Live Like It’s Your Last Day

Welcome to episode 4 of Art Play Relay. This month I’m finishing the painting that Juna started last month!

The Videos

My video:

Juna’s video:


You can read Juna’s blogpost about her process here.

People are posting amazing work in response to this project and doing collaborative artwork. If you’d like to be involved, you still can! Join the Facebook group here to see the artwork, find a buddy and post your work.

The quote for this artwork is:

Live like it’s your last day

Supply List

  • Golden high flow acrylics
  • Stabilo All pencils (or regular pencils)
  • Gel pens
  • Paint pens
  • Stamps
  • Gesso

Thought Process

Juna’s painting was so lovely and looked so ‘finished’ in a way, it was hard to know what I wanted to do. I approached it intuitively, and just grabbed supplies that felt ‘right’. This as opposed to thinking in advance what I wanted the page to look like and then just executing the idea step-by-step.

The circular sun shape with fluorescent paint is coming up often in my work recently. I really felt like I wanted the sun to be at the top of the painting, rather than the bottom. I then started pondering the quote itself. It felt like a sad quote, but also something filled with possibility. It reminded me of the circle of life. I also thought that your last day would be a good day to nurture the child inside you, rather than a day filled with heavy obligation.

So I started with a child’s face and as I was doing that I had the idea to represent the different generations. I gave them roots to the ground. The coloured pencils I used give it a very ethereal look because you can see the blue background shining through.

The roots felt grounding and the sun felt uplifting, but I also wanted to represent the sadness of dying. That is where the yellow drips came in.

As a final step I felt the figures needed something extra (because of their colouring/translucency they recede into the background a lot) so I picked three symbols to represent their place in life. A star feels new and bright for the youngest, a sun for the constant figure a mother is and a crown for the wisdom of the elder generation.

Hope Is The Little Voice That Whispers ‘Maybe’

It’s a new episode of Art Play Relay! March marks the start of a new cycle in this project, meaning Juna and I have each picked a new quote and started a new painting!

The Videos

My video: Juna’s video: You can read Juna’s blogpost about her process here. If you’d like to be involved, you still can! Join the Facebook group here to connect with the other lovely people, find a buddy and post your work. The quote for this artwork is:

Hope is the little voice you hear whisper “maybe” when it seems the entire world is shouting “no”

Thank you Melfina for providing us with that quote!

Supply List

  • Watercolour paper 300gsm hot pressed
  • Scrap paper
  • Knife, ruler & cutting mat
  • Gel medium
  • Sponge brushes
  • Acrylic paint
  • Palette knife
  • Ink
  • Old toothbrush
  • Floral stamp
  • Stamp pad (black)
  • Paint pens (black & white

Thought Process

I think the hardest thing with this artwork was completely letting go of the projects from the last two months. I really didn’t want to recreate something similar, I wanted it to be a fresh start.

When I saw the quote it instantly resonated with me so much. I have a lot of doubt inside me and inner voices that tell me ‘no’. I guess it’s an internalised version of that ‘society’ (or sometimes parental) voice of needing to live your life a certain way, that the way that feels true and authentic is not the realistic way or what other people want for you. My current journey with my art and more generally in my life is so much one of trying to find my own voice. Pushing against the ‘no’ and finding my own ‘maybe’ (and eventually my own ‘yes’)!

How to translate an abstract quote into a painting is a different matter though! Holding a quote inside your head when doing a painting though makes it shine through. The ‘maybe’ to me is a sense of possibility, of seeing where things go and of letting things grow. That is represented in the process of this painting in which I completely let go. I had no pre-formed plan or composition in mind, my biggest goal was to let it be mine and let it develop. I think it is also where the wish to use the floral stamp came from. It felt like something growing, a promise. Nicely in keeping with the new season of spring!

I also wanted to add something interesting that Juna could work with, but in a completely free way (that’s why I didn’t add a face this time, it felt too much like it would push in a certain direction), which is where the idea of the flap came from. It also feeds into that idea of ‘maybe’ and the scariness that is imbued in following your own heart. Sometimes that’s so personal that you might want to hide it away or not show it to everyone yet.

I love the interesting and richly textured background that came out. The lower part of the painting feels a bit more finished to me, whereas the top part feels really raw. I really can’t wait to see what Juna will do with this! I’m so curious to see what parts she will keep, what parts she will go over and what completed artwork will emerge in the end.

