Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Working in pen

While I have been planning  and drawing out my next watercolour I have also been working on another pen and ink drawing. The whole drawing is created with dots using a technique called Pointillism. This has taken me about 12 hours so far and I am guessing it will probably be close to 30 hours before it is finished. Its easily transportable though so I can keep it with me and draw at odd moments throughout the day wherever I happen to be.

I just love his developing expression. I wonder what he is thinking. Any ideas?


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.