Thursday, April 22, 2010

Masai update II

Here's another small update.  I'm starting to model the shapes and colours in the face and head as well as define the beads.  I'm hopping around with the beads, never being as methodical as I should be.  However, coloured pencil doesn't often smear and I do use a hand guard so I'm not too worried about it.

I'm trying to fit in as much as I can on this piece this week as next week my time will be limited for drawing.  I have other ideas brewing in my head as well for other pieces and while I am not rushing this piece, I also want to complete it in a reasonable time frame.  I also know that I can get distracted easily when it isn't a commission.

I quite dislike the close views of images on screen as they don't usually come across as they ever would in real life.  With this piece, the colours from a distance look so entirely different than when I'm working inches away from it.  No photographic tricks can provide that perspective unfortunately.

Mi-tientes is designed for pastel or charcoal and has a reasonable tooth.  I am using the smooth side as the textured side I consider very unpleasant and detracting from any image.  The smooth side doesn't have much tooth so I'm trying to make my layers light and think carefully in terms of colours so I get values in place before losing tooth.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Masai Update

I've worked a little more on this portrait.  The beadwork is slow going so I'm taking my time.  I feel as if I'm making this necklace myself!

Sometimes people have challenges using black paper and it seems that the colours almost sink into it, making them appear duller or more muted.  I don't think that the pigment can actually move into the fibre of the paper.  I believe its more a trick of the eye with lighting and viewer position as well as the black paper not letting the colour reflect as it should.  However, if someone has a scientific reason behind the theory of colour and black paper, I'd love to hear it.

I've experimented a bit more with photographing dark paper under artificial light and in this image I used the TV setting.  In TV mode I select the shutter speed and the camera selects the appropriate aperture and the quicker shutter speed seems to make a difference with the black paper.  I don't get the same level of glare back from it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I had a discussion about portraiture today.  Its not a lucrative genre unless you're in the right geographical place or have the right connections.  Larger centres with bigger populations, more disposable income, spare wall space and a sense of narcissism perhaps all help.

However, I love drawing portraits and always have.  There is something about faces that pulls me in and becomes my comfort zone in many ways.  So whether they make money or not, I will still produce them.

And tonight I made a start on another piece.  I'm obviously a glutton for punishment as this piece is on a Masai woman done on black paper and the necklace is very intricate beading.  I'm using coloured pencil for this - Derwent Coloursofts right now and its on a piece of black mi-tientes paper 19 x 25 which makes it a bit larger than lifesize.

Of course under artificial light getting an image that looks anything like the real thing is nigh onto impossible so this is the best I can do for now.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sea mysteries

A few weeks ago, on one of my beach explorations I found these devil's purses washed up on the high tide line.  Egg cases like these are found worldwide and come from skates, rays and some sharks and are also known as 'mermaid's purses'.

They vary in size and colour, these being fairly large.  By the time they are washed up, the embryos are usually long gone from their casing into the open sea.   I was given a link to an egg casing identification site and by comparing size, shape and colour have determined that the casings that I have likely come from Undulate Rays.

Rays and skates belong the shark family and are common in waters around the world.

I had the casing in front of me in the car and the only paper to hand was the back of a large brown envelopeso this is the resulting sketch. I'm currently working on various sketches and compositions with these for a larger drawing or painting.