Bereavement

I’m very sad to say that my Dad passed away quite suddenly on Wednesday last week following complications from surgery.

I’ll be taking a break from the blog for a week or so. I apologise in advance if I forget to reply to comments.

Sorry, I have no words for this.

Herne the Hunter

I’m afraid I am still unwell – on a second round of differrent anitibiotics. So here is a another sketch done while waiting on the phone for 111. I did begin with some very light pencils but I forgot to photograph that stage. Instead, we begin with a very light ink sketch of this beuatiful buck…

I was thinking here about using the ink pen as a primary drawing instrument rather than a secondary tool to go over pencils. This gave the whole thing a different feel. I gradually worked in both details and deeper tones…

The photo above was taken about half way through…

… and this one was taken when my inks were complete. I then used black watercolour paint and white gouache to add deeper tones and brighter highlights. Here is the finished picture…

Normal service will be resumed soon…

I’m so sorry, I’m not very well at the moment. Nothing serious – just a chest infection, but I’ve not been able to sort out any art for the blog this week – apologies. (I’m Covid negative thankfully.)

I tried to go to bed earlier and this is what I found…

Then ensued a small, but rather fiercly fought, battle of wills, with me asking if I could possibly get into my own bed and explaining to my little kitty cat that there are four cat beds in the flat which she might sleep in.

To which she seemed to reply (I was running a bit of a temperature so I’m not 100% sure)…

“I am a dark Lord of the Sith and I will hunt you down and kill you if you try to sleep here!!!”

What followed was a certain amount of her being fierce and grumpy and refusing to give ground and then me getting into bed anyway. She did try a little bit of light clawing after that but she was told “no!” quite firmly – so she hid.

Eventually though, I lured her out with the offer of cat treats, which brought her safely back to the light side!!!

See you all soon. 😊

PS: While looking for a meme for this page I ran across an excellent science teacher meme which I updated a little…

Wand carving

Over the summer I designed and carved a wand. I began with a couple of sticks which I found up near the local church where there is a small stand of mixed deciduous woodland…

I put an old quilt cover down to try to contain the shavings as I worked on this. The first thing I did was to strip the bark using my basic carving knife…

Then I shaped the wand. Nothing too perfect. I just gave it a basic once over…

Once I had a good basic shape I needed to deal with the two ends which were split and damaged. I used a small hacksaw for this…

Then it was time to break out the Dremel!!! This was SO much fun! 😁 I love using high speed tools.

This got the wand cleaned up really quickly.

My next job was to design a motif for the wand. I wanted a naturalistic design. So I went for leaves winding around with little spirals at the top. I had to think here about the grain of the wood I was using as I made the design. A close grain wood allows more detail to be worked into it. This wood was just an old stick I found. I suspect it was ash based on the morphology of the sticks lying around next to it. It looked like ash and behaved like ash as I carved it too.

So I transferred my design to the stick…

…made the design darker and more permanent…

…and the broke out my carving tools..

These are the ones I actually worked with on this project…

I did learn a valuable lesson about not watching Sarah Millican’s totally awesome Stand Up while working with sharp tools! (It was the fine chisel pictured at the top (above) which I managed to dig into my finger (below).)

I took a break until my hand healed up well enough to remove the dressings permanently and then carried on. Eventually I had the basic design done…

Then I began to file and sand it – tidying up my work…

Finally I painted it and then added several coats of varnish…

Here is a close up…

Overall I’m not massively pleased with it. I found the ash quite hard to work, especially on such a small scale and without using a vice. It looks OK but I think I could do better. I think next time I will get a vice set up so I can hold the wood with some soft jaws and then use both hands to hold the carving tools. I will also be more careful about my choice of wood too. Lime is supposed to be good. I’ll do some research.

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

😊

Mickey Mouse – Mixed Media

Last week, as well as working on the portrait, I also made an ink drawing of Mickey Mouse as a personalised Christmas Card for someone dear to me who is a big Disney fan. Here on my blog I’ve left off the writing since it includes their name, but the rest is there.

I began with a sketch…

Then I inked a quick outline…

After that I went in and inked it properly…

Then I set to work with my black watercolour and white gouache paints. Here’s the finished picture…

The original looks a bit better than this photograph. I don’t know why this happens with this type of mixed media artwork. It’s like the camera picks up contrasts more than it should. Maybe having a grey background is throwing it off – but I can’t see why that should be. I might look up how digital cameras process light to see if I can get tot he bottom of this.

Jim – part 2

Jim’s portrait is begining to take shape now although I haven’t finished it yet. When I’ve been well enough, I’ve been working on it a section at a time. I blocked in some basic colour for his face and then worked on his jacket. In my reference photo Jim is wearing a grey suit, but I thought black would give much better contrast for the portrait so I made it black. The following photo was taken as I worked on his suit jacket…

My original plan was to have a red background for this portrait because I thought it would warm the picture up. However, two family members both thought that a Teal / Turquiose colour would be much better so I was really happy to go with that. Below is a photo of the first background wash…

I also changed my plans for Jim’s tie. I wasn’t really sure what kind of tie to go for so I did some quick sketches to give myself an idea. I wanted something that would tie in well (LOL!) with the portrait background colour. Here is the first set of sketches I made for this…

You might be able to see from the picture (above) that I cut the sketches out. This was so that I could do this…

Then I could see properly how well each tie fitted the overall painting. I didn’t really think any of these four would work, but I liked elements of two of them. So I took those elements and painted another quick sketch and got something which I really liked…