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Halloween Whimsy Art Tutorial

Hello my lovelies! I love letting seasonal events inspire my art and I really wanted to create a cute Halloween witchy girl. I recorded the process and you can view the video tutorial below:

If you prefer a photo tutorial instead of video, fear not and keep scrolling!

Supply list:

-water spray
-ink spray (Dylusions)
-high flow acrylics  (Golden)
-fluid acrylics (Golden)
-gesso
-charcoal pencil
-black and white pens (Uniball Signo)
-watersoluble crayon (Caran d’Ache)
-stamp pad (black)

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h25m15s117Preparing the background. I tend to create several backgrounds at the same time at this stage. Use high quality watercolour paper. Spritz the water liberally with water spray. Then use spray inks and high flow acrylics on the page. Spray more water and let everything merge into each other. You can pick up the paper and hold it vertically to let the paint drip into different directions

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h25m57s37Sketching the figure. Start with a round shape for the head and put a horizontal line a bit below the halfway point.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m06s142Sketch eyes on this horizontal line, a little nose & mouth in the middle.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m12s215Add a witchy hat, hair and a simple shape for a dress.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m20s45Sketch a swirly shape for the moon, simple stripey tights and some pumpkins

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m25s86Apply gesso to the face & neck area

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m32s143Shade the face with brown paint, going from light shading to dark.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m41s245Add colour to the irises and mouth with a small brush

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m50s47Use a black gel pen (I use Uniball Signo) to add pupils and white for highlights

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h27m01s198Use the same pens to fill in the  tights. Use orange paint for the hair and pumpkins. Add some white gesso to the pumpkins for shading and some blue paint underneath as a shadow.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h27m19s114Use the white & black gel pens to fill in the moon with swirls

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h27m38s48Add some text or numbers (I chose ’31’) to finish off.

Voila!

Halloween WhimsyI hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you create your own whimsy or Halloween inspired art, I’d love to see it! Please share it on my Facebook page.

Stop Calling Me Talented

Let’s stop thinking of ‘talented’ as a rigid concept that is inherent (you are born with it), and let’s start thinking about it as something more fluid. Talent can be built on and it isn’t required in order to have fun or do something really well.

When people like my art they often tell me ‘Oh you’re so talented!’. It’s a lovely compliment to receive, but it always makes me feel a bit funny. ‘Talented’ seems such a rigid concept. You can’t become talented, you either are or you aren’t. It also doesn’t take into account the hard work that came before it. It seems the most prevalent attitude is: I am talented therefore I can paint a nice picture, not: I have practiced therefore I can paint a nice picture.

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.  Stephen King  | www.iris-impressions.com

I’ve touched upon this before in my article about Deserving to Do Art. There seems to be this notion that there are people who are already inherently good at something, and therefore they are allowed to pursue that thing. On the other side there are people who are not inherently good at something, and therefore they shouldn’t bother.

Yes, there are people who pick up a brush for the first time when they’re 20 (or 30 or 40) and create amazing paintings. There are child savants who create art beyond anything I will ever dream of achieving.

That’s not the norm!

If you’re reading this it’s likely you’re more like me: enthusiastic and passionate, but not ridiculously talented in any way. If you think my paintings have anything to do with talent, think again. Instead, it’s hours and hours of practice. It was picking up a brush and creating something that looked crap. It made me never want to paint again, but instead I said ‘never mind’ and kept creating. Until one day (honestly, this day came MUCH MUCH later than I would’ve wanted!) I painted something and thought ‘hey, I actually quite like that!’

The thing that makes me sad though is that often with the compliment from the first paragraph comes a feeling that is left unsaid: ‘you’re talented, but I’m not’. People lament and say they ‘can’t paint faces’. Back to that feeling of you can only do it if you’re already magically good at it; if you’re talented. Want to know a secret? I couldn’t paint faces either! I took some online courses and I practiced, and now I can!

Stop Calling Me Talented | comparison image before and after practisingLOOKIE!! I practised!!! I actually have a soft spot for the one on the left too, even if I can see all the flaws. It looks like she was created with a lot of freedom, even though I didn’t yet have the skill to know where to put the eyes or do the shading.

It’s so easy to get trapped in that thinking of not being able to acquire a skill (or attributing it to the magical ‘talent’, which makes it even more elusive and ‘not for us mere mortals’), especially once we leave full-time education. We’re formed, we’re done, can’t change now!

BUT WE CAN!!! We just need to want it enough!

And we need to put in the work. Don’t let that put you off though, the work can be fun. You can make it fun. Remember how kids learn? By playing! Get out your art supplies and play. Talent schmalent. Fun and fulfillment is where it’s at, and that is achieved by enjoying the process.

