Wednesday 29 August 2012 Superman and the WNAA saved my bacon...

What do you do when your A2+ finished commissioned artwork is accidentally skrunched in a scanner??! 

You don't ring the Batphone.  
You don't call International Rescue. 
Forget The Sweeney. 
Ignore Jamie Oliver.
You contact Stephen Martyn of the WNAA aka - The West Norfolk Artists Association! 
Explain the emergency, and hopefully the members experience will come through with a solution.  
Having spent the equivalent of almost two solid weeks on the commission I was understandably reticent to immediately put into practice the suggestions. Eventually, having prevaricated for  a suitable length of time, I felt it was time to pass the artwork on to the client. 
Revitalised after a couple of days break on the Norfolk coast I was ready to implement Stephen's own suggestion... 

The artwork - weighed down by superpowers
and dynamic anatomy!

I carefully moistened the indented areas of the Bristol Board both sides, applied a smaller piece of dry Bristol Board either side of the damaged corners and then weighed them down with a healthy dose of anatomy books and 'DC  Comics - Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes!'. 
I gave it an hour or so before having a look - flattening off nicely - what a relief!
Three hours later - had I been none the wiser - I'd have no idea the artwork had been damaged at all. Still being weighed down for good measure though... 

Mightily weighed down for good measure...

The West Norfolk Artists Association - you know it makes sense.
Now I can sell my artwork with confidence, and look any scanner in the lense.

A big thank you to Stephen and all the members who came through with their advice.

Thursday 16 August 2012

...creatures and goblins, I don't mean Ann - maybe Andy...

Owing to the village hall tables having all been requisitioned for the Hilgay Vintage Country Show this past weekend we almost had a table-less art group. I panicked for a moment then considered the possibilities. 
Estelle suggested I coral all my easels and drawing boards and organise an ad hoc arrangement for the evening. I quite liked the sound of this, we are an art group after all and should be no strangers to improvisation.

Vivien's work approaching full bloom.

Thanks to Vintage Show organiser Peter Bates, all the tables were returned and back in place just in time for the meeting.  Hmm, maybe we can improvise next time... 
Having plundered Marie's garden for props this week (again), our small group this evening had the option of potted plants with stone creatures and goblins (?), or a garden arrangement with table and chair. A returning Ann took a seat, transforming this into a life study.  

Linda's characterful pencil study of Andy.

Life drawing is always a tremendous challenge for all levels of experience. 
Congratulations to Linda for producing two great drawings this evening - for someone who has produced perhaps no more than  a handful of life drawings, Linda tackled foreshortening and perspective admirably in both her first drawing of Ann, and her 15 minute sketch of me, imbuing each drawing with the character of the sitter. 
It is true that when we sit down to produce a drawing or painting, that we have our highest expectations in hand. This can often be more of a hindrance than help, bringing inhibition and, well - fear - of getting it 'wrong'. 
A relaxed and somewhat less critical attitude can often produce simpler and more honest solutions to the task at hand. A good example are 5 minute life studies which compel you to strip back your  drawing and sharpen your decision making so that you capture the essence of the subject - an excellent way to warm up before embarking on a longer piece of work. 
A blog I read recently comes to mind 'Beware this Perfection Trap!' which discourages you from seeking 'perfection' but rather to 'progress with imperfect action'.

How does Ann produce a fifteen minute drawing and
painting which does what it says on the tin, so well?

While I didn't manage to get a photo, well done to Pamela for her acrylic painting of a seated figure which she brought in to show us at the start of the evening.    
Next meeting people, alongside still life - due to popular demand - One point Perspective! 

Examples as follows...

A kitchen using one point perspective.

A cityscape using one point perspective.

Keep up the great work!

Tuesday 14 August 2012

...half past midnight...

