Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Time to start the Chook Book...

According to my Collins Pocket Dictionary, the word 'procrastinate' means 'to put off, delay'. I thought the meaning would be much more dire than that – more like 'to sit on a project for years due to lack of confidence in one's ability to actually start and or finish it and have it constantly niggling at your brain until it sends you completely insane!' Or is that just me...

Anyway, today I started (restarted?) a project that has been sitting in my pile of stuff to do for 5 years. EEK!! I actually did start it way back then but it came to a halt when I started a full-time job 4 years ago. My, how time flies?! Lets just call that 4 year span 'the creative coma' which sucked up all my spare time, energy and life leaving me zapped like a tired uncreative drone stuck in auto-pilot. Too severe? Maybe. BUT now I am unemployed, extremely happy, unstressed and drawing again, so able to finally get back to the project. Hardest part was getting to the drawing table, getting my head back into it and picking up the pencil. Once I started though, it felt sooo amazing!! Why had it taken me so long?! It wasn't as hard or as daunting as I had over-imagined it to be... it was actually do-able. Lets blame it on procrastination.

What is the project?
Illustrating a childrens book called 'Betty the Homing Hen' written by an extremely good friend of mine, Karen Wynn-Jones. Four years ago, I had actually gotten as far as pencil roughs and page layouts so all I really needed to do now was get started on the colour illustrations. I had already decided to use colour pencil and pastels so finally, today, I finished the main character illustration. The relief I felt was undescribable!
Here she is... x
Betty – colour pencil illustration of the main character of upcoming childrens book, Betty the Homing Hen
written by Karen Wynn-Jones and currecntly being illustrated by me.

The final illo and the original pencil rough of Betty.
As I do the illos I will post them, so you can keep up to date with the progress of the book. I'm so excited to finally be doing this... x

A Very Strange Cat

I have a pile of small painted canvases in my studio that I painted a while back to use as backgrounds for my Phoebe illos. I've been wondering what to do with them – I decided to put them to good use and paint silly cats on them to sell on Etsy or at the markets. So today I painted a cat. Not a realistic painting of a cat or a portrait, but just a silly character of a cat. Actually this one is quite mean and grumpy but silly none the less...
Strange Cat on Canvas – acrylic paint on a small canvas (9.5 x 11.5 in)

Not sure if I like this cat but the fur was fun and at least it got me started AND I actually finished it. But should I even be painting? It didn't feel right – maybe it was too small? I think it made me realise that I should be drawing more and painting less. I love painting expressively with colour but I struggle with the paintbrush when it comes to painting an actual subject – I just want to ditch the paintbrush for a pencil or pastel or charcoal... mmm charcoal. Actually, the more I think about it, its because the canvas was so small and I found it really confining working on such a small scale.

What have I learnt today? Stick to what you love – which in my case is drawing, NOT painting. Saying that, I do enjoy painting but mostly BIG expressive colourful painting on HUGE canvases. Fiddly little paint brushes are just not for me... x

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Pastel Cat Portrait

Cat Portrait in Pastel – this one was sketched with pastels using a photo as reference. The photo was actually quite low res and pixelly which suited the soft style :)

Cats have the most amazing stares. There is something quite 'knowing' about their eyes as if they are really looking down at us. This cat has that look. Even sketched in pastel without much detail, the eyes draw you in. If I can capture the eyes in every portrait I draw, then surely I can capture the soul of the subject? Hmmm... Not as easy as it sounds when drawing from a photograph ;)


Portrait Gift Pack available at my Etsy shop, kazartgallery.
If you're looking for a unique gift for someone special, I do Pet Portraits in either colour pencil or pastel. Each portrait comes with a matching greeting card and gift tag. Frame is available by request for an extra cost. Go to kazartgallery at Etsy to see more.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

My Happy Place

My happy place

Today I finally went back in to my old job to collect my stuff that had been sitting there for 4 months since I was made redundant. Yep, i know that's a long time but stuff happens and time flies. Today was time for closure... as in I needed to go back and physically say goodbye, grab my stuff and walk out the door, closing it behind me. Done. Now I can get on with my life...

Which brings me to the next door... well, its actually an old door that I haven't been through for a while but one I have revisited many times throughout my life. This time I'm leaving it open because its where I'm meant to be, who i am and what I'm meant to be doing with my life. It is and always has been my happy place. Its where I can be me the artist, draw, sketch, paint and create stuff. It has been calling out to me for years - pulling at my heart - tearing my soul - getting stronger and louder and harder to ignore.

So here I am with no real job but happy - and drawing again. I actually have time to draw. I'm not rushing around like a crazy woman trying to work full-time and be super mum (not that I ever was or will be...).

I had forgotten how much I loved drawing!
A couple of my latest fave face sketches
So now I will draw... and see where that leads me. xo

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Tabby Cat

Tabby Cat – hand-drawn using Derwent colour pencils on cartridge paper. 
I'm actually surprised I haven't drawn this character before - I feel as if I have known him for years. Come to think of it, he does remind me of a cat we had when I was growing up, called Blackie, so maybe that's it? Blackie was a bit more boofier though, he had to be – he used to scare dogs away from our front yard! He would also walk us part of the way to school every morning. Of course, he'd be there waiting for us when we got back home but I doubt he was actually sitting there all day, he would have had much more important cat stuff to do (like sleeping...). x

Monday, 22 August 2016

Portrait of Opal the Cat

Pencil Portrait of Opal – this one is drawn with colour pencil. Its a friend's cat (who I'm hoping will recognise her?!). I used a photo as reference.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love drawing? Ok, what about drawing with Derwent colour pencils? Well I just rediscovered another love... drawing animals. Actually, drawing anything realisticly in pencil. I LOVE IT!! As a result I have decided to start doing Pet Portraits in pencil or pastel. I hadn't realised that in all the time I have been drawing, I haven't done a realistic sketch of a dog or a cat! Seriously... it surprised me too! So now I'm dedicating myself to making people happy by sketching portraits of their beloved and most loyal furry friends. x

This one's dedicated to a distant friend (and yes I will send you the original). xo

If you want to see more, go to my Etsy shop, kazartgallery.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Kazart Time

The other day I discovered a 3 hour block of uninterrupted time each day that is perfect for focusing on art. Yay! So now every morning I go straight to the art studio, coffee in one hand and phone in the other, and stay there until my alarm goes off and it seriously scares me every time... 3 hours goes so fast!! Its officially called Kazart time - no excuses - it has priority over everything else. This means I should be able to get at least one artwork completed every 2 days. Sounds brilliant in theory but the real test is in me getting there every morning - its amazing how easily distracted I am sometimes. However if I persist with it for at least 2 weeks it will become a habit and habits are hard to break. Sounds like a plan? Indeed it is... wish me luck!

This also means I will be blogging more often... double yay!!

The first artwork I did in Kazart time is a pencil portrait of our beloved dog, Skippy. I've just started doing Pet Portraits so it made perfect sense to do her's first (I've actually been meaning to do a portrait of her for ages). It actually took more than 3 hours though but it was sooo enjoyable... I had forgotten how much I love drawing animals?! I've decided to focus on the face, especially the eyes, that way I can capture their personality more. Here she is... x
Portrait of Skippy - sketched by hand with Derwent colour pencils. I used 3 different photos as reference.