It's been rather quiet on the art front in the studio over the last couple of weeks. I had been on holiday and was unable to showcase my creativity. However, before my departure, I decided to do something new and exciting - I packed a portrait in my travel bag to work on during my downtime. This decision proved to be a blessing as the place we stayed in didn't have internet access for an entire week. I took this opportunity to draw a 'double collared Sunbird', a stunning bird captured by the talented South African photographer Scotch Macaskill. To add some extra vibrancy to my artwork, I experimented with my new Derwent Lightfast pencils, and the subject was the perfect choice to showcase some lively colours.
Instead of my usual pencil routine, I experimented with some new products I hadn't considered using before. As a purist, I typically only use paper, but this time I opted for a 3mm canvas called Pastelbord by Ampersand, which I use for my acrylic paintings due to its coarse surface. I also tried out the 'Zest-it pencil blend', my latest purchase. I was initially unsure if these products would work well together, but to my surprise, they did. The creative process was so enjoyable that I decided to take my project with me to Torquay.
On my third night away, I set up a small studio in the small bedroom and plugged in my desk lamp and a 4-way adapter. Unfortunately, the adapter fell and caused a power outage in the caravan. My dad, who was watching football with my brother, shouted, "What's goo'in off!" in confusion. We had to call a security guard who, not knowing much about electricity, had to phone a professional for advice. He eventually had to use a butter knife to remove the screws on the electric box outside the caravan and turn the power back on. Despite the mishap, I managed to get some artwork done in the limited space.
Now that I'm back in my studio, I'm working on the autumn newsletter for my website and have limited time. I plan to store the portrait in a spare frame until I finish it.
I was approached by a returning customer from the USA to create a Coloured pencil portrait of a Barn Owl and offered to create a few mock ups of compositions before I began as I always do. As a lover of photography I have a large photo reference library of various animals and birds including Barn Owls and so put together 5 different compositions one of which was the 2 Owls on the wall which became the basis of the portrait. The second stage was creating a few mock ups of the Owls within different backgrounds and finally, with the Owls and background in place the last collection of mock ups made were with various walls for the Owls to stand on which were in focus and added interest to the final composition. Many of my Wildlife portraits are created this way.
I chose a tan toned paper to work on which matches the warm tones of the Barn owls as well as giving strength in colour to the lighter tones such as the whites. The tonal background will be created using Derwent's Coloursoft range pencils which are soft and blend well for great effect and the Owls & the wall will be created using the caran Dache Luminance pencils which are ideal for very fine detail and strength of colour. A base layer of tones and loose detail is first applied to the whole of the portrait before I then apply the stronger & finer details to completion.
The Barn Owl at Cresswell, Northumberland (UK)
This portrait is based on actual Barn Owl territory at Cresswell in Northumberland (UK). It is a 40 minute cycle ride from where I live along the beautiful coastal route of Lynemouth through to Cresswell pond, this place regularly has Photographers set up waiting for this little guy to make an appearance. Sitting in the undergrowth of the wide open field which connects to a lagoon where you can regularly see Avocets, Oystercatchers & even Otters on the rare occasion, is an area overlooking the coast and is ideal for field mice and voles. I wait patiently as I see him in the distance, flying silently and hovering on numerous occasions, not at all phased by the long line of photographers with their huge cameras on tripods waiting to get some great photos themselves. There is something breathtaking about seeing such a Bird in the Wild and feeling honoured that this Owl continues it's daily journey passing close by whilst I click the rapid fire button on my camera. Here are some of those photos.
Most people visiting my website would understandably think that I only take on pet & portrait commissions, but I do undertake various subjects, if someone is looking for something specific. The three images below were created using an editing program, allowing me to cut and paste sections of digital images, to create one 'mock up', which will then become the reference photo used for the portrait. As a huge fan of photography, I have collected thousands of photographs of animals, birds & many other subject matter, that can be used for a bespoke portrait.
These Barn Owls were taken on two separate occasions at the Butterfly House in Sheffield, but the background was taken in Cresswell, Northumberland. The wall was taken on a different day, at Woodhorn church in Northumberland. They were all cropped and loosely fused together in an editing program, to create a single composition. The artwork, which is being created in coloured pencils for a returning customer from the USA, will be created by balancing out incorrect lighting and generally offering a more appealing and balanced background. When this article was first written, this drawing was currently in progress, but the finished drawing has been added here at a later date.
The final drawing was added in at a later date.
The Sumatran Tiger was also created in Coloured pencils for a returning customer who allowed me to create my own composition. The Tiger image was taken at a zoo, of which you can still see the bars. The water, rocks in the foreground, and the tree branches at the top left of the image, were all cut from individual images, to create the one composition.
The Green girl was created purely for a competition entry for the USA Colored pencil Magazine. You could pull any section from the image itself and create your own composition, for this I uploaded it into Picmonkey and literally played around with different tones, overlays and applications until I came up with the final reference image.
If you have your own idea for a piece of art that you would like to commission me to create in coloured pencils or acrylics, you can drop me an E-mail direct at: email@example.com, drop me a message via my CONTACT FORM or request a quote on the BOOKING/QUOTE FORM. Here is another bespoke commission that was requested for a Wedding Day, and laterly, a gift for a 1 year wedding anniversary gift.
Printed copy $5.99 £3.87* Delivery (1 - 2 weeks) £2.96*
Karen M Berisford