Gabriella Buckingham

Painting and Illustration

My second Skillshare class - Do you know how to stretch watercolour paper?

Courses LearningGabriella BuckinghamComment
gabriella buckingham filming how to stretch watercolour paper

In February this year, I began filming and released my first Skillshare class; it's taken a while to get back to it but a few days ago I published my second class; do you know how to stretch watercolour paper?

It's a simple but essential skill if you're a watercolour painter or simply like to paint on paper. The class itself is only 15 minutes long. If you are quick and use this code you can watch the whole thing for free and you won't have to sign up:  https://skl.sh/2LZe8JP

If on the other hand you have been meaning to sign up to Skillshare this code will give you full access to my courses and all the other 1000's on there for two months. Then you can decide whether to pay a subscription from then on. Just click on this link.

If you watch it please leave a review and if you're joining Skillshare come and follow me and check out my courses! Thank you ;)

Open Studios

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I am half way through the Open Studios and it's been great - apart from today when the heavens opened and it just wouldn't stop! i sold a card after moving everything into my little gallery space with everything else. 

I am open from 10am-5pm on Saturday and Sunday - on weekends 2nd/3rd June and 9th/10th June. Hope to see some of you there. Visit Norfolk! If you don't know where I live just contact me and I will send you directions and the address...

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The first two days of #Artistsinapril the Instagram challenge for Artists in April 2018

Instagram ChallengesGabriella BuckinghamComment

These images are all for the first two days of #artistsinapril  the instagram challenge I devised for Artists in April 2018. Day one - self portrait and day two - beginnings.

 this one was imagined  - a quick scribble in my sketchbook.  I love the freedom of not trying to be accurate and anatomically correct. I want to indulge that side of me more in the future.

this one was imagined  - a quick scribble in my sketchbook.  I love the freedom of not trying to be accurate and anatomically correct. I want to indulge that side of me more in the future.

 This one is observed but still quick - I stopped myself from going on too long!

This one is observed but still quick - I stopped myself from going on too long!

 I only posted the image on the left on instagram, but the one on the right illustrates what I was thinking more.. that beginnings are a cycle, the fruition of an idea can and hopefully does lead to the seed for the next.

I only posted the image on the left on instagram, but the one on the right illustrates what I was thinking more.. that beginnings are a cycle, the fruition of an idea can and hopefully does lead to the seed for the next.

It's never too late to join in or dip in to create an artwork or even photograph something that suggests one of the prompts. Find me on Instagram at GabriellaBuckingham or look at the hashtag #artistsinapril for a list of the prompts. They're also here on this blog a couple of posts down.

Tips for beginning a career in the art industry for sixth formers - should you or shouldn't you go to art college?

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Tonight I am going to a careers evening geared towards sixth formers at Norwich School in Norfolk as part of a creative panel and I wanted to gather my thoughts and those of friends and contacts in the design world who are working in a variety of creative industries; there are plenty of other considerations but the primary one at this age is should or shouldn't you go to art college?

I'll begin with some of my own thoughts and intersperse them with some gems from friends!

You might enjoy this short video by Alan Watts too - which could inspire you to dream, thank you to Helen Wilde of Ovo Bloom for the suggestion: " I’ve never forgotten how it made me feel, I love embroidery. Like I absolutely LOVE it, that video made me and is still making me want to be the best at it, become a master of the craft that I love ". 

You have one life. 

As Sally Howe says "Do what you love. Work hard. Find your niche. Believe in yourself." I'd just like to add that money is important, but that if you have a passion and start there that can follow if you have the right attitude. Also it's important to accept that sometimes you might need to be adaptable and take a job, part time or full time for a while as you build your passion and there's nothing wrong with that. Just keep going. As Jane Lindsay of Snapdragon says " .. what you choose at 17 is probably not what you will be doing at 30 and that that is brilliant."

