A return to painting

Today was the first day in WEEKS (months?) that I’ve found the time to paint. And was it hard! I’d almost completely forgotten the technique and I struggled with it at every point. Needless to say I’m not happy with the result, but I LOVED having a paintbrush in my hand again…



July 14th 2011

Lady in Red

I was trying for something a bit different here. I find layered backgrounds a real challenge – I always end up staring at it thinking ‘what on earth next?’ – and should have carried on with this one to knock it back a bit. I posted on the Willowing forum to get some tips – I love the internet for being able to connect with some many new people.

This piece ended up looking a bit melancholic. I do find it funny to see what emerges – I have no control over it, really. I wonder how many people really do, or whether they just go with the flow?


Portrait – yet another one!

Yet another go at the same portrait. And again I was trying out a different style, only for it to come back to look similar to other attempts. Similar, but not the same – there’s definitely a progression there. Which is fabulous to see.

I am just loving trying out these portraits. I am not totally comfortable with the paint – I always start off thinking that I just don’t quite know what I’m doing. And I reach a point of thinking ‘Ugh, nope, this one hasn’t worked’. And then I seem to get past that, and somehow into a place where everything just clicks. Or kind of clicks- I still screw up and manage to lift some of the paint by painting over it before it was dry, or by smudging things, or going too dark. But suddenly I find that whole hours have passed without me even knowing it, and I’m focussing on the canvas and on the tonal values and I LOVE that feeling.

Things I’m finding hard: noses, eyes and hair. I suppose that’s standard for everyone.

The question that’s really in my mind tonight – what am I going to do with all these pictures I’m painting? I fear the downstairs loo is going to become a scary place to be…




How do you begin to develop your own style? I suppose you just have to paint and paint, and paint a bit more?

I decided to give a much freer way of painting a try, using slightly different colours.

The painting went through many stages, some more successful than others, but eventually came back to look pretty similar to the other portraits I’ve done. Or perhaps that is just my style?




I’m really excited by the way this one turned out. I mean, seriously excited. As I was painting it and was watching it emerge I was all ‘Oooh, eek, look at that!’. To the point that I felt quite worried about finishing it, in case I spoiled it.

I honestly think this is the most successful thing I’ve ever drawn or painted.


I used a different reference picture for this one – a much more vibrant, defined picture. The lesson I learned here is that the better the reference pic, the easier it is too paint it.

This was the underpainting.




Another attempt at the Gritty Jane portrait course. I’m loving this course – it’s given me the confidence to just break out the paints and have a go at it. And it’s not nearly as scary as I thought it would be.




True to my goals, I spent yesterday and this morning doing a painting following the Gritty Jane portrait course.

There’s a couple of things I want to say about this course. First, it’s really good fun. I enjoyed every minute of it. I was amazed to get as far as I did, and I was even more amazed with the result. This is the first painting that I want to hang on the wall – and as I’m a very self-critical person, that’s a huge benchmark.

Jane makes the course easy to follow and, most striking of all, I soon found I was far less wary of the paint than I have previously been.

Here’s my attempt in various stages of completion


Old paintings

This post started out as a test for the new Nextgen Gallery iPhone app (v excited by this, by the way).

But then I thought, why not keep it? It’s ages since I did this kind of painting, so it feels quite nostalgic…


Another colourful portrait

I’m really enjoying this style of painting. It’s really satisfying to do, and very relaxing. I also like the way you can do just bits of it at a time if you’re a bit short of time.

Most of all, I’m loving painting with ‘real’ acrylics again. They are so lovely to use: I love the way the colour goes on with them.

I’m going to try a few more ‘real’ paintings over the next weeks, but in different styles, I think