Diane Young Artist

Printmaker ~ Painter ~ Every Picture tells a story ~ Artwork ©Diane Young


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Strange Owls and Coincidences

Sold! From  Studio No 71 in Totnes, my Barn Owl with Stopwatch original painting with gold leaf.

Barn Owl with gold leaf by artist Diane Young at Studio No 71 Totnes

Barn Owl framed

This weekend after a trip to Dartmoor we dropped in to collect some work from Studio 21 which has a great position at the bottom of the High Street.  The shop is small but packed with interesting things to discover; pictures, sculptures, plates and bowls and glass and pottery and more!

Not only did we arrive on a day when a customer was about to purchase one of my original paintings, but Studio No 71 had also sold a framed Moongazing Hare print of mine during that day too.

How strange, not to have sold for quite some time, and then two in one day and when I was visiting!

It is so nice to meet the individual who likes my art enough to buy it and hang it on their wall.  An image that I have formed from my imagination strikes its own chord with another person, and off it goes on its own journey, in this instance wrapped and strapped onto a bicycle!

Grateful for time with friends and walks on Dartmoor just as the season is turning and when such coincidences are a delight.

 


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Playfulness in #Art – #Eagle Print

At times we get so focused on getting really good at an activity that time seems to run out for experimentation and playfulness.

I swim regularly and know that playing in the pool doing roly-polys or attempting handstands increases confidence and can stretch me out of my comfort zone.  Yet on a day to day basis I only allow enough time to use the water to keep fit.

As an artist I like to create pictures that have a fair chance of being successful and that must mean following a well practiced strategy for getting a decent drawing transformed into a painting.Eagle Painting Print by animal artist Diane Young

Playing with materials and ideas helps to break these predictable patterns and although there is a much greater chance of the exercise ending in an image that is far from perfect it is a route to discovering new techniques and allowing pursuit of different  ideas.

The most difficult thing of course is allowing ourselves to have this time to be playful rather than pursuing a direct course to being predictably productive.  The process of discovery through playfulness allows us to develop our practice further rather than stagnating and ultimately becoming bored with what we do.

Yesterday I allowed myself time to play; above is a print of my son’s drawing of an eagle which I transferred onto mdf board alongside is a print of my photo a well known local tree.  I tried putting gold leaf on some buttons as a addition and sprayed around the board with gold laquer.  Who knows where I will go with this, but my nominated play-day is over and now I must get back to work!

 


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Llama Juxtaposition

Arty Words

This rather elitist and arty sounding word “juxtapositon” has become a bit more popular in recent times. When I first heard this word out loud it was in the context of some conceptual art TV programme it sounded a bit niche (and way beyond me), somewhat highfalutin and perhaps unnecessary?  Since then if ever I have heard it used in every day speak  it does sound a bit pretentious.  But in reality the word does a good job of what it describes:

“the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect”; in effect “compare and contrast” .

And so here is my Llama Juxtaposition – a photo taken recently in a field on a hill (hence the slant) near my home, not strictly the way to use this word but where I might just about get away with it.

A photo demonstrating the juxtaposition of two lamas in a field by artist Diane Young


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Badger Love

Artwork Originals and Prints for Sale

Last week I had an enquiry regarding some artwork which I made at a time here in the UK when there was great petitioning against the culling of badgers in a couple of counties including Gloucestershire.  Farmers have a hard time with TB in their cattle, to great distress to the cattle, the farmers and the industry.

Unfortunately  the native badger has been implicated in the spread of TB in the UK. Whether this is true or not it is difficult to tell in reality with the different sides providing arguements both for and against.  I prefer to fall on the side of the badger, it’s population is displaced by culling leading to other complicated issues for both the animal and  with regard to establishing cause and effect of the problem of TB.

I have seen the wild badgers who liked to frequent a friend’s garden, and enjoyed tidbits of peanut butter.   Their coats were much shaggier that I imagined and it was so nice to see them ambling about the lawn in their element.

Badger Love

This original artwork Badger Love is now on its way to the USA to its new home.

Badger Love original art by artist Diane Young Manic Illustrations Stroud UK

 


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Simple Tastes; Happy Times for a #Cat.

Happy Cat Simba

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a cat…. hey I will just take up this cardboard box in the sun, settle down and not worry too much about anything.  I mean what else is there to do.   Simba loves boxes, the rustle of some cardboard and his ears are pricked.  Such simple tastes and happy times.

Cat in a Box in the garden happy as can be photograph by artist Diane Young


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Stone Circles and Tree Roots

A Trip to Keswick Stone Circle

Gambolling free these ancient stones are set high up in the Lake District and surrounded by a circle of mountains.  They have stood here for generations against all weathers looking at the stars and even putting up with the Victorians chipping at them for souvenirs.

Stone Circle at Castlerigg near Keswick photograph by Artist Diane Young Stroud Manic Illustrations

Castlerigg Ancient Stone circle in the Lake District UK

Here at this little “beach” at Loch Venachar in Scotland the bank of this tree has been washed away by the loch over time.  But look closely what has the tree got suspended in its clutches?

