Dusting off the paintbrushes

I was warned when I went to University that it would rob me of my passion to draw and create anything at all- Oh how I laughed!
ME? Not want to DRAW? I had a lot that I needed to block out as a child and my sketchbooks were my haven, a place of safety and other worlds that I could escape to In my time of need- it was quiet and used little electricity so was a popular activity with a parent who worried about the bills.
I drew in class, hiding my paper underneath my books and drawing when I thought the teacher wasn’t paying attention. (I still did well at school, and funnily enough, got 100% in my art and graphic design classes).
University was an extremely difficult time for me- I was homeless twice, in a succession of abusive relationships that I couldn’t seem to escape from- there was no inspiration from anybody, and nowhere I could turn. In the end, I went to crafts to console myself, my adoration of Stop-motion coming from the solid and tactile creations that gave you something substantial I could lay hands on, rather than the ghostly thoughts and reflections in my sketchbooks. I was under the impression In my younger years that nothing I owned was MINE, it was all lent from my family or the home I lived in, and creating things made them truly mine- I had brought them into being, so surely they weren’t lent from anyone else.
Crafts have given me so much more to add to my repertoire, and I managed to learn things that I never thought I would (Crochet, Needle Felting, Amateur Taxidermy, Polymer jewellery, Dressmaking….) but If I am to become the Tattoo artist that I can see myself as, I need to wander back to the land of paper.
This by no means, means that I will neglect my crafts- My list of things to make grows ever longer- But I will need to draw again, for at least an hour every day, and then raise the length of time I use my pencils more and more, filling every bit of spare time.

I also hadn’t used my paintbrushes since I could remember, and they were sat in their little sleeve gathering dust. (No matter where I live, my house is always dusty!)
I found a piece of wood that I was saving to paint on somewhere on my bookshelf and decided that it was time to break the many months of inactivity and get the war pants out again!
I don’t know quite why I decided to paint a skull, maybe because I have a few scattered about the house, and I wanted mirrors of my passions strewed along the walls.
I always adored dark paintings, especially when in most rented places you are obliged to keep the walls a lighter shade (Dreaded MAGNOLIA!!) It gives any darker inclined person the chance to express themselves without going full black interior.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

My mum tried to steal this guy as soon as I brought him home!

I wanted something slightly Memento Mori, a style I have always adored and intend to fill the rest of my house with over the course of this blog, it goes with my specific trains of thought..

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Some people like to pint straight onto the canvas and skip the initial sketch underneath- but I find it much more comfortable to have the guidelines for shading and shape there, just in case.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

I always add in the darkest areas and highlights first so that I can blend between them when the time comes.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Add more shading

KODAK Digital Still Camera

add more highlights and slight colour undertones to be blended in, such as the yellowing of aged bones, and the blue of the lighting tones.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Adding more blues and yellows!

KODAK Digital Still Camera

During these stages the painting process can get a little boring, and it seems as thought there is little change in your work- it is for these reasons that I like to take pictures as I go along- when you look back, you can really see the transformations from stage to stage- keep going, never give up on a painting entirely! Some of my best pieces were done when I was going to give up halfway through because I didn’t like what I had already done! Have faith!

KODAK Digital Still Camera

At the last stage of the painting I was unsure as to whether or not to include the bottom jaw- A lit of skeletons lose them anyway, somewhere in the recesses of time, but looking at the drawing I had already done I didn’t want to miss a chance to have a silent scream on my walls!, adding the bottom jaw gave the painting a little more depth and perspective, something I obsess over- I hate my work or paintings looking flat, and shading is something I HAVE to work on! x

KODAK Digital Still Camera

I opted for a dark brown background, with blue and yellow hues, echoing the skull itself, as I was warned that paintings look odd when there are blocks of just black that occur nowhere naturally in life- I’m not sure whether I’m entirely happy with his though- I may paint over this with blue/black colours to see what I think of that, but for now, this will do!

I made my first GIF of this painting (so awesome!), just to prove to myself that when you look back, you can see the work that goes into things- it makes my process of painting less about the final outcome, less rushed and more about the process and experience.
skull painting gif..gif

I’m ready to pop this one on the wall, and will paint more very soon- I want to do a squid or an octopus in a scientific style for our bathroom, I have the perfect paper for it!

scientific animal wing

Albrecht Durer, a recent artist find ❤

My other half does some stunning line illustrations and I asked him if he might do one for me so that I could display it proudly in our bathroom….Since I asked a year ago, perhaps I will do mine first and he can do one to match it?!


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