Balancing the creation of artwork with the promotion of artwork and with life in general!

It has been a busy few weeks with my Rotary commitments but I have managed to finish another kingfisher and nearly finished a woodpecker for my next exhibition at the Makers Mezzanine in September. Each artwork takes 25 to 30 hours so you can see why it is a slow process!

It is always a bit of a pressured time in the summer because not only do I need to produce new work for H-art ( Herefordshire art week ) but also there are the commitments of the garden and so on. Getting the life balance is so important, as any artist will tell you…..there are lots of blogs on it

Ivan Jones picking tomatoes in the garden
In the garden picking tomatoes

But it is still enjoyable to create my detailed realistic artworks to exhibitsellcommission, and share on social mediaPinterest and Instagram is a great way to see what subject matter appeals to others and hence help me decide what artwork to undertake next…..

Ivan Jones artist instagram page July 2019
My instagram page as of July 15th 2019

The other thing I enjoy is sharing my techniques with others and hence my facebook page “Pastel Work in Progress” has quite a following. I also have posted some “Work in Progress” videos ( of varying quality ) on my YouTube channel

So until my next update, I hope you enjoy your day, whatever you are doing, and catch up soon! 

It’s all about delightful duckling artworks today!

It has been a busy month, with the recent exhibition now complete and planning for the next one during Herefordshire (H-art) week in September at the Makers Mezzanine in Whitney on Wye. I have completed one new work and have started a woodpecker but more on these soon….

Great spotted woodpecker pastel artwork in progress Ivan Jones

One thing that I found interesting was when a friend came to see me at the exhibition when I was stewarding an expressed an interest in the duckling pastel artwork that I had for sale. 

Duckling 2019 pastel painting Ivan Jones

She asked if I could create a greetings card for her and I said that I had created 5 ducklings (4 of which have sold ) over the past few years so which one did she want a card made from? It got me thinking of those delightful creatures and so I sent her images of the 5 to chose from…..I also posted them to my Instagram page and have had lots of nice comments….

Ducklings posted to Ivan Jones pastel artist instagram feed

In the end she chose two ducklings and the wife Cath made two cards of each to send her….nice memories and I know I will create another pastel painting of these appealing creatures in the not too distant future……

A successful art exhibition and a study of human behaviour…..

It has been a busy two weeks as I have flitted between catching up with the garden and house necessities, stewarding at the “Out of the Hills” art exhibition and starting on my next piece of artwork ( see below ) The exhibition ended on Saturday 16th……

Kingfisher artwork Ivan Jones in progress
My current artwork – a kingfisher in creation

I have been pleased with the outcome of the exhibition, given the current economic climate – I ended up selling two paintings and three prints as well as 30 cards. Not bad at all, though the venue does take 30% commission, but that is to be expected in this day and age. 

Paintings sold during Out of the Hills art exhibition Ivan Jones

A big advantage of stewarding at exhibitions is being able to meet people. There have been 11 different styles of art at “Out of the Hills” including woodwork, pottery and glassware as well as mixed media, oils, abstract, realistic and impressionistic styles. Watching people as the move around the space, and seeing what attracts them is an insight into human behaviour! 

Preview of Out of the Hills art exhibition June 2019
Out of the Hills art exhibition June 2019

I have had the opportunity to chat to many people, not only about my artwork but to hear their thoughts on the exhibition as a whole and they have all been positive. Chatting to the two people who bought my paintings was interesting too, hearing what attracted them to the works. Realism is not everyone’s cup of tea but those who do like “Just Real Art” are very appreciative of the work that is involved in getting the detail I enjoy creating….A very enjoyable two weeks and thanks to everyone who came along!  

Delighted to sell a kingfisher on the first day of my current exhibition

It is always a challenge, when setting up an exhibition, to decide which pieces of artwork to exhibit. I have got to know that woodpeckers, ducklings and kingfishers always sell, so I try to include one of each in any display. Kingfishers are iconic but difficult to catch a glimpse of in real life, so maybe that explains their popularity?

