Assignment 3: Self portrait – Sabi & I.

This will be a self portrait but I am going to try and do something  a bit different. I will try some unusual angles, or maybe to put something in the picture with me…my cat, maybe? I was thinking of Frida Khalo with the monkey and a cat.  I don’t think the cat will pose with me so I will have to add him in separately….self-portrait-with-necklace-of-thorns


Also, I was recently looking at the work of photographer Florá Borsi (online) and her ‘Animeyed’ self portraits. 0a79513b601c75d0512e41a3_rw_1920.jpgsource:

The important key in the photos is that the eye pupils align up. This is what makes them work so well. So I am thinking about borrowing from this idea but obviously I will be painting and not photo-manipulating.

As far as a background is concerned, I think for a portrait it can be plain in order to put the focus on the person, or it must complement in someway – or be relevant and not too cluttered.  In the Khalo, the green leaves work well with the picture as a whole, as it is all very organic with the necklace and the hummingbird and the butterfly/dragonflies.

I tried out a pencil sketch:20170418_123117

I think the idea will work, that cat’s eye needs to be right in the right place, it is not quite right but nearly.  I found a good picture of Sabi that I had taken, of him and the full moon, he is just at the right angle so I will be able to work from that and of course, get his fur colour from real life. cat and moon 2

I need to think about the background. I can drape a curtain or blanket over a screen behind me to work. I am wondering about an animal print… I have a towel that is green with zebra type stripes and also a blanket with big cat markings.

I tried both:

Perhaps they are both too distracting, Looking at famous self portraits, the backgrounds do tend to be fairly plain….

I do like the green but now I remember that I used green for the background for assignment 2 so maybe not again. Sabi’s fur and my blonde hair will stand out enough and I want the eyes to be the main feature. I might try a plain red. I have a plain red sarong I can use. My eye and the cat’s eye will be green so the red will make that jump out. In fashion, I also like red with animal print! So the cat fur will look good with the red behind, I think. I need to try painting the cat fur and also flesh tones next.

I have been looking online at the work of a local (Gibraltar) artist, Estelle Day. Her superb portrait ‘Robert’ has been selected for the BP portrait award exhibition. I note her subtle rendering of the skin tones and the subtle use of shade, which is what I hope to achieve this time.  Image taken from: facebook:'Robert' Estelle Day

I have been trying out the cat’s fur today. In life, he is sandier than in the picture. I have mixed raw sienna and naples yellow and some white to give a sandy base. I then used white for the light areas and black mixed with white for the stripes and speckles. Using white dryish on top of the black gives a good effect. And the red looks good next to the fur. I think now that the eye is not quite at the right angle, I need to have the head turned towards the viewer slightly because a cats eye is a flat disc really. I will do some more sketches and work it out. Skin tones next. 20170419_151841

I painted an A4 sheet with the red and let it dry. I then sketched my face (actually it doesn’t look anything like me…but just trying out tones) from the mirror, and tried various colours over. I quickly realised that I need to paint it in white first, then paint on top of that as the red shows through. This may not happen so much on the canvas however. I am trying not to have such exaggerated shadows as the last one I did of myself, which was not flattering… Titian bluff is my best friend when it comes to my skin tones and hair….More light on the face seems to work. It won’t be so exagerated as this, I want to get more subtle this time.image1 (97)20170422_170402

I have painted my face and hair roughly onto the canvas and worked out the cat – lining up the eye was very hard and I was beginning to regret my choice but then suddenly it seemed to work. I think now though that the cat body looks as if it is the other way around, as in he has his back to the viewer, so I have been trying to get my cat into position to sketch and photograph this angle..not easy -) I have also put my hand in holding the cat as I think this balances the picture out better. I am also thinking of putting something in the top left corner, a plant or maybe a butterfly as I also think this will balance the composition better. 20170422_170354image1 (96)

I am sure I should have worked this out beforehand but actually working on a between A3 – A2 board it is hard to visualise. Now I can step back from it and look with fresh eyes and see what is needed. Enough today.

