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Bee in the City preview shots!

Less than two weeks to go now! I’ve been drip feeding a couple of photos of my bee over on my social media accounts but thought I’d better post them here too. If you didn’t read my last blog post, I’m participating in Bee in the City, a public art trail where over 100 giant painted bees will be scattered around Greater Manchester. The art trail runs from 23rd July to 23rd September.
Bee in the City preview shots!


My sculpture will be on display outside North Manchester General Hospital in Crumpsall for the duration of the trail, after which it will be moving to its permanent home in Manchester Royal Eye Hospital on Oxford Road.

My bee is sponsored by the NHS for Henshaws, a charity dedicated to helping blind and partially sighted people. To create an accessible piece of artwork, I incorporated many different sensory elements including different textures and 3D features, shimmering pigments, and an audio box on the base describing the sculpture. I poured my heart and soul into this project and enjoyed every second.

I can’t reveal the full sculpture until the trail begins (not long to go now!) but here’s a little preview of the elements included in my sculpture as well as a couple of photos from when I was working on all the textures. I can’t wait to unveil the full thing!

(WIP) Some of the textured elements of the bee. In order to create a furry feel and still have the sculpture be durable and water proof, I used acrylic texture mediums to create grooves on the body.
The eyes on my bee sculpture have a honeycomb texture reminiscent of a real insect’s eye to really give it that larger than life feel!
I used colour shifting chameleon spray paint to give the sections on the abdomen an iridescent shine. You can’t see it super well in the photo but this colour shifts from green to a caribbean blue. These pigments were trickier to source than I thought!

I was also on ITV Granada news the other week to show off my sculpture along with Rob Cooper, the director of Henshaws, which was super exciting and nerve-wracking! Check out my instagram if you’d like to watch a recording of that segment and a special preview of my bee which was about halfway through completion at the time that footage was filmed 😉

That’s it on my bee for now! Keep your eyes peeled in a few weeks for the full unveiling! Also if you’re in Manchester in the near future then be sure to check out the Bee in the City art trail, there are so many incredible sculptures on the trail and it’s definitely worth spending a day out exploring the city and looking at them all!

Until next time!

 

 

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I’m painting a bee for Bee in the City, Manchester!

I’ve been buzzing with excitement over the last few weeks and now I can finally reveal why! I’m participating in Bee in the City, a public art trail where over 100 giant painted bees will be scattered around Greater Manchester. The art trail runs from 23rd July to 23rd September.
 
My sponsor, Henshaws, is an amazing charity that gives training, support and advice to visually impaired people. They do a lot of great work and I couldn’t have asked for a better sponsor- I am genuinely humbled that they chose my design.
 
My bee design is going to be tailored to be interactive so that it’s accessible for all people to enjoy it. I’ve been exploring lots of textures and other elements to include in my bee. I can’t reveal too much yet, but I hope you enjoy the cheeky sneak previews that I’ll be posting occasionally (Oh yes, and bee puns. Lots of bee puns.)!
 
Today was my first working day in “The Hive” – the warehouse where I and many fellow artists are painting their bees for the trail. I gave my bee a good bath as well as a fresh coat of gesso to get her ready for painting. At around 5 feet high she’s pretty big – but I’m just about tall enough to see over her head! 

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I had just about enough time to sketch out some of the facial markings after letting her dry for a bit, but it was getting late by that point! My hands were itching for the paint brush! I am so, so excited to get started!

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I will of course be filming my progress in making the bee so look forward to that video once the art trail starts! Until next time!

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Greater Kudu Portrait in acrylics

"Greater Kudu Portrait" - 10 x 8 inches, Winsor and Newton acrylics on Ampersand Gessobord. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.
"Greater Kudu Portrait" - 10 x 8 inches, Winsor and Newton acrylics on Ampersand Gessobord.
“Greater Kudu Portrait” – 10 x 8 inches, Winsor and Newton acrylics on Ampersand Gessobord. Reference Photo by Edwin Butter from Wildlife Reference Photos.
Finally found a spare moment when it wasn’t raining to get a good photo of the finished painting!
 
I’m hooked on acrylic painting now. Working on this piece was very relaxing and at some points while painting it I was so in “the zone” that I kept forgetting to hit record on my camera for the YouTube tutorial I’ll be making… oops!
 
