The Art of Sandra Busby...
Painter of Playful Light in Glass and Still Life


Friday, 21 October 2011

W.I.P. Thinking like Sherlock...

Well I have been busy, busy, busy with the second in my series of bears and I have decided to give you just a little peak at the stage I am at right now.

I have finally finished the under-painting, which I did to establish my darkest tones and as you can see there are plenty of them!
I am aiming for another old fashioned style painting, rather like the last bear.  That old bear of Dads taught me so much, so this time I feel ready to be a little braver!

I love this stage. It really does give me an idea of how it will look when it is complete...

© Sandra Busby

(Ignore the blue area in the corner, that's just the light from the window hitting the canvas)

This bear belongs to my Mum and though vintage in style, I actually brought it for her just a few years ago. I have yet to decide whether or not I should 'tatty it up' a bit for the sake of the painting but I'll decide as the painting progresses :0)

That beautiful antique magnifying glass, which was kindly lent to me by a family friend reminded me of the sort of thing that Sherlock Holmes might have carried around whilst investigating crimes.
This got me thinking... painting is sort of similar really; although it's not quite like solving a crime, it is still an investigation of sorts. We are still looking at the evidence before us, building a picture and piecing together the puzzle in order to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

Just like Sherlock, I seem to go through stages of frustration and elation during the whole process.
One minute I am scratching my head, for something is wrong or out of place and so I have to step back and unravel, look just that little bit closer, until I reach one of those wonderful 'Aha!' moment.
It is when those very moments happen, that I find myself one step closer to concluding the whole picture and reaching that long awaited verdict when I can finally declare 'Case Closed'!

The frustration with this one hasn't been in the painting itself, but rather in arranging a good composition in the first place.
I really wanted something glass in the picture and the magnifying glass seemed in-keeping with the tatty old books, which I picked up from a local Antique book store. 
Incidentally, one of the books is called 'Through the Looking Glass', making the magnifying glass even more relevant.

I had hoped to used the glass to create all sorts of wonderful distortions to the wording on the books, but no matter how hard I tried, it always left the composition looking overly contrived and it also seemed to take the focus away from the bear. So, instead I laid it in front of the books as something relevant to catch the light in what will be a predominantly dark painting.
Once the painting is complete, I hope I can borrow the magnifying glass again at a later date, because I do want to play around with some distortions at some point and glass is a favorite subject of mine to paint :0)

Since solving the composition issues, from then on it has been pretty plain sailing so far. Perhaps it's because, like the last bear, I had a pretty clear idea in my head from the start of how I want it to look. Let's hope it continues that way!

For once I have been properly timing how long I am spending on one painting. So far, from the moment I picked up my pencil to draw my initial sketch (as shown in my last post), to the under-painting as it is now, it has taken me 16.5 hours!

Anyway, I need to get back to my investigation now. This is the really exciting bit - time to add some colour!!

Take care everyone :0)

Thursday, 13 October 2011

'Bear' Essentials...

To my lovely, loyal, bloggy friends.

Firstly, thank you all for still being here!
I wouldn’t blame you for boring of my recent absence from the land of Blog during the last couple of weeks.
I feel the need to explain, as much has been going on in the right-hand side of my brain cell over the last few months!
Firstly, a couple of months ago I composed a long email to my tutor, in which I expressed a wish to withdraw from my Open University art course. To cut a very long story short, I felt that I was being molded to paint in a certain way, to follow a trend and I was therefore being forced to develop a style that just isn’t me.
A couple of weeks later he contacted me and managed to persuade me that it was the wrong decision to make. So, as weak willed as I suddenly found myself, I reluctantly said I would keep it up - hence the subsequent landscapes and little else to show blah, blah....
Though I recognise my tutor’s good intentions, I had been looking forward to doing my own thing – I had so many projects in mind and yet here I was, back on that Merry-Go-Round!

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I happened to be passing a beautiful Gallery and took a look inside.
The Gallery owner asked if he could help. I explained that I wasn't buying anything, but I was just interested in the way others paint because I like to paint too.
I want to paint like this...' I said as I pointed to a painting, which hung proudly upon the crisp, white wall before me, '...instead of like this', I finished as I showed him a random painting of my own on my iPhone.

He took my phone and asked if he could see some more, so I reluctantly showed him one or two further pictures.
I was shocked when he expressed an interest in my work and asked if I would bring some of the real things in to show him, so early last week I found myself drinking coffee with the Gallery owner, surrounded by the works of Phillip Gray, Rolf Harris, Hazel Soane etc, apologizing profusely for the work I was showing him!

During our chat, it became evident that we both seemed to have very similar visions in what would make a nice painting, but what surprised me most was that he said that he 'liked my style' and that it was 'different'! He suggested that when I have done some further paintings, should he feel that they are what he has in mind from me, he might consider testing the interest on his website. He said that if there was enough interest, he may do some limited edition prints in the future!

He stressed on several occasions that it may come to absolutely nothing and I don't expect it to - But, WOW - Just the fact that a gallery owner would show some interest my work is more than good enough for me!!!
And what was this 'my style' business? I didn't even know I had one!
But then, as I sat down and looked at the bits I had shown him, I realised that none of those bits were from my course at all. In fact, all of it was work that I had painted just for the fun of it and from my own vision.
When I lined them all up, I suddenly realised that I do have a style - one that has developed naturally over time and one, which only finds itself when I am not being pushed to paint in a different way by the course.
I lean naturally towards realism and when I don't fight it, that is when I create my best work and in my opinion, the only good work I do.

Anyway - let's not get carried away by this. The reality is that nothing has really 'happened' other than a chat consisting of ifs, buts and maybe's, with the owner of a rather beautiful Gallery. So, I am remembering that and being very realistic.

But, this is why I haven't posted anything over the last couple of weeks. I have felt entirely lost again. I have been feeling SO guilty that one minute I am agreeing to carry on with the course and yet the next I am realising that I can’t do it all.
At this moment in my art room, in one corner there is a figure painting half finished, in another corner there is a still life with a glass sketched and ready to paint, there is a sketchbook open, begging me to sketch anything, at least something for my blog until I finish a bigger piece, then there is the course book open at the page where I am supposed to be painting a 'sky dominated landscape', yaaaaawn...
Consequently, I walk in, spin around, scratch my head and run out. What do I do first? Gaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I thought about this and realised that I need to forget about the course and everything else in the room at the moment. I need to start painting again from the heart and who knows, maybe the gallery owner will like it – but if not, I will at least have painted something by the real me.
And what better subject to start with than another bear!
Having played around with some arrangements I got the initial sketch down on paper today, though I still have some adjustments to make before transferring my sketch to canvas ready to paint. For one thing the perspective of the magnifying glass needs adjusting before I go any further and there are also some further shadows to add.
It looks a little busy at the moment but a lot of it, such as the clock, wallpaper pattern and magnifying glass will be in DARK shadow and so ‘bearly’ even there!
Well, having not posted for a while, I am sorry that this one is consequently so EPIC!!! 
But, you really don’t have to read it!

Instead, you might just like to see my sketch…

© Sandra Busby
Thank you SO much for not leaving me!

See you again soon!


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