Today I have been painting for about 3 hours. I think I have almost finished. I am pleased with the cat fur and the eyes line up well. Sabi’s eye is also my eye. Of course, my eyes are a green/blue and his are gooseberry green but my artist license allows me to make them the same 🙂 The ivy (it’s fake and plastic but moveable!) balances the composition out well I think. Going to leave it over night and see if I need to change or tidy anything tomorrow, with fresh eyes. Then I hope I can send this assignment off on Monday which should meet my deadline 🙂

So today I just tided up under the eye and and the hand. I think I am finished now and don’t want t mess with it any more. I am pleased that the eye lining up worked and I think this gives it a different twist. I like the bold red backdrop, I think this worked well, although red is a hard colour to paint on top and I had to use white alot on top as a base. Husband and sister think I have caught my likeness; I think I have but I am in a more flattering light (which is what I wanted anyway…) I think the skin tones are better than I have produced before. A delicate touch is needed for them I think.

Sabi & I

Updated: response from tutor feedback:

‘Your chosen palette red and green (ivy) have associations with christmas. This can interrupt other symbolic interpretations The red is a little harsh / loud / obvious choice sitting against the softer qualities of hair, skin and cat fur. Was this intentional and for what purpose? If not how could you alter the ‘background’ to shift the mood or psychological tone of the painting? If you were to paint this again, how might you approach it differently…. to convey what particular symbolism, ideas, mood or psychological tone etc .
The choice of a cat (your pet) and the piece of ivy dangling in front of the deep red sarong. Whilst there are obvious references to Kahlo. I wonder what your intentions were in conveying ideas or content of a personal nature. This isn’t commented upon in your critical reflection or on your process. Post your thoughts on these questions to your blog .’

I did not associate the red and green in any way with Christmas, and feel this is subjective. I see the red as strong, vibrant, exciting, bold  – and a good contrast to the skin tones, fur and hair.  I also used the red as a complementary colour to make the green eyes,  which are the focal point of this work, stand out. I had decided, after my demonstrated experimentation, on a plain backdrop. I am happy with the outcome and would not wish to change the red, although I had also considered a strong green but rejected it on the grounds that my previous assignment had  a green background.  Had I used green, it would also have been bold and strong; then I would have put in some red flowers, perhaps, to complement.  The alignment of the eyes symbolises my closeness to the cat and my constant trying to see the world through his eyes and also that we are all sentient beings viewing and  living in this world together. Although I had explored the idea of my head in profile being more interesting, it would not have worked to use it in this case as the main focus was the alignment of the eyes. Although the cat was a feral born, his marking are that of an Egyptian Mao, and I am pleased to have shown his markings and nobleness thus. I have bared my shoulders in several self portraits; this is so as to show myself as I really am – laying myself bare so to speak, … without being judged for my sartorial choices (also gives a larger area to explore skin tone). I also remove all jewellery for this reason, except my wedding ring.

Assignment Two Feedback and response

Action plan:

  • I need to look at my technique to ‘draw with the brush’ as I unsure quite how to facilitate this and how to work across the painting, rather than blocking in each area as I have been doing. I will look for examples of artists doing this on video. I will use this technique in my sketchbook to practice. I need to set aims of my own and also to be more adventurous, using a viewfinder or looking for different angles and views and to think more about what works, or doesn’t work well.
  • I will look more at how to apply my research to my own work.
  • I will repeat some of the exercises when I can, indeed I have already done so since my return from the UK.
  • I agree there was an element of me rushing on the assignment, but I had set a goal of finishing before Christmas. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about deadlines.
  • I will look at Bonnard’s compositions and write this up and also watch Luc Tuyman’s interview and reflect on this.
  • I have ordered the Michael Petry book, which I had not done before as it is not cheap…it is on its way now. The Artist’s Handbook I have already and have been using for reference, but will write a post about this.
  • I will post the missing ‘broken and tertiary exercise’.
  • I believe I am on the painting degree pathway rather than the fine art one. 


I have found the feedback extremely helpful, encouraging and informative and it has given me a clear action plan.

