My intensive painting course has started...

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Carol - *runs in*
Blog - *looks at Carol*
Carol - *tries to catch breath* 'My intensive painting course has started. I've been working on all things composition' *puffs* 'I've been looking at the golden rule, the rule of thirds, focal points, colour contrast, contrast with large & small marks, dark & light contrast and atmospheric contrast'
Blog - 'They were not kidding about the intensive bit were they!'
Carol - *still puffing* 'No, no they were not. So far I have created 22 drawings and one and a half paintings'
Blog - *shocked face*
Carol - 'I know!'
Blog - 'Can I see some of the stuff you have created?'
Carol - 'I only have a couple of things photographed'
Blog - 'That's fine. If I'm honest? I don't really want to see everything anyway!'
Carol - *laughs* 'Here are two examples of my colour contrast sketches. This one is 'Roses''


'And this is 'Trees''



Blog - 'Oooh. I like those. Particularly the blue and red trees. They really pop!'
Carol - 'I also had to create one painting by picking three elements from three different artists.'
Blog - 'That sounds like fun'
Carol - 'It was till I found out that I had to paint each element in the style of that particular artist! Sheesh it was difficult! The only way I can describe it is that it was a bit like trying to copy someone's handwriting and you can imagine how difficult that would be!'
Blog - 'Oh my giddy aunt!'
Carol - Exactly! And, because I like making life difficult for myself, I picked artists that were working in a different medium to the one I was using. My original plan involved Ron Lawson who uses watercolour and gouage as well as John Morrison and Egon Schiele who both use oils. I had to abandon my John Morrison foreground after I had painted the house and sea cause I just couldn't get the acrylic paint to behave the way I needed it to. So I chose to use a piece of Gordon Maxwell's work for the foreground instead. That decision had a big impact on the final painting and it ended up quite linear, using the original John Morrison would have broken up the line between the sea, house and foreground really nicely, but I learned lots from the process which was the point of the whole exercise! Here's the finished painting...'


Blog - 'I like it...especially the sheep!' *laughs* 'But I can see what you mean about it being linear'
Carol - 'Yeah. I like the different elements of it but I would have made the composition very different if I had chosen Gordon Maxwell from the get go.'
Blog - 'So when's your next class?'
Carol 'I had my second class yesterday. You don't even want to know what I have to do over the next two weeks! Let's just say that it involves essays and '
Blog - 'Essays!?'
Carol - 'Essays and four paintings'
Blog - 'Holy moly! You had best get on with it then!'
Carol - 'Yup.' *runs out*

What is this 'organised' of which you speak?

Monday, 12 February 2018

Carol - *plonks bum next to Blog and sighs*
Blog - *looks at Carol* 'What's wrong with your face?'
Carol - 'I'm frustrated'
Blog - 'Why?'
Carol - 'Cause I'm an eejit!'
Blog - 'What have you done?'
Carol - 'I was all set to start gilding my HUGE canvas...I had my drawing table flat, I had the canvas on it, I had my brushes ready for the size and then I went to get my gold leaf.' *sighs* 'Turns out that I don't have anywhere near enough to cover the canvas that I'm working on'
Blog - 'I thought you were being all organised now?'
Carol - 'I am! I have leaf. I just didn't think to check whether I had enough of it'
Blog - 'Well, can't you just start with what you have?'
Carol - 'Not really. The stuff I have at the moment is from a different supplier and I'm not sure the gold will match. I don't want to risk it' 
Blog - 'I didn't know you could get different golds'
Carol - 'Yup. There is red gold, orange gold, standard gold and yellow gold. I think the one I have is standard but because I sourced it in Thailand I'm not 100% sure'
Blog - 'Ah. Have you ordered more now?'
Carol - 'Yeah. 500 leaves of standard gold and a large pot of size just in case! But the frustrating thing is that I'm now going to have to wait a couple of days for it to arrive and then, because I have to let the size cure for three days before I can varnish it, it's probably going to be next week before I can get going on the painting'
Blog - 'And you have a deadline'
Carol - 'And I have a deadline' *sighs*