Creative careers are wonderful and an essential contribution to the world. You get to manifest something, create a physical thing and have an effect on a person with something as small as a joyful greeting card or have an effect on an environment and make peoples physical, everyday lives improve. Whether you want to be a painter, illustrator, ceramicist or an architect or graphic designer or get into advertising - you can go either go to art college or try to learn on the job. In most cases art college is the answer but nowadays there is that issue of debt. So it's down to your circumstances, tenacity and thinking for solutions if money is an issue. But that doesn't mean you can't begin experimenting and working towards your goal now.

Would it be practical for you to become an apprentice or take another route? A very successful friend of mine who is Chief Creative officer of Rockstar Chris Catchpole  wrote an article a few years ago on a controversial idea he had for  paid internships in ad agencies  - his point being that he has seen so many new degree students apply for jobs with little if any relevant skills for today's advertising world and that they could learn more with him in 4 weeks than in 4 years in a course taught by people who have no up to date knowledge of how things are done now. Read his article and the strong responses here.

To be an architect and interior designer ( involved in the construction of interiors rather than the decorative soft furnishings aspect ) you really do need a vocational, practical degree. If you know what you want to do then you will be able to explore what you actually need to do to start working in that area. Think carefully too about whether you are the sort of person who wants to work for someone else or run your own business. Can you imagine working alone happily or will you prefer to be working in a busy studio do you think? Don't worry too much because at some point in your life you can try both. 

Do you have a clear idea of what you want to do? You don't have to imagine your whole life at this point but do think about it. Make a list of every artistic career you can think of and go through the list really imagining yourself doing each thing - immediately some will seem wrong to you, others may make you curious, others  - perhaps just one or two will make you excited and that's how you want to feel.. maybe a bit scared ( that's good ) but excited to find out how.

Explore and get passionate about your dreams. Do you sit in buildings noticing how the light falls, where the facilities are - what's on the walls, how it could be so much better organised? Maybe interior design and architecture are for you. Do you love fashion and find yourself changing and tweaking your outfits to personalise them  - learn to sew, see if you like it. Do you love drawing - keep a sketchbook - draw from life and your imagination. The more you do the former the easier the latter will be. Do you love stationery and paper products? Surface pattern or graphic design could be for you. There are courses on line for many skills, there's adult education whereever you live to learn in person - great for practical skills ( check for age exclusions ), try things. If you can get a parent to be your guarantor you can set up an Etsy shop which costs little, apart from a small listing fee and a little commission if you sell something. You have to be over 13 and get a feel for what sells if you're a creative entrepreneur. 

The thing is these days there are huge opportunities to create your own work now - as a young person. To become visible - show your work, even sell things via social media and blogging. Connecting with people who are already in the industry. If you have an online presence be sure you know how to use it and what you are using it for. Bear in mind that future employers can easily find you and look into the past so if you want to let off steam keep a private account for that ;) 

Another view from artist friend Kath Konopka Moncrief " I think art school is so much broader now...with technology moving so quickly, even fine artists are creating using digital tools...that now a “graphic art” is “new media” and encompasses not just design and color and drawing, but video and apps and retouching and 3-d, all of which require talent and art school and can make for very exciting careers!" 

Doing a foundation course in which you get to actually try a few different disciplines before you go to art college to specialise is a really good idea. Try to find one that gives you access to as many skills as possible - unless you are really sure what area you want to work in. I enjoyed mine in Cambridge but we had to choose from three disciplines in the first term and specialise in one for the next two terms and that wasn't long enough for me. I decided but I could have done all three quite happily!  There are courses that allow you to experiment much more. So investigate. You'll be doing intensive work in one area at art college so be sure you are wholehearted. That said you can leave or change course ( which I did ) while you are there.

