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!

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 #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:

spainsunset2

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.

Christmas Beardie #2

Acrylic, Chatty, Painting, Step-by-Step

You know what’s a lot of work? Puppies are a lot of work. Especially brainy ones who like to explore with their mouth.

Our new Beardie puppy Molly is well and truly settled. Josh, our older Beardie rescue, is mostly indifferent to her. They get on just fine, and it’s nice to see them mimicking one another, but mostly Joshkins is set in his ways.

I wanted to follow up on my previous post about this  Bearded Collie painting.

Here’s the finished result. Josh is in the background ready to go and pick up Molly.

I’m fairly pleased with the result. I like the hat more than I thought I would, and there are parts of the background, like the bark of the tree in the centre, that I really like.

There are also places where I know I cut corners, especially the fur around the nose and the tones in the beard. But I did get it to our friend on time and now she has something to give in charity Christmas raffles.

I’ve been thinking about my painting practice recently. I’m really glad to have done some more realistic pieces, I definitely needed to, but I wonder if I should try some more abstract work? That’s what I always used to do, but I know you need to have a really solid grasp of the fundamentals before you can start extracting ideas and shapes. I suppose you should go with the practice that works for you and just produce something, right?

Any thoughts appreciated!