Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle


creative process

Ardent Shadows on Instagram

It’s wonderful to read something so beautiful that paintings just flow out of the words. More details to come on this new piece 🌟💀🌟 #succulentlove #succulents #anatomy #wrd #darkart #macabre #gothicfantasy #bones #workinprogress #painting #originalart

Ardent Shadows on Instagram

Ok I can’t help it – I just keep adding things into this one. I will finish it one of these days! 🌟💀🌟 #darkart #gothicfantasy #sneakpeek #bluemorpho #acrylicpainting #originalart #cobweb #wrd #wp #wip #paintinginprogress

Wanderer No.2

This week’s painting was based more closely upon a real Bob Ross tutorial and I thought I’d choose a fairly simple one to get a handle on the basics. Also, mainly due to impatience I decided to work on a white background. This is the first thing which I have definitely learned this week. I like working over a black base. It keeps these landscapes more closely related to my own aesthetic and I feel that it just creates a deeper atmosphere. There’s more magic to be found in the twilight.

The biggest problem I came across this week is actually the same issue I had in my first painting. When I got to adding bushes and details in the foreground, the paint wouldn’t stick, or maybe the base layers were eating up the tonal variations. Again, I also struggled to create all the different shapes and patterns so important for creating a believable world of natural flora. The remedy for this was only realised after I thought I had finished.

I went back into the painting after it had been left drying for a few hours. I can’t be sure that this is the reason why I was more successful on my second visit but I think it played a part. The other reason I went back into it was that I felt it had turned out to be a very boring landscape. I felt much happier after adding in some large trees in the foreground. This also provided me with an opportunity to play with the palette knife more. This is something else I highlighted in the first painting as an area of weakness which needed attention.

All in all I am pleased with this second entry into my oil painting diary. You can’t love every result when you’re learning new skills, but you always learn a lot. Next week it will be back to black.

Wanderer No.2 on YouTube

Wanderer: An Evaluation

So I’m excited to have another try with my oil paints and this week I’m  planning to choose an episode of ‘The Joy of Painting’ to give me more guidance in some of the weaker areas of my first attempt. However, before I can start aiming for improvement I need to first identify where my technique is weakest.

Firstly I have to say that painting in this wet-on-wet technique is considerably harder than I thought it would be. It’s also harder than expected to imagine a whole world of landscape. I usually work in the realm of imagination so I didn’t feel too daunted by this but facing a blank canvas with no real plan was definitely a challenge when exploring landscape. It did bring its own aspects of fun however as I had no idea I was going to put a stream in the painting until I got near the bottom of the canvas and inspiration hit. I think where I need more of a plan is in the mid ground. Background and foreground feel the most simple to develop a basic plan.

Regarding the individual tools and techniques in Bob Ross’ style, I have to say I struggled most with use of the palette knife. This is the tool which is most foreign to me and I have absolutely no experience with using one. My work usually has a very smooth finish with virtually no discernible texture. The idea of allowing the paint to go on thickly and unevenly still feels quite uncomfortable.

The other struggle I had was toward the end of the painting where I wanted to add more definition in little bushes and plants in the foreground. I found it very difficult to get the variety of shapes and colours that Bob Ross creates. On reflection I think perhaps I should have thinned the paint slightly to make it stick to the thick paint already applied in these areas. I felt that by the end of the painting I had lost a lot of the tonal contrast and the foreground was not cooperating. In the end I put this down to experience but couldn’t resist adding the little white wisps before calling it finished. I just wanted to put a little bit of more of myself into this; after all my aim here is to learn the technique, not to start copying Bob Ross paintings.

The last of the problems I encountered did not become truly apparent until the day after. I had applied the liquid clear undercoat much too thickly. I have a few areas where the paint had run a little after I’d finished to working on the canvas. Upon reflection I can see now where it hampered me during the painting. I had originally wanted to create a sky that was slightly less blended and still had shapes and suggestions of clouds. The canvas was too slick for the technique I was trying and so I blended the sky more to compensate. Next time I try this technique for the sky I will also put less white on my brush as I think this will also help to restrict how much the shapes blend together.

All in all I feel very encouraged by this first attempt and can’t wait to have another try. I will be trying to follow an actual Bob Ross tutorial (more or less) and will also be trying to push myself to explore the palette knife and that’s where I’m most uncomfortable.

Don’t forget to follow my blog or YouTube channel to see how I get on with this oil painting adventure.


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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Ardent Shadows on Instagram

Started a new piece today sketching with paints. Feeling very excited about this one! It’s also the biggest piece I’ll have done for years – so wish me luck… ❤🎨❤ #newness #newproject #limitedpalette #wrd #wip #painting #sketchingwithpaints #acrylics

Ardent Shadows on Instagram

Started a new piece today sketching with paints. Feeling very excited about this one! It’s also the biggest piece I’ll have done for years – so wish me luck… ❤🎨❤ #newness #newproject #limitedpalette #wrd #wip #painting #sketchingwithpaints #acrylics

Ardent Shadows on Instagram

SNEAK PEEK I’m not sure whether to blame too much Bob Ross or my week at the coast but I’ve got some all new things happening in the studio ! Stay tuned for more… ❤ #painting #bobross #acrylicpainting #artistlife #studio #selfdevelopment #sneakpeek #wip #wrd #wp

Ardent Shadows on Instagram

SNEAK PEEK I’m not sure whether to blame too much Bob Ross or my week at the coast but I’ve got some all new things happening in the studio ! Stay tuned for more… ❤ #painting #bobross #acrylicpainting #artistlife #studio #selfdevelopment #sneakpeek #wip #wrd #wp

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