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

Friday, 25 June 2010

Jean Haines Workshop


I have had so many other things going on since Jean's workshop, that it seems like a life time ago already! But, what an enjoyable day it was - well, that is aside from the journey there and back!

Anyone who knows me, will tell you that my directional skills are just awful! In fact, though I had my Sat Nav in the car, it takes a few minutes for it to figure out where I am, so even before I left the house, I had to ask my Husband whether to turn left or right out of the driveway!
Anyway - I had been travelling for about an hour and fifteen minutes when all of a sudden, my Sat Nav switched itself off! I was on a motorway at the time and quite literally had no idea which exit to take!

Though the charger was plugged in, it simply wasn't charging. When I tried to switch it on it gave me just a few seconds of life - which was just enough time for it to show me when I should turn next before conking out again. 
 So, for the rest of the journey I had to keep doing the same - switching it on, setting my milometer according to the Sat Nav's instruction, and just hoping it would have enough life to keep doing that until I reached my destination! Thankfully it did because Winchfield is in the middle of nowhere and luckily, despite the problem, I was still early - the second of eight to arrive.

Jean arrived soon after, as did everybody else. What a lovely, friendly bunch they were too! I met some really delightful people and there was an uplifting buzz of enthusiasm and excitement in the room. 
We had just enough time for a welcome cup of tea and a rather delicious blueberry and white chocolate cookie, before the first demonstration began.

The first exercise was simply to slosh paint about the paper using three colours, teasing the paint, using lots of water and encouraging it to run and merge. It was really good fun and immensely therapeutic too. Jean was basically showing us how to break the rules and instead of being horrified by back-runs and cauliflowers, to enjoy and embrace them instead. I am all for that!

Having filled several sheets using the same methods it was time to try out these techniques again but at the same time suggesting something else. Jean did another demonstration using a Delphinium as a reference.
She then offered us a selection of flowers and photographs to choose from so that we could have a go ourselves.
Hmm... it had looked all too effortless to me and I was not convinced I would find it quite so easy - and I was right! The thing is, it is hard to try not to try, and I think you really have to try hard to try not to try... Am I making any sense here at all? No! - Well, anyway, most of my efforts went in the bin, but I was relieved to see that I was not the only one turning their paper over and starting again!

Jean then gave us another demonstration, this time of an owls eye. I must say her enthusiasm and excitement literally filled the room and this was nice because the feeling is quite catching! One magnificent eye later, it was time to go next door for a delicious pub lunch. It was definitely easier to loosen up in the afternoon following a nice glass of red!

I had a go at the owl but it didn't really go very well. I soon realised that I was trying to mimic Jeans style rather than simply trying to learn from her techniques. It's never a good idea to adopt someone else's style and this is something that I think is very important. So, I felt better realising that I am simply not good at copying someone else's work because it doesn't come naturally to me. 

Following this realisation things started to go a little better. It was such a shame that all this came to me so late in the day because I had just found a new level of enthusiasm and I was so keen to keep painting. I had just finished painting the first petal of a beautiful pink flower when we had run out of time, so I couldn't finish it.

Anyway, here is my first attempt at a Delphinium. To be honest, I don't like it - and clearly this would need a lot more work to bring it to a finished piece...

© Sandra Busby


Here is the petal of the pink flower I began, just as the workshop was ending. Obviously I have cropped the image because it would have otherwise been lost in an expanse of white paper. Its a shame I didn't have time to finish the flower because I think it could have been a really nice painting...

© Sandra Busby



 


















Here are some very quick roses I have since attempted from my imagination, using what I have learned...

© Sandra Busby


















Another wash and some foliage later...




© Sandra Busby

I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and certainly got plenty out of the day. I learned to stop being so worried about mistakes, but instead to see them as 'happy accidents' and to try to incorporate them in to a painting instead. I learned that I am more 'artistic' following a glass of wine - though maybe that's not something I should try too often! I got to meet lots of lovely people including the lovely and oh so talented Jean Haines - And I got to paint all day, using my beautiful new sable brush, which by the way is lovely to use! I can't think of any better way to spend a day!

On the way back the Sat Nav didn't work at all! My husband always says that if ever I am lost, to just go in the opposite direction to what I think I should because I am almost ALWAYS wrong! And that is exactly how I found by way home - by just taking which ever turning felt wrong and passing but the turnings which seemed right! That is absolutely true!

Jean has just launched her first book and I have pre-ordered my copy!































Sunday, 20 June 2010

Father's Day - 'The Saint Christopher'


Isn't it funny how you don't see something for years and then suddenly when you do, it has the power to take you right back to the place where you saw it last?

This happened to me just a few days ago...


My Daughter, Adele, has recently passed her driving test and since then, she has been here, there and everywhere! This includes a visit from time to time, to see my my parents.

The last time she was there, she came home cupping something carefully in the palm of her hand. She told me that she had something very special to show me and when she opened her hand I recognised it immediately. As soon as I saw it I was momentarily back in the South of France on a family holiday, which I can only assume must have been the last time I saw it. It was the most powerful feeling! How odd!

What she held in her hand was a Saint Christoper and I had not seen it for years. The Saint Christopher had belonged to my Dad. I have since learned that he bought it fifty years ago when he was just fifteen years old with either his first or second wage packet, from a jewellers in Addiscombe near Croydon. He thought it would keep him safe and he used to wear it around his neck. There came a point where the chain must have broken because he stopped wearing it - but he would still carry it with him when ever he went away.

Before my Dad settled down to create his family, he had led a very colourful life. He did many dangerous things; sky-diving to name just one of far too many to list! He travelled the world and back again with his Saint Christopher and he never came to any harm. My adventurous side definitely comes from my Dad!

On Adele's visit to my parents, my Mum - who worries a lot - had showed some concern about her driving on motorways and long journeys, which Adele has already started to do. My Dad disappeared upstairs for a few moments and returned with something very special which he gave to Adele. It was his Saint Christopher. 
Aside from being new to driving, Adele is at that age where choices are not always wise. He said that it wouldn't necessarily bring her luck, but it would keep her safe. 

She clearly understands how special it, since in all of my early memories of my Dad, he is always wearing the Saint Christopher, so it is almost like a little piece of him. She has promised to look after it.

The following night I woke up with a sense that I needed to paint the Saint Christopher, so I borrowed it from Adele just for an afternoon whilst she was at home and I painted it for him. 

Now for the strange part - Ordinarily an initial sketch of this kind would take a little adjusting here and there, right? But not this one; I didn't pick up my eraser even once. Every stroke of the pencil and every brush mark seemed to just naturally happen in the right place. It was almost like my hands weren't my own - like I was drawing over an image that was already there. I am rarely so confident when I draw, but this time I had no concern at all. I just knew that where ever my pencil travelled on the paper, it was in exactly the right place. I could almost have shut my eyes. It was like it was painting itself. That is the first time this has ever happened to me.

Once it was finished, I wrote a special message on the back of the painting and then put it in a frame to give to my lovely Dad for Fathers Day 'so that he will still be safe too'.


This is the Saint Christopher, along side it's painting...


© Sandra Busby




This is the painting finished and in it's frame...


© Sandra Busby



Happy father's day Dad. Love you lots xxx

Monday, 14 June 2010

Mondays sketch...


Following Crystal Cook's idea about posting a sketch on a Monday, I thought it would be fun to join in. Lately I have been straying from what my blog is meant to be about - simple sketching! So, this comes at a good time for me.

I chose a few items from the garden shed.

I decided to do a larger A3 version as a monochrome, tonal study with my watercolours. Warm Sepia seemed an appropriate colour for my theme. A little spattering of paint for some textural interest and voila! All done - and quite effective I think!

So, firstly here is my larger A3 watercolour version... 


© Sandra Busby


Here is how the initial A4 sketch began...


© Sandra Busby

















After adding the plant spray and some shading - the initial A4 sketch complete...


© Sandra Busby























Now - since I am on the gardening theme, this seems like the perfect time to update you on my veggie patch. Those of you who have been reading my blog for some time, might remember my little sketches of the baby cabbages I posted some time ago
. Well, they are now HUGE, MONSTER cabbages! In fact, we have just dug our first one up!  It's hard to believe that we made these from seed!


Yesterday, we discovered that the cauliflowers now have Florette's. Honestly, anyone listening to us when we found them would have thought we had just had a baby - we were so excited! We had to laugh - we never thought we could get excited about vegetables! But, we have never grown anything before and to be honest, we kind of planted things and hoped for the best. 

What ever we did we must have done right because look at them now....




And this is me having just pulled up our very first cabbage This one surely deserved a name, so I called him 'The Hulk'! He was SO heavy, I couldn't hold him for long!!!




(By the way, the little wooden hut at the bottom of the garden is where I do most of my artwork!)

Hmm... We now have twelve cabbages and almost all of them are ready at the same time... and I'm not that fond of cabbage! Maybe I should have planned this a little better....?

Thursday, 10 June 2010

A headless chicken!


Well - Where do I start? 
What with the Jean Haines workshop and the diving trip, on top of which I have four requests for various drawings, all on top of my OCA course, which I need to keep up with - I am almost so overwhelmed with things to do and to post that I don't know where to begin! Maybe I should draw a headless chicken and call it a self portrait!

I have decided that the best thing to do is go back in time to just before the Jean Haines workshop. This is when I was attempting to draw one of two cats, Flopsy, as requested by a friend of my Sisters.
Firstly, it was half term and Charlie had a couple of sleep-overs. This meant squeezing in time between making lunches, rescuing them from trees... yes - really - well, boys will be boys... and generally keeping an eye on them. 
Secondly, the small selection of photographs sent to me by e-mail where VERY difficult to work from to say the least - in fact one of them had the head chopped off so I'm not sure what I was meant to do with that! They were also very small images so when I tried to re-size them the became very blurred. 
Thirdly, I have never likes cats, nor have I met the cat and nor have I ever owned one! This might sound odd but when I drew our own dog Codi, which you can see on a previous post (A Dog's Life), it was far easier to capture her character because I have a personal connection with her. And when I drew 'Tak', also on a previous post, there was an emotional story behind it. 
Even so,  you can still see if you compare the two that drawing an animal you are familiar with from life gives a much better result!
Anyway, this drawing needs more work yet... The foot needs adjusting, the whiskers need sharpening, the fur needs softening and I need to add a lot more rich tan colour in to it too, at the moment there is too much white. Then I need to anchor the cat by adding his soft blanket.
However, I think before I do anything more, I need to see if my sister, Amanda, thinks this will be okay. I definitely need to ask her that before I begin the second cat!
Ordinarily I would post it once it was complete, but this time I am posting the incomplete drawing as a WIP (work in progress) and your thoughts would be most welcome! I am also showing the original photograph I am working from too and - just to give you a giggle, I am posting one of the photo's I was sent of the second cat! I had to laugh! Amanda - What where you thinking? Lol!

Flopsy the cat...

© Sandra Busby




Anyway - changing the subject, I have had lots of people asking how my Jean Haines workshop went, so I will be posting on that subject soon!

Also, Crystal Cook has invited her bloggy friends to join in on a sketch on a Monday post. It's come at a good time because I have been thinking lately that I am sometimes forgetting that my own blog is meant to be about sketching and not finished drawings. So, if my overflowing brain can remember, on Monday I will post a simple pencil sketch. Just, please don't visit Crystal's blog directly before or after mine as her sketches are actually stunning master-pieces!!!

Another interesting challenge was from Travelingsuep. In an effort to raise awareness, she has asked some of her bloggy friends to post a sketch relating to the Gulf of Mexico before the oil disaster. I would really like to do this and as soon as time allows I will post something - though it may be a little while. I would find it a pleasure to draw something like this anyway (though obviously not for those reasons), since as my regular readers will already know, I love the sea. 
I can really imagine what an awful effect the disaster has had beneath what should be beautiful blue water. If anyone wants to join in, that would be super!

Hmm... On the subject of sea, I should mention our trip to Cornwall. Should anyone ever visit, I would highly recommend Padstow. It's a beautiful place! However, as much as I love diving, the temperature of the water was a real shock to the system! The dive guide was wearing a dry-suit unlike us. We were in 7mm wetsuits and the cold was almost unbearable! To be honest it wasn't very clear and aside form crabs and lobsters there was little else to see. Still, never mind - It was a new experience and we should all embrace those whenever we can right? But still, next time will be somewhere hot, hot, hot!!!


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