Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle



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!


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?!


2 Days left…

These stripey vines definitely make an impact after adding the little highlights. Add some shadows onto the figure and you’ve got a design feature which I just can’t get enough of! Still more work to do but it’s getting teasingly close!



3 days until Halloween


One detail I was never in doubt about including in this year’s painting is the stylised pumpkin flowers and stripey vines. I absolutely love them! As always it’s a featured that’s painted in steps. This photo shows me mapping out these elements and placing the vines along the figure. You can also catch a little peek of how the face is coming along.

4 Days To Go

4daysZombie texture added I can now start going back into the figure and tightening up the shading and details like the fingers. You can also see where I’m starting to develop the pumpkin and build up more of an idea of how all these different elements are going to work together!

5 Days Left…

5daysAnyone who remembers last year’s piece, or has watched the Halloween YouTube video I released at the start of the month, will know that giving the figure a textured zombie appearance is a big part of creating this character. It is however, an effect that is built up over stages. Today’s photo shows the first step towards the zombie skin is painting the base colours and loose shading.

6 Days Until Halloween

6daysI think you can start to see how it relates to last year’s Halloween painting. The colour scheme is much the same and I’m planning on having the character herself looking like the same person. At this point I hadn’t decided whether all elements would be the same, like the spider web in the hair, but certainly I intend to add some flowers much like last year’s. As you’ll see from the progress photos this week, there’s a lot to work on before I get to these fine details.

Count down to Halloween with me!

I couldn’t resist the urge to create an all new Halloween Special again this year – and I think it’s going to be even better than last years!

Here’s the first installment to whet your appetite. You can just about see the pencil lines from dividing the canvas. My initial design was about A4 size so I drew a grid on top of that which matched the dimensions of the canvas. I could then freely paint the design onto the canvas ensuring that each part of figure filled the correct part on the grid. It’s an excellent method for ensuring your drawing enlarges correctly without distortion.

Can you tell what it is yet?


You can catch up with all of last year’s fun by checking out last years countdown blog posts and watching the ‘in progress’ video on YouTube. Simply search ‘Ardent Shadows’ to find my channel.

Follow me to join the countdown!

Halloween is here!

I’m really pleased and excited to share my new video. This is the painting I did for Halloween last year and it’s taken me until now to process the raw footage but I think it’s more than worth the wait! I’ve actually found it really useful to revisit this painting and look at all the techniques I was experimenting with for the first time. It was the first time I’d done many of the things you can see in this video from doing a kind of under-painting, right through to applying paint without brushes. Sadly many of these techniques that actually proved very effective had actually dropped out of my thoughts so completely that I had forgotten some of the things I’d done in this piece. So personally I’ve got a lot out of creating this video and I think this is pretty exciting! What do you think?


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