Overall Comments
Thank you for editing and organising your portfolio, in addition to your blog content. I will comment upon specific aspects of the assignment under the headings.
There are recommendations for you to act on under the Pointers / Research .
Some recommendations from assignment 1, appear not to have been actioned; these I have indicated with **. Please post these to your blog when you have completed them.
When you take the time to consider, plan and reflect on your learning you achieve more confident outcomes. I suggest that this considered approach also facilitates a shift out your comfort zone. I recommend that you evaluate and factor in sufficient time to practice this, at the assignment stage. It feels as though the assignment is a little rushed, in contrast to some of the projects.
Your quality of drawing is currently stronger than your painting abilities, it would seem helpful for you to try and draw with your brushes (rather than filling-in each object or part of the picture). To approach the painting as you do drawing, by working across the page / canvas.
Your research has broadened a little since assignment one, do continue developing this as you work through the exercises and through to the assignment. Now begin to analyse and comment upon how and in what way to apply your research, purposefully to your work. This will require you setting aims of your own.
Assignment 2 Assessment potential
“I understand your aim is to go for the BA (Hons) Fine Art Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.”
assessment (see Conditions of Enrolment, Section 2 a). Contact the OCA Course Advisors to discuss this further.
Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
Your prep stage helped you choose and select objects, colour, lighting and media.
In the assignment you limited your options for composition by staying with familiar
arrangements and format. I’d like to see you expand on this in future work. For example use a viewfinder, shift your position in relation to the subject (other than eye-level), try portrait rather than landscape format, crop-into the subject and shift the objects / subject around. Look at and apply Bonnard’s compositions (and use of colour) i.e: Before dinner, The bath and The terrace at Vernon. (see Pointers )
You have purposefully selected colour in terms of complementaries i.e: green / red in the case of the assignment. There is a relation here to your aim for a ‘calm and still mood’. This was a useful yet simple aim to achieve.
In addition to following the assignment task; set more aims for yourself; for example in relation to the mood or emotional / psychological tone, meaning or message- consider what you’re trying to convey to the viewer. (see Pointers ).
In future consider some further aims, that might be a little more challenging in relation to the context / content of your work Ask yourself , what are you wanting to convey or get across in the painting? I think Tuymans touches on this in the interview. (see Research / Pointers )
You have shown basic competency in your chosen media. There is evidence of you selecting the colour (and tone) in order to suggest ‘mood’ and create flow across the works.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
There is evidence of an effective use of cropping (Billie Holliday) to explore a more interesting composition: scarf, corsage, record, than previous versions.
Some evidence (on blog) to suggest a testing of compositional options and shifting of objects (de-cluttering of corridor). Therefore making decisions to manipulate the interior in order to plan a more simple, effective drawing.
The drawing stage is useful to explore and plan where you want tonal values across the painting and how to convey form. For example once you’d drawn the handkerchief you recognised, how to paint it. The act of drawing can be an observational, thinking and problem solving process. Take time to explore these possibilities at the assignment stage.
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
Good use of Harvard referencing throughout- continue the good practice.
You have made brief references to some 20th century artists, whose work you hope to learn from and apply to your work. In brief you mention: O’Keefe and Schiele. (see below)
Analyse more what elements / qualities you wish to apply from your research. Then follow this up by considering how and in what ways you can do this? Ask what the purpose of this is i.e: what are you wanting to convey / get across? Then reflect on how successful you have been (and areas for further development or re-painting ). (see Pointers )
Your primary research regarding the lecture, could help you to start analysing your own work, in a methodical and focused manner. Why not work through the handbook and ask questions of yourself (as well as the research you undertake).
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
You’re using the learning log as a site to record most of the exercises, projects and assignment. There appear to be some gaps in the exercises and research points i.e: colour theory and mixing of tertiary colour. Do post these to your blog.
Satisfactory documentation of the research you undertake. It will benefit your learning if you consistently reflect and analyse ‘how’ you might ‘apply’ research to your own painting / drawing practice. (see Pointers )
The blog is a reflective and research space- perhaps less about what you ‘did’ and more about how this works or doesn’t work. If you approach this in a balanced way to bring out your learning and set aims as to what / how you can develop strengths and qualities, plus how you can lessen weaknesses. You have some brief comments on what you’ve learned, follow these up with how you can apply this in future work.
Suggested reading/viewing
Follow up these suggestions ** from Assignment 1 and post critical analysis to your blog:
Research contemporary C21st artists such as:
** Michael Petry ‘Nature Morte Contemporary artists reinvigorate the Still Life ..’
Thames & Hudson 2013
** The Artist’s Handbook
Luc Tuymans Look at both his drawings and paintings.
Pierre Bonnard
Pointers for the next assignment
● Reflect critically on this feedback in your learning log.
● Introduce more of your own aims to the assignment work- then you will begin to
explore and develop your own voice.
● ** Use your sketchbook on a daily basis, if possible. More drawing (with a brush) willsupport your painting development. Make a minimum of 6 prep studies at no larger than A5: these studies may be for composition, tonal or colour references.
● ** You will learn and develop more from the course if you can allocate more time to practice and repeat the exercises and tasks ( the building blocks for the assignment) – be more ambitious in terms of going beyond the tasks / exercises set. (as these are the minimum requirements).
● ** Ask more questions when researching and analysing the work of others’ (as well as your own work). In your own words describe, analyse and critically reflect on the media, aesthetics, form and content of the works. How do they relate to your ideas and practice? Record all on your blog- then make some aims for your development.
● ** Extend your research to include some contemporary artists (C21st)- follow-up on
suggestions from Assignment 1. Ask yourself how your artist’s research relates back to and underpins your drawing / painting: process / content? Begin to place your own work within a contemporary context: related to the ideas, process and aesthetics of artists you’re researching.
Please inform me of how you would like your feedback for the next assignment. Written or video/audio
Well done, I look forward to your next assignment.

