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Hello again to anyone who’s still with me… As usual, life has gotten in the way. Since my soul-destroying job hunt which plunged me into a bit of a depression, life has got a bit crazy. I did finally get a job, researching creativity!!!!, but it necessitated a move to England… So my art fell by the wayside for a while, while I moved house and dealt with being in a new place and working a new job. Which is actually perfect for me, by the way… I get to do psych research on creativity, but within an art department. Dream come true!

Anyway, I’ve finally taken some inspiration from my art department work environment and I have started a project now in the run-up to Christmas to get me back into the creative saddle. I decided to give an app I installed on my Galaxy Note tablet ages ago another try and discovered that it’s actually really great for drawing. I haven’t drawn in years… so I felt rusty. But drawing on a tablet is really not that different than on paper and it has some nice features that make it superior to paper drawing, like quick erasing/clear, and better blending options. The Galaxy Note S-Pen stylus is fab – pressure sensitive and feels like you’re really using a pencil.

The first drawing I attempted was a portrait of Obama. It did not go well and will never see the light of day, unless I give it another go and it gets heaps better… But the second drawing I tried was of Bernie Sanders, which turned out much better. I hadn’t really intended to turn it into a series, but then I started thinking, I should pick up the discipline that I tried to self-impose at the start of this blog, and do some art every day. At least until Christmas. I can manage one drawing a day till Christmas, surely. So it kind of morphed into a sort of Portrait Advent Calendar – drawing a portrait a day of someone I like or admire or find inspirational (some more serious than others 😉 ) until Christmas – I started a little late for it to be a true advent calendar, but you get the gist. I figure with the news being so full of stories about heinous people doing evil things, we (I) need a reminder that not all people are bad, and there are people who restore my faith in humanity. I need that especially right now as I am feeling like such a Scrooge this Christmas season! I’m lacking in merry and bright at the moment.

So far I have only done four portraits. Actually, there’s a fifth, but it’s going to be someone’s Christmas present, so I’m not sharing that one. I’ll update again once I’m done, with the complete set. But for now, here’s a teaser…

Bernie Sanders drawing by G. Cseh

Day 1: Bernie Sanders

Jane Goodall drawing by G. Cseh

Day 2: Jane Goodall

Dalai Lama drawing by G. Cseh

Day 3: HH the Dalai Lama

Columbo drawing by G. Cseh

Day 4: (Peter Falk as) Columbo

And because it’s becoming tradition now, I’ll share a song I listened to a lot while I was drawing as these kinds of driving instrumental electronic songs are good for getting into the flow…

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.

Hi, remember me?

The prevailing excuse for why I haven’t updated the blog anywhere nearly as frequently as I once did is that grad school took over my life.  It turns out that to get a PhD you actually have to do quite a lot of work.  Go figure.  Anyway, although I got through the first year okay, I also ended up rather depressed, and I’ve therefore decided that I need to make a greater effort to balance my psychology work with my artwork a bit better.  All work and no play makes Genevieve a dull girl…

In that spirit, I’ve decided to do a few little art projects alongside setting up psychology experiments, for my sanity’s sake.

First off, one of the artists I follow on Facebook, Shanon Playford, has started a project recently, where she makes a bunch of handmade postcards and then sends them to a batch of random Facebook followers.  A very generous, cool idea, and I was lucky enough to make it into the first group, and am currently eagerly awaiting my present!  I promised Shanon that I would return the favor and send her a postcard from Scotland. I almost chickened out and sent her some ready-made but amusing Scottish tourist tack, something like this perhaps, but decided that was really unfair, and that I should make the effort to send her something handmade, as she is doing for me.  I gave it a whirl today, and although I started out planning on only doing one design, I got a bit carried away and ended up doing five.  You know, in case the first one was crap, I’d have another shot or four at getting something halfway decent to send to her; it also gives Shanon a choice.

Image

5 Postcards (all together)

 

Image

Postcard 1 (Fence Through the Glen)

 

Postcard 2 (Moody Glen with Heather)

Postcard 2 (Moody Glen with Heather)

 

Postcard 3 (Great Glen)

Postcard 3 (Great Glen)

 

Postcard 4 (Harris Beach)

Postcard 4 (Harris Beach)

 

Postcard 5 (Standing Stones at Callanish, Lewis)

Postcard 5 (Standing Stones at Callanish, Lewis)

 

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the others… I may “borrow” Shanon’s idea, if she doesn’t mind, and do a giveaway for my Facebook “followers”, if anyone’s interested.  I’m not sure though if the interest is there, or whether I’ll really have the time to do very many more, as grad school gets started again in earnest.  But if people express interest, it’s something I might do… Or if someone has any other ideas, I’d love suggestions.  Not feeling very creative at the moment!

