Ambitious Acrylic

Colourful mile markers.

I’m going to justify purchasing those brushes or I’m going to paint trees trying. Or both. Probably both. This piece follows on from the attempts present in Mushroom Inspired, which are not entirely related as those are destined for watercolour painting while this is an acrylic painting. I’ve also yet to add more attempts to that particular set of watercolour paintings. But that’s what happens when you’ve got watercolour, acrylic, and gouache tubes quite literally piling up all around you. Not to mention all of that canvas and watercolour paper.

It’s a muddled haze of various paint tubes and water jars.

I’m starting to echo previous thoughts of stretching myself too thin, though. It’s noticeable that my output is suffering somewhat in the face of trying to do as many things as I am at the moment, as I have a lot of things that exist in a transitory state. They’re not quite here, there, or really anywhere at the moment. But they exist in their own mildly confusing way.

To add a moderate amount of insult to that injury I’m also not too happy with this result. But that’s also a transitory issue as I’m still getting used to how these brushes feel, how they hold the paint, and how well I can apply the paint. I’m also a few months out of practice with acrylic painting. I’ve started to understand more about why I don’t like my acrylic paintings, though. It’s mostly related to details and perhaps due to or as a result of the preparatory stages. I’ll be taking a break from gouache for a while, too. It’s becoming increasingly confusing trying to sort watercolour painting approaches, acrylic painting approaches, gouache painting approaches, pencil sketching approaches, and ink detailing approaches all at once.

Only the fluffiest clouds.

There’s also an issue of breeding familiarity with acrylic painting. It’s still an approach in its infancy for me and that’s something I need to recognise more when I’m pushing for certain results, which might not be as possible as I’d like to think. I do need to learn how it works. Much as I have with other materials. That said, I’ve been unusually happy with recent pencil and ink attempts. Which is a small amount of positive reinforcement in an otherwise confusing time. It’s certainly… something… right now when it comes to all things creative.

But that’s not a negative response, either.

I’m rather happy that I’ve had this momentary reignition of inspiration. I might not be entirely happy with everything I’m doing, but I’m actually doing it and making progress towards understanding more than I ever have about my creative influences. Which is always better than coming away from the experience none the wiser and more frustrated as a result.

This can mostly be considered a mile marker on the road of my artistic journey. I’ll either look back on this as a better acrylic painter or I’ll look back and realise there’s still work to be done. In either case, I still feel it’s an important part of the creative process to recognise progression where it exists. Or to provide an amount of progression through sketches and other pieces that aren’t quite to the quality standards you adhere to. That’s why these posts are both fun for you and interesting for me. We both get to share something that not only generates content, but strengthens the level of creative content on the site(s), and provides me with an actually useful tool to measure how things are going in various ways.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

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Multiple Attempts

There’s definitely a trend in my digital painting attempts.

They’re either animals or trees. For the most part. That said, I wanted to bring this compilation of unfinished pieces together so that I could share some of the efforts I’ve hinted about in posts such as Momentary Regret and Happiness Hat. It’s easy for me to explain them to you- but it’s easier if you can see these attempts for yourself. It may also help you to understand why I feel the way I do about some of these. You can also see the follow on from Anatomical Fish. As one of these was the painting that I switched to.

You might also wonder why I’ve never finished these pieces.

I do, too. But I’ve discovered that I’ve been looking at things the wrong way around. Or at least I feel like I have. As I have concerned myself with the presentation of the content for a while, but I’m starting to notice it’s the content (or lack thereof) which is the actual problem. That’s why some of the small changes I was going to make never came to fruition.

I started to realise that I could change around the presentation infinitely but it wouldn’t quell the disappointment (for lack of a better word) that I felt regarding the content itself. Therefore, I’ve started to work towards finishing more pieces. Some of which have been sitting around for far too long. Like the subject of Building an Abomination, which I’ve repeatedly put off working on for various reasons and it’s still unfinished. I could make countless excuses but I won’t. That said, I enjoy the aforementioned posts which bring together things I’ve been working on and I think they illustrate (pun intended) my creative journey nicely. So I’m not looking to lose those posts entirely.

They're a colourful bunch!

They’re a colourful bunch!

I’m just hoping I’ll be able to commit myself to more finished pieces. It’s something which I feel I’ve let myself down with more than anything. That said, I can’t control the myriad situations which have put me in this position in the first place. But, again, that’s no excuse. It’s a problem I’ve created and one that I’ll need to fix. In happier news, I’m rather enjoying the selection of pieces in this compilation which highlight some of my best digital painting attempts. There are some we’ve seen before and some we haven’t.

