Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle



Changing Faces – A Dragon Sickness GIF


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.

Mindfulness Monday #24


I’m totally in love with this week’s photo. The dappled sunshine amongst the cornflowers is a perfect setting for one of my favourite Tolkien poems and some folk art inspired flowers.

I feel that the drawing itself this week is particularly successful. The text is really strong and sets a standard for any future use of text. This week I formed the letters using solid lines rather than outlining the letters first creating white space inside. I also love the border I’ve created around the text, I’ve never had much success in the past with designing borders but something this week has clicked into place. I’m looking forward to using this again in the future.

This photograph totally brings back all the calm and happy feelings I created when drawing it. It’s the perfect reminder of why I started this project and the mindful meditative state I was trying to connect with.

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