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!

Art Nouveau Frame #2 and Completed on a Flat!

Chatty, Drawing, Ink, Painting, pen, Step-by-Step, watercolour

SITE UPDATE: I’ve sorted through some tag categories and added a page explaining why I love step-by-step posts. Have a look!

Hello all,

I have exciting news – my boyfriend and I have completed on a flat! We have keys and everything!

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I feel like such a grown up. I won’t be able to move in any time soon (work commitments) but that means I’ve got plenty of time to make it homely and beautiful.

We’ve set up a mortgage with Nationwide who sent us a care package! It had all the necessities you need, popcorn, tea, kitchen towels. Such a lovely thing to have first thing. My friend came to see the flat and also got us our first house warming gift, a lovely succulent (that means it won’t need a lot of watering so perfect for us).

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Here’s a photo of the placement of the ceremonial slippers, a moving moment for all. It basically turned into the first scene of Totoro where we were opening doors and enjoying just being in the new space.

We’ve been really fortunate to find a flat in an amazing location in London and it is SO exciting to be moving back. The compromise is, of course, the flat in tiny. It’s basically a glorified studio, but we love it. Part of the fun is making the space homely and beautiful, which is of course the thing that I’m most excited about. I therefore wanted to create a lovely bit of art that would work in the bedroom and really make it feel like ours. This post is all about the planning and process that goes behind making a final piece.
References

Last month I made this little sketch. I’ve worked on it a little more and this was the final result. I really enjoyed making it and decided it’d be a good starting point for a larger piece.

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When I think of Art Nouveau the first thing that comes to mind is Mucha. Below are some photos that had elements of what I was looking for, either in their colour scheme, detail, style etc. I’ll need to refer back to them lots when it comes to putting it all together. If you click the image it’ll take you to the Pinterest page where I found them.

The bedroom is at the top of the mezzanine so the ceiling is quite low. We also want to have some kind of screen for when we want a bit more privacy. As such, we want to have a somewhat Japan-inspired interior design (think low beds, printed curtains separating the wardrobe space etc.) A few months ago I went to Brighton and picked up this book from a second hand book shop which was perfect inspiration.

IMG_20180808_151819.jpgJapanese Prints, 300 years of albums and books, Jack Hiller and Lawrence Smith, 1980

It has some lovely prints, and this is my favourite. I did a quick sketch and used my favourite elements as inspiration for the different sketches below.

Nishikawa Sukenobu, 1671-1750, Chinsoku Hinagata Miyako Fuzoku

Planning/Sketching Ideas

Since the layout of the frames in my final piece is slightly different from the original sketch I didn’t want the tree to be right in the middle of the piece. The challenge is to have something interesting going on in each part of the frame while still ensuring there’s a cohesive composition overall. Obviously with these mini-sketches there won’t be as much detail added, but the priority for a piece like this is definitely balancing the different elements.

With that in mind, I started with the below sketch, and the made changes as I went along. I tried to refer back to my reference photos as much as possible. You can see where, at times, the different elements didn’t work together. I think in the second composition, for example, the tree looks like an afterthought.

The sketches are simple, first draw out the frames to match the final piece layout, lightly draw in some shapes/features, add pen around the frame, rub out drawing in the negative space.

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I went through the same process with the colour scheme to work out which combination I was most pleased with. Confusingly, I started with the right and tweaked each time to the left.

I knew I wanted the colour scheme to be, mostly, neutral but warm. Our bedroom is going to be blush pinkish/goldish with accents of light blue so that it’s cosy and feels like a distinct space. Since the flat is so teeny tiny it’ll be important to have really comfortable and relaxing environment. I’m hoping it’ll feel a little luxurious when it’s got everything in place.

When I’d made up my mind I tried to put it together for the final piece.

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Main Piece Layout

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Upon reflection, I think I’ll need to change/consider some of the following:

  • I’m going to swap the teal for a lighter blue. We’re having teal tiles downstairs so thought it would be a nice nod to the rest of the flat. I think we’re going to keep things light and breezy with nothing too bold. (Having said that, I usually can’t help myself so there might end up being a few teal leaves in there.)
  • The tree to the right needs to be slightly bigger and definitely partly blocked by the frame, like in the original frame.
  • The arch around the left side and up to the top should be nice and detailed – definitely worth taking the time with it.
  • I still haven’t quite figured out how to create the river in a style that I like and works with the overall piece. I think I’ll need to do a few more sketches for that.

I’ll post the final piece when it’s finished – maybe even framed in the flat!

I’m going to catch up on everyone’s posts with a cup of tea.

Julia

Art Nouveau Frame

Drawing, Ink

Hi all,

I had every intention of doing the July Watercolour challenge, but alas I haven’t made the time. Life and work are quite full on at the moment. I know that’s not a compelling excuse, but sometimes it’s the most honest one. We’ve got a provisional completion date on the flat so there’s a lot of admin tasks that need doing. Keep all fingers and toes crossed for us!

I wanted to make sure I posted something this month, so here’s the start of a little project. Eventually I’d like to paint a larger version but planning it every so often is easier.

The weather has been beautiful recently, but it has meant VERY warm nights. Combine that with work stress and it’s meant I haven’t been sleeping all that well. Rather than sitting and wondering how many hours it’s been, I decided to start doing a bit of art. It felt good to be doing something totally unrelated to anything else and purely for myself.

When I went to Prague I made some simple sketches of the composition in Mucha Art Nouveau posters. From there I used some reference photos and this inktober sketch to put together a nature scene:

Eventually I’ll add more, like some floral design or detail to the frames, but for now if I post on here I’m more likely to follow it up later.

That’s all for now. As always, I’ll try to catch up with everyone else’s posts soon.

Julia

Lamp

Drawing

Hello lovebugs!

I was watching an episode of Death in Paradise and wanted to get a bit of drawing practise as I did. 

Here’s the lamp that I was copying:

And here’s the start of my drawing (about 40 mins?)

I’ve started watching The Big Painting Challenge – what motivational TV! I love that the competitors actually have a mentor, and I feel like I’m learning too.

I’m hoping to start a bigger painting soon, so I’ll definitely record my progress with that.

Keep practising, folks!