Diane Young Artist

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


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Commission for Ireland

It was lovely to receive an email from a customer who has received their commission by post today in Ireland.

“The painting has arrived and I am over the moon with it. So pleased. Thank you very much for painting such a great representation of Morgan and the circumstances of his arrival into our lives. You have captured the magic of the evening so well.”

The image has a number of ingredients requested by the client and ultimately the design was agreed upon before starting the painting stage.  A nice thing about this commission was there was no deadline.  This allowed me to think about the best composition using all the things that needed to be in the picture.  The scene was referenced using supplied photographs of the castle, grounds and Morgan himself. This was not a straight forward painting from a photograph perhaps as in a pet portrait, but more a design about an event which led to this dog, an English Pointer called Morgan having a much happier life.

Commission of an English Pointer painting with gold leaf by artist Diane Young of Manic Illustrations Stroud


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Commission

This weekend my focus is on painting a commission.  I am concentrating on this whilst dealing with an ear worm, an expression which does make me squirm somewhat.  I have been listening to the line about not messing with Major Tom from Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes track for several days now.  The painting is going well despite the interference! To my glee there is in fact a true story to this commission about a dog arriving at a castle one night at Christmas.

Below is cropped section of a painting which I did some years ago when I was putting together a children’s picture book idea.  I dug it out of my folder as like my current commission it is a night time scene.  This image was for a story about a jealous kingfisher who steals a peacock’s tail feathers whilst the peacock is sleeping.

I love storytelling whilst painting, whether it be a fully formed story or presenting narrative for possibilities that the imagination can cast from before or after the moment in the painting itself.  Here is a visual excerpt from the Tiny Tale Of Kingfisher.

Childrens books painting by artist Diane Young


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More Lost Things – The Stopwatch

Just a few tiny details to add and my Barn Owl will be completed.

This is another image for my series of Lost Things (along with the Lost Pearl and the Golden Bell) and a continuing theme of gold leaf moons. The captivating Barn Owl.  Both feared and venerated throughout history and a variety of cultures the owl has been associated with both evil and wisdom.  Thankfully superstitions such as its association with witches have died away and we can count ourselves lucky if we manage to enjoy a glimpse of this fascinating night time hunter.

Read more about my story for this image here.

Painting of a barn owl by artist Diane Young of Manic Illustrations

 

 


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Ibis in Gold

To compliment my recent Elephant in Red and Gold here is the Ibis. The Nile was central to Ancient Egyptian life and religion.  The Egyptians of old believed that souls of the dead were transported across the Nile to reach the afterlife in the presence of Thoth the god of knowledge, who was represented as the Ibis bird.

Painting of an Ibis representing Thoth in Greek mythology with a gold moon by artist Diane Young

The Ibis is of ancient evolutionary origin, its fossil records going back some 60 million years.  Carvings of the Ibis can be found on many Egyptian monuments; they were also mummified and buried in the temples with pharaohs.

 

 

 


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Red and Gold

Red and Gold are a favourite combination of mine, as are the colours Prussian Blue, Ultramarine and Alizarin Crimson.  Red, Gold and Blue shine out from traditional Egyptian wall paintings,  paintings from the renaissance, and religious paintings. Many colours are featured in the decorating of elephants for festivals yet I have been drawn to the deep blues, reds and gold so often used, and now echoing the colours of the recent Christmas period now nearly over.

My next Travelling Animal is an elephant.  A revisitation to research I did for a picture of Harvey the Aardvark on his adventures with decorated elephants in the desert.

Embellished with gold leaf, and decorated with a hint of African textile patterns this elephant carries a crane feather.

Decorated Elephant painting with Gold Leaf by Stroud artist Diane Young

Elephants are symbols of wisdom and strength and revered by African cultures. The crane (bird) is also known for its longevity, its lifespan similar to the African elephant some 40-60 years. The crane is also associated with wisdom and loyalty, and folklore has extended its lifespan to 1000 years.

I have combined these two animal symbols to encompass wisdom and power with loyalty.  This has enabled me to show the gentle nature of the elephant delicately carrying the feather of a crane.

We have yet to find out where he is going…….


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Dog portrait slightly undercooked

You might be asking yourself what has cooking got to do with art?

Paintings can so easily have a little too much time on them becoming overworked and a little laboured. I thought a good analogy might be the outcome of cooking a Victoria Sponge cake .

If you slightly over cook  one of these cakes it smells slightly over-cooked when it comes out of the  oven, it is slightly over-coloured with a bit of a crisp edge on the outside  edges and it loses some of its subtle cakey fragrance to a more caramelised finish (to be polite). But if you slightly undercook it,  it will be moist and tasty, has a full buttery flavour,  and on the downside it might lack a little colour.  Which is best?  Definitely the latter for the tastiest cake.

Catching the cake at it’s optimum moment is possible with practice but there is little variation from one cake to the next so eventually a plan for timing and temperature will make it perfect.  Obviously this is very different to the variations that are possible from one painting to the next.  But the idea of relating over-cooking and under-cooking a sponge cake to painting is purely for the reason that stopping a  bit before the optimum moment will allow a painting to look more vibrant, spontaneous, and more intuitive rather than laboured and probably a bit muddied.   It might not be perfect but it is likely to be a better finish.  Just like the cake.

Trying to under-worA  painting of a dog portrait by artist Diane Youngk  a painting is soooooo hard by comparison to overworking. Over-cooking or overworking it is easy.  It is easy for me to see bits of my paintings that might be improved and therefore I could keep picking at it. So today I am trying very hard to  not do any more to this painting of a Springer Spaniel.

What could be done to try to prevent getting to the over-painting stage? I wonder if in the back of my mind I think people who look at this picture might find fault for me not “tidying ” everything up,  and somehow I have to let go of this idea at an opportune moment.  Perhaps the questions I should be asking myself are:  How happy am I about the painting?  Can I get away with finishing it at this moment?

I am tempted to keep going on this painting, but I think I might get away with stopping right now. So hands off,  let’s clean the brushes and here is Fred smiling.

 


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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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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… 🙂