Tree roots and beach in Scotland photograph by Diane Young Artist from Stroud

At Loch Vernachar Scotland UK

Poor old Mr Rock ensnared by the trees roots, the rock might be superior in the rock-scissor-paper game but it does not hold true here.  One presumes over time the water will erode the roots perhaps, but I think that rock has got a long wait for it to be set free.

Nature rock inside a tree photography by artist Diane Young Stroud

Large rock ensnared suspended by a tree.


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#Artist #Cats – Chalk and Cheese

Photo of Cleo by Diane Young Manic Illustrations

Sometimes you just have to take photos of your cats. We have plenty of these guys already. They are both moggies and completely at odds despite being mother and son.  Cleo above is built like a British Shorthair, short in the body and very bouncy, and at times rather neurotic.

Simba below is cool, laid back, huge in size with a long puma body and massive fangs.  He cannot be bothered to meow for his food, or stand up even.  He just lies on a chair, let’s his mum do all the pleading, and barely ever breaks into a trot.

 

Photo of Simba CAt of Manic Illustrations


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Mind shifts and New Paintings of dogs.

It is strange how your mind and thoughts can dance around a subject or a project and produce means or obstacles, pathways to enable action or absolute resistance.  One minute you have one mind set, then suddenly you can see things quite differently and are able then to make a change or take an action that you had not considered before.

ACEO painting of a wolf by artist illustrator Diane Young of Manic Illustrations

ACEO Painting of Wolf Portrait

This process is no doubt with us more often than we realise, but for me produces itself very readily in the light of day when considering the redesign of my website.  I have had a website for many years and it was pretty clunky for quite some time at the outset.  But the amount of times I thought I had reached an optimal design moment were many.  Time passed, my mind shifted, and suddenly it would be made quite clear to me that improvements would yet again have to be made.  In a way it is a little like producing a painting, you think no more can be done, you put the thing away. Then some other time you stumble across the same painting and you can see straight away how to make it so much better.

In all the years I have been painting I could never  for one moment have envisaged making miniature paintings sized at just 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches but found myself having an eureka moment (a sudden shift in thinking!) nearly a year ago after tightening up my painting style, and acquiring reading glasses.  Since then I have produced several ACEO paintings each week featuring funny character animals or more realistic style animals too.  They have been listed and  sold each week on ebay in a special category for ACEO art cards.

A year hence, and I have been wondering how to develop my art further, today a new possibility has surfaced in my mind relating to pets and in particular dogs.   Here is a taster of my current work in progress…..more to follow 🙂

Belgian shepherd dog portrait painting by Diane Young

I really do wonder why my brain cannot follow through in the first instance?  I am sure there is a good answer for this  which at this time is unbeknown to me.

It is of concern that whilst my mind can play tricks on me and  can often ensure that I avoid action or end up procrastinating for what amounts to be in reality no-good-reason at all, but I am grateful that at other times it can reveal fresh ideas, shifts and visions so that even I can surprise myself with brand new possibilities.


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Art, Painting and Unfinished Business

Painting, when to stop….

It happens so often, that artists actually stop working on a painting sometime after the vital moment when they should have stopped.   Spotting the optimum time to stop working on a piece is just so difficult as unless you could see into the future the you cannot anticipate whether your next few painting decisions will better or possibly worsen the painting’s outcome.  For this reason a good many paintings are over-worked and without a lot of experience this optimum moment can pass you by before you know it.

Painting of a wolf by Artist Diane YoungThis is a painting I have been working on today. It takes some concentration to be disciplined in the craft and it is best to work when feeling energised.  Once an artist tires and concentration waivers then sloppy decisions and actions are made leading to frustration and disappointment in the outcome.

I liken this process to swimming.  Whilst striving to get one’s swimming stroke right you need concentration, some discipline and energy.  Once the energy is depleted you fall back on old sloppy habits, inefficiency and then more tiredness is the outcome.   My painting and my swimming can go the same way.   This painting of a wolf is unfinished in my opinion.  It is just a matter of how far past the optimum point I persist…..


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Painting, not Cut-Outs for Me.

Despite the fact that I live in a smallish town in the Cotswolds UK there is a significant population of artists.  I nearly said thriving artists.  They are thriving as far as their art might be concerned but I doubt that they are thriving as far as their contribution to their cost of living. There just has to be another job in the mix to enable most artists to “indulge” themselves their creativity.   I digress…..

Matisse Lithograph Painting of flowers

Stroud in the Cotswold Hills (UK) is a town of artists and creativity, music and alternative therapies, alternative remedies and alternative people.  We have Open Art Studios in May and festivals of Music in the Summer and all sorts in between.  Our Museum is the best ever for a small town, and within the same building is an exibition room which celebrates art of all varieties.  We are lucky enough that the  local Museum is  currently hosting a selection of art from Matisse.  Cut-outs (collage shapes cut with a scissors) was Matisse’ form of art which he made during the 1950’s.  

