Tuesday, 26 May 2009

An interview with Gayle Mason SOFA

This is the last in the series of interviews with the three UKCPS members who have had their work accepted for the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2009 exhibition to be held at the Mall Galleries, London from 1st-6th June 2009.

Today it's the turn of Gayle Mason.

Hot Spot
a finalist in Wildlife Artist of the Year 2009

8" x 20", coloured pencils on Arches HP
copyright Gayle Mason

What's your approach to wildlife art? Why are you interested in it?

Animals are my passion, - studying them, living with them, painting and drawing them. I'm fascinated by the detail in nature and strive to capture it in pencil or paint.

Recent family holidays have been chosen because they are places rich in wildlife. Last summer I was lucky enough to photograph a wild Grizzly bear feeding on a Bison carcase in the Yellowstone National Park in the USA.

How do you generate your reference photos?

By spending hours in the field or at Wildlife Parks waiting with my camera to snap that 'perfect' shot!

I've recently combined two hobbies, bird watching and painting to add birds to the dogs, cats and wildlife in my portfolio. I'm lucky enough to have a wide range of bird species which visit my garden. My drawing table is next to the window which looks out on to the garden and I spend hours with my camera ready next to me as I draw. You can see some of the results on my blog Fur in the Paint.

What's the story behind your piece and why did you choose to enter this one?

We spent New Year in the Highlands of Scotland. One day we visited Loch Fleet and I was lucky enough to capture this little Stoat with my camera. He was dashing about amongst some huge boulders right on the shore of the Loch and every so often he would pause and look at me.

When I saw the image I was immediately struck by the fact that his life will be a tiny spark compared to the eons the boulders have, and will, endure. I tried to convey that message in the drawing. The title 'Hot Spot' has a double meaning, the spark of life and the fact that on a bitterly cold day the Stoat was indeed the 'hot spot'

What pencils and support did you use for your artwork and why did you choose them?

I nearly always use Arches Hot Press Watercolour paper when I'm using mixed media. Although I often try different surfaces Arches is the one I always return to. For this particular piece I used several French Grey coloured pencils, a mixture of Polychromos and Prismacolor. I prefer Polychromos because they are slightly harder and retain a point longer. The stoat himself was painted in acrylic and there are also are several acrylic glazes over the rocks, which were added to give depth to the painting

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background as an artist

I've always been interested in animals and have always spent as much time as possible in the countryside right from childhood. My interest in animals and the countryside have also influenced my education - I've got an honours degree in Zoology - and where we live in Yorkshire, on the very edge of the moors. I also breed and show my Rough Collies and have trotted round a ring at Crufts!

So far as art is concerned, it's grown out of my longstanding interests. I've now been drawing and painting seriously for around 6 years and exhibit on a regular basis at various national wildlife exhibitions and the Society of Feline Artists. I know that my subject matter with always consist of living things. I'm also fairly sure my subject matter will have fur, feathers or leaves as I have no interest in human portraits and instead prefer the portrayal of natural history.

My proudest artistic moment to date was when I found out that I had passed the jury process and had been elected to full membership of the Society of Feline Artists. Of course being short listed for Wildlife Artist of the Year matches that!

You can see more of my drawings and paintings of animals on my animal and nature art website or my pet portraits website. You can also read about my artwork, how I work, what I use - and my Rough Collies - in my blog Fur in the Paint.

Related posts:

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Coloured pencil workshops and courses

Today, UKCPS News is highlighting workshops and courses involving coloured pencils. This post details:
  • where to find a workshop or course on the UKCPS website
  • how tutors can share their workshop details on the UKCPS website
  • an opportunity to learn more about watercolour pencils
  • an opportunity for somebody to become a tutor of an established distance learning course.
Coloured pencil workshops

If you've ever thought about taking a workshop or course to learn more about coloured pencils, a good place to start is the workshops page on the UKCPS website. This lists the current information about available workshops as supplied by UKCPS members who have shared their workshop details with the UKCPS webmaster.

Tutors are listed below according to the type of course and its location

Botanical Illustration
General drawing / coloured pencil techniques
Watercolour pencils
A message for tutors

If you are a current UKCPS member and also teach skills in the use of coloured pencils and want to list your coloured pencil workshops on the UKCPS website you should contact Liz Ridley, the UKCPS webmaster with details of:
  • the type of course (eg general skills or specific application to a genre)
  • the level of student the workshop/course is aimed at
  • dates and location of the workshop or course
  • hyperlinks to further details about the course / experience of the tutor
  • a contact name and telephone number for booking enquiries
Please also ensure the webmaster is kept updated with any changes in information.