In The Walls 2 (WIP)

In The Walls 2 (WIP)

The other project I’ve got in the works is entering a couple paintings into this year’s winter exhibition at local art gallery/group, Peacock.  They’re a doing a selection panel this year though, so who knows if anything of mine will actually end up displayed, but I thought I’d give it a go nonetheless.  They have a theme this year – grotto.  I had a look to see if any of my existing stuff would fit the theme – the only thing I could think of was my In The Walls painting, but that was too large to fit their A4 size limit.  So I figured I’d do another version of it for the show.  I’d always kind of wanted to revisit it with black ink to see if it gave it a more dramatic feel, and now I’ve got the ink to try it out.  I have started.  I’m finding – as I did with the last version – the stones problematic.  But I will persevere… This is a work in progress.

Not sure what I will do for my second allotted work.  I am thinking something in acrylic, possibly underwater.  We shall see… Stay tuned.

I have been waking up in the middle of the night lately in a bit of a panic about all the things I really ought to be doing instead of wasting time sleeping. I really should be painting those TBC paintings. I really should be reading more for my upcoming masters project. I really should be finishing up that transcription work I took on to make some extra money. I really should be exercising. I should, should, should… nag, nag, nag…lather, rinse, repeat. Anyway, yesterday I went into a bit of a fevered painting frenzy and painted all morning and then did some more art (something not TBC-related) when I got home from my day job. Sadly, I still don’t think I’m very far along, but at least I feel I’m making a start.

So, I give you a sneak preview at three of my TBC paintings on the go…

TBC 1 & 2 (WIP)

TBC 1 & 2 (WIP)

TBC3 (WIP)

TBC3 (WIP)

That last one looks a bit unappealing just now I know, but that’s just because it’s preparatory work, the white things at the bottom will be painted once they’ve dried.

About the announcing of the TBC ideas I’ve chosen… I hope you’ll bear with me a little while longer and allow me to wait until the paintings are all finished to announce the finalists for the print prizes. It’s probably cheating a bit, but I’m still vascillating about the last two ideas to paint and will probably need to see how it goes with trying to paint them before I settle – hope you understand!

The last sneak peek I have to share is a work-in-progress artwork I started last night just for fun.

Koi (WIP)

Koi (WIP)

It’s based on a photograph in my inspiration folder. I liked the color of the blue fish in the front and thought that it might work well using a technique that was a favorite of mine when I was a child – crayon-on-crayon scrapework. I think you all know what I’m talking about – drawing something in bright colors and then covering over it in black or dark crayon and then scraping away the dark layer to reveal the bright colors below. I used to LOVE doing that as a kid. It didn’t work quite the way I’d hoped on this one, but I had fun working with a different medium than usual. I love the smell of crayons and also looking through all the interesting color names, tearing off the paper around the top edge to give you more crayon access. Ah… nostalgic kiddie art materials. I have great plans for watercoloring the background eventually. I want to try out an effect I haven’t used (correctly) in decades – watercolor bubbles – but the last time I tried it kind of recently it failed miserably, so need to do some more research on how to get it to turn out right, first. Any watercolorists out there who want to give me some pointers? Thanks. 🙂

Hello. I know I’ve been rather MIA lately… a lot going on round here – went to a reunion of my college roommates down in London, 2 bank holiday weekends in a row with stunning weather lured me outdoors, and just finished one of my two day jobs. So there has been much merriment and partying.

But now it’s back to work and back to painting…

Today I painted a painting that I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time – it’s a view of my own flat, specifically the plants along the windowsill in my bedroom. I love lying in bed and watching the shadows and highlights on the curtain and the leaves of the geraniums when we get a sunny day, which – blessedly! – we have been having a lot of lately. (Scotland in Spring on a sunny day is so beautiful!) I was a little worried I wouldn’t do it justice, but I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out actually.

