Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Designing his own bum notes

One of the joys of drawing someone is that it sometimes leads on to them becoming a friend. They obviously feel that connection, too, and take an interest in what I'm doing and what's new in my life.

Stuart is certainly one of those people and we speak regularly and enjoy the interchange of wordplay and humour. I know he is someone who thoroughly enjoys communicating, as he writes about his extensive knowledge of local history for a local paper and has various friends that he regularly writes to and enjoys the interchange of communication that that entails.

So, when he sent me a letter last week I wasn't surprised to receive it. But other than the news of the recent happenings in his life he also explained that he had an idea for a new set of drawings he wanted to discuss with me. So that was why he popped around this morning, to explain in person.

I was intrigued......

It turns out that he's been thinking .......about designing his own stationery.........well........more like cards really. In the same style of the drawings I did for him a year or so ago. He wants the outside to be blank, but on page three (so to speak, and proably very apt, in this case!!!) for there to be an image......of himself, drawn by me. The image will feature him doing something, but wearing very little in the process. He wants to write his own caption underneath and the slogans may vary depending on his mood, how cheeky he's feeling and how much he wants to be outrageous for the recipient of the card.

We discussed the ideas for the designs, he's got an idea for a set of four of them,  and my favourite was of the back view of him, stark naked except for his socks, with the slogan "Does my bum look big in this?"

The reason for the front of the card to be blank, was for him to write a note for his friend, and then when they open the card they are greeted by his saucy image depicted in pencil, with the suitably saucy comment hand written under it. I think it's a brilliant idea! And will love designing them with him. How very personalised! And fun!!! LOL

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The big question

The man from 'Frisco was keen, very keen. I knew he wanted me to draw him, when we met, I could feeeel it, within him. And on our second meeting, a year later, he was equally keen. But, he's decided to wait, a bit longer, until he has the chance to bring someone else along. Someone special. His wife. So that they can both be drawn by me, in possibly a foreplay pose, he said, or a mutual masterbatory pose, maybe. Ok, I'll wait then. He's got the need in him. And its in his wife too. So, I know they'll be back. When they're ready.


The goddesses went home today.

To their rightful place. But I shall miss them and their beautiful faces. When the male witch collected them, he was sooooo happy to see them again, to own them, to take them home, to look at them, and stare at their fantastic faces. His joy was palpable. Which delighted me and filled me with  the deep pleasure of a job well done. But then, as I wrapped them up for him,  he took me by surprise as he asked me WHY I called myself an Erotic Artist and how I'd got into it. I explained about always being an artist, then starting attending  life drawing sessions some years ago and by "leaving out" bits within the drawings it made the body look far more interesting, and therefore deemed erotic because of it. And that I have always painted landscapes, fantasy, tigers, people, dogs, horses, in watercolours, oils and acrylics, and usually by the time I've explained to someone all that I do, they lose interest. But, when I say I'm an Erotic Artist, I ALWAYS get their attention, and they ALWAYS want to know more about me and what I do. So, that's how I describe myself, even though I suppose all my art is actually "sensual" - that is, of the senses, rather than purely erotic. The goddesses painting was painted in a sensual way, and he agreed when I said that. I said that I'd happily paint landscapes if that would bring me work in, but I seem to get more work by being an erotic artist. Funny, but that's the way it is!!!! LOL

And then he asked me the million dollar question. The one that's really got me thinking.....

"Ah, but what do YOU want to be known FOR, as an artist?"

And that's the thing. I know what I've DONE, I know what are my best pieces, the most creative, the most expensive, the most difficult, I know what I enjoy doing best. But what do I WANT to do, what will be THE thing that I shall be most pleased with? Is it the fantasy fannies? the erotic art? the erotic landscapes? the fantasy pieces? Or something else?

 That's the question. A HUGE question.

And I think, this year, that I'm starting to form an idea of what it IS.

Its an amalgam of a lot of what I am, of what I've done, whats deep inside me, and what I want to do. Its putting ALL of that together, and creating a series of paintings based on it. A collectable series of paintings. That will appeal to everyone.

That's what I need to think about, to build on, to plan for. He nodded as I explained, and listened as I talked about the person I am, and what I need to do this year regarding it. He nodded, and then he said he was getting a message for me......................

based on what he read .............

within me..... is ...........

...........that I need to mature.

He said he didn't know what that meant, exactly. For me.

But, I said, I do.

I know exactly what he means.

And what is needed.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Pastel skies and sunny atmospheres

One of the thing I love about the art workshops I go on, is meeting old friends. So, I was delighted to bump into two of them on Saturday who've I've not seen for some months, and catch up with their seperate news (yes, the cats still fine, her mother is better now thanks, her husbands got a new job, the daughter is getting divorced, and the painting is going well - is a generall summing up of the two of them!).

