a bit different from the normal head and shoulders pose.

Here is her completed portrait:

Commission: "Molly"
8" x 10"
Graphite Pencil on Heavyweight Cartridge Paper

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