Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A change of Direction

Hi All,
I have been working so hard this past year to establish myself as an artist. I have gone through so many phases and spent so many hours on the net surfing, reading and learning as much as I possibly can.
Living in a small country town in South Australia doesn't offer too many great real life art classes, so the net is a blessing. Without the knowledge of thousands of other artists willing to teach their skills, I wouldn't be anywhere closer to my goal in such a time.
I guess like many of us 'arty types' when we first begin, we really don't know what direction to go and we basically start where we feel most comfortable.
For me this was whimsical style drawings and paintings. Here is an example of how I begun.

The Queen of Hearts Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland'
I have always wanted to paint portraits, but found I just wasnt ready for that type of skill, so I started with several lessons by Adriana Almanza at practising how to achieve whimsical style paintings with big heads, and big eyes. Lots of fun, and I learnt what I needed - how to shade a face with light and shadows and the basics of how to make hair come alive.
This is a fun site and a great lot of ladies there all willing to give praise and advise and regular swaps of art is always on the agenda.
However it was time for me to move on.
I finally took the plunge and painted my first 5 HUGE portraits. The first two were of my two daughters and although they have a nice resemblance, I'm just not happy with them. The next was my best friends daughter, Madeline, and it was the best portrait I had achieved so far. Everyone absolutely loves it and I'm quite happy with the finished result.
Next was my husband, I knew this would be a hard one, as he is very judgimental on himself, however surprisingly he absolutely loves it and I have had numerous great comments on his portrait that now sits above my art desk.
After a few more portraits, one of myself in watercolor in my last post, a couple of more whimsical paintings with mixed media, a couple of landscapes in oil paints, I feel that I have come a long way...but... where do I want to go?
Well I dont know if this is where I stay but I have to say I have begun a cougar painting in oils and a cat painting in colored pencil and I am having the best time ever! I am really really enjoying animals. I love painting the fur which some people would find absolutely monotemous (Hope I spelt that right LOL) but I find it calming. The cougar I am painting at the moment has taken me the most time I have ever spent on any painting. i work on it everyday and so far its been about two weeks.
My ultimate goal is achieving realism and to do so it takes many many layers of painstaking little hairs one at a time basically. As the days go by slowly  my cougar is jumping off  the canvas and into the room.
As I look at him, I feel I may have finally found my destination as an artist.
In this blog i will try to keep uptodate with his progress and all my other art in future as a jounal of my journey to becoming what I call a real artist. Its funny because when I sold my first painting I was so excitied I straight away telephoned my best friend and gushed, "Im finally an artist I sold a painting today!" and her reply was, "Sonya you already were an artist". Its so hard to call oneself an artist without ever having other artists recognision or ever having sold anything, so to hear it from someone elses mouth other then your own was lovely to hear.

So from now on this blog will be changed a little, to more of step by step recording of my paintings. I hope you still come here to visit and watch my journey to see where it brings me.

Cougar Progress:

In the first stages. Pictured with my reference photo. I signed up for a course with this one, but its taught in acrylics not oil paint like mine. I took a rundown of the tips etc but have given up on the lessons and am going with my gut feeling and painting in the way it suits me. I just cant work step by step following instructions, its too frustrating. Im going out solo with this one.
 Just working in the undercoat of lighter and darker fur. No real hairs as such. Very rough so far.

Here you can see Im starting to put in individual hairs in various colors to the upper cheek and i have added another wash to his eye to make it glassy looking and added the highlights. I have also added the soft fur for his eyebrow.

More hairs have been added to his muzzle area and I have worked on his chin area. You can see the difference its making from the body and upper and right hand side of the head which still needs doing. Many more layers of paint still need to be applied when dry to achieve the realism I want to achieve.
The nose is still in the undercoat colors as well.

What are your thoughts of my new direction in wildlife realism? i would love to hear from you and where is your art taking you?


  1. Hi Sonya, Well, I'm not an artist, but I like this turn to realism. You don't always need to go to school - I know at least one artist who is self-taught and sells several works a year.

  2. wow nice post!!!:) i'm following you, visit my blog if you want :)

  3. hi sonya! that is a stunning cougar! looking foward to seeing your future creations! hope you are well!!!! your dd friend ash :]