Bird art previously sold Ivan Jones pastel paintings

And so it has proved so far with the current “Out of the Hills” art exhibition at Aardvark Books, where I am one of 11 artists on display. On the first day of the exhibition, which was Saturday June 1st, I was very pleased to sell my latest kingfisher painting, as well as two giclee prints of (wait for it…) a duckling and of two donkeys….

My pastel artworks on display at Out of the Hills

There is now just under two weeks until this exhibition finishes ( Sunday June 16th ) and I am pleased to help out with stewarding last Thursday afternoon June 6th, and then will be there again on the afternoons of Friday June 14th and Saturday June 15th. Maybe I’ll see you there? If not enjoy your day and catch up soon! 

Out of the Hills 2019 Ivan Jones in foreground
Me chatting during the art exhibition preview June 1st

The first decisions made before creating this striking elephant in pastel

Choosing subject matter for my artwork is always a gamble….will people like it, will I enjoy creating it, will it sell? Also I need to consider size – larger works do not sell as well as smaller ones. But some images need space and create a bigger impact when larger….

So it is for my latest choice – an elephant. I found two images, one by George Veltchev taken in the Kruger and one by Steve Bloom taken in Namibia. There were aspects of both that I liked – the background in George’s photo and the tusks in Steve’s photo so I decided to combine them using Serif Craft Artist. This has been done very roughly as it is only to use for reference…..

The next step is to decide on size. As I said if it is too small then the image does not make an impact so I have decided to have the final painting as 15inch by 19inch which means about 23inch by 27 inch when mounted and framed. The lions, as seen below in a frame ( with reflections!!) are also that size….

Lions framed, elephant set up with reference photos

Having made those decisions I need to select the colours to use, both for the elephant itself and the background….luckily I have a large range of colours ( accumulated over the years ) in both pastel pencils and soft pastels to chose from. 

Searching for the best shades of pastels
Experimenting with colours of pastel

Once I have chosen the colours I then blend and mix as I go along, always comparing with the reference photos to get the best outcome….

Blending and experimenting with pastel colours

So as you can see colour and shade selection of pastels and pastel pencils is an ongoing process. My next blog will show you some more “WIP” ( work in progress) photos plus the completed artwork….enjoy your day and catch  up soon! Maybe at my next exhibition?   

Just three weeks until I take part in “Out of the Hills” art exhibition

Time flies and I can’t believe it is approaching mid May already!
I have been busy undertaking new artworks for this exciting art exhibition which starts on June 1st for 16 days at Aardvark Books in Brampton Bryan. 

Ivan Jones Art Twitter post for Out of the Hills 2019

This is the pinned post on my Twitter feed

The organisers are Maggie and Kim Davis, who themselves are artists, and it is quite a logistical effort. We have to provide an artists background ( I use my Facebook CV as a basis for that ) as well as the list of artworks, prints and cards. I hope to have 17 pieces of artwork on display, including a number of new ones.

Working on a duckling swimming 2019

At work on my current artwork May 2019

Maggie and Kim are then around for three days before the event to help the 11 artists to set up their displays. It is important that the layout is as attractive as possible for the visitors. In addition to the stunning art, the venue has a cafe, a bookery and stunning views all around…..

Aardvark Books interior

So why not come and visit? The event preview is at 11am on Saturday June 1st and then the exhibition is open every day until Sunday June 16th. I will be there for the preview ( which runs until 2pm ) and then stewarding on the afternoons of Monday June 3rd, Thursday June 6th, Friday June 14th and Saturday June 15th so why not come and see me? It would be great to put a face to the name…

My artwork Out of the Hills 2018

This is me with last years exhibition….

So just three weeks to create at least one more pastel artwork and with a commission in the wings ( more details soon ) and possibly two more to be confirmed it is going to be a busy summer! If I don’t see you in June then catch up soon! 

Choosing colours of pastel for my latest striking seascape

I thought you might find of interest one of the stepping stones towards a completed artwork – the choice of colours.

Initial selection of pastel pencils

Once the reference photo is chosen then the next choices are paper colour ( my paper of choice is Artspectrum Colourfix paper ) and pastel colour. I am lucky to have accumulated a wide range of soft pastels and pastel pencils over the past 19 years and this provides me with a good variety of subtle shades. 

