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Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle

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Changing Faces – A Dragon Sickness GIF

dragonsickness_m

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.

A Little Progress Report

As you know, I quit half the day job at the start of this year to spend more time on Ardent Shadows, and you can see this in my work! I’ve had a fantastic few days in the studio this week so here’s a little peek at what I’m currently working on:

sleepprogess

 

Mindfulness Mondays #35

When I showed my husband this week’s post his first comment was “woah its been years since you last drew women with wings, you used to do it all the time”; further evidence that this project has started to tap into something fundamental in my artwork. I don’t know whether this side of my art had been put aside, forgotten or simply demoted in favour of other projects. It’s so nice that I now feel I have a project where I can explore all manner of subjects and themes with little consequence to my portfolio. The problem with my larger paintings is always the time it takes to complete them. Because they take longer, I can only follow up the strongest and best ideas. I don’t have time to investigate the fleeting ideas and perhaps more importantly ideas which don’t steer my overall portfolio in the strongest direction. (Oh woe is me, the trials and tribulations of the poor artist working a day job to pay the bills…)

This was an interesting drawing this week, an idea which grew from nothing other than the starting point of wanting to draw a curled up figure. I was doing my mindfulness practice on my lunch break and was really tired at the time, wishing that I could curl up myself. The wings and horns are examples of those classic elements where I can honestly say “I don’t know why”, just that they felt right at the time. I think something like this would be lovely in a full colour piece where these mysterious little plants could be painted exactly as they are in my head, as bioluminescent plants belonging to a fantasy realm.

I hope you enjoy the gif that I’ve put together for this week’s mindfulness post. I am also keen to do another timelapse/speed drawing video but this will have to be reserved for a week where I can find more time to carry out my practice at home. So until then, enjoy:

ArdentShadowsMM35

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