Hello and welcome. First I would like to apologise for the short hiatus in my blogging schedule; I have been focussing on looking after my wellbeing as well as adjusting to a new schedule and workload. I hope you are all well and making time for what you love to do.
Today’s post is going to be a little walk-through of my process of creating my artwork. I’ve split it into three categories, one for each medium I use, for the sake of ease on my part, and because my process does change slightly depending on the medium I’m using. I have a very lovely studio space in my home where I (try to) do most of my work – I’m currently on the sofa, so we all know how that’s going. When I am in my studio I like to set the creative mood; I’ll grab a cup of tea, a fruity snack, light a candle or open the window, make sure the lighting is good, put on some music or an audiobook. I love audible for listening to audiobooks, I’m currently listening to ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out Of the Window and Disappeared,’ by Jonas Jonasson – I love it, it’s brilliant.
Then I settle into creating some artwork.
My acrylic paintings have evolved over time in style, but usually inspiration follows from a walk in nature. I hike and walk in the Scottish countryside as much as I can and I am usually inspired to paint a canvas afterwards. In this way, I guess most of my acrylic paintings also hold a memory of mine. I grew up on the North coast of Scotland and holidayed for most of my childhood on the West coast so I have an awful lot of photographs of Scottish landscapes. Since my style of painting has evolved into an almost impressionist approach, I use these photographs as a very loose reference picture for my acrylic paintings. While I do sometimes go back to realism with my painting, I just delight in using palette knives to create these landscapes. I often get caught up in the motion of applying paint to canvas and can easily be lost in creation for hours. Because my acrylic paintings are made with palette knives instead of paintbrushes (for the most part) I will often have to force myself to stop painting to let layers dry so that I can build up more texture. I will usually work on the same painting for about a week, coming and going for a few hours at a time. I focus on tone and texture when I am working on these pieces.
For my ink drawings I start with some practice and playfulness in a sketchbook. I find it hard to create these drawings without at least a very loose feeling, often not even an idea, about what I want for the finished image. I have to have a play around with composition and subjects in pencil in my sketchbook. Eventually I will land on a composition that I like – I usually follow my intuition in regards to the composition layout, although I do pay attention to balance, symmetry and feeling in each drawing. Sometimes I will use my sketchbook to practice different techniques that I wish to implement or to test the thickness and quality of my ink pens. I stitch together different elements from different reference photographs to create my ink drawings. Then I move onto the final drawing; I begin by lightly sketching in some guidelines on 200gsm white artist’s paper – these guidelines usually involve finding the middle of my paper and adding a slight border to ensure the drawing is centred. I use a pencil to sketch in my drawing following the composition I have previously decided in my sketchbook, before finally beginning the inking process. I use a number of different weights of ink pens to create balance and detail in each drawing. While this seems like an awful lot of work, ink drawings will often only take from half an hour to a few hours to complete.
My process for creating watercolour pieces is similar to my ink drawings. I typically start with inspiration or a feeling for what I want to create. I do have a few ideas jotted down for when my mind is blank but most of the time I come to the desk already with inspiration. I am very much still learning with watercolour paints and am definitely not as confident as I am with the other mediums I use. I usually paint specific subjects rather than scenes when it comes to watercolour as I find that it lends itself better to stand alone subjects. The subjects I regularly paint with watercolours are plants and animals. As I said earlier, my self-confidence with watercolour paints isn’t high and so I do sometimes restart the same painting a few times before it is finished satisfactorily. As with my other mediums, I use reference images regularly in order to get the tone and lighting right with each painting. I prefer to do a practice run of my watercolour paintings before I do the ‘real thing’ but what regularly ends up happening is that my ‘practice’ paintings turn out better than my ‘proper’ paintings so I tend to use the practice pieces. I think I put less pressure on myself to create the perfect painting when I think of it as “just a practice” and so my brushstrokes and focus is more naturally flowing than on the ‘proper’ paintings. I use 300gsm watercolour paper and a watercolour palette pan set of paints for the majority although I also utilise paint tubes occasionally to expand my colour range. My approach to painting with watercolours is to build the intensity and dimension of the colour through layers – I’ve never counted how many exactly, I’d say a few (it has taken a lot of trial and error to learn the patience required for this medium). I give myself a few days to finish a watercolour painting because I have to make sure it is completely dry between layers.
And there you have it! I hope you have enjoyed reading about my process of creating my artworks. I am always open to feedback.
I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful day!
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