Here we go with another little pet portrait in Acrylics! This time it’s the noisy feather butt, Sir Loras Tyrell.
Let’s go on an adventure! A rambling adventure with much back and forth and uhmmming and aahhhing and frustrations and joys! An adventure in painting!
As the proud owner of three wee little blank canvases and mother to a child with two wee little pet mice, I decided hey! Why not paint the furry little creatures! What a delightful idea!
The idea began as sketches. Those sketches were then transferred onto tracing paper and fleshed out. Those fleshed out sketches ventured forth to the canvas for placement…
But hark! A problem! These sketches are not looking great. No matter how I shift and twist and merge and push and pull, I am just not happy with their placement. It takes me a while, but I finally figure it out. The mice are too small on the canvas. They must be bigger! Bolder! MORE!
Yes! Yes! To the Tracing paper with ye!
And, with magic and witchery, to the canvas!
And now paint my lovelies! PAINT!
Neener screeech eekk urrr… We apologize for the loss of transmission. Please be assured that “stuff” happened and, several hours later, a completed painting emerged.
Thank-you for joining us on this journey. We hope that you had a pleasant experience and look forward to having you with us on our next adventure.
Farewell and pleasant wishes to all.
Three years later, and Thell the fairy is getting her picture taken! To be fair, I did try three years ago, but it was just a crazy stressful mess. Mentally, I was not in the right place, but that’s a story for another day.
Today is for celebrating! Thell has a lovely bunch of sketches all ready for her story. One coloured, a bunch to go! I will admit that I almost gave up at the colouring stage. That was Photoshop’s fault. I don’t know why, but no matter what I seem to do, I always end up with pen pressure issues. I’ve had problems with randomly loosing pressure mid stroke and then it suddenly coming back again. I’ve had pen pressure just full on dropping and only coming back when I restart PS.
It was a mess and made the whole painting experience a nightmare. These are known issues. Other people have these issues. And I found myself wondering what I was paying a monthly sub for if stuff didn’t even work properly.
Enter Clip Studio Paint and love at first sight. Yup. It’s true. I’ve converted and couldn’t be happier. I have only scratched the surface of the program, but already the whole process feels more natural. More peaceful and more in line with how I work when I paint traditionally. I wish I had made the change sooner.
Over the next few weeks I will be cleaning up and colouring these sketches. If you keep an eye out, you may even catch some of the process live streaming on twitch. This is another new experience that I hope will grow into joyful hilarity.
If watching each and every snail paced tiny brushstroke while the artist mutters incoherent stuff is your thing, you can find me here: https://www.twitch.tv/actonart
For now, I hope you enjoy Thell’s sketches. Progress and process walk throughs to come. 🙂
Finally, it’s time for painting. I don’t have much to say about my process. I keep things fairly simple. No special tricks or magic tools, just a bunch of familiar steps built over years of painting practice.
Most of my paint is Windsor and Newton Professional Acrylic. I do have a couple of tubes of Galleria (Windsor and Newton’s student range) as well as some Atelier tubes, but for the way I work, the Windsor and Newton Professional range feel the best.
For brushes I use a large, square to wash in the background, but the rest of the painting is done alternating between three differently sized round brushes. As for the actual technique, I can best describe it as layering on thin washes of colour and softly (but quickly) blending lights into darks until I get the desired gradient.
In future, I would love to video the whole process, but I don’t really have the right setup for it. For now, I can offer a photographic journey.
Next up: The Final Painting
Spekboom is not only an awesome, carbon sequestering powerhouse, it also offers me a huge dose of childhood nostalgia, so when @dwarfjadebonsai over on Instagram started the Mini Spekboom Challenge I had to participate. What, you ask, is the mini spekboom challenge?
The challenge is to find or make the tiniest pot you can and then plant a tiny spekboom tree/cutting into the vessel, creating a miniature bonsai. And why are spekboom awesome?
In the words of @dwarfjadebonsai:
” Spekboom has the potential to mop up the excess CO2 responsible for #climatechange. Its immense carbon-storing capabilities and capacity to offset damaging carbon emissions are comparable to that of moist, subtropical #forests.
One hectare of Spekboom sequestering up to 4.2 tons of carbon per year!
Spekboom doesn’t burn, making it a hardy #plant to withstand veld fires and great material for firebreak hedges.
It can withstand drought too – mainly due to its succulent #nature, but also due to it’s unique ability to ‘shift gears’. While most plants require their stomata to be open during the daytime to absorb carbon dioxide, in dry conditions, the #porrulacariaafra can open its stomata at night instead, and close them again in the day to avoid loss of water. This slows down evaporation, and enables the Spekboom to #grow faster during the day. During the wetter months, the #Spekboom absorbs carbon dioxide during the day as normal, which helps reduce our #carbonfootprint.
We can eat it too! Its little #succulent leaves contain heaps of Vitamin C as well as a number of other minerals “
At first, I took an existing concrete pot (made by me) and planted one of my woodier looking cuttings. Most of my cuttings are still young and don’t yet have that hardened look. Of course, I couldn’t stop at that. So i pulled out some sculpey and had a quick bit of silly fun making the elephant and coil pot. If inspiration strikes, I may find myself doing another one… or several. 😛
This was a little bit of fun in these crazy times and I hope it brings a few smiles. 🙂
It certainly has been a while since I last made a post. I had many good intentions, but was very swiftly overwhelmed with everything I wanted to do and it inevitably led me to a downward spiral in which almost nothing got done.
But life is a series of falling down and getting back up again and here I am, getting back up.
And to begin, here is a small update of what I have been working on.