 Red Gold
 Orange Gold
 Standard Gold
Yellow Gold

My Values. *Mind Blown*

Wednesday, 31 January 2018


Blog - *looks at the title of the post* 'We've just tidied up! If you're going to blow your mind I'd rather you did it somewhere else!' *winks*
Carol - *laughs* 'I've been working through my DPD planner and I've had a bit of a revelation! There is a section in the planner all about values. You know, about what's really important to you in life. I had a good long think about what mine were, wrote them down and then spent some time unpicking what they actually meant to me.'
Blog - 'Why are you looking at values? I thought this was a business planner?'
Carol - 'It is! Here, I'll read you what it says "Identifying and owning your values is very powerful and can help you to identify who you are as a human, as a creative and business owner". The idea is that when you run your business according to your values you create a better business. You are more focused, you have a clearer vision of what you want to do and where you want to go AND you stand out from the crowd because you are more you'
Blog - 'Actually, that makes a lot of sense'
Carol - 'It does. And it's something I had given no thought to at all.'
Blog - 'So what did you come up with?'
Carol - 'There is more to these but I've paired them down a bit. So, Honesty and Integrity. I want to be true to me. I can't be all things to all people. If it is not in line with where I want my business to go then I have to say no.'
Blog - 'You do have a tendency to say yes to things cause you don't like letting people down'
Carol - 'I know. And by doing that I'm not being true to me or my business. I muddy the waters and then people approach me to do more of 'X' when I actually want to be known for doing 'Y'!'
Blog - 'You have chosen well young grasshopper!'
Carol - *laughs* 'You really do love watching that 1970s TV show "Kung Fu" don't you?'
Blog - *nods*
Carol - 'My second value is
Creativity. I want to create the way I do...not the way anyone, including me, thinks I should. Who cares if someone thinks that their 5 year old could do a better job of one of my illustrations or paintings? My work is not for everyone and that's ok. Embrace that and be more Marmite!
Blog - 'Be more Marmite. I like that!'
Carol - *beams* 'Have Courage. Feel the fear and do it anyway! People are important. Far more important than things so treat them well...always! Myself included! Be honest, fair, kind and firm. Keep Learning. Learn, learn, learn and then learn some more! Push out of the comfort zone cause I will never know what I am capable of until I do. Failure is ok. I can learn a lot from a failure so have I really failed?' *looks at Blog*
Blog - 'Ooooh. That last one!'
Carol - 'I know!! THAT was the thing that really blew my mind. If I fail and I learn lots from it then how can I call that a failure?'
Blog - 'If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?'
Carol - *looks at Blog*
Blog - 'What? I'm being all philosophical!'
Carol - *shakes head in a despairing manner*

Dream Plan Do VIP

Friday, 26 January 2018

Carol - *singing* 'I'm so excited...and I just can't hide it...'
Blog - *mock horror* 'Please don't tell me you WANT me!!'
Carol - 'Oh dear lord no!' *laughs*
Blog - 'Thank god for that!' *winks*
Carol - 'I'm excited because I won a competition!' *does happy dance*
Blog - *watches Carol dancing* 'You seriously need to work on your moves! What competition?'
Carol - 'Remember I told you that I had bought a planner which had been put together by The Design Trust called Dream Plan Do?'
Blog - 'Yeah'
Carol - 'Well, Patricia van den Akker, the driving force behind The Design Trust who has over 20 years experience helping creatives run successful businesses, invited people already using the planner to send her our juicy goal for this year along with 10 SMART actions that we were going to do to achieve it. The idea was that she would then go through them all and pick one person to join her Dream Plan Do VIP group. I nearly didn't bother entering cause I thought 'there is no way she's going to pick me' but I gave myself a telling off and entered anyway. She only went and e-mailed me yesterday to tell me I'd won!'
Blog - 'Ooohh that is awesome!'
Carol - 'It really is! She said "We had 32 people responding with loads of great ideas and plans. Carol stood out as she has got a big plan for this year to work towards a big exhibition, and had very clear actions including marketing, pricing, website and more. Really comprehensive but also bold and realistic at the same time". It proves that I am on the right track and that has given me a HUGE confidence boost!'
Blog - 'So, what does Dream Plan Do VIP actually mean for you?'
Carol - 'It means that every month I have access to two hours of online training with Patricia based on that month's topic. The first session goes into the topic in more depth and the second is a 'clinic' to review up to 4 members plans and goals. It really is an amazing opportunity to ask questions to someone in the know and to stay on track! It also means that I have access to an online community of creatives who I can learn from, share resources with AND I will get an accountability partner.' 
Blog - 'I am so pleased for you. That sounds brilliant' *beams*
Carol - 'I am a bit pleased for me too.' *beams back*...*looks round* 'Blog. What IS that big mound of stuff over there?'
Blog - *looks a bit shifty* 'Erm....'
Carol - 'Did you just shove all your junk into a corner and cover it up with a old duvet cover?'
Blog - 'Maybe'
Carol - *despairs* 'You can't leave it like that! Come on, I'll help you sort through it all'

New Year - New Affordable Art Range!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Carol - *ducks as piece of cardboard goes flying past her head* 'What the...?' *looks through door to see Blog's bum in the air and chaos everywhere* 'What ARE you doing?'
Blog - 'Huh' *emerges from pile of stuff* 'Oh. Hi. I thought I heard something'
Carol - 'What are you doing? You only narrowly missed my head with that cardboard'
Blog - 'Sorry. I decided to spring clean' *looks at mess* 'It may have got a bit out of hand'
Carol - 'You can say that again!'
Blog - 'It may have got a bit out of hand' *grins*
Carol - *sigh* 'I thought I would come round and show you what I've been working on. I have a new range'
Blog - *frowns at headless action man in his hand and throws it over his shoulder* 'I would love to see. Anything is better than cleaning!'

