A Floral Portrait

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.

Four Mixed Media Paintings: Brusho pigment, watercolour & Ink.

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.

Rain on Dartmoor

 

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!

Inktober! A drawing in ink every day.

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’.

Ungoliant poisons Laurelin : ink painting

Day 2: Tranquil.

Day 3: Roasted

Three Trolls eating MuttonDay 4: Spell

The Dwarves of Yore Made Mighty Spells

Day 5: Chicken

And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the City, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, recking nothing of wizardry or war, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn. And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin’s sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last.

Day 6 : Drooling

Draugluin sights an Elf (and friend)

Day 7 : Exhausted

Maglor Son of Feanor has fallen asleep still wearing his armour, one hand on his hearpe.

Day 8: Star

And when this new star was seen at evening, Maedhros spoke to Maglor his brother, and he said: ‘Surely that is a Silmaril that shines now in the West?’
And Maglor answered: ‘If it be truly the Silmaril which we saw cast into the sea that rises again by the power of the Valar, then let us be glad; for its glory is seen now by many, and is yet secure from all evil.’ Then the Elves looked up, and despaired no longer; but Morgoth was filled with doubt.

 

Three ink-paintings

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 :

Ungoliant poisons Laurelin : ink painting

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.

Rowan Tree : ink painting

Two very different Tamar Valley landscapes.

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!

And this is a rather earlier work from a couple of years ago – a section through the Tamar Valley, showing all the secrets that are behind the mineshafts and the hidden doors!   I keep meaning to draw a new version of this.   That’s me in the canoe on the river.

Painting Transparent Things.

I’ve been trying out painting things that are transparent or watery.  Here’s a leaf with water droplets that was a lot of fun to paint. 

I decided I’d extend the technique and make some bubbles over a landscape (I painted the landscape a few years ago, it’s a view looking out across the Tamar towards Dartmoor.  I felt it needed something to add interest!).

And finally, a still life, with a giant dice (a 20-sided one for roleplaying games). I was really pleased at how this came out!