Posted in Art by June©Malone, fine art, June Malone Art, June©Malone, Painting, Portrait, Portrait, Portrait Painting, watercolour

Everyone’s A Critic

My Step-daughter’s eldest boy was distinctly despondent that I’d painted his baby brother’s portrait before doing one of him – so I’ve taken the step towards getting back in his favour – although I doubt a four-year-old would appreciate the loose painting technique used here.

An initial sketch (see bottom of page) is usually best practice to familiarise myself with the features of the subject.

percywc

In order to obtain some kind of likeness to the subject, the first details of my focus are always the eyes, lips and nose, painted with fine brushes.

percyzoom

Squinty eyes and flat brushes were used to block in the darkest values, using plenty of water.  Once dry, the lighter washes were blocked in, leaving the lightest areas untouched.

Finally, using a higher ratio of pigment to water, I went back to re-establish some of the darkest values.  I probably shouldn’t divulge the fact that his face was very red in the photograph due to a recent bout of tears, abruptly halted with the appearance of a chocolate pudding.

The resemblance isn’t quite as close as aimed for, so aspiring to meet with the high expectations of a four-year-old lad is sufficient motivation to do it one more time.  Watch this space.

percysketch

Posted in Art by June©Malone, drawing, fine art, ink, ink drawing, pen and ink, Portrait

A Snowflake’s Chance in Hell

I have just, rashly, entered my artwork to the first round of what is the largest and most longstanding (since 1789!) open submission contemporary art show in the United Kingdom, namely the 2017 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, with its prevailing trademark chaos.

Let the nail-biting commence.

The selection Process:

  • 12,000 digital entries will be accepted online – judging 16 March
  • 4,000 of these entries will be short-listed for the second round – judging 18 May
  • Approximately 800 works will be chosen for the exhibition – final hangings 27 May

I know, right?

Ah well, at least I know that my entry fee will contribute towards a good cause; the funds raised by the exhibition go to the Royal Academy School – ensuring tuition for their students is free.

For the very last time (promise) I created a final, final, FINAL, ink drawn portrait of my youngest step-daughter, Ruth.  For once the image is large, so if you want to examine it closely, click it about three times.

Fingers crossed….you just never know! ^^

royal-academy_comp_2017ruth

The Summer Exhibition 2017 at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, runs from 13 June to 20 August.

** I didn’t get in after all – but it was fun to have a go.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, fine art, Painting, Portrait, Portrait Painting, watercolour

Babyface

It’s been such a joy painting this adorable face – he made me smile throughout the process.

sidneywatercolours

Unfortunately, despite visiting two different scanning shops and taking many, many shots over three days, this woefully poor photo is the best image I got, which doesn’t do it justice.

As predicted, the watercolour study has evolved to become the final piece; smaller portraits have their merit and I’m quite satisfied with the result.

sidneywc-face

A light touch and a soft palette of transparent colours was necessary to reproduce that wonderfully delicate freshness of the little man’s flawless, peachy-soft baby skin.  Greatly diluted, these watery colours were carefully built up in layers until I felt I’d ‘captured’ him enough to please his parents.

Despite intending to paint loosely, unless the main features are detailed, it’s difficult to achieve a proper likeness of the subject.  In an attempt to make it more ‘painterly’ some splashes were added and I purposefully tried to fade out at the edges so that he wasn’t overwhelmed by the business of his clothing.  I do like a slightly unfinished painting, but on this occasion, it was mostly due to the fear of messing it up with overworking.

Now all I need is to stop “Baby face, you’ve got the cutest little baby face” from playing on a continuous loop in my head.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, crayon, drawing, fine art, Portrait

A Smile Makes The World A Better Place

Before embarking on a portrait, making a preliminary study sketch can help to familiarise yourself with the subject – once you begin putting down marks on the paper a relationship starts to form.  Taking that first step will help to reveal what is important as you closely investigate the details of their features.  As the study is usually carried out in a free and spontaneous manner, it is common to prefer the sketch to the finished portrait.

sidneycrayon

I plan to make a few more studies in watercolour as well as in ink before starting the final portrait of my step-daughter’s youngest son.  When drawing his sweet little face I got totally carried away, so have learned not to overwork it….something I do a lot.

