Taking shape

Art, artwork, Color pencil, Colored Pencil, Colour pencil, coloured pencil, painting, Uncategorized, Work In Progress



An actual photo taken in daylight 🙂

Whilst today is dark and dreary again and even with my daylight lamp I have given up working, the other day it was sunny and light so I managed to take a photo in better light conditions.

The Banyan Tree is now completely finished and I am moving on to the trees on the right hand side which will then give me a framework within which to work on the background before tackling the two figures which are really the focus of the piece.

Whilst working on this I have been converting some new pencils. I don’t need any but like most artists I love new tools of any kind and pencils are no different.

Prismacolours are the most affordable and have such lovely colours but I do know they are prone to breaking and can cause problems. Luminance are so expensive and far fewer in number but do have such a good reputation although I did hear of someone who sold hers as she couldn’t get on with them.

If I did buy any more I would really need to think about storage. If I did this then I would probably need to see about setting up a proper work space rather than working on my lap in the conservatory where I have light, warmth and often company, a place and way of working that suits me. So for now I’m sticking with what I’ve got….today at least 🙂


Layering on

Art, artwork, Color pencil, Colored Pencil, Colour pencil, coloured pencil, Work In Progress

Photo on 04-01-2016 at 15.19

Hope this is in focus enough to make out. I really should take photos while there is daylight rather than when the light is going. Its not that it’s particularly dark today but dusk comes quicker and earlier than I anticipate especially when the day has been reasonably light for a change.

Anyway, today has been about working on the Bayan Tree, bringing some deeper areas behind what was there and deepening the layers on some of the tree. Its amazing how I can think I’ve finished an area only to realise there are more layers to go still. It makes me realise how much more work I could have done on some of my earlier pieces of CP work. Still that’s what its all about isn’t it….working….practicing….learning…..developing….. and hopefully improving.

You may also be able to make out a few paler areas to the right where I have started to lay in some of the other trees and leaves a little more. When I have finished the Bayan Tree this is where I am going next.

Layers and Layers

Color pencil, Colored Pencil, Colour pencil, coloured pencil, Work In Progress

Photo on 02-01-2016 at 15.51 #2

The colours look a little different today as this was taken in the dying daylight rather than under a daylight lamp. I hope its clear enough to make out and isn’t too dark but I wanted to show what the early layers looked like having mentioned it in my last post.

Sometimes this is referred to as underpainting which is a bit misleading really. For me underpainting is what I do when I am using watercolour pencils or watercolour paint to cover the white paper before laying down colour with the coloured pencils. The reason for doing this is because it then takes less coloured pencil to build up the depth of colour afterwards. I sometimes do this if I know I want to leave some watercolour as it is and bring some areas to the fore by overlaying with coloured pencil. Otherwise for me it is just part of the technique of coloured pencil, that of laying down layer upon layer to bring depth of colour to a piece of work.

Anyway, if you look at the picture you can see some leaves that are finished or almost finished and some that have only two or three layers of colour and which look really pale. I have done the same for some of the trees.

I don’t usually work this way as I prefer to complete a section before moving on but in this piece I need to lay in some areas i.e. the leaves and trees so I can see where I am going with the background.


A dark day’s work

Art, Color pencil, Colored Pencil, Colour pencil, coloured pencil, Uncategorized, Work In Progress

A chilly, wet, miserable day so I set up my daylight lamp and continued working slowly on the piece of work I mentioned yesterday.

I’m reaching a point where I had something to share and knowing how much I enjoy seeing how other people work am happy to post something that has the under layers showing in some areas. I think it always helps to see how much of a mess someone else’s work looks, that way I don’t feel as bad when mine is at that stage 🙂

I have no title for this yet but it is the final piece for my London Art College Coloured Pencil Certificate, the brief for which is ‘people in a scene’. Hopefully you will see the people start to unfold in time.

I am adding two photos, yesterday’s and today’s you can see how much (little) work I managed to get done in about three hours.

Photo on 31-12-2015 at 14.59           Photo on 01-01-2016 at 15.46

Please excuse the photos, a dark day and an LED lamp are not the best combination at all.



Slowly does it

Color pencil, Colored Pencil, Colour pencil, coloured pencil, Uncategorized

The problem with coloured pencil work is that it is very slow, or at least it is for me. With watercolour I can work relatively quickly although I do have to be patient and wait for the paint to dry when working in layers but even that is fast compare to coloured pencils.

