Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Grisaille underpainting in oil - portrait of Tayla

It has almost been 2 weeks since I last posted! Life is busy and good and while I have been working on several resin pieces, they are waiting to be resined so not at a great stage to take photos off.

However today (while my lovely children were supposed to be asleep) I started this grisaille underpainting of Tayla so that I can have the matching pair to go with Carter's one. Actually the Tayla in question was sound asleep while I was doing this, however her brother has since woken her up and has had no sleep at all and I can currently hear the "conversations" going on in their bedroom through the baby monitor while I type this.

Here is it next to Carter's portrait so I could check size wise and composition wise that they will match. Sorry about the glare it is a beautiful sunny day today so the garage door is open so sun can stream in. As it is supposed to be Autumn and raining today, I am enjoying the sun.

I will do some more work on this underpainting before I start the glazes, I just want this initial layer to dry first. Will keep you posted.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cat picture with kids artwork

Just a quickie to show the cat picture I did to match the elephant that I posted recently. For the elephant I used a template from Sarah Jane Studios but for this one I drew my own template, asking my children for approval. It is now hanging above Tayla's cot to match the elephant hanging over Carter's cot. The frame is an 11" x 14" and the picture itself minus matting is A4 so they are decent sized pictures. The kids loved that I was using their artwork.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Oil portrait - Carter - completed!

Here it is, the final completed painting of Carter. It is 300 x 300 x 40mm. Took me a few months but I am pretty happy with it, especially as it is my first completed portrait in oils.

I've taken some photos at various points so I thought I would post them here as there definitely were some ugly stages that this one went through (even though the subject matter is exceptionally beautiful and I am not biased at all).

Here is the original grisaille underpainting. I did this with burnt umber and solvent just to focus on the tonal side of things, mainly with his face. I didn't really bother with the hair.

Once that was dry I started with the glazes. Initially these were all transparent and I was trying to remember to keep the red ones on the cheeks and the yellow on the forehead.

Then when I did my first glaze with titanium white with liquin, all of a sudden he looked like a ghost and I think that was when I got scared and left it for 3 months.
I am now trying to find a photo of Tayla so that she can be my next subject. I am tossing up whether to do the next one with a grisaille underpainting as well or try it without. I did find that his skin did end up really luminous which is what I wanted and I think that may be because of all the layers of glazes.
It is interesting to look back at these stages and it does encourage me to keep the faith when they are going through the ugly stages!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Some progress on Carter's oil portrait

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may recall back in December last year, I undertook a grisaille underpainting for a portrait of Carter. I then did a number of glazes on his face then got too scared to go any further in case I wrecked it. So it has been hanging on the wall of my studio since December untouched.

Last night, I really felt like painting, I prepared a large canvas for a figure composition I have worked out but as I couldn't do anything more on that, I decided to just go for it with Carter's portrait and I had a really good session and ended up going to bed far too late.

I am really pleased how this is coming along now and I have got over my fear of stuffing up. That is really paralysing and I think that particular fear is one that stops people from really living their passions and dreams. I've been really looking at my self-development over the past few months and last night I didn't even think that I could stuff this up, I just got into it and loved the process without that fear and worry which probably impacts performance when you do fall into that trap.

I just tried to have another crack at it now but the background is still wet so he started getting green hair which is not that ideal, so I am looking forward to refining the last of his face and the hair (which needs a fair bit of work). The lips are a bit too red too so they need to be toned down as well. I do love how the skin is really luminous in real life and I think that is from the grisaille underpainting and then the glazes upon glazes.

So in the word's of Nike "just do it". I'm glad I did and I can't wait to finish it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I have not been doing any of my own art over the past week as life, children and business are keeping me busy, however yesterday I finally did this cool elephant from Sarah Jane Studios. She kindly has offered up the templates for the elephant, a seal and a sparrow for personal use. You use your child's artwork for the animal. On re-reading the instructions today, I actually did this the wrong way, as you are supposed to cut out the shape from the child's artwork and stick that on white paper. Instead I did a trick of my husband's which was to not read the instructions and I cut out the shape on white watercolour paper and then stuck the artwork behind.

I came across Sarah Jane's work on the Nesting blog which gives me lots of inspiration decorating wise for houses and kid's stuff so if you are that way inclined, check out Nesting as well.

I just loved these animals though and what a cool way to preserve all those masterpieces that your kids come home with. Carter was very taken with this and it is now hanging over his bed. I just need to do one for Tayla now. She is into dogs, so I might have to make my own template for that one. The white frame and mat looks great in the kids room as well.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Well at least I tried...

I started a herbal detox on Monday and after the third consecutive day of pounding headaches and extreme tiredness I quit this afternoon. I would like to finish it but I need to function as well. So today, Wednesday, which is normally my mummy/art day, I did nothing. Luckily my kids were in great moods and happy to play with Thomas the tank engine or Duplo so I could sit in silence on the couch as reading hurt, using the computer hurt and TV hurt.

At 3pm I decided enough was enough and I had a chocolate Freddo to try and raise my blood sugar levels (which are obviously used to being at quite high levels) and some yummy toast with vegemite. And within an hour my headache was gone and I finally felt alive again.

So I might try a more gradual change in reducing some of the bad (but yummy) stuff in my diet rather than getting all enthusiastic and trying to cut everything out at once. Incidentally my 18 month old daughter has a new name for food which is "yummy". She stands in the pantry, calls to me, looks up and says "yummy? yummy?". She likes her food.

And the flower photo is just one I took a few months ago and re-found today and thought I would put in here to look pretty.