My Painting: Floral Fantasia
My Inspiration: I have always loved nature, flowers and bright colours, especially since I come from a family of devoted gardeners! Floral designs usually feature in my work. This is a concept design for a range of scarfs which I am looking into at the moment.
Plan: I had to plan it but once I get started, I can’t seem to stop drawing!
Chosen Medium and Why: I use a range of mediums when I start my drawings. I like to use watercolours and inks because you can really experiment with how you apply these to the paper. For more detailed drawings, I work with fine liner pens.
Painting Experience: For these designs, it was rather easy to work with. I tend to draw lots of images first and scan them into the computer before manipulating them on Photoshop. I enjoy working on a computer because you can play around with images and get lots of different results. The only downside is that my eyes do get sore but I know it is worth it in the end when I produce beautiful designs like the one above!
My Achievement: I love the colours in the design and I love how it looks like a landscape.
My Painting: Dreamy Dragonflies
My Inspiration: My inspiration for this ceramic piece was Antoni Gaudi.
Plan: I planned this ceramic piece by first looking at lots of different types of mosaics and nature.
Chosen Medium and Why: I decided to do ceramic because it is perfect for creating distinct shapes.
Painting Experience: I wanted dragonflies to be the main eye catcher on this piece but once I started I continued to create dreamy shapes such as lines, leaves and flowers.
My Achievement: I love the way the shapes stand out and the way the textures worked well with the clay.
My Painting: Window Box
My Inspiration: I came across this image as a photograph in a magazine and decided to set myself a little painting project.
Plan: I planned the photograph very basically and the medium I would use.
Chosen Medium and Why: This is the very first time I used watercolours properly. I had tried to use them before but I kept applying them too heavily and not layering the washes. I had never been taught how to use watercolours so I decided to read about them. Afterwards, I understood that I needed to build up the painting with light washes of paint.
Painting Experience: I really enjoyed painting this one. I love working on the details and sometimes I get carried away and spend a lot of time on tiny details.
My Achievement: I am proud of the way the finer details turned out – all my hard work paid off! You can see this in the net curtains.
Little Artist’s Tip: When using Watercolour paints, it is helpful to apply the paint very lightly to begin with and gradually build up layers of paint to create soft colours.
My Painting: Hope
My Inspiration: As you have probably guessed from my earlier painting, light is one of my main inspirations. Light and a search for hope were the main drives behind this painting. Artists such as J.M.W Turner and Vincent Van Gogh who focus on bold colours, light and expression inspire me greatly. If I had to narrow it down to three words it would be light, search and release.
Plan: This painting is the first in one of my painting series but it was not planned. I often just begin a painting and let the creative flow take over. I even leave work unfinished for a while and then return and build upon it.
Chosen Medium and Why: I used pure oil on canvas because I love the way it provides a texture over time. I also used a knife to create different effects with the paint.
Painting Experience: I didn’t experience any problems.
My Achievement: This is actually one of my favourite paintings. I am very pleased because I feel it embodies hope, divine light and reflection. Many people have told me that they feel inspired when they look at it.
Little Artist’s Tip: Check out artists like J.M.W Turner and Vincent Van Gogh who inspire Madhu! Do you have a particular artist who inspires your work?
My Painting: Wendy
My Inspiration: For this particular painting I received a commission to paint a portrait for a birthday gift.
Plan: I planned well for this portrait. I began by looking at photographs of Wendy and discussing the size the customer would like. We then decided on the style and colour palette they would like me to use.
Chosen Medium and Why: I chose to use Acrylic paint because I really enjoy working with it. I find that if I make a mistake, the paint dries quickly and afterwards it is very easy to cover with more paint afterwards.
Painting Experience: I did encounter a few problems! The first time I painted her neck I made it far too long and it distorted the whole painting. However, I left it to dry and merely painted over it in a block colour until I was happy. The great thing about Acrylic is that mistakes are easily corrected!
My Achievement: I am most pleased with the mouth and chin area. I really wanted to capture the happy expression on her face and I do feel I captured it perfectly.
Little Artist’s Tip: ‘Commission’ = An artist is paid to paint for somebody e.g. a special portrait
My Painting: Red Hair Band
My Inspiration: I really enjoy figurative drawing so I painted this piece one afternoon on my degree course.
Plan: I had a girl come in and pose for me for a few hours. I planned ahead by doing various quick sketches with charcoal, pastels and pen. After a few sketches I began to get a feel for the contours and position of the body and then began to paint.