Here are a few words of wisdom from other creatives who got in touch with me; as you will see there are contrasting opinions and paths and it's important to realise this; the beauty is - this is YOUR life and you want to find YOUR path to the bring out all your own abilities:

"I really fancied an art career, but decided on Biology, because I liked that too. I taught Biology for 10 years, which I loved, and hubby and I paid off our mortgage. After my daughter was born, I gave up teaching and went back to arty stuff! I now earn enough to pay the bills (as we don't have a mortgage anymore!). It is very boring, but I am really glad I did the money earning thing first, to give me more freedom now. I get to spend far more time with my children,and take days off whenever I fancy. " Kate Garrett 

"you don't have to have a GCSE in Art to work in a creative environment " -

"My advice would be not to worry if you don't have a big dream/plan/goal, take small steps in a direction you enjoy and eventually something will emerge. At 16 I never knew I could do what I do now as a job, it kind of just happened! There are so many jobs in the creative industries... everything you see has been designed by someone." - Alison Hullyer

"Definitely ‘have confidence in your own style’ - there’s no right or wrong, art is very subjective so stay passionate about what you do, and don’t compare yourself to others. " Michelle - Wink Design

"I still feel Art college has a place...where else do you get the opportunity to explore and develop skills....and time ! However, I would also suggest doing some sort of ‘business’ course too...if you want to be freelance ...It’s one thing to be able produce good work it’s quite another to make a living from it! " Michelle Leeder, artist.

" it's the jobs you do because you have to, like working in pubs and restaurants and shops and working for the council, that teach you the skills in getting along with people that you'll need later when presenting ideas for getting commissions or ..trying to sell your work in exhibitions.
...it's never too late - time out from making or creating is still time spent looking and developing your taste and appreciation. Do something little and often towards your goal. It's ok not to have goals. All of you is valuable and unique, not just the arty bit. Play and try things out, randomly in other art forms in different scales. Make mistakes! It's taken me over 30 years to give myself permission to do something even though I know it's not going to work! If something works first time you don't learn as much as you do if it fails, even though you hate that it's failed. Ask for help! Ask to go and learn from someone directly. Running an art business you will be lucky if you spend 20% of your time on what you make. Spend time in silence without distraction. Do the hard thing rather than the easy thing." Karen Slade - Company of Artisans

"I think Art College is still incredibly important for the start of an artistic career of any kind. It gives you an insight into different art and design areas - 3D, photography, textiles, fine art etc. You get chance to experiment and to get a feel for your own style. I also loved the art history and we also studied film - gave me such a broad base to work from and opened my eyes to the possibilities of different artistic careers. Definitely agree with taking a look at the business side of an art career if you are starting out on your own or looking at freelance work.' - Heidi Clawson - Giddy Kipper

"I’d say art school is vital BUT tell them to ask questions about the course and exactly what it covers. I used to have summer interns in the studio from several well respected art schools and I was shocked at the poor level of technical skills they had - my understanding was that because they had so many in a year (up to 200) the students had been left to teach themselves about the programmes. This means that the studios have to basically start again with training and of course, puts the students at a huge disadvantage. I felt sorry for them, having got into massive debt without being taught basic skills. But generally people do need to have gone through formal training - we had lots of people apply who really wanted to design or had done fine art degrees and it wasn’t enough. I come from a family almost entirely employed in the arts - parents generation were all classical musicians, sister is a costume designer, I ran a design studio - so I’d say of course it’s more than possible if you really want to do it, but you have to truly love it to be worth the probable lower income and more chaotic lifestyle than your regularly employed peers. But I wouldn’t swap it for the world!" Hil Bevan 

"I would say that besides the formal Art School it is always good to find a private Art teacher/mentor that helps us follow our own evolution. That helps to step a bit aside from the hundreds of artists that we are in the world. And follow your own path too. I would say that being an artist requires to be a bit indepedent, and that means that you have to learn how manage time and money income. So Courageous souls I guess..." Silvina from Pencilory.com