Along a sunny windowsill

Along a sunny windowsill

I decided not to enter a painting into the Aberdeen Artists’ Society show this year, mainly because I didn’t have anything yet that I thought would appeal to the ‘Aberdeen style’ (and yes, there definitely is a style…). But I did start a triptych painting based on panorama landscapes from our highlands and islands trip back in 2008. I’m almost done with the first one…

The Quiraing, Skye (WIP1)

The Quiraing, Skye (WIP1)

I have a whole year to finish the other two 😉 Actually, there’s more that I plan to do to these paintings, but that’s a surprise… 😉

And also, because I love sharing music finds, this is the song I’m listening to on repeat today…

This’ll be the second post in one day, but it’s a bit misleading, because the cows were all done yesterday, I just didn’t get around to writing the blog post for it till this morning. But today was another day of my renewed painting-a-day challenge, so I put up my easel and did another painting. Woo hoo!

It’s another water one. There’s something really relaxing about doing water themed paintings.

Seabed

Seabed

I also went back to the cows & crows painting and this time I had the oomph to actually do the cows and get them looking decent. Cows are kind of tedious and difficult to paint…surprisingly so. Still not done, but at least there are some cows now.

Cows & Crows (WIP1)

Cows & Crows (WIP1)

Here’s a random fact in case you ever find yourself on Jeopardy: the Hungarian word for cow is gulya (pronounced goo-yuh). The origin of the word ‘goulash’ is from the Hungarian word for, basically, beef stew, gulyas (pronounced goo-yahsh). Consider yourself enlightened… 😉

I’m not sure why I just wrote that. Too much time spent staring at cows today, I guess.

Coming back from my mother-in-law’s out in the country yesterday, driving past golden hay bales and flurries of crows ascending en masse, I was reminded of my idea for a painting with cows and crows. But, I think yesterday I just wasn’t feeling it (muse was on an unannounced holiday, apparently), and I was ultimately unhappy with what I came up with.

Yevgenia over at Watercolored Hands has begun a challenge of doing a portrait a day, and it reminded me that, hey, I had one of those challenges once upon a time! You see how great that whole daily thing worked out for me. But she’s decided to have a time limit for hers, and I thought, that’s a good idea, perhaps that would make it more doable for me. So, I am going to endeavor to try to do a painting a day again for a week, just to start off with (my week will have to be broken by a couple days off because I’m actually going away to Edinburgh on holiday and doubt I’ll be able to do painting, although we’ll see – I’ll take a sketchbook and watercolors at least, and might do some plein air stuff if the weather’s dry and there’s time).

So here’s the completed one for yesterday (watercolor pencil on paper):

Frosty Morning on the Farm

Frosty Morning on the Farm

I actually started out trying to do my acrylic painting, but got as far as the background and then couldn’t get the proportion of cows to frame quite right so kept having to paint over and start again. Finally I gave up, hoping to leave it for a day when I’m really more in the mood.

Cows & Crows (Background)

Cows & Crows (Background)

And I did some drawing as well, to continue the theme:

Cows Drawing (WIP1)

Cows Drawing (WIP1)

I wasn’t pleased with anything I did yesterday, but today is another day…

Find me on Folksy

I have officially opened shop on Folksy! (For those in the US, it’s the UK version of Etsy. I do plan on opening up an Etsy shop soon too, this is only the beginning!)

Well, it’s maybe not quite a grand opening yet, but I’ve listed five small original paintings for sale today! Can you tell I’m super excited? I am going to go bouncing off walls going, ‘Yip, Yip, Yip!’ any minute now. Well, no, not really. But it is sort of nerve-wracking when you push the ‘List Item’ button finally and realise it’s up there for the world to see now, and there’s the possibility that someone could buy them!

There was a little hiccup with the larger paintings I meant to put up as well because the box I got for packaging turned out to be just ever so slightly too small, and I need to get the right packaging together to accurately estimate shipping costs. I am still a bit flummoxed by how to figure out shipping if someone buys more than one item, but I’ll cross that bridge IF I ever get to it, I think.

I have found an apparently good UK-based online printer that can do giclee prints for me as well, so I will be sending them a CD of my scans soon and get some test prints done, and then I’ll hopefully be able to offer some prints as well! Wow.

It was definitely strange to see my paintings up there on the front page of the art section with all the other sellers…

Anyway, that is my news for the day. Nothing may come of it, but it feels good to be doing this anyway. I’ve come a long way already since I made my New Year’s Resolution in December of last year to get my mojo back and get crackin’ with promoting my art. I’m just so grateful and glad and relieved that my resolution is actually being lived up to somewhat, instead of falling by the wayside like so many resolutions past.