The workshop was well attended and the tutor very on the ball so we were kept busy and well informed all day which I much prefer as the day is more structured than if we're just left to get on with it. The lesson was about atmospheric skies in pastel. I don't do pastel much. I CAN do it, and I DO tend to enjoy it when I get into it, but I find that my results can be sometimes surprisingly fabulous, and sometimes strangely disappointing. But, I found on Saturday that that was because of the pastel paper I've been using, and the method of applying the pastel. I've not been using enough, I've found out now - and should put more on the paper and really rub it in to get more of the soft cloud effects that create a powerful stormy sky. Also, the use of a "colour shaper" would be incredibly beneficial I now know. I've seen these strange looking tools before and never been quite sure what to do with them - they have a long handle like a oil painting brush but with a small wedge shaped piece of rubber at the end, which is brilliant for rubbing in pastels and moving the colour about on the paper. Of course, it helps if you know about all the different kinds of paper too, as some are smooth, some have a "tooth" to them, some are like vicious sandpaper, and some like soft velvet, and all of them will affect the pastel  in different ways - either to make the effect more artistically rough or beautifully smooth. We all had the opportunity to sample and buy small squares of the different types of paper and have a "play" (artistic term!) with each to see which we most prefered. I wasn't so keen on the sandpaper stuff, and not at all surprised to find that the tutor didn't have ANY fingerprints on the fingers she used to rub in the pastel!

I was quite pleased with the picture I did on the day - a pink and purple sunset with the sun lighting up some of the clouds. I want to do more work on it though, before its finished, so I won't show it to you here, as its not done yet! I want to bring out the drama of the clouds and the colours a bit more first. And maybe add a tree in silhouette to add some focus to us, unless the clouds are interesting enough on their own....MMm..... I'm not sure yet.........

And on Sunday, I had a different kind of arty day - at the Guild of Erotic Artists event day. It was my first visit there this year as last time it was snowing heavily which curtailed my being able to get there, and the time before that I had a stinking cold so was better nursing it at home. This time all was well with snot and weather, and great to catch up with my friends there again! Lots to talk about, and discuss, and I was delighted that a guy I met from San Francisco at one of the event days last year whilst he was working over in England, had decided to return again. He'd emailed me a few times since we met last year, and I knew he was going to the event day as he'd let me know how keen he was to be drawn by me. He loves my innovative art and we discussed the likelihood of him having time to pose for me whilst he's in England. I'm hoping that I can get some good drawings done of him, if he's able to come and sit for me.

I was also delighted to catch up with two couples there whose company I really enjoy, and also thoroughly enjoyed chatting with them about life, art and people!

Later in the day, I was most amused to hear a couple of the guys say they were far more interested with what was happening outside Beaumont Hall studios than what was happening INSIDE them. You have to bear in mind at this point that inside, there was an attractive brunette girl in a basque draped in provocative poses, with good atmospheric lighting on her, and a number of guys photographing her. Outside, was a radio controlled plane being flown over the open fields. This was FAR more interesting. Apparently. :)

And to add to my amusement........later on....after the model had been photographed in provocative poses on some pretty sheer fabric, the female owner of the fabric remarked "If that's been around her fanny, I hope she's going to wash it after!!" - which made me burst out laughing and reply "You don't get THIS problem at the local flower show, do you!!!!!"    LMAO

Friday, 19 March 2010

Connections reconnected

The coffee was deeply delicious, rich and luxouriously strong, with just a touch of cream and sugar, and tasted more than sweet on my tongue, as I'd just unveiled the watercolour painting of St. Wystans church in Repton, and the elderly woman who had commissioned it had just told me how pleased she was with it! And had clapped her hands in delight at the first sight of it.     YESSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Success!!! We sat and chatted about Repton since it is a village I know very well, and infact I was fascinated with her appartment since I had known the large building she lived in many years ago in its previous existance and was fascinated to see how it had been adapted for multiple living quarters. Her  gorgeously appointed appartment in particular was filled with natural light on this warm March day, with sunlight streaming through the large south facing windows. We hadn't met before but got on extremely well as we discussed our lives and interests. Only a brief time together, but we made a good connection, as women sometimes do. As she walked me back to the front door, she commented on the two mediocre watercolour paintings of Repton that had recently appeared on the communial hallway wall and said, in dismissal of them "I don't care for them much". "I'm not surprised" I said in agreement "They're not very good". We shook hands as I left, and headed out into the welcoming spring sunshine again.