Most of last year was dedicated to Sculpture. Primarily, I was making bonsai pots out of concrete, some more artistically leaning than others. I set up an Etsy shop and even sold a few, but it was a venture that came with a few problems that I’ve found hard to reconcile. Concrete is heavy. It’s also pretty fragile. The weight makes for really high shipping fees and when you have a product that needs to ship all the way from Australia, well, it gets expensive.
I did also experience breakages on items that I thought were really well wrapped. I seriously underestimated the amount of cushioning my delicate, chunky, babies would need. Luckily, those were sent to my parents and I didn’t have any unfortunate customer care situations to manage. It did however show me how easily I could end up with an unfortunate mishap.
I do love sculpture and I thoroughly enjoy mixing it up with bonsai and other plants, but after giving it a year, I think its safe to say that it’s an activity best left as a hobby for now.
So where does that leave me and my Fine Arts degree? Spiralling in self doubt and existential dread. I did a lot of that. It seriously messed with my productivity. It took a stern pep talk from myself, and a really long time, to pull myself out of that mess and come up with a plan. A project. Something.
Enter my saviour: Alice in Wonderland.
I decided to choose a book, any book, and make a cover illustration for it. No pressure. No time limit. Just me and the art and however long it takes. I am so glad that I chose Alice.
This painting has giving me my confidence back. It’s bright and colourful and it makes me happy. When I look at it, it reminds me that yes I can do this. I do make good art.
And thanks to Alice I have a sudden wealth of new ideas just waiting to be painted. Of course, I need to finish her still. She has a good couple of hours left to go, but they’re hours I’m excited to get to.
I haven’t taken a tonne of progress shots, but I will be sharing what I have in a future post.
Last year I attempted to do another round of 12 short stories in 12 months. I got 6 stories into it before I realised it was taking too much of my time and seriously impacting the progress on my current novel WIP. It was a really tough call to make, but I made the decision to quit the challenge half way and save what was left of my crumbling sanity.
With the short stories no longer a priority I threw myself into Draft Two. It took a lot of self bribery (in the way of chocolate and clothes) but I got. It. Done.
Unfortunately, it still wasn’t done done.
I am currently deep into edits of draft three and have made it to 50000 words. It is going slower than I had hoped and with the current state of the world, I am finding it increasingly difficult to get much done. Not to mention that I have suddenly become a quarantine-Home-school mom and what time I did have has suddenly shrunk to almost nothing.
But the book is coming along. I am making progress. I even have an excerpt to prove it. 😉
“What does it do?” Autumn heard herself ask. She could not look away from the candle. She couldn’t stop the gaping pit of dread that grew inside of her.
She knew what the candle did. Of course she did. This was a gift like all the other gifts, made to fix her. Only, Zanele had never given her a gift before. Zanele had never even hinted that she cared about Autumn’s lack of manifestation. Zanele was a safe witch.
But not anymore. Just like the rest of them, Zanele was here presenting a gift. Like the rest of them, Zanele wanted her to change.
Zanele began to explain the magic and the more she spoke, the more the pit of dread grew.
“At it’s core, it’s a spell of waking, but there’s a lot more to it. It has threads for breaking barriers and some others to uncover hidden things. And the last bit, the really tricky one, is a thread of life giving. It took me months to work out the intricacies, otherwise I might have gotten this to you sooner.”
This was complicated magic. Difficult magic. Not entirely sanctioned magic. Waking? Life giving? Autumn swallowed.
“I can’t take this.”
Autumn reached out and pushed the candle away from herself. Just the brief touch made her feel like she might throw up.
“Of course you can.” Zanele pushed the candle back. “I’m giving it to you.”
Autumn’s eyes shot up to Zanele’s. She stared, wide eyed. “Is this even… legal?”
“I might be treading some fine lines but, “ Zanele shrugged. “This is for your Affinity, I don’t think anyone would object.” She leaned in close then, a spark of laughter back in her eyes. “Just don’t light it in a graveyard. You might wake up the inhabitants and then we will be in trouble.”
Autumn’s eyes went wide. “It can do that?”
Zanele pushed away from the counter, she laughed. “Not without a very elaborate spell, it can’t.”
Autumn was not convinced. She stared at the candle, horror plain on her face. Zanele spoke softly.
“It’s fine, Autumn. Light it, focus on your core. The only thing that will awaken is your Affinity. I promise you that.” She pressed her shirt straight. “But I do need to get going. Message me if you need to talk more, okay?”
I’m just in with a quick update on the things I’ve been busy with, primarily in the vein of “how not to do things!”
I am excitably working toward a tutorial series on concrete sculpture, but to do that, I first need to remember how to do it properly. Aha! Also, I need to work out the intricacies of recording process. I’m having some success on that front, but also plently of failures. I’m learning how to edit video. Next on the list will be audio.
In the meantime, I am getting plenty of “What not to do” footage and it will totally add to the completeness of the series so we can pretend I did it on purpose. 😉
A quick, visual journey of my activities:
Let us begin with a snapshot from the art of plaster moulds:
Hark! A tub of curing concrete scuplts! Note all the bugs and leaves that have fallen in. Also the strange surface floaty bits that I have, without any scientific backing whatsoever, decided must be related to the petroleum jelly used as a release agent. I am probably wrong.
This, a small concrete sculpture that broke on demoulding because I got the cement to aggregate ratio wrong. Ah, relearning you old fiend!
And this, a giant pile of clay scraped from the depths of this one piece mould that really would work better as a two piece mould, but here we are!
And Finally, a lovely demonstration of myself working on the part of the sculpture that’s facing AWAY from the camera. Also see: Wobble because I’m hitting the charging cable.