My coloured pencil portrait, Midnight, has found itself a new home, with the original artwork being sold fresh off the drawing board.
Subscribers to my newsletter receive exclusive insights into my studio work, and are the first to see when a new portrait is completed. It was one such person who having seen Midnight in the August newsletter, fell in love with the picture and knew he had to have it. As someone who had owned horses himself he appreciated the artwork for both the horse and the details of the bridle. It evokes many memories for him and I know will be enjoyed for many years to come.
As the client lives locally here to me in Cornwall I was able to hand deliver Midnight, and had the great pleasure of seeing where it will hang on the wall opposite the front door, greeting everyone as they arrive.
In due course I will have a fresh batch of greetings cards printed, and Midnight will be amongst the new designs. I will share in a Sketchbook post here when they are available, and also in my newsletter and on social media.
If you too would like to recieve my monthly newsletter and be amongst the first to see my latest art, you can sign up at the bottom of any page on this website.
Introducing Midnight, my latest coloured pencil portrait. I was working on this one alongside Shadow, my recently completed graphite horse portrait. I don’t often work on two pictures at a time but I was really keen to draw them both and equally keen to work in monochrome after months of colour, so depending on my mood I would spend a few hours with one of these two drawings.
Working in graphite on a white page is very different to working with a white pencil on a black page like here with Midnight. I chose coloured pencil for this portrait although white pastel would have also worked well. Coloured pencil isn’t prone to smudging like pastel, so for so much fine detailing I felt this was the safer option. My favourite paper for all things pencil is Stonehenge which comes in a variety of shades including black. For a very dark picture this is perfect, and it gives the feel of the image emerging from the night which I love.
The original artwork of Midnight is available to purchase. If you would like more details please get in touch.
Shadow was a welcome return to graphite for me, after some time using pastels for more colourful artworks. As with anything you haven’t done for a while it took a little time to get back into the groove with my trusty pencils. My approach with pencil, pastel and coloured pencil is always to build layers gradually which allows me plenty of opportunities to adjust as I go, and as I worked on this horse and studied the image I was able to see more and more nuances in the tones.
Much like a musician will hear things in a piece of music that I am not attuned to, visual art has trained me to see more subtleties than many would notice. This skill comes with years of really looking, and allows me to accurately represent the musculature of, in this case a horse. As I learn the way the light falls and the hair grows it informs the true shapes and form. This is a big part of the adventure of drawing for me, it is like detective work, piecing together lots of different information points to create a whole.
The original artwork of Shadow is available to purchase, and I am currently accepting commissions for portraits. For more information about these or any other artwork please contact me.
I have been working on this beautiful horse drawing alongside drawing Shadow. The two pieces take quite different approaches. Shadow is in graphite pencil on white paper, which are familiar tools to all of us, whereas this drawing is being created with white coloured pencil on black paper.
I wanted to draw another horse and when I was looking for inspiration there were a few that caught my eye, so I decided to immerse myself in this pair of monochrome portraits for a while.
Drawing with white on black like this is a highly effective method as it gives the strongest contrasts and therefore a lot of drama and potency to the image. I have a number of white on black drawings in my gallery, and after some years of working this way it is now comfortably familiar to me, though it is not something I would recommend to a novice artist as it can be very confusing.
We are most familiar with reading and writing on a white page and therefore highly attuned to seeing the darker marks that form words and images. We are not aware of it but we focus on shadows when seeing in this way, but switch the page for one that is black and now you need to attune yourself to the highlights, pushing the brightest values and in turn creating the shadows by the absence of mark making. It requires us to see and draw tonally in reverse, which certainly takes some getting used to. It is a technique that I love and once mastered is faster than my graphite work, and for those pictures which are heavy on the darker values it is a striking and most effective approach.
Many thanks to Paul B Nash for this photograph of my work in progress.
I have been working a lot in pastel these past few months and found myself looking for a change, a creative palate cleanser if you will before moving onto the next vibrant artwork. I typically have a few pictures that I would like to draw waiting in the wings that I will fit in around commissions.
One of these is this horse who was particularly suited to a graphite portrait. Pencil is my first love when it comes to art, it is all I used for many years. I have a trusty old pencil case which contains four mechanical pencils – grades B, 2B, 3B and 4B, a kneadable eraser and some spare leads. After being lost in so many fabulous colours in recent times the simplicity of monochrome and my beloved pencils has been very calling me, and it is great to be back.
If you look closely at this sneak peek of my current work in progress you will see there are a variety of textures. These are thanks to the texture of the paper I draw on – Stonehenge by Legion, and how I apply the pencil, how soft that pencil is, how sharp the point is and how many layers I have laid down. Drawing is like a dance on the page, a few steps forward, some retraced and some reversed. Over time you find moves that suit you and that convey what you are trying to say.