Carol - 'This 12" by 12" work is comprised of four separate 6" by 6" pieces. Each piece can be moved round to create a final image that is as unique as the person who has bought it. I won't show you all the variations but you get the idea'


Blog - 'These are cool. I really like the fact that you can move each section around till you have a version of the painting that works for you. It means that the buyer can be creative with your work.'
Carol - 'Exactly! AND you don't have to buy all four. You could buy one and frame it.'


'You could buy two, frame them both individually and hang them together or put them both in one frame to create one piece.'


'Or you could buy three, frame them all individually and hang them in a group or put two in one frame and hang the third separately.'


Or you could buy all four and put them together like I showed you earlier...the options are almost endless!'
Blog - 'It is a good idea. Am liking your lifestyle pics...they are a bit snazzy aren't they!'
Carol - *laughs* 'I am determined to really focus on my paintings this year so I'm going to be using these as a starting point and building on them. And I've already signed up for a 12 week intensive painting course which starts in February. The course covers composition, understanding line, colour & drawing, concepts & ideas, working in your own style and starting a series of paintings (including making a canvas and working with mood boards). It sounds full on but I'm excited about it...and slightly terrified too!' *laughs*
Blog - 'Excited and terrified is good. It means that you are probably on the right track!'
Carol - 'I've written it all down in my planner.'
Blog - *jaw drops* 'You bought a planner?'
Carol - *laughs* 'Yeah, I should probably have suggested you sit down before telling you that. It's called dream plan do and it's been put together by The Design Trust. I'm hoping that it will help me be a lot more focused and organised this year.'
Blog - *looks around* 'Perhaps I need one of those to help me get more organised'
Carol - *looks around too* 'I think you just need a skip!'

2017 Update

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Carol - *pops head round the door* 'Hey you'
Blog - 'CAROL!!' *wraps Carol in a big bear hug* 'How you doing? It's been aaaaages!'
Carol - *looks a bit sheepish* 'Yeah I know. 2017 wasn't the best year for me'
Blog - 'Sometimes things just don't work out quite as planned do they! What happened?'
Carol - 'Without boring the pants off you, cause I know what you're like and I really don't want to see you with no pants on, I had a few health problems which culminated in a hospital stay and a pretty major operation'
Blog - *shocked face*
Carol - 'It wasn't a lot of fun I can tell you and the surgery involved an 8 week recovery period! Still, I finished the GN and...'
Blog - 'Wait! Back up a minute. You finished the GN?' *jaw drops* 'As in finished finished?'
Carol - 'Yup' *beams* 'I completed the whole thing in July, it was sent off to 'them that are in the know about these kind of things' for feedback, and then myself and one of the writers sat down in November and did a full review. The feedback was really useful and, thankfully, very positive but, as expected, there were some changes needed so I knuckled down and got on with them over December. I finally finished the entire thing on Friday the 29th which felt like a really lovely way to end the year!'
Blog - 'I'll bet! So what happens with it now?'
Carol - 'It is now in the very capable hands of the writers. We already have a couple of publishers interested so keep your fingers crossed!'
Blog - *crosses fingers, toes, legs and eyes*
Carol - *laughs* 'I've missed you'
Blog - 'So what else have you been up to?'
Carol - 'To be honest, not a lot! I really struggled with my creativity after the surgery. My lovely friend Helen warned me that that might happen but it was awful and I really worried that I would never want to create anything ever again! She reassured me that it would pass but that was difficult to have faith in whilst I was in the thick of it!'
Blog - 'You really weren't kidding when you said 2017 wasn't a lot of fun were you!'
Carol - 'Nope! The not creating thing got so bad that I was almost paralysed by it! When I finally bullied myself into starting a painting, thinking that if I could just make a start all would be fine, I couldn't believe it when it actually made everything worse! I spent the whole time second guessing myself and I totally lost confidence in my ability to make creative decisions. The really weird thing was that everyone thought it was my best yet!' *shrugs* 'So I just didn't create! I didn't create for months! And then the GN edits came up and for some weird reason working on them wasn't so daunting. The hard graft had already been done so this was just tinkering. And it was actually really nice working with the characters again...it felt a bit like meeting up with old friends.'
Blog - 'You really are weird you know that?'
Carol - *laughs* 'You wouldn't have me any other way!'
Blog - 'You keep telling yourself that!'
Carol - 'I will! Anyway, the edits went really well and by the time I got to creating the final chapter I didn't even stop to think 'I might not be able to do this' I just went ahead and did it. Working on the GN revisions definitely got me over my creative hump and I will be forever grateful to it for that'
Blog - *sniggers*
Carol - 'What are you sniggering about?'
Blog - 'Creative hump'
Carol - *rolls eyes*