Searching for colours of soft pastel for artwork

I experiment with these shades on the paper I have chosen – the background colour will be influenced by the paper colour. For example, the lions required a different coloured paper compared to this seascape.   

Experimenting with pastel colours on Artspectrum Colourfix paper

As I progress I keep checking, experimenting and comparing the colours with the reference photo ( taken by Steve Carter ) to get the best result and this is the procedure I undertake with all my artworks.

Final selections of pastel pencils and seascape nearly complete

Rest assured you will be the first to see this seascape completed later in the week. Enjoy your day!   

Sneak a peek at how I created this striking kingfisher in pastel

Now that I have completed this kingfisher ( from a reference photo by Ian Marshall ) I can show you a bit more about how I created it, following on from my previous post…..

After the first wing is completed I started building up the background. I experiment with colours in corner of the paper ( which as usual is Artspectrum Colourfix ) and here I using my fingers to blend the background and make a smooth surface to build up the layers….

Experimenting with colours kingfisher
Experimenting with colours of pastels
Blending background kingfisher

 I alternate between adding details to the kingfisher and adding background….this stops me smudging the work and as you see I also turn the paper around to allow the pastel to drop off safely……you can see this in a short video I have created. You can view this on my Facebook page or my Instagram feed…..I hope you find it interesting! 

These are examples of the polystyrene pencils you can see me using in this video…..and here I am adding layers and detail with a pastel pencil. 

Polystyrene shaped for blending pastel
Examples of polystyrene pencils
Using pastel pencils on kingfisher background

I next start work on the branch and I am very pleased how it turned out. I started simply by adding the outline, then working from left to right, adding layers of pastel using different shades of colour until the branch was complete. 

Adding the branch to the kingfisher painting

The finishing touches are completing the background, signing the painting and framing it – here I am cutting mountboard with a mount cutter to fit into the chosen frame……

Cutting a mount for the kingfisher frame
Cutting a mount

….and here is the completed painting “The next catch”….Have a great day!

The completed kingfisher "The next catch"
The Next Catch – a kingfisher about to dive

A good start to this stunning kingfisher for the next exhibition

Good morning and hope you all are well? I thought you may like to see my current artwork while in progress. We have been away for a few weeks hence the lack of new work recently but back into now! What do you think?

Kingfisher comparing art with reference photo

I am always looking for a reference photo that is striking and detailed and this one by Ian Marshall caught my eye. I have asked the photographer for permission to use this image. The colours under the wings, as you can see above, really stood out for me….

Experimenting with colours for the kingfisher

Once I have chosen the initial colours to express the vibrancy of the feathers then I start adding the layers using sharpened pastel pencils – here I am sharpening with a blade which will then be followed by sandpaper fine sharpening.

Kingfisher - sharpening pencils

Anyway hope you like where I am so far and have a great day! This work will be for sale at my next exhibition in June. Catch up with more soon…

A great start to my next exciting artwork….”Lion Lovers”

Now that my current commission work is completed, I can now concentrate on creating artwork for my next exhibition in June. It has been a while since I did a lion and I saw this image on Pinterest that appealed to me.

Lion and lioness reference photo

It is always of concern when I cannot find the photographer who took the reference photo – have searched through 50 or more Pinterest posts and using Google image search without success. If you know of any other way to find the original photograph please contact me!

In the meantime, I have flipped the image and am working on creating something that is unique, even if the reference photo is widely shared.

I have started in the top left hand corner ( to avoid smudging ) and built up from there using soft pastel and a range of pastel pencils on Artspectrum Colourfix paper – you can read more about the materials I use here….

Adding layers to the mane on the lion

As you can see I have laid down a base layer and am now adding layers to the mane with a dark brown Cretacolour pastel pencil. In this next photo I have started adding the details of the mane using Cretacolour white – the best white pastel pencil I have discovered…..

The next photo shows me adding the details of the eye, having built up the layers of the face and mane…..

I hope you have found this of some interest and I will post the completed pastel painting in due course…..Enjoy your day and catch up soon….