Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Cactus Monday

Here is my contribution to Cactus Monday this week. It is a Zebra Plant done in Prismacolor and Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencil in my A5 Winsor and Newton sketchbook. Hope you like it.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Sketching Kits

My small watercolour sketch kit

Since doing the coloured pencil course last week I have been pondering on a kit to take out and about for plein air sketching in coloured pencil. Up until now I have generally used pen and ink and watercolour in a small Winsor and Newton sketchbook. I very much like this minimalist approach, and can take this small kit in the smallest of handbags or even a coat pocket so it is always to hand.

A coloured pencil kit takes a little more thinking about. Which colours for example? With watercolour it is possible to mix most colours from a basic set of primaries and perhaps a few earth colours, but when I start to look at my cp collection I find it almost impossible to limit myself to just a pencil roll full! During the class I took 120 Prismacolours, 72 Coloursofts, 40 Polychromos and various other Pablos and Derwent Artists and still had to borrow from the teacher because I didn't have the right shade that I needed.
And then what about accessories - sharpener, eraser blender etc? I normally use an electric sharpenern at home as I find the handheld sharpeners don't give such a good point and tend to break the leads (especially the Prismacolors).

Where to start? I decided to have a look at what other artists do. By far the most informative blog posts on this subject (and many others) are those of Katherine Tyrrell.

Katherine Tyrrell's everyday sketching kit

She has written about plein air sketching and sketching in general on her Pastels and Pencils site. There is also a great post about plein air sketching on her Travels with a Sketchbook blog.
Another good source of ideas is the Flickr sketch kits group, but most of the images are of watercolour kits. It seems that there aren't that many artists doing plein air coloured pencil!

I will try putting a kit together and take it for a test run later this week.

EDM 2 Draw lamp

EDM 2 pen and watercolour

This is the second item on the Every Day Matters list, a lamp at our local Chinese restaurant, The Pheonix. I've got a very long way to go to catch up!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Janie Pirie

Janie Pirie SBA

I have just spent the last three days at Cambridge University Botanic Gardens attending a course taught by Janie Pirie. The course was Illustrating fruit and vegetables in coloured pencil and was held over three days this week. The first day was spent watching Janie demonstrate technique and tips and doing practice exercises before starting our finished pieces on the second day, although only few managed to finish by the end of the third day. My unfinished effort is below.

I'm sorry about the quality of the photo, it was taken under artificial light - there will be another pepper to the right of the spring onion when it is finished.

The classroom at the Botanic Gardens

I had a wonderful time and learnt a great deal doing this class. I have attended several courses here but this was the first one in coloured pencil. I would wholeheartedly recommend doing classes like this to anyone as in my opinion it is the best way to improve. You can only learn so much from books and iternet forums (valuable and useful though they are). Janie offered a high level of one to one tuition as well as group demonstrations which I found very valuable.

Janie Pirie is a member of the Society of Botanical Artists and the United Kingdom Pencil Society, you can read more about her on the UKCPS blog.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Cactus Monday

Cape Aloe, Cambridge University Botanical Gardens hothouse, watercolour and ink

I have just joined a Flickr group called Cactus Monday and added the above sketch to the pool. It is not strictly speaking a cactus so I've added another one, a sketch of my conservatory windowsill

Conservatory windowsill, watercolour and ink

Saturday, 21 March 2009

EDM 1 - Draw a shoe

I've decided to make a start on the EDM list at last, although this is a bit of a cheat as it's a sketch I did a couple of weeks ago. I've got a lot of catching up to do!

Friday, 20 March 2009

Moo cards

My Moo cards arrived today, they are so cool!
The one's above are business card size with different pictures of my coloured pencil work on the front and contact details on the back. They are a lovely matte finish and "quality"feel to them, I like them very much and can't wait to start giving them out. They come in a cool little box and I also ordered a Troika card case to keep some in my bag.

I actually think these Moo minicards are even cooler, I've made about 20 different designs from my sketches on Flickr and again ordered a neat little holder.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Warm again

The heating is back on, hooray. Tom is happy to be sleeping in front of a radiator again.

Still in the kitchen

Still no heating or hot water, so still trying to keep warm in the kitchen. This is a sketch I did a while ago when I got a new Winsor and Newton paintbox.

I bought these tulips to cheer me up and forget about being cold.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Kitchen Sink Blues

My house is upside down today and tomorrow as we are having a new boiler fitted. We have no hot water or heating for the next two days so I've retreated to the kitchen in search of warmth!

Monday, 16 March 2009

New Website

Painted Ponies
Coloured Pencil
Copyright Sue Smith

I have a new website for my fine art work, http://sitekreator.com/SueSmith mainly coloured pencil at the moment, but I will add some more soon. Please take a look and let me know what you think.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Flowers and plants

Pen and watercolour in Winsor and Newton sketchbook

It's a cold grey day here in the East of England so here are some spring flowers to cheer us up.

Pen and watercolour in Winsor and Newton sketchbook

This perlagonium sits in my front porch windowsill and is the first thing I see when I come in the door.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

More cats

Now that I have managed to add the Imagekind button (thanks to the very kind help of Katherine Tyrrell of Making a Mark), you can see some more cat pictures.

Or you can just see them here.

Coloured Pencil
copyright Sue Smith


Tabby Cat
Coloured Pencil
Copyright Sue Smith


Snow Leopard
Coloured Pencil
Copyright Sue Smith

"Snow Leopard" won The Leisure Painter Award For Newcomers to Coloured Pencil in the 2008 UKCPS Keswick Exhibition.

Cat Photos

Let me introduce the models for my sketches.

Tom in characteristic pose, i.e. about to fall off something.

Biscuit in playful mood.

Both these kittys were adopted. Biscuit came first from the Blue Cross with his brother Felix, a handsome black and white tuxedo cat. Sadly Felix was hit by a car two months later. He joined the various guinea pigs and hamsters buried in the garden. (If we ever sell this house the new owners will be in for a few surprises if they dig up the flower beds). We thought Biscuit was lonely so when we heard of another male cat of similar age was needing rehoming (next stop RSPCA) we took Tom on trial and he made friends with Biscuit straight away.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Cat Sketches

Pen and wash in Winsor and Newton sketchbook

These are a few pages from my sketchbook, introducing Tom, (the black scruffy one), and Biscuit, the cute ginger and white one. No, I am not responsible for their names, they were both adopted.

As you can see, they like to sleep a lot.

Pen and wash
in Winsor and Newton sketchbook

Pigment liner