“She Blooms by Moonlight” – my painting process

She Blooms by Moonlight -mixed media paintingAt Wonderhubby’s work Christmas party in December last year, I fell in love with the colours of the paper crowns from the festive Christmas crackers.

I could just see them as part of a painting, so I (fairly) discreetly gathered up as many as I could from the tables surrounding us…

I’m so glad I listened to that little acquisitive voice, because they were the touch that eventually revealed the whole story of this piece to me.

I really loved working on this wistful girl, even though she went through so very many changes.

I gave her a pet dog and hated it. And then her body was no longer right either, so I covered almost the whole lower half of the painting with gesso. In fact, about the only thing I did like about the whole piece was her face..

 

Then it looked a little like a snowscape to me, so I gave her a warm hat and a new body.

But I still couldn’t quite see her story until I added the little moon face, and suddenly it just gelled.

 

The pink and yellow in particular looked lovely layered together.
I added pieces of both to create a glow around the moon, which suddenly became petals to me.

I knew my girl needed something extra, so I decided to give her some petals too, and the relationship between the two characters was made clear.

Just a touch of dark blue for contrast in the sky, and they were done.

Hope your week’s been good to you,
jane xx

ps – linking this week to paint party friday and creative every day

29 faces, three, four, five

I’m still behind – no surprise there! – but slowly catching up.

This adorable little fellow was face #3, painted on a 4x4in canvas panel.

He just looked so sad and hungry with his bib tied around his neck, all ready for dinner!
And he sold the same day I listed him in my store, which was kind of happy-sad because I only got to spend a couple of days with him.

What Time is Dinner?
What Time is Dinner?
original sold, prints available

This past week has been fantastic! good and not-so-good.
I actually overdid things a little and ended up with another infected throat, but that’s just about gone now..

On the up side I’ve had three full days of art this week (!) sold two original paintings, one print and two aceo prints.
Plus had my etsy store critiqued by the lovely Jen (and boy do I have work to do!)

And I finally realised what my word for 2014 should be: Play!

"Play" original on cardboard available (email me) archival prints available
Play
original on cardboard available –email me
archival prints available

My word last year was trust, and boy did I get a lot of practice with that one!

So this year I think I’ve earnt some playtime, which I explored in this piece on 9x9in scrap cardboard – using every art supply I could think of, including nail polish!

Sunshine Girl original available
Sunshine Girl
original available

My fifth face is another unusual one (of course), because yellow isn’t a colour I use a lot of.
But in this case I just kept wanting to add more and more of it, and I love the effect!

It made her very easy to name, too!

I’ve been quite slack in visiting everyone else’s blog posts for 29 faces, Creative Every Day and PPF this week, so I’m making it a priority to visit at least 5 blogs each day next week.

See you soon!
jane xxx

The 3 best things I did for my art in 2013

2013 was the year that I finally began to feel that I had found my style, and really began loving my paintings.
I became comfortable calling myself an artist.

 

"Mim's Valentine" available as a print
“Mim’s Valentine”
available as a print

This is the third time I’ve done this review of the previous year, and each time it’s been incredibly useful in setting my direction for the coming year.

Feel free to use the idea yourself, and add yourself to the linky doodad below.

1. I took two online Art Courses

In January I took a self-paced course, Mindy Lacefield‘s “Paint Your Story“.

“Bring your Bucket & Spade”

It really helped me to develop my own style and gain confidence and speed in creating.
I learnt basic rules about shading faces and gave myself permission to make more mess.

Perfection, I began to realize, is an illusion.

Then in September, I began a year-long course, “Serendipity”, with Juliette Crane.

In it, she is sharing everything she herself learns over the twelve months.
We’ve been learning techniques (especially for when you get stuck), trying lots of new media, and seeing how Juliette solves different dilemmas as she creates her own beautiful paintings.

I feel like I’ve learnt so much already from this course, and it’s not even half-way done.

"Not on THIS Parade" original available
“Not on THIS Parade”
original available

The main thing I feel I’ve gained so far is more enjoyment in the process of creating. By seeing that someone as talented as Juliette gets frustrated with her paintings, covers bits up, redoes faces, gets stuck, I’ve become much more kind to myself as I lay down each layer.

I know now that every mark I make is perfect,
because it adds to the depth and story of the piece I’m creating.

(even if I end up covering it over)

2. Instagram opened my eyes

Seeing others’ work, connecting with other artists, and sharing my own art on ig was as important a step for me in 2013 as facebook was for me in 2012.

"Chocolate Sounded Pretty Good to Tom" available as a print
“Chocolate Sounded Pretty Good to Tom”
available as a print

Using hashtags (#) mean that my art is being seen and loved by a much wider circle of people, and it’s so easy to find lovely art by other artists – and people with the same interests as me.

I’ve met a whole new group of creative people, some of whom I’m now connected with on fb, and learnt about new ways of making art – like art journaling, which I’m loving so much.