After my bluetit test painting in acrylics back in February I really wanted to try out painting a more detailed piece in the medium. It was a big learning experience for me. The background wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked and I managed to leave some brush strokes behind, but now at least I know to get my background in entirely before adding my rough sketch of the subject in instead of trying to paint around it! 😛
 
It took me a little over 9 hours to complete. Something about the lighting in the reference photo made me really want to paint it. I really loved the cool purplish and bluish shadows, contrasted by the rich, warm highlights created by the backlighting from the sun.
 

And now a little bit about the subject of this painting, if you’re interested! Greater Kudu are a species of woodland antelope native to eastern and southern africa. They are one of the largest species of antelope. This painting is of a juvenile male, whose horns are not yet full length. The adult male’s horns are much longer and curvier.

Anyway, I hope you like the finished painting! I can’t wait to get started on the next one, though my next artwork is in coloured pencils:

water lily, coloured pencils on pastelmat work in progress

This time around I’m trying coloured pencils out on pastelmat for the first time. I’m blending with paint thinner for this one. Can you guess what it is yet? 😉

 

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“Mythical Beast” finished coloured pencil drawing

"Mythical Beast" - Coloured pencil on Fisher 400 sanded paper. Own reference photo used. It's 32 x 40cm (A3). Art by Wild Portrait Artist.
"Mythical Beast" - Coloured pencil on Fisher 400 sanded paper. Own reference photo. It's 32 x 40cm (A3).
“Mythical Beast” – Coloured pencil on Fisher 400 sanded paper. Own reference photo. It’s 32 x 40cm (A3).

Wow, it feels SO good to finally have this drawing down on paper rather than swirling around in my head for months on end (since October)!

The drawing only took around 9 hours to complete! I used powder blender to blend. I was planning on using paint thinner for the okapi initially, but honestly I was having so much fun using the powder blender that I completely forgot all about it!

It was also my first time trying out Fisher 400 sanded paper and it is leagues above UArt paper in terms of quality in my opinion. An extremely pleasant, consistent paper to work on and it can take a lot of layers! I was a little apprehensive about how the background was going to turn out at first, but the powder blender made it so easy that I breezed through the background in just two hours.

The subject for this drawing is my absolute favourite animal – the okapi. They are an endangered species native to the Congo and their closest relative is the giraffe. When they were first discovered by european explorers, they were so strange-looking that they were thought to be mythical creatures – hence the title of this piece – “Mythical Beast.”

My goal in this portrait was to portray a sense of ethereal surrealism, so I chose to have the okapi looking up at the aurora borealis – something you would never normally see in the tropical forests of the Congo! It also gives me the excuse to use lots of pretty blues and greens! I had so much fun from start to finish with this piece.

I’m currently working on the commentary for the extended Patreon tutorial of this piece. It should be available soon! Speaking of which, the extended tutorial of a boxer dog in coloured pencils is now available over on Patreon at the $4 tier, so be sure to check it out if you’re interested! The artist reference photos at the $10 tier are also changing to new ones starting tomorrow (1st April) so be sure to grab March’s references before they disappear!

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That’s about all from me for now. I have a lot of other projects in the works including the kudu in acrylic you saw last time and a new pastel pencil drawing, so keep your eyes peeled!

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“Troy” pet portrait, and amur leopard in soft pastels!

"Troy" - 11 x 14inch commission in coloured pencil. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. SOLD.

 

troy finished low res watermarked for fb and insta
“Troy” – 11 x 14inch commission in coloured pencil.

This beautiful boy was one of my Christmas commissions. His endearing puppy-dog-eyes and sweet expression were so much fun to render  It was so refreshing to work with paint thinner again for my coloured pencil art too. I didn’t realise how much I missed it!

This piece was drawn using Caran d’Ache Luminance, Caran d’Ache Pablo, Faber Castell Polychromos and Derwent Drawing coloured pencils. The paper I used was Fabriano Artistico 140lb Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper. I used Daler Rowney odourless paint thinner to blend. Touch-Up Texture and Titanium White powder were used on the chest to pull out the white hairs and highlights on his collar.

My sped-up tutorial is available to watch on YouTube now. The 2 hour version of tutorial will also be available for my Patreon supporters at the $4 tier very soon!

