Abstract Mount Fuji Landscape

Acrylic, Step-by-Step
Abstract Mount Fui landscape

Mount Fuji painting using acrylic and pen

My partner and I love Japan. We went for the first time last March and it was the best trip I’ve ever been on. So much so that we’re planning on going back for our honeymoon. We’ve got a bit of a Japan-inspired interior design theme in our flat (wallpaper, a screen) and it’s something that we both truly love.

Project and Life Update

Acrylic, Chatty, Step-by-Step

Hello friends,

It feels like an age since I updated on here, and boy do I have a life update for you.

Last month I proposed to my boyfriend and he said yes! We’re not planning anything for a couple of years but we’ve started looking at venue options. I can already see why it’s so stressful for couples, but also so many opportunities to create fun things.

I’m sure I’ll update when any fun wedding things start happening, but in the mean time here’s an update to the projects I was working on in my last post. Some of you might remember me mentioning that I’d been doing some embroidery with my friend, so this was one of the first attempts to mix thread with paint.

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I quite like it so far, but I think it’ll be one where “more is more” will pay off. I’d like to really add as much detail as possible to the flowers and leave the blue space. I’d also love to incorporate tulle somehow but we shall see. Something I’m exploring more is texture in art. I’ve never really been a mixed media artist but it’s fun to try out some new ideas.

Usually April-June is prime art-time for me (no major life events, usually saving money etc.) but this year between working, personal events and completing an online data science course I’m finding it hard to fit in time. But that’s ok, no point feeling guilty.

Have a great day everyone!

New Year Projects

Acrylic, Chatty, Step-by-Step

Despite my lack of posts, I’m pleased to say I’ve actually been doing a lot of painting.

I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to create pieces with my friend to eventually sell. We’ve got the ball rolling (though nothing finished quite yet) and are finding our feet in terms of style and materials.

Here’s a couple of progress shots from. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to show you a finished piece!

As you can see I’m taking inspiration from previous projects and trying to really master creating an art nouveau style. I want to restrict the colour palette And stop it looking so, well, primary. I’m also trying out an acrylic base and following up with oil paints, which so far I really like! It feels like there’s more scope to make changes as you go but with a gloss finish.

When I was younger I hated the idea of having multiple projects on the go. Maybe it’s something to do with my reduced attention span, or just the realisation that I have a lot less free time now to actually finish a project, but now I find I’m much more motivated and actually likely to finish a piece if I have the chance to step away from it and work on something else.

I’d like to be at the stage where I can make these compositions quickly, so that’s what I’ll be practising most of for the next little while.

I want to try mixed media a little more (which is another thing I never thought I’d say!) so before we add the embroidery I also want to create a textured surface using paint. For now I’m using very cheap acrylic paint. In the past I’ve used a plaster mix but that’s on MDF board, not watercolour paper.

I’ve been really enjoying working on these! I love when you seem to stumble upon a style that suits what you’re looking for.

I’m going to try to catch up with everyone else’s posts tonight and tomorrow.

P.S: it actually felt like Spring today! Such a lovely change!

Josh and Bike #4

Acrylic, Painting, Step-by-Step

Guess who left their keys at work? That would indeed be me.

I have a half day, I’m due to finish early, and yet here I am sitting in a Pret waiting to meet my friend and praying that my partner will check his phone so that I can collect keys from him. The thing that annoys me most is feeling like I’m wasting my time. But there’s nothing I can do, so I’m trying to be “in the moment” and enjoy people watching.

I recently FINALLY finished this piece that I’ve been working on for ages. Josh was a rescue dog but the lovely man who rescued him could no longer look after him due to health reasons. He still visits Josh from time to time, which is always lovely. This is for that man as a Christmas present.

The main thing I was working on was detail in the background and just knowing when to leave it. I overworked the dog a bit and I think he began to lose his expression. There’s more I feel like I could add but I think I’d be going overboard at this stage.

You can see the previous post about this piece here.

Alhambra

Acrylic, Painting, Step-by-Step

Hello all!

It feels like such a long time since I posted. To be honest, I haven’t done a lot of art. It’s been fairly non-stop between buying a flat (not yet exchanged contracts so keep fingers and toes crossed for me) and music concerts and festivals means my weekends have been fully booked over the last month. But I’ve found myself in the National Gallery cafe having just come back from Spain, killing some time before I go for dinner and stay in a hotel before a very early flight to Milan (that’s what this post was about), and I thought what better place to talk about art? Disclaimer: my life sounds more elegant and exotic than it is, I’m actually in need of a shower and wearing my paint covered trainers.