Assignment 2: Still life- Mask with Red Apple

With lots of ideas running through my head and my time running out, I remembered having been inspired at the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition in London by the beautiful simplicity of her ‘Mask with Golden Apple’, and had thought how this might inform my own work.



I have a wooden mask from Bali and have just returned from the market with a couple of shiny red apples. Have just spent some time arranging possible positions and backgrounds  on my desk upstairs and I think I have decided on a soft green silk scarf, that belonged to my grandmother and just the one apple beside the mask. The apples are quite large and as the mask is flat to the surface it does not quite work the same way as O’Keeffe’s arrangement.


I would want the mood of my painting to be very still and calm, with good contrasts from the natural light through the window,  painting the background in a soft and fluid way, with the mask and apples taking stronger brushwork.  I like the mystery of why the apple with the mask? I think the pattern on the scarf will add background interest and the green is a good complementary colour. The light from the window is very good today as the sun is out but I may have to set up a light if working at another time. I am doing some sketches and working out how best to describe it.20161215_155122

The pattern on the scarf might be a tricky…

Today, having done a few more quick sketches and a fast water colour, to my surprise I think the original arrangement, with the apple in front in the centre, is the most pleasing and well balanced composition




Colours to use: colours

I laid down a pale yellow wash as a ground and when that had dried I made a start, using a pale wash to lightly mark out the objects. I am having a break now and may continue later or

I have started painting the silk background and I am thinking that the pattern is not going to work. It is just too complicated.  I had tried it on a smaller scale but I think I am going to have to have it as a plain green background, with some fabric folds. I am having a break to re think. This is bad because it means I had not thought it through properly. I am not pleased with myself at this moment. My focus had been on the mask and the apple and the positioning of said objects. I am, however, pleased with the mask and the way the red apple jumps out in contrast. I will leave it today and go back fresh tomorrow.

Next day. I even had a dream about this painting last night! Stressed?! Moi?! So, I am going to leave out the pattern on the scarf. I also had an idea of letting some of the underneath table edge show but having quickly tried on a smaller scale decided this unbalanced the painting.


So I will just work to describe the material folds and shaded areas, highlights and tones. This is more in keeping with the simplicity of O’Keeffe’s work.


I am not unhappy with the outcome, although I recognise and have learned from not thinking the background through properly. My husband had a very positive reaction when he saw my work, which is encouraging 🙂






Reflecting on feedback: assignment 1

The feedback from assignment 1 was very helpful with lots of pointers and advice for me. This is my plan taking this feedback on board:

  • Daily drawing and use of sketchbook which I will put up on my blog.
  • ‘Live’ writing on my blog as I am working rather than retrospectively.
  • An exercise on comparison and contrast of 2 paintings  and how this can be applied to my own work.
  • I will experiment more with different brushstrokes and using studies on a smaller scale, A5 .
  • When working on larger painting, I will try blocking  in thin tonal washes instead of drawing outlines.
  • I will make more prep drawing for assignment work.
  • I will critically analyse my own work more, and in more depth, comparing it to the work of others and looking for possible connections.

I have also commented on some of the comments below. 

Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
Working from your preparatory drawings is a useful process.  I suggest more of this will help your observational skills and develop your confidence and skills as you work through the assignments.

I realise that I need to work more prep drawings but my nature is impatient; by the time I have drawn something from several angles with different lighting options I am bored with it. So I will have to discipline myself more.

Your prep flower paintings offer some focussed fluid, brushwork- these qualities are worth developing further.  Practice drawing with the brush by building up thin washes then layers of paint at the prep stage.  (see Pointers) I enjoyed doing these and will certainly do more drawing with a brush. It seems to me a quick and enjoyable way of capturing something.

