Showing posts with label On the Drawing Board. Show all posts
Showing posts with label On the Drawing Board. Show all posts

Friday, 7 October 2022

On The Drawing Board - Focused

Horses have always been a very important part of my life; I started riding at 5 years old and completely fell in love and got "horse obsessed" as my parents called it. In my time I have exercised polo ponies, Arabian racehorses in Abu Dhabi, competed in show jumping and cross-country competitions. Frustratingly, due to a knee injury I can't ride at the moment but one day in the hopefully not too distant future, that will change.

The reference photographs for this pastel drawing were taken at Al Shaqab in Qatar during a show-jumping competition. Unfortunately, I don't know the name of the horse as he was one of many in the warmup paddock, however I loved the soft focused look in his eye. 

First stage establishing the basics.



Working on the bridle and wishing I had chosen a bridle-less horse to draw! 
 


Final drawing. 
This one took quite a while due to the bridle but quite like the end result.




Pastel on Canson paper with Nupastels, Daler Rowney soft pastels and pastel pencils. Framed size 62cm x 50cm.




Thursday, 28 July 2022

On The Drawing Board - Family Time

I took the reference photograph for this artwork in The Sacred Monkey Sanctuary (Monkey Forest) in Ubud, Bali.  The type of monkeys that live in the area are known as the Balinese long-tailed monkey, in scientific terms Macaca fascicularis, in English called Macaque. 

It is an amazing place with the monkeys roaming free and very often being very cheeky.

The Photograph

Sometimes you just get lucky when you are photographing animals and this was one of those times, they sorted out the composition for me!


Stage 1

In this drawing I am combining pencil with tinted graphite pencils to give a subtle touch of colour. 
Have to say this drawing was so time consuming, also working out whose limb belonged to who. Love the way "the children" are interacting with each other.



Stage 2

Finally on to monkey number 4. I don't actually know what she is eating but I will use a coloured pencil to give it a rich yellow colour because a banana makes sense in my mind - but I think it could be a piece of bread...


Stage 3

Final checks, almost there. I didn't count how any hours this drawing took, suffice to say it was a lot! 


Scanned Image

The final scanned image. I have called it family time as I would like to think they are a little family, though could be completely wrong and they just happened to sit together on a wall! 



If you would like to find out more about the Monkey Forest, please follow this link: Monkey Forest Ubud Official Website – Monkey Forest Ubud













Thursday, 16 June 2022

On The Drawing Board - Double Trouble


This drawing is very special to me as it is of my two rescue cats who unfortunately had a very bad start in life. 

At the time we were living in the Philippines where animal welfare is sadly not in a very good state. My husband was out jogging and heard cries coming from a storm drain, he reached down and fished out a knotted carrier bag containing newly born kittens - literally eyes shut only a few days old. They were soaking wet and freezing cold, I really didn't think they would make it. They proved me wrong though, they were real fighters, it meant bottle feeding every few hours but they got stronger and stronger. 



They went on to travel round the world with us as we moved jobs, they have very full passports! They are now 14 years old and have just flown back with us to the UK for their official retirement. They aren't too impressed by the cold but am sure they will get used to it, summer is on its way.






Monday, 11 May 2020

Spring in Dorset

I write this whilst the world is under threat from the coronavirus, it feels like I am watching a movie which can't possibly be reality but unfortunately there seems no way to wake up from this nightmare.
Currently I am in Dorset with my daughter, my husband (and cats) are in Qatar and we aren't allowed to return back there as the boarders are closed; my husband could fly out but then wouldn't be allowed back, which wouldn't be good for his work. Qatar hasn't even reached its peak yet, so I can't see them opening their boarders anytime soon (a sensible decision really) but makes me wonder when we will all be together as a family again, September....
It is hard to find a positive considering all the deaths and uncertainty, however, I am spending spring in the UK which I haven't done for quite a considerable time, and what a wonderful time of year it is! On my once a day allowed walk I have discovered so many different footpaths, love watching the lambs galloping around the fields and the calves curiously approach me as I stand by the gate taking photos. When do we generally have time to just stand and observe? In our garden there is a blue tit making her nest in one of the bird boxes, I literally spend ages watching her and am almost at the stage of naming the blackbirds who come in the garden - my daughter thinks I am slowly losing the plot, actually though, I am just so appreciating being amongst greenery and wildlife after years of life in the desert, makes me realise how much I miss England.

 

During this lockdown I have been very productive art wise - there is only so many times you can clean the house! Serenity the deer and Dillion the donkey both got finished.





Plus a new drawing calling "Motherhood", of course inspired by all the lambs and how they interact with their protective mums.