So here is the tie colour and design I’m going to use for the finished painting. Obviously it will be painted in properly, not just a quick sketch like this…

My plan is to get this portrait finished by the new year but it will depend on my health. Hopefully things will improve. 😊

PS: I don’t know if any of you have seen the fantastic series on Amazon Prime called “A Discovery of Witches“. I watched 2 seasons in just over a week – it was fantastic! I totally loved it. Anyway, as a coincidence the cinematography in that series uses almost exactly the same colour palette as this portrait. They have a bright Turquiose as a strong accent colour and a darker Teal as a major colour. The rest are yellows, creams, blacks and browns in the main. It is a beautiful combination. I’m really glad the family wanted a Teal / Turquoise background for the painting or I wouldn’t have thought to work with such a palette!

Here’s a link to the trailer for the series…

Unfortunately you don’t get to see the turquoise accent colour in this trailer, but the teal is there if you look closely. 😊

Arm Tattoos

Jim’s portrait is coming together now and is getting to a point where I think I will do an update on it soon. Until then, here are a couple of designs I worked on a while back for tattoo’s I want to put on the top of each of my forearms. I will put the tree on my right arm and the triskelion on my left.

The tree design is re-worked from a previous design I created but wasn’t happy with in the end. (Because tattoos are so permanent I sit with the design ideas I have for a few months to really make sure they are exactly what I want. The more I thought about the original tree design, the more I wanted some greyscale tones included in the design.) Here’s a link to the original design…https://jofoxadventuresinart.wordpress.com/2021/04/16/simple-tree-tattoo/

So I went from…

…to this…

And then finally settled on this with a dropped shadow around it in grey…

My Triskelion design actually began as a way to try to cope with very severe and lasting pain during the difficulties I’ve had recently.

For me the natural world is where I ground myself, where I find peace and where I go when I am not coping. I have always loved what Mikhail Gorbachev said about his “faith” in nature…

“I believe in the cosmos. All of us are linked to the cosmos. So nature is my god. To me, nature is sacred. Trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals. Being at one with nature.”

Mikhail Gorbachev

The trouble with really severe pain is that you can’t push it to the back of your mind for a period of time like you can with moderate pain. So you get no rest from it at all. Instead I tried to find a way to draw strength from my connection to nature despite the pain by drawing a triskelion on each of my arms.

Looking back it was quite an odd thing to try but I was feeling really desperate at the time and didn’t really care how odd something was if it worked. It turned out to be pretty helpful since every time I caught sight of them my mind went to all of the good associations I have with the natural world. The pain wasn’t any less but the constant reminders of good things gave me a lot of strength.

In terms of drawing these, I just drew them on freehand with permanent markers like this…

The Triskelion has had a lot of different meanings over the centuries since it’s first use. For me though, it has always symbolised Mother Nature so that’s the meaning I chose. There are also different ways of drawing it with the archemedian spirals going clockwise or anti-clockwise. In the literature the clockwise spirals seem to be associated with outward work and movement, whereas the anticlockwise version seems to be most often associated with inner work and stillness. I chose the anti-clockwise spiral.

I really liked having the triskelion on my arms so I decided to make a formal tattoo design which I could later get put on my arm by a professional tattoo artist.

Here are some process screenshots of me working on this design…

Finally, after quite a few changes and revisions I got it how I wanted it…

Here are both designs completed…

I want to get them tattood in black and grey possibly with some white highlights in a few places. I think I will get some advice from a tattooist about this. I do love white highlights in tattoos but I don’t know how long they last in skin or how hard they are to put in. (I have heard that white is a hard colour to pack into an area, but I don’t know how true that is.)

I think they will look pretty cool and might be a permanent help with my pain. 😊

Baby Groot

I’ve been having some health problems in the last few weeks and haven’t been doing any art apart from Jim’s portrait when I’ve been able. Unfortunately I’ve now run out of scheduled posts again. So, the picture for this week was a doodle I did while waiting to get to the front of the phone queue with my GP surgery. I completed the ink drawing in the call and then just now splashed in some white gouache and black watercolour to add more shape to the image.

Here is the ink drawing…

And here is the final picture…

I must admit, although I’ve not been 100% over the last few weeks – re-watching the Guardians of the Galaxy films on Disney Plus was a real treat. It’s really what Disney does best – good honest fun!

Here are the trailers…(Baby Groot is in Vol 2)

Ollie and Olga

This week I focused mainly on my portrait of Jim, but I also created another tonal painting. Meet Ollie (the Octopus) and Olga (the fish). They were very briefly the best of friends – until, very unfortunately, Ollie got hungry!

Here are some process photos…

I began by sketching the two aquatic friends (and doing my best to keep track of all eight of Ollie’s legs).

After that I added ink to the drawing, using darker thicker lines on the shadow sides of each object and then stippling a gradient from full black to the half tone grey of the paper. I used this to begin to render the shapes in three dimensions.

Then I deepened the shape rendering effects by adding some darker tonal areas using black watercolour paint and feathering the edges.

Finally I added similar gradients to the lighter sides of the shapes using titanium white gouache to add highlights.

Here’s the finished picture…

I really enjoy using this simply method to create black and white (and buff) paintings. I think it might work really well as a basic approach for making independent comic art. It’s not too onerous to do but gives well rendered results which I think would read and reproduce quite well in a comic format. I might produce a comic page like this when I have time and see how it looks.