Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Image of the Week: 'Silence Part 2'


Creative Process:

This is the second in a series of abstract mixed media collages, using the Silence magazine by Rituals. I selected sections of images that inspired me because they were natural yet artistic.  To create waves, I blended blue coloured pencils first, then added grey highlights. For the sand, I experimented with a brown felt tip pen and brown coloured pencils, using a blender pencil to deepen the texture and colours of the marks in the sand.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Image of the Week: 'Silence'


Creative Process:

Inspiration for  this abstract mixed media collage came from this year's summer edition of the Silence magazine by Rituals.  I was given the magazine, when I purchased a Rituals' scented candle in their shop based at St Pancras International train station.

This is part of a series of abstract collages, which I plan to post weekly. I selected a section of the above image for a variety of reasons, e.g. colour, texture, layers, the 'silence' element. I found the process of layering lightly with orange, black and brown coloured pencils and felt tip pens therapeutic. 

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Image of the Week: Haiku Art


Creative Process: 

Prompted by a friend's birthday, my knowledge that she likes trees, plus my love of trees, it was time to draw one.  I also knew that my friend liked Haiku poetry, which is a form of poetry using a set of 3 lines that follow a pattern of 5/7/5 syllables. 

I did some research and discovered that subjects of haiku poems are often events, seasons and creatures of the natural world that reflect a distinctive Zen and Buddhist sensibility.  The haiku poet records experience by using a meditative thought process that leaves the mind open to subconscious influences.

This intuitive writing process is akin to the same form of open imagination visual artists use to create their work.  The idea is to use your subconscious imagination to interpret haiku poems visually.

You are not trying to illustrate the landscape, things or ideas mentioned in the poem. Rather, you use the sounds and sensory impressions you receive and imagine from reading the poem as your inspiration. 

Once I had completed the drawing, I wrote this haiku poem:

Forever solid
waiting in vain for the sun
the moon will suffice.

Here is the final framed version, which has made the image much darker.


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Image of the Week: 'Jamaica' - a Black History Month Special!


Creative Process:

Inspiration for my 'Jamaica' collage came from Exercise 36: Random Collage - Why Not Be Out of Control in Creating Abstract Art: Ideas and Inspirations for Passionate Art-Making by Dean Nimmer.

I've completed a few collages over the years, so thought this project would offer light relief from my other drawings.  As Dean Nimmer states: 'Collages are easy to make, inexpensive and, most importantly, offer a thoroughly enjoyable process!'

'Removing the ability to control the outcome of your composition can be unnerving and liberating at the same time.' I'm not sure I completely went along with this idea, but I did start by choosing the fairly old, yet meaningful, map of Jamaica, that I used when I toured the island on many occasions (12) between the years 1996 and 2008.

The map of Jamaica needed to fit on A3 size paper, so I folded the far right section over and when it came to framing, I left it open, without glass.

The photos were a random selection.  However, the Rastafarian colours, red - the blood shed of the African people; yellow - the sunshine of the African land and green - the lush greenery of the African continent, were deliberate, and this is where the work came in, of ensuring the balance of colours, filled in with coloured pencils, blended throughout the whole collage.

I thoroughly enjoyed creating this collage, which inspired me to hang it along with my four framed photographs of Bob Marley - see below. The whole 'Jamaica' wall, in my living room, has since become a cultural and historical talking piece as I share my travel experiences with friends and family.



Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Image of the Week: Kaleidoscope


Creative Process:

For this abstract piece 'Kaleidoscope,' a continually changing pattern of shapes and colours, I used paper from a very old sketchpad, which was much thinner paper, which ended up curling at the edges.  I started the drawing using a Z4 Roller Black 0.7mm pen, my favourite pen to write with. I particularly like the colour combinations of yellow and orange.

Here is the framed version:


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Image of the Week: Borders


Creative Process:

This is my first piece of abstract art!  Inspired by the book Creating Abstract Art: Ideas and Inspirations for Passionate Art-Making, and in particular the choice of colours in *Wassily Kandinsky's Improvisation No 26 piece, I selected the Prisma colours Noir, Canary Yellow, Crimson Red, Apple & Grass Green and Crayola's Sky Blue.  

Prompted by the book's Exercise 1: Connecting Eleven Dots, I randomly lightly pencilled 11 dots on the A4 sketch paper. Then it was simply a process of joining the dots and...well the creative process from then on is mostly an unknown, except for the 'constraint' of the chosen five colours and the 11 dots.  The title Borders was chosen as a result of how I felt when I was drawing the sections' edges.

*Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) is the first man who, with paint and brush, created a nonrepresentational work of art.

Where art comes from is a mystery.  It comes unannounced.  It has the quality of gift. The source from where it comes is hidden from us. Like all creativity, it stands us in possibility.  It comes from impulse and dream, from raising the inarticulate, from going below the floor of consciousness.  To do this, we must break free of the confines of the known and fixed.  As artists, we do this with our materials - with our hands.  And in this confluence of mind and matter abstraction is not only relevant, it is essential.
                                - Timothy Hawkesworth.


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Image of the Week: Flowers



Creative Process:

My first attempt at drawing flowers was due to my neighbour whose birthday was in August who told me she liked flowers.  So rather than buy her a bunch of real flowers, that would eventually die, I decided to take on this fun challenge, again using a grid system for accuracy. Getting as near to the colours in the reference image was the most challenging and so I made a few adjustments. 

Here is the reference image:


Here is the framed version, which really enhances the whole image!


Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Image of the Week: Balloons!


Creative Process:

Whilst it is fairly simple to draw an oval shape - an upside down egg - it is less simple to ensure that you include shadows of light.  I used a pencil to draw the oval shapes and an arc shape for the shadow areas.  It was fun to draw this image.