Those we have seen are a little different now, too.

On the other hand, I’ve also included a couple of traditional painting and illustration attempts. One was a painting which was sort of finished but I wasn’t too happy with the outcome of, the other is an illustration that combined a dozen different styles into one very confused piece. Both taught me something, though. Which is all I can really hope for from an unfinished piece.

It’s also an interesting compilation as there many different styles present in it. It highlights the rather eclectic nature of my creative efforts. I rather enjoy that about my various pieces, but I am starting to wonder if that’s causing me more problems than I realise. That said, through some of these unconventional styles and approaches I’ve started to understand things about my creative process I hadn’t realised. Like how I tend to ink things with incredibly stiff and rigid movements. I don’t have the fluid, loose, expressive approach that I use when I’m sketching with pencil. It’s an interesting realisation. Mostly because I hadn’t noticed that despite the similarities between the application of materials my approach changes drastically.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Leafy Green

Another tree for the collection.

Recently I’ve been thinking about the materials I use. I’ve got quite a few, each with their own particular purpose either singularly or when combined with another material. I’ve also tried quite a few over the years. The addition of acrylic painting has certainly made me think about whether the materials I’m using there are appropriate or not. There’s always the (very likely) possibility that I’m none too skilled with acrylic painting, but there’s also the possibility that the materials I’m using aren’t working for me.

But I’m not one to give up on something that quickly.

I’m also unsure as to where to go regarding the canvas paper (or actual canvases). Winsor & Newton have some fairly inexpensive, high quality, varying size canvas boards which could become my favoured painting surface. That said, I don’t really have a lot of space for storing canvases and the like. Hence the reason I don’t use them already.

But what I do have is paper. Lots of paper. But it’s not like you could use any old paper, you need something heavy that’s as absorbent as it is rigid so it doesn’t cockle under the liquid media. Bristol board may do it. On the other hand, I doubt either of my pencil and ink cartridge papers would suffice. So it fell to the recently purchased mixed media cartridge paper to actually become useful (for the first time since I bought it) and off I went to paint a tree. It seems like a fairly simple thing to paint. It’s also something that features a lot of layers of paint, so I was able to see how it held up to heavily layered paint and the general rigours associated with that. It went pretty well.

Closer to a balanced technique.

Closer to a balanced technique.

It also allows me to narrow down my selection of paper even further. If I don’t want to continue with my current acrylic canvas paper, I have a replacement already waiting which can easily take on the same material. It may also have some application for a textured marker style. Otherwise, I’ve got the two pencil and ink cartridge paper types and the singular watercolour paper type. So I’ve covered all of the materials I regularly use. Likewise, I’ve even invested in a new palette which is much easier to clean.

I love my old palette and I’ve had it for something like seven years.

But it’s cumbersome to clean, it’s difficult to slot together (as it comes apart), and it’s getting a bit worse for wear after all the years of painting. Surprisingly, that was among the very few purchases I made as I really didn’t need much else. Most of it was just replacements or spares for things. So that, when they run out, which they will, I won’t be without until I buy more.

It’s comforting in a way to not have to worry so much about the materials I’m using. I’ve got a selection I’m happy with. Besides the possible change to the acrylic tubes I use, I doubt I’ll be investing in anything entirely new for a while. I’ve got many more hours of learning how to make the best use of these materials ahead of me, though. It also means I’ll spend less money in the future on art-related activities. Which is a bonus. Not that, as a traditional artist, you’ll ever stop spending money on your art unless you stop doing it. Or someone invents a bottomless tube of paint. Or a pencil that replenishes its point. Such things would be amazing- but equally as unlikely to ever exist.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Murky Lioness

It’s amazing what you find under cats.

That sentence may or may not be relevant in the second half of this post. It’s kind of relevant to the first half of the post, too. Given that she sleeps on my art desk quite often and I keep all of my old sketchbooks under it. But that’s okay. Every cat owner knows that everything they once owned now belongs to their cat. Including, but not limited to: expensive brushes (that they nuzzle), pencils (that they also nuzzle), paper (that they sit on), and erasers (that they knock off of desks).

I say this like I mind- but I don’t- it’s one of the joys of having a cat.

Just focus on the mouth. It'll be okay. I promise.

Just focus on the mouth. It’ll be okay. I promise.

The first of the two is one of the rare acrylic painting attempts from before this year. This was one of the first I had finished, as there was only one before it and I didn’t get too far with that one before realising I had no idea what I was doing. One thing that I noticed about this piece is how similar (yet equally different) it is to what I’m currently doing. It has strong textures, good attention to detail, and an emphasis on layering colours. That said- it is amateurish at best. Especially around the eyes. But it’s not without some degree of merit. Especially when you consider that I want to illustrate my artistic journey, which this piece contributes to by showing I always had some understanding of how acrylic painting worked.

