Saturday, 6 August 2016

2015 Paintings

So 2015 turned into quite a mixed bag of work once again, including some very interesting projects I had not previously attempted. I didn’t make a great deal of paintings this year but then my focus was drawn in several directions. Still those I did create are shown below.

Starting off with acrylic paintings I decided I would try my hand at painting boxes and creating some tiny little magnets out of foam. The idea was to stretch the usage of my paint, test out those lovely iridescent colours and generally see if I could paint/create objects as well as my standard canvas and cradle boards.


The above butterfly box was a reconditioned item and has a push lid as opposed to a clasp like the below snail box. I’ll admit I struggled with the surface of the butterfly box and both pieces ended up taking an awful long longer than I anticipated when I started!

The below three foam blocks were much faster to create but very fiddly as they are much smaller than I am used to painting. The foam was an interesting and unusual surface to work into and surprisingly more solid and forgiving than I thought it would be. I also got in a bit of a pickle with the superglue when trying to affix magnets to the reverse, especially on the first one because I had magnetic strip that came in a roll and thus did not want to be laid flat… oh and just glue in general, never let me loose with superglue lol!

Night Sails (left) 1.75 x 2.5" and Moonlight (right) 1.75 x 2.5"

Posy - 2.5 x 1.75"

The only other acrylic project I did this year was part of a neat little show called Inter-generational Art. The idea of this was to bring together the young an old to work on a singular piece between them. Naturally I was interested in collaborating so Petrina offered up one of her charcoal sketches.
Her sketch immediately gave me an idea but I was running a little short on time for the deadline and wasn't used to working on something so large!

So here's a picture of me hard at work: 

I'm pretty sure this was the day before the deadline and as you can see I haven't even started lol!

Still I did start and finish and we mounted the art just in time for acceptance into the show :)
Here's a better picture of Petrina and I with the finished piece:

Next up are the few oil paintings in made in 2015. Allure, Clouds and The Bonfire are all the same size since I got gifted some wooden slats to work on. Of course then as with any arty gift I just had to test them out and see what could be done.


Allure - 3 x 7" Oil on wooden panel

The above was the most successful of the three in my opinion but then it is also the most detailed and orientates around my favourite subject of tigers.

Clouds - 3 x 7" Oil on wooden panel 

Clouds was an experiment to see if I could work in a different palette, specifically in pastels and paler colours to my beloved dark blacks and vibrant greens. I think by the end I couldn’t decide if the landscape shown were dark clouds or impressionistic mountains but I achieved my goal at least.

The Bonfire - 7 x 3" Oil on wooden panel

This was an experiment in speed and layering. I wanted the dark background to remain fairly thin to show the wood grain and the flames to be quite thick and sticker. It’s a simple piece no doubt but sometimes simple is best.

Up next, well I went back into my love of fantasy and decided to create another dragon eye. This time I went for a blue palette instead of red and some unusual scale shapes around the eye. For a cool toned piece, I think it is quite interesting.

Serous Eye - 6 x 6" Oil on cradle board

This next piece was created and displayed in a show at the local gallery. An unusual entry perhaps both in size, style and subject but I had a clear cut vision for this piece. My aim was to move from cold tones to warm ones as you travel down the painting with the staircase leading your eye downward into the light of the study. I was told it was well-received at the show so hooray! ^_^

The Study 13 x 5.75

(And we won’t mention that yes that’s an elf character at the desk, so yes, this another story-related painting … shhh…!! xD)


An entirely different painting project that occurred in 2015 was the opportunity to paint a square of the planned local mural. An odd one for me, trying to paint one square of random colours that would eventually make up the whole picture using a type of paint I was unfamiliar with onto a metal sheet.

 This one had me scratching my head quite a bit since I found the given paint and surface very difficult to use. I did complete my square in good time for the final which as you can see from the below photograph was quite a varied piece. So wonderful to know that I was able to join in and be part of a large scale collaboration that now stands proudly in Lake Country :)

Mural - One 12 x 12" square

Photograph of complete mural.


Last but by no means least I was commissioned to create not one but two digital book covers this year! :D

Always ready for a challenge I worked very hard on these pieces and it took quite a bit of learning new techniques to get them working as the authors wanted. I designed custom brushes and palettes that would be invaluable for future projects that is if my laptop hadn’t decided to have massive hard drive failure at the beginning of October. Argh >.<

The good news is that I didn’t lose any of my work -phew!- Only the settings I had created for my software were pushed back to default since I had to reinstall everything. Glad to say that my laptop was fixed quite quickly and didn’t interfere with any deadlines, unless you count putting up examples of work for Inktober every day – that took a bit of playing catch up!

Obviously both of the below images are missing their written content. Neither of the books have been published yet.

The Year of Us – book cover commission

My first rendition of the leaves in this piece wasn’t very good at all but I quickly learnt that making custom brushes wasn’t difficult and gave a much better effect. Praise be to my Intuous tablet too for having a good amount of pressure sensitivity.

The Lost Server – book cover commission

This cover was the bigger project of the two. While the background came together quite quickly, the characters took a great deal more work. Refining what the characters should look like took a great deal of back and forth questions between the author and myself, eye colour, hair colour, clothing and even attitude of the characters were discussed. Then came the clincher; the floating castle.

This is part of the story I enjoy re-telling as an example of just how much clarity is required when you ask someone to design something for you. Now we had been communicating well and I had carefully taken down all the details for the characters but for whatever reason I didn’t ask enough questions about the ‘floating castle.’ (top left of the painting)

My brain just simply said ‘yep OK I know what that looks like,’ and off I went to sketch it up. I am glad that my first scribble for it was literally a scribble and was based off of a Myazaki style castle (though looked more like a dalek as the client joked – oh dear, lol), so next I thought they wanted an English castle…nope wrong again, we’re talking a Chinese style temple here! 

Finally, I asked for a reference photo of the building, which is what I should have done in the first place. Live and learn on that one, and never be too embarrassed to ask your client to be more specific! Glad to say that they were very patient with me and that it all worked out well in the end ^_^

Also now whenever someone isn't specific or I forget to ask I get to call the situation, 'another dratted floating castle!' xD

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