I made this for the Give A Dog a Home Art Event. They sent me an anonymous profile of two of their fosterers who have adopted street dogs as pets, and I made art of it.
My idea was to suggest not just the joy that adopting a street dog and giving him a home can bring, but also the importance of spay and neuter programs to prevent there being too many puppies to find homes for.
Sometimes it’s a great delight to just play around with colour. These three pictures were the result of me chucking around a little Brusho pigment on wet water-colour paper, then working on the results with inks and Inktense watercolour pencils. I think I like the purples best.
A friend of mine sent me a quick selfie a while ago of herself wearing a dress that she had made. I thought the pose and expression was interesting (as well as the dress being lovely) and so I made a painting of it – though, I had to change a lot of things. The original photo was taken with a phone camera into a mirror, indoors in artificial light. This is the painting I made from it.
My friend is a great lover of books, so I turned the phone in her hand into a book, and added her pet budgie and tortoise to the picture to keep her company, along with an enormous rose-bush and a random pillar.
This picture is only 14 by 10 inches, so I’m quite pleased I achieved a likeness in such a small space.
I went through several iterations of this painting, and photographed each one as I went along, so I thought it might be interesting to post each one.
Version 1. Her face looks washed out, the shadows look odd and the pillar is wiggly. Also there’s something odd about her pose.
Version 2: better lighting, her face is more ‘there’ and her legs are in a more natural position.
Version 3 : I realised that although the figure and the tortoise had shadows, I had forgotten to give the pillar one! The shadows still don’t look quite right here, but at least there IS a shadow on the pillar where it should be. Now scroll up to see the final version where I fixed the shadows and made a few final tweaks to the lighting!
You can see the lighting is slightly different again,and that changes the colours. I know that some people feel that paintings should be scanned rather than photographed, because the lighting is consistent then, but… well.
The thing is that a real painting hanging in a real room does change with the light. This is not a digital image: it’s made up of layers of variably translucent paint, and it responds to the light; its colour, its warmth, its direction. Putting it in a scanner where it will be lit by a single flash of artificial light is no more ‘accurate’ than photographing it in warm south afternoon light, or colder north-facing morning light. I now take photos of my paintings in various locations, then choose one, adjust colours in software to pick the one where the light pleases me and the image on my laptop matches most closely with the image I have set in front of me. But none of the photographs are wrong.
I mostly paint in acrylics, but I decided to experiment with mixed media for these paintings.
Wood-elf This intense-looking elven lady is almost a sculpture as well as a painting: I made her face in acrylic sculpting paste, and then coloured her with brusho pigment and watercolor pencils.
This next peacock used brusho pigment and watercolor pencils too, though he’s flat on the paper, no sculpting paste this time! Here are two images where I used ink and brusho. The first painting is of one of my cats: I painted the cat first, then added brusho and some sprayed ink.
This one, I applied brusho to the paper, then added some cheerful dancing ink figures.
Specifically, Gothmog kitten, who insists on stealing my brushes and pencils, and has on a couple of occasions walked across my palette and got her feet all over paint! Still, with this face you have to forgive her.
I love the way that you get bands of deep purple cloud and rain, and between them sudden strips of sunlight that lift the light on the horizon. This painting shows the view looking out from the West Devon Way across the lower slopes of Gibbet Hill above Mary Tavy, looking south and west to the hill where the gliding club flies, just south of Brent Tor. No gliding on that day, I think!
Since I’ve been doing some ink-painting and drawings in ink recently, I decided to attempt the Inktober challenge, and do a drawing a day. Because of the need to make something very fast, some of these have been slightly tweaked in software once photographed.
Here’s the official prompt list!
Day 1: a slight cheat, since I made this earlier. The prompt was ‘Poisonous’.
I went to a demonstration of Chinese ink-painting by Kaili Fu this week, and came back keen to try some of the ideas and techniques. I didn’t have any rice-paper, or the proper ink or brushes, so I had to make do with indian ink, a book of hand-made paper that I happened to have had lurking about the place for ages, and a little acrylic paint.
This was the image I liked best, the third that I made. The bottom photo shows it from the side, to show a little how the gold acrylic shines, and the top photo shows it top-down. All the other colour is ink. The influence of Kaili’s ink-painting here is probably just to embrace the fact that the paper absorbs and the ink mixes, rather than trying to fight it! I only used blue, yellow and black ink, and a little water. (you can also see the difference that lighting makes to photographing these!)
This next one was entirely created in inks, and again, trying to embrace the fact that the ink spreads, particularly if mixed with water and applied from a wet brush. (warning, there’s a spider!) This one is a painting of another story from Tolkien :
Finally, this was the first I created, and probably closest to the demonstration. It’s a rowan tree. I think I could have applied the red ink with a dryer brush, so I got a more ‘berried’ texture, but I do like the purple swirly hills and the sharp, dry-brushed rocks.
This is a scene from the Tamar Valley between Devon and Cornwall, where I live. But there’s a slight twist – this scene is from 1906, when the paddle-steamer Alexandra used to travel all the way up the River Tamar to Weir Head. I adapted this by reference from a number of black and white postcards, although I’ve added a few elements such as the tree and the lighting. And the dog, too!