Whilst I was in the village I popped into the local bank and ended up having another long chat with the two friendly women behind the counter there. One of them commented on my surname and its pronunciation, and through that we ended up chatting about the reason I was in the village, to deliver a watercolour painting I'd done and then because of their interest I went on to tell them about the goddesses painting I'd recently done, and other paintings I've created and the reasons behind them. And to say that I wanted to speak to the chap in the post office since I'd been told by the woman I'd met with earlier that there weren't any decent pictures of mine in the post office when she had gone in specifically to look for them as she'd seen my work before and wanted to purchase it.

And then on to the third reason for being in the village. A visit to the post office. Which should have been a pleasant experience based on the previous conversations of the morning. But the instant I walked through the door, I was greeted by.....................a dull and heavy greyness that pervaded the shop, the light, and the atmosphere. After the sunlight and into .........well............a netherworld. Of uncared for merchandise sitting forlornly on dated wornout shelves, cardboard boxes piled up on old racks, abysmally ameraturish paintings that were well above anyones eyesight, and should be deleted off the face of the earth rather than exist in any art appreciating world.  It took me a full two minutes to gather my shocked thoughts together, and go up to the counter where a shady character sat in the deepset gloom. I peered at him through the glass partition.
"Can I help" he dully enquired
"Are you the Post Master?" I asked cheerfully
"No, I'm not" he said
"Can I speak to him?" I asked hopefully
"No, I'm the only one here" he replied as the atmosphere deepened another notch.
"Ok" I said, a little less brightly "Well I'm an artist and have done pictures of Repton in the past and I was wondering if you'd be interested in having some of my pictures on the walls here but, er, you seem to be, er, having some er, building works done" (That was the politest way I could think of, of putting it!)
"They're lowering the ceiling soon" he explained, as if that made up for the lack of any interest shown in marketing anything within the confines of the shop. Then he roused himself and said "You'd better speak to the Post Master. He's next door. In the grocery shop"
"Ok, thankyou" I said, wondering WHY he had been incapable of telling me that in the first place, and gladly left the gloom of the shop, its sole inhabitant, and the sad forlorn merchandise.

I almost didn't bother to go to find the Post Master, since if he could leave his shop in that state, was his shop really the place I wanted my paintings to be?

But, I thought, at least I'd have closure on the idea and could forget about it after I'd confirmed my apprehensions. So, into the grocers shop I went. And behind the counter was a handsome, smiling face of someone who knows what he's doing and has "purpose". Things looked considerably brighter! I explained who I was and the fact that I'd had a conversation with the guy behind the counter in the post office who appeared to be "bewildered". He noddingly said "he spends most of his life like that" (which went some way to explaining things for me!). Anyway, after a short but incisive conversation it appears that he is indeed interested in having my artwork in his shop, is in the process of updating the shop, and that I've contacted him at exactly the right time regarding getting my artwork in there. So, I need to get some more paintings done, and return in a couple of weeks so that we can get it all organised.

The sun was still shining on me, after all!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Seeing beyond the clutter and re-seasoning

Sometimes simple things aren't quite so simple.

Or at least the illusion of them being simple is actually quite complex.

MMm..... I'll explain.................

The other week I was asked to do a little commission of St Wystans church in Repton in the county of Derbyshire. No problem, I'm very familiar with the church and the village and have painted St Wystans before. An easy job.  Simple, I thought.

W r o n g  !

It took me a while to realise it wasn't going to be simple.

It was easy enough to go and take the photos of the church, so I had the right images to work from. The woman commissioning the painting had asked for the spire, yew tree and lych gate to be in the picture. Which meant that I had to be standing back quite some way from the church to include the tall spire. No problem. I took a load of photos from various viewpoints knowing that I would possibly use two or three for information for creating the painting.

When I was ready to start the painting, what I considered to be a simple little painting, I looked through my source photos for the suitable ones..................and realised......................that there.......................was...........something missing....................from the information I required. Like....................I couldn't see all of the church AND the spire AND the lychgate AND the yew tree behind it AND the clock in the church AND the arch by the side of it. Because anyone who knows Repton knows that there is a stone arch next to the chuch. Without it, it could be ANY church really. Its the arch that makes it SPECIFIC. And the problem was..................I couldn't see the whole of the arch AND the church. The reason being......................street clutter. Cars, loads of 'em, parked or being driven on the road, street signs, lamposts, and general clutter, none of which helped me see what it was I was trying to paint.

And added to ALL of that...............was the photos I had were of the wrong bloody time of year!