Since (unbelievably) that clown Donald Trump is US President Elect, our world has been turned into a circus…and it’s not funny.  So I thought I’d give you at least one reason to smile by sharing this little cutie with you.  This was all done using watercolour crayons.

 

Posted in Art by June©Malone, June©Malone, Painting, Portrait Painting, watercolour

She’s Here Again

I make no apologies for painting yet another watercolour of the same image of my step-daughter, Ruth.  Inexplicably, this particular image fascinates me and I may still do one final, very loose version.  For art to work, it’s important to do what satisfies you and to keep doing it – not what other people expect or what may sell – you have to do your own thing because that is your unique voice.

Ruth©HereAgain-Large

 

Watercolour is often thought of as a light, delicate medium.  Used correctly, however, it has wonderful, intense depth.  In this painting I took my cue from an exercise I did in negative painting.  I built up numerous layers, using the most transparent colours from a fairly limited pallet:

  • Quinacridone Gold
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Phthalo Blue
  • Ultramarine Blue

Despite watercolour being a fast-drying medium, waiting for each thin layer to dry wasn’t easy.  Still, it provided the opportunity to stand back from my work and view it from a distance in order to evaluate it.  Turning a painting upside down, viewing it in the mirror or via a photograph are other ways to help seeing it through ‘fresh eyes’.

Fifty percent of my art is detailed thinking – sometimes days of repeatedly going over the process in my head before getting the paints out.  That being said, once the painting begins, I don’t really know what I’m doing and have to put my trust in the paint…but that’s creating!.

For once I’ve uploaded a large image, but you’ll need to click on it about three times to get the largest version.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, digital, drawing, fine art, ink, ink drawing, June Malone Art, Mixed media, Painting, pen and ink, Portrait, Portrait, Portrait Painting, watercolour, Zazzle

I’m still here….Yawn!

So six months of chugging away for my Zazzle store has felt mind-numbingly tedious.  Not that the actual designing is boring, more the (necessary) cross-media broadcasting that accompanies each and every single item.

Anyway, the possibility of emigrating to sunny Portugal now totally preoccupies me.  I’ve attended overseas property exhibitions,  examined online, plots of land for sale, researched property purchasing regulations and everything about private swimming pools – it’s addictive and so much fun!  If this does happen, it won’t be until 2018 after my son complete his university studies.

Ruth©Ink+digital

I’m itching to paint and draw again.  At the risk of being boring, I’m considering revisiting an image of my youngest step-daughter, the composition of which, inexplicably, still stimulates my creativity.  Already drawn in pencil and ink, painted with watercolourtwice.    This time I plan using a mixture of media and may give pastels a go.

Here to prove that I haven’t totally given up, is the ink version, but this time with some minor digital modifications.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, cards, design, fine art, greeting cards, June Malone Art, June©Malone, Mixed media, Painting, watercolour, Zazzle

Hurry Up Spring!

“I sit before flowers, hoping they will train me in the art of opening up,”

So says modern poet Shane Koyczan.

For five days I’ve been sitting in front of “a host, of golden daffodils” willing them to train me in the art of capturing their glory in watercolours.

“I gazed-and gazed” but found that yellow on yellow is really difficult!  Keep it loose and there’s not enough definition – add detail and it looks overworked.  Whilst the paint was still wet I went back in with a watercolour crayon which seeemed to work fairly well.  Oh and on the vase I used a white wax crayon to (kind of) define the water line.

Daffodils©Bunch-1.fwHere’s the best one out of VERY many attempts.

Daffodils©Crop.fw

Although after reading the very talented artist Kate Osborne’s excellent post on “Cropping” I tried this….

Daffodils©Crop-1.fw

…but decided that this one is probably best?  Actually, surprisingly, cropping is also more difficult than I assumed it would be.

Frustration aside, I enjoyed using my paints again – a necessary change from designing for my ** Zazzle store.

Ever the optimist, I plan doing some cutsie watercolours of themes suitable for children, which eill be incorporated into designs for greeting cards and various other items…you guessed…for my ** Zazzle store!

“And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.”

With apologies to William Wordsworth.