                              

I am now starting a calf drawing, fortunately I have so many great refence photos to choose from.

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Hopefully by the time I write my next blog post we will have come out of this situation and even more importantly, have a vaccine. Very worrying times at the moment, stay safe everyone.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Casper

We have a WhatsApp group on our compound in Qatar which is generally used for people selling things when they leave, or now and again for someone who has lost a pet. One such message came through on there with a distant photo of a fluffy cat in a garden looking extremely scared; I really hoped this was a lost pet and not yet another poor abandoned cat, which unfortunately happens all too often.
I monitored the thread but sadly no one came forward and indeed the resident said nobody could get near the cat; the cat was too scared and running off. I admit I was reluctant to act straight away hoping someone else would, our last rescue had to be sent to America as good homes in Qatar are nearly impossible to find.  However, it was the height of summer with temperatures way over 45 degrees and a long-haired dumped pet is just not going to cope.
I loaded my cat trap in the car and drove to the street where the cat had last been spotted. I saw the poor cat hiding under a bush looking absolutely terrified and panting in the heat! It was obvious this cat was not used to being on the streets. I set up the cat trap and sat down to wait. Unfortunately one of our compound colony cats also thought the tuna in the trap smelt good and kept trying to go in the trap, which wasn't helpful at all! I ended up sitting on the kerb feeding the compound cat tuna to try and keep him away from the trap, at which point Casper (as he is now known to us) came out from under his bush and approached me, obviously so hungry it over-road his fear of an unknown human. It was then just a matter of some sweet talking and a few spoonfuls of tuna until he let me stroke him and move in to scoop him up; I certainly hadn't needed the cat trap. I popped him in a cat carrier and gained another rescue who would also need a home in a country where beautiful long-haired cats are often seen as a disposable accessory - sad but true.

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On closer inspection it was obvious Casper had been neglected for a while. Under all his fluff he was soo thin, had very bad ear mites and his fur was also really badly matted. My goodness did he have the sweetest personality though! He let us bath him, clean his ears and attempt to start the process of cutting out the matts, all without objecting at all.
It took quite a few weeks to get him stronger and to get to grips with the ear mite situation, he also of course need neutering, a microchip, vaccinating etc etc. However at the end of it, he was simply stunning but now the problem of a good home, the rescuing is actually easy in comparison.

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Luckily the wonderful rescue organisation Cat Rangers in America agreed to take him under their wing. My previous flight buddy was on hand to accompany him and a great foster home found (my cats true to form did not like this rescue in "their" house).
He flew to America on December 24th, a Christmas wish come true.

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Like most rescues we will never know his full story, he strangely had no clue what it meant to sit on a sofa and definitely would never sit on your lap; that is still true to this day but will now sit beside you on a sofa. He wasn't that comfortable being picked up and cuddled but now he completely embraces cuddles. We guess he was maybe brought on a whim and then dumped outside with the staff; he used to beg for food in the kitchen when I cooked. Whatever happened to him it hasn't affected his affectionate and calm personality, he is a laid-back loving chap with not a mean bone in his body who is quite wary of strangers - can't blame him for that!
Below is his portrait which flew with him to the States as a thank you to the person who adopts him and gives him a good home.

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Am sure he will find his forever home very soon - he is such a handsome loving chap, he deserves nothing but good things to happen to him from now on.

Happy Update

After literally his paws only just touching down in America he has been adopted! Received a lovely email from his new family with these great photos showing how relaxed and happy he is.





So happy for Casper, miss the cuddliest cat around!
Sadly still so many suffering on the streets in Qatar, which won't change anytime soon, but we do the little that we can to help.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

On The Drawing Board - Ziggy, Dorothy & Felix

 

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Meet three gorgeous kitties - Dorothy, Felix and Ziggy.  I am sure they all have a story to tell because their owner is an amazing rescuer of both dogs & cats in Qatar. For example, from the few I know about, there have been bottle fed kittens plus a mum and her nine pups - yes you read that right, nine! All thrived and got wonderful forever homes.

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If you are an animal in need in Qatar (we do have a lot), this is a person who you want to rescue you, the future will look much brighter from then on.

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The Portrait - Initial sketch

I just loved the composition that these cats naturally put themselves in, the interaction between them is just so sweet and natural. The owner was lucky to have the phone at the ready to capture this.

The start of little Dorothy peeping cheekily around her friend.

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Starting the basics on Felix.

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Continuing with Felix.

                                               

Moving onto Ziggy.

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Ziggy in progress; white animals are always the hardest to do.

