October is so far proving more inspiring as far as actually producing new artworks goes than the entirety of last year’s months put together.  I’m having a bit of a hard time getting back into the swing of things though.  I’m finding it hard to trust my own opinion of whether things are working out well or not.  Which is hilarious because that’s kind of what my PhD topic is about… Anyway, so I feel a bit like I’m fumbling around in the dark, unsure of what I’m doing or how it’s going.   I was sort of literally fumbling in the dark as well, because for some reason, I only got the requisite energy for painting around 6pm, when the light is failing fast.  I don’t have very good lamps, so it was kind of hard going.  I’ll probably look at my paintings tomorrow and they’ll be a completely different colour than I thought they were tonight, but ho hum, the joys, eh?

Anyway, I couldn’t face watercolors today even though that picture of the broch steps In The Walls 2 needs to be finished still, so I got out my acrylics and some canvas – first time in a long while – and it felt weird.  I had to sort of relearn how to blend paint so it didn’t go muddy, etc.  I also remembered why I normally never use black – it makes everything go grey and horrible, unless you get your paintbrush meticulously clean between colours (which I suck at) and don’t go anywhere near a bit of black paint that isn’t bone dry yet. Ew.  And for some reason I have about nine different shades of black.  Whatever possessed me to buy so much of a paint I never really use is beyond me.

The first painting I did was just a wee postcard-sized one on canvas board, for the Virtual Paintout challenge this month.  The location for October is Croatia, and I’d found a lovely spot along a sea wall that had some very picturesque scenes.  It ended up coming out very different than my mental image of it, and at first I wasn’t sure if I was happy with it, but I think I’m okay with it now.  Maybe not my all time best, but acceptable.

Sea Wall, Croatia

The second painting was kind of intended for the ‘grotto’-themed Peacock Christmas Show coming up.  I think it’s still a work-in-progress, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.  It started out life as an underwater scene, then morphed into something more abstract, then changed into a cave with stalactites and stalagmites. But it’s got a bit of a Lovecraftian or kitschy gothic graphic novel look to it I’m not so sure of… So, not sure if it will go in or not… What do you all think?

Grotto WIP1

On a side note, that beam of light on the left was partly achieved by using silver metallic powder just sort of scattered down it.  Does anyone know a good way to fix powder to canvas without it streaking?  I can’t paint varnish over it or it will just wipe off.  Are spray varnishes any good, or do they drip or pool or something?  Anyone?  Anyone?

The colours didn’t reproduce well at all this evening on this one, I’m afraid.  Suffice it to say there are more shades in this painting than it looks like here – a bit more blue-green colour, etc, but I couldn’t get the balance right, no matter how much I fiddled with Photoshop.  Again, night time is not a good time to be photographing paintings.  When will I learn?  In playing around with the ‘selective colours’ option in Photoshop, I played around with one of the levers and got this result, which I kind of like!  I’m sort of tempted to just paint over it in vibrant red now!  You think?

Caves of Hell!!!

And that’s that.  I will leave you with one of the songs I listened to on repeat while painting these – You Never Loved This City by Piano Magic.  It’s my obsession of the moment.  The singer in this song is Brendan Perry, one half of Dead Can Dance, which – as you will recall – is one of my favourite bands, given that I named my blog after one of their songs.  I think the lyrics are beautiful, the tune simple yet elegant and moving, and although it doesn’t say in the video who did these silhouette artworks put up to accompany the song, I think the artwork here is really nice as well, and goes well with the song.  Hope you enjoy it as well.