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.
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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.
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.