Tinkering and tidying up…

Well I’m lost without my little Bengal pals, they were such a part of my life for a few weeks now they’ve gone home! ;0)

I’m pleased to say that Tracey and Steve were delighted with their comission, so another happy customer…yeay!

So now what? Well there’s lots to do.
This week I’m expecting reference images from several commissions that are on order so that they can be added to my schedule.

I need to create new work for my portfolio as four of my pieces will be going to the SOFA exhibition in Aug/Sept, so I’m excited about the exhibition and about creating new work!

I’ve just had a good tidy up in my studio – which always makes John (hubby) laugh.  I usually start by saying I’m off to tidy my studio and an hour later he comes up with a cup of tea to find me in the middle of the floor, surrounded by the ‘stuff’ I’m tidying having become distracted by a reference book or article in an art mag…Oh well I’m so predictable ;0)

Anyway, I did tidy up and I’m now ready to start on the little Siamese kittens.
Pat Sharp is a breeder of Siamese cats, you can check out her website here
She very kindly sent me this delightful shot which has now reached the top of my ‘to do’ list:

I love the way they all look like they are about to fall over, but I couldn’t resist the one pushing the other out of his/her shot.
Not sure on the caption yet, but I’m liking “Move! You blockin’ my close-up”, at the moment – unless of course you can come up with anything better!  Now there’s a challenge.
The other thing is that this will probably be submitted as part of my college work too, so I have an opportunity to try out some of the new papers that I ordered a few weeks back.  Possibly the fisher- definately pastels…
Right I’m off to find my fisher paper…
Speaky later

The Bengal 6 complete!

So here it is all done and dusted!
I will be delivering it to Tracey and Steve on Sunday,so I can’t wait for them to see it.
It will be interesting to know what the subjects make of it.  My Brit Blue, Amber went around the back of it when I showed her, to see where the cats were…;0)  Bless.
So it’s a short blog today – just wanted to show the finished article – I have a busy weekend of filming this weekend.
My husband, John, is a photographer and we are filming his new range of photography videos in the studio, so I’m off to create the autocue and shoot list now!
The things I do…
Have a great weekend all – next blog will see the start of the siamese kittens.  But don’t despair if you’re a Bengal lover as Spirit will be back in a couple of weeks in a painting all of his own ready for the Supreme Cat show at the NEC!
Take care

The Bengal 6 (and a mouse) Part 7

Light at the end of the tunnel…

…but it has been a very pleasant tunnel!

Well I spent 3 days a the ‘Just Dogs Live event’ in Peterborough – Fri, Sat & Sun drawing cats ;0)

Nobody seemed to mind and they roused lots of interest.
It was extremely hot, so there weren’t as many people at the display rings as expected.  Mostly poeple were showing the dogs then taking them home out of the heat.  At least our trade stands were in the cool.
As for the strange people who took their dogs to a dog show and left them in their cars in 30 degree heat – well don’t get me started!
Quick move on….
Here’s Sonnet, finished except for his whiskers.
Now it’s Jasper’s turn for some eye make-up.  I love this shot ‘cos his eyes look like they’ve been glued in!

The next few shots show the build up of Jasper’s features in the same way  that I’ve created all the other cats. Starting with his tash, then the rest of his facial features.

In this shot he’s almost done, since this shot I’ve checked a couple of my other reference shots to get his feet right and darkened up his paws a little on top.
What about the mouse?
You remember that I said that the space was crying out for some kind of toy?  Well I used one of Amber’s toys as reference to create a little blue mouse that just fits in there nicely…
and finally…
…there is still a little tweaking to do, I have strengthened and added more shadows since this shot.  I just need to darken up Shadow’s fur a little now that I have all the cats in.
Expect to see the signed finished article on Friday…
See you soon

The Bengal 6 part Six

Plagued by thunder flies
It’s amazing how many people have never heard of thunder flies.  I thought you got them everywhere – maybe people call them something different.  They’re those miniscule 2mm long black flies that love the corn so much…and at this time of year they appear to love everything else too.
For an artist it’s a nightmare as they get into paintings under the galss and you end up with a little flurry of them collected in the corner of white mounts.

This year they have managed to slip inside my PC screen and my laptop screen – actually inching their way throufh the liquid crystal until they can go no further.  Now I hvae strage little commas in the documents that I write until I realise that it’s a thunder fly!
Anyway that’s not what you came here for is it?

I have been cracking on a pace with the Bengal family and shortly I’ll be starting on Jasper – the last cat in the piece.

Here’s Carminah 90% finished – no whiskers yet.  Her eyes are amazing colours, clearly she’s at that age here where they’re still deciding what colour they should be! There are flecks of almost everything in there.

