Monday, 28 February 2011

Treasures Found and Paintings...

On Saturday morning I woke very early and had an overwhelming craving to paint. I managed to get around 4 hours completed on the background for the portrait miniature of 'Smartie'.
I have uploaded the same two pictures from Saturday, just so that you can see what I'm discussing...

These images are scanned in, so the quality is not high, nevertheless you can see from the painting the hundreds and hundreds of paint strokes that build up the layers of paint. I estimated, that I can get around 80 strokes from one load of paint on the brush, BUT these '80 strokes' only cover a tiny amount of space... look closely to the image to see my point! (No pun intended).

I am very pleased with how this is turning out, with my brushes, warm heating and Bill Mundy book by my side as reference, I look forward to continuing this portrait this week.

I have also mentioned recently that I've applied to the 'Royal Academy - Summer Exhibtion'. I will be ordering a frame this week and also hope to start painting this weekend...

In terms of a subject matter I have found it difficult, staying traditional?? Or going with the new modern wave of how portraits are taken... a quick snap shot held above the head, pouting with your closest friend?? This is something I often do with my friends and feel it represents how portraits are developing within society, it may not be 'traditional' but it is very current in terms of style and the 'celebrity culture'

Above is the picture I wish to paint. It is of my close friend Dasha and me at a nightclub, on our last night out together before she went travelling to the Far East. I miss her a lot and the fun times we had together, so want to pay tribute to the 'off the cuff' image above. Its loose, amusing and represents what I believe our friendship is about, two girls having fun!

This weekend I painted (as you know) and went to the local boot sale to see what I might be able to buy...

First I found these two Bakelite 1920's/30's wall plaques, and at a steal of £1 each, how could I resist?? I hope to create a cast from these, then with the cast cut out the middle and possible create my own frame for these, with future portrait miniatures.

I also purchased this lovely wooden pine frame at another steal of only £3. It had frosted glass in it (??) and a manky cardboard image with bird poo all down the back, so I took it into the garden and with the pliers carefully took out the randomly placed nails and gave the frame a brush down. I hope to paint this an antique gold or possibly use gold leaf. Eventually I want to take some 'artistic' photographs of my lovely cat, Sid and frame them accordingly :)

That's been my weekend and I will update my blog as soon as more painting is completed.

Thank you for reading.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Further update...

Today I have been unable to stop painting this portrait of 'Smartie', I will probably update this blog a couple more times today with progress....

Update on Background...

Since waking up rather early this morning I decided to crack on with some painting. I have completed around 2 hours so far and think it still needs another 3 hours on the background.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Brief Portrait Update...

The last few days I have been exceptionally busy and haven't had the time to paint, which is highly frustrating, however, since I last updated my blog, I have probably managed to get around 30 mins of painting time completed...

'Smartie' - (scan)

I have roughly started to work around the edge and started to bring the shading in with it, it looks very rough at the moment trust me!... But once I get a few hours worked on it this weekend I should have the background completed.


Stay tuned for further progress updates...

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Paintings in Progress - Suffolk Art on The Prom

As promised yesterday, I have uploaded a few images of my latest work...

Last night after work I was very tired and also went to the cinema, I had slightly 'back tracked' with my painting in the evening, however I managed to get around 45 minutes in before my eyes started to tire.

From the last image I uploaded of the dog portrait, I had started to paint the background in a very sharp and (in my opinion) 'non belivevable' green.  So I headed down to the local art shop to buy an array of green tones....

Previous (photo)

Current (scan)

I washed out the previous colour very carefully (you can still see remnants of the old green around the edge).  I then continued to do a 'light wash' with the colour I now prefer. Now it is time for the hard work, to create a soft gradient surrounding the subject. I also want to drop a lightly textured effect into the background, (see right side) I think I will still need another 2 - 3 hours on the background alone. Then I will begin to paint 'Smartie'.

Lee (scan)

The portrait miniature I had also started to paint of Lee is now on hold, sometimes you can become so engrossed into a painting that your vision and truth of the image becomes blurred. I will leave it for around 2 more weeks before I resume painting... As I am now starting to see adjustments needed on the portrait, whereas before I didn't. I think this portrait needs around 6 more hours.

On another note I have been trying to get images ready for 'Art on the Prom' - Felixstowe, Suffolk.  This isn't until Sunday 4th September. But last year I sold all my illustrations within a couple of hours and didn't have anything left on show!!  Not good.  This year I hope to have plenty of back up and stock.

