National Portrait Gallery

Chatty, Drawing

Every year I tell myself that I’m going to continue to post regularly after Inktober while I’ve got the momentum and every year I don’t and November is one of the quietest blog-months. Post-Inktober recovery combined with moving AND starting work in a new branch has meant that the month has been full-on. But here is am, 3rd December and I’ve actually been doing quite a lot of art! My new work/life schedule means I usually have a bit of time in the morning that I can devote to painting, drawing and creating so fingers crossed I can keep a few projects on the go. There are a few things I could post but I thought I’d start with today’s work.

I’ve spent the day in central London as I’ve had some time in lieu and so did my partner, so we could have a nice Covent Garden breakfast. Then I strolled in the rain across to the National Portrait Gallery. I’m thinking about working on portraits/people again soon. I took a break from it last year to focus on painting skills a bit more but maybe it’s time to combine both. I was looking for something that drew me in and saw this painting:

It’s a portrait of Ellen Terry and known as Choosing by George Frederic Watts. Apparently he went on to marry her despite being 40 years her senior. I loved the colour, composition and other-worldlyness. It reminds me of Valerie and Her Week of Wonders.

I also saw this painting of Doris Lessing by Peonard William McComb. I really want to try coloured pencil over oil pastels at some point, but I only had the pencils with me, so I thought I’d try being a but more bold with colours and line marks.

I tried layering the colours and being deliberate with mark-making to ensure I was confident with proportions but also could start adopting a little bit more of a graphic style in line with the brighter colours.

I might finish the hair one day but I quite like the negative space. I think there’s some potential to take some things forward, but mostly it was just a lovely way to spend the day.

Looking forward to catching up with everyone’s posts over the last month tomorrow!

 

Julia

Christmas Bearded Collie #1

Acrylic, Painting, Step-by-Step

Yesterday was one of those rare days where I didn’t really have any plans. When I got back from London in the morning I painted and watched RuPaul’s Drag Race all day, and it was glorious. If you haven’t had a no-plans day in a while, try it!

Our family friend, who’s currently fostering our puppy Molly until we can keep her permanently, does a lot of charity work for Beardies (and Neardies) in Need, and she often needs things to put in a raffle. Even though Christmas is a long time away, I thought I’d get a head start and make something for her to use now.

The reference picture is an instagram picture from Bearded Collie World. My entire instagram feed is either bearded collies or travel photos.

I know the composition is a bit strange. Originally the pup was going to have antlers but I changed my mind. I also want to widen the hat a little and get rid of the V shape of fur around the nose. Overall though, I’m pretty happy with it. I feel like I’m actually applying the things I’ve learnt from other pieces.

New things I’ve learnt:

  • Yes, you can skip the drawing outline and work directly with paint. That doesn’t mean that you always should though.
  • Be braver with contrast from the beginning! When will I start doing this?
  • Detail in backgrounds might be more time consuming, but they definitely make a difference.
  • Layering isn’t a waste of time, so just embrace it.

I’ll keep you updated with the progress of the piece. Enjoy your tuesday!