Posted in Alzheimers, anxiety, Drawing, Drawings, Oils, portraits, portraiture, Procreate art, Sktchy

Developing an eye for values

Circus Clown Portrait – Procreate pencil drawing.
Artist: Selina Shapland.
Created: 8/12/2020
Inspiration photo from Professional Photographer: Lennie Duensing – Sktchyapp

I believe it is vitally important to take time to be creative. For me, it is how I allow my brain time to unravel the big issues I am facing and most importantly, it is how I de-stress and manage to quiet anxious thoughts and feelings.

Drawing, painting and focusing on my creative life through writing have kept me sane this year. I have learned so much about art and I know I have so much more to learn. I have written and re-written my story and it’s almost ready to be submitted to a competition for a chance to be shortlisted and possibly win one-to-one editing. Regardless of where my story comes in the number of entries, it has been a valuable experience preparing for this deadline.

Back to art. I’ve been learning to develop my eye for values and have started to do studies focusing on dark, medium and light tones which create a more realistic visual representation of the person I am drawing.

Here are some photos of other value studies I’ve been working on.

Portrait of a Comedian with Derwent Pencil in Procreate
Artist: Selina Shapland
Created: 1/12/2020
Inspiration photo from Sktchyapp

I have learned the importance of creating a strong structure of the face before beginning to layer in the darks, mediums and lights. I’ve also become more comfortable with making mistakes and working with them, correcting proportions as I go with each drawing.

The two studies above are also procreate portraits with inking, colour layers and value ranges. I have been enjoying this type of drawing a lot. The one on the left was created on the 4/12/2020 and the one on the right was created on 1/11/2020.

A portrait of hands in procreate
Artist: Selina Shapland
Created: 12/11/2020
Inspiration photo from Sktchyapp

I didn’t get an exact likeness but I think this study of hands says something special about human connection and the intimacy of touch. The lady who put up the inspiration photo on sktchy told me this was a special portrait to her as it shows her holding her elderly mother’s hand, and her mother has now passed away. My heart went out to her when she told me because as my own mother has developed advanced Alzheimer’s I have come to realise the deep importance of these moments. These touches say a lot and I was honoured that I could bring back loving memories to that lady.

The two portraits above are also procreate. I have been going through a big digital drawing phase. Maybe because it’s easy to take my iPad on the train to and from work? Anyway, the portrait on the left was created on 7/12/2020 and the portrait on the right was created on 28/10/2020. I enjoy the cartoon-y style and couldn’t resist that big sun flower. Both are inspired from sktchyapp photos.

Portrait in Procreate
Artist: Selina Shapland
Created: 16/11/2020

I enjoyed this portrait as I not only focused on values but put in layers of blue, red and yellow to create bolder effect. This one is also a sktchyapp inspired artwork.

I have been practicing my oil painting. It takes ages to finish a piece. I learned a lot about ensuring the underdrawing is accurate with proportions and mixing colours to match skin tone is an art in itself. I’ll keep practicing. I had a lot of trouble getting the nose right in this one but I loved her eyes in the end. It took me months to do this portrait because I couldn’t decide on colours and had a terrible time with getting a likeness and the proportions right.

Artist: Selina Shapland
Created: 29/11/2020

So that’s been the a pictorial tour of the last three months of my art practice. I’ve also dealt with the news that my job is being made redundant, selling my mother’s house to pay her care fees, and who knows what other stresses. The only way I have got through the day has been to turn to my creative life and live as much in accordance with my heart’s desire as possible.

Now I’m back to my creative writing. Got a synopsis and audience analysis to write before I submit my story in the competition.

Whatever you’re doing, I hope living a creative life brings you joy and happiness the way it does for me.

Posted in Abstract, Drawings, Oils, Pastels

Complexity in my life

Abstract progress drawing 2014
Untitled Abstract drawing – progress photo
Created: 31/1/2014
Artist: Selina Shapland

Last month, I found myself playing with a new Sharpie which I love love LOVE! Who would have thought that I could get so passionate about an ink pen?  But there you have it.  I love to draw and express whatever wants to emerge from inside me at the time.  The above photo is a progress shot of an abstract drawing that I worked on for a couple of days during January 2014.  I like it.  I like this one a lot.

