Painting “Winkle & Tonk” was an exercise in restraint. I’ve often seen selective colour paintings or photographs – that is, when most of the painting is in a neutral colour and only portions of the painting are coloured – and resolved to one day give it a go. I’m not sure if I forgot or was doing an Orwellian double-think trick, but I almost painted Winkle purple before I remembering. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the My process Category
I had no idea what I was doing when I was painting these tree swing pieces. I was using both new techniques and new mediums, which was probably ill-advised. On the one hand, I’ve now several techniques under my belt which I will definitely use again. On the other hand, I kinda wanted to die when I was rendering delicate branches in pastel pencil. Read the rest of this entry »
Apparently, I’m flighty. That’s not an adjective I’ve ever ascribed to myself before. Dependable, finds comfort in routine, enjoys organising, certainly, but flighty? Read the rest of this entry »
I’m in heavy experimentation mode here in Studio Nettle, folks. So much so, that I’m launching an entire blog series in which I can get my art geek on and discuss what I learnt when I decided to answer the abundant, “what would happen if I did this?” questions. Today’s post will be about how I’m finding working on a series in order to build a cohesive body of work. Read the rest of this entry »
“There are too many ideas and things and people. Too many directions to go. I was starting to believe the reason it matters to care passionately about something, is that it whittles the world down to a more manageable size.”
– Susan Orlean, Adaptation
A new and interesting shift is taking place in my mind. I’ve noticed there are subject matters that I’m consistently obsessed with. I’m falling in love with the idea of focusing on them, one at a time, and exploring them to their fullest extent. Read the rest of this entry »
There’s something really vulnerable about posting work-in-progress shots, isn’t there? It’s a lot less vulnerable once the work is complete and you can point to the finished piece and say, “see, it didn’t turn out so bad”. I’m learning to be more comfortable with the ugly stages of a painting. I used to get really down on myself whilst working on a piece because I didn’t know to expect ugly stages. This meant that for a time, I actually didn’t enjoy painting very much at all! That was a very strange time – I yearned to make art but wasn’t enjoying the process so I experienced a lot of shame about that. It was very confusing. It would’ve been nice to have someone to talk to about that at the time, but then I guess that’s what this blog is for. I vow to be braver with sharing my insecurities on this blog in the future. Read the rest of this entry »
Draw it more.
Admire your finished painting.
Scream “zees is sheeet!” in an outrageous French accent and paint over the bits you’ve come to loathe.
Only blog the final version, so everyone thinks your paintings turn out every time.
Holy Moly, my very first tutorial! Quite the milestone. If you care to join me, I’ll take you on a pleasant, matt medium scented journey through the making of the above ATC.
I’ve had a few tiny canvases and ATCs lying around for a while. Not having had any inspiration strike, I began slapping on thin layers of leftover paint, which — after going through some ugly stages — ended up pulling together into a lovely layered look. For creating the balloons, I’ll show you a technique which is the bastard child of two different techniques I learnt from mixed media art goddesses, Kelly Rae Roberts and DJ Pettitt.
Materials for creating the background
- Any substrate (I used paper)
- Thin papers (e.g. tissue paper)
- Matt medium
- Clear glaze medium
- Watercolour mop paintbrush
- Foam brush
Materials for creating the foreground
- Sewing pattern paper
- Pan Pastels
- Walnut Distress Ink (Ranger)
- Fixative for pastel
- Matt medium
- Low tack or tacked-off masking tape
- Kneadable eraser
- Mechanical pencil
- Small round brush
- Foam brush
Step 1… Create texture with collage
Spread a fairly thick layer of matt medium on the substrate. Lay the thin paper down, creating folds, wrinkles, and exposed torn edges as you go. Brush on a light coat of matt medium on top of the paper, either creating more texture with the brush strokes or smoothing with a brush and your fingers as you go.
If the paper warps too much while you are working, gesso the back.
Step 2… Layer glazes of colour
Brush a thin layer of clear glaze medium directly onto your substrate with a slightly damp brush. Immediately apply a thin layer of acrylic before the glaze dries. Continue layering various colours, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next, until you’re happy with the result.
Step 3… Trace, tear, and whack it on, baby!
Trace your design on sewing pattern paper with pencil.
Cut and/or tear away excess paper.
Spread a fairly thick layer of matte medium on the substrate. Carefully lay one end of the sewing pattern paper down, while gently rolling and smoothing the remainder flat with your fingers. Brush on a light coat of matt medium on top of the paper and continue smoothing with a brush and your fingers.
Step 4… Act like a big kid and colour in with PanPastels
If you’re going for a subdued colour palette like mine, start by applying a layer of white pastel. Apply the colour, beginning at the edge where the shadows might rest and work your way to the lighter areas. When using this technique, I always blend directly on the substrate, rather than mixing the colours first.
When doing detailed work with PanPastels, don’t worry about staying in the lines. Simply erase any unwanted excess pastel with a kneadable eraser.
Step 5… Add finishing touches
If, like me, you don’t own any PanPastels in dark colours, you might have to add more depth to your shadows. Dip a dry brush into the Walnut Distress Ink pad and apply it to any shadows that need darkening. Apply some white pastel to areas where the light might rest. Use a mechanical pencil to redefine any lines that have been coloured over. Seal your work with fixative, sit back, and admire!
Was that as good for you as it was for me? Probably not, given my unreasonable level of chuffedness. I’d love to do more of these in the future so do let me know what you think and potentially save me from myself!
Update: I often find something about a piece to spruce up and generally meddle with after it’s been proclaimed finished, and this one is no exception! I don’t own any PanPastels in dark colours, so shading with them is pretty limited. I wasn’t happy with the shading on the balloons so I went back and added Walnut Distress Ink by Ranger, which worked nicely. I’ve updated the tutorial with this step and changed the picture of the final piece to the newly shaded one.
I can always — ok, almost always — pinpoint what inspired a particular piece. There’s only one exception to this that I can think of:
I don’t know where she came from. It kind of weirds me out, like giving birth to something without the pregnancy.
However, usually it’s something(s) very specific. Today whilst walking our foster dog over the surrounding hills, the slope of this hill:
…and the colours of the wet winter landscape got the creative juices flowing. The purple tinged trees on the left, the colour of the wet bracken (not particularly well captured by the iPhone’s camera, but something akin to burnt siena with a touch more red), and the raw sienna hued line of grass separating the green grass from the reddy-brown bracken:
…inspired me to do another landscape painting a little like this one:
I think the patchwork collage in the foreground will make an appearance and the trees will be same same but different.
Here’s the sketch I did for the painting tonight:
There was also some lovely blue-grey stone nestled amongst the reddy-brown bracken that I think would make a nice colour for the sky. These days, I can’t contemplate painting anything without the colour green so the vibrant green of the grass and moss will make a nice colour for one of the fields, I think. All of these lovely colours of the Welsh winter landscape surrounding the little cottage we call home-for-now will make for the colour palette:
Can I share something with you and invite your opinion? Although I love the purple trees in the natural landscape, Im having doubts about it in the painting. It’s hard to go past raw umber for the silhouetted trees. I think I might prefer this colour combo — what do you think?