Saturday, January 17, 2009


This past December, our major newspaper ran a series of the early black and white Society photos of a famous photographer who had made his home in the area. They were so beautiful with all their rich black and white nuances, and they inspired me to pick up my graphite pencils again. I finished BLACK ON WHITE on New Years Eve and posted it at once. (Don't I have the exciting life!) I wanted it to be my first official piece of the new year, a personal symbol of change in my art and in my life. Two days later, I started the companion piece SHADES OF GREY.
I gave myself a bit of a challenge with this one by choosing to draw an Andalusian stallion in a foggy background - shades of grey.
Graphite is an exacting medium that requires much thought before putting pencil to paper, not only at the beginning, but all the way through. Graphite does not allow for any but the smallest of mistakes and reworking. This is a medium for the patient. It takes time, lots of time, to cover the paper one thin, carefully placed pencil line at a time; it takes time to gradually build up the layers of pigment to get the required depth, and to go back as often as needed to develop the subtle textures and detail. A reasonably simple 8 x 10 drawing like Shades of Grey takes me a minimum of two weeks - it took nearly two hours to do a one and a half inch by two inch area of grass beneath the big tree. Grass can drive you crazy. I like to work intensely for several hours until my hand, eyes, and concentration give out, and then stop unil the next day.
I have to say that it has been wonderful to dip back into this medium for a little while, and I will be returning to it more often after this, but now, I need to move back to colour again.
Both BLACK ON WHITE and SHADES OF GREY are available for $125. each.

Heather Anderson

Monday, January 12, 2009

American Cocker Spaniel portrait

I think I am finally getting my breath back after the rush of Christmas portraits. The months leading up to Christmas were wonderfully hectic, and now I am enjoying the quieter pace of January where I have time to put my brush and pencils down once in a while to sit back and enjoy a cup of tea while it is still hot, and to watch the sparkle of snow diamonds outside my window.

It is always a delight to paint a beautiful furry face, and to me, they are all beautiful. But sometimes, a certain one brings back lovely memories of a dog I have known. This was the case with this pretty ASCOB American Cocker Spaniel. She reminded me of the days long ago when I couldn't wait to help out at a kennel full of these delightful little dogs. My favourite was a personable blond, very much like this one. As with most of my portraits, this was done in Coloured Pencil over Watercolour.

Heather Anderson