** I closed my Zazzle shop in March 2017

Posted in Art by June©Malone, design, drawing, fine art, ink, ink drawing, June Malone Art, June Malone, Illustrator, June©Malone, Mixed media, Painting, pen and ink, watercolour, watercolour illustration, Zazzle

Experiments in Abstract Mark Making

You rarely get what you expect in life and despite it being almost Christmas you won’t see a stunningly beautiful festive painting as done by Lesley White nor this marvelous Thanksgiving watercolour by Carol King.  But I do promise not to whine this time.

Anyone who kindly reads my witterings know that the process of setting up my online shop has wilted the neurons in my feeble brain.  (Almost whined there.)  The remedy?  A first venture into abstract doodling mark making, some of which is influenced by images seen on the internet.

Abstract©WonkySquares

Abstract art isn’t supposed to look like anything, which is immediately freeing.  It can be whatever you make of it – or whatever you don’t make of it.

With ink and watercolour paints, I soon became totally immersed in making marks and shapes for their own sake, which was most gratifying.  Time zipped by.

Abstract©Waves

Making repetitive gestures was both relaxing and absorbing; sometimes it felt almost unconscious as I tried not to exert too much control.

AbstractLines©Horizontal+Spots

And yes, these images will be put to use in my ** Zazzle Store.

I’m considering running another site purely for commercial posts.  Maybe next year.

Until then, a huge thank you to all of you who have supported me by stopping to look or comment and I sincerely do wish you all a very merry festive holiday.

** I closed my Zazzle shop in March 2017.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, fine art, Painting, watercolour

More Flowers

I’ve always wanted to paint flowers but held back because for some nebulous reason I feared they would be too difficult.  Sometimes you just have to go for it.  Watercolour is utterly perect for painting flowers!

 

These Crocosmias (I had to look them up) were painted on dry paper using luscious, raw, thick watercolour paint, straight out of the tube.  Before the paint dried, I went back in with a clean, damp brush to tease out the coloour.  A brush handle dipped in the paint became a handy mark maker.

Flowers©Orange-1

Flowers©Orange+Book

One of my biggest challenges is knowing when to stop; I’ve ruined so many paintings at the last minute – although on this occasion I managed to step back in time….just.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, fine art, Painting, watercolour

Is Summer Over Already?

Where has the sun gone?

This Hydrangea sketch is my attempt to defy indications that the British summer has already bowed out.  It’s still July and I’m not ready to put my sandals and sunglasses away just yet.

Based loosely on the principles of negative painting, I worked around the petals and leaves to define their shapes and bring them forward.

Hydrangea©Watercolouri

Transparent colours were used as several layers of increasingly deeper tone are required to develop the shapes.

For quick reference I use a Winsor & Newton chart of hand-painted professional waercolours which has proved invaluable to me.  It not only clearly demonstrates what each colour looks like from intense to watery pale, but it also lists whether they are transparent, semi-transparent or opaque.  It also saves me the bother of making my own chart.

Colour-Chart-W&N.fw

It is important to allow the paint to dry properly between each glaze…something I’m particularly bad at.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, Painting, still life, watercolour

Don’t Get Me Started; Embracing My Inner Grouch.

While you’re here I may as well rid my heaving bosom of something that still has me simultaneously wincing and fuming.

A recent television program documented preparations for an exhibition at the Leopold Museum in Vienna where some witless noodle made the sorry decision to show self-absorbed Tracey Emin’s gratuitous tosh alongside my favourite artist, Egon Scheile (cue audible ey-roll).  Really?  You just couldn’t make it up.  It was embarrassing.

Emin, as inebriated by her own suppurating ego as by the liquor she guzzles, is so trapped by her urge to shock that the outrage she strives for has become a cliché.  Her teeth-suckingly offensive ‘work’ has no correlation to art and I freely throw prejudicial cups of tea in the direction of those who confuse art with self-publication.

It’s hard to believe that people pay to stare at this excruciatingly crude fakery and that those who part with vast sums of money to own this pointless, ugly stuff are educated people.  The joke is on them.  It is freak art masquerading as originality.  Self-indulgent clap-trap and most of us have her sussed.

You can probably tell that I consider Emin and her ilk to have all the appeal of a flatulent dog in a lift.

I don’t have her millions nor her obtuse, fawning devotees, but I am confident that whatever I paint will always have more merit than anything Tracely Emin can do.

Deep breaths….

My husband is right – I do morph into curmudgeonly Victor Meldrew on this subject.