"I feel when you and I were at art school" (Trina and I both left art college in the early 90s) "there were so many of us who drifting there and drifted through (in a beautiful way though!) I’d read too many teen novels about girls going to art school in London. I never focused on what I’d do at the end of the course and our professional practice section consisted of three (useless) sheets of paper. I got a full grant and never thought about the cost of studying. Between 2001 and 2012 when teaching mostly Professional Practice in art school the biggest difference seemed to be how many students had part-time jobs, lived at home, wanted to learn technical skills (photoshop etc) thinking about after their degree...because they would have to pay for their learning they were mostly more business-like. I totally understand this but felt it meant some of the joy of being emerged in a course was gone. If I were going to study now I’d be worried about debt and possibly choose a more “secure” career path. I worry that art schools will become just for the wealthier students (or the very confident)....trying to say...I’d encourage prospective students to choose something they are really passionate about even if a very competitive field as far more likely to find success and happiness than in a compromised career choose. And most importantly a good art school education will provide many transferable skills and develop critical thinking that will be useful in whatever they go on to do" TrinaDalziel.com

"The best advice I ever received was to make my sketchbooks look so fat and inviting you couldn't help but have a look. I did A level art, A level Ceramics and A level Art History. I went to Loughborough for foundation and Sheffield for my degree in Silversmithing and Jewellery. I'm now a Jewellery buyer for a retail company." Janet Bayfield

"Art college is important because it gives someone structure and time and deadlines to focus on creating their work and explore and develop their voice. It also lets one see how others work and you learn skills (esp computer ones), and you make wonderful contacts that could lead to things..." Lana Le - aka Wooly Pear

"art college...I have experience in working before college and after college and I’d have to say that if you do a lot of work on your own, aren’t afraid to experiment and do research, you may not need college. But for some of us, we need that guidance to get started. Because it’s a great environment to be curious and ask questions." Mitzie Testani

"Don't be afraid to admit to yourself when you are not happy. I was all set for a degree in art to then lead into teaching. After a term I was miserable. It was not what I wanted at all. I dropped out of uni and ended up working in a shop for a few years. I was so scared about changing what I thought was supposed to be my career path but in my early twenties, I started my own creative business, by the age of 30 that business was paying the bills for my family and employing a staff member. You never know where life will lead you next!" Lisa Swift Altered Chic.com

"Choose your own path and don’t be swayed by parents, tutors, friends etc. Listen to what they have to say, sure, but on balance only you know what is truly right for you.
Maybe live a bit and experience life, travel too if you can as all this adds richness, depth and integrity to your creativity" - Deryn Relph

There are other things to think about beginning your art career : pricing, copying, how to make a profit, practice, licensing. All important subjects. I will come back to write more another time. Otherwise this is going to end up being a book of a post.

If I were young again this is what I would do:  I'd do everything I could to do an art degree in my field - I'd work hard, spend less time in the student bar, get a Saturday job at the very least (I did do that) and I would open an online shop on Etsy aiming at selling my work while at college, adding to my income and keeping any debt to a minimum. Learn about costs of creating products and building in enough profit to make it worthwhile.  I'd join instagram and probably Behance and Tumblr. The other thing about being visible online is that people spot you and opportunities arise. You don't have to take them but make a note, be grateful and make contacts. Social media really can be your friend in building your career. Just don't get obsessed with it. Or comparisons.

Please do comment if you have advice for young people wanting to start a creative career or any questions yourself; thank you!

A new Instagram challenge for Artists - # artistsinapril

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Have you ever taken part in the Instagram challenge #marchmeetthemaker by Joanne Hawker? I have  - it's a great idea and of course it means that Joanne has brought together all sorts of makers, designers and artists. I wanted to do the same for painters, sculptors, filmmakers, ceramicists, fashion designers and illustrators to raise our profiles; have fun; discover things about ourselves; find like-minded connections and potential clients.

This challenge is open to anyone who considers themselves an artist at whatever stage of their career.

I have tried to strike a balance between light-hearted prompts and prompts which inspire a bit more thought and discussion. As artists, we can interpret the prompts in any way which comes to us.