I think drawing is a sort of comfort for me, like soup or a hot water bottle, I tend to only do it when I’m feeling a little low.  I haven’t been sleeping well lately.  I’m not sure why that’s the case, I can’t connect it to any particular anxiety, but the fact is, I was up till 3:30am last night and had to get up at 7, so I am well and truly knackered today.  It’s been a bit like this all week, so I’m feeling a bit grouchy, a bit fragile and down.  This *(£”&! weather isn’t helping either… what is up with this, Scotland?  It’s July, not November.  So why am I feeling like I’ve got SAD?

So, yesterday, I returned to my Sedna drawing.  I’d actually forgotten about it until a friend mentioned it to me again the other day.  There’s something about the total absorption and the repetitive strokes of drawing that is different than painting, which at least for me is more about dabbing here and there and standing back from your work more.  Drawing seems more intense somehow, more solitary and focused.  It did my soul good and I felt a little happier afterwards, although it didn’t help me sleep, unfortunately.

Sedna (WIP 3)

Sedna (WIP 3)

It hasn’t gotten that much further, I’m a slow drawer, and I’d like to get the animals in the background sort of interconnected more, rather than just sort of stuck on willy-nilly like they are at the moment.  And I need to adjust them to make them look more like they’re swimming – I just copied them kind of literally from on-land photographs.  But I can get to that, still.

I also saw something while we were driving out to my mother-in-law’s through the countryside last weekend.  It was a herd of black and white cows standing in a field, with a flock (er, murder?) of crows flying just over their heads.  There was something about the black of the crows and the black and white of the cows that I found visually interesting, and I thought, hmm, that’d make a cool painting.  So I have a vision in my head for another painting, but rather than paint yesterday I did something that I normally never do – I did a preliminary sketch.

Cows & Crows (Sketch)

Cows & Crows (Sketch)

Yeah, I know, bad artist.  We’re supposed to keep sketch books and sketch anything and everything, but I’ve just never really done that.  I’m not sure why.  I think it’s because, like my handwriting, I don’t like the way my sketches look.  I know they’re not supposed to be perfect, but my sketches never look all windswept and interesting like so many artists’ sketchbooks you see, they just look plain old messy to me.  But for a change, I thought I’d actually dust off my sketchbook and take a spin at doing a prelim sketch of a painting, for a lark.  I suppose it was a good idea.  For one, I’m not sure I like the haybales.  Too busy, so I think I’ll leave those out in the final painting.

My husband told me, when I first met him over a critique of my first portfolio website, that I needed to concentrate more on my drawing. Perhaps he had a point there…

I have a bit of a problem with finishing things up. I start new paintings all the time, but I never seem to get around to finishing them. It’s starting to bug me, so I decided I’d try to put the finishing touches on some of them at least. So far, it’s not going so hot, but at least I’m getting closer. I did finally finish off the Polypolly parrot painting, although I think I messed it up. I had a collage idea in mind from the start, of the parrots all saying ‘Crackers’, but when I actually did it, I don’t think it really works. I also used super glue to attach the little beads in the background, and it made the beads look foggy and naff to me rather than glittery. So, between the crackle varnish that just looks weird and lumpy, the super glue that made my sparkly bits look dull, and the collage lettering that just looks clumsy and covers up half the parrots, I think it was an experiment in usage of materials that was not terribly successful and will need to be chalked up to ‘experience’. Sigh. I feel like I have a lot of those ‘experience’ days lately…

Polypolly

Polypolly

I also continue to struggle with the Plums painting, or, as I like to call it ‘The Neverending Painting’. I feel like I keep painting and painting and it never gets closer to being finished and it never looks, even after hours of work, like I’ve even touched it. That said, I am getting happier with the subtleties of color on the plums themselves.

Plums (WIP 2)

Plums (WIP 2)

And, I started and finished a whole new painting tonight – starting at 9:30PM and finishing by about 11PM, a record for me I think. I have it in my head to do a series of sky paintings – which the Rocky Mountain Sunset and the Aurora paintings are the beginning of – and then to see if I can get this series of small themed paintings hung somewhere like a cafe. That’s the newest plan anyway. So I’ve been scouring the net looking for dramatic pictures of skies to inspire me. This is the latest one (I promise it looks better in real life, I’m just a shockingly bad photographer!):

Sky 3

Sky 3

And in culinary news, a kind colleague gave me a heap of rhubarb from her garden, and I made it into a pie (and an absolutely vile lentil & rhubarb curry, but let us never speak of the curry again from this day forward; oh the humanity!). The pie, I am happy to say (even if my waistline is not), turned out very nice indeed. Mmmm, PIE!

Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb Pie

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