After my monkey adventure yesterday I wanted to stay with the theme of animals. This time I chose a Red-Eared Terrapin. (I think they’re called ‘turtles’ or ‘sliders’ in the US.) They are beautiful animals with green and very light green stripes. At first I tried to paint this little guy exactly as he is but once i started on the shell I got caught up with the lovely patterns.
Here is my reference image from my big animal book:
And here is the painting:
So today I managed to fit a quick watercolour painting in. I chose to draw a monkey. I looked up some likely looking primates in my big animal book and chose this little chap:
I wanted to do a head and shoulders portrait so I changed around the way he is sitting. I had inteded to take photos as I went along but I got so immersed in painting him that I completely forgot until it was done. So here he is:
I really enjoyed making charcoal drawings from the charcoal I got from the burnt chair. After working on some portraits of people (see yesterday’s blog) I did some animal pictures:
I have always loved elephants and I really enjoyed the way the charcoal spread out easily and made lovely shapes with a smooth change in density of the pigment. Looking back more critically I can see that
- The offside tusk should stick out more for proper perpective.
- I also think I would darken the dark areas a little more to give the image a better tonal range (which I think just means having really dark areas to really light areas and all of those inbetween.)
- I would also change the amount of the elephant which I drew to include the whole of the trunk as I think this would make a better picture.
This is a picture of a bird of prey which I drew for a friend (and gave to her). My friend is really into bird watching and showed me a buzzard which lived in the woods near out houses. I can’t remember which species this bird is.
I like this picture, but looking back I would look more closely at my reference to check I had good propertions for the birds head and body. In this drawing it looks to me like the head is a little big but since I can’t find the reference image I used I can’t tell for sure.
Finally I drew a picture of a frog:
The only thing I would change here is to look more carefully at the frog’s mouth – it just looks a bit too smiley!
Sometimes, in the places I walk my dog, people abandon things. I find it hard to understand why people would leave there rubbish in such beautiful places – but they do. Usually it’s just litter but once there was an old wooden chair. Some children had set fire to it and it had burned quite badly. Below is my dog Bonnie in the meadow where I found the chair.
Anyway, I went to look at it and found that a bit of the leg was easy to break off and left dark charcoal marks on my hands. So I put it in a dog waste bag and brought it home. I broke it into pieces and began to draw with it. It worked really well and was completely free.
Here are a few of pictures I drew with it:
This is a picture of an asian woman from a book.
And this is a picture of a young Tibetan boy.
And this is a picture of an older man meditating:
All of these were done with the charcoal from the chair.
For Christmas a couple of years ago I got some new pastels:
I really enjoyed using them. I sometimes think that more messy something is to use, the more fun it is. 😀 Previously I’d used oil pastels but never soft pastels like this. So to begin by playing around with them, and ended up making an abstract picture:
My fabulous son has now broken up from school for the summer holidays. As we’ll be doing lots of holiday things together this will leave less time for my blog so over the holidays I’m going to do a mixture of three things:
- Reviewing work not previously shown on ‘Adventures in Art’ – I think this is helpful for me as I gain new skills and get more experience because I can look back at what I was doing and see how far I’ve come. It also gives me a chance to look at my work more critically, picking out what’s good and what’s bad about each piece which is a learning experience in itself. Finally I’m hoping I will get an idea of what kind of artist I am becoming. One of the big blindspots I have from autism is not being able to see myself very clearly. I can give specifics easily but if someone asked me to generalise about myself I couldn’t do it.
- Continuing to work on new ideas and techniques – painting and drawing helps me to relax. I get enormous enjoyment from this sort of activity so while I will have less time I don’t want to stop altogether.
- Work on my 365 day Sketching project – this is where I am trying to sketch every day. Recently I’ve found it really hard because I got sick and had to stop and then, after that I had a lot of catching up to do with housework and other things. When I go away on holiday (to Devon this year!!!) I am hoping to do a Sketch Diary where I tell the story of my trip in pictures.
I saw a number of great YouTube video’s on how to paint watercolour portraits. I particularly liked the ones with a more modern take. There were several who used unusual colours and used the water to provide a background to just a woman’s face. One of the best, to my mind, was this one:
I wanted to see if I could make my own picture like this. So I began by sketching out a face. I find it quite difficult to draw without a reference – especially faces – they are so hard to do – they always go wrong unless I draw from a picture. When I’m using a reference I can then kind of just draw each part and it comes out as a face.
For reference today I used a pictutre from drawing tutorial book. It’s probably the best ‘How to Draw’ book I’ve got…
When I was first studying drawing I worked through lots of this book – it was brilliant. So here is the face I used as a reference (to some extent):
(The picture above is from Giovanni Civardi’s ‘Complete Guide to Drawing’ and is not my work – it is an image I used for reference from Civardi’s book.)
So I sketched the face lightly:
And then began painting:
Until I finally made this picture:
My favourite part of this is the way the lips turned out. If I did it again I would shorted her nose and make her face a little wider. It was kind of fun!