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Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle

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video

Mindfulness Monday #37

I’m delighted to share another video with you for this week’s mindfulness drawing. Admittedly it was a true labour of love to produce this video and I think i future I’m going to need to invest in some new equipment or software to speed things up.

This difficulty couldn’t be more in contrast with how I feel about the drawing itself. I couldn’t be happier with the drawing and I really feel a strong connection to it. The only idea I had when starting out was, knowing that I was going to video it, that I wanted to start with semi circles. I really wanted to show that you can produce beautiful art not by measuring, planning and tracing but by feeling your way around the page and letting the flow take hold. My circles are not even, not symmetrical, but I don’t think anyone could argue that there’s not something beautifully honest about them. I don’t believe art should be perfect and there’s no better way of illustrating that better than by doing this video.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this week’s post. Please support me by liking and sharing this video if you enjoy it!

 

 

(Link: https://youtu.be/GmN5Rp8XIe0 )

 

Painting Inspiration – The Bees Made Honey

It’s weird for me to hit a subject that’s almost trending but I feel that for whatever reason, bees are rather popular at the moment. I’ve signed plenty of petitions in the last year regarding the ban of particular pesticides, but this was not my inspiration for the piece. Neither was it the fact that my husband’s got a rather beautiful honey bee tattoo, done by Matt Youl in Birmingham (Instagram @theyoul). It’s certainly a bug rising through the ranks in the tattoo world. A year ago it was beetles with wings outstretched and moths adorning knees and ankles, but the bee is definitely an alternative gaining in popularity. Perhaps with all things considered it could be argued that bees were in the back of my mind before inspiration struck.

I was working, as I always do, with music in the background and found that I was particularly enjoying an Earth album (https://www.facebook.com/thronesanddominions) I’d recently discovered. I think in part maybe I was drawn toward the album because of the artwork; something which despite the popular doctrine of ‘not judging a book by it’s cover’, I always allow to influence me. So that’s where I was, head in my work, letting Earth’s spellbinding drones wash over me, when I found myself entirely focused upon the music and starting to feel my creativity awakening. I looked up the song title and found that I was on the track entitled ‘The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull’ from the album with the same name. I found the title so evocative that I immediately found myself exploring concepts around lions, or rather lionesses, not as skulls but as beautiful women hard as bone and powerful as a lion. My original concept drawings were very much along these lines; a powerful female character with bees swarming out of her mouth and honey dripping from her fingers. I really wanted to capture those words – the bees made honey in the lion’s skull.

Eventually as I moved through roughs and my ideas developed I realised that I wanted to focus on the mouth and use the hands to frame this, providing further places for the bees to crawl and creep. All the time the words going around in my head like a mission statement.

It’s unusual for me to be able to pin point the exact time when an idea was born but in this case I can say with all certainty that this piece would not exist without Earth’s fantastic album and it’s stirring title. I have named my piece to honour that moment of inspiration.

If you haven’t already taken a look, you can now view the short video for the painting of ‘The Bees Made Honey’ on YouTube, featuring the beginning of the 8 minute track by Earth. Follow this link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwwzJKpPYgg) or click on the image below.

Painting Video - The Bees Made Honey
Painting Video – The Bees Made Honey

Exploring Video

I recently began filming myself painting with the intention of producing ‘painting in progress’ videos. It has been a steep learning curve and if I’m being honest, setting up and maintaining recording equipment can be rather obstructive to the painting process. To date I have produced two different videos which explore its use in different ways.

The first video I released was actually the second painting where I used a camera and is in time lapse style. I therefore had some experience of which technique to use and how to set up my equipment. Comparatively it was much easier to produce this style of video. Step 1: Mount the camera in a set location and in an unobtrusive place, and Step 2: Paint. If it wasn’t for the short battery life of the camera, which necessitated several breaks in recording, it would have been a fairly low effort task. It took me a good few hours to prepare a work space suitable for recording but this is something I hope to overcome with the completion of my studio. Also upon reflection I should have mounted the camera in the same direction of the light to reduce ‘bounce’. It was however immensely enjoyable to view the results and compile the video. I’ve also received very positive feedback from people who enjoyed viewing it.

But I am most excited about the second video which I am posting here for the first time today! In many ways this was more problematic and it took long hard hours of video editing to put it together. As it was a completely new adventure I decided to experiment with several different camera mounts and camera positions. This meant I had to carefully edit footage from each individual angle and occasionally I found that after hours of editing, some footage was just not suitable for inclusion. What I have created through this experimentation however is a video which I feel is most interesting. Different views and speeds intermixed with stills and sweeping panning shots keep you interested as the painting develops.

I was surprised to find that one of the most successful pieces of video is towards the end where I’m repainting details of the skirt. I put this down to the experience I had already gained at this point both in real time filming, but also as it was the last section to be edited. I cut out sections of whole piece, then sped up individual clips in order to create an ever moving, constantly evolving piece of video which has both a good pace, and level of detail.

I consider the creation of these videos a project in its own right and something which is very much in its infancy. I have a lot to learn but I am excited to meet the challenge and look forward to creating videos of my future paintings. After all, what better way to capture the creative process?

So without further ado, I present the video for ‘Sense of Self: Faith’

Faith on Youtube
Faith on Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4Cg2hkRekY

And in case you missed it, you can see my ‘time-lapse’ painting here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yXEtGVrWZE

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