I do love coloured pencils though even if it can take an hour or two to complete about 5-10cm on some days.

When I began working with them I hated the pace I was forced to work at, the patience I needed escaped me, until that is I found myself immersed in the work, lost in what I was doing, totally at peace, absorbed and meditative as I worked. What frustrated me once is what I now love.

I also love the way the colours mix on the paper, how layering gives both depth and colour in a way that doesn’t happen with paint. The way a colour is built up of many other colours still fascinates me and has altered the way I look at colour, I believe forever. No longer can I look at white for example without seeing blues, pinks, mauves and sometimes green and yellow.

I haven’t posted here for a while because I was working on a present for friends, and as its of their grandchildren I still don’t feel it’s appropriate to share it anywhere. I then spent the last week trying to get the final piece for my Colour Pencil Certificate underway enough to share. It’s going ok but still doesn’t look like anything so I’m going to wait until it does and then will share a couple of work in progress with as far as I’ve got….so watch this space.

Cupcake Fun

Color pencil, Colored Pencil, Colour pencil, coloured pencil, Uncategorized, Work In Progress

I was going to save this until it was finished but as I haven’t posted any new work for a while…..here it is 🙂 It’s still a work in progress but hopefully will be finished by the end of the weekend if I work hard.


Its 100% coloured / colored pencil on Bristol Board. Only tiny though, around A5 size.

The art group I paint with has their Christmas exhibition coming up in December and I hope to have some new work to show.

Adult Colouring Books

Color pencil, Colored Pencil, Colour pencil, coloured pencil, Uncategorized

As well as being an artist I am also a holistic therapist and some months ago on my other blog solitarypath I wrote about Adult Colouring Books and Mindfulness. At the time I believed that they worked in the way that drawing or painting with coloured pencils did.

When I work with coloured pencils I lose myself in the work in a way that doesn’t happen with watercolour. I feel a deeper connection with the piece I am working on and I love the slowness that is needed to build the layers to create depth and strength of colour in my work. The more I work the more relaxed and calm I find I become.

On holiday recently, realising I had some long train journeys where I would need something to occupy myself, I purchased an adult colouring book and a small pack of pencils. Settling down with them I discovered that instead of relaxing me into a state of calmness being restricted by the lines filled me full of frustration. Instead of enjoying the process of creating I felt stifled, constrained and something I thought I would never say about any form of creating, I was completely and utterly bored.

I am sure these books fill a much needed gap in the market. It certainly is a market that is growing and Derwent themselves have joined the bandwagon bringing out an adult colouring book and pencil pack. I haven’t seen this yet but I suspect were I to work in it I would feel the same, although if anyone from Derwent should read this I am up for the challenge, and would be happy to be proved wrong.

Has anyone else tried these books? If so what do you think? Is it just me?




An experiment

Art, Color pencil, Colored Pencil, Colour pencil, coloured pencil, painting, Wildlife

imageI’ve been away for the last four weeks but before I went I had begun experimenting with a watercolour under painting and then working with colour pencil on top.

The background here is watercolour, some over drawn with colour pencil and the butterfly is 100% colour pencil as I wanted it to pop.

It certainly cut down the time I needed to spend working on the background but the watercolour paper, which I had thought was hot pressed and so smooth, may well be, my mistake, cold pressed and so has proved quite soft and springy to work on.

This is still not quite finished but I wanted to share it in its almost complete state. As usual I am finding it hard to decide how much more, if anything, it needs before I stop.

I will try this approach again in the future but will double check the paper I am using first.

The development of a pet portrait

Animal portrait, Color pencil, Colored Pencil, Colour pencil, coloured pencil, Pet portrait


imageFor me the most important aspect of any portrait, be it animal or human is the eyes. The eyes need to capture the essence of the animal or person and if these are wrong the whole portrait is wrong.

Once the eyes were right I began to develop this portrait by laying out in the lightest colours, the shape of the face.

imageDoing this lets me see the shape the face needs to take as well as allowing me to begin to build up the layers of colour. The slower I work the better the result. Pale layers first then gradually getting darker whilst paying attention to the colours I can see in the fur. Darkest darks and lightest lights are important to lay in.

image image  image

I also build up the fur slowly and again by starting light and moving towards dark.

image Being careful to pick out the colours that make up the White fur is very important as this again helps to give depth. By laying in the short fur first then moving towards the longer fur I can adjust the shape as I go until the portrait is complete.


What at is so important here is that it not only looks like no carries the energy and character of the pet.image