Art exhibition Matisse Cut outs

Matisse Lithograph

To be honest, this work which must have been quite a revelation in that era does not do alot for me.  But it must have been quite a development for that time and the evolution of different creative expressions have enabled us to have the freedom to create across all sorts of media and mix them up too,  the ultimate in this being Mixed Media.

Still, even if Matisse is not your bag it is good to be in the presence of original art and have feelings toward different styles and media from the art world.   You might want to buy only what you like, but witnessing and processing what art history and contemporary art has to offer will help develop your own view about your art and your art process and where it sits on the spectrum of creative expression.

My artist friend here is using her creative expression to mimic the art!

Exhibition of Artist Matisse Cut Outs


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Artist’s Reference for Painting and its distractions!

I am always on the look out for reference material  for animals and their behaviour for my designs and paintings.  It can be such a distracting task with all the wonderful things to see on the internet!   Having stumbled upon this picture I could not resist but reblog it.  The photograph of this bird is stunning. It is a lilac breasted roller bird and the link takes you an article about the photograph by Dr Merrigan aged 75 years old.  Click the image or the link below.

Fabulous iridescent colours to inspire artists paintings

A lilac-breasted roller bird photograph taken in kenya.

Bird photograph featured in the Telegraph in 2009.


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Inspiration – Daily Paintings in Watercolour.

I cannot remember how I stumbled upon this blog but this artist’s sketchbook paintings are wonderful, spontaneous, light and full of character.  Often you come across such paintings but less often you come across such consistency of skill.

watercolour painting by Shari Blaukopf

Shari Blaukopf watercolour painting

The artist is Shari Blaukopf who is based in  Canada and is  a “ graphic designer and teacher who spends too much time working on the computer and not enough time drawing and painting”.

A fantastic source of inspiration for getting art and sketching into your daily lives.

Follow her Blog here :  Shari Blaukopf Blog.


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Creativity for New ACEO paintings in the New Year

My creativity shut up shop for the Christmas period.  I could sense my focus slipping as extra festive activities took hold.   Rather than wrestling Christmas photo of Toy Santabetween the two I gave myself a break.  I let myself off the hook.

Creativity is often seen as an easy kind of self indulgent luxury.  Those that feel they have not been bestowed any creative talent imagine the enjoyment and loveliness of making pictures.   Perhaps it does come easily to some, but I would imagine that like me plenty of artists procrastinate, heading off down the  path of least resistance, that is any other activity except creativity.

Even washing the car has an easily perceived outcome…you wash it, it looks clean.  With shopping, you shop and hey presto you have food you can cook with.  What about a bit of decorating? Assuming you buy the right paint, paint it on in a sensible fashion, the room looks completely renewed.  Having done all these things before there is no real danger of me straying into unknown territory and making a complete hash of this lot.

As for creating art, well only hundreds of decisions have to be made as you progress, tiny but important ones, the outcome of which make or break the painting.  One of the hardest decisions is eliminating your options, what should one do next?   And when things are not going right do you keep on with it or bin it?

Sketches for ACEO paintings by artist Diane Young

So enter creativity as a discipline.  I gave myself a Chrismas break,  now I have to reintroduce my creativity.  Like a daily supplement.  It needs to be rated as essential, like fruit, or vitamins to let it grow, grow, grow.

Today being the first day on my renewed creative path I have gathered some ideas and started on something new.   There are polar bears, hares, wolves and owls, cats and mice.  Harvey the Aardvark is still hibernating, but only for a short while, he will be back soon.

Wishing anyone taking the time to read this a very Happy New Year for 2014.  And for anyone wanting to be creative and not quite getting around to it,  do a little bit each day and make it essential,  just like your daily fruit and veg.


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Spare a thought for the Artist….

Christmas Fayres and Art for Sale

When you see artists exhibiting their wares at Christmas Fayres or in the high street hoping to catch customers in the festive season spare a thought not just for the hard work and creativity that goes into their craft.  Some time will have been spent agonising over pricing before an attempt at selling either original work or prints.  Framing is a conundrum, customers like to buy items ready to hang but how do you choose a frame that works with the image and works for the customers taste.

Prints of animals for sale by Diane Young horses dogs cats mice harvey the aardvark

Prints and Cards

With prints and cards there is plenty to frustrate the eager artist.  Enduring a fickle printer is a test of patience when it starts spitting out blank paper or prints which are off centre, the wrong size or the wrong colours and then  horrors of horrors sometimes it will not work at all.

Prints for sale of original paintings of animals  by artist  Diane Young of Stroud UK

Mounts for Prints

Mounting the image is an issue of its own, lining up the print and taping the print, mount and backing board together in a professional looking way before putting into a celophane bag.  By the end of it all the place is littered with off cuts, cut fingers, bits of tape everywhere, torn up prints and hopefully the printer has not been despatched out of the window.  

You may have guessed that I have just completed a printing session ready for a Christmas Fayre at Horseworld Rescue Centre, Bristol, UK next weekend.  Leaflets, notices and business cards are ready printed too.  Just need to pack a blanket, hot water bottle and a flask.

Oh and in case you were wondering the printer is still where it should be, in the studio… 🙂