It’s hard to recall exactly how this piece was painted. I don’t think I would have been painting from dark to light, as I currently do, as I likely would have followed a similar technique to the one I used with watercolour painting. It is interesting how there are slight hints of my current style in this piece, though. Just less refined than it currently is.

Which is one of the reasons that I like to refer to older pieces on a regular basis. More often that not you’ll notice slight hints of things which have come into play much later, almost as if you were always capable of doing those things but you weren’t able to bring them out just yet. On the other hand, it’s equally interesting to see how some things have evolved in ways you would never have imagined they would. Like with my pencil style. I’m definitely leaning much harder on a smoother, blended, less graphic style than I ever expected I would.

It's not like anyone has ever been eaten by a murloc before, right?

It’s not like anyone has ever been eaten by a murloc before, right?

This is where the second piece comes into play.

Those who know of Heroes of the Storm will know of Murky. The adorable, lovable, somewhat slimy murloc who would never consider eating you. Not for a second. This piece refers quite a way back to the adventures of Ol’ Hooty, who was featured in Aquatic Owl. The marriage of Faber Castell Polychromos and ink.

Blessed by fluffy bum cheeks, Murky came into this world with the same indistinct gurgling that he is known for wrapped in a style quite unlike any I’ve used before. It’s only because of the sketchy nature and size of the piece that it isn’t featured somewhere on the site. He’s well loved, too. It’s probably one of the best received pieces I’ve done in some time. The only slight drawback to this entirely consensual (and in no way shotgun) wedding is that I have limited colours. Which, unlike watercolour painting, or even marker illustrations, is actually a limiting factor. I can always lean towards subject matter that suits the colours I currently have, though. So there’s hope for more in the future.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Mgrrglgrgl, Murky, Octograb, Heroes of the Storm, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Blizzard Entertainment.

Failed Tree Attempt #206 – 2016 – Acrylic – click for full view on site!

I’ve lost count along the way.

To say that I’ve probably drawn thousands of trees over the course of my life wouldn’t be an exaggeration. To say that I’ve probably used every material I have in creating them wouldn’t be an exaggeration, either. I like trees. They’re green (or in this case orange-y), they’re interesting, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. That said, this piece wasn’t planned and you could even say that it was a happy accident. One that has surprisingly good textures, too.

A rare example of the scanned version swaying my decision.

Usually, it’s the opposite. The scanned version will look awful in comparison to what (I think) is an otherwise good piece. Or (most common) the colours will be misrepresented in the scanned version and you’ll need to do all sorts of colour balance magic. But, in this case, it actually helped me see some really positive points about this piece.

Like the textures. The bark has an especially delicious texture, while the leaves, albeit not as detailed, also possess a rather nice texture that illustrates the layered approach I take to acrylic painting. Something that I’m still a novice at, too. I’ve done maybe two if not three acrylic paintings prior to this point, none of which I’ve shared, and most of which are great examples of growing pains. Then again- it is a completely different process to watercolour painting. On the one hand that’s a good thing. On the other it’s very confusing. As I tend to work from light to dark with watercolours, while with acrylic I’m working dark to light. With the opaque nature of the paint actually opening up new possibilities.

Failed Tree Attempt #206 – 2016 – AcrylicI’ve always felt that acrylic painting could be useful for creating scenic/landscape pieces. It seems to fit. I’d need to learn more, though. An awful lot more about how best to use the actual paint (due to the varying levels of permanence), how best to apply it, and general understanding of which brushes do what. Again, while you would think that from years of watercolour painting I would already have established these things- it really is completely different. At least to me.

Maybe that’s where the problem lies with it.

Or maybe I’m just thinking too much about the process. I’d say that I have infinitely more confidence with watercolour painting than acrylic painting, which is more than likely the biggest detriment to success with acrylic painting. But confidence comes in time. It comes with painting yourself more than painting the canvas.

This piece also allows me to expand the number of paintings I have on the site. It further allows me to include the previously absent acrylic paintings. Or one of them at least. Equally, it allows me to create an even more diverse range of pieces on the site as there’s almost quite literally a little of everything on there now. Not that I’m upset about any of these things, nor are these things a justification of why it should be on the site. It’s just nice to see my personal site expanding a little further. I don’t really know what I’d define this style as, though. But it’s not like you have to label things for them to look neat. That, again, is just a happy accident as a result of their existence.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.