Sometimes you choose a background that drives you a bit crazy because of its’ design. This is not a commission and so I only have myself to blame. Here is a close up of my current work in progress about 1/4 of the total A4 size, the area around the pebbles for the whole image took around 5 hours.
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.
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!
Sometimes I am asked where I get reference for my images. So here is how I get from an idea to a painting.
The initial idea is scribbled in my sketchbook. Usually my ideas arrive when I am not in my studio, it is most easy when my mind is wandering free. And hopefully my sketchbook is to hand. At this point it is terribly unrefined. Some of the sketches look like I cannot draw at all.
I then look for available references to get me to what I imagine that I wish to create. In this case it is a boy sleeping with wolves. I practice lots of sketches of wolves and sleeping children to get to know the shapes involved using the internet, books and my own photos if I have some.
Referencing and Practice:
I then use my practice sketches to make a convincing drawing of my original idea. It is important to observe copyright on other people’s images. They are used for practice and allow me to become familiar with the shapes.
My personal style then contributes to the form creating a painting which is truly unique. Finally others can see a hard copy of a snippet of my imagination. The paper trail you see here is useful to me as no sooner has the process been completed without this trail in a short period of time I would not remember how the image formed in the first place!
You may notice that I created the image and the background separately at first.
This painting is now nearly completed. My previous post shows my painting as of yesterday. Once the finishing touches have been made, I will scan it and post it into my Gallery page.
I often get ideas which would be impossible in real life, trying to make the idea look real is good fun. If you put a lion on top of an elephant, or you balance 3 magpies on top of one another, it has to be believable. Creating convincing images that are not like real life and making viewers believe the unbelievable is the greatest and most exciting challenge of all.
“Balancing Act” Prints Available.