Untitled Abstract drawing - finished photo
Untitled Abstract drawing – finished photo
Created: 31/1/2014
Artist: Selina Shapland

This is an image of the finished abstract drawing with purple and blue hue oil pastels rubbed into the acid-free paper.  I had so much fun rubbing the oils into the paper and seeing them mingle and create such an awesome effect.

I never plan these kinds of drawings… they are organic and evolutionary.  They decide what they want to be when they are on the page.  My right brain has a fabulous time creating these images and I am so happy with the way this one has turned out.

After some reflection, I have decided to dedicate this post to the complexity that I felt inside while playing with this drawing and especially to some of the complex personal/professional connections I have in my life.

Life can be filled with twists and turns, ups and downs.  Some days, I feel high with happiness (figuratively speaking people – I don’t do drugs), and other days I feel low and lost in a mire of depression.  Although, to look at me, you probably wouldn’t see the dark depression that sometimes lurks in the shadows.

It is difficult to express the complex emotions that go through me at various moments in my life.  Sometimes I feel like I am truly on track in life, doing what I do best and loving things.  Then, wham! Just like that, I am thrown into a darkness that has me wondering if I have anything to offer the world at all!

Is that a bad thing to admit?  I don’t think it matters really.  I would rather be up front about the way I feel than hide in plain sight.

Today, at work, I felt rather unhappy.

I am going to be honest about how complex things can be for me.  There are days, at work, where I interact with various people and have life learning experiences.  I believe that every experience has something to offer me and I do what I can to learn from all experiences and better myself.  Anyway, I have noticed a pattern, a bit like my complex abstract artwork, and that is that some people seem to have an inability to stop themselves from over explaining, talking too much and dismissing other people’s opinions.

Personally, there are times when I feel that I am not heard or listened to at all.

It bothers me.

I sit and reflect on what is happening and wonder, am I being over-sensitive?

But mostly, I wonder how I can possibly be of any assistance to people around me if they cannot hear what I have to offer?

This disinterest in my value makes me feel resentful, angry and desperate for freedom.

I secretly (or not so secretly now…) wish for something better.  Maybe a better job, maybe to run away and join the circus.  I only wish I was good with heights and flexible enough to do that kind of job… alas, I fall short of those particular skill strengths.

I hope you do not mind me confiding in you that I want to create better life for myself and to establish more balanced working relationships?

I guess it’s a work in progress, relating to people.  Yet, there are times when I find myself unable to make my way across that bridge as I encounter certain people who seem to consider that their opinion, thoughts and assessments of a given situation are always right.

There are days when I wonder if these people only like to hear the sound of their own voice?

Lately, I have noticed that when one of these rather self-absorbed, ‘the world orbits around me,’ people begin talking, I don’t hear them.  I hear ‘blah, blah, blah, don’t you think my way is right?  Aren’t I good?  Don’t you agree with me??? blah etc’ white noise…

It’s very difficult to stay tuned in to people who do this.  Especially when they appear to be open to feedback only to somehow misplace that feedback and continue the same self-absorbed destructive behaviour pattern.

Am I the only one who cannot stand ‘white noise?’

I hear them waffle on and on, making superfluous points which are important only to them and their internal agendas.

What can I say… life is complex.  People are complex.  I am complex.  I guess it takes all sorts of people to make up the tapestry of humanity.  Some people I like and can listen to for, like ever!

And other people are like listening to the television late at night when is goes ‘schhhhhhhhhhhhhh.’

I have to admit, I’m kind of over trying to look interested in people who do this.  Harsh but true.

At least I am honest.

I had better leave my complex complaining there.

I hope you are having a great day/night and getting the best out of life.  I am sure that this situation is teaching me something valuable, even if it is not to treat other people the way that I have been treated by the ‘white noise’ brigade.

Posted in Abstract, Acrylics, Drawings, Oils, Water Colours

A little trip down 2004 Visual Diary Memory Lane

Where to start?

I was having a look through some of my recent and much older visual diaries tonight and felt inspired to share some of my works with you.  A number of them are still works in progress and these are only progress shots.  They are also an indication of the type of themes that interest me as an artist.

So, let’s take a little tour…

Ink and mixed media inspired work from Man Ray's Photography
This was created in my visual diary, 22/8/2004.
Inspired by Man Ray’s Photograph entitled ‘Tomorrow’

When I was in art school back in 2004, I fell in love with Man Ray’s photographic works.  I loved the multiple exposures and creative effects he brought to the world through his photography and I wanted to honour that inspiration in my visual diary.  The image above was created with black indian ink, lace, ribbon and glue.

