The Art of Sandra Busby...
Painter of Playful Light in Glass and Still Life


Friday, 27 August 2010

How to get your art noticed...

You may already know that I am a short way through a very long art degree course.

I have mixed feelings about the course so far. On the one hand there is no question that I have learned so much about technique and perspective, but on the other I can't help but question the modern way of teaching which seems to focus more on imagination than skill.

Having completed my first year, as instructed I mounted all of my work and put it into a portfolio, before sending it off to the University for assessment.
Before sending it, I took it to show my new tutor, just to get his opinion on whether it was displayed correctly.

I was rather baffled, because he flicked through the portfolio, barely commenting any of the work I am most proud of such as my Fish on a Plate, Still Life with Shells, my portrait of Codi... the list goes on. All of this was the work of which I was the most happy with and of which a lot of work had gone in to.

So - there he was, flicking past them, barely raising an eyebrow, before coming across this one and saying...

'Ah! Now I really like this!'

© Sandra Busby. Mixed Media.

Can someone explain please???

This was initially an A3 sketch that went wrong. My son came in to the bathroom and honest as kids are, he said - 'Mum, that is rubbish!'  
I was amused by his honesty (though maybe I should teach him a little more tact!) and I told him that since he had not long had a shower, it would probably look more like the bathroom if I simply threw a bucket of water over the paper! 

It was this flippant remark that gave me an idea; Rather than wasting the paper, I decided to use the awful sketch to play around with some paint and to have a little fun and experiment -  and what you see above is the result. 
I called it 'View from Behind the Shower Screen' and I decided to put it in my Portfolio, just to show some more 'experimental' work. But - I never expected it to be seen by my tutor as one of my best pieces!

Maybe I am missing something -  I mean, it seems that if I put half the amount of work in to my paintings, ignore the rules of perspective, and try to paint something as poorly as possible, that this could well be what helps me to achieve a Degree - and quite honestly it would take me a third of the time too!

For those of you that haven't already seen these, here is just a small selection of the paintings/drawings he didn't look at for more than a second... 

© Sandra Busby

© Sandra Busby

© Sandra Busby

Am I wrong to think that these are better than the one he really liked?

Don't get me wrong, I love to experiment - Take my recently posted abstract for example; This was not for my course but more as a fun thing to paint, just for me - but now I think I should actually use it as part of my course!

It seems that these days, imagination is far more important than technical skill.
In fact, it seems that by sawing a cow in half, or painting a portrait of a dead human being, it is this 'shock' factor that gets an artist noticed! Hats off to them for their vivid imagination, but that's just not a place I could ever go.

Maybe my own drawings are simply too predictable. 
In fact - I have made a decision - I am going to make my next required still life far more imaginative! There, I have said it - So watch this space!

I am awaiting my results for the first year of the course as we speak. They should arrive in the next couple of weeks. Fingers crossed that I have passed regardless - and though I now know what they are looking for, I am determined to develop my own style and not be too influenced by what someone says I 'should' be doing!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Woodland delights...

I awoke unusually bright and early this morning and threw open the curtains to be greeted by a warm, but windy and rainy day. It felt almost autumnal - but then I suppose Autumn is fast approaching.  

Since Autumn is one of my favourite seasons, I felt enthused to take Codi to the woods for a nice, long walk. There is simply no smell on earth like that of the warm, wet woodland on a rainy summers day - It's really quite enchanting.

There were so many huge, glossy toadstools nestling amongst the carpet of bright green moss that was creeping across the leafy ground. Sunset-Orange in colour, they were simply begging to be noticed - I wished I had taken my camera with me - And It's amazing just how green everything looks when there is so much rain! 

During our walk, we came across masses of beautiful leaves in green and gold, scattered all around, so I decided to take a few home with me to paint. 
On route to my little art room at the bottom of the garden, I also happened upon some newly developed, juicy little berries in tiny little bunches, hanging from some foliage. I thought that this also might be a nice subject, so I picked one of the little bunches and took those with me too.

This was a day for sketching really. I wasn't trying to make a perfect painting - I didn't use a pencil, but rather went straight in with my brush and just played around.

