Thursday, August 29, 2013

'M' - Another artwork

I have just been sent another addition for 'M' week. It's a very well done drawing of 'Michaelangelo', a copy of one of his wonderful pieces. It could also come under the category of muscles, which are so well defined in the image, thanks for sending Nicole.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Congratulations to the participating artists for reaching the halfway mark of our alphabet challenge! It's not easy with working and family commitments to produce a piece of art each week but that has been the focus of the challenge to just "keep at it"! We have seen some really good pieces so keep them coming. This week is a bit light with participants, I only have two to post and here they are: 'Me and my mate' is nicely composed and painted, an oil of two horses having a mutual nibble, thanks Sue, this is very well done. The second piece is a drawing of a horse and it is called 'Mane', thank you Anne, it is nicely done. Both pieces were good ideas for 'M'.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Yay... we've reached halfway in our Alphabet challenge as we are up to 'M' this week. Grimly this is my worst piece so far. I tried a new canvas that I glued to a board and also tried a new gesso and I did not like the combination at all. I had no time to fiddle and only spent an hour on the painting. The canvas was too coarse and certainly did not suit a small painting so I really struggled with this piece but here it is anyway... 'Magpie goose'  it's a 6" x 8" oil.

Friday, August 23, 2013


Recently I took a workshop in a nearby town with a really wonderful group of ladies that were keen to develop their skills in painting animals in oils. As I travelled there I was so taken with the beautiful countryside that was lit by the warm early morning sun, the dew sparkling and a gentle mist rising... just breathtaking. I began the day discussing my process in developing a painting from the beginning: design, values, edges, good reference material, knowledge of your subject, etc followed by a short demo of colour mixing. I took along a painting that I am currently working on, some mares and foals running, that is a good example of a using a limited palette and what can be achieved using just a few colours. Late in the morning the ladies got stuck in to their own pieces and I was so impressed with their passion and perseverance. Some great results were achieved. All in all, a great day!

Here is a photo showing the painting I was working on, the underpainting and then the partial progress in the next coat from the left.

The ladies at work


Part of our artworks for 'L' is a landscape painting in oil from artist Robby, this is titled 'Looking out my back door'. What a lovely view she has and nicely interpreted with the sunset and giving the feeling of wide open spaces.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

'L' week

There is only three pieces for this week for the letter 'L' from our 'challenge' artists but again we have a nice variety of subjects and media. The first painting to arrive this week is 'Lemons and leaves'. The subject and composition has been well chosen and nicely rendered in watercolour to produce a very pleasing painting. The next painting is 'Legs', part of a painting done in acrylic of a horse in motion, well drawn and painted with a nice use of colour. The third painting is an oil of a lovely male 'Lion' that has the potential to be a very nice piece on completion. Unfortunately the artist who works full time had time constraints that were out of her control this week, I look forward to seeing this piece finished at some stage. Full credit to you all for producing pieces for this week. Next week is quite a milestone as we reach halfway of our challenge with 'M'... what will we see?


If there's one thing I want to get from this challenge, it is the ability to produce a quick sketch without fiddling. There seems to be a fine line between sketching and then continuing on to produce a drawing for me that I am finding a bit frustrating but I am confident that practice, like all the required skills in art, will help me reach my destination. I have been away from home this week and have done a quick sketch of a lion cub for the week of 'L'. There was something about his faraway look that captivated me, I wondered if his life would lead him to be king one day?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

K for the artists

We are lucky in Australia that we have a choice of wildlife beginning with k and a couple of our artists have chosen these animals for their subjects this week. It is interesting that we have all picked different subjects again and so here they are:
The first painting is 'Kitty', a nice study of the artist's cat which will be developed into a more detailed painting at some stage. This artist has only just begun to use oil paints and has done a great job with this piece, feeling her way. The second piece is a very nice pencil drawing of a 'Kookaburra' which looks like there was quite a bit of time put in to the feathers and detail on the bird. The third painting is a 'Koala' and even though the artist would like to do more work on it at a later stage, I am delighted with her positive and direct approach to her work. The last painting is a very well done image of a 'kelpie-cross' where the artist has really captured the very expressive look and nature of the dog. Our young artist in the States couldn't manage to get her piece done this week, she had a kayak in mind,  but hopefully she will have time for 'L' next week. Fantastic work everyone!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

'K' is for Kudu

One of the most beautiful of the African antelopes would have to be the kudu, so it was an easy choice to pick a bull kudu (greater) for my 'k' piece this week. I took this great reference photo in Ruaha and was overjoyed when this handsome creature turned and looked at me, allowing me to capture his full splendor. I have not done him justice as this is just a quick sketch taking about 2 hours but I did enjoy forming the shape of his horns and capturing the strength of his body with my pencil. I wonder what our other artists will choose as their subjects for 'k' this week?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Two more 'J' pieces

Our young artist from the U.S. has sent in a very well done drawing of a retriever jumping to catch a ball. Even though she is very busy at summer camp, she has risen to the challenge and produced a great piece in 'jump', it's well drawn and creative. The next piece has taken the artist quite some time to develop the folds and texture of the material in 'jeans', a very nicely done piece and thank you again to all the artists that have taken time out to be part of this weekly challenge and make it so enjoyable.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

J for the artists

Well we are 10 weeks underway in our ABC challenge and that brings us to 'J'. A lovely drawing of a jar containing a nice composition of leaves is our first piece from our contributing artists. The next painting is of a Jaguar and although I was expecting to see a spotted cat, it was a sporty red car! The artist lamented that she would 'never paint another car'. This has been an interesting side to the challenge, in that we are trying subjects that are taking us out of our comfort zone and the very reason it is named a 'challenge'. Some subjects look easier than they actually are but the main thing is each artist is taking up the challenge and completing a small piece each week. The next painting has really captured the lovely softness, especially in the eyes, of the jersey cow, this is 'Jessie the jersey'. 


As the week rolls on we are up to 'J' in our ABC challenge and I chose to draw a jackel. I took this reference photo on the last day of my safari in the Serengeti, Tanzania. The little jackel was resting quietly in the shade of a small acacia tree and I remember how he watched us, ready to move on if need be. I was quite subdued all day knowing it was my last and that I had had such a wonderful time and all good things have to come to an end. It is nice to recall those feelings during the drawing process.

                                      'Jackel'   6" x 9.5" graphite

Monday, August 5, 2013


I am often asked how I keep my graphite drawings clean, so here is what I do to prevent the dreaded smudging from happening. After years of using tissues or tracing paper under my right hand, I now use a piece of smooth board with felt stickers, the 'bump-ons that go on the back of a frame, on the reverse side. This lifts the board completely off the paper and I can slide it back and forth as need be. It takes a little time to get used to having your hand up slightly higher but it works perfectly and is definitely the best option ever. I never smudge any of my work now. I have taken a photo of the set up to show how it works.

My drawing board with hand rest

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Another artwork for 'I'

"I was young once too" is the title to the last of the 'I' artworks for the week. The artist has chosen to do a self-portrait from an earlier time in her life and has captured a very good likeness, well done Rob.