Who'd want a picture of trees without leaf, of heavy dark shadows across the road, and a feeling of bleakness about the picture. There had been no mention at all of season for the commission, but I bet you the woman doesn't want a cold February to be the day depicted in the picture. No, she's going to want a warm April spring day  or a nice day in June in her picture. MMMmmm........................ Ok then, artistic licence is requred, a hell of a lot of it!!!!!! :)

Here's the photo I used as my basis for the painting, and below it is the finished painting. A simple little watercolour of St Wystans church. It's like playing "Spot the difference" except, there's so many differences - removal of five cars and a white van, a set of  unphotogenic traffic lights, two street lights, a flag pole, a notice board, a church fund donations board, a litter bin, two unappealing roadsigns, a wall, overhead cables, strong shadows, a dog with three legs and the cross-eyed monkey. Well, ok, maybe I was joking about the last two, but the rest are certainly there!

So, here it is...... the simple painting.
Not so simple, is it!!!!! :)

Friday, 12 March 2010

Divine and most beautiful Goddesses

Like wanting to hang on to the last stolen minutes with a lover, I don't want to say goodbye. I want to stay, in the comfort of their presence, staring into their eyes, gaining comfort from their connection.......... So it is with a form of sad regret that I have to say farewell, and walk away with a lingering glance, and to say to myself that I can do no more. That's it. It's finished.

But the sadness of that part is replaced with something else. A feeling of creation. Of  a maternal pride in the beauty of birth.

The birth of a painting.

Its taken me two months in the creation. From the first formed ideas rising from the request for a painting of seven Goddesses - Astarte, Diana, Isis, Hecate, Demeter, Kali and Innana. But the guy who has requested it knew at the time that he was asking a big thing of me. He KNEW it was going to be difficult, a challenging painting, something that few artists could do. He knew that he wanted a woman to paint it for him since only a woman could put the feminine into it, and it is SUCH a feminine painting. He tells me its taken him years to find me.

I'm glad he did.

It took me almost three weeks of research to find out about them all.... their characters and personalities:

Kali is the Indian goddess associated with eternal energy, the bright fire of truth, her three eyes represent the sun moon and fire with which she can observe the three modes of time - past, present and future. She is a gentle mother and fierce warrior, a manifistation of the divine mother. She destroys only to recreate. She destroys sin, ignorance and decay. She is beyond time and space. She is the death of death. She is also associated with intense sexuality, she is the Hindu goddess of creation, protection and destruction.

Innana is the ancient Sumerian mother goddess who combines earth and sky. She is powerful, self sufficient, passionate. She is a representation of the many facets that go into being a woman and the myriad roles they play, as well as a guide to the dark places of psychological and spiritual death and disintegration. She is a goddess of sexual love, fertility and warfare. Associated with lions, she is courageous.

Demeter is the Greek goddess of grain and fertility, she is the pure nourisher of youth and the health giving cycle of life and death. She is the bringer of the seasons, the goddess of harvest. Nurturer of mankind, goddess of compassion, a kind goddess grieving for her lost daugher Persephone causes winter each year. Great joys and sorrows are her reminder.

Astarte is the ancient Phoenician great mother goddess, Queen of Heaven. The guiding star, she is the goddess of love and sexual desire. She is pride in feminine being, a celebration of the abundance that comes from the energy of a woman in touch with herself and her body. Associated with the moon, she is a beautiful and dangerous goddess. She is both life and death. She has inner strength, wisdom, independance and spirit that gives birth to our creativity and encourages us with our successes. She is both the maiden and mother goddess and personifies the passion of life, the beauty of mother earth and the sacredness of all being.

Isis is the ancient Egyptian goddess, ideal mother and wife. Patron of nature and magic, and giver and sustainer of all life, saviour of all people, goddess of medicine and wisdom. She is considered the goddess of rebirth and reincarnation, protector of the dead. She represents total feminity, she can overcome death itself but is not above grief as one of her tears shed while Osiris lay dying caused the Nile to flood. A wonderful image of the goddesses ability to give and restore life she underscores the depth of emotion that even a goddess must feel.

Hecate is  a Greco-Roman goddess associated with magic, witches and ghosts. She is Queen of the Night, honoured and feared as the protectress of the oppressed and those who lived on the edge. Guardian of the household, she is protector of everything newly born. She has power over storms, lover of solitude, a virgin goddess, beautiful, shining and luminous. Walking the roads at night visiting cemetaries, a will o the wisp, she can see into the past present and future. Spirit of black magic with the power to conjure up dreams, prophecies and phantoms.  She is goddess of trivia. Farsighted, a protector of women. Familiar with the process of death and dying as well as new life, she reminds us of the importance of change and helping to release the past.

