Max

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Max, Coloured Pencil and Neocolor crayons A2 size

I made the foolish suggestion to my niece that I would draw a picture of her beloved dog Max for Christmas. I did add the caveat that it could be a complete failure and she would be getting a gift voucher if it didn’t work.  I have not done many dog portraits and he is difficult colour to be drawing.  I did spend some time on fellow blogger Rebecca Anderson’s site , she does amazing drawings of her black dog,

After a shaky start I am pleased with the result.  The eyes, in fact, have turned out too well and they  follow you around the room.  There were a couple of times when I was drawing it that I could feel him watching me.  Because he is so black, there are times when it is only the flash of the whites of his eyes, that let you know that he is curled up into a dark corner.

He is a rescue pup, we got him at around three months, but he must have had a rough time as he is still a very nervous boy and easily spooked.  My niece has done an amazing job with him and he is well trained, though prone to getting into trouble.  He is visiting us at the moment, while Katie is at the beach with friends.  Our girls love having him to visit, Rosie loves her elder brother, but he is more interested in basking in the sun.

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Rosie, Max and Hannah. Max had to voice is objection in being disturbed from his afternoon nap.

Karen

 

 

 

 

Commissions and new web site

Wellanbah (Commission) Ink and water soluble crayons 40 x 40cm

It has been an incredibly busy and exciting lead up to Christmas this year. I now have a website, where you can buy my original art works or prints of your favourites. It is something I have been wanting to do for ages, but not had the time (or energy) to undertake. So have a look around it is at Karenbaileystudio.net. To compliment it I have a Facebook page Karen Bailey Studio and I have renamed my Instagram account the same. I have most of my social media organised (or as much of it as I plan to drive at the moment), of course I now have to keep up with it all.

My other exciting development is that I am taking commissions. These will be in three different formats

  1. Mixed media paintings of your home and garden.
  2. Coloured pencil drawings of your favourite bloom
  3. Mixed media painting of your favourite travel or holiday photo.

I advertised before Christmas in my local community Facebook page hoping someone might be interested, but not expecting much. The support I received was amazing, over 100 likes and three commissions. I was soooo excited, then of course I panicked, all the horror stories I had heard regarding commissions flooded into my head and what if the drawings didn’t work out!!!! But the people who wanted the commissions were really lovely and I had such fun. It was challenging, but I enjoyed drawing different things.

The commission I have included here was very different from what I usually do. Painting a autumnal landscape was fun and I channelled some Vincent as I did those poplars. It worked out well after a few problems with the shadows. I wasn’t dark enough, then I went overboard and went too dark and had to lighten again. Thank goodness the water soluble crayons were forgiving. (Thanks Julie for putting me onto Neocolours by Caren dAche).  The colours are actually a lot closer than these two photos indicate below, just shows you the difference scanning and monitors can make to the images.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, I certainly did, spreading the celebrations over two days.  I spent Christmas day at home with my sister and had the most tranquil of days, walking the dogs, cooking a feast and pottering in the garden.  Boxing day was our family dinner and another lovely day spent with everyone, lots of people, dogs and of course food and drinks.

Christmas breakfast under the grapevines on a lovely sunny day. 

So please pop over to my website and have a look, it is still a work in progress as I am making it myself, but I hope you like it.

Karen

Rose Completed

Pierre de Ronsard Rose (359 x 318)

Pierre de Ronsard is complete. I am pleased with the outcome, it conveys the story I want to tell about the subject.

I was discussing this with a friend the other day, the importance of giving your interpretation on the subject and that there needs to be a conversation between the artist, the viewer and the subject.

Personally I like to refine my subjects and stylise them to bring out the beauty I see in each bloom and to blow up the image. It is about finding the beauty in everyday scenes and looking closely at the small things around you. It is part of my philosophy of consciously looking for joy. It is too easy to see what is wrong, bad or ugly in the world and it is what is reported about the most. You don’t need to journey to find beauty, it is there all around, you just need to take a moment, be still and really look. If I can share these moments or make someone take a closer look at their environment, then I feel that I have achieved something as an artist. Actually if I can share the joy I find then I am happy.

I hope this rose gives you some joy and brightens your day a little.  Pierre de Ronsard is available for sale on my new website either the original or as a print.  Go to karenbaileystudio.netkarenbaileystudio.net and check out the portfolio pages.

Karen

Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas ‘Fire and Ice’

I have been working on this drawing for awhile now.  Adding different backgrounds to my flower portraits has been an idea in my head for some time, but I have had trouble trying to figure out how to do it.  I have tried before with smudgy type backgrounds (technical term there), but I have never liked it.

The idea for this background came to me when I was photographing some sweet peas last year and was looking at the great pattern of the stems and tendrils and thought they would make a good background, especially if I did them in grey scale.  This also gave me the chance to use my water soluble graphite sticks.  I always love the chance to play with new art supplies and it may even justify their purchase!

Although I am fairly happy with the result, I am not completely sure that this is the answer.  The sweet peas are cut out and are just sitting on top of the background, so nothing is set yet.  When I am not sure of a picture I have a few techniques I try to get another perspective on the work.

  1. Put the whole thing away and look at it again in a few weeks.  Not having seen it for awhile gives me fresh eyes to look at the work again to see if I really do like it or not.
  2. The opposite of this is to stick it on the wall where I can look at it for awhile to figure out what is not working.
  3. Taking a photo of the work is my third way of figuring out what is the problem, making it black and white can help, especially if you do not have enough contrast, as this is hard to tell sometime with coloured work.

