Friday, 14 September 2012

Here comes the Bride.......

Well, the day has finally come...almost, my sister is getting married tomorrow!!!!! I cannot wait, it's going to be a day to remember. As mentioned in an earlier post, I have been commissioned to paint two large canvases as an alternative to wedding flowers as a backdrop to them saying their vows...No pressure! Any way, I am pleased to report that they are finally finished! Phew. These have been a real learning curve for me and I have experimented with so many techniques. In particular, I loved the way in which the spray paint created a real glowy effect. It was so quick too. I would like to add that if you are going to use aerosols then think, 'safety first', I say this as I did ensure that I wore the correct type of mask, wore gloves......and then promptly sprayed myself directly in the eye.....whoops! Luckly I miraculously sustained no injuries. So, then I quickly searched out some protective glasses before continuing. I don't think eye-patches are normal bridesmaid attire. I haven't posted for a while, as I've been so busy lately but I have been regularly posting on my Instagram (see links) it's so quick and easy to do so I have taken lots of shots of the work in progess. It's also nice to get feedback off complete strangers from all over the world.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Still messing about...need to get on with real deal!

 I'm really enjoying working with the aerosols and the cool effects they create, I'm finding them really hard to control and so the results are very haphazard and unpredictable, It's a bit scary that lack of control and just working with whatever the outcome is. It's also really hard not to overdo it as the spray paint is so much faster/instant than my usual meticulous painting method. The work above is yet another practise piece. I used oil paint on the flowers in a very thin layer and did it pretty roughly and quickly. Hopefully I will have time to do the real things a bit more carefully however, again it is a fine line between looking loose or just rough and also an even finer line between looking well painted and detailed or just overworked! I put these photos on my instagram and my sister saw them, commenting that she liked the hearts and stars.....these I only did whilst messing around on this practise piece, but if she likes them then I may well add some into the final pieces. By the way, the spray paint colours are 'Frozen Raspberry' and 'Shock pink', I'm a sucker for paint colour names....I think twice about buying a paint if I don't like it's 'name'! I saw a paint the other day called 'cup of tea'=love! I digress!
Background before flowers etc, acrylics and aerosol

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Alternative to wedding flowers..........

This is a post that I am very excited to blog about. My super stylish sister, Suzy, is getting married in approximately 4 weeks time....eekkk! The whole wedding is going to be a little alternative, with a rock and roll festival vibe. She has commissioned me to create two giant canvases with bouquets on them to have displayed in the hall where they are going to be married rather than having real flowers. This way the paintings will be a lasting memory of the day and give it a nice personal touch. They want it in a graffiti style. Sooooo, I've started experimenting today after receiving a big parcel of gorgeous spray paints in the post...yay! I have to admit I have never really used aerosols in my work before....gulp.....but that's what makes it so exciting! The actual canvases are about 100cm by 80cm, but this little canvas I am playing around on is about 30cm by 30cm.

The inspiration:

First layer of paint on canvas, (acrylic) ....a little too blue for the final pieces, I think we were thinking more greeny grey.

Using the spray paint...This had to be done mega quickly as it was getting late and starting to get dark. It was really cool using it but I really need to buy a mask tomorrow as it stinks! Well, I kind of like the smell, but I know it's really bad for you and I could taste it afterwards....not good! Also you can see a very rough outline. I think I might have gone a bit overboard with the pink...what can I say, I love shocking pink!

First layer of paint to establish tonal areas:
And another photo using a different instagram filter:

Quite like how its developing, it has definitely been worth trying it out before starting the real ones! It only took a few hours to get it to this stage too which is a relief! (Suzanne if you see this blog.....this is the work at a very early stage and not how I envisage the final outcome!) It needs more drips and dribbles and obviously colour! The colours need to be a bit more pastel too, I think.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Ode to Ms Moss...

Added a tiny bit more colour. This is actually inspired by a photo of Kate Moss. It looks nothing like her, I know, I didn't want it to. I just liked the pose and the mask. It's been interesting working on this as the reference was a quite grainy black and white photo so I have had to use my artistic license with a lot of it. I have noticed before that I often am a bit of a slave to the reality of my references and this can get in the way of developing my art the way I want it to go.  I'm still not sure what background to do, I'm thinking a nice pink at the moment, inspired by a Damien Hirst butterfly painting I saw at his exhibition at the Tate Modern. I love this pink, to me, it's not girly or sickly, it's kind of soft and vintage. I think I might have trouble mixing this colour.


 For Boys and Girls - Damien Hirst

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Some progress........

Adjusted the shoulder, dress etc. Added tone and detail to hair....don't know whether to keep it simple in the background so that I actually get this one finished! 

Friday, 3 August 2012

Started a new piece.......

I have such a bad habit of starting work and never finishing it. I just seem to lose motivation for particular pieces but I know this is mostly down to not planning things out first in my sketch book! Something i'm always telling my students off for! It's just I get excited for a new piece and I just can't wait to get started! I'm keen to resolve the issues I had on previous pieces, with new pieces. So it will be interesting to see how far I actually get with this. I think part of the problem is never having enough time to have a good run on a piece...sometimes it takes a good hour or two to get into the artistic groove, if you know what I mean, and then when things are just starting to flow, I realise its gone 11pm and I know I will regret staying up longer when the kids are up and about at the early hours......3.30am this morning with Edward for example!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Finished DNA.....maybe?

"DNA" Oil on paper
After drinking a glass of vino quite quickly last night, I threw caution to the wind and slapped the paint on, I am much happier with this now, it's much closer to my original vision. I feel that I have learnt so much from this painting by seeing it through and I am excited about starting a new piece using what I have learnt. I may even contemplate entering it for the Coventry open....I hate rejection though!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Guess what....Another work in progress!