Ideas for paintings in my visual diary  Created: 22/2/2004
Ideas for paintings in my visual diary
Created: 22/2/2004

This image shows some cropped painting ideas that I put together for an art assignment way back in February 2004.  We were asked to take an image and hone in on a part of it and explore painting it.  I created the two paintings in my visual diary as a test to figure out if I liked the image enough to go from watercolour, to acrylics and into oils.  The truth is, I actually ended up choosing a very different image to crop for this assignment, however, I have always loved these two sketched up paintings.  They feature an unconscious African Elephant from a National Geographic magazine that I was drawn to at the time.  Inspiration for art can be found in all sorts of places.

Eyes sketched in my visual diary as I formed ideas for further artworks.  Created: July 2004
Eyes sketched in my visual diary as I formed ideas for further artworks.
Created: July 2004

This image shows a page from my 2004 visual diary where I spent many hours observing eyes, human and animal.  I was and still am fascinated by the depth of expression and emotion that eyes can convey through art.  This sketch formed the bases for some other creative artworks that came along.  I always meant to fill up each square but never quite got around to finishing it…

Mixed media exploration of culture and beliefs in my visual diary. Created: 4/6/2004
Mixed media exploration of culture and beliefs in my visual diary.
Created: 4/6/2004

This has to be one of my absolute favourite piece of art play from my 2004 visual diary.  The reason I love it so much is that it explores the concepts of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory in life through images that I cut from magazines that came in the male.

I have many notes written in my visual diary next to this mixed media art play as we were challenged by our art teacher to explore our concepts of the culture we lived in and the context it has in our lives.  As I was cutting this out and gluing it into my visual diary, I was contemplating how people think and wondering things such as: does the level of your bank balance and physically acquired items determine your personal happiness?  Or is there more to life than the physical items we surround ourselves with?

I considered a concept that some people can find themselves feeling numb and unable to relate to life unless they are actively shopping and acquiring items… I considered the animals we take for granted and was particularly drawn to the cow hide in the original image.  I thought a lot about the concepts… Do our earthly actions affect us in the afterlife?  Is there really an afterlife?

To me, I am open to that concept, but not all people are.

Fascinating stuff.

Anyways, that’s my trip down my 2004 visual diary memory lane.

More creative art is still yet to appear on this blog.  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and feel free to share the arty creativity.

Posted in Oils, Uncategorized


Nurture - oils on canvas
Nurture – oils on canvas
Created: 2008
Artist: Selina Shapland

This is one of my favourite paintings.

As I painted this piece, I found myself deeply contemplative of what it means to be a woman and the ability to create live within the body from a sacred act of connection between two people.

This painting was very much an exploration of my connection to my womanhood and my own inner child.  Not every woman will be a biological mother, but that does not mean she cannot love and nurture herself and those around her in a very special way.

This painting also represents the need to nurture and love a child as well as the different phases that a woman’s body goes through in life.  I have always seen pregnancy as a very symbolic beautiful metaphor for much of the experiences I have had in life.

What does that really mean?

To me, it means going deep within your own personal void where all things are possible and allowing yourself to cast off the old life and be safely nurtured before re-entering the world in a new way.   I see this painting as a symbolic representation of the transformation of life, death and rebirth that is evident in nature, humans and many experiences.

Posted in Oils


Oil Painting of a face in shadow
Reflection – Oils on Canvas
Created: 2009
Artist: Selina Shapland

This oil painting was done in 2009.  I had a bit of a love affair with this colour palette and there were a few indigo themed paintings coming out of my creativity during that time.  In 2011, I donated this painting to the Heart Art Charity Auction where it was sold for over $200 to raise funds for sick kids.

That was a great night.  I won the people’s choice art award that night.

I remember that the face created itself on the canvas and unfortunately this photo doesn’t do it justice.

It was fabulous to see it up on Juggler’s Art Space gallery wall that night and knowing that people were having a bidding war to purchase it.  This image has a bit of an eerie-ness to it because I as you move around the room the eyes follow you.  I hope the lady who eventually won the bidding war still loves it as much as she did back in 2011.