Sometimes drawing outline in order to plan the painting, hinders ability to remain flexible, adaptable and move the paint around.  Instead try blocking in thin tonal washes across the painting.  This  may help to keep the painting open to development and a more fluid re-painting. I can see this would be a better way of working and I shall do so next time, however I believe the assignment suggested using charcoal, which I got in a mess with 🙂

You reflect on your process at some length, it would be helpful to begin reflecting on the content of the work.  For example you comment briefly on the choice of objects for the still-life, a little more analysis and discussion of what these ‘mean’ to you and how you might communicate this will benefit your work. I could have indeed talked about what the objects mean, although I think I touched on this briefly. I suppose I was thinking they were peaceful aids to meditation – perhaps I did not manage to communicate this peacefulness in my painting but I was aiming for a realistic still life.

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

You have some prep drawings to inform the final painting.  The flower ones offer some fluid brushwork and mark-making.  There is a lightness of touch and sense of drawing (not filling-in) that works well.

More drawing on a regular basis, would benefit your painting development.   Think about using the brushes to ‘draw’ with the paint, rather than filling-in each object seperately.  This will help you see the painting develop as a whole, rather than as different parts.  (See Pointers) I will aim to do some drawing everyday, where possible and explore using a brush more than pencil. I am putting my sketchbook work up each month on my work blog and I hope this will help to discipline me into drawing daily.

You would benefit from exploring a range of brushmarks, building up of tonal ranges and working across a painting- through a series of sketchbook studies on a small scale: A5. Playing with materials and brushes quickly to enjoy the process and as preparatory pieces. (see Pointers).

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

Harvard referenced research, following good practice.

Some brief comments on individual works relating to chiaroscuro.  In the next assignment critically analyse and comment on your own works- in more depth (see Pointers).  This will help you develop your observation, analytical skills and vocabulary- all feeding into your general confidence.  At the moment you are relying on quotes rather than offering some of your own reflections.  I suggest you reflect on quotes and respond to these with your own thoughts…Ok, I take that on board and will do so. I have been to a few galleries these last few weeks during my trip to the UK  and have these to write up on my blog and will be sure to critically analyse the paintings I focused on.

Utilise, deepen and apply your analysis of others’ work to your own.  Ask how these might relate to your own experiments, ideas and how they may inform your development? (see Pointers).  Then set yourself some simple aims and tasks to try these out.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

Good use of Harvard referencing for your image and quote sources.

You’re using the blog  as an archive of your research, reflection and capturing the process of making work.  In parts the log seems to be ‘retrospective’ rather than as you’re working through exercises and studies.  It will benefit your progress to reflect, analyse and log as you work through each part of the assignment, rather than at the end. (see Pointers)  I have always (in D1) used my learning log retrospectively, as this seemed easier than stopping and logging on to write up what I am doing. I will try to have it open and write down the process as it happens. WordPress is sometimes annoyingly slow, and the internet here goes up and down which is not helpful 😦

You have begun to log, research and reflect on the basic tasks, exercises and process during an assignment.  The practice of logging regularly and asking yourself some critically analytical questions, will help you to gain some useful perspective and understanding of what / how you are learning.

Evidence of a small range of historical refs.   You will benefit from expanding on the research and analysing critically, in more depth.  (see both Pointers re: C21st work and compare / contrast exercise). 

Suggested reading/viewing
Research contemporary C21st artists such as:

Michael Petry ‘Nature Morte Contemporary artists reinvigorate the Still Life ..’
Thames & Hudson 2013

The Artist’s Handbook (see reading list)

Pointers for the next assignment
Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.

Use your sketchbook on a daily basis, if possible.  More drawing (with a brush)  will support your painting development. Make a minimum of 6 prep studies at no larger than A5:  these studies may be for composition, tonal or colour references .It is useful to know how many prep studies are required.

You will learn and develop more from the course if you can allocate more time to practice and repeat the exercises and tasks ( the building blocks for the assignment) – be more ambitious in terms of going beyond the tasks / exercises set. (as these are the minimum requirements).

Analyse and comment in more depth on how research of others’ work, might inform your own: set some aims as to how to develop possible connections e.g: chiaroscuro, colour, composition, content and meaning.

