Wednesday, 20 February 2013

from a human form to....

sorry, this is a lonnnnnnnnng post!

I love this bird!  What I can't quite believe is where he came from.

I've had a fantastic day with Dee in her studio.  Dee is an amazing artist and particularly enjoys painting the human form in oils.  She can produce the most incredible likenesses ...

... as well as exciting, textural, almost abstract imagery ...

section of current work, unfinished

Dee had set up two easels in her studio ... one each!  Now I usually work with my canvas or paper flat down on the floor or table.  I have done some life drawing etc in a previous life, but very little and it's not a favourite subject of mine.  It's a long time since I relied on my paintbrush, and that alone, to make marks on paper or a canvas.  So today was a challenge!  One I was up for though I have to say.

I knew that working alongside Dee would stretch me and make me work outside of my comfort zone.  And that place, although uncomfortable at times, is a place to learn new things.  The first HuGe challenge was to paint an impression of each other - difficult when your subject keeps turning away to work on her own work.

 mine - failing to capture Dee's incredible eyes and looking like a six year old painted it!

Dee's - much more painterly but somehow missing my smile - don't worry, it reappears later!

We then started set a timer and worked on the other person's canvas.  This meant we couldn't get 'precious' about our imagery, and got us responding both to the marks on the canvas, and the model.  

We then returned to our original canvas and again, responded to what was there.

I turned my canvas and worked on the eye with long eyelashes and sweeping hair.

Dee's canvas also had an emphasis on the eyes!  After alternating a few times, the next step was to apply the jet wash's ok, stay with me!...

This strips back some of the layers and adds some gorgeous, gorgeous texture.  One more turn on each other's canvas then back to 'finish' our own.  Dee got out her oil pastels (we'd been working with acrylics) and I loved the contrast of the more 'drawn' marks, and also the yummy drips you can make with white spirit :)

a snippet of some of Dee's marks made with oil pastel and turps 

At this point I relaxed into just responding to the marks on my canvas and after splashing a bit of paint around I discovered a bird shape and started working into it

penultimate layer

I've only used half of the canvas, and am still trying to decide whether to cut out the bird section and remount it, or do 'something' with paint on the other side.

here I've covered part of the canvas with teabag paper to 'frame' the bit I like!

By this time we were relying on electric light in the room so this photo really doesn't do Dee's painting justice ... sorry Dee!

Look carefully and you can see an angel on my shoulder!

What a day!  I've learnt so much - to trust in my own ability, to just 'go with it', to have the confidence to apply layer after layer (it's only paint after all!), to try new materials (I'm now fancying having a play with oils)....  Thank you Dee, it was an amazing experience.....
.... and I LoVe my birds ;)


  1. Oh! Yes! I can see you have had fun but what an amazing piece to come out of it! A real artist you say - I think you have always been a real artist - believe it!!

  2. my god, what an amazing day Sarah, you must have been shattered by the end of it but what a learning curve. fascinating to watch the development of the different canvases.

  3. WOW! Sarah.. was an amazing post.. I couldn't read fast enough!! Oh my the angel! Love, love, love your birds.. it sounds like an amazing day all round :-)
    Seconding Chris's comments xxx

  4. What an amazing post and I can just imagine the fun you had. The painting is absolutely beautiful xx

  5. It certainly sounds like fun with plenty to learn as well. I like the idea of your play days as well.
    Thanks for reading my blog, I hope you will come back.

  6. Wow that looks like a scar but amazing day. I love your birds as well.


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