It was surprising just how much the leaves changed and curled in the short time I had had them in a warm, dry place!

© Sandra Busby

I could have gone on, adding more depth and tone, but then I would be in danger of doing what I usually do and over-working it. And - this was after all, meant to be a sketch.

Next I went on to the lovely little berries I had stumbled across. 

I started with a pale wash...

© Sandra Busby

Then I began adding layers of colour and gradually built them up...

© Sandra Busby

© Sandra Busby

And now for the apple and pear, painted in less than five minutes. Just a few brush strokes was all that was needed...

© Sandra Busby

They could do with some shadows really, but I ran out of time.

Now - Before I forget...
I was honoured the other day when Robin, asked if she could showcase my Abstract on her website 'The Showcase' . There is some amazing and inspiring art on her site. It really is well worth a visit!
My picture was showcased on Friday 20th and I must admit to feeling really chuffed when I saw it - It put a huge smile on my face - So, Robin if you are reading this - Thank you :0)))

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Glass on glass...

Whilst I continue to play around with my paints, I thought you might like to see a drawing I did a while back.

The idea for this drawing came to me when I was unloading the dishwasher. (Ideas come at the strangest moments sometimes, don't they?)

Anyway - I had rested some glasses on the black, shiny hob just prior to putting them away when I noticed their reflections, which I thought were rather interesting. I couldn't actually see the glasses themselves, but rather the refracted light which was reflecting from them. 

I immediately thought it might make an interesting drawing and was soon recreating the black shiny surface of the hob with three pieces of  black card and a sheet of glass, upon which I placed the glasses. 
I then directed a bright light towards the glasses, which gave me the exact effect I was looking for...

© Sandra Busby. Pastel pencils

It's quite effective, don't you think? 

Every line you see is the first laid down, because if I tried to erase such light pastel pencils from such black paper, it would have left a mark. I just started very lightly and then sharpened it up as I progressed. As you can see, drawing ellipses free hand, with no room for error is rather challenging!

What strikes me now is how much more interesting I could have made it if I had put another sheet of glass behind the glasses too. There would have been even more reflections!

It's a shame that I couldn't get a good photograph of the picture. Unfortunately the light is bouncing back from the black paper. So, you need to imagine it how it really is - the entire black surface of the paper is  jet black, and all of the lights are very sharp.

For this drawing, I used a sheet of large A2 black paper and pastel pencils, but I'd like to do something similar with acrylics.  - Oh there are so many things in a queue in my head at the moment!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Something simple...

When I look back on the description of my blog, it begs the question, 'Where is all the simple sketching I was talking about?'

I think having been driven mad by trying to be 'in control' of watercolour, when actually it's not a style I even enjoy. Today I have been going back to 'playing' with watercolour and letting them run together and bleed, and boy did I have fun! At last!! 

I will be posting the results soon, but in the meantime, here is something even more simple - a quick, ten minute pen sketch of the hallway! 

I just had to give myself  - and you -  a break from all of those far too careful watercolours!

© Sandra Busby. Pen and Ink

Monday, 2 August 2010

Some photo's to share...

It's been more than a week since my last post - but the school holidays have arrived and we have been enjoying lots of other things! 

Just a few days ago we had a ride in a Hot-Air Balloon, bought for me for Christmas by my lovely husband! 
I thought I'd show you some of the photo's so I can share with you some of what we saw...

It was a very early start! We had to meet up at 5am!

This is me, wondering how on earth they were going to blow this thing up..............................?

This is my husband, Paul, helping out. Can you see the person standing inside at the far end?

This is what we saw when we looked up inside the balloon. It was so warm -  just like standing beneath a giant patio heater!

Up, up and awayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy................................ (Notice our own shadow?)

The world below, still sleeping.....................

The stunning view across the Kent countryside......................

A whopping 2,900 feet up....................................

And here is a beautiful sight. Look at the gorgeous, elongated shadows behind the grave-stones........

We saw so much wildlife; pheasants, foxes, wild deer, all of which would soon be hiding away. There were horses and farm animals a plenty, and we were treated to the most beautiful sunrise - natures very own art!


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