I never fail to surprise myself. Somehow, despite torturing myself for the last month finishing my kelpie book (will be posting images on the illustration and sketchbook pages) I still want to draw/paint horses and ponies. So that’s what I’ve spent the last couple of days doing. I mentioned in my previous post that I was planning on doing more painting as opposed to digital artwork, and thus far I’ve been doing a fair bit. I’m a bit rusty, but it’s gradually coming back to me. So enjoy yesterday’s pony painting!
It has been ages since my last post! Things got crazy busy over Easter, as my deadlines were all 2 days ago. But that’s done with now, and I am so glad. This semester’s work has been… I don’t know, I enjoyed a lot of it, but I hated a lot too. I did way too much digital walk and that just isn’t my thing.
I’ve started painting again more, and it feels really good. I’ve missed it so much. I’m going to keep up painting more over the summer, and next year I’m going to do as little digital as possible, because I just don’t like it!
I’m going to get back to posting more here- I’ll probably aim to do one post per week, which should hopefully encourage me to work more!
Just a week and a bit till the Easter holidays! This last little bit has been dragging out so much- I’m ready to get back to Argyll now.
I’m onto my final project now, for which we got to write our own brief which I loved. It meant I really got to do something I was super excited about. I’ve been excited for other projects (e.g the Kelpie book), but writing my own brief just feels different? It’s also nice preparation for 4th year, when most of the work is going to be self directed.
I’m planning on making a series of illustrations featuring Shrimpy the cat (you can see a sketch of him here) aimed a children struggling with anxiety. It’s my first proper digital work this semester- usually I prefer to do things by hand as much as possible. Digital work is so prevalent right now though, and I feel I’m at a slight disadvantage with it where it’s something I’m not as experienced in.
Assessment time is mere weeks away, and I’m nowhere near as stressed as I should be- I just want to be done now. I’m hoping that this semester I do a wee bit better than last, I’ve tried to really listen to my tutor’s advice and work with that.
Maybe I’ve missed the mark entirely again, maybe I’ve done alright. Honestly I have no idea, I’m just enjoying what I’m doing, and appreciating what I personally get out of it, rather than fixating on my grades. There’s no point in me getting a good grade if I don’t feel like I’ve learned anything, or that I’ve tried to do what others want rather than what I love.
How is it already the middle of March? There is literally 19 days until the start of the Easter holidays and I’m kind of freaking out!
I think my work is going well, but who knows? I have no idea if it’s what my tutor is looking for, so I’m just trying to make something I love. Of course, the stress of deadlines and trying to please people is taking it’s toll, and I’m exhausted. My work has come to a bit of a stand still- I just need a rest!
In all honesty though, I am really looking forward to getting out of the city and back to Argyll. I need to be back in nature, and away from the noise and bustle. Until I can go home though, I guess I’m just going to de-stress by painting my nails more?
My Archive project is finally over (it was definitely beginning to drag at the end there) and the exhibition is up! You can view it in the exhibition space at DCJAD, there’s lot’s of awesome work there!
I’m onto my kelpie story book, which I’ve been desperate to start for months now- it’s going to be so good. I’ve essentially spent the last week or so drawing horses, looking at horses, and appreciating the lochs in Argyll- couldn’t be happier!
Things have had to slow down a bit the last few days, especially with my other module, because of the Beast from the East- we’ve had about 8 inches of snow here in Dundee, and it’s basically been blizzard conditions sometimes. I love snow though, so I’ve been having a fab time.
In general, I’ve been having a great time with illustration and snow and ponies! Check out the sketchbook page to see some of my horsey drawings.
I’m a bit late posting about it this week, but I was back with the horses on Monday, and have another load of life drawings.
I didn’t get as much done as normal, as I was pretty tired, and was enjoying catching up with friends. And of course having cuddles with the ponies. Ghost and another pony both tried to eat my sketchbook, and also got snot on it (I bet my tutor will love that!), and Ghost nearly ate my pen which would not have been good! When they realised that my sketchbook wasn’t a tasty snack, the white pony proceeded to chew my hair, whilst Ghost just turned around and ignored me. He’s such a monkey.
With the deadline for my current uni project coming up, I’ve been embroidering like a mad thing and my fingers are now very raw.
On wednesday, I was also with the equestrian club helping out at one of their competitions (the team placed 2nd), which was a 5am start, so I’m still recovering from that. That was all with a bad leg, after I hurt my knee and foot doing rising trot on monday. I think that was just pulled muscles, they’re not really hurting so much now . Who knows, I’m hypermobile and my joints are always doing interesting things.
My embroidery stuff I’m really enjoying, but the actual theme of that project I’m still not feeling. I’m struggling to connect with it a bit I guess. Hopefully I can produce something good, because this stuff is being displayed in an exhibition at the art school!
My project explores how JP Duguid’s discovery of how penicillin works effected the overall story of penicillin, but I feel like it didn’t have a massive impact, and my tutor is wanting me to show his impact, rather than just make pretty embroideries of microscope slides. So I’ve looked at how the form of lysis penicillin uses effects the peptidoglycan in the cell walls of bacteria. I’ve also explored the history leading up to his discovery- Fleming’s discovery in 1928, failed attempts to use penicillin, and also anthrax because that appears to be how JPD figured it out. I’m not 100% on that, but in the folder of info I had there was a diagram that he’d made showing penicillin lysing anthrax.
