Thursday, October 30, 2008
'Self praise is no praise'. I had a friend at school who used to say this all the time and all these years later it still rings in my ears! I've lost count of the number of times this drawing has been posted, but, well, I was delighted and surprised to hear that 'Paul' was voted 5th in the People's Award of the UKCPS Annual Juried Exhibition. The results are on the UKCPS blog here. I thought the number of votes overall was quite low, so it was interesting to see the breakdown. I'm quite chuffed about it, because the standard was so high, and those votes could quite easily have gone to many more drawings rather than mine. (And I can tell you it wasn't my brothers swinging the vote because we talked about the rights and wrongs of voting for your sister on the walk back to the station!) So, if you are reading this and you voted for me, thank you very much, I'm really honoured and, most of all, I'm very pleased that you liked it!
Many congratulations to Carol Bramley who won with 'Black Watch'. It comes as no surprise to me (I mentioned it here), it was quite amazing in the flesh, and I know a certain someone who did vote for it!
Monday, October 27, 2008
A couple of quick sketches of MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi, top, and Chris Vermeulen. I think there must be an unwritten rule that these guys try and outdo each other with the biggest, tackiest sunglasses and craziest headgear. Vermeulen wears a light blue hat that looks like it's made from towelling to match his blue Suzuki livery.
Sunday's race was the last of the season and Rossi already had the championship in the bag but I've marked it with a couple of drawings because it is the last race for Eurosport's commentating team Toby Moody and Julian Ryder. Eurosport won't be covering MotoGP next year and are letting those two go which is an amazing decision considering their popularity. It's the chemistry between those two and their great commentary, along with Randy Mamola, that makes it so much fun to watch. Formula 1 has become so bitchy and unpleasant, watching these riders going hell for leather and having fun - understanding what they do is actually entertainment! - is a breath of fresh air. It won't be the same without Toby and Julian though.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
A different pose to the norm this week. This is the second drawing I did, the first was scrapped, so I didn't have enough time to finish. I was already committed to doing graphite when the model gave permission to take photos for those that wanted to finish theirs later - just my luck, the week I didn't use my colour pencils!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
As soon as I declare that I will do something, I nearly always do the opposite. So when I said I didn't have the staying power to do more of these TV sketches, naturally I wanted to keep on going! Above, is comedian Harry Hill. It's probably not cool to admit to watching his shows (or maybe it's very cool, you can never tell!) but Harry Hill's TV Burp is just hilarious. He's one of those comedians who only has to look straight to camera to crack me up. I liked how this sketch took on a cartoon-like quality when I added the lines on his forehead.
Nothing so funny about the quiz Mastermind - the top contestant had a strange, sad, beaten down look about him and the one below looked like a man you wouldn't want to owe money!
More Sky News drawings. I'll try hiding these in the middle of the post and maybe no-one will notice how bad they are! I'm still trying - and failing - to capture Eamonn Holmes (top two sketches). As I looked for links for my last post about him, I found it strange that every photo shows him smiling, none with this, his usual expression. Below him is one of the paper reviewers but I forgot to make a note of his name - for this drawing, that's not a bad thing!
Later in the morning, after Eamonn, Anna Botting (top right) usually takes over - at least I think so as I'm not normally watching the telly mid-morning! She is another face I find interesting for her strong jawline. Michael Wilson, left, is the business editor and no doubt has plenty to analyse at the moment. I find him interesting as he is so laid back in front of the camera. The presenter below was only on for a few seconds so I caught part of her face but as Sky News is on something like a 15 minute loop, I finished it the next time she was on. It happens quite often with these drawings, I don't capture these with a 15 second flourish, much as I'd love to be able to claim to! I was rather chuffed when someone from Sky News commented on the sketch I did of him over on my other blog. (OK I admit that's understatement!) Now there's pressure because now I'd love to be able to put some better ones on the blog but sketching fast is way out of my comfort zone and these are bloody hard work! So I'm just going to have to plug on, not worry too much about lovely lines, great likenesses etc., and hope for improvement over time. So, sadly, I won't be featuring on the 'breaking news' segment for a little while yet...!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
It's true I used to! Even as recently as last year, I was writing on the blog about how it reminded me of death. Well, now I can't imagine ever feeling like that. Every day I go out wondering what colourful surprises are in store. I took a photo of the lovely ground cover on my garage roof this time last year for the blog, and this year I thought it would be interesting to see the transition from green to reds and oranges. Above is how it looked just as the first signs of change appeared.
Funnily enough, it seems to have been mainly overcast whenever I took the photos. I think this stage, where the greens and oranges mix, is my favourite.
