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.

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Artist Feature – Laura Jane

Here’s something a little different.

I’ve met many an interesting artist in my time and I like to share the most fascinating ones via the Artist Feature posts. I haven’t been doing as many Artist Feature posts as I would have liked, but I’m looking to change that. I’ve been in contact with a few people and I’m hoping to bring some engaging content to my readers. As always, I’ll be providing links to places where you can follow them across the internet. Friendly following, though. None of this stalking business. Good friends are hard to keep, y’know?

You’re in for a treat, though.

One could say they have their fingers in many pies. Pies, which, I might add, they never offer to share with me. Blending equal levels of proficiency and commitment in both traditional and digital art, they draw from a myriad of sources of inspiration. Featuring everything from video game character illustrations, to fluffy cute animals, to angst-ridden comics about toasters.

They sure love their toasters. In addition to the above, they’ve shown an incredible desire to develop their style over the last twelve months. They’ve met that desire- and exceeded it- with continual improvements to both their approach and their understanding of fundamental artistic concepts. They’ve also got a remarkably fluid and gorgeous ink style which displays a heightened understanding of composition. It’s a style that suits any sort of graphic illustration which is what I feel they’re best at. I’m almost certain that if you enjoy any of my traditional pieces, you’re going to enjoy their work just as much. If not more. Which is totally fine. They deserve the art love.

Artist Feature - Laura JaneThey’ve probably logged more hours in an assortment of Fallout titles than I have. While I would usually say this is cause for concern, without that I doubt I would have met/found them in the first place. You’d be surprised who you run into out in the Capital Wasteland. Or who you know as a friend of a friend via an appreciation of the Capital Wasteland. So they don’t always talk about artsy subjects. But if you get the chance to talk to them about it- you should! You’re in for an enjoyably insightful conversation.

If you’re of the Tweeting persuasion you can find them over on @LauraJayArt.

Should traditional or digital art be one of your interests (or you’re an aspiring artist yourself), I can suggest no-one better to follow. There’s a great foundation here for a promising future of artistic awesomeness. If you’re an artist yourself- drop her a critique or five. Or ten. She’s always looking to further her style and herself.

As always, Artist Feature posts aim to highlight not only artists who I feel are exceptionally good at what they do but that align with the interests of my readers. Again, I can suggest no-one better to feature under those conditions. Comments are always appreciated, but if you’ve got something particular you’d like to say about this artist you can leave a comment below. Otherwise, I hope you’ve enjoyed what could be the first of a few upcoming Artist Feature posts. It depends on if the others get back to me. It’s not like I randomly pick people to write about on the internet- that would be weird. Much easier to organise but terribly weird.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Art and the like found within this post (unless otherwise specified) is owned by Laura Jane.

Fruity Nostalgia

Wherein I unearth things.

One of the perks of being around cats all the time is that you get to unearth a lot of things. That is if they bother to bury them first. I’ve known one or two that don’t, it’s just sitting proudly amongst the litter. Gaze upon it in awe. Or don’t- that works too. In any case, just a short post today to show you this painting I found in a box of old sketchbooks. It’s funny the things you find when you’re not even looking for them, it’s also funny that this painting is eight years old and I only vaguely remember painting it.

I think it was painted with watercolour… something. I don’t think I had tubes back then.

Gaze upon it with unbridled confusion.

Gaze upon it with unbridled confusion.

It doesn’t have a name, either. Which probably explains what it was doing buried in a box of old sketchbooks in the first place. The subject matter is hardly surprising when you think about Lemon and Lime, The Melon Most Watery, Corn on the Cob, and the like. I’m just a man that likes fruit and vegetables. Mostly painting them. Not eating them.

In other news, I’ve made some minor updates to my personal site. Minor updates that took nearly a day and a half to do because I never give up on things once I’ve decided to do them. Good ol’ personality foibles. There are new thumbnails, minor layout changes, and general quality of life changes everywhere. I’ve even added another new piece to the site following Aquatic Owl. I decided to upload the owl from that post- Ol’ Hooty– as its own piece. It’s great that I’ve finally realised that I have a section for those sorts of things, as I’ve been able to share so many more pieces with you all as a result of it. Which is a good thing, right?

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.

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.

Highlight – Grotti v2 – 2011 – click for full view on site!

Though the fish in question has gone to that great fish tank in the sky she was always a beautiful and friendly girl.

I do art. You know that, right? I would forgive you if you had forgotten after how long it has been all about gaming and not so much about the creative side of things. I think this piece was the first one that really allowed me to see the potential of watercolour in a style that I could manipulate. For some reason, most likely due to detail, I figured that the combination of ink and watercolour would be a good idea and I wasn’t wrong about that. I continued to develop this style in a myriad of ways with The Sacred Cow (highlighted previously) and others.

I had done the first version in pastel (and no you may not see it) and it wasn’t really hitting the quality or the result I wanted. I was thinking about other things I could use and how I could get the desired result and I narrowed down that I needed bold, flowing, expressive colours. What did I have that could do that? Watercolour!

In my usual way of doing things I started by dissecting the colours and trying to find a collection of colours that allowed me to achieve the desired result. Of course, until you added the grey and black markings, this was just the oranges and the light pinks. While the addition of the darker markings was the point where I thought I’d be scrapping this piece and it would never see the light of day again. However, the brushes were in my favour and I managed to pull off the desired result without destroying anything in the process. Oddly enough, as noted above, that was the entire reason I wanted to use watercolour- but it was also the reason I didn’t feel it would work out as I didn’t know if I could do it. My brain is a strange place. So strange.

