This is my first Illustration Friday submission. There's nothing quite like the thought of painting a little kitty to quickly draw me out and get my pencils and paper moving.
This is Percival, who woke up one day to find that three of his whiskers have grown extremely long and curled up! Being the stoic kitty that he is, he shrugged this strange phenomenon off and signed up for Movember. Problem solved.
'Percival' was illustrated using Derwent Graphitint pencils and Inktense blocks.
Tuesday, 27 November 2012
Friday, 16 November 2012
I made a voucher last week for a fundraising auction. I printed out a montage of a few recent paintings to give the bidders an idea of the sort of paintings I do (the voucher was for a custom original painting for a child's room).
I have a few more paintings in the works right now. The problem is, I'm running out of space to put them in! I might have to give these babies up soon to make room for new ones. If you're interested in purchasing a finished painting (or commissioning one), don't hesitate to contact me. :)
Saturday, 3 November 2012
I had been feeling a bit out of sorts lately, not just physically but mentally and spiritually as well. The kids had probably sensed it, and were being a bit more difficult than normal until, with S's help, I decided to explore the problem and figure out what to do about it.
Which took me back to the Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh's beautiful writings on going about our daily lives mindfully. I'm starting to do some meditation again and just taking a few minutes off my hectic workday to just be.
I find that it works with the kids as well. I'm currently reading these two books to help our little family cope with the stress and challenges of daily life. Practising mindfulness helps me when I'm doing art classes as well. Nothing can be more challenging than having fifteen kids in a small classroom trying to get your and each other's attention the loudest way they can. Being able to connect to your centre of calm amid the noise and chaos is a wonderful gift.
I still find myself struggling sometimes, especially when I'm tired, but so far, no major meltdowns. My kids love doing the Big Om exercise every morning. Sofia has also embraced the 'breathing in, breathing out' meditation taught by Thich Nhat Hanh.
All this spiritual exploration has led me to do some art-related experimentation too. I've been painting 'intuitively' for the past couple of weeks, with no particular subjects, colour palettes or results in mind.
I tried this first with acrylic inks and Derwent Inktense blocks, which give lovely, bright colours. Here are a couple of the paintings I made in my Moleskine:
Here's something I've been working on for over a week now. It started as the big tree painting in this post, but it felt too stilted for me and I just couldn't bear the thought of continuing to paint it. So I decided to splash red and yellow paints over the old picture. I've been playing with it ever since.
These are shots of certain areas of the canvas as they are right now. I'm not contented with the whole picture yet, so this will probably look completely different when I'm done with it.
Painting intuitively has been liberating. (I know I use the word 'liberating' too often, but I do find art in general to be that.) I just love the idea of abandoning all the rules of composition and technique and just giving in to one's urge to splash, drip, dot and make all sorts of marks with paint on a canvas.
I've also recently discovered the use of glazes and extenders, something which has made painting acrylics even more fun. I've started using them even on my tiny paintings.
The painting in the middle is something I've been working on for ages now. I've lost track of how many colour palette changes it's had! I think I'm settling for this one now—lots of blues with touches of yellow and orange.
I've just painted the backgrounds on the two smaller square canvasses. It was great just using an extender to create the mottled backgrounds. (As I am a self-taught artist, I always feel like I've just hit the jackpot whenever I discover a new technique or material to use for my paintings.) Also, look at how messy my mixing palette is!
Speaking of mixing palettes, I've just remembered that half-term's nearly over and I now have to get the materials ready for my art classes next week. We'll be exploring paintings by Monet and Matisse, which I'm really excited about.
I'll post some of my students' works here soon. I have some really talented kids in my classes and it's a real pleasure to work with them. Sometimes, when I get really frustrated and exhausted, I just take a look at the kids working intently on their artwork and that's enough to remind me of why I am and will keep doing these classes—art is important, in the same way that maths, science and literacy are, in helping kids grow up to be well-rounded, smart and compassionate individuals.