A New Ink Drawing and WIP

That title is me nonchalantly pretending like I didn’t just disappear off the face of the digital-earth for 5 months. Not coincidentally, the last time I blogged was in July which was also the month we moved into our first home! Yes, I have been a tad preoccupied. I’ve also really missed the ritual of documenting my life and art for the blog. I feel the loss of not having documented the first 5 months of life in our new home. It’s a very seasonal garden and it’s a shame I haven’t photographed our first winter and spring here. Ah well, one can only lament what cannot be undone so much.

2015 Owl Lovers Calendar is Now Available!

Owl art Nellie Windmill

This handsome rogue is my contribution to the 2015 Owl Lovers Calendar which you can download for free over at My Owl Barn. The original concept for this piece was for the owl to be in the form of a playing card with another owl in mirror-image below this one, gripping each other’s talons. I quickly realised however that the aspect ratio of the calendar made this unfeasible. I still really like the idea though and have squirrelled it away in my heaving Evernote of ideas.

Custom Art

work in progress acrylic art

wip illustration art

I’ve been having an absolute romp with this commission painting. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of painting balloons. You can commission your own custom painting from the commission section of the Nellie Windmill Etsy shop.

Work in Progress

wip illustration art

Next time I draw the tiles no smaller than this brush! This piece was for an exhibition for the End of the Line Festival. The exhibition didn’t have a theme per se but we were briefed to paint the painting we’ve always wanted to paint but never had an excuse. I’ve long had an unnatural obsession with chimneys and roofscapes hold a singular magic for me. I’ve always wanted to paint tiled roofs smothered in chimneys but never have for some reason. I’m not sure if I found all that detail a bit intimidating or worried that it might be a bit boring for normal people who don’t harbour a chimney fixation, or maybe I was just busy painting the other things I’m equally enamoured with?

I have more announcements but I don’t want to info dump after 5 months of radio silence so I think I’ll leave those exciting morsels until next time!

WIP Snippet: Toned Ground

I realise this is a very unsexy image to share and yet… there’s just something about it. There’s something delicious about grabbing a blank canvas, choosing a yummy colour and transforming your white canvas into a solid colour. I love seeing them like this.

wip work in progress toned ground

To get art nerdy on you, this is what’s called a toned ground. Usually when working in acrylics I work from dark to light so my toned ground has always been black or darkest brown. With this latest batch of paintings I’m trying a lot of new things however and one of those things is not working from dark to light so I got to play with different colours for my toned ground, which was fun. It’s funny how much delight simple things like this give me. I enjoy them more than I have any call to.

A Quick Insight Into How I Paint Fine Lines

How I Paint Fine Lines

These are some detail shots of a painting I finished just today. Frequently I’ll finish a sketch for a painting then dread painting some aspect of it which I find tricky. Fine lines in particular inspire such a reaction.

Acrylic painting how to_2

I’m really happy with how these lines turned out and it’s a crazy simple thing which did the trick: Tiny little dots.

Acrylic painting how to_3

I painted the lines as usual. That is with a series of cock-ups, rubbing outs, and painting overs. But once I had the basic lines correct I then added tiny white dots to where the highlights would lie and tiny dark dots to the shadows. Now instead of having what looks like exactly what it is – a flat line drawn in watered-down acrylic paint – I have a textured piece of cotton string with 3-dimensionality.

This technique also worked really well for highlighting the rim of the cotton spools.

I’ll be sharing full images of this piece in the coming weeks.

Work in Progress

Nellie Windmill Work in Progress Art 1

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’m focusing on a signature colour theme for my next few paintings to establish a cohesive look. I’m really happy with how my master colour scheme is coming together in these two pieces (the purple and green ones, not the pink one).

Nellie Windmill Work in Progress Art 5

Technique wise, I’m also doing a couple of things differently in these two pieces. I can’t seem to sit still when it comes to technique. Probably because I haven’t found anywhere worth sitting still long for. For one, I’m focusing on keeping my edges soft. Until now, I’ve really been about the neat, crisp edge. I’m really liking the effect so far.

I’m also layering different colours on top of each other, as opposed to working from dark to light in the same hue, which is how I usually build up my layers. I’m finding this both a more enjoyable way to paint and the end result to be more interesting.

I’m also using shading very selectively in the hot air balloon piece. I’ve not shaded the hot air balloon itself at all. The jury’s still out on this.

Nellie Windmill Work in Progress Art 2

Work in Progress Sneak Peek

I’m frequently asked about the inspiration for a piece and I can’t answer in any satisfying, coherent way. People seem to be really disappointed by this, which makes me think that maybe artists also need to be storytellers. The interesting thing about this sketch-soon-to-be-painting, is that after I drew it a very clear link could be made between it and The Inspiration. Continue reading