What’s more, seeing my art alongside that of so many other’s meant seeing my own work in a different light.

3. I learned to trust

Most of you know that we had a rough year. The silver lining was a doozey, though.

I finally learnt to deal with stress in a more positive way.
I’m not religious, but I now really do know that there is a reason for things happening the way they do.

"You Rule My World" original available
“You Rule My World”
original available

I went through such a long dry spell and feel that my art is deeper and truer than ever before. It expresses so much more than previously.
And because I’ve been through that, I no longer fear that I’ll wake up one day unable to paint.

I’ve been there, the worst has happened.

And you know what? I came back stronger and better.

It’s so helpful to be able to look back on the steps I’ve taken along my path since the beginning of 2011.
I hope that you’ll give it a try and let me know how you go.

Cheers, and happy PPF!
jane xxx

…and breathe…

Well, I’m back.

I always try to be positive and look on the bright side, but the past few months had me temporarily defeated.

It’s a long story, one I will share soon, but at the moment I’d rather get this party started again and share some art with you, my lovely friends!

Some of you will have already seen these on facebook or instagram, so please bear with me as I bring my bloggy home up to date again…

Homebunny - available as a 8x6" or ACEO print

Homebunny is the first painting I’ve done since June, it’s a small one (3.5 x 2.5 inches) and available as a print in my etsy store.

She reminds me of a soft little white toy rabbit I still have on my shelf here, from when I was a child.
Her name is Alice & she wears a little pink floral dress with lace around the neck, and watches over me with a little smile as I paint.

Some of what I went through in the past five months was quite painful and difficult to deal with, and I know that it would have been a good deal more difficult without my family and friends who gathered around with support and love.

Never Alone - available as a print soon.

Never Alone grew out of that feeling of being loved through difficult times, it’s the largest painting I’ve done to date – 12 x 10 inches.

So big that it doesn’t fit my scanner! I’m planning to gift my closest friends (who saw me through all of this) with a print of this one for Christmas this year. So I’d better get myself in gear & take it into the print shop, hadn’t I?

Strangely, I’m more of a ‘cat person’, but this little doggie just leapt out of the background at me while I was painting my girl.
So she has a canine friend instead – maybe my subconscious was using him to symbolise the caring and loyalty my friends have shown me this past year.

I often find things like that happen when I’m creating, and don’t understand them until I sit down to analyse the image later on.
Has that happened to anyone else out there?

Our minds are a strange, miraculous land…

(happy paint party friday, and hello to all my friends out there – i’ve missed you so much!)

The 3 Best Things I Did For My Art in 2012

Swoop - original mixed media girl painting - feb 2012

This is something I did last year on my old blog and found very useful.

To be able to look back and see where I was twelve months ago, how far I’ve come and to guide me in my direction this year.

The way I see myself has changed so much in such a short time – I didn’t even think of myself as an artist a year ago, let alone have a style of my own.

(yes, I know it’s april, but anyway…)

So here we go..

For Ayla - mixed media girl painting - april 2012

1.  I became active in artist groups on Facebook

Groups like Ayala Art‘s “29 Faces” and Tracy Verdugo‘s “Magically Mixed Art Community” were invaluable.

I met other artists, learnt from them, gave and received positive feedback, made some amazing friends.

None of my real-life friends are artists, so it was particularly wonderful to be able to share what I was learning and experiencing with people who ‘got’ me.

We’re all at different stages of our art journey, which really helped me to stop comparing myself to others and just enjoy where I was.TeapotLady, FloralTang - original mixed media girl painting - jul 2012 - etsy listing

I began to see myself and my art differently because I was seeing myself through their eyes.

I was also exposed to different styles of art, which definitely helped me on the way to finding my own.

2.  I pinpointed two key artists whose work I’d like to emulate

There are a lot of artist’s whose work I love and admire, but I don’t necessarily want to paint in their style.

I’m talking about artists whose work contains elements that I’d like to include in my own paintings.

Snow Day - original mixed media girl painting - aug 2012

I spent hours looking at art that inspired me, working out what it was that appealed to me, then how the artist achieved the effects I loved.

By the way, I’m talking about you, Mindy Lacefield and Juliette Crane

3.  I consciously worked on my ‘style’

I practiced, screwed things up, practiced more, painted over the bits I hated, practiced again, painted over whole paintings if they didn’t make me happy.

Whoo are you waiting for? - mixed media owl painting - aug 2012Even so, I usually only stayed in love with each one for a matter of weeks, because my skills improved so much with each painting I completed.

When I did this exercise last year, I wrote “I feel like I’m finally becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be”.

I still feel that way, only more so.
I have such a feeling of purpose in my life now, which I know will only increase in the future.

Looking to the past is what I’ve been up to this week.
I’m linking to Paint Party Friday, so please pop over and check out what everyone else has been doing..