I ‘discovered’ a blue stuffed mouse in
Ambers toy basket and thought that it would complement the rusts and ochres in the piece, but before I could do anything with it, Amber decided that I couldn’t play with her toys and has whisked it away somewhere, so now I have to hunt the mouse…
Having finished Carminah for now, I started on Sonnet.  The next few shots follow the same pattern as before with a start on the eyes and then slowly building up the layers from blocks of colour to detail. Here’s a shot of all the family so far…
Here you can clearly see the layers building.
For some reason, Sonnet does not look happy to be having his photo taken herewhich I think adds to the character of the piece.  They all have their own particular expressions.

In these two images you can see how the whole thing starts to change as the dark tones are strengthened.  Each cat that is finished anges the whole look of the composition.  Spirit is very striking in his markings and fairly vibrant and Sonnet balances this out nicely.  At the moment Shadow stands out as the palest of the bunch, but once I start on Jasper, these two will balance up nicely.

Upcoming showtime
You will find me this weekend  – Friday, Saturday and Sunday –  at the East of England showground in Peterborough at “Just Dogs Live!”.  No doubt I will be putting the finishing touches to this piece and starting on the next commission.
If you get a chance to go – I might see you there.
Have a good weekend all.
Right, better go and find that mouse…

The Bengal 6 part Five

Well what a busy weekend!
Had my mother-in-law, Pauline, with us for the weekend as she is moving from Luton up to Rushden into an assisted living apartment – a big upheaval for an 80 year old!

Anyway, we toddled off to the Hollowell Steam Rally and Heavy Horse show, mainly because she adores horses and also because I wanted to photo’s of them.  Let me tell you, pushing a wheelchair up and down those hills gives you muscles on muscles.  I could have a rant (as my friend Sue would say in her blog) here about the number of people who moaned about the fact that we had taken a wheelchair to the event! But I was a good girl and just thought at them that they should be grateful that they don’t have to use one. 

Anyway got some good horse shots for future paintings and some wonderful shots of owls and falcons.
Eventually everyone went home and I was left to the peace and quiet of my artwork…

Heres a (rather grainy) shot of Shadow – I have tweaked the colour of his eyes a little as they were a little too green before.

When you look at the group shot you can see that there’s now a difference between Spirit and Shadow.  Still need a little more work, but that will come once I have all the cats finished.
I started adding more body colour to Inca and defining the markings on his head, then strengthening the darks.

Again, Inca has lovely markings and wonderful flecks of light over the dark.  You can just see in the last shot that I had started adding undercolour to the kitten, Carminah, too.

As will all the others, I started with the eyes, then added the under colour before moving on to defining the markings.  I need to sort through my reference shots now to find a good shot of her tail. She was unhelpfully sitting on it when Tracey took this body shot – who would work with animals eh? ;0)

I definately want to place a toy in that space between her and Spirit as she has that mischeivious look in her eye! So while you look at the group shot so far, I’m off to raid Amber’s toy basket!

Next update planned for Tues or Wed.

See you soon

Take care Jilly x

The Bengal 6 – Part Four

This is the life! My lovely husband has just made me the most luscious large, foamy cappuccino, (I knew that coffee machine pressie was a stroke of genious ;0)  ), with 3 jaffa cakes on the side; which leaves me in the ideal position to tell you about the progress with the Bengal 6.
So when we last spoke I had just started on Spirit.  Since then, I have completed the Open University assignment that is due tomorrow and had time to get out the pencils!  So you can see from this shot that I carried on building up the layers in Spirit’s body fur.  He has such amazingly rich markings that he almost glows.

Here’s a closer look – I love this alert expression that he has – almost like he’s about to pounce on you!
At this point I also started to add some shadow and depth under and around him.
I should mention that these images were taken with my iPhone!  John (hubby) was doing a lecture the other evening at a camera club in Kempston and it was such a beautiful evening that I decided to go along and take my work with me so that I could sit in the car and do it, but I forgot to take my camera.

Anyway they are not too bad, maybe a little grainy, but you get the idea.

This image makes me smile.  It shows an almost finished Spirit – I say almost because in both shadow and Spirit the whiskers are missing.  These are usually the last things to add and it’s amazing the difference they make.  I always have to stop myself adding them at this stage because invariably I’ll want to strengthen the background or shadows which means going over any whiskers that are in the way.  I smile because in this shot you can just see a ‘naked’ Carminah peeping in – looks like she’s saying “What about me?”

Now it’s Inca’s turn. 

The base colour coat for the eyes is first then the underpainting for the blocks of colour in the face.

Comparing these two images you can see how brave you have to be with these areas of colour.  The raw Sienna colour is aptly named as it does seem quite raw on it’s own, but by the time the graphite tail is added on top everything begins to calm down a little.

You can see the difference here that the darker top of the head and detail over the Sienna makes.  You can also see here that I’ve started to add a suggestion of colour to Inca’s body.
This is the wider shot that I took just before I added the detail to Inca’s head, but you can see how the whole is starting to pull together with the background and shadows slowly starting to build.
I’m off to finish Inca now and start on the kitten. 

I’m sure that space between the kitten and Spirit is crying out for a toy!

Take care all

Jilly x