Developing a style part 2 

I have been churning out my back grounds for my still life paintings. My ‘Critical Friend’  Deb suggested that they didn’t look ‘ finished’. I borrowed another vase and messed around with my IPhone looking at composition. 


I like me my layering app- Image Blender and the filter App Prisma for messing about with my images . I wanted to try and get a simillar effect to my painting but using digital methods  


I was pleased with the result – sometimes I wonder why I paint. I don’t get an  emotional response working digitally. 

I started working on several paintings of the same thing at once – because I find it easier to become emerged and like series paintings 


I wasn’t satisfied with these, the vase is horrid to draw and the flowers looked too solid and fleshy. I wondered if the landscape format was too big for the subject 


This was still feeling dull and had lost much of the energy of the initial background . The patterns showed through, but the over all effect was too flat , (teal does not photograph well either) . 

I sent a couple of images to Deb – she liked the last picture  but said: 

‘I think you need to find your ‘why’ and then it will all come together – Why are you making these pictures, what’s the motivation, where’s the energy coming from? ‘ 

I was annoyed at my self – I am trying to find a way to paint  that is mine – then I was more honest 

‘It’s got something to do with my life being a facade – all the turmoil underneath – feeling unwell, traveling , making a mess, mandalas, seeking for spiritual connection . The flowers being plastic because Jon and I are allergic – all the conventions of  a still life – on top of that the flat colour – but some of me coming through ‘ 

I knew what I had to do – I ran the pictures under a tap and attacked them with a washing up abrasive sponge 


The facade is peeling 

I attacked the smaller ones too. I have some others that I produced on printer paper but they are too fragile to be treated in the same way ( lol) 


It’s funny – I have restricted  my self to blues/ teals because I love them  – but I think the stronger colours underneath represent how I am feeling , and work better with the teal/ blue combo on top. 

Next week I shall probably be doing something completely different 

Developing a style – ‘Still life’ 

Since I started being an artist full time 3 years ago, I have been trying to find a style or way of working that is my own. The layering of mandalas and tea dipping is very therapeutic, but the wanted to work towards something more concrete. I want to incorporate these images within other pieces. 

I love flowers and enjoy creating 3D designs that you can achieve with  a ‘still life’. My hubby and I are both a bit allergic to flowers and pollen so I have bought a range of different artificial examples. 


I have a couple of white jugs and a favourite over decorated piece that belonged to my step grandma. I thought it would also be fun to use jars and bottles which are currently in fashion as vases. I also visited the National Museum of Scotland looking for different shaped vessels 



When I start a project – I do lots of preparation and thinking , but then procrastinate about actually starting the work….. 


these are my first efforts – I have prepared lots of mandalas on cartridge paper and printer paper. The printer paper is too thin and buckles and creases too much but is good to practice layouts and composition. 

I used some water soluble powdered pigment  ink in some of the mandalas and this seems to leak into the acrylic, causing the circular effects you can see in the last picture above. 

I like the way the negative shapes of the flowers work well with the flat background. I thought The fowers and vase need to be drawn simpley  to contrast with the mandalas. I have been playing with different tones of blue and thicknesses of pen. I think each mandala needs me to be more intuiative with the back grounds rather than mixing up a vat of colour like I did yesterday 


I hav been trying to draw as realistically as possible and have been posting  on Instagram to see what reaction I get from my friends.  I was surprised when I posted the picture below asking for feed back – I was unsure about the white and felt that the jar was a bit clumsy – it received more positive feed back than some of the more neatly drawn careful designs 

I have tried different colours in the back ground and I am particularly fond of the shapes created by my artificial seed pods 


When I posted the image of the step by step below I was also interested in how people appreciated the contrast  of orange and mandala top left and the thin layer of orange bottom right- when I had been striving to achieve a flat opaque finish 


Larger fleshy flowers are not as effective – because there is not enough negative shape to play with and the thicker line looses definition 

This background is too simillar to the flower- not sure what it is supposed to be really….. the stems and flowers appear to be a climber but the rigid stem is a bit incongruous 


My real cycleman didn’t really work either – I think the flowers and the petals are too close together and the pen line too thick


I will keep at it ….