Again a cloudy day. When I downloaded the photos the colours lost so much of their intensity - in reality they seemed to glow.
And looking at the colours next door against our wisteria (which has gone yellow since I took the photo).
Out walking yesterday I saw these beautiful colours.
I thought it was about time for more shutters!
We saw a blue tit on the pavement looking a bit stunned so Mark popped it under a hedge where hopefully it has recovered.
A mural at a local college.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I think I'm getting obsessed with doing these sketches! Normally, I find watching the news depressing but when watching it with an eye for an interesting face it suddenly becomes a mine of inspiration! This morning I caught two faces I was looking out for - top left, reporter Tim Marshall, who is very knowledgeable about the military and military tactics, and below him, presenter Andrew Wilson, whose face and voice are very distinctive, and, I just found out now, used to be a military man. Wilson makes everything sound like a drama and I often think he could be introducing a Hollywood blockbuster - unfortunately he took the same tone when he was in Portugal following the poor parents of Madeline McCann. To the left is Guardian reporter Michael White. I like doing faces with glasses as you can use the shape of the glasses as a guide for placing the eyes.
One face I was looking out for was Adam Boulton's, here on the left. He has such a heavy brow! I didn't quite capture it here though. What I like about Sky News is the lighting, as the high contrast takes away the superfluous detail and reduces everything to it's bare essentials. It's a big change for me to 'capture the essence'! On the right is guest reporter Tom Rivers, of ABC and here the light and the angle of his glasses has made his eyes disappear, reminding me of Drooper the lion from the Banana Splits!
Bottom left is Jacquie Beltrao, sports presenter. She's a no-nonsense, down to earth type who takes Eamonn Holmes's teasing in her stride but usually I'm wondering how she can stand to have her fringe in her eyes - it moves as she blinks! Speaking of hair, that miserable old whatsit, top right is me, at the hairdressers. Not a Sky News presenter or a TV sketch but I drew myself here as it was the sketchbook I had on me when the hairdresser left me waiting, or should I say simmering, for 25 minutes while she made some phone calls! She regularly keeps us waiting for at least 15 minutes and I suspect its a 'power thing' she has, but I had to call her once when Alex was going to be 10 minutes late for his appointment and she gave me the spiel about making all her bookings late and she couldn't possibly fit him in - for a cut that would take only 10 minutes! So when she was actually on time for a change, I got my hopes up. Twenty five minutes later, I was very angry and told her if she wasn't going to do my hair now, I was leaving. Probably not a good idea to leave your hair in the hands of an irate hairdresser but that will be the last time. If only I was more like Jacquie - I'm sure she wouldn't have put up with it, but then again, I'm sure no-one would have dared to keep her waiting!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The life drawings and portraits don't seem to be going so well - or maybe I'm expecting too much from myself -but I'm very much enjoying the TV sketching. Quite often the faces look like completely different people, but that's OK too! One example is the sketch of Alvin Hall, top right. He is one of the experts brought out to give us all advice about what to do with our money during this crisis. I don't know if Americans have heard of him but he's from the US and a popular figure in the UK. He's got a lot of knowledge and common sense - lets hope that comes back into fashion now!
Speaking of fashion, that is supposed to be Nicole Kidman in the centre, at some premiere wearing something that Elizabeth I would be proud of. Madonna, below, is all over the news this morning with rumours of an imminent divorce. I've always found the hype about her a bit strange. She is supposed to be a chameleon, an innovator whereas in reality she is a follower. She seems to look at other women who are making headlines and decides to take what they have. When models became 'supermodels' in the early 90's she jumped on the bandwagon with Jean-Paul Gaultier. She wanted the tag 'Bond girl' and got that too. Now she has the woman of the moment, Angelina in her sights, adopting children, like her, from poor countries. Whatever she has done, someone has done before but she does take the prize for self promotion.
Watching a new drama series, the actress's hair caught my eye. Below, I probably shouldn't say, but that is supposed to be Toby Stephens although it looks nothing like him! He has a wonderful smirk and swagger!
A female reporter on Sky News with a huge white coat that reminded me of a dressing gown! Below is Sir Philip Green. I wasn't paying attention to what he was saying but he reminded me of Sir Alan Sugar- both extremly wealthy businessmen but not in the business of making friends!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I got permission to use the photos and decided to put them in a separate post rather than my original one about the show. These were taken coming in the door and looking around the room from left to right - and apologies as these are not great shots but very much an afterthought since I was a little overwhelmed, forgot, and had to dash back in at the end! My drawing is in this one and bottom left, the one I voted for, Fascination by Roger Lewis. Also, bottom right is Black Watch by Carol Bramley. If I could have voted for two, I would have voted for that drawing as well as it was quite lovely in the flesh and surprised us all how different it was to the print (it was the one used on the invitation). I particularly liked the edges and how the sunlight played on the hairs.
