Posted in Art by June©Malone, crayon, design, drawing, Figure Drawing, fine art, illustration, ink, ink drawing, June Malone Art, June Malone, Illustrator, June©Malone, Mixed media, Online Course, Painting, pen and ink, pencil, Portrait, Portrait, Portrait Painting

Art Is A Line Around Your Thoughts

“The line has almost become a work of art in itself” ~ Theo Van Doesburg

Still on the second unit of my first online illustration course, this is my version of how I suppose that Egon Schiele may have drawn a portrait of Broncia Koller-Pinell’s Marietta.

Broncia Koller-Pinell had a considerable influence on Egon Schiele.  She and her husband were his influential patrons.

Schiele’s dynamic, raw works have a beautifully frugal sense of line, the line being a dominant element in the structure of all his works.  He was more interested in contour than volume.  Schiele ranks as one of the greatest draughtsmen of all time.  He had a remarkable touch when building a line and contour of any figures, his extremely distinctive style was formed on one main foundation and means of expression – the line. 

Although there is obvious toning on the body, I perceive an appealing sense of flatness to it, as with many works by Schiele.  The lines do all the work.  Weight is the essence of form.  It is comprehending the solidity of the form.

Can you tell I’m passionate and excited by great lines?

Schiele rarely portrayed graceful nude bodies like this demurely seated female nude, most were curiously distorted and uncomfortable. His interpretation of his models presented bony, knobbly bodies in angular, knotted poses. Evidently, he liked to challenge rather than please the viewer.

His lines show a tendency to peak at points of tension (the outline of the hip, the top edge of the left shoulder and forearm), a trick that makes the contour static but not heavy.  This was difficult to replicate as the model Marietta has considerably more flesh on her than his usual models appear to have.

Carefully outlined in black crayon or ink on tinted paper, crayon has been used to decorate the figure.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, design, drawing, Figure Drawing, fine art, illustration, June Malone Art, June Malone, Illustrator, June©Malone, Online Course, Painting, Portrait, Portrait, Portrait Painting, watercolour

ILLUSTRATION: Brooding in a corner somewhere between art and graphic design….

“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” ~ Charles Mingus, American jazz musician.

 

The second unit of my first online illustration course, was unexpectedly, both an intellectual and a creative challenge.  I’ve had to think back to school history of art lessons, analysing paintings and artists – it gave my  brain a much-needed nudge.

I was to choose a painting that excites me for some reason.

Then, I was to try out different versions of the same image, but demonstrate how different artists would have interpreted it, using a variety of materials and techniques.

The initial painting was to be faithful to the work and its meaning.

I chose an enchanting nude portrait of Marietta 1907, by female Jewish artist Broncia Koller-Pinell. I knew nothing about it or her until I stumbled  upon it when it was tacked on at the end of an Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt exhibition at the National Gallery in 2014. There is nothing quite like seeing it in real life – it blew me away, I gazed at it for a long time and couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks.

The portrait of this lovely seated female nude has a simple L-shaped composition, with little attention given to the background other than graphic elements; blocks of flat, pale colour and a gold rectangle behind her head.  In this way, she gives the nude particular significance, focusing entirely on the harmonious lines of the subject’s body.  Paintings of nude women were still considered scandalous in 1908, especially when made by a woman.  Although nude, there is nothing provocative in this pose.

I was drawn by her efficient use of line, conveying the contours of the body.  There is much information and intent in each line, which limit the functions to construction and not description of specific anatomical data.  The fluid, precise, pared back line defines the edges of the form, effectively creating the structure of the body, traces contour and leads the eye from one part of the work to another.  They have their own merit.  They inform the rise and fall of the surfaces as the line travels over the breasts, the rib cage, down to the navel, over the abdomen and finally, down to the pubic area.  They describe the mass and volume of the form.  Every single mark is intentional.

Herewith my quick watercolour, attempting to be faithful to the original painting.

This was to help me unconsciously assume the structure of the work and its meaning.  A copy of the original is below, which was a postcard bought at the exhibition.

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

Creativity is intelligence having fun!

The traditional role of the Illustrator lies in the visual narrative, it is a practice with its roots in storytelling.”  ~ Marshall Arisman

To shake up my creativity, I’ve signed up for some online illustrations courses, the first of which is both more difficult and enjoyable than anticipated.

Unit one required me to create an illustration from random items seen at a flea market.  As Lockdown is in progress, nipping off to Portobello Road market was replaced with online searches.

Stalls crammed with worn teddy bears and others stacked high with gaudy crockery, I decided to create an illustration for children, showing teddies attempting to climb into a teacup. 

Indecision meant that both a watercolour and a digital version of the teacup were created.

Drawing hyperactive teddies proved more difficult than I’d imagined, but I got there in the end.

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

As Soon As My Son Is Fit To Live With, He Goes To Live With Other People.

An empty room is a story waiting to happen, and you are the author. ~ Charlotte Moss ~

The sweet. beloved boy is now a 6’ 3” tall +man.  That soft little fat-cheeked face is angular and has stubble.  He achieved a distinction in his M.A. degree, flew the coop in July for a house-share with good friends, has just exchanged his sound engineering job for a dream lecturing position in London and he’s happy. We could not be more proud…and relieved!

There’s less laundry and the food bill has been cut by more than half but god I miss him breezing through the front door and so long to receive one of his wonderful bear hugs. 

