It’s been a while since I wrote a post. Seems to be something I say a lot lately. Life’s been busy with my deep dive into developing my life drawing and anatomy skills, learning oil portrait painting, more progress on my portrait practice challenge, and developing my digital art skills too. In between all of that I’ve still be plodding along working on my novel here and there, and going to work, living and spending time with my loved ones as much as I can.
I hope you have been well. It’s turned into a topsy-turvy world with this COVID virus and my thoughts are with everyone who has been affected.
So… I’ve been having an arty kind of month and am sharing some of the things I’ve done.
In early July, I attended a four day oil portrait painting workshop run by Jess Le Clerc from Art School Co on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland and focused on capturing my mum as she struggles with Alzheimer’s Disease. I wanted to capture how lost she is and how much she tries to understand what is happening around her.
I wanted to connect with my mother in a special way that conveyed how much I love her.
This oil painting was a very emotional experience for me. As mum emerged on the canvas I found my emotions swell up, crest and crash all over my broken heart. Memories of her before this disease started to steal her memories from us plunged pain in to the centre of my chest. My eyes welled but I also felt great joy as I quietly painted my mother’s likeness.
In a strange way I got to spend four days communing with my mum in a way that goes beyond language and touches the heart and soul. I don’t know if I will ever paint another image that will be as profoundly important to my heart as this one. Above is a photo of the still wet oil portrait.
Jess Le Clerc ran an excellent workshop and catered to many different portrait needs and artist skill levels. She was fun to learn from and so very informative. I wish I had been more developed as an oil painter so I could have peppered her with questions. But I’m still such a beginner I didn’t know what to ask.
Anyway it took some time for me to be able to speak about this experience with my mum’s oil portrait as emotions kept rising for me to deal with. Grief mixed with joy not only in the four days I spent painting but also for weeks afterwards.
As I moved through that experience I found myself doing more digital art. Here are two of my most recent digital portraits from my portrait practice challenge.
These were part of the Sktchy 30 faces in 30 days. I only did three portraits of this challenge as I had so many other things going on in my life. The girl’s hand took me four attempts to make it look like a hand and I think I sat on this digital portrait for about 20 days as I pondered what wasn’t quite right with it. In the end it came together and I am happy with my progress and progress is what counts.
Below you’ll see some life drawings from July as well as a study of the human eye. I’m learning more about anatomy and how to use light, shade and tonal values to create what I want you to see. It’s going to be fun to see how my slowly developing anatomy skills show up in my life drawings. I have no specific expectations, only a curious openness to what appears on the page.
Then I found my most favourite artist, Aaron Blaise, and joined up to be a member of his art classes because… well… I love his work and I am grateful such a great teacher is out there sharing his art and animation knowledge for creative hungry creatives like me.
I signed up to do his Hidden Creatures of the Forest class and this is my first digital panting. I followed along and created my own version of this fern creature. I admit I love him. And I am so looking forward to doing more of these kinds of creatures. They wildly imaginative and fun to do. Although I have discovered that digital art takes me three times longer to do than traditional art does. Maybe I am putting more time and attention into every detail now…?
The above fern creature is set against a photo that I took while in England in 2018. It was fabulous to use some of my photos from my big UK trip in my art. I hope you like him as much as I do. But I am biased. I love him!
Anyway, lots to do. More art, more writing, more meditation and stuff. So I’ll sign off now. Whatever you’re doing I hope it’s creative and filling your inner bucket up with joy and happiness. In these strange times I think it’s important to come home to yourself and let your creativity out into the world.