Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Personal work in progress pages

I can't really show any of the pet portraits i'm working on at the moment, as the two current ones are both surprises. When customers commission a pet portrait that is a present for someone and they don't want it shown on the blog, I make them a personal work in progress page. It's just a page I put on the internet that only they have a link to so they can still watch the progress of their pet portrait online and can add imput if they wish. Here's an example of one: Pet Portrait work in progress.

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Monday, August 27, 2007


I had to make some possible future-changing decisions today! Sounds dramatic, doesn't it? It isn't really.

As you know I work part time in a pet shop, the hours are only 20 hours a week, which isn't really enough if I want to eat as well as all the pets. I have been doing a lot of overtime recently, but they employed three new staff on Friday, so the overtime's gone down to nothing. So I felt I had no choice but to start looking for another job. I applied for a job in a local estate agent/solicitors and had an interview on Friday, it all sounded really good, except it was full time. I didn't really want to do full time, as I would have had to cut down drastically on my drawing time, probably turning down commissions as I wouldn't have realistically been able to work on any in the evenings. All I really needed was an extra 8 - 10 hours a week at my current job to make me financially secure (well as secure as you ever get lol).

So I was agonising over what to do if they offered me the job, then was handed a ray of sunshine when i went into work to buy rat litter and dog food at the weekend - one of the new starters hadn't started! So, I went into work this morning and asked my boss for some more permanent hours, or I would be forced to leave and I already had had an interveiw and was waiting to hear from them. He said yes - he's not sure when but he will sort something out for me.

Then, when I got home I had a job offer on my email waiting for me. I called them and said I didn't want it, sorry to mess them around etc, to which he said he was very dissapointed as I was head and shoulders above the rest! I did feel ever so guilty but I think i've made the right decision for me. I've got the extra hours, so extra money but have still got plenty of time to work on my artwork. I wonder if i've missed out on an opportunity but I also beleive totally that life is what you make it, and I have also been given an opportunity to continue with my artwork, so i am going to make the absoloute most of this chance.

Needless to say, I am feeling very popular today! It's the first time i've ever turned down a job offer and the first time i've ever threatened a boss with a 'do this or i'm leaving' ultimatum! A good day all in all.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Early start

I was very cross with myself yesterday as I lazed in bed till 11.10, so I was determined to be up at a decent time this morning. My alarm went off at 7.15 and I was up and walking the dogs by half past. At 8.20 I was sat down drawing. I have been working on two pet portraits today, both are surprise presents so i can't show them on here. Both are in graphite which makes a nice change after the coloured pencil ones i've had recently.

I've found a new method of working with long white fur today. One of the commissions is of a westie and the photos are excellent so I have so much detail to portray. It's taking so long, but I think it will be worth it in the end. Anyway, in the paler, highlighted bits with slightly less detail I have been laying down a pale layer of graphite all over, then using my electric eraser to pick out the highlights then filling in the shadows afterwards. I suppose it's a variation of drawing with negative spaces. It's reasonably quick and is working out quite effective.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Framed artwork

Here is a pic of the rat pile picture after i'd framed it. It's mounted in a 14" x 11" frame as that was all I could find locally, but I think it looked ok. The recipient got it today and was really pleased with it, so that was good. Excuse my reflection in it, i've still not worked out how to take decent photos of framed drawings.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rat picture finished

Here is the final scan of the picture I have drawn for the rat craft swap. It is going to be mounted and framed in a 12" x 16" frame, with a title cut into the bottom mount. It is in coloured pencil.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Gallery updates

I have updated the coloured pencil dog gallery today. I added Dyaln and Jobi's pet portraits, then realised I had never added Harry, the Brittany Spaniel, I completed a while ago. It's all up to date now though.

It's suddenly got a bit busier here again. I now have 4 on my waiting list again, two of which are ready to go and two that I am waiting for photographs for. It always seems to happen like that - I have one on my waiting list, then all of a sudden I get a another order, or someone pays a deposit and then I have lots to do again! I'll have plenty to show you in the next few weeks.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Rat Pile update

Here is another update on my ratty drawing "rat pile". I've done two out of the seven rats and I need to get it finished tommorow!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rat craft swap

I'm working at the moment on a piece of artwork for a rat-themed craft swap, which has been organised through the rat forum i'm a member of. It's meant to be a secret, but I can't imagine anyone from the forum looking here. I'm calling it "rat pile" and it's going to be in coloured pencil and is a drawing of seven rats all snuggled up together. Each one is going to be a different colour. It's not really on pink paper, I had to lighten it up to show the lines and the colour's gone a bit odd. Anyway - here it is:

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Back to the easel

It's time for me to knuckle down and really concentrate on my artwork. My long run of visitors is coming to an end after tommorrow night and my overtime at work is also slowing down, due to people being back off their holidays. It means I will have more time to myself again to work on my portraits.

I currently have one large graphite pet portrait of two dogs on my waiting list, so I will have plenty of time to work on other things whilst working on that. I am planning on working on some more ACEO's as well as completing a couple of graphite portraits I have been working on as 'portfolio' pieces. I am also going to knuckle down and practice the painting. I have got some fantastic books to work from and several ideas about how I want to go forward with my artwork and I think being able to produce realsitic paintings as well as drawings is going to be important.

Of course, anything new will be added here, so watch this space!

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Google Adsense

I have signed up today to Google adsense. It's basically a Google affiliate - type program, whereby I place adverts on my website and get paid a small amount if anyone clicks on them. When people sign up to Googles pay-per-click advertising, Adwords, my blog is one of the ones the adverts get displayed on. What I like about it is that only relevant adverts are displayed, depending on the content of the page, so I don't end up inadvertantly advertising any old rubbish. I don't know if it will make me any money, though it will be nice if it does, and if it doesn't I can just stop displaying them. I've only put a small section on the sidebar for them, as I didn't want them over-powering the blog and making it look like some sort of advertising site. I'm also thinking of adding them to my links pages on the website. They are the only pages I would be happy having them displayed, as I don't want the tone of the site lowered by adverts everywhere.

It was ever so easy to sign up to, I just did it straight from my blogger dashboard. The only problem I had was when I customised my colours it refused to display the red colours and displayed them as pink instead, for some stupid reason, hence why I had to go with the yellow!

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dylan's pet portrait updated

After showing the customer the pet portrait of Dylan, they asked if I could make a small amendment. The main reference photograph I was working from has been taken in bright sunlight, therefore some of the detail had been lost on Dylan's chest. This meant that the portrait ended up with a strange unfinished look to the bottom left corner.

I have used one of the other reference photographs to fill in some detail there and here is the latest update:


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Dylan's Pet Portrait finished!

I have finished Dylan's Pet Portrait today. It is on 12" x 16" Italian Fabriano paper and is in Coloured Pencil. Here it is:

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Two new painting books

I had two more painting books arrive today from the 'painting for pleasure' book club I belong to.

The first one is "Watercolour Flower Portraits" by "Billy Showell". Even though I have no particular desire to paint flowers I thought some of the techniques used could help with pet portraits. This is due to the beautiful delicate and detailed nature of flower paintings. I think it may help. I have only had a quick look, but it is a good book with specific sections on creating detail and step by step demonstrations. Billy's paintings are also gorgeous. I will have a more thorough look at a later date and maybe even pluck up the courage to follow a demonstration!

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Pet Portrait update

Here is another update on Dylan's Pet Portrait: