Playing ball in the cold

Playing ball in the cold

As you can see, this is just the start for this – a quick (or slow) sketch of my daughter holding a pink ball in our garden. It was a cold day, chilly and fresh, and she really wanted to play in the garden so we wrapped up and went out for some playtime. How blessed I am to have time to spend with my children and to have such wonderful children to spend time with. Paintings or sketches like this are to me like a diary of memories. I hope to do a larger scale version of this once I’ve a few more trial sketches done – it is too hard to get the detail I want on such a small scale (the pad is smaller than A4).

The challenge in this is to get the wall not to take over – being the darkest part it draws itself forward, where I want it to be very much in the background. I will finish this version, ┬ábut in the next sketch I think the right thing to do will be to use far more soft grey as it is here in the parts of the wall not fully painted. For the grass I thing the best thing will be areas of green without detail, and just in the foreground define the actual blades of grass. Here the definition I thought would work is really just creating a scene where there is too much going on and the figure is sort of lost in the mix, only drawn forward by the contrast in colours. Still, when I look at it myself I am back there hearing her call to me to catch the ball, so it works on that front anyhow!

Shrimp by Andy Madigan

Something fishy

I am doing a lot of sea related drawings at the moment. MY daughter loves fish, and the aquarium in Galway is her favorite pace right now, so I plan on doing some sea related murals on her bedroom furniture. First off I need a load of source material to work from.

And for that reason I give you – the shrimp!

Shrimp by Andy Madigan

 

After Beaux

Ernesta with Nurse

After Beaux

While browsing my favourite bookshop (Charlie Byrnes in Galway city – http://charliebyrne.com/) I came across a lovely little book of paintings of children titled “Children of the Gilded Era: Portraits by Sargent, Renoir, Cassatt and their Contemporaries”. I have long admired Sargents’ pencil drawings, so that was enough to draw me in. The rest of it is a feast for the eyes, and great for someone like me who has a lot of child portraiture in my near future. The sketch above is based on a painting by Cecilia Beaux of her niece titled ‘Ernesta with Nurse’ which was exhibited in 1894 at the Society of American Artists.

Below is the sketch at an earlier stage, defini9ng the core areas in pencil. As the site is about bearing all I will always show these stages where I have then recorded.

Ernesta with Nurse

Lizard

Lizard

I started this drawing of a lizard perched on some rock as a line drawing in pencil, very quickly executed. I picked out some shapes in the same way I’d draw folds in material, but here I was trying to capture the areas of light and dark – or to be more precise the borders between them. This first stage is shown below. I didn’t spend more than a minute or at most two on that.

Lizard - drawn by Andy Madigan

I then dipped a wet brush into some black watercolour, or paynes grey perhaps – I don’t recall, and blocked in the darkest areas. I know the usual watercolour thing is to build up to dark but this was a quick sketch so I did it my own way (as I usually do in life!).

Lizard

 

Next I used the blues and greens in my pocket watercolour palette and along with the grey/black I was using above I made up some shades for doing drops of shade to build up a sort of reptile skin texture. It is only a sketch, so there was no need to do all the skin, just enough to see how this method worked out. That was the purpose after all – see how this and that work out.

 

Lizard

 

For the last step I picked up my most common sketching tool – a pen – and defined some scales, as well as the fins al0ng its spine (probably wrong word, but I don’t know the right one and am not going to look it up right now).

Lizard

Cherub

Cherub

Cherub

 

I was making a series of drawings to explore the styles of the old masters, in this case one of Reuben’s cherubs. He was a wonderful painter. I used to find him really boring and overly soppy in his subject matter but when I started to explore the marks he made, the shadows, and the constant turning of his subjects in complex compositions I started to really respect his works as masterpieces. I am sure he would be very relieved to know that.