Friday, September 30, 2011

Perhaps she is finished...

Well, I have to send off a JPG of the painting to enter a local competition, so it's as finished as it's going to get for that...but I think it's quite likely I will continue to add a little here and there, at least until such time as I find out whether or not my work has been accepted.

It occurred to me today that my paintings are always more than just paintings to me.  I think it's to do with the layers of thoughts, the attempt to capture all the feelings and ideas that I have in my head AS I'm painting, and with the search for some intangible thing, some magic or meaning, the attempt (always unsuccessful of course) to encompass something too big for a mere canvas to hold.  It's the STORY, in all its marvelous, mutable glory.  But that's also the beauty of it...the story is ever unfolding, never ending.  Never to be captured and pinned down.  Always free.  Like Beauty and her Wolfheart.

The poem is HERE if you haven't read it and would like to.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Beauty Remembers...progress....

Well, I left her alone for a while, maybe we both needed to ponder the next step.  But if I'm going to enter it into anything I need to stop being afraid I might screw it up, and start working.  This will be a process of layering, and I sometimes wonder whether I'm wasting time and effort in working each layer in such detail even though I know it may well disappear completely under the next.  Quite a lot of the pencil shading in Beauty's hair is disappearing under the paint and ink line work, and then there will be more working back into it over that, perhaps with coloured pencil, perhaps with black pen...I don't know yet.  But, I can't really see it as wasted effort, I know the work is there, and each layer teaches me something about how to proceed, it has its moment in the sun, even in it must be obscured by what comes after.  And layers make story, don't they.  The more layers there are to peel back, the more complex and interesting the story.

So here is Beauty so far, the first colour 'washes' from a few days ago, and then yesterday's effort, working back into her hair, adding more colour to her and the beast.  More to do, and I can't wait too long, so I will be busy tomorrow with it.  It's quite different to previous work, but I do like it.
The paint runs ARE intentional...I wanted to try something a little looser, I wanted to let it find its own way a little rather than carefully orchestrating everything.

However, I did decide that one running down the middle was a little too dominant and I lightened it off a little.

Taken with flash above, and without, below.  The truth (as is so often the case!) lies somewhere between.  I've extended Beauty's hair, and worked colour into her and the beast.  I think I may need to darken their features a little to make them stand out, they're getting a little lost in the colour.  The trees on the horizon definitely need to be better defined.  I'm a little worried I might have to do the same with the text, but I really DON'T want to have to go to all that trouble if I can help it.

I still like the poem.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The well of inspiration...and there's no denying it...

...spring has sprung!  Actually, it's been springing for the last few weeks, since early August in fact.  I like spring well enough, the trouble is it's always the herald of another long summer, which rather puts a downer on it for me.  Especially after last summer lasted about 6 months.  Winter has been very lax this year, hanging around half-heartedly for about 2 months, then it buggered off early. Still, at least it put in an appearance.  More than I can say for autumn, who failed to turn up at all.  Spring is when the garden looks its best, though I can't take the credit, it's the nasturtiums that make it look so lovely and they just come up by themselves without any help from me at all.  I only wish they'd hang around a bit longer, but come summer, they will all die off and leave the garden looking (and me feeling) bereft and empty.

I've never planted Flanders poppies before, I'm so glad I did this year, they're gorgeous.

This is one of the babies of my old lavender, which seeded itself all over the place (I've got about 6 babies from it).  It obviously likes this spot, some of the flower spikes are over 6cms long and the bees love it. 

The McCartney Rose.  It does this every much as I love it, I wish it would just pace itself a bit better and flower over a longer period.  These will probably all be gone in a week or so.  The apricot next to it flowered, then leafed, and now has baby apricots, all in the space of about 2 weeks...or less!

My poor confused almond.  The poor thing is probably wondering how the heck that year went round so quick (it decided to flower in autumn, the weather was so warm).

