Painted Memories Collection – First Stop: Peru

Having lived in Peru for about 11 months while going to school it was my first time living outside of my country for such a long period of time. It was definitely an adjustment not hearing your native language 98% of the time but sampling new foods, seeing new locations and making new friends helped with that adjustment. I also managed to learn Spanish along the way; I really had no choice in the matter and I’m glad I did 🙂

Peru for me represents a love/hate relationship. On the one hand, the challenges associated with living in any developing country became quite evident at times(and more so in another language)  and on the other, my desire to explore its geography and immerse myself in the culinary world made the challenges (and the extra pounds) worth it!

I am in love with colour. Seeing the indigenous people in all their colourful splendour was a sight to behold – it’s what inspired my first piece in this collection. I actually posted about it before. In this piece, I experimented with a couple watercolour techniques to get it to my liking. I especially love his jacket where I got it to resemble the textured threads of the fabric with some dry brush and lifting of the paint. I wanted a type of 3D effect so I painted his hat outside of the colored background; I was also unaware of the use of painter’s tape for my borders, so this was my attempt at staying within the lines. Almost got it!

IMG-20180327-WA0005 (1)

 

 

Painted Memories Collection – Finding my ‘Why’

My very first why is because I’ve always wanted to be an artist. It’s that simple; always felt like it was my destiny and one day in 2017 I told myself it’s either I shut-up about telling people I always wanted to be an artist or do it since there is absolutely nothing and no-one holding me back – except myself – and I wasn’t okay with killing off the artistic side of myself for good, so here I am!

With that in mind, it led me to my second why; after living in Peru and the Netherlands over the period 2016 – 2017 while pursuing my Masters I took the opportunity to see as much as I could and I wanted to recapture some of those memories on my canvas, on my medium of choice – watercolours.

My last why for this collection comes from, I guess, a place of self-discovery. Most of my travel was done solo and while I was intimidated by that fact and there were a lot of things that at times tainted the true beauty of my destinations, I still found the beauty in each location, the diversity of the people and just the sheer geography made me want to share this diversity with others through my work.

In painting your collections, has finding your why come easily?

My First Exhibition

A month or two ago, I did a couple of posts on my decision to submit some pieces for an upcoming exhibition in Trinidad for new and emerging artists. As the heading states, I was successful in obtaining a space along with 14 other local artists!

I happened to come across the call for submissions quite by accident on my social media and of course saw it as a sign. Funny enough, after deciding to submit, I came across a YouTube video from Stefan Bauman about improving your painting by selling your work. two things happened for me at that point; I saw this exhibition as giving me the ability to experiment with non-portrait work and focus on more local scenes and also to produce pieces for a specific purpose. Yes, I know we produce art for the love of it, but as a new artist it can feel pretty daunting just painting for painting’s sake – this was a great goal to work towards!

Receiving the news that I was successful was pretty overwhelming – it confirmed for me I was on the right path finally taking up art. I felt a bit validated in my decision and it gave me the boost I needed to continue. I am already working on more submissions for more shows!

Hope you like them!

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Watercolour Portrait Practice

Stepping out of my comfort zone a bit with this portrait. It’s my first child portrait and I chose to do it because there’s a painting in my head that’s similar to this subject I want to do at some point on a much larger size and so this is sort of a test run.

She was pretty fun to do, I imagine just as much fun as she looked like she was having when her photo was taken! My favourite part of this piece is her forehead; I just love how the light was captured just at the very top where the skin and hair meet at the hairline which adds so much depth. It definitely left me pretty content. To get the effect of thicker, dried paint on her skin, I decided to whip out my pastels again so I guess it’s more of a mixed media piece which added some needed texture. I just wish I had more of a colour palette to choose from with the blues!

