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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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/
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:
and these which have regular contributers - some more than others:
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?
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!
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I worked on this design over the weekend and used sections of my abstract paintings from my sketch book as sections of the background. I really enjoyed building this work; I think there were 45 layers in total! This is an alternative Valentine card - I wanted it to work just as well as a card to send to a best friend.
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I am thrilled with thsi fabric design I've just added to Spoonflower, I created it in October from a small abstract painting I did as part of the course FolioFocus with RiseDesignandShine. I have made it available to buy on Spoonflower from today. More coming soon!
Here I am again. I've finally built what I hope will be my long standing art and illustration site. There are still products to add to the shop of course. A shop with one item isn't going to set the world on fire.
Now the key thing for me is to spend more time exploring areas of work in more depth - as well as designing for Moobaacluck and any other freelance illustration jobs that come in of course!
In August I'm going to be starting Sherry London's new course that you can read about here. She is a Photoshop guru and I know I will learn a lot from it. The only trouble is it concludes while I am on holiday but I'll be able to watch everything even if I can't do it all. Either way I will be taking my sketchbook on holiday and just drawing. It's been ages since I have had that luxury.