THE RAMBLINGS OF A STRUGGLING ARTIST ON LIFE WITH TWO TERRIERS, A PONY WITH ISSUES AND OTHER WILDLIFE AND BIRDS THAT CROSS OUR PATH

7 February 2015

DRAWING MOSS #2 AND POPPY


MOSS
Thelma's dog at northstoke.blogspot.co.uk


POPPY

These two dogs have been more of a challenge than I was expecting. They both have shaggy fur which is always more forgiving than a sleek hound with no room for extemporising. They have very distinct characters and, particularly with Moss, the first AND the second time, I had to do the eye twice. Thank goodness for the invention of the metal rubbing shield, at least that's what we called them at architectural college; they allow you to rub out very specific and tiny areas without smudging or affecting anything surrounding the mistake that needs removal. I took all these on my phone, and not that many (you may be glad to read) so apologies - some are absolutely terrible. Moss first.

I decided to do Moss bigger this time, and without the grass he was standing on. Big mistake on the time front because I needed to do much more detail but, with the unusual blessing of hindsight, thanks to the damned postal service, it was the right thing to do. As usual, I started with the eye, rubbed it out and did it for what was now the FOURTH time. Sketching in dark areas and the nose....


Moss has very white areas, which I find really difficult, and some really dark areas, which I like doing much more. I always stick with the head until I'm happy I've started to get the character right. BAD photo:


Some colour goes in and I start the dreaded white patch down the chest. How to define it with a grey pencil and not spend eight hours doing so?


Move on to easier bits and come back to it........


Still avoiding it.........


I can't avoid it any longer......too much grey though


Out with the rubbing shield....I'm happier. Sign it. 


I stand back and take a longer view and I realise the black patches on his head aren't dark enough.....


That's better.


And here's the final scan


And here's a strange photo of the one that went missing. It makes the pencil lines blend together into what looks like paint. Looking at it now, A VERY tiny part of me is glad I had to do it again. Do you agree?


Why was Poppy so difficult? I'm not sure really. CT wanted her head rather than the whole body so I had nowhere to hide. I think the amount of white fur was a challenge again and the transparency of all the stuff around the muzzle. 


Getting the colour involved helped a lot......


I can't tell you how many times the rubbing shield came out on this one!


Finished eventually:


And here's the final scan, for my reference and just in case the original ever goes missing or gets damaged.


Thanks so much to Thelma and CT for trusting me to draw them. 

I had a conversation with a few friends last week who were asking me how much I charged to do a drawing. They were outraged when I told them and berated me soundly. I suppose it's about confidence in your own worth, of which I have little. They made me work it out properly and the hourly rate is often below the minimum wage, so, I agreed I should raise it to £50 which has nearly killed me. I may never get another commission, but at least I'm not underselling myself as much, something Thelma has mentioned to me in the past funnily enough. 

So, until next time, here are my boys at sunrise a couple of days ago. Yes, the snow remains, despite sunshine and supposedly rising temperatures. The stuff in our garden is going nowhere and I nearly came a cropper on the ice sheet on the drive this morning. Have a great week. 


60 comments:

  1. Oh dear- I had no idea you'd found it so difficult- I feel guilty now asking you to do her. On the plus side, we all love the portrait and you've captured her perfectly. I got it in a frame today and she's now up with the rest of the family and it looks lovely :o) xx

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    1. Don't be silly CT. Without a challenge it would be boring. Difficult doesn't mean unpleasant and the more of a challenge it is, the more satisfaction there is at the end. I have only thanks for your trust in me! Xxx

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  2. Just want to say congratulations on two very beautiful drawings. Please share some more.

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    1. Thanks very much and next commission will be published too.....if I get another one!

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  3. They are beautiful, you are so talented Em x

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  4. Brilliant drawings and so interesting to see them grow, thank you for sharing.

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  5. I love them both and think I do prefer, ever so slightly, the second one of Moss. Have you done Jack yet?

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    1. I had a bit of a Jack disaster some months ago. I loved it until I put in something in the background that completely ruined it! I haven't had the confidence to do another one yet.....I will.

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  6. What absolutely MARVELLOUS drawings. I "know" both dogs from blog-watching and think you have done a wonderful job with both of them - to the life, I think. Please don't undersell yourself, and please BELIEVE in yourself. You're a very talented artist.

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    1. Thanks BB - much appreciated, and writing the blog and having people's opinions has helped me so much. I would never have had the confidence to do commissions before.

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  7. I think you have done an absolutely stunning job on both these paintings Em. Lovely to see your process and thoughts on how you completed them.

    Great photo of your two on the moor. We saw glimpses of the snow on our recent trip staying at Buckfastleigh this week.

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    1. Our garden is still covered in it and it turning to ice as the rest of the world melts!

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  8. Fabulous Em, you are so talented. I can see their personality in their eyes. Last shot is lovely too.

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    1. I think they're feeling a bit neglected....in the absence of another commission, I must do Jack.

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  9. These are really lovely, Em - you've perfectly captured their expressions in your drawings, well done for putting your talent to such good use.
    Love the pic of your two too! Happy weekend,
    Xx

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    1. Thanks Gilly. We had a really good one, other than the oven breaking on Friday night! xx

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  10. Absolutely brilliant drawings Em.
    You have an amazing talent.

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  11. Great drawings Em. Love also to see how you show the process. Truley works of art.
    Love the capture of the dogs in the snow.