It will be interesting to see a combination of posts from new artists and long-established artists. Assuming people discover the hashtag!! That's where you come in. If you know someone who might want to take part (and that might be one post or all - no whip cracking) then please let them know about it. Share this blog post and or download the prompts. You're welcome to share wherever you hang out on line. Thank you!

You are welcome to comment below. If this goes well I'd like to make it an annual challenge for artists.

When you post your interpretation of the image for the day please include #artistsinapril Day1 self-portrait (for example) and @gabriellabuckingham (crediting me is not essential - it would just be nice so that your followers can find out about the challenge easily - plus I will be able to see your post when you do it!) I'm going to make sure there's a link to this post in my Instagram profile. Ta - Dah!  Go forth and create! I am looking forward to this!

My first Skillshare Class

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For a while now I've wanted to teach and I know other designers and illustrators who have ventured into the online world. I may teach in person at some point but here is the next best thing. 

I have teamed up with Skillshare to create my first class showing how I create hand lettering to inspire others to just have a go. I had no special training. Other than being educated partly by nuns who insisted that we write with italic pens.. so if you count that then I had some sort of grounding in thick and thin. And I studied graphic design for a while but I was more interested in pictures. It was only really in my 40s that I realised that although my family think I have "doctors writing", that actually, it's quite nice with the right materials. Legibility isn't everything - although for a brand it could be. It depends what else supports it. 

If you'd like to see my work process you can watch my class on Skillshare completely free. If you do I would be very grateful if you would review it for me. Each review will help with the visibility of my class. Thank you so much. This is the link to watch it for free http://skl.sh/2szTvLI

If however you've been meaning to join Skillshare and would like to view my class and all the others there too for two months without paying until after that then you can use this Premium link , http://skl.sh/2F7ajww  which I will be rewarded for once your first monthly payment goes through. 

Week Four of the January painting project

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This week I may find it difficult to paint much - I have a project going on and only until Wednesday evening to get most of it done as I'm visiting a friend in Hampshire unexpectedly! Can't wait for the mini break but it does mean that I won't be able to devote too much time to it all. I am wondering if the self imposed pressure is really such a good thing!  This quick semi abstract is how I feel today due to back ache. But I rather like it. Sometimes simple and quick is best. That might be what I will keep to until Thursday morning. Not what I had planned but there will be other days. 

January 19th - week three of the January painting project - an unfinished composition

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 Unfinished

Unfinished

I love the feeling of this one. There is a lot that could be done to finish it off but this was all I managed to do from Thursday in the third week of my project. It was another purely from imagination which I've enjoyed doing but inevitably it means a different look to my work. I do like that though. To my mind the ideal would be a combination of observed elements and imagined. Just deciding that makes this discover project worthwhile for me.

January 17th - Week Three of the January Painting Project

Gabriella BuckinghamComment
 There's something about this sketch on wood I did today that makes me want to leave it there. Again I had little time but I knew I wanted to use these colours. I had the yellow base coat ready from another day and this image is totally imagined. Sometimes you see shapes in the paint and I saw these hands. I think she's about to sew or mend a shirt. For me this project is really starting to teach me what I like in a painting. Of course this looks unfinished but it then depends on your definition of finished. I love the veils of colour and glimpses of underpainting coming through. I don't know what I will paint tomorrow. It will very much depend on how my day goes. I have a big project that I am trying to complete by the end of January which may or may not come off. It's not painting related but if it goes well I will be starting to teach painting skills on line later in the year. We shall see! 

There's something about this sketch on wood I did today that makes me want to leave it there. Again I had little time but I knew I wanted to use these colours. I had the yellow base coat ready from another day and this image is totally imagined. Sometimes you see shapes in the paint and I saw these hands. I think she's about to sew or mend a shirt. For me this project is really starting to teach me what I like in a painting. Of course this looks unfinished but it then depends on your definition of finished. I love the veils of colour and glimpses of underpainting coming through. I don't know what I will paint tomorrow. It will very much depend on how my day goes. I have a big project that I am trying to complete by the end of January which may or may not come off. It's not painting related but if it goes well I will be starting to teach painting skills on line later in the year. We shall see! 