This is the latest painting that I have been working on. As usual I'm not happy with it. I can't seem to get my colour pallette right. The painting started quite muted but I felt it looked unfinished and a bit insipid. So I tried layering more colour on and using some injections of brighter colours but now I really don't like it! Arrrrh! Painting is very frustrating sometimes! I'm going to try toning down some of the colours, particularly the blue! OK, in an attempt to try something new, i.e., being positive....what am I happy with? I quite like how the hair is developing. Composition is nice, skin tone OK! Further inspiration is definitely needed! At least this work is nearer to being finished than most of my work lately!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Doodles, doodles, I love doodles.......

Today I enjoyed myself doodling, inspired by my lighthearted paint splattering doodles yesterday. It's so therapeutic and addictive but I also think it is really helpful at seeing your work from a new direction. After doodling these birds, I'd quite like to study painting and drawing these in more detail by getting some reference material.

Face over stripes = like!

Hand sketched below was drawn in the car on the way to a soft play-centre. Hands are something I want to sketch more regularly as they are so difficult to draw, and as they say, practise makes perfect.....or better at least!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012



Had a relaxing day today painting with Esme and creating random doodles. Sometimes it's nice not to think to hard about creating and just have fun, this is always how Esme tackles her drawings, no pressure just playing.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Pirate (WIP)

Pirate (WIP)      

I feel as though my work is starting to progress in the right direction and it is definitely becoming less of a struggle. My main problem is just finding enough time to spend on it. I discovered instagram a while ago and was finally able to download the app today without breaking my phone. I took this photo using the instagram camera and it looked quite nice on my phone but now that I see it larger on the computer, it is a bit blurry and the colours aren't as rich as they looked on my phone. I'll have to keep on experimenting. I've still got some bits to work on with this piece, mainly the eye patch and the bubbles, but I am really bad at going back to things once I've worked on them for a day, I find I'm itching to start a new piece instead! There are a couple of exhibitions that I am hoping to submit work to soon so I suppose this is something that I'm going to have to tackle.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Lovin Graphite

Always Remember, Pencil study
Since becoming a mum of two i've had to really consider how much time I have to spend on my artwork. Graphite has become my new best friend again. Simple to use, cheap, quick and effective. Then when they are both in bed I can play around with adding colour to a few.
Always remember (adding colour)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

To-To's Dream, development

To-To's Dream (WIP)

I've worked on the face a bit in the last few days and also started to develop the background. Something that I have noticed is that by photographing my work and viewing it on screen, it is easier to make decisions about where to go next with it. The background definitely needs more work and so does the hairline and sides of the face.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

To-To's Dream

To-To's Dream

A new WIP. Based again on Esme. This photo shows work in it's very early stages, the first wash has been applied, I worked loosely with this, using acrylic like watercolour. I also thought carefully about the colour palette I wanted to use. This piece explores ideas of children's imaginations. I wonder what Esme will think of all my paintings of her when she's older?

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Haunting

The Haunting
Experimenting with a more loose style. I am quite pleased with this study and particularly pleased that it only took a few hours to create. The left eye is a bit dodgy but I feel, for a quick experiment it's not bad. This was created by painting the face directly onto the background without any under drawing/tracing to follow so if I were to do a finished outcome I would need to find a way of mapping the main elements of the piece out. Esme (my personal art critic) said it looked spooky. It does a bit. I seem to be drawn to quite melancholic faces. I'm not too sure about the colours either but still, I'm trying not to over analysis my art or be too critical, just produce, explore, learn and move on. This way, hopefully I won't become disheartened and hopefully my work will continue to develop. Also did you notice, I've tried to think of a title. It's so hard, well I find it hard, and I think titles are really important. Hopefully my titles will improve too!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

No time to practise practice.....

A work in progress, supposedly, however, these days, most of my wip's stay as wip's! Felt inspired to paint at 10pm last night, and did so until 11.30....not good when you then get woken at 5.30 by 6mth old! Lately I'm enjoying getting a glowy iridescent sheen to my portraits and figures...I really do need to see some of these pieces through till the end though! Having started to work using oil on paper again, means I can be less precious over my work and let it naturally evolve. I asked Esme if she thought it looked like her and she replied, "No....I don't have a purple face". Good art critique from a 3 year old if you ask me! On reflection, I think she has a point, and I need to slightly cool down some of the colours used. Lots needs doing to it...hairline and hair in particular. Maybe I'll get the urge to do more tonight, or maybe I'll just have a beer, watch some Saturday night trash t.v. and fall asleep on the sofa....sounds like bliss!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Too beautiful not to draw.....

A couple of days ago I took a photo of Esme and thought that it really captured just how perfect she is, (bias, I know). I think she would make a good Goldilocks, she certainly loves porridge! Anyway, this gave me further inspiration to do some more drawing, which proved tricky as she wanted to sit on my lap whilst I tried my best to see what I was doing. She also felt the need to add to my drawing which was a little frustrating!

Mixed media on paper
So, all in all, I quite like the result, I particularly like the fact it took only around an hour in total, if that. I've managed to keep it nice and loose in style.
The inspiration

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Children's portraits

So this is what I'm working on at the moment, a portrait of my usual muse, my daughter, Esme. I'm not sure what to do with it yet, leave it as pencil or add colour? I'm pleased with bits of it but the eye on the right hand side of the drawing isn't quite right yet. She is actually cuddling her four and a half month old brother, Edward, you can just see his little baldy head in the corner! If I get good at these, I would like to do some commissions to earn a bit of dosh, perhaps then I might be able to afford more than a £9.50 'The Sun, collect tokens in the paper' holiday!