Friday, December 27, 2013


The most fascinating part of working with pencil is using the most basic of art tools, that is pencil and paper and from there, your job as an artist is to make a fine art drawing from these most fundamental items. My preferred choice of pencils are Staedtler Mars Lumograph in the grades of 2B and 3B. Occasionally  I will use a B and my outline is done in an HB but in general the whole drawing is done with just the two grades. These pencils are consistent in their performance and seldom have the tiny gritty bits that are so annoying and scratch into your paper. The paper I use is Arches watercolour paper in a hot-pressed, 300 gsm weight. It has a slight tooth but is still lovely and smooth and I find I can achieve all the effects I need with this quality product. Due to the time investment that goes into pencil work, I feel it essential to use the highest quality products to achieve the best results. I use two erasers, mainly a kneadable for the majority of the time, either a Faber Castel or Cretacolor brand and for heavier erasing I use a vinyl eraser made by Caran d'ache, it does the job well without damaging the paper. Because of the amount of drawing I do, I could not live without my mechanical sharpener as it puts a super sharp point on the pencils and gently shaves the wood casing, not destroying the lead or wood. Last but not least is a soft brush for removing debris that falls off the pencil and eraser rubbings. I use a watercolour brush for this and wash it on a regular basis to remove the graphite from the bristles. 
This cheetah is nearly finished and I have used the above listed art tools for this drawing. What are your favourite art tools?

Monday, December 9, 2013


"Drawn to horses" was the title of the last two-day workshop that I conducted here in my studio. We did some studies on eyes, ears, noses and manes then put it all together and drew the whole horse. I enjoy passing on techniques and knowledge I have accumulated over the years and seeing the results with keen students putting it all in to practice. Although drawing is basically an outline that is shaded in, it's the choices and experience that go together to make it a fine art piece. Some choices are: drawing your passion, choosing a good composition, choosing quality art supplies, choosing to be disciplined, etc and of course experience is your time spent drawing, learning and honing your talent. As usual, it was a great weekend and wonderful to meet some lovely new ladies that love to draw horses! Stay posted for the date of the next one!


I chose to pull this drawing out of the frame and re-work it which has made it a much stronger piece - a good choice:)

Monday, December 2, 2013


We have come to the end of our challenge that, at times, up to six other artists contributed work to. It has been a truly great experience and has kept us all intrigued and connected with each other. Firstly, may I say 'Congratulations' to each and every one of you for your weekly efforts. A special mention to Anne, who never missed a week, well done! The challenge was put in place to encourage us all to complete one artwork every week and keep a focus, as distractions can easily mount up and overcrowd our creative process. Here then, are the final 'Z' pieces… and thank you all so much for your diligence and let's see if we can come up with a new challenge for next year!

        From Anne, her final piece "zzz kitty", pen and pencil on paper.

Final sketch from Nik "Zombie", pencil.

Sue's last piece for the challenge is "zzzzzz", pencil on paper.

'Z' … and we are finished!!

We have come to the end of our ABC challenge, so this week sees us with the letter 'Z' as our inspiration. I have had a very sad week with family circumstances, so found it very therapeutic to sit in the studio today and paint my gorgeous dog 'Zuri' as my final piece for the challenge. I adopted Zuri at the age of two from the Greyhound Adoption Program and have enjoyed every moment of our companionship, he is a truly wonderful dog and is a very gentle and affectionate soul. After photographing the painting and looking at it as a thumbnail, I really didn't like the light bluish/grey part of the background and have since blended it so that it is not so noticeable but here it is in the original format.

                               "Zuri"  8" x 14" oil on gessoed board