Thursday, 2 December 2010

Sharbat Gula, pastel portrait

In the summer I took up my pastels again after experimenting on the wonderful new paper Pastelmat.  This paper is really marvellous, it solves all the problems that made me give up pastels years ago.  There is no texture to detract from the painting, and the paper grips the pastels enabling the build up of lots of layers, and none of it falls off.  So I treated myself to the Portrait set of Unison pastels, and this was my first experiment. This is the photo of the refugee Afghan girl by Steve McCurry, made famous in National Geographic magazine.   Steve has very kindly given me permission to upload this picture of my painting to share with my friends - thank you Steve!.   It isn't for sale, and copyrightof the photo remains with Steve.  You can see more of his wonderful photos at  I have his book of Portraits, if you can get a copy it is inspirational.
Unfortunately I'm not such a good photographer as Steve, and my photo of the painting is a little dark and has lost some of the detail in the hair, but it's there!  16x12 inches.
I have been using the Unison pastels and the Pastelmat paper quite a bit this summer, on portraits and landscapes, more coming soon!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Sad News

Going to be a break in the painting for a while, as my Mum died on Sunday.  Lots to do, funeral and things.  Guess the previous painting suits my mood.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Bealach na Ba finished

Well, it's been a while since posting, due to my mother being seriously ill and having to go down to stay in England for more than two weeks, with no internet access.  I had laid the picture aside, because it had gone slightly awry.  I wanted to paint the pale mist over the dark sky and blend it, but I thought it would maybe stay cleaner if I sprayed the sky with fixative first. Big mistake!  Don't know if the fixative was old, but a dark spray of speckles all over the sky was the result.  So I had redo the sky when I got back, and have now finished the foreground.  It is rather different from the reference, but an improvement on the photo I think.  I kind of lost the impetus with the long and stressful break, so it's not my best work. 

Still, onwards and upwards!  Have started on an altogether different picture, a sunset over the Cuillins, so lots of lovely colour and cheerfulness.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Bealach na Ba stage 2

I've done some more work on this, but the approaching North East Open Studios event is taking up time.  Hanging pictures, sorting prints, cards, organising publicity cutting down painting time.  However, when it starts on Saturday I shall be in the studio all day every day, so hopefully will get this finished in between visitors!
Bealach na ba stage 2

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Bealach na Ba

This is a dramatic landscape of a drive we went on on our recent visit to the northwest highlands.  The road into the remote peninsula of Applecross goes over this pass, Bealach na Ba, which is Gaelic for the Pass of the Cattle.  It is the highest road in Scotland, and is quite hair-raising, with switchbacks and sheer drops.  It was a gloomy grey day, and we were so high we were in the clouds.  Once through the pass the views over the sea to Skye and Raasay were amazing.  I wanted to paint these huge looming mountains, and add a more dramatic sky.  

Bealach na Ba

 I've started on light grey Pastelmat.  Mostly Unison pastels, I lay in the dramatic clouds, which I have taken from sketches and other photos which I took on this holiday.  I have lots of reference photos of skies.  Later I shall add some drifting mist over the mountains.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

UKCPS 2010 Annual Exhibition

I am delighted that my painting of 'Summer Hare' has been accepted for the UKCPS 2010 Annual Exhibition.  I had a lot of trouble scanning this one because of the pale washy background, which persisted in looking like an awful acidic green instead of a soft yellow!  It's still not quite a perfect scan, but here it is anyway.  Derwent Inktense and Artist pencils

Monday, 23 August 2010

Highland Landscapes

Back from our holiday in the Northwest Highlands, rested and refreshed (apart from the midge bites!).  Taken lots of photos of magnificent mountains and lochs for some landscape paintings, can't wait to get started.  Here's a taster, of the Cuillins from Elgol, a wonderful place on the Isle of Skye.  Pastel on Pastelmat.
'Cloud Over the Cuillins'