The Old Post Office Gallery at Seymour, where my work is represented in Australia, hosts a wonderful annual group art show featuring wildlife. This year, they incorporated equine art as well. The show opened on Sunday and was well attended. Time and again I heard the same comments, 'What a wonderful show!" and it was. It is so refreshing for me as an artist with a passion for these two genres to see such a lovely collection of this art and they worked in well together. If you are passing Seymour, it is well worth stopping in and taking a look. I have four originals in the show as well as some prints. 'Ticked off!' is one of the originals done in oil. I saw this magnificent male giraffe in Tanzania where he had a line-up of tick birds along his neck. After a while, he got annoyed with all the pecking and shooed them off!
I watched a very inspiring webinar the other morning hosted by Robin Sharma, www.robinsharma.com, a life coach and motivator, with his main theme being willpower and how it effects our lives. Much of what he spoke about, I could relate to as a full-time artist and how working at home involves discipline and order and how many of the choices we make each day ultimately effects our lives and what we achieve. He stressed how it is possible for each and everyone of us to make a difference to the world and not just be content to live a life of mediocracy… practice every day, have grit, deal with failure, lean into your fear not away from it… hmm… true and very real and I think a necessary mantra for any artist. At the end of the day, it's what it is all about, setting goals and working through each day with determination, to see the results. Here is one of my latest pieces done in coloured pencil and yes, it took a fair bit of determination to finish all those stripes!
I have just finished the tiger portrait and it is about to head off to the framers, then it will go off to an autumn art show. I titled it 'Rustle in the grass' as I feel the anticipation in the tigers' face as he hears a sound up ahead in the grass and all his senses come to the alert! What has he heard?
'Light and shade' was the theme for this weekend's pencil workshop held here in my studio and the subject matter was equine. Horses lend themselves to being great subjects because of their fine skin and the ability to see the dips and highlights caused by rippling muscles and bone structure close to the surface, especially when in bright sunlight. It is very rewarding to see the continued progress from these ladies as they dedicate their time and effort to improving their drawing skills and it is paying off with some great results. Here are a couple of pictures of them hard at work. Congratulations to all of you! The next workshop in March is now full but I am taking a list for April so email me if you are interested at firstname.lastname@example.org
The combination of this smooth Bristol plate paper (Canson) and the Grafwood pencils is a perfect mix for drawing the big cats and to get the effect of their soft, fluffy fur. This work-in-progress is a portrait of a Siberian tiger and so far I am happy with how this piece is coming along. As it is a close-up, it gives me an opportunity to showcase this magnificent animals markings and structure of his face. This type of drawing is really slow going as I build it up in layers to attain the look of the fur. Hopefully I will have it finished be the end of the week.
There is a wonderful show on TV called 'Put some colour in your life'. The host of the show, Graeme Stevenson, travels around Australia to visit artists in their studios and to chat with them on a friendly and informal basis about their motivation and art making process. I decided to participate and demonstrated in graphite, working on a portrait of a lioness from a reference photo I had taken in Tanzania. I was pretty nervous on the morning of the filming but was put at ease by Graeme's professional and friendly approach. His gorgeous production manager, Sophia, did an incredible job of filming and editing the show. It turned out that Graeme and I had much in common and I had a really enjoyable day sharing such a love of art, wildlife and nature with such an amazing artist. Graeme is a man of vision and I am always in awe of those who take the time to put their thoughts into practice through great effort and devotion. Demonstrating in graphite is not the most riveting TV viewing but it is a love of mine and I am always keen to promote it. Because of the slow nature of drawing, my piece was far from finished at the end of the show and it required a few more full days of work before it was complete. Here are two images of the drawing, the first one is how it looked at the end of filming and the second is the finished piece. I hope you can watch the show tonight on 4me at 7pm and in Queensland at 6pm, if not it will be available on 'Colour in your life' website.
This is my latest drawing that I have completed, titled 'Walking in'. It is from a reference photo that I took in the Serengeti on my last visit to Tanzania. These elephants were walking down to a waterhole where they drank, frolicked and generally fooled around having a lot of fun in the water after being out in the warm sun for most of the day. I used Arches watercolour paper using the short side at 22 inches to get the panorama view. On top of using my normal 2B and 3B pencils, I used some ground graphite stick rubbed gently with a tissue to get the soft effect of the dust. This was a great piece to show perspective using tone.