 

I also completed my drawing of an amur leopard in soft pastels last week.

"Determination" - 30 x 40cm portrait of an amur leopard in pastels.
“Determination” – 30 x 40cm portrait of an amur leopard in pastels.

 This piece is now available for sale on my Etsy, so check it out if you’re interested! 

This was such a fun experiment. I may have started off a little wonky on the chin and mouth area, but once I got the hang of the medium it was as natural as riding a bike.

The tools I used to create this piece are Rembrandt soft pastels and Stabilo Carbothello pastel pencils on Clairefontaine pastelmat. Reference photo by Katerina Mirus from Wildlife Reference Photos, used with permission.

Soft pastel is a really enjoyable medium to work in. Expect to see more in this medium from me in the future! I can definitely see myself doing lots of little landscape studies in this medium.

The fully commentated tutorial video for this piece will be available this weekend! I’ll also be reviewing and discussing my thoughts on the brands I used to make this piece too. I might end up splitting it into two videos depending on how long it is. Stay tuned!

 

Last but not least I also started on a new coloured pencil drawing this week.

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“Mythical Beast” – work in progress. Coloured pencils on Fisher 400 sanded paper. I’m about an hour into this drawing so far.

I’m so excited to share this one with you. The concept to this drawing has been swirling around in my head for months now and I finally have a spare moment to start putting it onto paper! 😀 The subject for this drawing is my absolute favourite animal – the okapi. They are an endangered species native to the Congo and their closest relative is the giraffe. When they were first discovered they were so strange-looking that they were thought to be mythical creatures – hence the title of this piece – “Mythical Beast.”

I’m trying to get a sense of mystic surrealism in this portrait so I chose to have the okapi looking up at the aurora borealis – something you would never normally see in the tropical forests! It also gives me the excuse to use lots of pretty blues and greens, muahaha!

I’m using Caran d’Ache Pablos, Caran d’Ache Luminance, Faber Castell Polychromos and Derwent Drawing pencils for this drawing. I’m using powder blender to blend the background, but I’ll also be trying out paint thinner when I get to the okapi itself as I’ve never tried using paint thinner on sanded paper before! I still marvel at how quickly I can get things done with the powder blender. I’m only an hour and ten minutes into the drawing so far, and my background is already almost finished!

I’m also trying out Fisher 400 paper for the first time for this drawing. The tooth of the paper is wonderfully consistent, and in my opinion is superior to UArt paper.

 

This is turning into a long blog post so I’m going to leave it here for now! I’ve got lots more in store for you guys so keep your eyes peeled 🙂

 

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Finished cheetah drawing and tutorial

"Relaxed Afternoon" 42 x 29.7cm coloured pencil drawing on UArt 600 Sanded paper using powder blender. Own ref photo used. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.

Whew! It’s finished! Up till now the only things I had drawn using the powder blender were invertebrates, which are generally very shiny and easy to shade. I wanted to see how easy or difficult it would be to draw fur using the colored pencil painting kit, so I decided to draw this!

I discovered that it was so easy to draw in light hairs over a darker base colour, which made drawing fur miles easier! I used Uart 600 paper for this piece, instead of the Uart 800 paper I used in previous pieces, so it had a little more tooth. I found I could layer a lot more before running out of tooth, however the tradeoff for this was that I had difficulty in getting fine details and thin pencil lines. It was a fun drawing! It took me around 20 hours in total.

"Relaxed Afternoon" 42 x 29.7cm coloured pencil drawing on UArt 600 Sanded paper using powder blender. Own ref photo used.
“Relaxed Afternoon” 42 x 29.7cm coloured pencil drawing on UArt 600 Sanded paper using powder blender. Own ref photo used.

 

You can watch my commentated tutorial on how I created this drawing here:


Last but not least I just started working on my next graphite drawing! This time I’ll be drawing my grumpy old ragdoll, Suki this is the second in a pair of portraits, matching the one I did last year of Toto. I’ll be using Mars Lumograph pencils for this portrait for a product review video, and will let you know what I think of them next week! 🙂

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Meerkats in spaaaaace! (speed drawing, art tips video, and update on my Cheetah drawing)

Work in progress, coloured pencil and powder blender on sanded Uart 600 paper.
meerkat-in-space-small-watermarked
“Asteroid Runner” – 9 x 12 pen and ink sketchbook doodle

 

I’m still working on my cheetah drawing in coloured pencil so this week’s update is about a sketchbook doodle I did recently! What made me put a meerkat in space? I have no idea. Kind of works though! Reference used was my own from one of my trips to Chester Zoo 😉  I used Rotring fine liners, waterproof calligraphy ink and a sword liner brush for this drawing. My sketchbook is a Strathmore Bristol Smooth 9×12 inch Visual Journal.