In the video below I embrace playfulness in art and create a journal spread based around giving myself permission to create.

Let me know in the comments what you think of the relationship between talent and doing things well!

Life Book 2014 Round Up – The Year So Far

This year I’m participating in Life Book 2014, a year long art course run by my dear friend Tamara Laporte over at Willowing. It’s a fantastic course that has new content every week throughout the year with both lessons by Tam herself and quite a few guest teachers. It’s basically a fun filled art party with plenty to learn, experiment and get inspired by. You can still sign up!

As we’re now halfway through the year I thought I’d show you the pieces I’ve completed so far!

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Journey – mixed media on watercolour paper – week 1 lesson by Tamara Laporte

Process | mixed media in A5 journal, from Micki Wilde Life Book 2014 lesson
Process – mixed media in A5 journal – week 2 lesson by Micki Wilde

Creativity & Play | based on a Life Book lesson by Carla Sonheim
Creativity & Play – mixed media on A6 cards – week 3 lesson by Carla Sonheim

Truth & Beauty | mixed media in A5 journal, from Kelly Hoernig Life Book 2014 lesson
Truth & Beauty – mixed media in A5 journal – week 4 lesson by Kelly Hoernig

Sweet Like Cotton Candy | mixed media on watercolor paper Life Book lesson by Marieke Blokland
Sweet Like Cotton Candy – mixed media on watercolour paper – week 5 lesson by Marieke Blokland

Be Present | mixed media in art journal based on a Life Book lesson by Tamara Laporte
Be Present – mixed media in A4 journal – week 6 lesson by Tamara Laporte

Authenticity | mixed media in art journal based on a Life Book lesson by Tamara Laporte
Authenticity – mixed media in A4 journal – week 6 lesson by Tamara Laporte

Ink Spray Study | mixed media on watercolour paper based on a Life Book lesson by Tamara Laporte
Ink Spray Study – mixed media on watercolour paper – week 6 lesson by Tamara Laporte

Be Still And Listen | mixed media in A4 art journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow
Be Still And Listen – mixed media in A4 journal – week 8 lesson by Alena Hennessy

Quirky Animal Totem (unfinished) | mixed media on watercolour paper based on a Life Book lesson by Tamara Laporte
Animal Totem (unfinished) – mixed media on watercolour paper – week 15 lesson by Tamara Laporte

In The Moment | mixed media in A4 journal based on a Life Book lesson by Traci Bautista
In The Moment – mixed media in A4 journal – week 16 lesson by Traci Bautista

Just Breathe | mixed media in A4 art journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow
Just Breathe – mixed media in A4 journal – week 19 lesson by Danielle Daniel

What Is The Worst That Could Happen? | mixed media on watercolour paper based on a LIfe Book lesson by Effy Wild
What Is The Worst That Could Happen? – mixed media on watercolour paper – week 25 lesson by Effy Wild

It’s great fun to take on someone else’s style for a bit, learn new techniques and just see what emerges. What I have found interesting is that sometimes I really enjoy someone’s art or the result of their lesson, but I don’t enjoy doing it (as was the case with the quirky animal totem – it was too illustratory for my liking). I’ve discovered I love painting faces and I also love trying a more intuitive style.

Some of my favourites are Journey, the ink spray ones, Be Still and Listen and the final one. Which one is your favourite?

What Makes You Come Alive? Go Do It!!

I’ve been having some major learning experiences lately with regards to listening to my inner voice. However, it’s funny, I tend to reach certain conclusions about things, like major lightbulb AHA! moments, and then as life goes on I completely forget them and start making the same mistakes again! So then I have to become conscious of what I’m doing again, to get more in line with my true self aaand the circle continues. Hopefully at some point something will stick, right? So, my recent learnings, let me share them with you!

One of the MAIN things I’ve learned these past months is that when it comes to anything you do creatively (painting, blogging etc) you need to do what makes YOUR heart sing. Not what you think other people want to see, what you think you should (such a dirty word!) do or what your parents want you to do. The quickest way to burnout and not feeling enthusiastic is doing stuff that isn’t true to what your inner wisdom is telling you is RIGHT for you. Do what YOU want and your passion and enthusiasm will be infectious and people will be interested because YOU’RE interested (and therefore interesting).