The anthrax stuff has been quite a heavy inspiration. The bacteria itself looks like wool, and it was originally referred to as woolsorter’s disease, due to it mainly being contracted by people working with animals. I did originally play with weaving and lucet, but I eventually settled on embroidery, as I like the juxtaposition of the pretty, crafty look with the deadly diseases stuff.
Last night I was, once again, at the stables for my riding lesson. And again, when my lesson was over I spent some time drawing the horses there.
This time, however, I chose to focus on the stationary horses, and looked at their faces in more detail. I am definitely stronger in that respect, but for my kelpie story I need to be capable drawing the bodies and faces of both moving and still horses.
The horses found my antics quite fascinating. Some expected me to be giving them a wee snack, and were sadly disappointed when all they got was pet on the nose. Others were much more interested, and managed to smear horse snot all over some of the pages.
The horse I ride, Ghost, was very pleased with the attention! Having stood on my foot (ouch) earlier in the evening, and then being sassy all through my lesson, he was being very pleasant! He even posed for me, although after a while he did attempt to eat my pen… I guess he was expecting a reward for being so handsome and well behaved (for once!).
More images from my session can be viewed on the sketchbooks page!
I have been passionate about horses and ponies pretty much since birth. My auntie was an avid rider, and when I was little I dreamed of being like her and competing on horses.
For many years, I couldn’t ride simply because it is an enormously expensive hobby, but in the last 6 months or so I have finally gotten into it again, after over 10 years out of the saddle.
Riding itself gives me such a buzz, and after my first lesson after Christmas this week I knew that for my next project (a picture book) I wanted it to be inspired by horses. I am, of course, fascinated by the myths and legends of Scotland, so I fell pretty quickly upon the idea of a story about a kelpie (a type of Scottish water demon).
Horses are notoriously difficult to portray well, so after I finished my lesson on Monday I watched the advanced riders in theirs. Drawing stationary horses I have no trouble with, but I struggle with horses in motion, so watching the advanced riders was a perfect opportunity to observe how the horses moved, and to see the horses’ expressions during the lesson. Next week I intend to do more life drawing of the horses, as well as possibly take some photos so I have a clearer record of their bodies than my speed sketches.
Images from Monday’s drawing session can be seen here: https://erinbarkerart.co.uk/sketchbook-work/
So my first week back at university has been blissfully uneventful. Although I am slightly concerned that the CIA might decide I’m a person of interest as my current project at uni requires some heavy research of anthrax…
I’ve been attempting to grow bacteria (just stuff off skin and kitchen surfaces- no anthrax!) as well in some petri dishes, and one of them is finally showing a little growth!
I’m thinking I’m going to do something with wool for this project though. We have another month or so for it, and the way anthrax looks under the microscope reminds me of wool, so I reckon that’s my way forward. Whether it’s something woven or done with lucet I’ve no idea yet. I’m just going to enjoy this and see where it takes me.
So the 8th of January is my good friend’s birthday. As a skint student post Christmas I’m just a wee bit short on cash at the moment, so my obvious idea for his birthday present was a piece of my artwork.
At first, I wanted to do an ink drawing of his cat (like the ones that you can view here: https://erinbarkerart.co.uk/sketchbook-work/ ). This didn’t seem right for him though. I considered doing a double portrait of him and his girlfriend (who is also my best friend), but in the end I decided to one of just her.
Although at first I wanted to do an acrylic or ink painting, I decided to use this as an opportunity to use a medium that I haven’t used in quite some time- pencils.
So- the result! I really love this piece, I think she looks like a phoenix or a fiery, powerful goddess. He (and his mum) love it, and his cat didn’t seem too concerned (she was enjoying being petted by me).
Greetings! Welcome artists, art lovers and anyone else who may have found themselves on my site.
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my Christmas holidays, although I’m heading back up to Dundee at the weekend.
My project at the moment is inspired by Professor James Paris Duguid. He was a professor at both University of Dundee and St Andrews University. He also discovered how penicillin actually worked, although originally the credit for that was given to a group of American scientists.
I find that aspect of his life interesting, however I don’t want to create something based on someone else taking credit for what he found. I’ve always been interested in biology (I used to want to be a vet), so I want to look into the actual biology side. I’ve been looking at microscopic views of penicillin, and the blue mould from which it is found, and staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria, the bacteria the penicillin fights. They are all quite beautiful if I’m honest.
I’m currently attempting to create a “petri dish” (a sterilised tupperware tub with agar jelly in it) in which I can grow blue mould and other bacteria, so that I would have my own version of the experiments.
Unfortunately, I’ve never actually prepared a petri dish (the science tech in school did that), and I’ve not used a petri dish since I was 16. Or 15. Not since 2013. So I’m going to be having a bit of trial and error for the next few weeks but EVENTUALLY, I will make it work.