Grotti v2 - 2011 - WatercolourThe original line work for this piece was pretty much an outline which was also an interesting aspect in hindsight.

Given my inexperience with watercolour at the time I was relying on the ability to fully create depth, textures, markings, and many other things purely with watercolour as the line work wasn’t really adding any. I mean the concept made sense. It was a logical idea. But I was relying on my ability to do something I’d never done before with a desirable result the first time out.

But, I think, when all is said and done, that is what makes this such a great piece for me. I tried to do something new and unique and I wanted to achieve something which I did. So, even though it’s a bit older and a bit rough ’round the edges it’s a rare example of how my experimentation led to something amazing. Something which I’m proud of. It’s also odd that this, The Sacred Cow, and Wisdom (three pieces I am notably proud of) are all animal portraits.

Maybe that was a calling I missed in life? Or maybe I just needed something new and different and that wasn’t fantasy or what have you to really get to grips with the limits of my ability. Back then I was of the mindset that I didn’t have limits and I could do whatever I wanted. Maybe that was a good way to be?

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.

Warming up the Bird

Birds are a funny sort. They have some incredibly unique features, a multitude of textures, and are fun to paint or draw. They also require warmth for optimum operating conditions.

WIP b

I know what you’re thinking, “Moggie, you think you can just turn up after four months without so much as a peep and expect everything to be okay?” Hey- it worked for my ex-girlfriend and if it can work for her it can work for everyone. Right? Right!

It’s a little known fact that I’ve recently become more interested in digital art. Well, no, that’s inaccurate, I’ve always been interested in digital art. In late 2006 when I joined my first art community site that was my thing, but as time went on I realised that I didn’t have the tools for it and the motivations behind traditional art were much stronger.

That said, digital art has a charm all its own.

So I bought myself a Wacom Bamboo to bridge that gap of not having good tools for digital art. Not the best, nor most expensive, tablet out there but I’ll consider getting a more expensive one once I know I can actually achieve decent results with it.

Now, what’s with the bird? Wouldn’t you say she’s charming? Well, the above is the latest work in progress of this particular piece and features a striking difference to the previous work in progress in that it has a solid colour background. I wanted something rich and dark, but also warm, as the colours are fairly warm and the beak has a good level of contrast with it.

As you can see in the below piece, the first work in progress, there was less going on and it was a lot colder. It didn’t convey that same fullness and depth. It was more rough ’round the edges. It also would have proved impossible to see all the work on the white textures around the beak, so this wasn’t a purely aesthetic choice- it was functional too!

WIP a

This isn’t the only thing that I’ve been occupied with in the last four months. I’ve been looking at my art as a whole and asking myself if that’s where I want to be, and, if not as the case seems to be, where can I go to get better?

I think a lot of my personal frustrations come from lack of consistency. I was cleaning my art desk recently and realised the last time I used that regularly was 2010, I’m not entirely sure why that is or what has made it less appealing since… I just don’t use it that much. So I’ve been thinking about what I want to do.

Not “what do I have the capability to do?” as I feel every artist has the capability to do just about anything if they focus on it. But “what do I want to do?” and actually aim to get some of the things I’d love to do down on paper. Digitally or traditionally speaking.

Speaking of the traditional, I do have one work in progress (or as I like to call it “probably half-finished but unlikely to actually be fully finished so resigns itself to the corner of shame for the foreseeable future”)- Davros!

Davros.

That insanely evil yet devilishly intelligent genius behind the creation of the least emotionally inclined race of all time- the Daleks. I’ll be honest and say that besides a few old episodes with Baker or Pertwee as The Doctor I don’t really care for Doctor Who as a whole. A bit like tea, really. Or fish and chips. I am actually quite a failure as an English person.

What I do like is people with interesting faces and Davros sure has one of those. I would say it’s kind of creepy how he has no eyes but I find that pretty awesome. How often do you get to draw someone with no eyes?

Enjoy your Saturday afternoon 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.

Davros, Daleks, Time And Relative Dimension In Space, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Terry Nation and the BBC.

Sherbet Afro – 2012 – Watercolour – click for full view on site!

Don’t ask what’s in that coffee.

One of the joys of painting with watercolour is how it reacts to the paper. It creates a texture like no other! It’s also really gorgeous to see the different colours swirling together like a prismatic maelstrom. For that reason alone we have this- a skull with a multicoloured afro. As I said, don’t ask what’s in that coffee. The iridescent afro was best approached with watercolour, as there are few other materials I possess that would have been able to create the same effect.

Marker could create a similar effect.

It could also be possibly more appropriate for the skull. But for the overall effect I felt that watercolour was the way to go, as there are ways to strengthen the detailing of the skull if I really wanted to (such as using ink). But, again, I felt that this would be most enjoyable as a pure watercolour piece.

Sherbet Afro – 2012 – WatercolourWhere did the inspiration come from? Places. In my mind. Why did I use this particular style? It looks nice, it’s fairly unique, and it’s something I’m not usually known to do. I’m a little more experienced with the use of colour than I used to be, but I’m not as confident with it as I’d like to be. I don’t tend to use it as much as I probably should. Which is something that I hope that pieces like this will help me with. It would be great if this paved the way for a great many colourful pieces in the future!

This is also one of the few recent watercolour paintings I’ve done without ink.

I’m still keen on using ink with watercolour, but it’s nice to know that I don’t have to in order to get a result that I actually like. Which I do. As does my sister who describes it as (and I quote), “a Jimi Hendrix psychedelic cool skull thingy.” She certainly has a way with words, doesn’t she?

Enjoy your Sunday, 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.