Sketchbook Sunday

I don’t think there is ever a week that goes by that I don’t do some work in my sketchbooks. They are a valuable resource to me – as long as I have these beginnings of ideas worked out on paper, I will never be short of inspiration for larger pieces.

journal page

I aim to paint a journal page a week – just giving myself permission to paint what comes, no planning, it doesn’t have to look nice or be neat and tidy – just playing around with images, shapes and ideas. The above page was inspired by some old photos I have of fishing communities and whilst the perspective is all wrong, I enjoyed painting it nonetheless.

2013-12-08 00.51.48

I am back to making a drawing a day (more or less) in my small moleskine – over the last 2 years or so I have dipped in and out of this habit which can last months and always reveals surprises and the odd wee gem – sometimes inspired by images I have seen, sometimes just out of the muddle of my thoughts.

2013-12-08 00.51.57

I often flick through these pages before starting to paint, waiting for a particular image to inspire me in some way – and they usually do. When I am sketching daily, it is often alongside a period of change and development in my work – it helps me pass around the corners of uncertainty and means I very rarely suffer from the dreaded ‘artists block’.

sketchbook pages

So – at first glance – just a book of random images – in reality, the key to a happy studio!

Try it and see!

PS – just in case you are wondering – the larger painted book is my A3 watercolour moleskine (beautiful paper for painting, takes any amount of paint) and the smaller is the smallest moleskine sketchbook with beautifully smooth pages for pencil or pen. I would not be without these.

x x x

Process of a painting II

So after my post yesterday the journey of this painting continues – and this is the post where it all went a bit wrong!

I had probably put about 10 hours into the painting by this point and although I like my figures to look awkward, I just could not get it out of my head that the pose wasn’t working – her head did not look attached to her body. No matter how many times I tried to redraw her, I just couln’t get it to work. One day I would think it was ok – that it was supposed to look like that – then I would go back to it the next morning and it would just bother me, driving me to distraction. But there were so many things about the painting that I was happy with – I liked her face, I liked the details of her dress and I was beginning to like the background.

So I painted out the body and turned it around completely. I also added a few more layers to the background, warming it up again. But I still wasn’t happy!

I was really struggling at this point and thought about giving up and starting something new but instead I painted over her again and worked even more on the pose (although as I look at the stage before this one I wonder why? I actually like her face and pose in the photo above this one but there was obviously something I was not happy with so on it continued)

Above you can see the photographs I used as inspiration for the background and also that at this point I went back in, re-drawing the arches and curves in a more measured way.

So the last stage I shall show you today is the image above – where I went back in quite heavily with the paint again. Redrawing, adding more shadows, putting down many more layers of colour and texture. Although many of these layers are not seen in the final painting, this is an important stage for me as it is building up the feeling and atmosphere of the piece. I think it is also where I form a real attachment to the painting and the image as up till this point it has just felt like a bit of a battle-ground!

I will show you the last images and the final piece tomorrow and would love to read any feedback or questions you might have.

Happiness is……..

There are many small joys along the way in creating artwork…various points where it is impossible not to smile at being able to do this for a living. The pinnacle of course is seeing a happy customer walking away delighted with a piece of artwork that they have purchased and the knowledge that they ‘get’ what you are doing – that they see something in your work that resonates with them. One little step before that though is seeing your work beautifully framed and on a wall – your own – even if it is only for a short while.

I am gradually getting work framed in preparation for an Art Market that I am attending in June, although each piece is available in my shop till then. I am lucky enough  be able to take my work to a wonderful frame company and it is always fun to get all the samples and try them out next to my work to see what works best. I think we hit the nail on the head with these original pencil drawings – the warm silver of the frame and the ivory mount just brings out the tones of the pencil and the buttery paper just beautifully.

These pencil drawings are still available unframed but now all come with an ivory mount and I have also decided to add the option of this frame to each listing in my etsy shop (UK customers only I am afraid). I will be adding the option to the listings in my shop today. This decision was also made based on an online conversation I had with a customer about how sad it was that many high street frame shops were closing and that it was often difficult to get quality frames anywhere else. I also want to check out the possibility of adding an optional frame to my print listings but need to check out how much that would cost to mail so hope to do that soon.

This will be the first time that I have really prepared professionally framed artwork for an event such as this (finances and transportability have made me think twice in the past) but as I move forward in developing my work, I am also keen to develop the presentation of it too. When I see these framed up, I know it is the right way to go.

Happiness is also new tools to play with! My husband bought these for me – how considerate of him! Let’s just gloss over the ulterior motive that was born from the fustration of his wife constantly nicking his screwdriver set for various ‘work related tasks’ and then misplacing it in her studio. Now I have my very own set to bury under a pile of ‘work’!

Anyway it is glorious weather out there today and I am hoping it lasts the weekend as I plan to do a bit of gardening and a bit of car-booting!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend. x

When needs must……..

24 2 11, originally uploaded by gilfling.

I have still been enjoying my daily sketches and although I am rather behind in uploading them I am onto moleskine #2 – it has certainly become a habit that I am committed to and that seems to be sticking.

The other day, though I ran out of 2b leads for my pencil – disaster! I ‘never’ draw with anything harder than a 2b as I usually love to get a great range of tone and contrast into my work. However, determined not to miss a day I ‘compromised’ with HB leads and I am rather liking the result. The first drawing wasn’t so successful as I was still trying to get a large rang of tones and it just didn’t work.  It has forced me to draw in a completely new way (although looking back it is not totally new to me) but I am really loving these more ghostly softer images.

It is also very satisfying to see the collection building up in my flickr set – although what will happen if I live to 90 and am still loading a drawing a day onto flickr!!! Aacht well – I guess I will worry about that when and if the time comes….

where dreams begin

where dreams begin , originally uploaded by gilfling.

We had a lovely evening board gaming with friends last night – homemade pizza (made by us) and the best treacle tart (made by them) – good company and a great board game.

Today though I am having that Thursday feeling which seems to ba a continuing pattern at the moment – motivated, enthusiastic, brimming with ideas, wanting to settle down to a day of putting my dreams on paper whilst listening to a varied and eclectic playlist. But I am pooped. Physically drained. I am sick of moaning about it. Fed up of this exhaustion being a ‘constant’ in my life at this time. But I have to go with the flow in the knowledge it will get better, it is just a matter of time.

I often wonder about writing about this side of my life here in this space. Whether to keep this blog to just talking about my work and art – but the truth is that everything I do, everything I ‘feel’ is a huge influence on what I am creating on any given day. So it is a part of the whole. I guess I just want to get through a whole week without having at least 3 days (sometimes more) where I am too tired to do much of anything. But I can also see the positive side of these recent times and I am grateful for all that it has brought me. (I do plan on updating my other blog soon….)

When I look at all I have accomplished this month and since January, I realise I have worked more steadily and with more passion than at any time previously. This shift that I have mentioned in my last few blog posts is a revelation to me and I am loving every second of becoming lost in my ideas and my work – I am excited to see where this journey is taking me – not in terms of a destination – but much more in terms of a ‘process’ – a winding path with many interesting things to capture my attention.

I am continuing to work on more original pencil drawings for my shop update tomorrow and am aiming to have at least 4 or 5 new originals available. They are twice the size of my little daily sketches allowing for more texture and detail.

On one hand I am dying to break out all my materials and work on more mixed media pieces – on the other hand I have fallen in love with the good old pencil and the feeling of patiently building up layers of line and tone – sometimes the simplest materials are the most satisfying to work with. There is also the challenge of there not being much room for error – no covering up, no erasing, no reworking and that is something I am enjoying. Perhaps colour will come in next week!

Till tomorrow….. x