Sunday, 30 June 2013

Collage and painting on canvas and a bit of emotional turmoil in the mix #makeartthatsells with @LillaRogers

[caption id="attachment_1787" align="aligncenter" width="560"]© Gabriella Buckingham Live the life you have imagined © Gabriella Buckingham "Live the life you have imagined" - currently on my wall[/caption]

I love painting so much. This piece was the one I spent most time on, it has a carefulness about it and a delicacy.

Wall art week was the most challenging but also most enjoyable week of the course so far. We were meant to do a collage painted piece for potential "Wall Art" in a trendy major store. Collage makes me nervous but actually it was delightful. I didn't use a massive amount. I cut up Washi tape and used it for clouds and flower stems. I also have a brown paper sketch pad that I painted in and tore or cut pieces of that. Definitely a process I want to use again.

These are the three canvases I painted. From left to right in the order painted. Each canvas is 51cm square.

[caption id="attachment_1781" align="aligncenter" width="560"]© Gabriella Buckingham © Gabriella Buckingham[/caption]

My first canvas I loved but then I got to areas that I couldn't resolve and there were parts that I loved but then found they were awkward. I slapped some white paint over bits and had fun with pants ;) ! In the UK the word "Pants" denotes something useless and no good.

[caption id="attachment_1783" align="aligncenter" width="560"]© Gabriella Buckingham - let's call this "Pants" but I do still love it © Gabriella Buckingham - let's call this "Pants" but I do still love it[/caption]

This is the one I uploaded to the MATS submission as I think it fits the brief best; it's more fun and youthful than the blue one - a bit more readable.

[caption id="attachment_1784" align="aligncenter" width="550"]© Gabriella Buckingham " We are here to grow" © Gabriella Buckingham " We are here to grow"[/caption]

I did have some struggles with it. But it has an exuberance. I didn't plan out any of these paintings before I began other than thinking about the words and feeling I wanted each to have. For this painting I spent maybe 15 minutes sketching ideas - pinned one up and deviated from it fairly early on. I certainly hadn't intended to create a face but she just came into being and I decided not to scrub her out with a baby wipe. She reminds me of my daughter who is only eight. Baby wipes are fantastic by the way. For my Moobaacluck painting commissions they are invaluable for cleaning my fingers between paint coats.

I have loved this week once I got over my hormonally induced negativity just after the last review of children's book covers. My work wasn't featured in the weekly round-up again and I felt really sad about it this time. Which is completely unreasonable considering that there are about 500 participants.  Now I don't mind at all, in fact I am grateful.  That's life and it's a valuable lesson. One of the key things this course has made me face up to is that I have to value my own work not seek approval from people I admire, I think I said this in my previous post and then wham along came P.M.T and I didn't take my own advice. I was pleased with my book cover and the thoughts from the group and that really should be - and is enough.

The title of the painting below says it all.  I am.

[caption id="attachment_1785" align="aligncenter" width="560"]© Gabriella Buckingham "We are here to grow" June 30th 2013 © Gabriella Buckingham "We are here to grow" June 30th 2013[/caption]





Friday, 21 June 2013

Why I am loving the #makeartthatsells course and Week 3 with @LillaRogers

This weeks topic on the Make Art That Sells course by Lilla Rogers was children's books. I felt calm about this as I've done some in the past - some that I like a lot more than others it has to be said.

There were a small amount of must-dos but after reading the text we were encouraged to create in any medium with any mood we felt was appropriate for us. I love to paint so that's the way I chose to do my work this week, in acrylic on water-colour paper. The subject was a strange thought-provoking fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen.

[caption id="attachment_1766" align="aligncenter" width="560"]© Gabriella Buckingham June 2013 © Gabriella Buckingham June 2013[/caption]

I hand drew the text with a dip pen.  I struggled with how to place it but I was pleased with my handwriting at the bottom. I went to a convent school for 11 years and we had to write in Italic so I know a bit about letter formation - but not a lot. Outlining elements with a fine brush was a new departure for me so I definitely feel that I have pushed my style on from where it used to be - hooray! I thoroughly enjoyed this.