Here are a couple of pictures I sent to the 'Art on the Prom' website as a taster (I will also be painting a portrait miniature on the day);

Ipswich University Gate - cut paper and pen
(Henry VIII had university destroyed)

Ice Scream - Ipswich - poster paints and pen
Reminds me of Summer

I have no final message for the day, except from, smelling chips and burgers at 9am on the way to work, is not too pleasant!

Monday, 21 February 2011

A Cold Weekend in Suffolk

Yesterday I spent the day browsing through some of my favourite locations in Suffolk....

Started the day at Pin Mill, having a gorgeous Sunday lunch at the pub. The 'steak and ale pie' is a must!

After siting by the fire and eating lunch, gazing out onto the river, I took a trip up to 'Snape Maltings'. I thoroughly enjoy browsing through the 'cute' and unique items they have on display, plus looking at the local artwork for sale in the gallery. Glynn Thomas is still my favourite local artist by far.

Whilst at Snape, I went into the local antique centre to look at the random treasures they sell. I was unaware of how many miniature frames they had available... To which I spotted this... A glass cased locket.

I love it so much and cant wait to paint a miniature to place within it.  I think a portrait of my nan would look great, if not, I might try to replicate an Elizabeth I portrait for my own amusement.

After leaving Snape with my new treasure in my purse, I took a quick trip to Aldeburgh... In 2009 I painted a 3 meter long, shop sign for Never Ever, this was a beast to paint and quite the contrast to my delicate portrait miniatures!  This sign took 3 solid days to paint between drying times and I used gloss with thinners. I really enjoyed painting this sign and it made me very happy to still see it standing strong in Aldeburgh through all those wild weather days.

Recently I have been trying to focus on one style of art, but am struggling greatly as I can create a variety of styles, from portraits, to illustrations, abstract canvas work and all keep colliding in my head... But last night I spoke with my dad and through his wise words said;

"You can be a Jack of all trades, but a master of none".

Thats something to keep in mind.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Dog Portrait Miniature in Progress - Mothers Day

As promised, I have uploaded some pictures of the 'dog - portrait miniature' I started last night.

I was given this commission by a guy who wanted this image painted, as a gift for his mother, this coming 'Mothers Day'.  This was her beloved dog, who has sadly passed away. As we all know, a pet does become a member of the family, who is loved so much.  I know that I love my cat, Sid so much, although some days he drives me crazy by trying to attack the curtains or jumping up on every possible flat surface... But without him, the days I'm home alone would be greatly dull.

Please bare in mind, that portrait miniatures are very difficult to take photographs of, especially to show the hundreds and hundreds of tiny strokes of paint that are built up to create a portrait miniature.  However I have tried my best to upload decent images to show you the development of this image.

I am a great admirer of Bill Mundy's portraits and with this portrait I am trying one of his techniques, to put a light dusting of paint over the face, then to start painting in and completing the background. This helps the facial tones to sit within the portrait well, as sometimes, when you paint the whole person/animal first and then paint the background, the background can become too intense and over bare the sitter within the portrait.

Unfortunately last night the 'point' to my 00000 brush went flat and limp. Highly frustrating when you get into a stride with your work.  But today I am going to try a little art shop in Ipswich and see if they can get one in stock for me.  Another thing I read from Bill Mundy, is that, its very rare for just one brush to complete a portrait miniature, this I am discovering very fast!!  The point to a brush used in miniature painting must be like the tip of a needle, precise, exact, strong and beautifully formed.

I estimate that this portrait will still need around 10-15 hours to complete. It has already had around 50 minutes.  The background will shade from a dark rich green on the right, to a very soft highlighted green on the right.  The body needs work and the face is be no means even started.  Its rough size, after cropping, will be '5 x 3.5 cm' or slightly smaller.

Please continue to watch my blog, to watch the progress of this miniature painting.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Portraits and Plans...

My new job is going well and I am thoroughly enjoying it!

But in regards to my art, I have much to prepare for and organize...

Portrait Miniature - of beloved dog - Mothers Day gift

Portrait Miniature - Subject? - Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

Portrait Miniature - Nikko Hurtado

Illustrations - Ipswich, Felixstowe and Suffolk

Illustrations - Ceramics (awaiting special pen)

So much to be getting on with, plus I hope to sign up to exhibit at 'Suffolk Show', 'Art on the Prom' and hopefully some other local exhibitions.

Must start planning the layout of 'beloved dog' portrait miniature.... Now about to commence :)

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Illness, Progression and a Commission or Two?

