Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle



Wanderer: My first adventure in oils

As you will know, I’m a huge Bob Ross fan and love his series ‘The Joy of Painting’. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend heading over to YouTube or Netflix immediately (after reading this post of course).

So this is how my new adventure came about – my far-too-generous husband bought me this full setbob_ross_set of Bob Ross paints and brushes, and well, everything I need to get going.  So no more excuses, no more safety in the known, this acrylic painter was heading straight into oil painting.

As this coincided with the start of the new year I decided to video my first attempt and shall continue to make videos of my progress throughout the year.

Wanderer by Ardent Shadows

This is what my first attempt finished up like. Of course I could go back no and tidy things up, correct some mistakes and generally add improvements but I wanted this piece to be honest in my first attempt. This is hard.

I’m at the beginning of what I suspect will be a very long road. I don’t intend for this to be my new work, or in anyway replace the acrylic paintings I so love creating. I intend this to be more like my Mindfulness Monday’s project. I learned a lot from the project, developed new skills and I’m a stronger more accomplished artist because of it.

I’m going to follow up this post with a more detailed account of my findings but for now I’m proud to share this new video timelapse of Wanderer: My first oil painting

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My Wolf for ‘Wolves in Wolves’

As regular visitors of my blog will know, I now have more time to dedicate to my art and I thought a great way to kick off this new start would be to get involved with a community art project. I came across the ‘Wolves in Wolves’ project in Wolverhampton and submitted a design which was successfully selected. I have now been working on my wolf for a couple of weeks and have been adding progress photos documenting this journey. Up until now however I have not shared the design I’m working toward, so without further ado here’s my design for the project:

Wolves in Wolves

Those of you who are familiar with my work will not be surprised that my design is based around trees and wildlife but what you won’t be aware of is that it is also heavily inspired by some of my favourites things about Wolverhampton, including feeding the squirrels in West Park. I find these animals so endearing and just full of character. I knew instantly that my design had to feature some of these furry critters, after all, this project is also public art so I  wanted it to appeal to a young audience. During my childhood in Wolverhampton I not only loved West Park but also adventuring down the Valley Railway, a beautiful nature reserve which even meets with some of the canals. It has always been a tranquil place where you can immerse yourself in the beautiful scenery.

The other influence on my design is my Mindfulness Mondays project. Those of you who were following the project last year will recognise the black and white linear drawing style and understand why I’ve chosen to free paint my Wolf instead of stenciling or drafting out my design. You can catch up on the project here, , but here’s one of my favourite highlights: (

We have fantastic green spaces in Wolverhampton and I’m really hoping my design will inspire people walking the Wolves trail to venture out into these places and discover the natural beauty that our wildlife offers. With the nod to my Mindfulness Mondays project I’m also hoping to inspire budding artists to get out their pens and pencils and enjoy the sense of relaxation and joy that art can offer.

The Wolf trail will be kicking off at the start of July so make sure you put a trip to Wolverhampton City Center in your diary this Summer!

For more information about the project and watch the continuing progress of my Wolf, sign up to my blog and follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

Jackalope now on Redbubble

So I’ve just finished painting my jackalope and have added it to my Redbubble store. This is the second design in my Enchanted Earth collection. Plus today Redbubble are offering a 20% discount! Use code: HERES20



Changing Faces – A Dragon Sickness GIF


I love looking back at the early photos of a painting and watching it come to life as I add each little detail. A GIF is the best way to showcase these photos and share this insight. Photos of these early stages hint at, but not describe, the full process and whilst it looks like it’s all linear progression there’s actually a lot of tweaking and an almost continuous need to adjust. Facial tones are difficult to do in one sitting, and when you add elements like the hair and background it can highlight subtle details which a first pass has overlooked. The face has many different contours which need describing but lighting and expression can drastically change where highlights and shadows should be.

This is the first ‘portrait’ I’ve painted in a long time. Whilst nearly all of my painting feature female characters, they’re usually a secondary part of the painting. Second to an idea or concept that I’ve wanted to capture. This painting’s concept works so well that there’s no need for anything outside of the character. Dragon Sickness, something from the imagination of JRR Tolkien, needed nothing else to come to life. As I started out I wondered whether I had set too much of a challenge but I feel I have achieved a really beautiful painting. I can’t wait to share the finished piece.

New Design on

4B_ardent-shadows.jpgHere’s another design taken from one of my Mindfulness Mondays. What I really like here is that you can pick the t-shirt in any colour and the stars will match.

International Women’s Day

I’ve just discovered a pleasing side effect from starting my Redbubble store. It means that I can now celebrate key events by sharing out Redbubble discount codes. Perhaps next year I’ll be able to do a new piece to celebrate International Women’s Day but for now I hope you’ll enjoy my selection of female apparel and take advantage of today’s discount code.

Redbubble Discount Code

Celebrate International Women’s Day with 20% off. Use WOMENSDAY20


Redbubble Shop


I’m adding more and more items into my new shop. Go check it out at

All New Range of Giftware, Homeware and more…

Magic Skull, from Mindfulness MondaysDo you remember this piece?

Maybe you loved the YouTube video too?

Well now you can buy lots of lovely products carrying this design. I’m so excited to share the launch of my new Redbubble shop. I’ll slowly adding more designs over the next week so let me know what you’d like to see next!


My all new shop!
My all new shop!

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