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Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle

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nature

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.

A Grain of Sand – New painting

I have just finished what was the last painting of 2014 but I thought it fitting to save it for the first post of 2015. It has been an important piece for me and the start of a new approach to my work. It was an experimentation of media, a challenge to myself and the first purely still life painting I’ve done in a very long time.

Whilst this was a chance for me to set up a real life composition to paint, I also wanted to create a perfect setting in which to display something which to me is beautiful and pure but something that many people will feel is a controversial. Please stay tuned for later posts where I will discuss the subject matter of this piece in more detail. First and foremost – I wanted to create a piece which showcased the beauty of life, all life, the beginning, the end, the oldest and most pure. Pure and raw nature.

For now, what I want to discuss is the preparation I went through for this piece. I have not put pencil to canvas for many, many years. Mainly because it muddies the pale colours but also because I found that painting outlines directly onto the canvas was a more pleasurable way of working and allowed for greater freedom and expression. For this painting I have also used canvas board – another change for me. I carefully drew the composition accurately and precisely onto the board with a standard pencil and then sealed it with a clear gesso.This seals the graphite and maintains an adhesive surface for the acrylic paints. Whilst this attributes mainly to my reflective learning and so this is not something I think I will do – I can certainly recommend the technique for anyone wanting a precisely drawn design to paint over.

A Grain of Sand
A Grain of Sand – Preparation

I will be sharing progress pictures here and on my social media pages so make sure you follow me for the full piece and related posts. Instagram: http://instagram.com/ardentshadows and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArdentShadows.Art

To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour. William Blake.

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