Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle



The Final Reveal


This painting has been a long journey. I started with just a vague idea that centered around a gas-mask with mouse ears and started painting with just a drawing of the figure. The colour scheme also grew from experimentation. Looking back I think it would have been much quicker if I had started with a finished design however I know that the finished product would have been very different. As it is, I think I’ve created a strong painting which is packed full of lovely little details.

Over the last months of hard work I’ve discussed a lot of issues around this painting and I’ve learned a lot through the process. If you love this piece and want to know more about it’s creation and concept I invite you to look back over the last previous Sundays. I think there might be a few little tweaks left to make, but overall I think I can finally call this piece finished. I’d love to hear what you think about it.I feel that there is an untold story here which makes the piece as intriguing as it is unique.

Developing A Face

In the early stages of this painting I loosely painted a cat face so that I could get a feel for how the painting would come together. Over the painting process I continued to change the features of the face in order to capture exactly what I wanted. As I didn’t have any reference for this element I was trying to work out exactly how the cat would be positioned and what angle it’s head was likely to be. I found it difficult to work out exactly where the leg would be. It wasn’t until I had thought about how the anatomy of the leg and where it would bend that this particular element started working.

Before I began to finalise the face, and went through the steps shown in this week’s photo, I decided that I needed to make sure I’d got the facial expression correct; so I gave my cat a good fuss with a camera in my hand. Luckily I managed to get just the reference I needed and could begin filling in the light and dark areas of fur. All of a sudden a realistic face started to appear.

I considered several possibilities for the eye but in the end settles on a simple vivid blue which is the accent colour for the whole piece. Since taking the photo to the bottom right I have added more shading to the fur around the chin and added some definition to the base of the whiskers. I love this little kitty and I’m really happy with how it came together. He’s the purrfect companion to my ‘mouse lady’.

New painting in progress
New painting in progress

Mindfulness Monday #13 – Bats, Rats and Cats.

After the success of breaking out of my established approach last week I decided to follow it up with another free flow design this week. I’ve also had the desire to include a cat for some time. This didn’t work as well this week but I’m really happy with some of the elements I have included. I like the patternwork I have worked into the bat wings and I’m really happy with how the rat turned out. As enjoyable as it was to work with animals this week I feel that this is possibly one of the weakest drawings I’ve done. I was surprised because I love painting little critters into my big pieces so I thought the subject would encourage greater success. Perhaps I should stick to paint brushes when it comes to our furry friends. To be true to the project I will revisit animals later on. I feel like there must be some potential there.

I’m hoping to get back into painting over the Easter break. I’m also working at a convention on the 3rd April, so it would be lovely to have a new piece to take with me. Because of the deadline it will only be a small piece but I’m hoping that small steps will lead to bigger things. I still have an exciting new piece stuck at the ‘blank canvas’ stage. Make sure you’ve subscribed to my blog (or followed my facebook page) to see all of my upcoming work.


Please excuse the rough-and-ready photo this week. I’m blogging on the go!

Sense of Self: Faith

So here it is! Started nearly three months ago after my Granddad passed away, ‘Sense of Self: Faith’ is dedicated to him. A long awaited piece that showcases everything I love, and a follow up piece to my original birdcage corset painting ‘Sense of Self’. It will have it’s first outting at the Alternative & Burlesque Fair on 5th June, Birmingham so be sure to come and check it out in person. It’s soooo good up close!! Even if I do say so myself!

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