The 'OMG I can't do this anymore' Painting of 2017.
How's that for a catchy title? lol

Paintings!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Blog - 'Two posts in one month?! Holy crap!'
Carol - 'What can I say? I missed you'
Blog - 'That's cause I'm witty and hilarious'
Carol - 'Well, you're half way to being witty! I'll give you that!' *winks*
Blog - 'You trying to say I'm a half wit?'
Carol - *laughs*
Blog - 'Tsk. My charm is wasted on you. Wasted!' *shakes head*
Carol - *laughs*
Blog - 'You've been painting?'
Carol - 'I have. I've been commissioned to produce one of the largest paintings I've ever done. It's fecking HUGE. 30" by 20"!'
Blog - 'Bloody hell that IS big!'
Carol - 'I know, right! My lovely client really loves the trees I paint with the gold leaf background and has asked me to create a version with cherry blossoms instead'
Blog - 'That sounds interesting. Have you ever painted cherry blossom before?'
Carol - 'Nope. So I'm on a bit of a learning curve.'
Blog - 'I would imagine that's quite fun'
Carol - 'It is. I don't know if other artists work in the same way as me or not, but what I tend to do is work through my ideas by creating a number of smaller paintings. My client wants the blossom to be red and the background to be gold leaf so I started with the blossom first. I soon realised that how I had planned to do it in my head was not going to work cause the blossom came out really pink so I painted the background blue, added silver leaf and sold it.'
Blog - 'I guess that's the big advantage of creating smaller paintings as you figure everything out'
Carol - 'Exactly. And it also means that I'm not wasting anything'
Blog - 'Can I see the painting?'
Carol - 'Of course'



Blog - 'Ahh. I see what you mean about the flowers being pink. It's lovely though'
Carol - 'It looks so lovely when the sun hits it! The shimmer is amazing!'
Blog - 'So is this the only one you have done so far?'
Carol - 'Nope. I decided to fully guild a board with the gold leaf and then paint over the top of it. That's not something I had done before so I gilded it, left it to cure and then put four coats of specialist varnish over it'
Blog - *laughs* 'Left it to cure...was it sick?'
Carol - 'The size used to apply the leaf needs time to cure...' *looks at Blog* 'or harden if you prefer' *sticks out tongue* 'before you then add the varnish otherwise it will stay wet underneath and you don't want that'
Blog - 'Oh I see. Yes, you don't want wet size.' *pauses* 'Blimey. It's like speaking another language!'
Carol - 'You're right! It is like speaking another language' *laughs* 'Anyway, I've just finished it and I'm really pleased with how it's turned out. The blossom is very styalised but that's more in-keeping with the style of the trees and I think it works well. Wanna see?'
Blog - 'Hell yes'








Carol - 'What do you think?'
Blog - 'I really like that! You selling this one now?'
Carol - 'I am. I'm offering it at a discount for those who follow you and who follow me over on FB. It's my way of saying thank you for all the support'
Blog - 'That's cool. So go on...give me the sales pitch'
Carol - 'OK. It is £220 plus P&P and it will be going up to £270 + P&P at the end of next week. It is 30cm wide by 40cm long and is a mixed media piece comprising of acrylic painting and a gold leaf background. It has been created on an Ampersand Gessoboard so will require framing. Personally? I would suggest you use a floating frame as I think it would look very contemporary and rather stunning! It would also enable the gold to shine which is what you want when you buy a piece of art that has gold leaf on it. Oh and I'm happy to be paid in installments if £220 plus P&P is too much all in one go.'
Blog - 'Well done. I know you hate that bit'
Carol - 'I really do. It's the bit I find the hardest'
Blog - 'So are you about to start on the big one?'
Carol - 'No. I've already gilded a canvas so am going to try this style on the canvas to see how it looks. Obviously it will have a texture and I'm not sure whether I want it to or not cause I actually really like how smooth this is.'
Blog - 'I like the smoothness of it too'
Carol - 'Yeah, but doing it on a board means that it would need to be framed and that's an additional cost for the client'
Blog - 'That's true! Are you going to re-create this on canvass then?'
Carol - 'No. I'm also going to have a play with the design and have parts of it like a 'ghost tree'.'
Blog - 'A ghost tree?'
Carol - 'Yeah. I shared a picture of this over on FB when I'd only painted a few blossoms and one of my FB friends said he loved the drawing cause it looked like it had been etched into the gold. I think it might be interesting to paint some of it and leave other areas. If it doesn't work I'll just paint all of it! The point of the piece it to see how it looks with a texture so I've nothing to lose and everything to gain.' *grins*
Blog - 'I shall look forward to seeing how it turns out'
Carol - 'Me too!' *laughs*
 
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