Portrait #14

Artists Who Inspire Me

In my first post, I mentioned I have wanted to be an artist since my teens. It was during that time while at high school I was exposed to artists in Trinidad and Tobago who subconsciously had a profound impact on this desire. I’ve been drawn to portraits and capturing realism in my work because of them and their ability to capture the beauty and gracefulness of their subjects so effortlessly. Their use of colour and the sheer sizes of each piece amazed me and it was only after a visit to an art gallery last week and seeing one of their works, that feeling of being awestruck came rushing back.

It was amazing seeing the work of the persons who first influenced me again. Like a sort of déjà vu and quiet recognition that I was on the path I was always meant to be on. It also made me remember that now I could add some of their prints to my art collection! So without any further rambling, here are some of the major artists from Trinidad and Tobago whose work inspired amd co tinues to inspire me the most – Karen Sylvester; Michel-Jean Cazabon; Boscoe Holder and Harry Bryden

What do you think of my sources of inspiration and who inspires you?

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Watercolour Portrait Practice

Continuing with the portrait series led me to quite a challenging reference photo which had a lot of shadow as well as a hair colour I never painted before. The shadows and face shape overwhelmed me a bit since the skin tone was pretty pale against a white background with light coloured hair….the perfect recipe for a great learning experience!

Proportions are my enemy! That and patience…lol…I think I have to start making a checklist of all the elements I want captured and mark them off when done. Sometimes in past pieces, when I thought I was done I came to realise that I either forgot the lashes, or the brows, the glint of the eye or a shadow…you name it, I’ve probably forgotten it!

The one part I do love  in this piece is her eye in the shadow, slowly but surely I’m learning to have patience with these tiny but significant features that add so much more realism to a piece and I am loving the process!

Portrait #13

 

 

Watercolour Portrait Practice

It’s been a little while since my last post, think I am falling off the horse a bit in terms of my level of consistency. Trying to maintain the same level of productive discipline when other parts of my life are thrown off track is a challenge, painting when I don’t want to is so hard!

I tried to settle myself this weekend and get back to at least one aspect of it all that I love and did a couple sketches of portraits. This one is the first I did, she wore jewelry in the reference photo but I decided to remove them and just focus on her features.

portrait #12

Watercolour Portrait Practice

My most recent portrait felt so much easier to do this time despite not having done one in about a week. My goal to produce three portraits per week was put on hold over the last 2 weeks with me preparing pieces for consideration to the gallery. Needless to say I welcomed the switch to my regularly scheduled programme.

I finished this piece in about 4 hours and I am beginning to realise I really love the shadowy parts of portraits more than anywhere else. I guess it’s the richness and intensity of the colours, knowing that I can use more than one and watch them blend together is pretty satisfying. I also prefer my previous portrait in terms of the application of the layers of colours used as it gave a more of the effect I was looking for in my pieces.

portrait #7

Watercolour Portrait Practice

Portrait 7Colour palettes in watercolour for skin tones can be an interesting thing. Just the thought of seeing the colours even with the knowledge of colour theory individually compared to when they are applied to your canvas make it sometimes unbelievable that such skin tones are achievable.

It also gave me the idea to keep a log of successful skin tone mixtures like this one in a palette reference book for future portraits. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece. For one, I found the entire process went much more quickly than previous portraits. Additionally, my intuition to get the desired skin tone somehow seemed more responsive to picking the right ones. My Facebook has some video of the process where I laid the undertones of the complexion to the final result and it was pretty enjoyable to film. This one took me no more than 6 hours.

Do you keep a reference sheet for your swatches for different skin tones?

Portrait 7

 

Watercolour Portrait Practice

Continuing to experiment with different skin tones led me to this reference photo that featured bright greenish blue eyes. The shadows weren’t as intense as my previous attempts, but I loved the colours of the light and shadow on her skin so I decided why not.

The features and proportion on this one were easier to execute, but again the lashes and brows require a different tool. How strange is it that I restrict myself to just brushes but it actually just occurred to me while typing this that I could use a dip pen! Bazinga! Needless to say, this will be my next course of action on future portraits to execute the finer features.

girl portrait