January 16th - Third week of the January Painting Project

Gabriella BuckinghamComment
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I'm feeling overwhelmed today. I had a wonderful milestone birthday yesterday and spent the day away from home seeing friends and celebrating in the evening at our favourite local pub.  There are a few projects I need to work on so I am finding a daily - unrelated painting session isn't easy to fit in and I am very conscious that I need to delve into subject matter more. This is most definitely more of a sketch but there are elements that I love - the two stripes of pink for collar bones being my favourite!  The lower half of the painting is fresh and lively. I am giving myself permission to paint whatever I like tomorrow, figure or animal. After all,  no one is holding me to account, only myself.

This was painted on card with acrylic.

Second half of week two of the January Painting Project

Gabriella BuckinghamComment
 This is the final image that I worked on for an hour or two from Wednesday to Friday.  If you want to see a couple of earlier stages I have uploaded some more images on  Instagram .  As for this painting, it is acrylic on wood and layers of gesso. I began by painting over an illustration I wasn't happy with so there were all sorts of colours coming through as well as a dark charcoal colour before I began to paint on top. I might do a little more on the woman's hands while trying not to overwork it. That's something I am guilty of in the past! This approach is a looser version of the way I used to illustrate in the 1990s. It feels really good to be painting regularly again. I think I will continue with figures next week, perhaps combining still life and people. It depends how busy  Ink Paint Paper  becomes.

This is the final image that I worked on for an hour or two from Wednesday to Friday.  If you want to see a couple of earlier stages I have uploaded some more images on Instagram.

As for this painting, it is acrylic on wood and layers of gesso. I began by painting over an illustration I wasn't happy with so there were all sorts of colours coming through as well as a dark charcoal colour before I began to paint on top. I might do a little more on the woman's hands while trying not to overwork it. That's something I am guilty of in the past! This approach is a looser version of the way I used to illustrate in the 1990s. It feels really good to be painting regularly again. I think I will continue with figures next week, perhaps combining still life and people. It depends how busy Ink Paint Paper becomes.

Tuesday in week two of the January Painting Project

Gabriella BuckinghamComment
 A quick post today :) I want to paint a wide variety of faces this week, but I've been so busy with other things that it remains to be seen if I manage it. I have a big project coming up and an unexpected commission - which is great - and quite a few hand painted Inkpaintpaper orders to complete by the end of the week. However I am not going to be stressed about it. To be painting every day is the main goal. So far I have done that.  If you fancy joining in then please read this blog post   https://gabriellabuckingham.com/blog/2017/12/31/the-january-painting-project   which tells you all about it and how I can see what  you're up to. If you want any painting tips then just ask!

A quick post today :) I want to paint a wide variety of faces this week, but I've been so busy with other things that it remains to be seen if I manage it. I have a big project coming up and an unexpected commission - which is great - and quite a few hand painted Inkpaintpaper orders to complete by the end of the week. However I am not going to be stressed about it. To be painting every day is the main goal. So far I have done that.

If you fancy joining in then please read this blog post

https://gabriellabuckingham.com/blog/2017/12/31/the-january-painting-project

which tells you all about it and how I can see what  you're up to. If you want any painting tips then just ask!

Week two of the January Painting Project - faces and figures

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When I was a school girl we all had rough books that were supposed to be used to take notes in the lesson. Mainly I used mine to draw ladies in clothes I designed.. I feel as though this week I am going to be going back into that space and rediscovering that naive imagined style. I might use some reference here and there - I can't be sure yet! This one popped out of my arm and down the brush. It is acrylic on artboard. I stamped a pattern on the surface before I painted it which gives it an interesting colour patina. Fun!

