Sunday, July 27, 2014

The creative process: an analogy

To all my creative friends whether you are an artist, a writer, a photographer, a composer, a choreographer… 

...don't give up, remember the creative process is not a linear one. You don’t begin at one point and travel upwards in a straight line to your chosen goal. Very much like the seed cracking open and completely destroying its outer shell in the process, or the caterpillar breaking its very essence down to the absolute basics and then completely re-inventing itself, the creative process is more of a metamorphosis of thought, of understanding and most of all of belief that the power of your ideas is worth pursuing through the ups and downs. In the words of Cynthia Ocelli,

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To some that don’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”

This has happened to me this week as I worked on the idea for my next painting. I had sketched away for days on the idea. On Friday morning I had a finished outline but as I looked at it I knew it wasn’t what I wanted. It was a big fat lumbering catterpillar with too many legs and no wings. So I took it back down to the very essence of my message again. To many, that stage may have looked like almost total destruction, but I had faith because I knew it was just a stage in the process. My greedy fat caterpillar of an idea had to be broken down, and then reformed into the outline idea that I am just finishing now which I hope, when painted will be a beautiful butterfly ready to take flight. Hope you enjoy my analogy. I have too much fun with my pencils and wild imagination sometimes.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Heart strings

I have listened to the following piece of music by Danny Wright quite a bit as I was painting this.  It's called 'keys to the heart'. I thought you might enjoy listening to it as you look at the finished painting.

I nearly used this title as the title of the painting too but James and I both felt 'Heart Strings' was the one to choose. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

So near and yet so far

There is always the temptation when you are reaching the last stages of a painting to want to get it finished but there is still a long way to go. The dress I will be painting is a dark one so there  will be many layers or glazes to create a similar rich dark feel to the background colour. The reflected colours and shadows need to be developed and enhanced on the skin and white piano keys from the dress skin and violin, the music needs to be painted  also and lastly the jewellery added.

There is actually a little more colour in her skin in the actual painting than the camera has captured in this wip photo but hopefully it gives you some idea of my progress.

I am also working on the outline for a painting of my model Sarah's sister who plays the viola.  I am hoping to get the basic idea finished so its ready to draw out once this one is completed.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Violinist WIP 4

Anyone who paints miniature portraits has my complete and utter admiration. This painting is a big one (31 inches on the long side) but the actual face of my violinist is only just over 2 inches from chin to hairline. It was fiddly enough work getting a likeness at this size. Every 10th of a millimetre counts. How on earth artists get a likeness when portrait is smaller than this is mind boggling.

I will be working on the violin next.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Progress Update

I am so relieved. 15 layers of paint later and I have got past the ugly, oh my, what was I thinking stage and am now hoping this painting might actually work.

As I am sat here thinking about what to do next though I am starting to wonder why on earth I wanted the figure to be only a small part of the painting. Getting a likeness when the face is smaller is much harder work. We don't think of that sort of thing when we have these great initial ideas do we though. I tend to be thinking of the overall look and feel of the piece at this first stage and not little details such as how I easy or hard it will be to paint. Oh well, here goes....Wish me luck 


Sunday, July 13, 2014

The creative process

I often get asked about my creative process so I thought it would be fun to tell you all about my own 8 stages of Creativity. Have a read through and let me know if the process sounds familiar Oh by the way I'm at stage 4 in my painting at the moment and thinking seriously as I write this about stage 5 Eeeek! 

Ona's 8 stages of creativity

1. I’ve just had the most awesome idea.

Usually these happen at the most inconvenient times but the creative flow just doesn’t happen on command so I try to be prepared and carry a pencil and paper around with me so I can jot ideas down wherever I am. Then I can focus on other things until a more suitable time when I can work on the idea.

2. It’s so tricky to put this idea onto paper

Once I have the idea its research time. Which way do people hold violins when playing, how does a dress or hair blow in the wind, what happens to light on objects, how are the shadows formed and what colours should I use to create the atmosphere I want. So many questions need answers.

3. The elation that I have completed the outline and then the realisation I now have to actually paint it.

How on earth am I going to tackle it? What do I do first? How long is this going to take me? Why did I decide to do it this big or this small? I must be crazy to think I can pull this off.

4. This looks really ugly

Every painting goes through its ugly stage, some more than others. Creating a rich dark background or giving a face shape and form is a huge leap of faith for each are going to look ghastly before becoming presentable again.

5. Who do I think I’m kidding… will it ever work?

No matter now experienced I get, when I try new things I have huge doubts. Even when I am doing things I have done many times before I still have doubts.

This just can’t possibly turn into a rich deep dark background can it?

Hopefully it will work and I will progress onto stage 6 soon. 

 6. Oh, maybe it might be ok, I just need a bit of faith

I’ve turned the corner and I can see the end in sight. The hard bit is done

7. You grow in confidence and let you guard down and then suddenly you make a blunder

What on earth was I thinking! That’s was so the wrong colour or why did I drop my paint filled paintbrush right on the lightest area of the painting? Thank goodness for Mr Clean’s magic erasers, what did we do before it was invented!

8. My god, it actually worked!

The last strokes and I am exhausted both physically and emotionally. I walk away but when I return after a bite to eat or time away I look and think ‘hey, that’s not bad’ maybe I could have done this a bit differently and next time I will remember to do this instead but I am proud of what I have created.