As an antidote to all that negativity – inspired by flower paintings by artist friends who make it look much easier than it is – herewith some sketches where I trusted the paint and allowed the water to do the work.  Marks were also made using the brush handle.

Roses©Pinks

Lavender©loose

Posted in Art by June©Malone, fine art, Portrait, Portrait, Portrait Painting, watercolour

It’s not what you do, it’s what you don’t.

Ta-daa!

It may be possible to detect a whiff of satisfaction since I’ve muffled that chattering inner critical voice.

I’ve realised that in order to appreciate my own work it is imperative that I wait a few days after completion to be able to stand back and look at it with fresh eyes…rather like getting used to a new haircut.

The fear of using watercolours is diminishing.  First using only transparent pigments mixed with plenty of water enables me to lightly ‘map out’ the image.  It allows for painting as many layers as I need to build up the impression of dimension.

Flat brushes instead of round were used in an attempt to introduce spontaneity, with charcoal and pastels for intensity.

I’m persevering with the same subject as before, my youngest step-daughter, Ruth.

  • The ink version was all about the lines; a clean, graphic quality being appropriate.
  • Although not exactly a whimper of a painting, I abandoned the watercolour portrait because, despite scribbling on it with pastels, it still felt too flat, rigid-as-a-stick and the edges were too similar.  It didn’t excite me – it lacked those extra ingredients of chaos and energy that I respond to and there was none of the fluidity that only watercolour can deliver.

With this simplified version, the ‘unfinished’ appearance is entirely intentional (assume your “Oh come OFF it” face here).

Ruth©watercolour

Pablo Picasso described art as the eliminiation of the unnecessary and Claude Debussy stated that “music is the space between the notes”.

Simplify, simplify, simplify!  Do more with less!

In this vein, I tried to embrace the blank spaces and make each mark count, obtaining a perfect image being less important than how the paint was applied.  And what was left out.  Yes, you guessed it, I’m making it up as I go along here.

This painting feels complete to me.  And there are edges; some soft, some sharp and I may have even managed to lose some!

Enough?

In keeping with the minimalist theme, I’ll end here and see myself out.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, crayon, drawing, fine art, illustration, June©Malone, pencil, pencil drawing, Portrait

The Art of Wu-Wei & Coloured Pencil Bliss

Isn’t it always the way?  With this drawing of my son I didn’t try.  Really!  It was only a spontaneous sketch with barely any conscious thought…yet somehow, I effortlessly managed to accurately ‘capture’ my son and his mood.  He even likes it enough to use it on his website.

Composer©James

Striving for perfection and overthinking often sabotages creativity.  It’s a paradox!  This was only achieved because I was ‘in the flow’, in a ‘zone’; the usual self-inflicted pressure was off and I didn’t care about the outcome.  I was unleashed!

Composer©zoomDrawing with coloured pencils is extremely satisfying.  It’s just so very simple – all that is required is some paper, pencils and a sharpener.  And the results are gratifyingly fast…no drying time required.

I’ll have to cultivate this – in future, I’ll try not to try.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, June Malone Art, June©Malone, Mixed media, Online Course, pencil, Portrait, Portrait Painting, still life, watercolour

Someone Pass Me The Tranquilisers

I’ve just completed a superb online watercolour portrait course given by the amazingly talented professional artist and tutor, and all-round great guy, Mario A. Robinson from which I learned so much.

Between you and me, I secretly hoped the course would immediately turn me into a master portrait painter, that there’d be an orchestra playing in the background as I twirled around in front of you with my masterpiece in one hand, paintbrush in the other.  Patently, it’s very much a learning process and I concluded that painting layer upon layer of glazes isn’t quite ‘me’, preferring spontaneity and risk-taking for a light, fresh, painterly finish….Oh all right then, it was bloody difficult and I simply don’t have the patience so I gave up!

I did learn heaps of valuable techniques, not least how to paint with a brush in each hand – and my confidence has definitely grown, but clearly, dilligent practise is required.

It was interesting to learn that in all his work, whether portraiture, still life or landscape, Mario uses the Grisaille method of painting – a monochromatic under-painting, which is a useful and accurate process that establishes a map of the tonal values prior to adding colour and helps create the illusion of depth and form.

