Thursday, 17 April 2014

Dry taps, moist eyes

Far from being a Hollywood cliche of a Chinese saying, the title of this blog post just about sums up the situation I find myself in with regards to my miniature painting projects and drawing practice sessions (in preparation for future sculpting concept sketches). One good, the other not so good.

Dry taps equals slower progress on miniature painting projects

Dry taps
Despite the onset of the rainy season, the preceding spell of dry weather had lowered water supply levels in dams of water treatment plants to critical levels. This meant water rationing was enforced in the city and dry taps for up to 20 days per month, with supply switched on only one every three days. I tend to use more water than the average painter because I like to keep my water pot clean when painting. All I can do is to store some water that will hopefully get me though the 'dry days'. 

Some 5-litre bottles filled with water to enable painting during dry days

Moist eyes
Meanwhile, I went back to basics for my drawing practise sessions as I had mixed feelings about my previous drawing. Just when I felt I had made progress on the rendering of hair and mouth (to capture a smile) in my drawing, I kinda regressed on the drawing of eyes. In my Portrait Practice #09, the eyes looked flat and spoiled the hard work I had put in on the hair and smile. To try and improve, I practised drawing the eyes of two actresses - one from the past with dark coloured irises and one from the present with more lightly coloured irises. Can you guess who they are? Hints are in the quotes they made in performances that won them their first Oscar Best Actress Awards.

Drawing practise - Dark coloured irises
"What the world needs is a return to sweetness and decency ..."

For this drawing practise session, I made a conscious effort to paint realistic looking eye pupils and irises as well as tried to do a better job of shading areas around the eye lens so that the eyes don't look too flat in a portrait drawing. I also tried to draw more realistic looking eyebrows and eyelashes.

Drawing practise - Light coloured irises
"You might not have experienced the shit I did, but you loved hearing about it didn't you?"

At the moment, I can't seem to get everything right in one single drawing. For my first drawing (eyes from an iconic class act from the past), I managed to get the proportions and shading around the eyes relatively spot on but (there is always a but) I felt the pupils and irises just did not have enough life in them, for want of a better description. In my eye rendering of a more contemporary movie star, I think I nailed the moist and 'live' look of the eyes' pupils and irises but (again with the buts) I got the proportions all wrong. To see who the eyes belong to, please scroll down to the bottom of this post.

So have you guessed who the actresses are? Well, the first is one of my favourite actresses of all time, Audrey Hepburn while the second is the actress that will likely be the subject of my first sculpting project, Jennifer Lawrence. Thanks for reading my latest blog post and here's to wetter days ahead.


  1. Another great work , my favorite is the second draw the details is perfects and the little touch of light Great ! Compliments .
    Vincent .

    1. Thanks Vincent. I prefer the second drawing too mainly because the pupils/irises came out better. :)

  2. hi FEM!
    i do really think you are very good at drawing, i would kill someone to become so good!
    i recognised Audrey Hepburn, she's unique, but i didn't think about Jennifer Lawrence.
    good luck with the dry days!

    1. Thanks luca, I am not that good, still learning. :) But if someone like me with no artistic talent can learn to draw then actually anyone can learn to draw. It's just a matter of looking at things in terms of values and shapes, not lines. And also a willingness to practise of course, which only comes about if the interest is there in the first place. But that being said, I am still a long way of from achieving a good realistic drawing. ^_^

  3. Dry seasons are very hard I guess, moreover for a painter! Hold still!!
    About the eyes, they look gorgeous: they are usually the part I prefer in every drawing of yours and those last ones are wonderful!
    And I am pretty proud I was able to regonize both the acrtesses :D

    1. Yeah ... having no water supply is tough but the supplies are coming back earlier by hours now so there's is that silver lining to appreciate. :)

      Cool that you are able to recognise both actresses. ^_^ I loved the former actress because she was the epitome of class during the '50s and '60s movie era while the latter I like because she is simple in looks yet have powerful performances on screen.


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