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


Sunday, 26 February 2012

One step forward, two steps back...

During the latest of my frequent confidence melt-downs, it occurred to me that I really don't know how to paint at all. 
I mean, I know how I paint, but I have no idea whether it's the way I am supposed to paint.

It struck me, that I have never seen anybody else actually painting - EVER! 

I suppose the main advantage that an Artist gets from going to an actual Art College, is that throughout the entirety of their course, they get to paint amongst lots of other Artists, each with differing ideas on how to approach a single subject and medium. 

If my easel were to stand in a room amongst many other Artists at work, I'm sure I would be able to pick up on a whole variety of methods of painting that perhaps I might not have otherwise tried. 
Perhaps they might even pick up something from me...? Now there's a nice thought :0)

A couple of years ago I attended a few life drawing classes, but the easels were positioned in a circle, so I really couldn't see how any of the other Artists went about their own paintings.
Actually, during that class all I really wanted to do was walk around the room and watch the other Artists at work. It is unfortunate that every Artist I have ever spoken to, doesn't like to be watched at work at all.

Though I completed an Open College of Arts Course, it was very different than going to an actual college because it was a course I did from home, so I always painted alone.

The majority of what I have learned has been from books and from making lots of mistakes. That is why I never see a failed painting as an actual 'failure', because that failed painting was a lesson in its self - one that I learned by demonstrating to myself what not to do and what would happen if I did! 
I have been a good teacher because I have done this many times, but those lessons are thankfully less frequent now. As valuable as they may be, they are of course incredibly frustrating!

Sometimes I look at a finished painting and though I consider it successful, I can still see things that I would "do differently next time". It's all part of that age old learning process, 'One step forward, two steps back'.

In my last post I showed you the beginning stages of bear number 4. The next stage I complete is an under-painting....

...Sometimes an under-painting can highlight problems that I may not have noticed in the previous stages. In this particular case, I am unsure if the mirror is going to work - but that's okay, if it doesn't, I will simply turn it into a painting on the wall :0)

And after posting my initial sketch, Prabal mentioned that the diagonal line between the paper and the lamp top was rather straight and I hope to rectify this with the clever use of shadows during the painting process :0)

From this point I work from the background and forwards, adding layers, glazes, details and then finally highlights. 

Why do I do it this way? I have absolutely NO idea! 
My paintings come together purely by what feels right to me.

What about you? How do you go about your paintings...?

Anyway, I will end this post with another useless fact about my week...

Q. What is the most stupid thing I did this week?

A. Whilst trying out possible set ups for bear 5, I managed to set fire to one of my props!

And the moral of the story: Positioning a feather quill close to a lit candle is not a good idea!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Preperation for bear number four...

First of all, thank you all so much for your lovely feedback on my latest bear.
I'm so glad you all like him :0)

I have now started bear number four!
This bear is going to be sitting on a shelf in an antique shop, nestled amongst other antique items. 

When I am working on a serious painting, there has usually been an awful lot of preparation work involved.
It is often a long time before I actually get to the stage where I can apply brush to canvas. 
I find it all too easy to become impatient, but I have learned that the longer I spend on this, sometimes frustrating stage, the better the end result will likely be. 

Preparation is most definitely the key to a successful painting in my own experience!

Once a new idea creeps in to my head, my first task is to get hold of the items I envisaged. This often means borrowing, sometimes several trips to second-hand or antique shops, trawling e-bay...... 
Preferably I like to paint things I have some kind of connection too :0)

My next task is to figure out how to make the items work together on canvas. I try lots of different set ups but sometimes they simply don't work and if that's the case, I might be forced to lose an item or two or even have a complete re-think! 

I use sketches and photographs to help me decide on my final arrangement...

...Once I have my sketch, I might decide that an adjustment is needed. In this case I felt that the bears head was a little straight on, so I decided to tilt it to one side, which I think works better...

And now I can finally transfer the sketch to my canvas!

Actually, I am past this stage now and have in fact just completed the under-painting, but I will keep you posted!

Back soon :0)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Big Ted on Beethoven...

"Now listen Big Ted, we need to talk... 

You and me? We're finished, we're through... IT'S OVER.

It's not you, it's me... I've got itchy feet and it's time to move on.
I have met a new bear you see, and I'd like to get to know him better. 

I hope you understand and I hope that you will soon meet someone else who will take care of you as I once did.

I'll never forget you Big Ted..."

'Big Ted on Beethoven'

... Tee-hee, sorry - I just couldn't resist!

Well, this has been one of the most frustrating paintings I have ever had to photograph, which is why it has taken such a long time to actually post it on my blog!

Dad and I tried all sorts of ways to get it right, but even now it doesn't show the colours and tones as they truly are, but - it is the closest I can get and I think it's close enough!

In reality there are more cooler colours within the fur, like those rich yellows and greens you see on the Beethoven music cover he is sitting on. So, the bear is actually a little lighter than this.
There is also a more obvious difference in tone too - Oh, and that blue tinge in the top right hand corner is just light reflecting off of the darkness.

Oh well, you get the idea!

By the way, I haven't painted the same wallpaper as was in my last bear painting. That was a Victorian pattern, whereas this is of course a pattern from the Classical era - Well what else could it have been for this particular set up, lol!

Once again this is oil on 18" x 22" canvas covered board.

I have already sketched out the composition for bear number four and I'll blog that in a few days.
I am just sorry this one took so long !! 

Back soon!!



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