Years ago (like, an embarrassingly long time) I started a painting for my dad. He loves an artist called Chico Montilla because of the vibrant colours and subject matter: the Alhambra palace in Granada, my parents’ favourite place in the world. They spend just under half the year there and that’s where I’ve been the last week. It’s always relaxing and beautiful (despite the weather being practically the same as the UK this visit) and has all my art things ready to go.

I only tweaked a few things here and there, but I’ve included a few photos of the progress anyway. Somewhere I’ve got photos of it right from the start, but not in a way I can access from my phone in a coffee shop.

The style is inspired by Montilla, but I am nowhere near his level of skill, nor do I work on it regularly enough to be able to pick up where I left off, so it’s become it’s own hybrid.

Next time I’m out for a longer period of time I’d like to just start again and apply everything I’ve learnt so far. At the moment I find myself painting over the same areas and not really progressing with it, but in a way I’m quite happy with where it is. For the next Montilla inspired landscape I’d like to:

  • Plan the colours in advance rather than ad hoc and changing all the time.
  • Have a consistent approach to introducing texture – it’s a little “I’ll go abstract here” without reason which I feel flattens it in some areas (although I do like the blue of the mountains).
  • Use one consistent reference picture early on rather than taking elements from a few.

Having said that, I do love that this piece feels like a colourful record of my own progression and I always find copying an artist (/drawing inspiration) so helpful!

I’ll try to catch up with everyone else’s posts when I can charge my phone.

Any comments or thoughts always welcome!

Julia

Beardie Portrait #2

Acrylic, Chatty, Painting, Step-by-Step

In my previous post I started working on a bearded collie portrait. I’ve carried on with it and got it to a reasonable standard to give to our friend in the Beardies in Need charity. I wasn’t sure if I’d see her again before their next event, so although there was lots more I would have liked to add, I decided to give it to her now. Here’s a few close up shots as well as the overall.

I am pretty happy with it overall, and I hope it goes to a happy home, but I was in a bit of a painting funk when I tried to finish it. You know when you just overwork something and it doesn’t really change/get better? I’ve had that over the weekend. Instead, I’ve started a new piece with watercolour and pens. I’m looking forward to trying a different medium for a little while to give me time to fall back in love with acrylic.

For now, here are the beautiful fur-babies from the weekend. The second picture is from Saturday when it was Molly’s first birthday! She’s such a grown up girl now.

Hope you all had a lovely Easter!

Julia

Beardie Portrait #1

Acrylic, Painting, Step-by-Step

I’ve got so much to share! I thought about posting all the updates in one post but decided it’s more fun to track each project individually. Anyone feel differently? I’d love to know!

Last year I started this. It was going to be for a Beardies in Need charity event but I didn’t finish it in time. I’m hoping it can go in the raffle of the next event. I started right when I was getting back into painting, so it’s nice to see how far I’ve come already.

I really need some more very fine paint brushes. At the moment I’ve only got one and it’s looking worse for wear. I tried adding finer details and building up texture that way. It’s not an ideal way of working but I think I’m pretty happy with the results so far.

I’m worried about losing the depth of colour, especially as I add the lightest part of the fur (it’s basically white). I suppose I’ll know better when I go back to it with fresh eyes.

That’s all for now. I plan to tackle the right side next time.

Happy Easter everyone!

Julia

Josh and Bike #3

Acrylic, Painting, Step-by-Step

Hi all,

We’ve had more snow here. Luckily it hasn’t disrupted work this time, but it has been extra chilly. Perfect weather for being cosy inside, watching Harry Potter films and doing some painting.

In this post I showed a recent painting I’ve been working on. I’m going to give it to Josh’s first owner, the man who rescued him, when it’s finished. Unfortunately, he’s too unwell to look after him now but he still visits which is lovely!

This is the stage it was at:

I mentioned in the first post that I wanted to work on these things:

  1. I want to block out Josh’s toggle on his collar. It’s accurate, but kind of manky in real life.
  2. I need to add some shadow to the background.
  3. I’m really keen to find a super fine paintbrush and add lots of little details, especially to Josh’s fur!