After deciding not to complete the painting, I had some fun with it using charcoal and pastels, then decided to put it up here anyway, maybe even start a trend for showing failed works?

Ruth©flop There are no watermarks on this, what you may be able to see are pencil lines which would have eventually been covered if I’d taken the layers to the end and finished the painting properly.

Rut©cutNot too daunted for once, I’ll have another go at the portrait, using the lessons I’ve learned, but with my take on them – watch this space.

Look out for a crazy grinning woman prancing madly around an easel waving her paint brushes with quite a lot of attitude – that loon would be me.

Ah the hell with it….Cue orchestra!

Posted in Art by June©Malone, drawing, fine art, ink, ink drawing, June©Malone, pen and ink, pencil, pencil drawing, Portrait

Improbable Quest

My head frequently bubbles with detailed artistic ideas, but actually accomplishing them isn’t always easy.

I’d like to create a series of paintings portraying likenesses of people I know, with their facial features and hands taking prominence.

You may wonder why I don’t simply call them “portraits”.  Well, have you ever tried to render the essence of an individual onto paper or canvas?  Obtaining a true recognisable likeness is staggeringly difficult.  Formidable, even.  Not least because the sitter is unlikely to view themselves in the same way that the artist does and there are always critics ready to pile huge lumps of vitriol onto the artist.

Clueless but undaunted, the first step was taken; I found a photograph that makes me want to to dust off my paints.

Ruth©InkThis preliminary ink drawing was to make me look hard at her features to familiarise myself with depicting them – also to decide which elements of the photograph to include and which to leave out in the composition.

ruth©pencilThe quick pencil sketch helped me ignore the myriad details and to simplify by considering the tonal values of her face that create form.  Squinting helps with this.

My lofty aspiration is to somehow infuse the painting with more personality than the merely flat one dimensional drawing (although I do quite like flat images).  To cultivate an intimacy that goes deeper than a mere likeness.  Ideally I hope to reveal something of what goes on behind her eyes.

If I manage to fulfil my heady blur of ambitious imagined plans, the next post should be the painting.  Any resemblance to the sitter will be an indescribable relief, but mostly I’m just happy to be doing some art again!

Now if someone could just sprinkle some fairy dust onto my paint brushes…..

Posted in Art by June©Malone, fine art, June Malone Art, June©Malone, Online Course, Portrait, Portrait Painting, watercolour

Last Squeak of 2013

And so as Christmas creaks into view, with the nation reaching wearily for its winter woolies once again, lo – behold my latest offering before I totally disappear up my own festive fundament.

Portrait©FinalPersonally, I prefer a looser, more spontaneous and drippy effect to this overworked watercolour portrait, but I learned so much; primarily how to conquer my fear of a blank sheet of paper:

  • my pigments are not as translucent as those of the tutor
  • squinting to properly see tone, light, shadow and reflected light
  • identifying warm and cool colours
  • preparation – pre-mix enough paints
  • glazing – how graduated washes create many layers – first time using a mop brush
  • establishing soft and hard edges
  • lifting off damp as well as dried pigment
  • ability to look at watercolour paintings by other artists and decipher which technical aspects were probably used

I enjoyed this online course so much.

Herewith the various stages showing the process…

Portrait©MontagePortrait©Likeness…just don’t ask me to share the technical details – it took me a long time to complete and I am busy preparing for the impending fa-la-laaa fiasco.

Once they have had time to complete the course themselves and IF they decide to publish, I will be adding links here to posts by my good painting buddies, Leslie White and Carol King.

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.  Rum pum pum pum!

Posted in Art by June©Malone, fine art, Portrait, watercolour

I’m not a slacker…I’m just surrounded by over-achievers!

I won’t lie.  Sometimes not very much art happens.  (What do you mean, you noticed?)

Yes, it’s been a while but here I am again – and thanks to this great online watercolour portrait tutorial I’m getting a kick out of painting again.

This image is merely an exercise in tonal values which I found compelling.  Agreed, it is undoubtedly overworked for what is supposed to be a simple study.

I find the tutor, Matt Rota, to be exceptional and easy to understand.  I haven’t even started the final portrait yet and I already feel I’ve learned more in a couple of hours watching his tutorials than ever before.

I’d forgotten what it’s like to be this motivated and giddy about painting…I feel like I could throw off sparks from my fingertips.  A new phase in my creativity is opening up and finally giving it some direction.  Seriously, I don’t know if I can take much more excitement!

