oeIt was one of those days when you just feel inspired to draw something, but you don’t know what and then your eye rests upon something that sparks your creativity. I was just returning from a shopping trip in Newcastle upon Tyne, when I spied some Highland cattle from the lofty heights of the double-decker bus I was travelling on.
The colour of the cattle, a rusty orange, captured my imagination and I sourced some images online on my return home. I found an excellent picture of a Highland cow and decided to reproduce it using a limited colour palette of coloured pencils: French Grey, Indigo, Raw Sienna, Chocolate, Venetian Red and Terra Cotta. I didn’t allow myself to use Black pencils. As well as working with a limited palette, I only allowed myself three-hours to create the drawing and the colouring. In hindsight it could have done with some extra work, but I was determined not to go over the time allocation I had set myself from the outset. In many ways this colour and time exercise reminded me of when I was a student at Cumbria Institute of the Arts in Carlisle.
I have a friend who is very fond of Highland cattle and this illustration just might find its way to her some day in the, hopefully, not-too-distant future…
Of all of the breeds of dogs that I have drawn in my lifetime, spaniels must be the most frequent, followed close on the heels (or should I saw paws?) by Border Collies.
A couple of weeks before Christmas I was contacted by a very friendly gentleman, named Keith, who asked me if I could draw his daughter’s fiance’s dog. Within a few days I was being collected by Keith and taken to his home to photograph the dog, who turned out to be a highly intelligent and very active Springer Spaniel, by the name of Alfie. I love it when people arrange to have special and totally unique illustrations done for friends and relatives. There is usually so much thought behind these actions and it always speak volumes of how highly regarded the recipients are to those that commission the illustration.
It’s always lovely to draw people’s pets, but when you have met the pet and made their acquaintance it does make the illustration all the more special for me. Alfie had a lot of white fur, which was complemented by his dark chocolate fur and the amber tone of his eyes. He is a very handsome dog indeed and one that would be a lovely companion to a dog lover.
The illustration took a few days to complete and because of the large area of white on Alfie’s chest, I put in a suffused raw sienna tone behind him, to highlight the profile of his fur.
The commission was done in secret and collected by Keith, who was very pleased with the result… I heard later, that the illustration had been a big hit with the young gentleman, Marc, who had received the illustration on Christmas Day.
So, that is another spaniel to add to my collection…and he is soon to be followed by a Jack Russell and a West Highland Terrier. They do say that ‘variety is the spice of life’…