Tiverton Art Society Portrait Group

Cliff.jpgI’m not good at drawing every day (which is recommended by almost every professional artist) so attending the weekly portrait group on Thursday mornings (when I can) is a good discipline for me.  Cliff sat for us today and was an excellent model – he never moved!  I think we all ran out of time but I’m pleased with this sketch.  Cliff is sitting for us next week as well so I might be tempted then to have another go in pastel rather than charcoal.


Loving my town

The Christmas Fair at The Oak Room in town is not very far away (3rd Dec) so I’m aiming to add to my current portfolio of paintings in time to offer them at that event.  I’ve decided to focus on my local town, Tiverton, or Tivvy, as it is often known.  I recently completed a pastel of the Town Hall and yesterday I returned to pen and ink with a touch of coloured pencil to depict the Clock Tower.

Tivvy clock tower.jpg

Poppies, war, taxes, and peace . . .

It’s 100 years since the Military Services Act was passed following which single men between the ages of 18 and 41 were called to fight – all apart from the clergy, teachers, and those involved with essential industry.   And conscientious objectors.
Unsurprisingly the fact that The Taxes for Peace Bill had its first hearing in Parliamont on 16th July this year did not hit the media headlines any more than its second reading scheduled on 9th December is likely to.
I choose to wear a white poppy rather than a red one and I have, for many years, been a supporter of Conscience, a campaigning organisation which works to create a world where taxes are used to nurture peace, rather than to pay for war.  Rather than expound the arguments here in my own words I encourage you to read Giles Fraser’s letter in The Guardian.   Unfortunately,  he confuses pacifism with passivity but, apart from that, he sets out the arguments better than I ever could.

Three inspirational days

Nel and Rebecca, of The New Pastel School, do a first-class job of encouraging and developing the talents of their students.  We spend an excellent (if exhausting!) three days learning about mark-making, colour, tone, atmosphere, and composition in pastel painting.  There were some excellent and inspiring demonstrations but most of the time the trainers gave one-to-one advice and support to the delegates so that everyone was able to work on a subject of their choice and get the best out of the sessions.   We were encouraged to move out of our comfort zones so I opted to work on a rendering of Tiverton Town Hall, adopting a looser style than usual.  I’m pleased with the result.


Ambitious learner – day 1

I love learning these days (possibly making up for when I was at school!) so I booked onto yet another art course which is running this weekend (The New Pastel School).  I’ve just returned from the first day’s tuition and have to admit to being exhausted – in a good way!  The tuition was better than ever and we worked very hard indeed doing our best to put the advice into practice.  I usually hate still life but actually I really enjoyed pushing the boundaries today and I’m pleased with my efforts (we had only about 1 – 1.5 hours for each exercise).

Oil pastel exploration

Oil pastels don’t seem to be popular and I’m not sure why.  I bought a selection a couple of years ago and had some success with them but they’ve remained in the art cupboard since then until this week when I thought I’d revisit the medium.  I like them!  I’ve never really worked with oils (take too long to dry / nowhere to leave them / smelly) but I’ve always envied the richness of colour you get with them.  So working with oil pastels seemed an alternative worth exploring.

I’m still finding my way with them and am excited at the possibilities of where this will take me.   Here’s what I’ve finished today (well, I think it’s finished . . . lol !).  The photos I take never seem to render the colour properly but it’ll give you some idea.


Practise, practise, practise . . .

Having spent a sketching afternoon at Fursdon House this Summer I decided to continue my journey with watercolours by developing a painting from my original drawing.  I like the combination of pen and ink with watercolour:  I think the contrast of soft washes with hard lines works rather well for this subject. (Sadly the photograph doesn’t have the same luminosity as the original.)    Mmmm, getting there  – slowly!

Furden House watercolour.jpg


A whole day of art (thanks to TAS)

I’ve finally got around to joining the Tiverton Art Society’s portrait group which meets on a Thursday morning each week – a very friendly, and proficient, lot of people.  Then this afternoon a few members of TAS met at Tiverton Museum for another sketching afternoon.  I set myself the challenge of drawing part of an old fire engine which turned out to be as demanding as I’d expected!  Exhausted after all that concentration!!



Messing about with watercolour

Having enjoyed Sue Searle’s workshop last week (watercolour techniques) I was keen to have another go so I gave myself permission just to play and simply see what happened.  This is a bit of fun and whilst it’s not exactly a masterpiece I am pleased with what I’ve learnt through experimenting in this way – things I can use in the future to better effect.