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.Howard Thurman | www.iris-impressions.com

Last week I was in such a dark mood. I wasn’t feeling any of my paintings. I spent a lot of time doing social networking stuff and watching TV shows because something was stopping me from getting into the studio. (To be fair though, I was rewatching Dollhouse, which is very very worth every minute spent on it lol) Every time I sat down to work on my paintings I just ended up sitting and staring into space, or telling myself it wasn’t any good, or that I couldn’t come up with the right ideas.

Until I realised that I was expecting myself to create other people’s art! I was berating myself for the fact that my intuitive paintings didn’t look more like Flora Bowley’s work. I thought MY intuitive paintings should look like SOMEONE ELSE’S otherwise they wouldn’t be intuitive enough… BATSHIT INSANE RIGHT?!!! Seriously, looking back on it it’s so obvious where the flaw in my thinking is, but these thoughts really go through my head when I’ve inadvertently given myself over to my inner critical voice.

And then this happened:

Scared Inside | mixed media intuitive painting on 12 x 10" canvas board | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

Scared Inside – mixed media on 12 x 10″ canvas board

I gave myself permission to DO MY OWN THING. I’m sure you can still see other people’s influences there, but I wasn’t actively trying to make it look like anything, apart from what was already inside me. I also gave myself permission to make similar shapes to ones I’d already done in previous work. I tend to tell myself that I can’t do the same thing twice or I ‘won’t be original’. It’s not like the masters ever worked with the same themes or imagery..oh wait.. Again with the crazy inner voice!

Part of the ‘problem’ is that there is so much amazing work out there being created by so many amazing people. I love looking at the stuff my artist friends create or things on Pinterest. It’s absolutely inspiring and makes me want to get into the studio (and when I start thinking “I’ll never be as good as…” I quickly try and shoo that voice away!). Where it goes wrong though is when I think ‘Wow what they do is amazing, I must want to do that too’. That’s where there is a really fine line between being inspired by what other people do (totally awesome!) and wanting your work to look like theirs and trying to achieve that (not so fulfilling).

I’ve realised that “What I like” and “What I like doing” don’t have to be the same thing!

What makes you come alive? Let me know and then GO DO IT!!

This Week In The Studio – playing like a child

This Week In The Studio

This Week In The Studio (TWITS, teehee!) is an ongoing series in which I share what I’ve been working on recently and give you a sneak peek into my process and works-in-progress. Click here to view all posts in this series.

Jupiter, my recently turned 3-year-old, likes to be involved with doing art because it’s what he sees me doing. However, I find it VERY hard to let go and let him be messy. We have carpeted floors, I’m sure you understand =p I’m just not ready for the randomness of painting with him. The other day I tried and I ended up putting it all away again after 5 minutes.

Then I had a brainwave… I knew he liked using my brayers, so I could get out my Gelli plate and do some prints with him. BINGO!! Super awesome idea and it worked a TREAT! The bonus is that it’s a much more targeted painting exercise so a lot less mess and it also seems to hold Jupiter’s attention for much longer.

Jupiter using the brayer on the Gelli plate

Now I’ve created a monster though, he wants to do this at EVERY opportunity!! I’m getting loads of Gelli prints out of it.

Jupiter using the brayer on the Gelli plate

Look at him! He’s so into it! Love a toddler’s total commitment to what they’re doing. Don’t ask me to do art with Zephyr though (he’s 11 months) =p

In the studio I’ve been working on a number of 8×8 canvas boards. I’m loving working on canvas, the texture is so nice and it lends itself really well to creating washes and rubbing paint over it to make interesting layers.

I’m experimenting with a shabby/grungy style in an attempt to develop my own techniques and preferences a bit. Up till now I’ve done a lot of online classes and tutorials. This has been great from the point of view of getting started, not having a fear of the blank page and adding skills to my arsenal, but right now I feel like I’m very ready to take that next step and start working on my own stuff without a blueprint or following someone else’s idea.

You Cannot Fail You Can Only Learn - mixed media on canvas board - © 2014 Iris Fritschi-Cussens

^ You Cannot Fail, You Can Only Learn. I was walking along near Charing Cross Road the other day where there are tons of second hand book shops and this shop had boxes outside with every book for £1! So I picked up a music dictionary and used it in this piece. Loving it!

Bonded By History - mixed media on canvas board - © 2014 Iris Fritschi-Cussens

^ Bonded By History. This piece was inspired by something a friend of mine was telling me. You can view step-by-step pictures and more information about supplies used in this post.

