Tag Archives: painting

A catchup, and what’s coming up!

Hello jolly sailors!

Yet again, it’s been a little while- hasn’t it been a summer and a half!? Not only have I been busy, probably like you I’ve been battling the sizzlingly un-sportsmanly temperatures that have been beating down from above throughout June and July. With cool breezes arriving just in time for the school holidays, I can finally breathe again- and update you on what I’ve been up to!

Back in May myself and my partner went to Malta to celebrate the wedding of two friends (and to acclimatise ourselves to the 30 degree heat!) It was absolutely gorgeous there and we had so much fun catching up with lots of our friends who live spread out across the globe!

Malta cove - Aug18.jpg
A Malta Cove – at the very beginning of our trek over the clifftops from Xlendi to San Lawrenz (home of the tragically collapsed Azure Window) – I still can’t get over the shade of this water!

On one beach we spotted some funny little fish popping their heads out of the holes in the rocks as the waves broke over them!

Being surrounded by water for most of this trip inspired me to start thinking about the SWLA annual “Natural Eye” exhibition again- it’s something I missed last year, but was at the top of my “to-do” list for this year. I know I can be pretty bad for shying away from big competitions, but since I was long-listed for the Templar Illustration competition in April I thought I’d give it a go!

After exploring three or so separate avenues I could go down for this project, I chose to circle back to seals as my muses (they seem to have crept into most of my other work over the past year or so!) My partner, along with his parents and I were planning a trip to Skomer anyway so I thought I could get some serious research done there (and have a proper go with some most excellent binoculars I was kindly bought for Christmas!)

Sadly, despite our early arrival, (we left the house at 4:30AM!) balmy conditions and fair shipping forecast, an ill wind was set to blow up in the afternoon so the boats were cancelled- it wouldn’t have been safe to get back, so they said. (I’m not upset, honest- even though it was our last chance to see the puffins this year!) We did see some seagulls through the binoculars- not really the same, but they worked very well!

This means I did have to turn to different sources to research seals on this occasion – below are some of my development sketches from working towards the final composition!

^ Exploration of on-shore behaviours of seals- interactions with friends and family! This would form the core inspiration for the final artwork.

Seals progress v2© 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration
Colour test, and playing with composition!
SWLA seals - final design progress v2
Sketching out the final piece… Hello you chaps!
Haul-out (Final) - 72DPI
The final piece- “Haul-out”!

 

You might remember that at the start of the year I set myself the goal of exploring more varied lighting, tone and shapes within my artwork? You also might remember that I’ve been using a personal wordless picture book project (which I’ll eventually enter into the Bologna Silent Book comp!) to practice these principles (click here to read a previous post about this project!)

Well, coupled with the artistic motivation that comes from of a long weekend trip to Dublin I returned from yesterday, this project has come on in leaps and bounds! I’ve been delving into the various environments of the story, as well as using my research from the SWLA competition to explore a seal’s reaction to a human habitat… But more about that next time!

For now, enjoy the autumn breezes, and hope you don’t have too many sneezes!

P.S. I’m involved with a couple of shows over the next couple of months where I’ll be showcasing some of my artwork (dates and details below) – with the slow makeover of this blog I’m hoping to introduce a separate section of the website to show upcoming events in the next couple of weeks, so you don’t have to go trawling through posts to find them.

For now though, here is where you can come and visit me, and maybe buy something too!

Upcoming events 

Cafe Lido exhibition with Portishead Arts – 27th-30th September 2018 

(Cafe Lido, Esplanade Rd, Portishead, BS20 7HD)

Made in North Somerset Showcase – 14th October 2018 (10AM-4PM)

(Court house farm, Church Road South, Portishead BS20 6PU)

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The AutumnHobbit

© Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

Shape and colour – rediscovering the palette knife!

Hello again, radiant readers!

It’s been a busy few months since my last post, and I have lots to share with you!

I’m so excited to announce that I was longlisted for the Templar Illustration Prize a few weeks ago… My name was officially listed within the top ten entries, which was such an incredible surprise! I unfortunately wasn’t selected in the final three shortlist, but I got so much further than I thought I would- it’s an amazing step for me as an illustrator!

A short snippet about that to begin with- it was a really interesting project to complete, we had to submit a cover design, storyboard to explore the book’s narrative and layout, and a completed artwork spread for a book about dragons aimed within the age bracket of 0-12 years. I learnt a lot during this project, and visited some pretty interesting places for research (one, a birthday trip to St. Fagan’s in Wales – to study and draw old buildings!)