[caption id="attachment_1768" align="aligncenter" width="560"]© Gabriella Buckingham © Gabriella Buckingham[/caption]

I can't lay my hands on my initial snail character sketches, I seem to have deleted them from the computer, but here are the scribbles of the final character above.

For the main composition I did some ink thumbnails in my sketch book; when I have a clear enough idea I just want to get on with painting so I do really quite scribbly drawings - the exploration when actually painting is what interests me most. If I've drawn it all out accurately first I tend to feel like I've already done it.

I did have cream as a background in mind but the colouring of the rest of the piece evolves as I paint. People who know me know I am not a great forward planner - more a gut feeling, wing it person - hard-working though. And in this case obsessive. My family haven't seen me a lot lately - I'm always around like a mad professor in the shed or passing through with a pot of water and brushes or dashing for the garden to tweak something before photographing it again.  I tweaked a fair bit. This painting is A2 ( just under) and the original has this girl character in it:

[caption id="attachment_1767" align="aligncenter" width="237"]© Gabriella Buckingham June 2013 © Gabriella Buckingham June 2013[/caption]

I painted her quite small and monotone initially - the idea being that she's a memory that the rose-tree has, then added to her as I enjoyed how she looked so much.

When I posted my first version to the MATS Facebook group some of the other artists kindly pointed out that she was distracting - detracting from the two main characters. They were quite right. I couldn't quite bear to paint her out so I used the wonders of the clone tool on Photoshop, trial and error to achieve the result above and it does work better.

I love the Facebook community for this course; understandably Lilla can't comment on people's work directly as the class is so huge - apart from a selected few once a week after the deadline. It would be thrilling to be selected by Lilla for comment but I haven't been as yet. Of course you feel a bit disappointed but that in itself teaches you self reliance, it's a lesson to me not to look for others approval constantly. You have to love your own work - or at least the work that makes it into print.

The feedback we get from other course members is wonderful, I feel as though I've made new friends with a lot in common.

Essentially this course is making me think. It makes me appreciate the gifts I have and that it's up to me to progress, be selective and believe in myself.

Lilla is an inspiring teacher and I really like the way she suggests we approach each task. If I do what she says - pretty much - I get there in the end.

Hope you enjoyed looking this week.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The end of the home decor plate assignment and what I learned #makeartthatsells with @lillarogers

What a week! I worked hard, hard. Had highs and lows , a brief teary moment then great happiness when I put together this final plate which was my fifth design:


You'll see what I mean! I ended up with a plate design I loved after a detour away from water-colour to acrylic on wood, which is lovely to paint on. I actually was very happy working on this pale delicate plate with its winter palette and think that it does work but it's not a plate that jumps off the shelf at you, or necessarily one that could be produced faithfully either!?

7inch_circle_outlineHow different they are. And yet... see the swirls the shapes of the icons... the icons themselves? similar. I'm learning what shapes I like and that I love circles and movement.

I needed to do this acrylic work because after hours of painting separate water colours I looked at the pieces and felt flummoxed. Many were delicate little studies which I couldn't envisage sitting well together. Once I'd finished my detour and had a sleep I woke early, made a cup of tea and sat playing with purpose on my computer, manipulating scans. It wasn't quite there... I ended up with these:


The one on the left is my favourite and last of my fiddling before going to my summer-house to paint some more. To me it's the most quirky and striking but not there yet - quite, but I think I will revisit it, I can see things I'd like to do to it. The amalgamation on the far right looks like swimsuit or skirt fabric! I like it but to me it says fabric not plate. I like the sparseness of the one in the middle but it probably needs one more element at least.

I think I am learning a lot, not least that I can paint with water-colour still!