If you have a different technique please share it with me as I always need help.

Last weekend I went back to one of my favourite nurseries, Lambley Nursery just out of Ballarat, as they had a garden tour and you could visit their sweet peas that they grow for their flower seeds, over 100 varieties.  The sweet pea I drew is from their garden last year and is called Fire and Ice.  I took a few photos, (over 70, but who is counting) and have included a few of my favourites for your viewing pleasure.

Might be a second Sweet Pea picture….

Karen

Rose – Pierre De Ronsard (WIP)

Pierre de Ronsard WIP (2)This is my latest work in progress and my favourite rose in the garden at the moment.  It is a big call to name my favourite rose, but Pierre wins.  Old fashioned roses are my favourite, the abundance of petals and the heavenly scent are major points in their favour.  I love the way the colours move from cream with a hint of green on the outside, to cream with a flush of pink on the edges in the middle, to a beautiful subtle pink in the centre.  The combination of cream and pink with the hint of apple green is stunning in this rose.

This particular climber has been in my garden for over eight years and is well established and producing magnificent blooms.  I find that my roses produce better blooms the older they get.  This is especially true for the old fashioned roses who tend to ball (go brown at the bud stage and never open) when young.

I have drawn this rose in my usual style with a under wash of sennelier ink then coloured pencil over the top.  It has been a great deal of fun to get back into this work again after a bit of a break and I have really enjoyed working with the beautiful colours of this rose and the challenge of making shadows in the cream rose work.  There is nothing like drawing a flower to make you really understand and appreciate it.

 

It has been ages since I last posted and the past 12 months have been very difficult.  My Mum passed away this time last year and after caring for her for so long and other major life crisis following on, I haven’t had the energy to keep the blog going.  My final blow was being made redundant a couple of months ago, just when you think it couldn’t get worse it does.  But it was a blessing in disguise and it has given me time to re-evaluate and make some new choices on what I would like my life to be like.  One of the clearest decisions was to take the opportunity to follow my art more seriously.  So for the last month I have been preparing my website and deciding on some business strategies and am looking forward to telling you all about them in the next post.

Karen

 

Fairy Wax Flower

Fairy Wax Flower Coloured Pencil and Ink

Fairy Wax Flower Coloured Pencil and Ink

Still running around taking photos of the wildflowers in the bush, it has not let up and with still more varieties coming into bloom.  We have not had such a bumper year (or a wetter one) and I am still finding new flowers to add to my collection of photos.  I will have so many photos to inspire my drawings, I hope they will last all year.

This one is the Fairy Wax flower.  It is so very photogenic, just about every photo I have taken of these flowers have worked and the white flowers against the dark green leaves really stand out.  I never realised that flowers could be photogenic, but for me it is the case.  Some photograph well enough but just don’t look as good as others.  Of course this would have nothing to do with my ineptitude at photography or lack of real equipment  (Ha ha).  I am still taking all my photos on the Iphone with the Camera+ app.  I love the ease and I know that I would not have the patience to faff around with setting up a lot of equipment and give up taking photos.  Here are some of what I have taken lately.

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Pink Fingers Orchid

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Pink Bells

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Large Sundew

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Castlemaine Spider Orchid

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Castlemaine Spider Orchid

We have planned a beautiful poteger vegetable patch with raised beds, formal layout and walls of wire mesh to climb things up.  It will be a staged event, with the beds going in this year and the walls next.  But we have had the wettest September on record, instead of 60mm of rain we have had 160mm.  this is really slowing down progress.

I will leave you with t Rosie watching the rain.  She is growing so fast, but seems to do it in stages, one moment her legs have grown and she is all gangling, then her ears will grow and she looks like a fox.  Never had a dog do that, but it is very funny to watch.

Rosie watching the rain

Rosie watching the rain

Karen

Greenhood Orchid

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Greenhood Orchid Coloured Pencil and Ink

 

Spring is finally ‘officially’ here and I have been torn between walks in the bush to find flowers, drawing and gardening.  I feel like the puppy, excitedly running from one to the other, not settling at anything.

It is such a busy time and as the weather tries to warm up, you just want to be out there.  We have just finished planting the roses and lavender in the front garden bed and made a huge seed order for the summer vege patch.  Not sure where they are all going to go, but it was impossible to be restrained with all these amazing heirloom varieties that sound so wonderful.  Vegetables such as Flageolet Flagrano Bean, Paris market carrots, Costoluto Genovese tomatoe, one of the oldest Italian varieties and Rosa Bianca eggplant.

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Little Greenhoods in the bush

The little Greenhood orchids are still flowering and I finally found time to complete a drawing of one.  Such gorgeous little things only a 1-2cm long flower and the stand no more than 7-8cm high.  I am not usually fond of green flowers but these are so crisp and fresh and who can resist such a bizarre shape.

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Lynette and the dogs, searching for orchids on a spring morning

I have found a couple of new orchids this year, which is always exciting.  There is the Leopard Orchid all yellow and brown, Lynette thinks it looks more like a dragon and the Yellow Moth orchid with its stunning, clear, yellow petals.  The good thing about being a beginner at this, is there are so many new plants to discover.  Every walk is an adventure.  I now have my sister hooked and it is better with two people searching, as all these flowers are very small.  (Tap/click the image for the orchid name.)

Karen