I used the reference photo below from a google search:



 Here is the framed version, which I gave to a friend of mine for his 75th birthday:


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Image of the Week: Apples


Creative Process:

The magic of burnishing.  

Having signed up to a Udemy Coloured Pencil Drawing Course, I watched a fascinating video on The Magic of Burnishing.  Burnished areas can be created by layering with white, layering with a colourless blender and layering with another light colour.

In the case of my still life apples drawing, I started with a light layer of red leaving a few spaces for the core and for the yellow colouring. Then I applied a heavier layer of red and then used a burnisher pencil which magically produced an image of realistic shiny apples!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Image of the Week: 'Love Yourself'


It was my granddaughter's 8th birthday in August, so I chose to draw this piece as a gift for her.

Creative Process:

The image was captivating and kept making me smile thinking of my granddaughter, which added a lot of fun to the drawing process.

I chose a grid method, which although time consuming and meticulous, really helped me see the piece in small inch segments.

I changed a few things - the wall was a murky dull colour so I chose yellow to brighten it up, and the white fluffy carpet works well in pink I think! 

Here is the reference image:

Image: 'Love Yourself '- Multicultural Art on Facebook


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Image of the Week: Woman in Yellow Dress

Creative Process:

This striking image caught my attention immediately. The vibrant colours; the straw hat, scarf and the beautiful yellow dress!  Loving the image enhanced the whole drawing process, especially after applying many blended layers to get the darkest blue section 'right'. Tricky bit - the colour black.  I've since learned to create natural blacks by using a dark brown and a dark blue as black tends to look flat.  I decided to put this in a frame, which is now sitting on my front room's mantelpiece.

Here is the reference image from Multicultural Art on FaceBook:

I am calm...I am relaxed...I breathe deeply...I am at peace with myself...
I am at peace with the world...I can laugh...I can love...I am loved...
Life is good...I am truly grateful... Michaelann Smith

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Tate Modern and The National Gallery

View from the Cafe at the Tate Modern
On Saturday 29th August, as part of a *City Slickers' social event, a group (6) of us went to the Tate Modern based in the former Bankside Power Station, London and to the National Gallery in London's Trafalgar Square.  Tate Modern is a modern art gallery and Britain's national gallery of international modern art.  The Tate holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art.  

At the Tate there were numerous exhibitions: 'Poetry and Dream' featured a large central room dedicated to Surrealism, while the surrounding rooms featured works by artists influenced by Surrealism and its methods.  'Energy and Process' was both challenging and controversial, particularly one room, which displayed three large canvasses that had red paint thrown at them! Is that really art I wondered!

The National Gallery was where I viewed magnificent works by the movers and shakers. There was no doubt in my mind that here was one of the greatest collections of Western European painting in the world, ranging from the Middle Ages to the first decade of the twentieth century. Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' (1888) was the most popular, judging by the sheer numbers of young tourists crowded in front of the painting all eagerly taking photos.  I had to jostle my way through the crowd so as to get a couple of photos for myself!

Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' (1888) at The National Gallery
The National Gallery far outweighed my expectations. I ended up buying a National Gallery Souvenir Book plus '...isms Understanding Art' by Stephen Little, which will be a handy guide to a wide range of art 'isms' which have formed the history of Western art from the early Renaissance to the present day.

...isms Understanding Art by Stephen Little (Bloomsbury, Publ 2014)
I thoroughly enjoyed this cultural and artistic treat as I'd never been to either of these galleries  before.  Next trip is the Serpentine Gallery.

*City Slickers is a social group for people from different walks of life based in Wellingborough who every 4-6 weeks make a point of going somewhere a bit special with members and friends usually in London, Birmingham, Oxfordshire...well wherever there is an event that we want to see/do.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Image of the Week: My Back Garden


Creative Process:

I used the reference image below for this piece. I took the photo because I'd had the hedge cut in my back garden and could now see the lovely tree behind! This was the toughest assignment to date as it meant some technical drawing, especially of the shed, the paving stones and the steps!

Here's the reference image:


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Image of the Week: Turtle


Creative Process:

To sketch and colour the image of the turtle, I used a reference image taken from a travel magazine.  The process demanded that I really see and study the turtle's markings, which were different depending on the components of the turtle's shell. My attempt at the sea was rather challenging but I preferred this background to the original reference image, which is below:



Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Image of the Week: Still Life Drawing


Creative Process: 

This is my first attempt at a Still Life Drawing and my first attempt at drawing a book! No reference image so an absolute original.  I kept the layering to a minimum. I was going to leave the background white but thought it needed colour, so opted for red.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Image of the Week - Landscape


Creative Process:

I liked the reference image for this piece (see below) mainly because of the lovely vibrant pink colours. I found the process simple and rather soothing as I didn't want to press too heavily with the coloured pencil layering. I think this gives the piece a light feeling.

Here's the reference image from Google:


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Image of the Week: Lightning


Creative Process: 

Using a striking reference image on Google, I applied coloured pencils, and felt tip pens for the red and yellow highlights . For the white lightning shockwaves, I used tippex - a medium I think worked on this occasion as white would have been far more challenging to create on white paper.

Here's the reference image called US Weather:



Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Image of the Week: Extended Landscape


Creative Process:

I started by sketching the outline in an exercise from the book 'How to Draw Anything' by Mark Linley. I found that task fairly easy. Then I started applying coloured pencils, adding felt tips to enhance colour (not sure that was a good idea).  I did a lot of mixing and blending of colours, some worked, some didn't.  I then found a beautiful landscape photo image, which enhanced the choice of further colours.


I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise. It took two and a half hours on July 1st and another hour on July 2nd.  I'm feeling motivated and inspired at the moment and hope to keep this momentum going!

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