Thursday, 27 March 2014

Blue Tulip

This evening I had to admit defeat.  I knew it was coming.  Encouraged by my success in completing magnolia in 2 weeks last week I then tried to follow it up with completing a smaller scale drawing in slightly less time. 

I began thus...

 Then powered ahead, driving myself too hard for my poor aging eyes.  Three days later I had got this far...

But then by Wednesday, which is my late night at my day job, I had to admit defeat.  I decided to enter another piece of work for the deadline I'd been aiming for, as if I'd have pursued my over ambitious aim of finishing this piece this week I'd probably have pushed my eyesight and my sanity too far.

So this is as far as I've got with it...

It's smaller than A4 but I realise that I've already sacrificed something in the subtelties of the back ground (which strangely enough, has become the area I'm most interested in) and to push it any faster would have not been sensible.

I might finish it this weekend, if I can. 

I've just checked the deadline for the RBSA Prize Exhibition.  This year it's an on-line digital entry process and the date seems earlier than usual - 7 April.  Which is a bit of a blow.  My work doesn't really come across that well in digital images and I don't think I'll have anything ready for such an early deadline. 

I'll have to see how I get on over the next week or so...

Friday, 21 March 2014

RBSA Friends Exhibition

I have had some good news for a change this week.

I have had 2 pieces accepted for the Friends Exhibition at the RBSA.

One piece is called Bank Holiday Monday, 2012.  This is a piece I completed last year, but I had little confidence in it and didn't submit it to any opens.

The second piece is the one I set myself the challenge of finishing at (for me) lightning speed. It's given me food for thought actually, this piece.  Hopefully I've learned a few lessons from its completion.

The exhibition, which I am so pleased to be a part of, began yesterday at the RBSA gallery and runs until Saturday 29 March. 

Thursday, 20 March 2014


I decided that the composition of my 3 trees piece was not working. It lacked impact. But I'd put in too many hours to scrap it, so I decided to play around with masking the drawing with paper frames until I got a shape I liked. I decided that I liked a square frame best, and once I decided on that, I tried moving the paper frame around the drawing and photographing the different effects I got. Subtle changes, which I then reviewed on screen to decide what composition to go with. I printed off a contact sheet of a few of these in order to make my final selection.


With the paper frame still around my drawing I added  few finishing touches, working on the fast flowing water behind the trees mainly to increase the feeling of movement in the drawing.


Here is one of the colour pieces I did late last year of the same place in Scotland, the Ariundle Oakwoods.  Despite the fact that this piece was rejected for an open exhibition, and I recognise that my colour work lacks the definition and dynamism of my pen and ink work, there are still areas of it I quite like.

I tried the paper frame technique with this other piece which I began a couple of years ago.  The original drawing was more of a square, but I've decided to crop it to a panoramic rectangle, which I think improves what was a limp composition.  It was a troublesome piece this one, but again, I liked aspects of it and for that reason, it has escaped the shredder.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Quick Quick Quick

So following on from the big mistake of that brown water I posted on Sunday I decided to set myself the challenge of really speeding through a small pen and ink drawing and hopefully finishing it in time for a looming deadline.

I really struggled not to give in to panic. And willpower allowing I did manage to finish this piece.

Here's the proof.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Spring Fever

What I forgot to mention yesterday was that before I started the 3 trees drawing, I had worked for weeks on another drawing of the stunning Ariundle Oakwoods.

Frustrated by my lack of success I added a little colour...

But as you see it still wasn't up to much. 

Remember that watercolour I told you I had rejected last year?  That was of the Ariundle Oakwoods too.  I actually quite liked it so I was disappointed when it didn't get accepted for the exhibition I'd entered it in.  (Sorry about the reflections, I couldn't find a photograph of it unframed so I took this one quickly this morning).

The problem with my pen and ink work is that they just take so bloody long to do.  The time these pieces gobble up is both the bane and the pleasure of their creation.  If you spend months on something that ends up failing it really does feel like a BIG DEAL.

So going back to the 3 trees piece I posted yesterday.  I decided that the trees were dissolving into the water.  I tried bringing them forward with ink and watercolour, but that didn't work.  Then I hit on the great idea of staining the running water with brown acrylic ink.


And I can't go back from this.  Problem.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Long time still here

It's been a long time since I last uploaded an entry to my blog.

I have been working, but I've been less on-line and attempting to conserve my energy and time for creative work.

Last year didn't seem to produce much in the way of successful work.  Although I put in the hours I could nothing seemed to come out too great.  After scrapping a pen and ink drawing which went all wrong, I experimented with airbrush, and although I was enjoying the experiment I had a piece rejected and that put a nail in my self-confidence.  Then in the autumn, inspired by the glorious autumn colour I attempted to focus on watercolour, again I was quite enjoying myself, but another rejection pretty much put a nail in the coffin of the year.

I didn't really do much at the end of 2013.  Time dissapeared in so many mundane practical things, and getting through increasingly stressful situations in my 2 day jobs.

This year I did manage to put in some time in this piece, but once again, although I've been self-consciously putting in my little portions of time (usually about an hour an evening after a day at work, if I can manage it), the results started to go astray again.  A few weeks ago this is where I was at with this drawing, which is based on a photograph I took at the Ariundle Oakwoods near Strontian on the Ardnamuchan peninsula last September.