Following the success and sense of achievement with 'Butterflies on Buddleia' a few years ago, I received requests from friends and colleagues to draw their beloved pets. For any artist this can be somewhat daunting as the owners have a deep understanding of the characters of their furry family members, and this can be challenging to capture from photographs.
Nevertheless I enjoy a challenge and set about creating my first pet portrait commission, 'Kitty'. Fortunately I'm a bit of a cat lover myself so the subject matter was appealing and I could tell just from the selection of photos that this feline had quite an elevated position in the household. The picture I chose to work from showed Kitty in profile, surveying all that she rules.
Using pastel pencils for this artwork, I was able to create the image in much less time than my first commission! This piece led to a few more commissions, and I even found the time to draw my own cat in one of her favourite poses (the 'Give me treats' stare):
Although my skills had developed and my confidence grew, I still felt I could improve. Being a perfectionist is not a good quality to have when you like to draw every little detail, and which is why it was taking me SO LONG to create each piece of art.
For a while the day job got in the way and led me to undertake a two-year postgraduate diploma online course in Event Management. Throughout this time I still had people queuing up to have their moggies and doggies drawn, but such was the intensity of the studying I simply couldn't fit in any time for art. This again stifled my creativity so I vowed to do more of it once I'd finished the course.
Examples of artwork (2016-2018)
A year later, and life has changed somewhat. I've been made redundant from the place I'd worked for 17 years and, as so many people say, it's probably one of the best things to have happened to me. It's given me the freedom to refocus on what I really want to do with my time, and allowed me the brain space to start taking my drawing seriously.
I've joined the SAA (Society for All Artists), subscribed to other artists' social media accounts and started attending monthly workshops run by Hannah Twine. Hannah has helped me refine my techniques, taught me new ones and most importantly, how to speed up! The workshops have improved my confidence and I feel I can tackle any subject now... although I still like to spend a little time to mull the subject over before I put pencil to paper!
Examples of more recent artworks (2018-2019)