Interested in watercolour pencils?

Jonathan Newey has written to highlight an upcoming workshop day next month at Farncombe Estate, just outside the village of Broadway in the Cotswolds. You can find further course details by clicking the link below
Art Day Course: Watercolour Pencil Techniques
13th June 2009 9.30 - 16.30
This is a course aimed at beginners and will introduce students to the various skills and techniques that can be achieved with the watercolour pencil.
Have you ever thought of becoming a tutor?

Melanie Phillips has been running the coloured pencil course for the London Art College for some years. She is currently looking for a new tutor to take over from her and hopes the UKCPS may be able to help her find the right person.
There is a vacancy for a distance Learning Course Tutor for the Coloured Pencil Certificate Course. This is a unique opportunity to work with students from the comfort of your own home or studio. The successful applicant will eventually be able to put their mark on the course and make it their own. The post requires a few hours per week in tutoring, which will start gradually as you take over the new enrollees. The tutor will be required to have some general computer skills. Previous experience in tutoring may help but it is not necessary.

This is open to UK applicants only
Further details about the two stages of the application process are available on the UKCPS website. You can also approach Melanie if you have any queries - see the website for her contact details.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

An interview with Margaret Edwards

Nature's Own Athletes
15" v 20", coloured pencils on Canford Mi Teintes
copyright Margaret Edwards

This is the second in the series of interviews with the three UKCPS members who have had their work accepted for the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2009 exhibition to be held at the Mall Galleries, London from 1st-6th June 2009.

Today it's the turn of Margaret Edwards

What's your approach to wildlife art? Why are you interested in it?

I have always had a fascination for wildlife, and drawing nature makes it real for me, as I would probably never see many of our wild animals. As the years go by it is clear to me that some of these amazing animals could be lost for ever.

Drawing these creatures keeps them real and hopefully there for people to see and have a conscience about.

How do you generate your reference photos?

My inspiration comes from many areas and whilst some parts of my work are realistic others may be virging on imaginary and thats when that old phrase artististic license comes into play.

Often if I source my reference from books and magazines it won't be copied, it will become a small part of what is finally created. When I have to be realistic, I do use my trusty camera. My daughter has also donated some of her beautiful photos from her trips to Kenya, but again I wouldn't just copy from them. Where is the fun in that?

What's the story behind your piece and why did you choose to enter this one

In my life I have always admired the beauty, speed and grace of cheetahs and get great pleasure from drawing such an amazing big cat. The first oil painting I ever did was of a cheetah and so, for me, cheetahs were the obvious choice for this exhibition.

This drawing was created from a few photographic references, a bit of imagination and a lot of inspiration.

What pencils and support did you use for your artwork and why did you choose them?

My drawing was done with a combination of Derwent Artist, Derwent Studio and also Prismacolor pencils. Prismacolor was mainly used on the fur for that soft effect with an intensity of colour that this pencil gives. Derwent pencils especially Studio are very good for detail. I used Dove Grey 150g paper . Works for me.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background as an artist

I have always drawn and at 18 I went to Art College, then worked in Art and Advertising for some years after which children came along. My drawing took a back seat for some years after and now I have much more time again and thoroughly enjoy being a member of the UKCPS and entering the various exhibitions that I hear of from time to time.

Related posts:

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Julie Douglas in 17th Annual CPSA International Exhibition

Congratulations to UKCPS member Julie Douglas who, for the second year in a row, has had one of her coloured pencil portraits accepted into the Annual International Exhibition of the Colored Pencil Society of America.

Last year Julie's picture, "Dappled Son", won a $500 Award for Outstanding Recognition at the 16th Exhibition in Seattle.

Boy on a Swing - by Julie Douglas
coloured pencil
copyright Julie Douglas

CPSA yesterday announced the successful entries - in Artists and Artwork Selected for the 17th Annual CPSA International Exhibition - 2009. The exhibition is being held in Atlanta Georgia between July 9 - August 29, 2009 at the Jacqueline C. Hudgens Center for the Arts.

If any other international UKCPS members have also been successful please let me know and I'll add your names into this post.


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