You can see the sped up video of me drawing this here:

 

In this week’s Art Tips video I show you some very easy and quick drawing exercises that will help you to become more confident and accurate with your drawing skills!

Last but not least I’ve progressed a little further with my cheetah drawing. I’m using powder blender and drawing on UART 600 sanded paper for this piece. I’m really enjoying how easy it is to draw fur with the colored pencil painting kit! You can go light to dark or dark to light, it doesn’t matter! So fun 😀

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Work in progress, coloured pencil and powder blender on sanded Uart 600 paper.

 

Busy bee! Hoping to have the cheetah finished by next thursday so that I can get the video tutorial for this drawing out on time. See you next time!

 

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How to use fixative sprays + new cheetah drawing!

cheetah colored pencil drawing work in progress using uart 600 grain paper and colored pencil powder blender

In this week’s Art Tips video I show you how to spray your artwork with fixative spray the right way!

 

Last week I started a new coloured pencil drawing using powder blender! I’m using my own reference photo of a cheetah from Chester Zoo for this one. This time I’m using UArt 600-grain paper and seeing how it compares to the 800-grain that I’ve been using in previous drawings. Really excited to be back to drawing fur again!

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On Friday I’ll be uploading a commentated tutorial to Youtube on how I drew my jumping spider, so stay tuned!

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Powder Blender tutorial!

"At the Edge" - 29 x 22cm, coloured pencil on UArt 800-grain paper. Made using the Colored Pencil Painting Kit. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.

Phew! A lot of updates this week. 3 completed full-blown drawings and two videos within one week is probably my best ever rate of production, though I should probably sleep at some point! 😂

Earlier on in the week I recorded an in-depth video review of the full coloured pencil painting kit  in which I discuss my opinions and my experiences with the powder blender and the rest of the Painting Kit range! If you have any interest in the powder blender and the rest of the kit, please do check it out! Also, if you live in the UK, Jacksonsart will be getting it in stock by the end of September! 😀

"The Alien" - 29 x 22cm, colored pencil on UArt 800-grain paper. Created using brushandpencil Powder Blender and Textured Fixative by Alyona Nickelsen
“The Alien” – 29 x 22cm, colored pencil on UArt 800-grain paper. Created using brushandpencil Powder Blender and Textured Fixative.

This is the drawing I made using the powder blender for my review. This piece only took me 6 hours!!! That is SUPER fast considering most pieces of this size, without the background, can take me upwards of 12+ hours usually! I still can’t believe how quickly I flew through this piece! I also made a commentated video tutorial for this drawing too which you can see below, which shows you just how easy the powder blender is to use with coloured pencil!

 

 

And last but not least, this drawing was fresh off the easel last night. Again, created with the Colored Pencil Painting Kit by Brush and Pencil. I love jumping spiders, they are such inquisitive little guys!  The video tutorial of me drawing this little guy will be out on Friday next week! Reference photo used from Roverhate on Pixabay.

 

"At the Edge" - 29 x 22cm, coloured pencil on UArt 800-grain paper. Made using the Colored Pencil Painting Kit.
“At the Edge” – 29 x 22cm, coloured pencil on UArt 800-grain paper. Made using the Colored Pencil Painting Kit.

That’s about it for this week! Phew! I think I need to lie down and sleep now! Stay tuned next week as Monday’s Art Tips video will be a mini-tutorial on how to spray fixative onto your drawings properly, and on Friday I’ll be posting the fully-commentated tutorial of my jumping spider drawing!

Adios, amigos!

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Review: Colored Pencil Painting Kit

Today’s video is an in-depth review of the full Colored Pencil Painting Kit by Brush and Pencil, including my thoughts and experiences with the Powder Blender!

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I will be bringing you the second part of this video series – a tutorial on how to use the powder blender in your coloured pencil work.