Despite your suspicions, I’m not getting paid to drool enthusiastically about this course.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, watercolour

Baubles!

As I’m away from home and my computer is in storage – I’ve borrowed one and managed to rustle up a rush of Christmassy feeling  in order to to wish you all peace and joy this Christmas.

All my art equipment is in storage too, so here’s a seasonal blast from the past.

Jingle bells everyone and try not to get your tinsel in a tangle!

Posted in Art by June©Malone, crayon, drawing, Figure Drawing, Mixed media, watercolour

Paradigm Shifter

Are you a follower of rules?

I recently underwent an epiphany whilst devouring a rare treat of a book, focusing on the raw drawings and watercolours of Egon Schiele, the Austrian Expressionist.  It was edifying to note that this influential figurative artist characteristically left the backgrounds of many paintings unadorned or simply washed parts in a thin, flat, monochrome.  A master of fine line, he conveying much with a minimum of detail.  He did not bow to societal dictates.

An all-but audible ‘thunk’ occurred as my soggy neural structures were permeated: the copious purist ‘rules’ underpinning traditional techniques are not to be interpreted as rigid instruction – they are merely principles to guide.  Fine, mock all you like!

It proved impossible to get this A2 image scanned so my abysmal photograph will have to do – if you click the image a few times it looks better larger.  There’s some artistic licence with the guitar which was a struggle to accurately depict and the body proportions look wrong – which is strange since I conscientiously measured scale and ratios for the first time ever.

This study was, however, brazenly created in the knowledge that nobody will punish me for leaving the subject floating untethered on the paper.  I’m free to vociferously outline in ink or crayon.  Do I dare highlight with white paint?  Do I dare disturb the universe?

Suddenly, I feel vaguely unloosened.

Posted in June©Malone, Portrait, watercolour

The Fun Never Stops

I hope this finds you dry.  I don’t mean that in an impolite way, it’s just that I live in the new monsoon kingdom of England where pretty much everything is soggy and damp at the moment.

In other news, I’ve started painting again…somebody alert the media!!!

The above two initial attempts at painting this friend of my son left me severely disheartened and frustrated by my dearth of technical skills.  At the end of the process I’d inevitably do something to ruin it.  Without formal training, making progress is difficult but, as someone once said; “Practice is the best of all instructors” so I’ve stopped sulking and here I am again.

Watercolour is one of the most challenging of painting mediums in that it is unpredictable.  The lack of control simultaneously thrills me and scares the pants off me.  Oh yes, I know how to have fun.

The following two studies taught me much about paint manipulation.  When attempting spontaneity and allowing the paint to do its own thing, it helps to be prepared for any eventuality.  Using a spray water bottle and kitchen paper allows for more control, as do loud yelps and sharp intakes of breath, although this does tend to startle the other people who live here.

With this first attempt, the darkest colour was painted first and when completely dry, lighter, transparent colours were glazed over.  This was in response to being educated by my friend Carol King on a fascinating process called Brunaille, except that this is in the wrong context and  I used blue instead of brown.  It was useful in helping me to appreciate the values of light and shadow.

The early stages look better than the finished version – the scanner makes it appear far muddier than the original and the poor girl appears to be in dire need of a shave.The second study below didn’t scan well either (honestly, not an excuse) – it is frankly clownish.Back to the drawing board.  I plan to paint numerous versions and strive to feel comfortable about giving a picture to the model; I can’t seem to quite ‘capture’ her.

Now if only I could channel my inner critic to help me perceive at what point to put the brush down and step away from the painting!  Less is more, stupid! So stop it.  I know you too are guilty of this.

You’re so glad you read this blog post, aren’t you? Admit it; I have enriched your life.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, card, design, greeting cards, pen and ink, watercolour illustration

Christmas comes every year…thankfully only once!

Ok, I give in…I have embraced the whole twinkly palaver and descent into mild over-stuffed hysteria that is Christmas.  I have made my own card.

The halls are decked, tinsel tamed, bells jingled, mince pies baked and I have Santa’s mail-order number on speed dial.  I’ve refrained from scowling when every store assaults my ears with Christmas muzac playing on an endless loop.  Three cards have been received already – two from the Chinese takeaway.