The first week of my January Painting Project - part 2

Gabriella BuckinghamComment
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I love the earrings in this painting and enjoyed the challenge of the pink comb! This is the only A4 size painting that I made this week, all the others are A5 plywood. Here's a picture of this one earlier in the painting process. I've been painting at the desk in my office all week while I work on my challenge in the best light alongside the Inkpaintpaper orders that come in daily. I haven't yet reached a stage where I only have specific days allocated to each business but that is an aim for later in the year. It's much nicer being inside the house rather than in my summer house in the winter.

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I always love paintings at this stage, as I write this it seems to me that a composition with less finished areas might be something that could work for me. 

If you are reading this as a novice painter you might like to know what materials I used for all the paintings this week. I have several A5 and A4 pieces of birch plywood which I love because no amount of paint will wrinkle or warp the surface. The materials I used are:

Gesso - in some cases I combined acrylic paint (one or two colours) and Sandable Gesso and in others I used acrylic paint and Acrylic Ground for pastels - both by Golden. Sandpaper! ( the fine grain). 

Paints - I used a mixture of Heavy body and Open acrylics - again by Golden and possibly some Liquetex.  

Brushes - a wide variety. I have two mugs full of brushes  - both good - and scraggy! The latter are wonderful for textural or expressive brush strokes and "sketching" out a painting. I try to use wide flat brushes to cover large areas and use narrower brushes for detail. The brand I have used throughout my career as an illustrator are Prolene ProArte 101 - I find you can use these brushes with watercolour and acrylic and they are perfect for using acrylic as if it is watercolour. 

 A detail - I really loved painting this lipstick.. a little bit of glamour

A detail - I really loved painting this lipstick.. a little bit of glamour

Of course you could  stretch watercolour paper with "Butterfly Tape" (as me if you don't know how to do this) or use canvas board instead of birch ply.  For this project  - a daily paint -  a sketchbook could be ideal. Particularly if you are simply experimenting with colour and shape and quick compositions that you might develop later. I am aiming at teaching myself to paint, discovering what I enjoy doing most as a fine art painter rather than an illustrator; I do love to paint one-off images but just from this brief week I know that shapes, ceramics, colour and light are key ingredients . When I am inventing and imagining then light is far more difficult to portray.  I will not worry about it.

This is my final painting - the fourth in five days. I loved painting the lipstick casing - such beautiful colours. 

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For next week I am going to work on something completely different - still painting but I am going to concentrate on faces and figures. I shall probably do at least one self portrait. I love paint so much. About two years ago I painted this face completely from imagination. Next week I will not worry about whether something is from life or imagination. It will be fun to see what I think of doing under slight pressure! I hope some of you will want to join in. Find me over at Instagram

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The first week of my January Painting Project - Part 1

Gabriella BuckinghamComment
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This is my first painting finished on January 1st. Like all the work this week it is acrylic on birch plywood. In an ideal world I would be creating a painting a day but this being winter the days are really short! I have other commissions to produce for customers this week so I am accepting a daily painting isn't going to be possible but painting daily is. Which is the main goal!

big-cup-with-garlic-and-tomatoes.jpg

To get back into painting on a regular basis I decided to concentrate on still life - objects that appeal to me and are to hand. I used to look at stylised paintings with flat bottomed cups and wonder why artists distorted what they saw when I was little.. but I always loved how that looked. My son laughed when he saw this because it looked wrong to him :) For me it's simply a way to paint something from two angles, it just looks more interesting and you aren't limited to exactly what you see. The background I imagined. One of the things I love about East Anglia are the skies and particularly the clouds. When I get around to painting some landscapes again you can expect to see more.

 It's been lovely to see other painters joining in too, this particular hash tag on instagram shows the work of Penny Lindop in the middle and bottom right. Penny is setting a time limit of 20 minutes each day and creating expressive, pattern like work. 

It's been lovely to see other painters joining in too, this particular hash tag on instagram shows the work of Penny Lindop in the middle and bottom right. Penny is setting a time limit of 20 minutes each day and creating expressive, pattern like work. 