This painting not a self portrait, unless you count the concept that it is a representation of my inner self shining from the canvas, which pretty much feels good to me ’cause isn’t that what creativity is about…



Posted in Acrylics, Drawing, Oils

Today, I celebrate the female form through art

Woman in Transition
Created: 2005- 2006
Artist: Selina Shapland

I felt inspired to share some of my artworks of the female figure with you.  Some of them are modelled after my own somewhat curvy lines and others from life models.  This above painting was created between 2005 and 2006 in acrylic paints.  I had a fantastic time painting this piece and I called it ‘Woman in transition’ as it really was a transitional time in my life.

Woman in transition is a self-portrait where I stood in front of the mirror naked and painted my reflection on the canvas.  I used my emotions to express colours on the body.

Red Burlesque cropped image of acrylic painting
Created: 17/9/2011
Artist: Selina Shapland

This is a cropped image of my acrylic painting called Red Burlesque inspired by the Burlesque movie and how amazingly cool it is that women have curvy bits and can wear such sexy clothes to celebrate their womanhood.

Life drawing observation ink and charcoal artwork
Created: 2004
Artist: Selina Shapland

This life drawing was completed during the short period of time that I attended art school in Melbourne.  This woman was beautiful in her pose and she stayed there for a long time as we all took our time to draw her form on the gessoed brown paper.  I do love this piece more than nearly any of the artworks I did when I was attending art school.  This piece is a mixture of charcoal and black ink and I am happy to say that I still have it stashed away in my art cupboard.

Oil Painting
Created: 2008
Artist: Selina Shapland

Lastly, the above image was a painting I did from a black and white photo where I painted the shadows more than the form as such.  I used skin tone but I ended up not liking this painting at the time and trashed it.  However, looking back, I am still happy that it does represent the female form in a positive way.

I don’t know why, but today, I felt inspired to share the beauty of the female figure with you.

Posted in Fabric Paints, Oils

Eyes, Owls and Animal love

Artistically, I am incredibly inspired by nature, especially animals.  They have so much to express and in a way when I draw or paint them I see myself reflected through them.

Owls are a favourite bird for me.  I have been fascinated by their stealth, wise eyes and the graceful beauty that they carry with such magnificence.  Many years ago, I used to go to Borders in Melbourne and spend hours looking through one big photograph book on owls.  It was stunning and I think I have been in love with the wisdom that the owl represents to me for most of my adult life.


One of my very first oil paintings was an owl portrait.  I still have it.  It is not the image above.  The one above was just drawn freehand this morning with fabric paint marker and SoSoft Fabric paint on un-gessoed canvas.  I plan to create a bag out of this piece of canvas once the paint has dried.

As I was drawing this image, the eyes of the owl were the feature for me.  They are the windows of the soul as they say and I find this to be particularly true of owls.  I have a love of drawing and painting eyes which has developed into a creative obsession over the years and so any animal, in particular, that I connect with through their eyes will eventually feature somewhere in my creative art work journey.

ImageThis image above was a painting done in acrylic and oils.  All of them are animal eyes.  Unfortunately I no longer have this painting due to damage while moving.  But I did love creating it.

When I was in art school back when I lived in Melbourne, I discovered a love for eyes, lines and animals in particular.  They have become a constant theme in my life’s artistic journey, so I am sure you will see more as time goes by.

I want to encourage you to create, even if you feel you cannot.  I did not take up art as a hobby until I was 25 years old.  This was because when I was in my early teens, I had to do a speech at high school on a famous artist and there were some guys in the class that told me how boring I was.  That was the day I put down my love of art and decided that I couldn’t do it.

Of course, I did not realise at the time that I was allowing their comments to direct my life and I had owned their comments, thinking that I was terrible at art and that this was the last thing I could ever do… all from a comment about a speech I gave and had worked really hard to do.

It seems silly now when I reflect on why I gave up art and felt myself unable to be creative… and that is the reason why I want to encourage everyone to indulge in their creative sides no matter what your medium is.

I have learned over the years of going from drawing symbols to drawing what is in front of me that I have sold myself short.  Art is a skill that can be learned and you do not have to have talent as such to do it, but you do need to be persistent and give yourself permission to do it badly at first.

I have found this in myself and I am sure that I am not the only person who thinks their creative work is not good enough or can be too sensitive to the opinions of others… I have learned that art is about the reflection of who you are becoming day by day, moment by moment and that drawing badly is all part of the process.  It is an invaluable part of the creative process because one day you just stop and realise – wow, I did that! and the image is beautiful to you and other people.

