Developments of a moonlighting artist

Day jobs and running a (however small) mothership are time consuming, aren’t they? How anyone has time for updating the world on their slowly developing painty plans is beyond me.

Excuses out of the way, let’s get down to the real news, a round up of all that has been and will soon be happening in the world Art by Imi.

David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year

Back in December, I entered my kookaburra, Herman, into this prestigious competition – which sees the shortlisted paintings hanging at the Mall Galleries in London… right now. This week! GO SEE IT!

I just missed out on being hung, but a copy of my painting is being displayed in a folder at the exhibition (Selected not hung), and is also up for sale on their website.

The famous bird

The famous bird

Due to the curse of the surname, Woods, you will need to scroll right down to the bottom of this folder to see my painting! (Alternatively, it could be a benefit – the last one you see will stay fresh in the mind?)

It gives me lots of confidence that maybe next time, I might just get hung!

Rowledge Village Fayre

A rainy affair to say the least. Wrapped up in my ski jacket in late May, I spent the day painting Tomtom, an owl with a hella lot of attitude for someone only 20cm tall.

We met Tomtom (original name forgotten) at a Country Fair in Norwich, and I fell for him. Snuggling into the shoulder of his adoptive mother, he glared at us as we angled a camera in his direction, and we took some moody yet adorable photographs.

I got to hold a hawk, and we stumbled across concepts that I didn’t even know existed… like the Norfolk Goat Club.

DSC_2602

The girl loves birds

But anyway, back to Rowledge Village Fayre. Despite the weather, Rowledge residents were out in force, and I got snapped painting by photographers from the Farnham Herald and the Ash & Farnham News and Mail.

imiatrowledge

spot the difference

I met many dogs, and may have lined up some commissions for the coming months.

My new selection of cards also proved popular – please contact me if you want a pack.

cards

Zebs in every colour

Art tutoring

At the fayre, I met a mother of a nine year old girl, who asked me if I would consider art tutoring to me. When I was nine, I started having flute lessons. Breaking away from the norm, she will have ‘how to paint a bunny’ lessons.

After pinging a few emails back and forth, it is planned that I will teach my young apprentice in a series of six private lessons beginning in August.

Starting with marking up a canvas, I will cover subjects such as:

  • mixing acrylic colours
  • painting colour washes
  • building up detail through multiple layers
  • creating texture by getting creative with tools
  • painting eyes, hair, fur and feathers
  • using acrylic inks.

Having never been taught in animal portraiture myself, I think it will get me to ask myself why I do things how I do them, and consider ways of improving my own methods.

It will also (hopefully) get my apprentice enthusiastic about art, and enable me to influence her from a young age to ALWAYS PAINT THE SIDES OF THE CANVAS!

It is an exciting new project for me, and I hope it will open up doors to further teaching opportunities.

Doing that painting thing

Ah yes. Painting. I have been doing some of that too. Not as much as I would like, but some. Problem is, as soon as I get it out, the whole house looks like a bomb has hit it.

Cue whining to Jack: “pleaassee can we buy a house where I can have my own art studio?!”

oh I wish

I am currently painting a kingfisher (yes, another one). I am really enjoying it, it’s a fun project! Mixes of turquoise, phthalo green, and purple to create those distinctive teal feathers, and flashes of orange and gold for the glinting chest.
Marwell International Wildlife Art Society (MIWAS) Annual Exhibition
My new kingfisher is being painted for display in the Marwell International Wildlife Art Society (MIWAS) Annual Exhibition this year.

It’s at Rookesbury Manor in Wickham (which is half way between Portsmouth and Southampton) from the 29th – 31st August.

officially a member

I am giddy with excitement about it, and about the opportunity to be up there hanging with the big dogs of the wildlife art world (the pun was too good not to throw it in).

On Saturday 30th August, I will have a stall at the adjoining art market, where I will be demonstrating my art and selling my work, while on Sunday 31st, I will be acting as a guide at the event, greeting visitors and showing them round the exhibition.