Chosen Medium and Why: I was experimenting with mixed media at the time so I decided to use acrylic paint and pastel paper. I used the acrylic for the background, smearing it across the pastel paper with a paper towel. It was interesting to paint on top of a messy background. I then used pastels to sketch the nude.
Painting Experience: I could see from my initial sketches that I needed to make the legs longer. I exaggerated the length of the legs and I felt that I liked the overall proportion of the figure by doing this.
My Achievement: I am very pleased with the heaviness of the body and the casual way she is resting on her hand.
Little Artist’s Tip: Experiment with different backgrounds for your painting e.g. Joyce used acrylic paint over pastel paper as her background.
My Painting: Sandend
My Inspiration: The beauty of the beach. It was completely deserted on an overcast day with nothing moving except the waves and the grass blowing in the wind – I wanted to capture these elements.
Plan: I have painted and drawn this beach many times on location so I decided to take a photograph and paint from this. The atmosphere and light qualities of the photograph were perfect to paint.
Chosen Medium and Why: Having painted this beach before in watercolour, I wanted to change the medium and see what would happen. So, I decided to use acrylic paint on acrylic paper using quite fine brushstrokes.
Painting Experience: When I look at it now, I feel that the grass in the foreground could be a little more defined. However, I don’t mind it because I like the way your eye doesn’t get stuck at the bottom of the painting but travels up and out to the horizon. It allows the individual to enjoy the sense of space along the way.
My Achievement: I am proud of the peaceful quality of the painting. The sense of calm I feel when I look at the sea has been transferred into it. The person who now owns my painting feels the peaceful, calm aura which radiates from it too – this is incredibly satisfying for an artist.
Little Artist’s Tip: ‘Aura’ = A certain quality which surrounds a person or object. Do any of your paintings have a certain quality to them? Are they calm and peaceful or bright and energetic?
My Painting: Autumn Warmth
My Inspiration: I love nature and autumn is such a beautiful time of year. I love the pure, bold colours like yellow and red. I find nature very inspiring.
Plan: I didn’t plan in advance.
Chosen Medium and Why: I used oil on canvas to create the beautiful textures.
Painting Experience: I really enjoyed painting this one because I love autumn. I didn’t encounter any problems either.
My Achievement: I think my main achievement here is the colour. It looks incredibly vibrant and powerful.
Little Artist’s Tip: Nature and autumn are fantastic inspirations for painting due to their powerful colours. What is your favourite season to paint?
My Painting: Jean Nesbitt
My Inspiration: My family inspire me because they mean so much to me. During my last year at secondary school I wanted to focus my artwork towards something important. This portrait of my Great Grandma (Jean Nesbitt) is one of my final pieces from my portfolio.
Plan: My Grandma passed away in 2008 so I had to use photographs as a reference. However, we have very few! I ended up using a tiny black and white passport photograph and decided to paint it as large as I was allowed at the time (A1 card). I didn’t particularly plan in depth, I just grabbed a paintbrush and a crazy colour palette that I felt reflected her crazy personality and started painting. My painting style is very loose and expressive. Sometimes I feel that if I put too much planning into a piece I will pressure myself for each mark to be absolutely perfect.
Chosen Medium and Why: I used acrylic paint because I had deadlines and acrylic doesn’t take as long as other paints to dry.
Painting Experience: There were many points during painting where I wasn’t happy with how it was going and felt like giving up. However, persistence is key!
My Achievement: I am definitely more pleased with the left side of her face than the right. The way I’ve contrasted the darker and lighter shades together portrays the shadow well. I love how it adds depth to the painting!
Little Artist’s Tip: Look at the way Leanne contrasts light and dark paint to add depth and shadow to the face.
My Painting: Scratch
My Inspiration: I was asked to do a sketch of this little kitten for the owner.
Plan: I took a photograph of the kitten and then planned the sketch. I began by getting the proportion right and doing a single line around the outline of the shape of the kitten.
Chosen Medium and Why: Since it was a sketch, I used different grades of pencil.
Painting Experience: I began to fill in the kitten from left to right doing all the detail as I went along. However, it is important to note that this is not the way I would advise anyone to work up a drawing. It made it very difficult to make a change if needed.
My Achievement: I did this sketch while I was pregnant to help me just relax and have some quiet time to myself. I am very proud with how it turned out.
Little Artist’s Tip: When doing a sketch, rather than trace the entire outline, it is better to begin with simple shapes. Once the shapes are roughly drawn, you can start to add tones and shading. Tiny details such as the face should be left until the very end.