Covid means we only “see” each other during our weekly online chat.  He’ll be spending his first Christmas day away from home with the family of a nearby school friend, so we’ll get to see him briefly, wearing our masks,  each in a corner of our sitting room.  I’ll throw one of those see-through dust sheets over him so that I can have one of his longed for hugs, plus it will make him laugh.

His room is freakishly immaculate, screamingly silent and vastly empty!  Not wanting to make it unrecognisable, (I can’t bring myself to call it our spare room) I had fun creating this watercolour to break up the now offensively naked walls.

Using beech leaves, I had my first go at mono-printing, which, if you’re interested, doesn’t really work with watery watercolour paints, so I also block-printed and then drew over the top using “pens” I’d fashioned out of beech twigs.  They worked really well, although as you can see, the ink did run sometimes off too quickly, but I fixed that by wiping the point on the side of the ink bottle.

Is it possible to have too much gold paint?  Yes, I went a smidgen too far, but think I got away with it.

I’ve ordered this inexpensive frame – and yes, the colour theme of the room is mainly blue…for boys!

Posted in Art by June©Malone, drawing, fine art, ink, ink drawing, June Malone Art, June©Malone, Mixed media, Painting, pen and ink, pencil, pencil drawing, still life, watercolour

Plus Ça Change

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance ~ Alan Watts ~

When updating my website, for ages now, I haven’t been able to shrug off an ever-increasing feeling of dissatisfaction – of being a little bored by my art.  It’s all safely predictable, moderately sugary and intrinsically pretty-prettyyyy pictures. 

Nothing wrong with pretty pictures, à chacun son goût!  But a shakeup has  been looming; I’ve felt creatively stale, frustrated and itching for something less stagnant. 

Much sobering reflection made it clear that progress would not come without risks.  A fresh, less rigid approach and a stripping away of complacency was imperative.

So I purposefully read encouraging blogs and appropriate books at length, boldly experimented, played around with a variety of mediums, enthusiastically made multiple interesting marks… ad nauseam. 

You’ll see from these tulips that I’ve been toiling away at it since the beginning of the first Lockdown in March.  

But!  It was staggeringly difficult to detach myself from the snug and familiar. I could not do it!  I was simply not up to the challenge!  My tentative toe-dip into diversity just didn’t happen.  It was intensely disheartening and my self-confidence was deeply bruised.  In my cupboard lies a substantial pile of discarded attempts, the backs of which will serve as scrap for practise.

It seems that these images below may just be as wildly radical and loose as I get.

The first, (poor photo) of freshly picked sedum, is definitely loose; it took three minutes to paint.  But I wouldn’t want to frame it to hang on my wall.       

This is the grisaille underpainting to give depth.  A dish cloth and ink were used to make the pattern at the base. Perhaps I should have stopped here.

Lastly, the finished watercolour of the same sedum, neglected until it faded to appealingly gnarly, grungy and almost deceased, it’s water appearing to have developed algae. 

It doesn’t exactly signal a seismic shift from my usual work, yet it is unquestionably less sweet and pretty, albeit even more controlled!  I’ve merely used a few different products and techniques, some of which didn’t work.  

This would definitely not be hung in my house; It is ugly, I genuinely loathe it and will NEVER paint sedum again!  Initially, this experiment left me feeling disconcertingly adrift and unsure of what to do next.

So why have I bothered posting if every image is a disaster? Well, I decided not to be embarrassed about my failures because we all have them and I realised that there’s no shame.  I tried something different and it doesn’t matter that the result isn’t as hoped.

It’s only natural for creative people to periodically reinvent their methods in order to progress. I’ll continue to aspire to further spasms of idiosyncrasy and looseness in the hopes of creating something that surprises me. 

At the very least these images may briefly divert you from the extraordinarily bizarre ongoing worldwide events, not least the brainless,  boorish, bovine buffoons who ostensibly purport to lead what remains of our countries.

Well done if you have made it to the end of this elaborate autoethnographic (word courtesy of my son) discourse. 

Luckily for you this post has no audio – you’ve been spared hearing the many long, shuddering sighs that accompanied it.

Posted in Art by June©Malone, crayon, digital, drawing, fine art, illustration, ink, June©Malone, Mixed media, Painting, pencil, Portrait, Portrait, Portrait Painting, watercolour

Drawing The Soul!

Faces are the most interesting things we see; other people fascinate me, and the most interesting aspect of other people – the point where we go inside them – is the face. It tells all.  David Hockney

Doing a portrait of someone I care about is such a pleasure, because it feels as if we’re having a relaxing conversation as I squint and scrutinise their features.

I prefer to use a highly pixelated photograph for reference and tend to focus on the eyes first (apparently it was Wil Shakespeare who said that the eyes are the windows of the soul), then the mouth and lastly the nose. Being able to communicate what lies behind the is something few artists do.

It’s always possible to tell a true (or Duchenne) smile from a polite, fake smile – the eyes are always the giveaway.

This is a pared back pencil portrait of my remarkable eldest step-daughter, Hannah, who constantly surprises me as she rises to every challenge that life throws at her, never losing her quirky humour – she lights up a room when she enters.  All of which is impossible to convey with a few pencil lines and to say in one breath.

It’s extremely tricky to capture the truest likeness of the subject in a portrait.  There’s always a teeny something that isn’t quite right.  But I relish the challenge.

The fun cartoon-like drawing below shows her very quirky side and that green is her favourite colour.

I’m sure she won’t mind me posting a recent photo of her which for me, is just so wonderfully Hannah and makes me smile.

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, 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, 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