Ask more questions when researching and analysing the work of others’ (as well as your own work).  Set yourself a task of analysing and comparing two images of artists whose work you appreciate.  In your own words describe, analyse and critically reflect on the media, aesthetics, form and content of the works.  How do they relate to your ideas and practice?  Record all on your log- then make some aims for your own development. I will aim do this with some of the art I have seen recently on my trip to galleries in London.

Use your log regularly to reflect and critically  analyse your process as you work through exercises and assignment (as well as retrospectively).

Assignment 1: Still life with Buddha

The brief is to not be too ambitious, it has to be at least A3 in size, a still life, landscape or interior is best and it has to be representational.

My initial thoughts were of an interior scene; I recently saw a beautiful photograph of a library and thought of using some book in our study as a background, and to have some interesting objects in front. I was arranging a wooden Buddha in front and trying a few things when I thought maybe of doing a sort of shrine scene, with some related objects by the Buddha. I also felt the books were too fussy and would also be complex to do all the lettering on the spines, if this was to look realistic! I did a quick sketch of the buddha. It is a lovely dark, reddish wood and catches the light very well.



I moved upstairs to find a corner niche and set the Buddha in the centre and chose a leopard shell (that had been given to me in Sir Lanka by a local) and also some sand yin/yan candles from Bali, a necklace given to me by my yoga teacher and I also picked a hibiscus flower from the yard – we have 2 bushes that are flowering at the moment, problem is the blooms only last a day. I looked at the shape of the glass and the way the light shines through

I looked at the objects and planned a few things out. I set a light up to the right of the corner and there is also light coming in through the window behind.


I then made a small colour study to see how the colours would work. I used an orange and yellow mix  as the background colour, as this is the colour of the wall and also I thought would blend well with the wood surface. I made notes of the colours I used so I could reproduce the same, or change if necessary. There is red in the wood and the flower, and part of the necklace and also some of the candle so a crimson worked well with that.


I need to get the wood grain more realistic. Maybe best to work on that first before painting in the other objects! I am reasonably pleased with the glass and the shadows. I think the orangey-yellow ground gives the painting a ‘glow’ and works well. The Buddha also works well, although I need to blend this all much more rigorously. The shell was tricky but I do like it so I’ll leave it in, as I think the objects do work well together. The necklace needs to stand out more. The wall to the right could be grainier. Maybe I could try using a sponge for this? I am still not getting the Buddha head large enough, why is this? I guess the model has a larger than normal head. The flower will be different again when I do this for real. I have prepared an A3 sheet but actually wish I was going for a larger one now. I have got used to larger paintings.

The actual scene.

I started work the next day on the A3 sheet I had prepared with the ground colour. I drew in the basic shapes using charcoal, as per the previous exercise had recommended, however this got very messy and I couldn’t dust it off very well. When I started to paint it got messier still. I decided to abandon this sheet, and keep it to to one side. I had been thinking I wanted larger than A3 and I found an acrylic block canvas and decided to work on that, it is actually only a little larger than A3 and squarer in shape. I thought when finished and dry I could release it from the wood to send to my tutor (will have to ask about this).

I mixed up some more ground colour and painted the block. I tried using a sponge on the A3 sheet to see how the right side wall would look and thought it worked well, the block was dry by now so I made a start. I used a pencil to very lightly mark out the shapes. I painted the walls and the wooden surface in, the brown and red mix for the Buddha and used white to block in the shell, candles and the glass. Because I am working in my bedroom, I was sometimes on the bed, which gave the right view of the scene, and sometimes at the easel if I was doing a large area. I painted the shell first and added the reflection and some shadows.


The wood grain is coming on better than before and I am glad to have got the shell looking ok. In the end I spent 2 afternoons on this, not sure how many hours. It seemed like a lot 🙂




To be self critical: the Buddha’s head is still actually smaller than it really is. The shell ended up larger than it is actual size, I think maybe I was worried about the shell and made, literally, too big a thing of it. But it does look like the shell. The yellow-orange ground more orange than I planned; on the A3 sheet I had it the same but when I switched to the canvas block I mixed too much orange into it and didn’t see it at the time, but I think it looks ok like that, just not as planned out. I am pleased with the glass – no, not perfect but this is first time I have ever tried to paint glass with acrylics. I did try very hard to paint what I could see and not what I expected to see. I think the sand candles work well. But overall, maybe I have put too many objects in, and it looks this way because the shape of the board is more square than the landscape, and so there is not so much room in front of the Buddha.