Friday, 1 November 2013

A Painting in the Making

Just a little insight into how I work, which I'm afraid as you will see, is very random.

Everything usually starts with an idea (no surprise there) and I mull it over for a while, sometimes weeks, sometimes months and picture it in my head. 

Incidentally my Scottish Nanny often berated me with, 'There's too much nonsense going on in that curly-mopped head of yours!' 
And she was right. I'm known for my vivid imagination and ability to embroider and embellish stories. Just ask my family!

The trouble is, I have so many of these 'pictures' whizzing around my brain and most of the time there is absolutely no connection between them! You'd think I'd scribble all of them down. I do sometimes, but not with this particular little poppet.

Goosey has been a constant in my paintings for about a year now and I just felt well, he needed someone or something, as a friend and companion. 

And along came Tilly.

Apologies for the really bad lighting of the photos. I was working in the shed in the evening and only had my phone with me to take pics.

I've been learning to paint for about a year now and I'm trying out a number of different surfaces. So far I've used different types of paper, mount board off-cuts, canvas, (bouncy) wood (too many ridges) and MDF. (I'm sounding a bit too much like Goldilocks!)

This one is on MDF and I really like the cold, hardness of the material and the smoothness of the surface. It just feels substantial and um, well, we have quite a lot of it in the garage (that's the hoarder side of me) that I've been 'saving' for something and OH was threatening to bin it as it's been there for months,  so of course I had to show willing and take a few bits down to the shed.

"See, I'm using it!" I shouted over my shoulder.

 I sketched out the main bits with a bog standard pencil. There's always lots of rubbing out at this stage which I know is probably not the done thing. Surprisingly enough though she came out of the pencil quite quickly!

I'm not too fussy about all the rules of composition, (perhaps that's where I've been going wrong?) Oh well... Anyway, I do like to think about the Rule of Thirds. 'Think' being the operative word. 

Having trained for three years as a potter,the composition of a painting certainly wasn't on the curriculum so I'm learning on the job, so to speak.

For the first time I tried out some watercolour masking fluid which has sat in a drawer for years and dabbed it on the little girl so that when I painted in the sky she didn't get obliterated. 

 If you are a professional artist looking in on this blog it's at this point in the proceedings that I want you to step in and  point out where I'm going wrong and perhaps give me a few hints and tips. I'm open to a bit of advice and have broad shoulders. So fire away in the comments please.

Originally I imagined Goosey had made her a crown of holly leaves and berries (hence her hands placing it on her head)  and then I thought, what would she really like??

A Star! (And if you saw the very first painting of Tilly, you might have noticed a bright star in the sky,which in this picture is no longer there.)

So you see, the paintings tend to evolve and change direction on a whim.

My whim.

And as for colours and subject matter -  I DO love winter and Christmas and frosty-topped, pristine, snow and midnight-blue skies and twinkly stars and shiny, bright, milky moons...there's no hope, is there?

PS If after reading this you haven't glazed over, feel free to leave a comment. 

It's pretty quiet over here. I'd appreciate someone to talk to.

*whistles and twiddles thumbs*


  1. I would never have thought you had been painting for a year. You are very talented and it's a lovely painting :)

  2. Just recently discovered you and find your pics very endearing and quirky :)

    1. Hello!
      Thank you very much for reading my ramblings!Glad you like the art, too! :-)

  3. What a lovely post. I love the painting. Like the previous reader, it's amazing that you've only ben painting for a year. I presumed you'd been doing it for years. I love the way you get the snowy effect over the boots. Is it chalk- like in my lovely typewriter print? This would be such a great Christmas card, as well as a lovely painting in its own right. xxx

    1. Hello Little Stitched House. Thank you so much for dropping by and leaving a comment.
      The white is all down to paint and me just daubing and splashing it about!
      Hadn't considered that it would make a Christmas card so you've got me thinking now.:-) Jules

  4. It's delightful, Jules. I love it. I can't believe you've only been painting a year- I presumed you'd been doing it for years I love the snowy look over the boots. Is it chalk, like in my lovely type-writer painting? It would make a great Christmas card, as well as a lovely painting in it's own right. xx

  5. Oh my goodness this is beautiful. I can't believe you've only been painting a year! A really interesting post to see how someone goes about creating something so lovely. x

    1. Hi Fiona!
      Thanks for your comment.
      I'm still learning on the job so to speak and know I have a long way to go from here in terms of my painting skills. Nevertheless, I do so enjoy 'creating' and get lost in the activity losing all sense of time. Makes me SO happy and fulfilled.

      Many thanks
      Jules x

  6. Oh what a beautiful image :) I love that goosey has given her a star to wear <3 It certainly would make a lovely card. You have a natural talent. Cant wait to see more xxx sam

  7. I love your soft almost pastel like style, what was the first layer you put on the mdf , it looks white with thick brush strokes in it?