The only problem is that red fluffy bits of marabou feather trim have migrated to every item of clothing and room in the house – I’m literally spitting feathers!

Wishing you all a happy, sparkly and peaceful Christmas.  See you next year.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, Figure Drawing, fine art, pencil drawing

Au Naturel

More pictures of (the same) bare, naked man without a stitch on, in his birthday suit.  He was impressive in that he effortlessly held difficult poses without swaying or trembling and never complained.  Next week we’ll have a female model.

This figure drawing/painting class is freeing me up – it’s refreshing to focus purely on the PROCESS instead of the end product.

The first was a 15 minute pose and the second 10 minutes.  In future I’ll only use large 420 x 594 mm paper for figure drawing as the 10 minute studies are far superior to the 20 minute watercolour I did on smaller 356 x 254 mm paper….which is why I’m not showing it to you.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, drawing, Figure Drawing, ink, ink drawing, June Malone Art, pencil, pencil drawing, watercolour

Male Nude

I thought that would get your attention!

Today was my first figure drawing/painting class since the age of nineteen.

After some initial nerves I decided to simply have fun, especially as I was wearing my lucky Wonder Woman pants.  Technically, there is room for improvement, this I know.  I’m trying to disciplin myself to really SEE and make my hand draw what I see.

The scanning isn’t up to much but here is one of my ten minute study plus a twenty minute effort in watercolour and ink.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, illustration, June Malone Art, June Malone, Illustrator, June©Malone, watercolour, watercolour illustration

Punny?

This little watercolour painting was my attempt at humour.  It was a birthday gift for my youngest step-daughter who runs her own personal training business.

After the picture was left to dry on a table in another room  I forgot all about it until I overheard two teenage friends of my son talking and realised they were discussing it.  One lad obviously didn’t get the joke as the other said “That’s a trainer, see?  And it’s making personal remarks to the weights – the trainer is telling the weights that they’re dumb”.  He still didn’t really understand it.

So I thought it would be prudent to include his explanation just in case my sense of humour is less quirky than I’d imagined and is far more strange than is conventional.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, design, digital, greeting cards, June Malone, Illustrator

Market Mayhem

I HATE SELLING!  I’ll happily draw and paint for days, but detest marketing the completed picture.  Just deciding on a price makes me squirm.

So who knows why I’ve set up shop on Etsy?  It’s a shop with nothing to sell yet.  My head throbs from thinking what to write on the profile page and I may never wade through the slew of advice on how to make my stuff sell over the million and one other Etsy-ites doing exactly the same thing.

Last week I designed five tea towels.  (You can see more detail via the ‘Digital’ page if you click on each one.)

The printing quote was inhibiting and necessitated orders of 150 of each.  The vision of me trying to live amongst floor-to-ceiling piles of toppling, unsold tea towels wasn’t attractive.

So a quick rethink later and the current plan is to paint a few quirky greeting cards and offer commissioned portraits to see whether anyone is mad enough wants to pay for them.

Next week, who knows?  I wonder what Wonder Woman would do?

Posted in Art by June©Malone, digital

Pleased with this I am

I wanted to say something fascinating and existential about this picture but am too tired from focusing on drawing with a mouse instead of a pencil and I think my computer may be running a temperature.

Being too impatient to closely follow rules in instruction books, I applied my usual trial and error approach by throwing myself at Photoshop and…yes it hurt, but I’m taking antibiotics for it.

Anyway, PROGRESS!

You can probably hear me patting my own back from where you are.

I’m pleased with it – did I mention that before?

Posted in Art by June©Malone, drawing, ink, June©Malone, pencil, pencil drawing

Temporary stoicism by-pass & the importance of purposeful play

It could be said that this post leans toward self-indulgence but it is written in the hope that other artists who recognise my dilemma may even glean a morsel of comfort from reading it.

Since my earliest memories I’ve been told and accepted that I could draw and I admit that the act of being creative has immeasurably enhanced my existence.  My passion was cutting hair but, since being enveloped in the vice-like embrace of M.E., hairdressing became impossible – so for two years I’ve been attempting to rediscover my self-taught drawing skills.

Inexplicably, for most of this year my energies have focused on torturing myself with self-induced pressure, whilst my innards wrestled enthusiastically.  The harder I urged myself to produce, the more paralysed my hands and brain became – my illustrations became as rare as those metaphorical hens’ teeth.

