"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626


I've relocated the blog to https://pencilandleaf.valerielittlewood.uk/
Please come and join my constant struggle with all things creative :)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Wool Carder Painting step by step….almost there.

I am back to commissions and some commercial work this week but hope to have a little more time for just sketching and drawing. When teaching my workshops I am a bit of a nag about drawing and practise, everyday if possible, so I really must practise what I preach!!

But it’s back to completing the Wool Carder Bee first. I almost finished it for the Meadow Days show and was able to have it on display and chat about the process of drawing and painting a bee.

Here are a few stages of the work:
Referring back to my preliminary sketches I lightly draw the bee on the frighteningly clean and pristine paper. This always makes me very nervous. Thank goodness it is tough stuff because I still do quite a bit of re-drawing and adjusting on the paper. 
i.e. was not quite sure where I wanted that front leg…..


Leg adjusted, I put in first colour guides.


Stages 3 and 4 are just building up colour depth and getting the eye right. It’s important to me that I have the eye done fairly soon. “Eye contact” with your painting helps make a bond between you and your work!! It’s a bit of a responsibility creating something!! 

and by this stage I have erased up some of the pencil lines!

Stages 5 is more building up and I use quite a bit of lifting out and add white gouache to paint the lovely long silky hairs that this bee has on the underside of her thorax.

 stage 5 bg

The almost last stage is the wings, sorting out the detail of the abdomen markings and the antennae.. when I pray for a steady hand!  There is nowhere to hide mistakes made here!

stage 6 bg

I then leave the bee and get on with the background. I will go back to do further adjustments later on if I see any glaring mistakes. It’s good to leave things alone for a while!

The pencil work takes a long LONG time as, again, I do draw and redraw on the paper and it is forgiving, but only up to a point. Some times I rough out the leaves and flowers on tracing paper and position them here and there to check the composition.  I didn’t take stage images as that would be very boring..

stage 7 bg 

Its almost finished now. Just a few adjustments to do and  I need to add a small image of Wallsworth Hall, home of Nature in Art gallery.

I have sketched it roughly on tracing paper to position it….It might go about here!
stage 8  bg


I will be finishing it this week…unless, perchance, we have SUN??? Hope springs eternal …….


Diana Studer said...

Oh wonderful, these are the posts I treasure. I am awed by your skill, made real to me as I follow the steps.

zeysim said...

wonderfull drawing , this as if photograpy

KJ Bateman said...

Thanks for sharing your process. It really helps to see the painting develop step-by-step. Lovely detail in the fur and wings.

Mags - just another barefoot photographer said...

What a wonderful post! I so enjoy your writing and illustrations, and the way you explain the steps!

sharp green pencil said...

Thanks very much all!

Diana.. Many thanks as always..you are just too kind! :)
But I am glad you like seeing the development.

Zeysim.. Thank you so much and I am very glad you like the work. I do try to bring these little creatures to life..This one is a particular favourite!

KJ..Thanks you! The differing types of fur on bees can be a challenge. It is silky under the wings and then sometimes quite bristly on the thorax depending on the species. Some are velvety and some are tufty... I could go on and on and ........ :)

Mags.. Hello and thank you. I often forget to take stage shots of the work but its quite nice for me to see how it developed. But I am not sure it makes for a sizzling blog post... something about watching paint dry? :)

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I love how the bee gradually 'comes to life' on the paper. Truly beautiful! - Clare @ CVF

Unknown said...

I think I'll want one of this prints.
It's lovelly!
Waiting for the final picture!
I finally hang the four prints I bought from you in my small country house but I guess I need two more.
:-) I'll keep in touch.

And I finally found out what was eating the leaves of some plants in my garden. I didn't know about the leaf cutter bees. I'll take some pictures for you to check!! i was looking for beatles or caterpillars but found nothing... It must be bees!