I have managed to prepare a few backgrounds to work on top of in the coming weeks too using a variety of acrylic colours, gesso and a textures acrylic ground by Golden paints. I usually only use water to dilute my paint but I have some soft Gel (semi-gloss) which is really useful to knock back brighter colours and yet not lose them completely. I will point out where I use that on future posts. 

Happy painting! Let me know if you want to know anything about my process - I'd be happy to answer any questions here or here: https://www.instagram.com/gabriellabuckingham/

The January Painting Project

Gabriella BuckinghamComment
ready-to-paint.jpg

For many years I've wanted to paint and only paint to earn a living, but that has eluded me. As a friend pointed out, maybe I didn't want to that much otherwise I'd be doing it! I think there's truth in that, I enjoy variety so much. I thought I had to be all or nothing but that's nonsense. I have earned a living through illustration since my first professional job in 1990 and in the last ten years making and selling my own prints, cards and wrapping paper direct to the public and during that time I've had concentrated spells of painting. I've enjoyed using the computer to aid the design process for illustration work, taking ink drawings into Illustrator and turning them into colour that can be manipulated and filled in Photoshop . That's definitely something I'm glad I know how to do, but there are hundreds of thousands of people who can paint incredibly with a computer and design purely on it and I don't really want that to be me. There's something wonderful about a tangible piece of art with texture and wholeness. I always want to be someone who uses mixed media but I have a little voice inside me that I see as "painting" that whispers at me constantly. This is my year to investigate this properly.

This January I am going to paint every day and it would be lovely if you wanted to join me and explore what you can do too! I'm going to work in blocks of five days with weekends off. I still need to make orders for customers within this time. And if you are joining in just do what you can manage; you might feel so inspired that you want to paint 7 days a week. We all have demands on our time - I have two teenagers who need regular feeding for example and they will still be at home for most of the coming week! 

I am thinking about hash tags to use on Instagram where I will be showing some live elements of my painting process in Stories. That way you can see what I am doing and I can find you if you are joining in. It almost goes without saying that it is completely optional to post what you are doing.

I will be using these for this project, both of which have few or no other contributers yet:

#paintingwithgabriellabuckingham

#januarypaint2018

#januarypaintingproject

#inspiretopaint

and these which have regular contributers - some more than others:

#createeveryday 

#creativityfound

#mybeautifulmess

#doitfortheprocess

you will have your own favourites and might want to get your work under the nose of specific people or no one at this point! I'll be tagging mine with my own name and different tags each day depending on what I am painting with, on what and the stage I am at with it.

You don't have to use any tags at all; if you want me to see what you're doing you can either tag me directly or use the #paintwithgabriellabuckingham tag - as I am almost 100% sure that will be one no one else will use! I will then know that you're following along. Whether you choose to keep  your work private or share it is entirely up to you. I just hope that you feel excited to paint and get into the habit.

I will be painting with acrylic for January, both on wood, paper and canvas - whatever I have to hand really! The beauty of acrylic is that it is fast drying and depending on what formulation you have - or even how much water you use it can be treated like oils or watercolours. I like to use both approaches in my work.

For the first five days I am going to choose five objects to paint from life. This doesn't necessarily mean that I will paint them realistically and I might do a few versions of each taking a different approach with the same subject. I'm interested in colour, light and pattern.

I want to start small and just see what happens with the aim of completing a few larger paintings by the end of January. 

What about you - do you have a plan? 

Working on Photography

Gabriella BuckinghamComment
pirate and fairy invitations for children

I like this photograph of a birthday party design I created for my older range Moobaacluck a few years ago; it's still available to buy on Notonthehighstreet.com, just look for Inkpaintpaper  and in my Etsy shop InkpaintpaperUK. It's a classic traditonal design that I created with watercolour and ink line. Over the years I've become better and better at photography but there's still plenty of room for improvement. Keeping to natural light and using a tripod is best for me. Within those parameters there is plenty to learn!