Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle


female form

Designing on the Canvas

Whilst I do a certain amount of planning before I embark on a painting, there are usually several unplanned elements that take shape as an ethereal part of the creation process. I like working in this way because I feel it gives me a closer relationship to what I’m working on. If you know exactly how the finished painting is going to look before you start, I think you take the life out of it. There’s no better feeling than looking at the structure of your composition and feeling where a flower should nestle in or a piece of ribbon should curl and flow. Whilst you can do this on paper before you start, why would you want to rob yourself of the joyous experience of doing it on a large scale where you can feel the shapes you’re creating.

I’ve decided to share a short video below showing me beginning to map out these unplanned elements. This is taking my earlier point to an extreme. I actually found myself a little stuck with this painting and went through a period of weeks when I wasn’t working it due to this sticking point. The question was this – who is my character and what setting would she be in? I didn’t want to leave the background as plain colour. That’s the freedom of creating on the canvas, you feel your way around it. That’s when you tap into a total state of calm concentration. That zen state which I’ve talked a lot about in my Mindfulness Monday posts. So, this is how I create on the canvas. Hopefully when I share the final piece you’ll be able to see why I think this is such an important part of creating artwork:



Progress Continues with my new Painting

After long hours taking care of subtle changes and tweaks, this week’s progress shows the addition of the cats facial features and continued progress on the mask. Whist I am still not getting into the final details, I am now beginning to give the characters more form and starting to make a difference to the story I’m telling.

I really like sharing the photos of this raw early stage. I think it’s very telling of the journey I have taken as an artist and hopefully  others will take it as encouragement that this is how the most realistic of paintings start. It is only as a mature artist that I can see this as a starting point and will be able to take this forward adding further detail and all those little features our beloved pets have. This is just one of several stages the cat will go through in its journey toward completion.


Custom Print – Ardent Shadows giclee print to fit 11 x 14 frame

by ArdentShadows (30.00 GBP)

Promise by Ardent Shadows, giclee print to fir 11 x 14 inch frame. Print to order.

by ArdentShadows (30.00 GBP)

Persuasion – giclee print with charcoal mount to fit 11 x 14 frame by Ardent Shadows

by ArdentShadows (25.00 GBP)

Ardent Shadows giclee print with black mount to fit 11 x 14 frame

by ArdentShadows (25.00 GBP)

Shelter – giclee print with black mount Birdcage corset Limited Edition

by ArdentShadows (70.00 GBP)

Invoking Winter – giclee print with white mount to fit 11 x 14 frame

by ArdentShadows (20.00 GBP)

Custom Spells – giclee print with black mount Limited Edition Ardent Shadows

by ArdentShadows (50.00 GBP)

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