Here's a composition I've just finished as a pair to the one at the top, what do you think? Which do you prefer of the two? I can't really decide myself, what I love here is  line over bold colour and little details too. Something to pursue :)


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Week 2 #makeartthatsells with @lillarogers - Pods and Flowers

I decided to challenge myself in a different way this week. Years ago I was fairly good at water-colour. One of my first jobs on leaving college was to paint in front of a camera all day while my work was photographed for a 'How to paint' water-colour book by Dorling Kindersley. I'd be nervous of that now! ( I've never earned that much in one day before or since ;)


Last week I drew in brown ink and then used Illustrator to finish the piece. Something very VERY new to me. Normally I work in acrylic on gesso.

This week I've decided to use inks in a watercolour style and Photoshop to finish the piece off in layers but essentially all hand done. We don't yet have the brief but it's likely to be some sort of dinner ware  that we need to design a pattern for. I can't wait until tomorrow to find out.


When I started using inks again, for the first time in years really, I felt uncomfortable and started to panic a bit .. 'Should I stop and revert to acrylics and use those in a watercolour style...?' ( which is what I used to do all those years ago when I graduated from Kingston Poly (as it was then). Are the images I am making too simple - too old fashioned, too bright? too plain?!

[caption id="attachment_1753" align="aligncenter" width="560"]what started to excite me was the white space and some of the lines created with the square flat brush I used to paint this large forget me not.. You can't see it that well from these phone pics! what started to excite me was the white space and some of the lines created with the square flat brush I used to paint this large forget me not.. You can't see it that well from these phone pics![/caption]

I decided to stick with it and found my excitement growing. I'll carry on tomorrow as I am starting to find out what I like. It's so true that the only way to be happy with your art- work is to do lots of it. I've a long way to go to get back and then progress from where I was but as I often say "It's a start!"

This is a glimpse of my cram packed studio and inspiration gathered from my garden..


As you can see from this last image of my desk and the piece of paper I've been using as a surface for my scraps of water-colour, I have a cartoony style in me too. Makes for head spin!


I am going to get an early night tonight as I was up working til gone midnight on private commissions  - itching to get back to water colours in the morning and to read what Lilla has in store.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Garlic Mushrooms #makeartthatsells with @LillaRogers

This is my final repeat for 'Bolt Fabric' week, the first week with Lilla Rogers and her 'Make Art That Sells' course.


I hand drew all the elements and then used Illustrator for the first time to create an entire piece of work from my black and white drawings. I am so glad I invested in a course with Alma Loveland  and Nicole's classes just to demystify it a bit. Plus - thanks to Rachael Taylor's course notes on how to make a repeat in illustrator I was able to do that on Illustrator too. Then I copied it over to Photoshop to tile up and check how the repeat worked. I haven't shown that here - but it did :)

Things I love about it are the yellow bowl, the little cap mushrooms with dotted line and my mushrooms in a platter; and the little salt cellar drawing - really lifted by the off white behind it. I am pleased with all the hand drawn elements really - of course they change quite a bit when you 'Live Trace' in Illustrator - I've learned how to fine tune the live trace options though so I turned down the default setting to about '1' rather than 2; that made it a little truer to what I originally drew. If you are interested in seeing my original sketches do look at the previous post.

The hardest thing for me was the positioning of elements and spread of colours (once I'd decided to just work from drawings rather than paintings). When I put it into repeat I could see that the knife really jumps out so I would have just made the blade a steely grey and kept that background colour to small elements. The mushroom slice stands out too much on that colour for the same reason.

I think it looks more like a cookery book jacket!

Absolutely loving how Lilla teaches. I've been away for the weekend so had to be quicker for this project than I liked. There was a great video to watch on Friday that I missed with good pointers for our designing. I watched it last night though and it means that any future fabric designs I do will be approached more confidently. Wonderful video Lilla ( if you happen to read this ) thank you! Can't wait for this weeks assignment.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Mushrooms and Pots #makeartthatsells with @LillaRogers

This wonderful course with Lilla Rogers has started. Still time to join in apparently if you've missed hearing about it (although I doubt you have!))

We've just had our first brief and I'll be working on developing these sketches.

_SAM6105_SAM6104 _SAM6103

The thing I find really hard is picking just one style or treatment - that's what can paralyse me a bit. Does any one style stand out to you? Maybe I can mix a few.. I will work it out! :)