Another one to tie you over until I am ready to reveal what I am getting my hands messy with at the moment, not that that project is going too smoothly at the moment, I have to say. Never mind, nothing that a bit of perseverance won’t fix. I hope.

This is an old work of mine, from the same time as the previous one, showing a lone wild pansy on the shingle beach at Spey Bay on the north east coast in Scotland. The medium is gouache, just like the Orkney Stone.

Wild Pansy

Accomplishment – Gouache on A3 Cartridge Paper


Orkney Stone

I found this old painting of mine in the attic the other day, it is a replica of another one which I produced during an art course at college. I liked the texture of the stones and shells and with my then newly found enthusiasm for working with colour I had to paint a second (this) one and had it framed. It is pretty basic when I look at it now (you have permission to sneer), but hey, not all of us are born geniuses. An old artist friend of mine once told me to never throw anything away as it is good to look back at your work to appreciate the progress you have made, and keep a history of your development. Not that I stick to that one to the letter…but I had paid for the frame after all…

The stone was ‘discovered’ by my then young son during a holiday in Orkney. He promptly insisted on picking it up and carrying it everywhere, only to find it too heavy after a while and Mum and Dad having to carry it around for him. (Good job we had the car). The stone eventually came back home with us. After all that it seemed fitting that it should get some attention and be turned into a painting.

The medium is gouache, one of my favourite paints, as it dries slower than acrylics but faster than oils. It is easy to manipulate and allows for gentle shading. The downside is that it does not dry waterproof and a few of the pigments are not very tolerant of constant exposure to strong sunlight, at least they weren’t back then. Gouache is also not particularly cheap to buy. It is very versatile, though, you can use it almost like watercolours, or, if you are that way inclined, like acrylics, – I have also used it in calligraphy instead of ink, which gives you a much wider range of colours to work with than ordinary inks.

Orkney Stone

Orkney Stone – Gouache on A3 Cartridge Paper


This is another pre-Christmas commission. It seems some years ago a naughty photographer has produced a couple of photographs of my client`s boys, which, over 5 or 6 years, have faded into almost nothing. In desperation they approached me to see if I could use them for a portrait drawing before they vanished altogether, as another family member was apparently very fond of her copy. One of the two photographs was so badly faded that it had disintegrated into a selection of blurry dark and light shapes. The second one was still just about recognisable and this is what came out of it, much to the client’s relief. It lacks my usual detail but it conforms to the style of the original image and I think it is fine as it is.

Brothers, Pencil Drawing

Brothers – Graphite Pencil on A3 Watercolour Paper

Happy Memories

With all the paperwork I have been immersed in for the last wee while I had totally forgotten to show you what I did before Christmas. Unfortunately the photograph doesn’t really do the drawing justice and I haven’t had time to process it properly, so this will have to do for now. I am very grateful to the recipient of this commission, who has kindly given me permission to publish this. It was given as a present as a means to ease pain and to be a constant reminder of happy times. I am relieved to have had confirmation that it is fulfilling its purpose.

Happy Memories

Happy Memories – Graphite pencil on A3 watercolour paper

The Bard

Robert Burns   –   Since it is nearly time for the annual birthday celebrations for Scotland’s national poet I thought I’d put up something appropriate today. This is my interpretation of a portrait which  Alexander Nasmyth painted of his friend in the eighteenth century, a pencil drawing I did on an impulse, fairly quickly, too, as the copies I could find of the original portrait don’t offer as much in the way of detail as I usually like.

For those of you who live Scottish culture: enjoy your neeps, tatties and haggis, and especially the ceilidh afterwords. Have a good one!

Robert Burns

Robert Burns – Graphite Pencil on A3 smooth water colour paper

Last Post

Last Post

Last Post – Merry Christmas

Number 14

Nothing furry this time, but a building. I used pencils 5B, 6B and 9B, and a fine mechanical pencil 0.5mm 2B, for those who are interested. The paper is the same as before, a strong but smooth A3 watercolour paper which seems to work well for me just now.

Number 14

Number 14, Graphite Pencil on A3 Watercolour Paper



Hi, all! You have no doubt noticed my lengthy spells of absence, and as I am still kept very busy with other issues, I am afraid this pattern is set to continue. However, on the odd occasion, I manage to squeeze in a drawing, such as this one. May I introduce you to:



Lilly. A3 Smooth Watercolour Paper. Graphite Pencils 2H, HB, 2B, 5B


I hope you have all made it into the New Year without any mishaps and are looking forward to an exciting 12 months ahead! Things have been somewhat hectic in the shadedfaces household, as you have probably guessed from my inactivity. Not everything is resolved yet, but it should get easier and I am hoping to devote more time to my art and craft work again.

This is Keisha, a springer spaniel I drew just before Christmas and the recipient of the portrait has kindly given me permission to publish a copy of it.

Keisha. Graphite Pencil on A3 Heavyweight Smooth Watercolour Paper.

Twilight Romance

This is a drawing I completed a few weeks ago, but did not want to publish until I had agreement from the client who had commissioned it as a gift for a first wedding anniversary. I am not overly keen on drawing wedding photographs as the copyright issue can be a bit of a grey area. Conveniently, in this case the client owns the copyright, so I did not have to worry about stepping on anybody’s toes.

There will be no long write up about this one, suffice to say I very much enjoyed working on it. The reference photographs could have done with a better resolution but to draw with slightly less detail rather suited the feeling of the image, so it did not matter too much.

I am still using the same watercolour paper which I used in the last portrait, and a range of pencils. The only issue I had are the large dark areas which have a habit of turning shiny. As far as I can see, apart from keeping the whole of the drawing to lighter tones, there is only one other way of preventing this, which involves using charcoal pencils or a very soft 8B pencil. At present I am not keen on either idea, because once on paper, both have a distinctly different appearance from the other graphite pencils that I use, making it impossible to produce a cohesive image. Some more practice is required on that front, I guess, and I may feel differently in a few months time.

Twilight Romance

Twilight Romance – Graphite pencil on smooth A3 watercolour paper

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