So… the wisdom of an owl in my mind is to see the current step now as an opportunity to learn, grow and become what it is that you want to be in your life.  To let yourself be faulty and make mistakes; to celebrate your imperfections which are beautiful character building opportunities and to fail as often as you can, but keep giving it a go, as that is when you will see yourself take off in flight!

Make sure you check out my online art reference shop here on Selina’s World blog and get some reference books to help you to develop your own creative self – no matter what level you aspire to.

Posted in Oils

Divine Love

This oil painting took me years to paint.  I have a deep love for Egyptian theology and the love story of Isis and Osiris.

An expression of divine love
Created: 2008 and finished 2012
Artist: Selina Shapland

In 2008, this painting was originally inspired by a broken heart.  I think I must be a big romantic!

Anyway, I fell for a guy who was a very different faith to me and although we both had faith in something greater than ourselves, it was dogma that came between us.  So when this love tryst finished, I put my love and creative energy into this painting.

Over the years, this painting has seen many layers and changes from conveying a coldness to this passionate and loving image now.  As I painted this canvas, I remember spending a lot of time reliving emotions that opened my heart and allowed my love to spill forth.  It was as though I was emotionally transported into the painting and time meant nothing to me.  It was a sacred act of painting, something beautiful and indefinable that happened between myself and that which appeared on the canvas.

I love the warm passion in the image now.  I still have the painting with me and when I look at it, I think how the act of love making can be a passionate and sacred act of expressing love between two beings.  I love the relationship between Isis and Osiris where she pieced him back together after he had been torn apart by Seth.

I love that Isis fashioned a phallus out of gold, allowing them to make love and create new life through Horus.  It is tragic in a way because Osiris dies after their last moments of passion and expressions of love.  In a symbolic manner Osiris dies only to be reborn through his ‘seed’ which is Horus, the Son.

As with all my artwork, there is deep meaning.  Layers and layers of symbology goes into what I create.  I ponder the story and how it relates to my life and to life in general.  This painting also symbolically represents the transitions of life, the cycles that humans and nature go through, being birth, life, experiences that shape us and death, only to become one with the earth again and transition from one form to another.

Divine Love, Isis and Osiris touch, meld together in a union of one-ness to create new life and renewal.  I love it, deeply.

Posted in Oils

Surfer 2009

This painting brings back so many memories for me.  I am not a surfer, although I gave it a go back in 2009.  I couldn’t even sit on the board in the water without sliding down the end and into the gorgeous ocean!

Oil painting of a surfer inside a wave
Created: 2009
Artist: Selina Shapland

I was dating a guy who really loved the ocean and was into surfing.  He loved art and so I created this painting for him as a birthday gift. I’m happy he still has this painting (as far as I know?!).

This painting represents love, freedom and the thrill of doing what makes you revel in this beautiful world of ours.

It also once represented love lost in my internal world, until I came to realise that love is a gift in my life regardless of the length of time that it is there for.  We chose to walk different life paths but I am grateful for the way we laughed together and that we are still pretty good friends.

Until I began to write about what this painting means to me, I did not realise the depth of meaning it still has for me.  Such a strange realisation.  I put a lot of love into this painting because I loved him and because I wanted to share a special part of myself with him through an image that meant something special to him.

I guess I am a romantic at heart…

Symbolically this Surfer represents love, freedom and the greatest joy a person can feel in life!

Posted in Abstract, Oils

Woman in Water 2012

Woman floats in water
Created: April 2012
Artist: Selina Shapland

It seems that 2012 held a theme for me in my art and creativity.  Women and water were a huge feature of how I was expressing myself.

This oil painting was sold to a dear friend of mine who loved it the moment she saw it.

This image was inspired by a young lady leaning against a wall in another tattoo magazine.  I loved the way she looked so relaxed and sensual.  I tried to capture that in this oil painting and provide a sense of movement through the pallet knife and paint texture.

As I painted this woman floating in water, I explored my feelings about loving my body just the way it is, bumpy bits and all.  The water represents the emotions that I often find myself spinning around in, where there is a need to surrender to the tumultuous life experiences and allow myself to go with the flow.

The female body is beautiful and I wanted to spend time celebrating the wonder of the feminine form through my art.