So yesterday was interesting...

I got the job I wanted, which is fab news, now I can put some of my earnings towards my venture of painting miniatures and buying more 'stock'... Yes, there is a lot more to painting miniatures within its conventional form... wait for website and see what's in store!  I think many people will be interested in what I can offer. Its unique and truly beautiful... I love the one I have made for myself and is regularly by my side.

I am still getting to grips with this 'blog'.  My computer has a virus (I think) or, is on its last legs... As I am currently unable to add pictures to my blog or adjust the 'design layout' to my blog, without my computer crashing.  Its driving me crazy but I'll get it sorted and hopefully by the end of March I will be able to buy an 'apple mac'!! YAY

Yesterday my miniature frames arrived, along with my 'Bill Mundy' book... Its a gorgeous book, and his ability to paint miniature is outstanding! I wish, wish so much that one day, I will be able to paint as good as him.

I have started to think of my subject for the 'Royal Academy - Summer Exhibition 2011'.  I am going to paint a miniature, but it has to be of interest or of someone who has either inspired me, be interesting to paint and be pleasant to view, as a painting.  Any idea's?  I'm thinking of a tattooed person, but may seem a little cliche, as so many people are doing 'odd' illustrations at the moment of the tattoo culture.  I don't know, I have a few more weeks to decide and then its time to crack on.

On a fabulous plus side, I may have just received another commission, to paint two young ladies as a gift for their mother, on mothers day. How exciting!  I'm currently awaiting two quotes from my suppliers on a frame and then the deal may be sealed.  I cant wait!  I would love to paint them, as their complexion is very soft and painting so delicately is very challenging.

Today is very windy, but I must progress with plans and artwork.  Also make a new list of 'TO DO'... With the website being very high on that list!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Flamingo's in the garden?

The weather today is looking lovely. I heard through Twitter, that its going to be 8-12 Degrees on Friday??

Nevertheless, I thought I would share some pictures with you of my bright, summer looking garden. The Tiki bar that Lee built last year is still looking fab! And is a regular sun spot for Sid. Thanks to Lee the Flamingo's were given a lovely shine of new pink/pearl paint, from his work.

Plus, the gorgeous fire place in my dining room at my home, I love it so much! Deco is my favourite era. Do you like my Dali inspired clock that I got from my parents for Christmas? :) I do!!

Welcome Elsie May, to the blog world!


Recently I joined the 'Twitter' clan, and since reading so many beautiful looking blogs online, I decided it was a great idea that I should also start one... So here it goes!

The last few weeks I had been struggling to get to grips with the functionality of 'Twitter' and 'Tweeting'.  Now I think I've cracked it and am a lot more comfortable with it.  Its so fabulous to talk with other like minded people and read new fascinating facts about history and of local interest. I must admit, I am hooked!

So, a little bit about me... My name is Victoria and since graduating from 'The Norwich School of Art and Design' in 2008, I have had a few varied employment duties, reception work, admin work etc... but none of which made me feel 'worthy'. 

In 2010 I decided to take a trip to the wonderful USA for 2 months on my own.  I started on the East coast in Boston and travelled over 5000 miles to the West coast, using only the infamous 'Greyhound Buses'.  This was one of the best things I have ever done in my whole life! I visited... Boston, Salem, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Saint Louis, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Dallas, Huston, Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.... The trip of a lifetime!...

But to make it even more pleasurable, I got my dream ink job whilst I was out there... I have ALWAYS been obsessed with portraits, I remember visiting galleries at a young age with my parents, gazing at portraits in beautiful frames, wondering how something could be painted by hand, to look real, it was as if life had been created again.  I wanted this, I wanted the portrait I had gazed at the most in my life, on my arm, I wanted the best portrait tattoo artist in the world to do it, and I did. I first saw his work at the age of 19 in a magazine and always promised myself, one day, Nikko Hurtado would do it...

So, that portrait, was that of my Nan, 'Elsie May', the image to which you are seeing in the background.  Also the name of my future artwork.  As my Nan was also an artist and through her time, never got the chance to embrace it, flourish and express her full potential as an artist... So in her memory I am carrying that dream for the both of us.

I still find it hard sometimes, especially since January 28th just passed, was the 15th year anniversary of her death.  But with her portrait on my arm, close to my heart it helps me to stay focused and create wonderful artwork for others to enjoy.

So.... all thats left to say is, I paint portrait miniatures, create illustrations of local scenes in Ipswich and am generally an 'arty farty' person...

Welcome! :)