Last year a very thoughtful artist friend sent me “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron, which did the trick – even though I consider the author to be slightly dippy.  After revisiting the book this week my rather arthritic recovery seems to have begun once more.  It feels like I’ve been given permission to enjoy being creative…scandalous!

This is not a book endorsement – it is merely an attempt to point out how easily we can become so goal-orientated that we forget to enjoy the process.  So intently focused on becoming an Illustrator was I that I froze and became afraid of failing.

In addition, it is often hugely intimidating to observe the mass of incredibly talented individuals abounding on the internet – a glance at the work of some of my Twitter associates perfectly demonstrates my point.

Apparently my anxiety at feeling I have to produce something ‘great’ every time has blocked my creativity and the remedy is to take small steps rather than large leaps.  I was setting impossible goals for myself.

Today, after a good mental slap, I treated myself.  I sketched my son and muse solely for my own pleasure, without concentrating on best technique or medium.  Don’t think I’m there yet but I hope to keep it up!

P.S. This post by Creative Coach Dan Goodwin says it all really.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, calligraphy, cards, Competition, greeting cards, ink, Mixed media, pen and ink

Caution: Contents may offend

Looking forward to Christmas shopping?  Of course not.

It is a british requisite to moan about Christmas coming too early and I’m usually first to grumble about the crass hype during the ever-lengthening run-up to Christmas.

Apologies then, to those who haven’t even managed to de-rust their barbecue yet – there’s a glimmer of tinsel to be found here!

For once I’ve resolved to positively embrace Christmas absurdly early by launching myself into the Tiger Print competition to create surface pattern designs for wrapping paper, cards etc – 2011!

Anyway, here it is for what it’s worth….and my entry has actually been uploaded to the site.

I approached it purely as a learning exercise and after WEEKS (!) of careful work I’ve realised that my (Fireworks) self-taught approach isn’t nearly enough and I urgently need some formal Photoshop training

So I don’t care how early those bells start jing-a-ling-ing or partridges are shoved into pear trees, just as long as someone stomps on every single recording of that repellent, ear-bashing, omnipresent Christmas song by those miscreants known as Slade.

la-la-la-not-listening…

Posted in Art by June©Malone, cards, design, pen and ink

Wedding Invitation

It was my immense privilege to design the wedding invitation for the eldest of my two amazing step-daughters.

The image was to fit on a narrow, horizontal, white card and illustrate that the event would be held on Kentish farmland boasting two fishing ponds and several animal breeds.

The happy couple were “thrilled” with my efforts and I was officially dubbed a “clever old stick!  The wedding day was appropriately and sublimely magical and I even made my own fascinator for the occasion.

 

Posted in Art by June©Malone, calligraphy, pen and ink, posters

Poster Competiton Entry

Yikes!  I’m all a flutter having just submitted my poster to the joint London Transport Museum/Association of Illustrators poster competition promoting cycling as an emerging mode of transport in London…with only 30 minutes to spare.  It didn’t scan as well as I’d have liked so there wasn’t enough time to clean it up as much as I’d have preferred.

This is the first time I’ve ever entered an art competition.   What a relief to have finished!

I’m not deluded enough to imagine that it will be selected as I’m aware that my self-taught, inexperienced work will probably be considered somewhat naive – but it was so worth having a go.

There were some days when I almost gave up but, thanks to some timely words of encouragement, I’m glad I persevered as the experience of taking part was invaluable.  It was educational, time-gobbling, sometimes frustrating and even scary but also fun.

And now I can bask in that warm, fuzzy feeling of having achieved my goal…until I start the next project.

Anyway…EEEEEeeeEEkk!!!

Posted in Art by June©Malone, Mixed media, pen and ink, watercolour

Shelf Portrait

Herewith only a small portion of my current reading matter.Some are being avidly studied – others, I’m merely dipping into.  They all offer me the opportunity to further develop the multiple intricacies of illustration skills and feed my insatiable curiosity about the subject.

Soon I hope to demonstrate here how they have inspired and educated me.  My motto is to never stop learning and trying to improve.

Watch this space….*cue “Wonder Woman theme tune”* ♬ ♫ ♪ ♩