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Finished trio

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Thursday, 14 March 2019

Cat Rescue - Shadow


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Shadow's story

Driving home from the school run, we spotted him outside a mosque eating rice that had been put out for the birds. When he moved we noticed he was limping badly and only really using three legs. It was obvious he was struggling and did not belong on the streets, especially as when he was approached he didn’t run away, just laid beside us and wanted a stroke. There was no way we could leave him there, so we had a quick search around for a cardboard box to put him in, he wasn't impressed but it shows how in need he was that he let us put him a box to transport home.
A visit to the vet discovered he had broken both his leg and tail, they had since healed but there is muscle wastage on the injured side as he doesn’t fully weight bear on the leg. His tail also feels really "wiggly" when stroked due to the breaks. He was only between 2-3 months old when rescued, so had an awful start in life. We will never know how he got his injuries or when he was dumped on the streets, all we know is it astoundingly hasn’t affected his trust in humans, he is a really sweet boy.
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Shadow is now doing really well, he can jump to bed height and is getting stronger daily, he does still walk with a limp which might never go but he can run really fast (which he does a lot) and flies up the stairs; when he is running he now uses the leg correctly, forgetting the past pain, so is slowly building up his muscle.  The vet believes he is a Maine Coon / Bengal/Arabian Mau mix - his coat is soo soft.
We would love to keep him but our older cats are not impressed. Shadow loves to play and chases everything that moves - our poor older cats and don't you dare move your toes in bed under the duvet, his favourite thing is to jump on them, which actually gets a bit painful! Very importantly, if you don’t have another playful cat, you will need to play with him – throwing balls, a toy on a stick etc. Obviously, he is a kitten so play is normal behaviour but with Shadow, that urge to chase and pounce is strong, probably his Bengal roots. He is very affectionate and loves to be with you, he is called Shadow because he literally follows me everywhere.

His Ideal Home

He would suit an experienced cat person who understands his urge to pounce and play; give him a ball and he will happily chase it for hours! He is full of character and has the loudest purr, which he does immediately you pick him up for a cuddle. He is also quite chatty, as soon as he sees you he gives little excited squeaks. He is adorable and very loving though a little shy with strangers. He is not a lap cat but likes to sit beside you, or in the same room as you, never on your lap though. He has very "doglike" tendencies and bonds closely with one person, also loves carrying things round in his mouth - pencils, balls and his favourite soft toy (who will be flying with him in his crate).  He is such a sweetheart, am sure his new family will love him as much as we do.
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  • Age: 6 - 7 months
  • Vaccinated: Yes
  • Microchipped: Yes
  • Spayed/neutered: Yes
  • Good with other cats: Not older cats who want to chill, would need to be tested with a friendly playful younger cat.
  • Good with dogs: Unknown
  • FIV/FeLV: negative
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His portrait will go to his new family as a thank you from me for giving him a good home. Big thank you also to Cat Rangers who agreed to take him under their wing. Shadowfinal
UPDATE -  Good news, Shadow flew to America on the 17th May to a great organisation called Cat Rangers, who help cats like Shadow find a forever home. I am very happy to report he has indeed now found a wonderful home and is now called Chester.
We still miss him (though our older cats don't) but am so pleased it all worked out for him. From being dumped on the streets of Qatar with a broken leg & tail to living in America, not a bad ending for this cute boy.
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In his new home with his new friend - yes he is in the dogs bed, nothing changes, still the boss! Love you Shadow.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

On the drawing board - Bebe

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Look at this stunning photo of such a gorgeous cat! Bebe's owner is a photographer (have a look at her portfolio kerrysellers.myportfolio.com), so I have been spoiled with this photograph - actually slightly worried I can do justice to this the amazing shot! Sadly Bebe passed away recently, so her owner is having the portrait done in her memory.

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A friend of mine, who is a pastel "human" portrait artist, once told me she always adds the eyes first so that she has someone to talk to whilst working on a portrait,  I have done the same here before starting work on his amazing coat.

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Was just about to post these when had to stop to mop up the floor, Qatar experienced a full-on thunder-storm, the art room windows proved not to be equipped for such unusual amounts of rain, hence the mopping!

Anyway, back at the desk and back to the art.  At the moment overemphasizing all his markings, will probably have to soften some slightly later but liking the powerful feel he is portraying, makes me think of the larger members of the cat family.

            

             

Have now completed all the basics, moving onto the refinement.

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I think I am finished but I will leave him on the easel to analyse a bit more before scanning him. I also always get my husband to have a look (good to get a fresh set of eyes to view it) but for him, it is actually a no-win situation, if he criticizes it I get defensive but I do actually value his opinion, sorry hubby!

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Below is the final scanned image of Bebe.

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