For the amazing calibre of art you will see, I urge you to put the date in your diary and visit this exhibition. I was awestruck last year at the detail and beauty of the work, and how down to earth the artists were.

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Laugh, Kookaburra, Laugh

Kookaburras are remarkably underrated birds. A more sociable cousin of the Kingfisher, they are full-feathered and expressive – an excellent painting subject.

We met a Laughing Kookaburra at a recent visit to Marwell Zoo. He was incredibly patient and tame, sitting just a metre away from us in an open aviary. He posed for us for a good ten minutes, and we got some really beautiful shots of the Kookaburra and the leafy background in soft focus.

I knew that it would make an amazing statement piece, so I bought a 40 x 60cm canvas and set aside quite a bit of time (I estimate it took 50-60 hours of work) to create Herman the Kookaburra in acrylic paint on canvas.

Why Herman? My sister told me he was a Herman. I wasn’t convinced by the name at all.
I decided to look up the Laughing Kookaburra using the fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia.
What do you know, it was actually founded by someone called Johann Herman.

It was fate, and you can’t argue with fate.

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If you think your house would benefit from a Herman, please contact me as he is for sale.

Have you ever had a similar experience with fate? 

How to… paint a lemur

A niche market, I know. 

But I thought you might like to know how I did it!!

You will need:

  • Paint: I used System 3 acrylic paint in the following colours.
    Mars Black, Titanium White, Flesh Tint, Buff Titanium,
    Velvet Purple, Cadminium Red, Burnt Sienna, Rich Gold, Copper.
  • A variety of paintbrushes
  • A couple of cocktail sticks (!)
  • Masking tape
  • Water
  • Play mat

There is less of a defined way to do this.
But I will talk you through the steps I followed.

  1. Start with the dark areas first: I created a colour wash of greys and purples over the lemurs head and down his shoulders.

    Here you can see a variety of greys and purples down the shoulders.

  2. Pick out areas of dark and light: using a cocktail stick and a repetitive motion. This is great for adding texture and making the lemur really fluffy.

    Here you can see I am starting to pick out detail and texture on the lemurs head.

  3. Block in key areas: First in a plain colour before adding detail.

    Here you can see I blocked out the eye area.

  4. Use your cocktail stick to add detail and fine lines: Using copper paint in the eyes, and don’t forget to add a little white glint to bring them to life.

    Here you can see I have used a copper colour to paint in the eyes

  5. Start capturing areas of shadow and light: Use your white paint to create fluffy legs and texture, scratch into the paint to create individual hairs.

    Here you can see I am starting to put the lighter areas in on its body

  6. Continue to add detail: Using greys, purples, whites, flesh colours, capture areas of light and dark, build up layers to make it look more cuddly and fluffy .

    Here you can see I am starting to shade in purples and greys to add shadow.

  7. start on the tummy: The tummy looks softer and smoother, so put down the cocktail stick, building up layers with your paintbrush instead.

    Here you can see I am continuing to shade and add detail

  8. The feet: Block in the main shape in a pale colour before being tempted to add detail. I found the feet really difficult to do to make them look three dimensional and realistic.

    Here you can see I am starting to paint in the hands

  9. Finish off the hand detail: Again, using your cocktail stick, draw on individual hairs on the feet, using greys and purples. 
  10. Don’t be afraid to redo bits: I ended up repainting in the whole log, using more shading and toning to make it really stick out from the page. I then painted in the tail using black white and purple.

    Here you can see I have painted in the tail

  11. Add texture and dimension to the tail: I felt the tail looked a bit flat so I added shades of blue and a lot more texture into it. VOILA!!

    Here you can see my finished painting!!

    So, after 2 weeks of painting and preparing every day after work…
    Mounting up to about 30 hours…
    It is finished!! 

    I give it to the girl at work next Monday when she is back from holiday and I am really excited.

    Stay tuned for reactions!!