People always say you need a ‘style’ a ‘niche’ I have always struggled with this. I love art it’s all I want to do but I’ve never had a style. Recently I’ve given all this a lot of thought, the one thing about no job, you have lots of time to think.
I’ve been trying to do a painting, sketch or even doodle everyday. I know I’d like to make a living from my art but I really want to give back as well. What do I feel strongly about, what do I love and where do I feel the most happy. It suddenly hit me…..Nature. I can’t express what being outside in nature feels like. It’s so calming, I feel at peace when I’m outside.
With the FB, instagram and Twitter posts lately I’ve noticed people react to my nature and wildlife art in a positive way more so than other items and as it’s truly the thing I enjoy doing most it just makes sense.
So that’s it, my thing, my style/niche. Nature & wildlife art and find a way to use it to create awareness to what we’re doing to planet. I suddenly feel like it really is going to be okay and this is what I was meant to do.
The weather here in the north east is starting to change. The leaves have turned and are falling everywhere. On days when it’s sunny and warm this is a wonderful time of year. It’s not cold and not too hot and there are no bugs to drive you insane. The colours of the leaves do nothing but inspire.
But when it’s chilly all you see, or I do, are dead leaves and then wait in expectation of the coming snow. Ugh the dreaded snow. I’m still in denial, I actually don’t like snow and I live in an awful snowy place 🙂
When the weather starts cooling off I find it harder and harder to go up to the studio, the fingers do not work as well as they should in the cold room. The cozy living room and TV has more of a draw.
Right now the walls in the studio are white and the room is a bit clinical and I’m thinking it may need a nice warm Colour and maybe a cozy chair and throw. If I can make it cozy it will be easier to sit up there and work. My latest work in progress is spring flowers the flowers are a way of keeping those warm days in my mind and brightening the room.
What tips and tricks do you all use to keep the studio warm, and yourselves moving and inspired during winter.
Oops I’ve been neglecting everything lately. My oldest pushes me if I’m lazy but she has just moved out, which makes me very sad and very happy. This left her room all empty and lonely, what to do, what to do? A Studio!
My way of coping was to have a massive clean out. I did say massive right! I have systematically gone through my whole house. If I haven’t used it in a few months then I must not need it. Of course I don’t think I have been as aggressive as I could have or should have been. I still have a few small areas but wore myself out over the past couple of weeks.
Now for her room. I have been doing my digital art on my lap on the settee and my pastels on a makeshift table in kitchen, (when not procrastinating) yes I know eeww. Just a tad hazardous but we don’t actually use the kitchen except as a walk through to the other rooms. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. One more thing on my to do agenda, have an eat in kitchen.
Took awhile but I now have everything art and almost everything craft in her space. Wow! Is this a small room no wonder she moved lol! I’ve done some organizing but it does need much more. I have a window that overlooks the river that runs in the backyard. The noise from water is relaxing. Lots of light and good feeling, inspiration hanging on walls. As you can see it’s a work in progress.
Since completing this big shake up I have one excuse after another to not turn on the laptop or climb the stairs to the studio. Even my knitting is sitting staring at me and that’s on the settee.
Got to get bum in gear, can’t be a full time artist, designer if the bum is firmly planted on the settee.
So facebook hasn’t been updated nor any of my Tshirt sites like society6 or RedBubble I haven’t drawn, painted or designed.
So a big hike and a SciFi movie this weekend and I am feeling the mojo slowly move back in woot woot!
This is a commission I just finished, for my daughter. This is her cat Oliver. I used 8 x 10 Canson Paper with soft pastel sticks. I also used a lot of pastel pencils.
Once I got all the base colours in I used the pencils for details and hair.
The funniest part was every time I sat to paint Oliver would lay right next to me on the shelf unit watching me. I think he wanted to make sure I captured his likeness properly.
As you may or may not know I’ve been playing with sanded pastel paper. It started with Nell the horse and went on to Brown Eye Susan (one of my favourite paintings yet) and I really enjoyed the paper and it’s very rough texture and its ability to take punishment.
Well, I decided to try a portrait on this paper, from my past paintings I wasn’t sure portraits would work. The paper didn’t seem to lend itself to details. My daughters friend has a real cutie, Desmond. So after sorting through some photos I found one I liked. I started with the sanded paper and started to sketch.
However I really had a hard time blending the skin tones on this paper I kept walking away coming back making changes but ugh! I got to a point where I just had the base colours in and just could’nt get it to work.
So the photo is all that remains. It went out with the trash.
I have a hard time with throwing out art I figure if I keep it I can fix it. So this is a step forward for me, some might not, but it takes a lot to throw away a piece of art that you created.
So, back to the drawing board. This time I used Canson Pastel paper this had always been my go to paper for my pastel work before I started the sanded experiments.
Much better, although you can see the texture of the paper, which I don’t mind I like the extra depth it gives and the blending for hair (baby fluff) and skin tones was much better. I was very happy with the outcome. I think I captured Desmond and his cute little face.
I also did the marketing thing as well and posted it on my Facebook page and twitter hoping that I can get some commissions for portraits. Part of my ongoing plan is to try and market myself more.
I also do it because I love it! I do enjoy painting people and animals I get such pleasure from seeing the faces come alive on the paper not to mention the faces of the people I do the work for.
I am still playing with that #Pastel sanded paper that I bought. I bought 2 sheets, they were a medium brown colour. They actually look and feel just like sandpaper from the hardware store. I have always used the Basic paper that works for pastels, has a little tooth.
I am on my second painting, I cut the paper in half the first half I used for Nell
my painting of my sister’s horse, this time I decided to try something floral. My wonderful daughter takes breathtaking photos, I use some of these for my inspiration.
I did this painting with soft pastel sticks and used some soft pastel pencils for the finer details. This paper is great it takes so much punishment everything blends well and you can just keep adding more and more layers and you don’t need to fix it first (this means adding a solution so the pastel is no longer loose and chalky). What are the fall backs? Well, I have found it does wear down your pastels very quickly and the brush blending I had used before doesn’t really work well on this paper.
The usual Canson Mi-Teintes that most artists use covers well too. I can take brushes when doing hair and get a great sweep and texture that looks like hair, but I have found you can see the paper detail and you cannot add lots of layers without using fixative to seal each layer. But your pastels will last longer.
So here is the finished painting, Brown Eye Susan
So for me I think I rather prefer the Sanded paper for things like nature and landscape, but maybe for portraits maybe the Canson paper. I think a little more testing is needed 🙂
Last year my sister got a new horse, Nell. She is huge they have other Belgian draft horses but none are quite this big. I headed over for a visit and took some great photographs. But I took this one close up of her face, just one eye and piece of face I just love it. It’s been sitting in my ‘studio’ (bedroom) for awhile now, I really wanted to paint this it was such a great shot.
This weekend I moved my work area out of my bedroom to the kitchen. I got everything nicely set in front of the window, I feel more comfortable in this spot and I am close to everyone instead of far far away. The kids were gone and I had bought my very first piece of sanded pastel paper. Perfect time to paint.
I have never tried this sanded pastel paper before I had read an article on it and really wanted to test it. It was just like the fine sandpaper you get from the hardware store. The paper was a nice reddish colour and so is Nell…..perfect. Laying down the base colours was great this paper blends beautifully and takes far more punishment than regular paper.
I put a few layers of colour down building slowly. Once I was happy with it I started on the details, adding a bit at a time. I used both the soft pastel sticks and the harder pastel pencils which give me a finer detail for the smaller areas. The sanded paper does wear down your pastels quicker but I can put several layers down where as I cannot on regular paper.