I was especially keen to add some details into the background and get some practise at creating more realistic scenes. To start I worked on the top-left corner to give it some life. Here’s a few progress shots. Sorry for the odd lighting – I was too into it to remember to take photos when there was natural light:

I’m really pleased with how it’s shaping up, especially the bench, and I feel like my leaves are coming along. Come to think of it, most paintings I did last year involved painting leaves so I better be getting better! Here’s how it now looks overall, with an artificial pink hue:

It doesn’t make a huge difference to the overall impact yet, but doing the smaller details still takes me SUCH a long time. Still, I take much less time to plot out my basic shapes and get colour matches that I’m happy with so there’s definitely progress!

Here’s a summary of a few things I learnt from adding the details:

  • Sometimes, a wash is all you need.
  • JUST USE A TINY AMOUNT OF PAINT!
  • You can never have too fine a brush.
  • It’s more likely that you’ll accidentally make the painting too dark, rather than too light, so keep stepping away and checking the overall effect.

That’s all for now,

Happy week all!

A Couple of New Projects

Acrylic, Chatty, Ink, pen

Hi all,

Recently I’ve found it much easier to make time for art. Maybe you just need time to settle into a new year, or maybe it’s having that little bit more daylight. Either way, I’m trying to make the most of it.

Since I’ve recently painted a lot of pieces based on the garden, I’m getting a bit bored of the colour palette. Instead, I’ve started painting a version of this photo:

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It was taken in Granada, Spain, and when I finish I’ll give it to my parents. I’m not too far along yet so there’s only really the sky to show.

A couple of things I want to practise with this piece:

  • I’ve never really worked on the texture of clouds/the sky. Especially when it’s sort of wispy and blending together.
  • I want the colours to be really vivid. My paints aren’t the best quality in the world and up until now I haven’t used any extra materials with them. Usually I’d do a piece like this in oils but I just love how instant the results of acrylic are, so this’ll be a new challenge.
  • I want to show the detail in the from of the roof houses without overworking it or getting the wrong shape (I will be doing a cropped version of the original though). I guess this’ll need a suggestion of shapes but without looking blocky. Again, something to work on.

I’ll update you when I’ve got a bit more to show.

The second mini-project I’m working on (read: current doodles) are some absinthe spoon designs!

We took a day trip to Brighton (I’d never been) and passed an art shop. I don’t have any near me that sell copic markers, and I’d been meaning to try a few other colours since Inktober.

Teal (especially Duck Blue) is my favourite colour so of course that determined the colour palette. I found it so helpful limiting my colour choices when I used them before so I’m doing the same again.

The first thing I think of when I see that bright teal colour is absinthe and absintheries. In fact, it reminds me specifically of this beauty we passed in Prague:

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So when deciding what to use them for first, I thought I’d play around with some spoon designs where the sugar lumps would go.

Not the most practical, but then it’s all about the show really.

I’ll add more detail to them later. Starting it made me excited about inktober next year. It was such a good way to get some momentum and really prove something to myself. I’d highly recommend it to anyone.

That’s all for now, folks. Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Julia

Snow! Josh and Bike #2

Acrylic, Chatty, Painting, Step-by-Step

Hi all,

I planned to update earlier in the week but the snow threw all plans out the window!

I feel like I’ve been working, or thinking about work for the last 72 hours straight. Day 6 tomorrow but I’m feeling good! I won’t go into details, but we’ve done so well recently, and I’m proud of my team and of myself. It’s exciting and rewarding to think of our potential. Definitely worth the mission of getting into work.

Here’s a picture of Molly-Moo looking like a wild thing in the snow:

She loved it! Although she wasn’t such a fan of the ice-ball snow boots that formed around her legs. Josh is also generally less anxious in the snow. My theory is he had a good experience back before he was rescued so has nice associations. (That’s pure speculation by the way.)

Back in this post I showed the start of a painting. I’ve worked on it for a couple of hours more.

The biggest difference is that I’ve added some highlights to the grass, tweaked the scale of the bike, added some detail to the leaves and basket in the background and slightly changed the proportions of a couple of things.

Things I’ll continue to work on:

  1. I want to block out Josh’s toggle on his collar. It’s accurate, but kind of manky in real life.
  2. I need to add some shadow to the background.
  3. I’m really keen to find a super fine paintbrush and add lots of little details, especially to Josh’s fur!

Hope you’ve all been able to enjoy the snow and not been too disrupted by it.