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    1. I'm so sorry I'm missing the sunrise now. I look at it out of the window as I'm getting dressed but by the time I'm out with the camera, it's gone.

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  12. The ears are especially realistic.

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  13. In your second portrait Moss has a more manly chin. Both are A+ in my book.

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    1. Thanks Joanne. I think you're right about that chin.

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  14. Hi Em....
    Beautiful sketches....and very reasonably priced, I must say!
    I am thinking of my daughters Golden Retreiver Lola....
    I just might be in touch....
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  15. I wish I could sit and look over your shoulder -- and please Miss, what is a rubbing shield?

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    1. A rubbing shield is a very thin piece of metal with holes in it so you can put one of the right-ish shape over the area you want erased and rub the eraser over it. the area exposed will be rubbed away leaving the surrounding area as it was. I'm boring myself here....I refer you to Amazon! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Helix-20542-Erasing-Shield-T20054/dp/B00290MJAS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423505482&sr=8-1&keywords=helix+erasing

      ENJOY!

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  16. These drawing are both fabulous and I loved seeing the progression of your work on them.

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  17. Beautiful drawings - I would rather like to have Tess done when she has been cut - at present she is a mess but will be made into a smart girl at the end of February (too cold before then). As we live at the opposite side of the country, what would I have to do - take a series of photographs? As for putting the price up - goodness me, your drawings are worth even more than that if the truth be known. Please let me know.

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    1. I've emailed you Pat, or at least I think I have. Not sure if I've got the right address....

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  18. Hi Em, Moss's drawings are gorgeous, you have worked hard and really you should charge more for work done as I have said before... He was difficult having 'merle' colouring. Cost me £50 as a pup, (dash of spaniel) and was always a very good companion. Could never bath him, hated water, so it was always buckets in the garden with him firmly tied up after a roll in fox poo! well done I shall be so happy to have the drawing when it arrives, all fingers crossed X

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    1. Snippet has NEVER had a bath but then he's never rolled in anything either........unlike Jack who has a bath at least once a week!

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  19. It is wonderful to see the way that your work progresses through the different stages. I certainly think that you are even now charging a fair price. I was thinking back and I have a couple of original flower watercolours that were done by a work colleague over a decade ago and she charged about this price for them way back then - and they are not as good or detailed as your pieces! It is a step in the right direction though and now you have made the first increase you will I hope feel happier in the future charging the real value of your work! xx

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    1. Lets hope I still get some work though Amy! xx

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    2. I am sure that you will! I would commission you, but I don't have a pet for you to draw! xx

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  20. Em, the second Moss is wonderful - what a beautiful portrait of a stunning dog. And I love the portrait of Poppy which I have already admired on CT's great blog. I love my Flossy portrait and didn't know til reading this that white is so hard but I can see why - so double thanks for capturing her so perfectly. It is a treasured picture. Your skills bring a lot of joy. Lily xxxx

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    1. What a lovely thing to say - thanks Lily, and I'm so pleased you love your Flossy! xx

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  21. Your work is fantastic - those dogs look so lively and full of character. Thank you for the staged pictures, they help a non-artist like me understand the process - just magical really. Worth every cent of what you're charging, and then some!

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    1. I hope so Virginia. Let's hope I still get some commission work!

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  22. Beautiful drawings and still cheap at that price! Jean

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  23. You have a wonderful gift and I enjoyed this post so much showing a work of art in progress. Best wishes Em

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  24. Em, they are both wonderful! And yes, you are under estimating how good you are! I hope you are able to do more art!

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    1. Me too! I'll try and get down to some non-commission stuff now. The impetus isn't the same though!

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  25. Oh Em, Brilliant !
    You are such a wonderful artist.
    Thank You for letting us see all the steps !
    Moss is very handsome and much better without the grass.
    Poppy is delightful.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Glad you agree about the grass. His feet were slightly buried in it which is why I did it the first time. The second time, I just made them up and hoped for the best!

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  26. Beautiful drawings - you are so very talented Em :) Great to see the work in progress too!

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  27. Those are lovely drawings - interesting to see them as works in progress

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    1. Thanks LRH. You still haven't answered my question about talking about you here....I think I'll just do it anyway sometime unless you object!

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  28. Just wanted to comment after everyone ...
    I am very amazed (envious ?) of your ability to draw so wonderfully realistic.
    That is something I have always wanted to do but I really can't. I can fake it a bit (small drawings) but not with real feelings or sensitivity that you put in your drawings.
    I think it is also the way I see things, I see shapes and break things down to basic flat shapes.
    Also, do you remember when you started your blog ? just look how your blog has grown and how many wonderful people follow you.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Your'e right Parsnip - thank so much for your wise words from which I take great heart. I would love to be able to draw like you and I'm rarely happy with the realism and could easily over-work them. I force myself to stop! xx

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  29. These are so wonderfully done!
    Yes, and heaps of work too.
    Loved following your methods and am full of admiration.
    Also full of admiration for you cutting out cake. My husband cut out potato chips a year ago and has lost lots of weight! Hm....
    Looks cold in your last photos
    endless winter here.

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    1. You poor things over there in the freezer! The cake thing is killing me but I've lost eight pounds so I'm keeping it up for a bit longer. Nine and a half stone is the target......sigh.

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  30. pat.thistlethwaite@btinternet.com - didn't get your e mail so try again please.

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Thank you so much for leaving a comment. It's great to read them and I will always try to reply.