Diana is goddess of the light, perpetual virgin of the hunt, an emblem of chastity. She has strength, athletic grace and beauty. She is associated with wild things and especially responsible for anything young and vulnerable. Goddess of solitude, comfortable with the wilderness, she represents the mystic primitive identity of the hunter and hunted. She is a moon goddess, she stands for the virgin, a self sufficient goddess who lives life on her own terms. She is related to all phases of female existence. She is part of our primitive, instictive nature, she is the midwife and protector of the divine child within.

So............ after finding about about each of them, I had to then create them as recognisable images, because the instructions from the client was for them all to be easily known from JUST their faces, since that was all he wanted me to depict. Mmm..... difficult.

But, after drawing out preliminary drawings, I could see that each one had their own personality. My decision to do the painting in oils was a good one, as it meant that I could make any subtle changes that were needed to show each goddess, and to pull them all together within the image, since it was about ALL of them, not one being any more prominent than another. And oils is easier to paint in to achieve that effect.

Doing the watercolour  practice painting ensured that the background pulled them all together, and I used that as the basis of the idea for my oil painting. Since then, I've been working on it, building up each face, pulling the whole lot together. Parts have gone really well, other parts have had to be worked at. Isis's teardrop is the most clever thing I've ever painted. It LOOKS like its standing out from the painting, it is exquisite in its simple perfection.

I've also incorporated earth, air, fire and water within the painting. They are as much part of the painting as the goddesses are.

There are some artistic tricks within the painting - the yellow paint around Kali is "Indian yellow" which I thought very apt! Isis is connected with lapis lazuli - otherwise known as cobalt blue - and that is what her face is painted in. Innana is connected with lions and her face is painted in a suitable lion colour.  Hecate is luminous, and favours offerings of garlic hence her face being the colours of garlic, and the number three is also associated with her so she has three white lines flowing away from her.

So now you know all that, you can tell who is who from the painting, can't you?

My job is done.
I just hope the client likes it!

Oh, and its title? "Goddesses of the divine feminine"

Postscipt: I've just seen the client and he's just seen the painting,  and he LOVVVES IT!!!!!! YAAAAYYY!!!!!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Happy Birthday Blog - three years today!

Wow, three years blogging! I remember the first blog post I did and wondering what to say, never thinking that I'd still be doing it three years later! I had the chance at the time to do a newsletter and chose to write a blog instead. I may start a newsletter at some point, though. Its' all communication, isn't it?

I've made some special friends along the way and some of my friends in *real life* comment about things I've written about here, so even though I'm getting less comments than in the past, I perversely have more readers. Obviously they're very shy ones though,who don't think their comments are worth putting on my blog ...........

As for the goddesses painting, its Albert Dunn, I mean, all but done. Except for Kali whose causing me trouble - but then I suppose she would do, since she's the goddess of change and confusion, She's been trouble all the way through, but this time the trouble is that she has had too much work done on her and looks too sharp against the others. She needs softening about the edges (can you do that with Goddesses? Do they like it if you fiddle with them? Mmm.............). The others are softer and are flowing all together but Kali is just sitting there, alone, apart, quite sharp, too focused and too ......well ....powerful..... I think. Even though she IS a powerful Goddess. MMm....... I'll leave her over the weekend and look afresh at her on Monday to see what I can do to lessen her - not her power, just her fierce facial expression. The rest of the goddesses I am really really happy with and I think you'll love them when you see them too. I've certainly grown to love them, especially Diana, she's my favourite. I could look at her soft beauty all day long.............

And it looks lile my next commission is going to be a bit different to this current oil painting - a watercolour of a church for a special  70th  birthday present. Its a surprise, and hopefully it'll be a happy one. I understand that this particular church is very special to the lady in question - but then this is what I paint - special pictures for people - the 70 year old is obviously a religious lady - as its a Church of England church. But then, the Goddesses painting is for a male witch whose religion is Pagan. They both have their strong spiritual beliefs - I'm just delighted to paint something very special for them both regarding that! Its what I do!!!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Almost there with the goddesses painting

I'm almost there, and yet..........
I'm hesitating.................
Why am I hesitating?
Because I don't want to spoil it.
I want it to be ......right
I want it to be special.
I keep looking at it
to double check it's alright
and it is,
in places
But I need to look again
to see what else needs to be done
The thinking is part of the process
And I can see that parts of it are SOOO right
It's just that I need to look at the bits
that aren't
And change them!
Or at least,
enhance them
improve on them
and get them to match the rest
So, I'd better get on with it then!!!! :)