Katherine Tyrrell's 'Potential', bottom left of the tiger, was another that struck me not just for her beautiful use of colour but because it was a celebration of coloured pencils! I went to the show to see colour pencils and their potential (!), I'm not so keen on drawings that could be mistaken for paintings. Beautiful work, and most definitely a drawing!
So many impressive works and in some cases seeing them up close left me none the wiser as to how they were done. I left feeling that I have so much to learn and there are so many materials I haven't heard of!
I liked Kate Clarke's self portrait' Me me, you me' , as I thought it wouldn't have looked out of place at the BP Awards and I could never be so brave or so honest to show myself in the mornings!
I'm afraid I've missed a section out here with the winning entry - 'Facing the Enemy', by Peter Hoehsl - only because there were people standing in front of it for so long!
Here, Peter Woof's 'Red Cloth' impressed me with his gorgeous, saturated colours and Richard Child's 'Out to Grass' surprised me as seeing this in the flesh it was so realistic you felt you could reach out and touch the animals! He really captured well the light of a bright but overcast day.
There were so many I could single out for different reasons but there is nothing like seeing these in the flesh. The show is on until the 28th of this month - still lots of time to see it if you can!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Some art critics would argue that real art is not about making things beautiful - so they should love this! I have to say my heart sinks whenever I see this model because the resulting drawing is always bad. There is just something about her that I find difficult to capture and especially so with this pose and my sitting too close (the room was tiny). Ironic, then, that it should be a drawing of her featured in this months magazine! Apart from all that, I do feel I had more success with the colours and getting them more saturated. I put down a layer of Gold Ochre (Lyra) and it went down nice and waxy, but it was so soft and waxy that I found it difficult to put the darker colours on top. I have a feeling these Lyras are not very consistant in their properties. Not that I'm complaining really - partly it is a bit of a pain, but on the other hand it's really interesting and different getting to know a new medium, especially after years of using pencil and knowing exactly how it handles.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Flying out of Geneva, you can just about see the Jet d'Eau above and to the
left of the wing, away in the distance.
I popped over to London last weekend to see the UKCPS show. I took a train to Bristol on Sunday with my brothers to go to the private view at the Royal West of England Academy. I can't remember the last time I took a long rail journey but it was very comfortable. Tickets were booked online and we bought some nice things for lunch in the station. It was a far cry from the last time I ate on a train; going to my aunt's farm in Kent, I bought a ham sandwich and spent the next three days being violently ill! Paul bought some sushi which I tried and I was instantly converted. Again, bad memories were dispelled as the last time I tried sushi was in the '80's - I was going through a macrobiotic food stage! -and the seaweed wrap tasted disgusting, really strong stuff. It made me wonder if Japanese food has been tailored for the Western palate now or whether it's just that my palate has changed a lot since then?
Bristol didn't seem as big as I had imagined but much busier. There were lots of secondhand and fancy dress/party shops for the big student community and we lost count of how many Starbucks we passed on the way. The venue looked very impressive and in a great location close to the shopping area. The gallery was packed by the time we got there (we got sidetracked by a Borders bookshop with a cafe (Starbucks again!) on the way!) and for good reason - the work was amazing! The ones I had already seen looked even better in the flesh and seeing the pictures now uploaded in the UKCPS website, I'd say there is no comparison to how they looked in reality. It was a really humbling experience for me. I had a look at the ones close to my own drawing first, as it was close to the door, but after that I stayed away from it in case I overheard anything critical! It was quite scary! I had no expectations of a prize - it was one of my first colour pencil drawings and being juried in was more than enough! - but it did surprise me (and my brothers) to see one particular drawing not win anything. Goodness, if I had drawn that, I would be slightly miffed not to even get a recommendation, it was quite outstanding and again, you wouldn't really think it from the scan. It does make you wonder, and also proves that juries selections are very personal. Anyway, I came away from it feeling energised, inspired and determined to improve my drawing skills. Can't ask more than that! Oh, and my vote went to Roger Lewis's 'Fascination' because I wished I'd drawn that - it was delicate and beautiful, not trying to be 'clever'. I loved the face on the right especially, the treatment of the clothes, and mostly because it was the one that I felt a connection with the moment I saw it - I wondered who the boys were and not what pencils were used.
I won't post the photos I took as I'm not sure about the copyright of that, but the list of entries and winners is here on the UKCPS website.