Friday, July 11, 2014

First Steps

Adding the first colour to a new painting is nerve wracking, exciting, and challenging but watching it slowly begin to form before your eyes is a thrill. Over the last 24 hours I have slowly been building up glaze after glaze of indanthrene blue to give the piano in my background the beginnings of shape and form and the areas of light and shade established. 

I will need to add many many more colours to create the rich black I want for the darker parts of the painting  but I always think the first layer is the hardest.

James took this photo of me this morning while I was working and I couldn't resist playing with the saturation to create this cool black and white photo with the blue on the painting.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Rockin Robin

Ok, I know, he's not in the treetops but in real life our little robin fledgling really seems to like singing while perched on our bird bath. I guess that he, like so many of us, likes singing in the shower.

An audience of other fledglings from the area gathers round to watch him sing. It's such fun developing each individual personality. We have the star struck one on the left who is totally caught up in the moment and eager not to miss a second of the performance. Secondly on the far right is the biggest fledgeling who I am afraid to say is a little full of himself. 'Oh of couse I could do that too you know' he says to his smaller brother who so wishes he was able to sing as beautifully but just hasn't been blessed with a melodic voice.

Transparent Watercolour 20 by 13 inches


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Rockin Robin WIP 2

I had great fun painting the first of the little robin fledglings today. Here is a cropped in photo of part of the painting so you can see the detail on the little fellow.

He is only about 3 inches tall so I used my tiny brush to paint in his little feathers. I will start working on the two little robins on the right hand side of the painting tomorrow. 


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rockin Robin WIP 1

Last month we excitedly watched a robin family nest under our deck. We set up a robin cam so we could watch the events unfold. Its was a great few weeks and this painting I am working on now was inspired by our baby robin who we watch grow from a tiny newly hatched baby to one that flew the nest. He is going to be the star of my painting but over the last two days I have been setting the scene.

 Now the stage is set for my little robin to sing.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Splash 15

My two Teds ' Intoxicate-Ted and Inebriate-Ted' will be celebrating this week  because  the hard back book  'Splash 15: Creative Solutions The Best of Watercolor' officially hits shelves in bookstores on the 6/27/14. Below is a sneak peak for you all of the front cover and of the page with my painting on.

You can order either the book itself or a digital version on line via North Light books.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Delivery day!

It was delivery day today. I managed to get this lovely photo of the twins Helen and Linda and their Teds with one of the two signed limited edition prints of the painting Recollect-Ted that is now theirs. They have one each to hang in their homes.

Helen, on the right, won the bid  to have her and her sister Linda's Teds star in the painting. I also used several objects that had sentimental value to them both in the picture including their grandfathers pocket watch, a locket and an old framed photo of them both when they were two.  The money raised has gone to the Sunshine Foundation of Canada.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A penny for your thoughts

 Let's hope the meaning behind the saying 'A penny for your thoughts' doesn't die with the actual  penny that at least in Canada is being phased out. Keep that sense of wondering alive and keep collecting those pennies of thought. Your life will be much richer for it.

I thought you might like seeing a close up of the child's face in the painting. Bringing a portrait to life on the paper is a challenge as even a millimetre change to any of the main features can effect a likenes and alter an expression or emotion but it is so rewarding to do too.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Penny for your Thoughts WIP 1

  I love setting the scene with a background. I wanted a dreamy feel for this one with a suggestion of mist so that the actual location can be left almost completely to the viewers imagination. I have included a small penny in the background as the child I am going to paint has a very thoughtful far away expression... to quote the saying... its a penny for her thoughts. 

I have adjusted the photo above so its close to the actual colour of most of the background on the painting but unfortunately the camera did not pick up the coppery colour of the coin and refected copper colour on the rock. You will have to imagine this for now. I am hoping to use this coppery colour in the child's eyes and hair also so hopefully as I get more of the colour into the painting, the camera will pick it up more easily.

I also wanted to let you know that over the last few weeks I have been setting up an Ona Kingdon 'Emotive Expressions' facebook Fan page.

 On this page I have a selection of my paintings in various albums including one with all the Ted paintings in and another fun album of people with my paintings. Over the last few years several people have sent me photos when they have either seen them while on exhibition, have bought one of my paintings or have a magazine or book with one of my paintings in, and a calender where you can see where my paintings are or will be on exhibition. I thought it would be fun to put them all into one album and I am sure more photos will be added in the future. I have also added a calender so you can easily find out which paintings are going to be where for the big international and national shows and when I will have solo or group exhibitions locally or am painting in a public place where you can drop by and watch.

If you want to like the Ona Kingdon 'Emotive Expressions' facebook fan page click on this link  It is not intended to replace this blog but just to provide some of the information in a place that many people visit daily.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Best in Show

I have just got back home from the NFWS Spring exhibition reception in Buffalo US. John Salminen was the juror for the exhibition and I am thrilled that he awarded my painting 'Rhythm 'n' Blues Best in Show.

Thank you John and thank you to everyone at the exhibition for making James and I feel so welcome. It was so great to meet several on line friends in real life for the first time and to make several new friends too.

Here are a few more photos from the exhibition

 A general view of one of the two exhibition rooms

 Another of the award winning paintings. This one is by Kathleen Giles.

 People looking at my painting. You can also see a painting by Cathy O'Neill just to the left of the white pillar who won an honorable mention
Receiving my award from President Anne Gayley

You can see all the award winning painting here on the NFWS website