Summer of Love

Welcome to my Summer blog.

The last few months have just flown by and it's been a frantic year in my household so far, with running my new classes, commissions, trips away and I'm still reeling from the news that BoJo is our new Prime Minister! And with the added stress of the kids' GCSEs and end of term exams, college applications and then Prom, school is finally out for summer and I am SO ready for a break.

Talking of breaks- I did had a lovely trip to Love Supreme Festival last month for a long weekend. What a treat for the senses- I could literally spend all my time at this place. Set in the idillic grounds of Glyndebourne House, the atmosphere was electric, there was so much colour, energy creativity and a general feeling of goodwill amongst everyone. With beautiful weather and amazing live music - jazz, soul, reggae and latin grooves, I felt totally inspired.. Armed with my little sketch book I enjoyed the chance to practise some quick plein air sketching.

I'd forgotten how good it is to immerse oneself in ones surroundings and just draw from life without caring about the outcome. It's the ultimate in mindfulness and great practise for quick gestural drawing. There isnt time for accuracy which gives a childlike quality of line to the sketches which I find quite refreshing. Here are some more sketches

I've been working on several portrait commissions of siblings over the last few months. Below is the process of one of the pastel portraits. I worked on Art Spectrum ColourFix Pastel paper which has a great tooth for the pastel to cling to and is sturdy enough to take several layers. I found it helpful to do a tonal study first in

neutral greys as it's very important to establish the values before I add the colour. (below)

Once I identified the subtle changes from light to dark, I then added the colour

This sweet little girl (above) had much shorter hair when I had photgraphed her and her siblings last year. The family wanted her with long hair so I updated the painting and made her hair longer to match how she looks now. Whenever I do portrait commissions I inevitably face challenges along the way and this one was no exception. For her older brother's portrait I was given a more recent photo to work from- a lovely photo but very shadowy as it was taken outside in the shade of tree and there was very little tonal contrast. Once I had made a start on his portrait I quickly realised I wasn't happy with the dark shadows and felt it was too harsh and tonally flat for a pastel portrait. So, I scrubbed it out (this is the joy of pastel!) and started again. For the pose and expression I worked from the shadowy photo of him that his Mum preferred and for the lighting reference and colours I decided to work from the studio photo that I had taken of him. This helped to give all the portraits a uniformity.

Here are the finished portraits of the siblings (below).

Below are some of the other charcoal commissions I've been working on this year.

Below is a fun commission I did as a Birthday gift for old school friends who were turning 50.

They wanted portraits of them as they looked in the 80s and sent me a few very grainy photos to work from as well as some recent ones. I was pleased with the end result - I had trouble trying to fit all the shoulder pads and big hair on the page!

Last month I attended a corporate event where I drew on the spot portraits of all the award winners at the Havant Volunteer Awards . It was very fast paced as I had a limited window of time to draw each person. But it was great fun and such a buzzing atmoshere and all the winners were realy pleased with their pictures. Here are some of the winners- I even drew the Lord Mayor:)

That's all for now, I'm off to beautiful Mallorca with the family next week and looking forward to some much needed R&R. Bye for now and enjoy the rest of the Summer.

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