Thursday, 15 December 2016

Back to the drawing board nest!

Stunning 'crunchy' weather here at the moment. The paths are veiled in glass and walking outside you can almost feel the snow queen's frosty breath spindle-wheel-whirling beside you.

I am eager to flutter into a new painting soon. There will perhaps be a little more time in the next few days as Norsk course winds down for a winter slumber. I've also been refining and defining where I think my purpose lies in my art and reading articles about the intriguing dance between imagination and rationality, and the potential waxing and waning of each throughout life. A lot of fevered scribbling is happening in my beloved red Filofax Domino!

The last few days I've been able to sketch a bit with our boisterous boys! Very cosy as the blue hour settles around us, my teacup steams and we draw together. I've drawn a flying woman, a mountain lake scene with a crowned woman, and a feathered bird woman holding a smaller bird in a snowy scene, working quite quickly with colouring pencils and pencil, just to scribble down some ideas. The feathered bird woman snowy scene would translate well to canvas I think!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Cover of Joanna Newsom's 'Peach Plum Pear'

It has been many moons since the last Pipit Nest peep, so I thought I'd flutter my wings over and give a wee update. My grand plan to create a painting every two weeks has been put on hold for a little while, to make room for Norwegian course. It feels very satisfying to hurl myself so completely into learning this lovely old language, but also I feel my creative cogs squeaking and wanting to get back into conjuring up new artworks. The past month has seen my first sale go through on as well, which was so encouraging! I think I will try and work on building up the selection there as well. While my oil paintings have been asked politely to hold on just a little longer, there has been time for a bit of sketching with my munchkins in tow. I'm so looking forward to translating these sketches in to finished paintings! In the meantime, here is a video of me and my Celtic harp Venus, working on a cover of one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite musicians, the wonderful Joanna Newsom.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

'Golden Apple'

I can now unveil a new Pipit Nest painting!! Inspired by the Norwegian faerytale 'Gullfuglen', the painting will be called 'The Golden Apple'.

This painting was so joyful to create! I challenged myself with a two-week deadline and all the stars aligned to make this possible. The munchkins have been sleeping well during the evenings and we've had swathes of sunshine, so I've been feeling energised! 

I'll try not to get frustrated if I can't stick rigidly to the deadlines. It's exciting to have a finish date to aim for, even if just as a poke of inspiration to encourage consistent content creation and stir some adrenaline into the paint mix! I think for the next painting I'm going to add an extra challenge - to not stay up TOO late into the wee small hours painting! I think that could lead to a sizzling case of burnout, so it's definitely about finding a balancing point between feeling like I have achieved a satisfactory amount of painting in the evening and burning that candle at both ends.

Building up thin glazes of water-based oils was an absorbing, meditative process, and I'm so pleased with how the picture came out. I think in the photograph it is slightly warmer and lighter than the painting itself, which I like! I love those warm colours and want to take those further into the next paintings. I think for the next painting I will also conduct some paint layering experiments before I launch on to the canvas, so I feel more certain about how to create the tones I want to achieve. 

I combined looking at the work of Frida Kahlo and photographs of my own face for skin tone reference, and again referred to illustrations from 'The Age of Enchantment' book for atmospheric blue tone inspirations. I used a bit of photographic reference imagery to help me draw the fox, but the rest was from imagination. I talked with a lovely friend for a critique near the end of the painting process and she helped identify some points to modify.

I love using a faerytale as a springboard, and then combining that with whatever evolves imaginatively from that springboard, and will definitely follow that template again.

I feel like the painting speaks of sovereignty and holding one's personal power, that precious golden fruit of one's own inner wisdom. I hope the painting can instil feelings of joy, comfort, and strength in the viewer. When I have got a high quality snap, prints will be for sale on my Epla and Etsy shops, so hang in there if you'd like to pop some pennies on this pic!

Friday, 1 July 2016


I am in the process of creating a painting inspired by the Norwegian faerytale 'Gullfuglen'. Isn't that a beautiful title?! It translates as 'the golden bird'. I have chosen to use the story as a springboard, using elements from the tale including a golden apple, a golden bird, a prince, a fox and a king's garden. 

I began by sketching on a canvas, with the initial intention of drawing a feathered character holding a golden apple, and a fox observing. As the drawing progressed, the dress came into being, the female character became more human, and the fox became entwined with her. I added the crown, inspired by the mention of the king's garden, and the drawing started to speak to me of sovereignty, being the ruler of one's choices, and holding those choices with dignity and assuredness.

I imported the photograph of the canvas to my laptop and experimented with different colourways digitally. I was inspired by paintings seen at a gorgeous fairytale exhibition I went to in London years ago, 'The Age of Enchantment', where many of the images had a beautiful deep blue tint. At this stage the colouring is very rough, because the image is only intended to be a reference for the colours I will use on the canvas.

I am painting the final piece with water-based oils, working mainly in the middle of the day when my two year old Inigo is having his midday snooze, and a little in the evening as well if I don't conk out asleep at munchkin o'clock bedtime!

During the process so far I have encountered one main issue, which was that after drawing on the canvas, the fabric became very loose! However, it turned out to be an easy problem to solve, by spraying water on the back of the canvas, which became taut again when it dried. Apparently canvas can get looser in humid conditions, which we have now in Norway.

Here are a few sneak peeks of the canvas, brushes and palette in action:

Don't you just love paint-adorned palettes?! So tasty!! I aim to be finished with the piece within the next week, mainly working on slightly adjusting some colours, building up thin layers of paint, and adding in the finer details.

I also recently sold a print! To a lovely lady in Trondheim who has been wonderful to us in the last few months.