Embrace Your Fear - mixed media on canvas board - © 2014 Iris Fritschi-Cussens

^ Embrace Your Fear. The grungy shabby backgrounds I was creating called for some contrast and what better than the red from Little Red Riding Hood?

What have you been up to this week in your studio?

New Beginnings – Video & Giveaway

new-beginnings

I’ve been arty & crafty for a long time, but recently it has felt like a new beginning. A renewed enthusiasm unlike any time before and a much greater connection with my artistic self. It is ironic, as it was through focussing on the journey (i.e. being less occupied with the end result) that I have actually gained a much greater sense of direction and purpose with regards to my art.

One of my tentative goals this year is to make more art videos. I love browsing art videos on YouTube, I find them a great source of inspiration. I really want to add to the happy arty videos and hopefully in the process entertain and inspire people to also create. I’m currently figuring out the best workflow in terms of recording myself and editing. I can assure you there has been much swearing!! The editing is SO time consuming (and not my favourite part admittedly!) so for the moment I will try to aim for a new video every 1-2 months.

This first video has an exciting giveaway that you can enter to win this painting.

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So to enter the giveaway leave a comment on this post. For a bonus entry into the giveaway share the link to this article (http://iris-impressions.com/2014/01/new-beginnings-video-giveaway) on your blog, Twitter or Facebook and let me know where to find it (make sure anything you post is public).

I’m going on a big adventure holiday to the US soon, MEGA excited!! I will draw the winner once I am back on Tuesday 4 March.

New Art Pieces in February and March 2011

I have been busy busy for a change! Usually I am just lazy lazy. I have been cutting down on my World of Warcraft time lately (and unfortunately also violin time, I’d like to play more but am feeling hugely unmotivated currently), not really as a conscious choice but I just find I am busy with other things that I enjoy more.

Saturday just gone marked 30 weeks of my pregnancy! So over the past few months and the coming few weeks I’m seeing a lot of friends to catch up before ‘my life is over’ (as I’ve patronisingly been told by some people). It’s both scary and exciting to think that it’s not much longer to wait now. We’re doing a lot of preparations at the moment, mostly in the form of buying stuff. We still need to get a car seat and the carrycot attachment for our pushchair. Other than that it’s just a ton of small stuff we need. We’re also starting antenatal classes at the end of this month. We’ve signed up for the NCT courses and I look forward to meeting other couples in our area.

I’ve been fairly productive with art lately. I don’t know if it’s the pregnancy that’s inspiring me or maybe the feeling of spring which is always a positive time of year. When it comes to creating art it’s the mental obstacles that stand in my way the most (I am not good enough, my art is not pretty enough, it doesn’t look as good as x/y/z artist’s work, I don’t create as much as others so mine isn’t ‘valid’ somehow etc, the list goes on for a looooong time!). I can’t say I have found a specific way of battling these demons, but I am feeling slightly more confident lately and am really trying to tell myself that doing ANY art is all part of the process, whether I like the piece I end up with or not.

Pregnant Princess – I’d had the idea for doing a whimsy pregnancy painting floating around in my head for a while. After doing Bird in a Cage which had very dark colours, I wanted to do something with light and cheery colours. We’ve been working on our baby’s room and I wanted to make something that could possibly go up on the wall in there. I am quite pleased with how the piece turned out overall. I always find it scary to paint a face because I never feel like I have a lot of fine control over the expression, but it turned out OK (although quite different from the sketch I was working from!). I also like the colours and the textures.

Walking My Elephant – I actually don’t like this one particularly. I felt good about it when it was still a sketch, but then I started with the colour and stuff went wrong (the black outlines smudged around her mouth and I didn’t end up being able to fix it properly). Ironically I’ve had some comments from people that they like it and they think it’s cute. That just goes to show! I guess I like the concept but too much went wrong with the execution so it just left me with a bad feeling that I can’t seem to shake.

I Am Already Authentic – This one I like, both because of what it looks like and what it represents. This is an art journal spread that is the week 1 assignment of Tam’s free Art, Heart & Healing course. The aim of the assignment was to listen to my inner critical voice and write down all my self-criticisms and doubts. Then I gessoed over the words as a symbolic letting go. The next part was to paint a ‘self portrait’ and turn the criticisms into one positive statement (coming from the point of view that the critical self is only trying to protect us, albeit going about it in a negative and self-destructive way!).