Nasturtiums taking over as always.  The tree in the left foreground is a Crepe Myrtle. Hubby and I have a running joke we laugh ourselves silly over every year.  For the first 3 or so years we had this tree, spring would arrive, everything around it would be budding and blooming, and it would continue looking very, very dead...right up until November or later, then it would suddenly grow leaves, and flower.  And each year, I'd sigh and say "I think we're going to have to pull that Myrtle out, it hasn't survived," convinced that this year it really WAS dead, and he would disagree and say it was fine.  And then Hubby started getting in early..."Hmmm, Chris,"  he'd say, snickering, "I really think we're going to have to pull that Myrtle out."  So now, we see who gets in first to say it, then both snicker like 6 years olds!  Daft, I know!

I think these are pansies.  See, I told you I know nothing about gardening.  They were pretty and cheap, so I bought some!

Look!  Over there, to the left...a tiny wood violet.  Again, I don't know what kind, it may be the native violet...but it's very tough, I can tell you that.  It will die off and you think "oh well, there goes the violet" and then in autumn, tiny green shoots will reappear.

The McCartney taking over Hubby's studio.

Nasturtiums and Lobelias together.  Beautiful, intense colours.

As for inspiration, this week I've been revelling in the world of Brian Froud, having bought several books that I've been wanting for ages.  I was introduced to Brian, and Alan Lee's book Faeries by my art teacher at school when I was about 13.  It had a profound effect on me.  One of the inspirational milestones in my life actually.

And the last two weeks I have also found much inspiration in these places on the winding web path:
Sometimes a Wild God
(Tom Hirons writes a poem to make you want to run barefoot through the woods and find the wild heart you've lost somewhere)
On wooing the poem.  A beginner's guide.
(Tom tells us the magical prose)
Jackie Morris writes a long post with the most wonderful links (visit them ALL!)
(and if you haven't found Jackie's blog before, you're in for a treat!)
This is just one of them!
(Isn't this marvelous?!  What an amazing revival of craftmanship.)
And lastly, this is just sublime!
(Make sure you read to the end to see them all.  And again thank you to Jackie Morris for the link.)

The deputy head at my girls' school asked me if I was interested in running an 'art club' at the school next term.  I must be getting braver, I said yes without even stopping to think.  So, a group of six or seven 9-13 year olds.  Hmmm, I'll have to think of a cool project we can work on over a few weeks!  I'm nervous and excited, I've never done anything like this before!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Yes, it's been a while...

I've been busy, but not everything has come to fruition.  I missed another deadline simply because I could NOT get inspired with a good enough idea.  I started a painting, worked on it for a whole day, and in the end decided it was just not worth completing and I ended up painting over it.  I almost never do that, but I think most of us know the difference between that awkward stage where nothing seems to be working but we know if we just keep at it something will happen...and reaching the point of realisation that the piece you're working on has NEVER worked, the idea wasn't up to scratch to start with, and your heart just isn't in it.

However, something did FINALLY get finished!  Do you remember this painting?  Here it is again.

Yes, it was part of a duo...a painting each for two little boys.  And I have finally, FINALLY finished them both...Phew!!!  So here is the second one, which I called 'Here Be Dragons'.  I think their mum was pretty pleased with them.  She's going to keep them for Christmas pressies, so I'll have to wait a while yet to find out what the boys think of them!

As for what else has been happening in the attic...or in the general vicinity anyway...spring is most definitely here, the McCartney rose is covered in blooms, the Apricot has almost lost all its flowers already and has all new leaves.  My silly jonquils bloomed about a month and a half ago, but we really never got a winter at all.  I don't know what the Almond is doing, it doesn't know whether it's coming or going.  We've planted out our vegie garden, and a new herb garden, and the garden out the back is actually looking nice and, well, sort of almost slightly if it had been created by someone who had a vague idea of what they were doing!

Beauty is still waiting for her colour washes, but I'm almost glad now I didn't have to rush to finish her, I think a little pondering time is often a good thing.  She will be finished anon!

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