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Happy New Year 2015

I’ve managed to sneak an extra painting into 2014 at the last minute. This is Gypsy having a run along the beach at sunset, and she’s a belated gift for my friend Clara.

Gypsy running on the beach at sunset

A4 (ish) in Acrylics

This was my first painting in acrylics. I think it will take a bit of practice to get the paint flowing the way I’d like it, but I enjoyed the challenge and worked with a limited palette of yellow, orange and purple.

I plan to paint more in 2015 and also to use my new set of Polychromos coloured pencils. I’ll have to have a detailed think about goals and resolutions but that’s a start!

I hope you have a creative 2015! Cheers!

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Festive Felines

Two Cats Napping

Two Cats Napping

I’m still at the stage of being in love with this one, it’s great to feel like that about something you have just created. It’s not that I can’t see room for improvement – there’s always something – but I was trying a few things that I’ve been too cautious about in the past and found to my delight that being bold can have great results.

I enjoyed playing with the colours and light in my first portrait in colour. The tricky part was combining separate reference images with different lighting – something I had shied away from before. It probably isn’t as accurate as it might have been if I had worked from a single photo, but I think it encouraged me to be creative and I made the light warmer and softer as a result – making the fur on the tabby, Garlic purplish. It almost has the look of a picture book illustration.

I’m so glad that I was able to finish it a little earlier than expected and got it sent in time for Christmas. Emma ordered the pastel painting of her best friend’s cats as a gift after a tough year and both ladies were enthusiastic about the result.

I hope you all have a great New Year.

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Pony Portrait

Highland Pony Portrait

Highland Pony Portrait

I was very keen to share this one but as it was commissioned as a festive gift, I had to wait until it had been received!

I loved working on this piece, the reference photo (courtesy of the pony’s owner) was great because it showed off both the details of his face from a dynamic angle and I feel the result is a portrait full of character.

The woman who ordered it for one of her daughters, also commissioned me to do the previous Highland Pony portrait for her own home. It was a pleasure to deliver both to her.

The two portraits side by side

The two portraits side by side

I have one more completed pastel painting of two felines to share once I get the go ahead that it has been received. It is my first pastel portrait in full colour and was also a lot of fun. I’d better get creating something new to share soon too!

Happy Holidays!

I hope you are having a great holiday, whatever that is to you. Feasts, sweets, family get-togethers, board games, a good book, favourite films, personal reflection, gifts, parties etc. Here we’re a bit greedy and celebrate from Yule to New Year. So we have plenty of fun.

I’m excited about 2015, I’ve got plenty of lovely art supplies to play with and ideas for what I’d like to achieve. Do you have big plans this year?

Having Goals

You might have noticed that I disappeared during November… or maybe you didn’t! In the last couple of days of October, I decided to take part in National Novel Writing Month, an annual challenge to write 50,000 words of an original story in November. I had done it before, but at that point I didn’t have a toddler to take care of, so I didn’t expect to achieve it. And yet I did.

Goals can be powerful. Having support from people pursing similar goals is even more so.

Today I went to my local art group (which I attend irregularly due to the aforementioned toddler) and I was speaking to one of the other artists there who was telling me about the watercolour cottage he was painting. He said it was his last watercolour. I waited, wondering what he meant. And he explained that he was going to be working in acrylics next year, that he’d been working in watercolour for a year and was bored and frustrated with it now.

So I asked him if he set new goals each year. And he does. Some to do with art, some to do with music (his other passion), some to do with DIY. He achieves some and lets others slide by (the DIY mostly!) but it gives him something to aim for. I liked the idea of his goal to work in acrylics.

The idea of setting resolutions or goals for the new year is hardly new but I’ve been inspired to have a good long think about some meaningful and achievable goals to set for the next year. I’ll share my artistic ones on Spirited Sketches once I’ve decided them. Do you have any creative goals you’d like to share?

So I spent November writing my novel. I have been drawing in December, though I can’t share what I’ve been doing yet as I’ve been working on commissions for Christmas gifts, so I’ll wait till they have been received before I let you have a look. I had hoped to do a few smaller personal pieces (a cover for my novel, entries in to various monthly challenges) so that I would still have things to blog about but I’ve been busy between the commissions, my novel, preparations for the holidays and taking care of my husband who had a minor op last month.

I hope to have work to share with you again soon.