I'd reached a point where I couldn't do any more work from photo reference in the studio. I needed to get back on site and in the square to check on details, and get my actual reference. 
When set up my easel that morning, it felt so much easier, and also as if I had stepped inside my drawing. Hmm, a definite sign of having spent either too much time in the studio, or more than enough time on a piece of work.
As it happened I was able to check on this or that, i.e. how many paving stones and kerb stones were located in the pavements as Bridge Street approached and joined the High Street. Ok - I'm not going to put everything in, but it's going to be pretty close, and hopefully accurate also... 
Artistic license not withstanding. 

One of the benefits of working al fresco - apart from the tan - is the social aspect. I find that a lot of people are curious about what someone may or may not be drawing at an easel. And let's be clear, if you're out there drawing or painting you're fair game for anyone who wants to come along and have a chat. 
Most people are kind are personable and often very complimentary, which is a tremendous lift when you are normally working in a solitary environment. Though I must confess that I have had the added benefit of showing this work regularly to my Hilgay Art Group members who have been forthright with their comments, all of them positive I'm pleased to say.  
Hello to Kevin from Ten Mile Bank who upon seeing the drawing said he particularly liked line drawing - I smiled and directed him to my website - we were clearly kindred spirits.
A big thank you also, to Dave Soakell who came over with his family to look at my work, spotting his camera I asked if he would take a few pictures of 'man at work' just for the record. He graciously complied and emailed me the images that afternoon - got my haircut just in time. 
Thanks Dave - hope you like the finished article.

I marked on the board in pencil any additions or amendments I wanted to make, and also for good measure took a few more photographs of any thing I was likely to forget. I firmed up the pencils that afternoon in the studio, and inked over them the following morning. 
It wasn't until my final visit to the square that I was able to add the definitely last details and fine tune the artwork, plus more final photos. 
This is nothing if not an organic process.

When I'd completed it, I still went back half an hour later (not at midnight), and made a couple of adjustments. And quarter of an hour later still, I beefed up a few lines on the bunting before calling it a the end of a long long day - figuratively speaking. 
If you've enjoyed this post - and the artwork - please leave a comment or email me - Cheers.

'That's all folks!'

Thursday 2 August 2012

...lanterns, life drawing and listening...

OK - I'd be hard pressed to convince anybody that holding this Monday's art class was hard work. As usual I'd set up two still lifes/lives - and a big thank you to Marie for letting me borrow a sturdy plant from the front of the house and from the lounge an eclectic array of tilley lamps and chinese lanterns.

Sarah's pencil rendition of moi sans lanterns.

Last meeting's life drawing turned out to be very popular, and it turned out that various members fancied having another go this week. Of course I volunteered again and added myself to the lantern arrangement - couldn't honestly call it still life since although I'd taken a book this time for good measure, I was no more 'unmoving' than I had been the last time.

Linda masterfully captured my 3/4 profile.

Where else can you profess to be going to 'work' but spend the bulk of your time listening to the likes of Corinne Bailey Rae, Bob Dylan, half of the first track of 'Dark Side of the Moon' ( looking forward to Frank Sinatra next time Jean!), and K D Lang, while reading the artist's self help book - 'I'd Rather Be in the Studio'? 
A big thank you to Becca for showing me her art book - excellent of course, and keep up the great work. 

Sarah's flourish of Mahonia rendered with pencil and pastel.

Thanks also to all of you who commented on my 'Town Square' commission, which - having spent this Thursday morning in Downham with a pencil and easel, is now approaching it's much delayed completion - hopefully by next meeting people.

While Ann was absent, she was with us in
spirit - a great pencil drawing by Sarah.

Finally a third thank you to all the people in Downham who commented, and complimented me on my work, some of whom had seen me take the first steps back in March when I began the preliminary layout. Although I'd drawn various elements of the square previously, I had no idea there was so much dang stuff many paving stones?!

Selection of reference books available from HAG library...

And definitely finally - What an excellent read and view Sarah Simblet's 'The Drawing Book' is - wholeheartedly recommended. It is available at it's cheapest online for £9.00 or thereabouts. I borrowed it from The King's Lynn Library, but will be returning it to Downham for anyone who is interested. Well worth a look!


See you all on Monday 13th of August - I swear I won't be sitting around not even pretending to look busy. And yeah I know - where are the hats...?