For me the main theme that came out of this exercise is around not feeling authentic or special as I am, and always feeling like I have to be more like other people in order to be liked or loved or noticed. It’s a constant struggle as intellectually I know I am authentic and special and have my own unique message to impart, but I find it very hard to really feel and believe that as well. It is one of the many reasons I find it hard to create art and update my blog regularly as well! I often can’t imagine why anyone could possibly be interested in me or what I have to say. I am not saying that in a self-deprecating ‘pity me’ way by the way, I am just trying to illustrate some of my personal struggles around self-worth and authenticity.

Hint Of A Smile – A while back I did a workshop at Blade Rubber Stamps to learn how to make your own Japanese Stab Bound Journal. It was a fun class and at the end we took home our own album that we made during the class. I think it has about 15 pages in it with nice high quality paper (not watercolour paper but it’s fairly thick and very nice for art journalling on). This piece is on the first page of the album. It’s so nice to work in an album I created myself from scratch! Really adds to the feeling of ownership and pride. I am also very pleased with this page. I felt confident and in control about the face and I like the colours and level of complexity in the background.

Digital Painting with a Wacom Bamboo

I recently got myself a Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch tablet. It had nothing to do with art, but more with the tennis elbow that I’ve been suffering from since about March this year. Nothing to do with playing tennis, but more with overusing the computer/mouse and using it in the wrong way. It’s a long story really and not too interesting to go into in great detail. I’m still suffering from it, have done and am doing a lot to combat it but it’s a very persistent problem (I use the computer for work, so there’s no easy alternative). Aaanyway, one of the things I thought might help would be to use a tablet instead of a mouse. Indeed it’s a lot nicer (much more neutral & natural way of holding and moving my hand, and less cramped).

Obviously tablets are more traditionally known for allowing you to use the mouse like a pen/pencil/brush and creating art with it, so I thought I’d give it a go too. As you may know I like to do some mixed media art here and there, but haven’t done any digital painting. I did some Googling and came up with this Introduction to Painting by Jeff Priest. The premise is very simple, sketch something, then colour it using one colour and it’s highlight & shadow counterparts.

I decided to start with an apple, picked a reference picture and started a sketch (I use Photoshop CS2 in case you were wondering). I find sketching with the tablet quite difficult compared to sketching with a pencil. I find I don’t have as much control, sometimes my lines go completely all over the place. When sketching with a pencil I always find it difficult to sketch the right side of things (like the right side of a face, or indeed, the right side of an apple) and with the tablet I find that problem magnified even further. However, working with a computer does mean it’s very easy to undo or erase stray lines.

Then I started to add the colour. It took me a few minutes to get to grips with the brushes and especially fiddling with the opacity to add shadows/highlights and blend the colours. But then my brain just ‘clicked’ and it became quite a fun and therapeutic process of going over the sections and refining the painting. It was only a quick exercise (as an aside, I am terrible when it comes to practicing or doing exercises. It’s like some sort of mental block for me. I somehow have this notion that I need to be good at something without practice, otherwise it’s not worth doing or I am not worthy of doing it. Intellectually (and indeed, logically) I know that’s complete bullshit, but I can’t help but feel badly when I’m not magically good at something but *gasp* need practice), it probably took about an hour, but very satisfying to see something take shape like that. I’d say that using the tablet in conjunction with the brushes in photoshop made the colouring/shading very easy and pleasurable. However, I found it quite difficult to make nice smooth curves. Overall I found it easier than ‘real’ painting. I find it hard to know how to create realistic shading, but working digitally gives you a big margin for error because of the ease with which you can go over something again and refine it without having to wait for something to dry, or worrying you’re going to ruin your work so far.

After doing the apple, which was fun but a bit boring, I thought I’d try a portrait. A while back I did an online portrait course run by my friend Tam (she runs a lot of courses, I really recommend them!), so I applied the theory I learned then on how to create a front facing portrait. I’ve worked on it a few hours and you can see the work in progress below. I’m pleased with it so far. I’m also blown away by how comparatively easy it is because of it’s flexibility. I love little ‘cheating’ tricks like.. sketch the left side of the face, and then just copy it, flip horizontally and place it to create a whole face that is symmetrical.. mwahaha. Working digitally really helps guide you to create something halfway decent much quicker than with regular painting (I find, anyway). Of course it does lack the ‘realness’ of actual painting. One of the things I love about working with mixed media is the textures and smells of real paint, wood, paper etc and digital art doesn’t have that.

Unfortunately using the tablet for hours on end in such a concentrated way isn’t great for my elbow… so I really have to be responsible and not do it too much (or probably at all.. but doing what’s good for yourself isn’t always easy or fun).