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Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle

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painting

Feeling the Love: Social Media Reach

I recently felt the success of getting a painting selected for publication. I created a piece for Out of Step Books, ‘Under the Sea’. I have previously posted the painting, ‘Sleeping With Fishes’ and shared progress shots but with my Screenshot_2017-07-24-10-46-30-1limited number of followers of social media, there was a small amount of people that could really get to see it. Out of Step Books however however have 330,000 on their Instagram and I am so pleased to say that I have felt the love that their reach can bring.

At last count my painting, on their page, has reached 3,188 likes. It feels unbelievably good to know that there are Ardent Shadows fans out there who I just haven’t found yet. It’s really spurred me on and given me the confidence to keep pushing forward. My own small Instagram page has been enjoying a new rush of followers. Yes my current number may only be holding around 240, but I few short weeks ago I was struggling to get over 160. Of course not all of that has been because of this one piece. My involvement in the Wolves in Wolves Project has also helped me gain followers. It just feels so great to know that there truly is a future for my work out their. The all consuming passion I have for my art means that I could never stop painting, but it’s so nice to know that others are getting enjoyment out of my craft, my love and my hours of hard work and dedication.

I am really feeling the love!

Prints available as below (8 x 10 inch print with multi-frame mount, £15 plus postage). The original painting, 20 x 16 inches is available framed at £185. Contact me directly for more.

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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, www.ardentshadows.co.uk/mindfulness , but here’s one of my favourite highlights: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmN5Rp8XIe0)

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.

Sleeping with Fishes

This was a real adventure. It was challenging but has opened up a lot of fresh ideas. What do you think of this under water special?

Under Milkwood Part II

I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting to hear what’s the secret feature of this new piece. So here it is:

I planned this piece to work both landscape and portrait. The figure lying down and the foliage in one axis, and the sleeping animals all the other. The juxtaposition represents the balance between dreams and reality. Under Milkwood is all about seeing things that only exist in dreams. I wanted this piece to capture some of the magic of dreams.

Under Milkwood

Anyone who’s familiar with Dylan Thomas might be wondering where the connection is to his famous play Under Milkwood but this piece is not intended to be illustrative of the text. I have titled this piece to honour a single moment of discovery which instantly created this image in my head. Last year I saw the introduction of Under Milkwood by Michael Sheen as part of the celebration of the Dylan Thomas centenary. It was spectacular. The sounds and atmosphere created with the gentle rhythm of Sheen’s narration made for the perfect performance. I’m sad to say that it is no longer available to view on YouTube but hopefully the BBC has it squirreled away somewhere and it’s not gone forever.

Here’s a few key excerpts which so strongly suck in my mind from the introduction:

You can hear the dew falling, and the hushed town breathing.

Only your eyes are unclosed to see the black and folded town fast, and slow, asleep.

Listen. It is night moving in the streets.

Dewfall, starfall, the sleep of birds in Milk Wood.

Time passes. Listen. Time passes.

Again I’m not sure anyone would feel the link here to the painting I’ve created but it is so strong and clear in my mind. I find this text so hugely emotive that for me it’s connection is undeniable.

There is also an interesting additional feature to this painting which I will be sharing in a later post so please sign up to my mailing list or follow me on social media to read Under Milkwood Part II. See if you can spot what the hidden magic of this piece might be.final-insta1

* I’m thoroughly delighted to say that I’ve found the video elsewhere so here’s the link: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1zrkkb_opening-of-under-milk-wood-michael-sheen_creation

Enjoy x

The Threads of a Dream

So a little later than planned, here’s the full image of ‘The Threads of a Dream’. For the longest time I couldn’t title this piece but in the end I realised, it’s not so hard, I just had to think about what it means to me. The artist’s real gift is the ability to a visually express ideas, dreams, and emotions. My hope is that in this painting others might find a visual representation of something they’ve been feeling or thinking but are perhaps unable to express. One of the joys of art is that everyone can interpret the meaning differently and take away something different from the experience of seeing it.

I have recently quit one of my ‘day jobs’ to spend more time painting and creating. I think this is the perfect piece to celebrate this exciting time and many possibilities ahead. Prints will be coming soon, email ardentshadows@gmail.com for information.

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Time for Tiny Brushes

Painting the red cardinals into my new painting means one thing – it’s time to get out the tiniest of my brushes. Here I’m starting to add the details, but there’s a lot way to go on this painting!

Happy Halloween for 2016!

It was a pretty close thing this year but I am very pleased to share the final image of my Halloween special! I’ll do a further post later in the week and share some close up photos of the full painting. There are lovely little details in this one that I just can’t wait for you to see. Until then, Happy Halloween!

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It’s Halloween tomorrow!

So with one day to go I’m going to give you a very sneaky final peek before the reveal tomorrow. What Halloween painting could possibly be complete without a little 8 legged beasty?!

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