"Cover" FINAL ( + text) © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration.jpg
The final draft cover of my dragon themed project for Templar’s 40 Year Illustration Competition- “The Island”. © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration

 

Alongside what is becoming my signature painting style of gouache and coloured pencil (with a teeny bit of ink thrown in!) I explored (and revisited) lots of different mediums and techniques to decide how to create the final artworks for this project. Bleach and lemon juice into ink to produce botanical patterns, scraping and “rock rubbing” to create texture…

At the core of this exploration was the underlying principle to simplify all elements of the final artwork which weren’t the direct focus. For example, in the cover artwork depicted above, I spent days painting sea and waves to come up with a way to make them noticeable, but not so detailed that they would distract away from the dragon floating in the middle. I needed a way to produce flowing, swirling water which could look different every time I painted it, a technique with a little bit of a mind of its own…

Then I rediscovered my Grandma’s trusty old palette knife.

I haven’t used a palette knife since the second year of university during a life-drawing lesson with oils, but I thought I’d give it a go for this project.

Painting stripes of pure colour onto the palette knife and dragging it across the page produced some really interesting sketchbook studies, as well as scuffing back across dried blocks of colour to create waves. (Scuffing a little paint across a very finely-textured sketchbook page can give some really interesting textures too – as I’ll explore a little later on!)

Geometric Waves
Painting the sea! © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration

Something I’ve always shied away from when painting flowing or floaty objects without clear lines is using geometrical shapes to help build the final outcome. As the palette knife I was using has one long, tapered point, I thought I might break down some walls and attempt a rough sea constructed from triangles.

Triangular Waves
A close-up… © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration

While it seemed a little alien to be be painting something which moves about so much in such a static way at first, the exercise of using triangles to create this ocean really helped me to build a sense of background and foreground, as well as liveliness in the waves. Blocking simple colour in like this allowed for more complicated processes over the top:

Little Red Boat - Top to Toe
Sample oceans to hold a little tugboat. © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration
Little Red Boat
© 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration
Little Red Boat v2
Stripes of colour applied to the palette knife, (darkest at the bottom, lightest at the top) placed on the page and dragged in a single diagonal movement from top left to bottom right really worked as a technique to create larger, more dramatic waves for the little boat to perch atop! © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration

After this project was finished and sent off, I turned my head back to getting some Spring/Summer animal themed greetings cards designs ready for 2018. In a similar train of thought as when I was working on “The Island”, I wondered how I could use the palette knife to help bring new depth into my artwork.

SAMPLES OF EARTH

Again, the decision in using the palette knife to work out a backdrop in these greetings cards was to lend more sharpness to the foreground focus- be it animal, mineral or vegetable- equally adding some context to the main attention of the artwork, in this case a mole burrowing.

In the development stage of this particular design I used similar dragging techniques as I had when exploring the water in “The Island”, as well as loading up the palette knife with mixed colours to dab and scrape over pre-dried layers, to create bobbles, lumps and lines, as you would find in real earth.

Earth sample 1 (smaller file)

Earth sample v2 (Smaller file)

Earth Sample 4 (Smaller file)
Scraping the first layer of dark colour across the clean page at the bottom seemed to help accentuate the dandelion roots!! © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration

Next, came the moles, happy burrowing in Spring through the damp earth for the juiciest earthworms!

Mole selection
Using a paintbrush for the foremost element of the design, the main character, helped to keep the outlines clean- as well as brighter colours, cementing him the focus of the whole shebang.     © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration

Little mole spring blank v2 Mole sketch v3Little mole spring blank v1 Little mole spring blank v1.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are some snippets from next stage of the development for this design; some of the thumbnails from working on the final layout. The palette knife scrapes began to suggest the flinging of dirt as the mole speedily dug away his tunnel, placing him firmly in his own little story. If the mole had no backdrop here, he might look a little as though he was swimming or floating through space, but having that extra layer lets him reveal to the viewer a little piece of his life. (As my skill lies mainly in narrative illustration, you can see how it seeps into all of my other projects too!)

One thing I really want to attempt next is rust- as a side-note for my silent book project I’ve begun a small sketchbook on boats as research to support a couple of the spreads, so whenever I’m in a port or seaside town I’ll be a-scribbling, with particular interest in the older behemoths which are busy oxidising and gathering sealife!

My next post will be based around an AMAZING trip to Malta, (I arrived back yesterday!) – it’s given me some really interesting ideas for my SWLA (Society of Wildlife Artists) competition entry – another little something I’ve been meaning to do in the past, which I’m really knuckling down to enter this year!

Thanks for reading- hope you’re having a great time wherever you are, and continue to find a little inspiration in every day!

The AutumnHobbit

© Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

Kernow- A visual diary!

Happy New Year all!

What a wild and stormy start to 2018! Here’s hoping you’re warm and dry, and haven’t been affected by the wind and rain too badly!

I wonder how many people out there started this year (or any new year!) feeling a little anxious? A whole 365 new days stretching out from here to what feels like eternity, full of expectations, resolutions and challenges- a certain desperation in feeling you HAVE to do something new and exciting this year while still fulfilling all of your previous commitments? I’m sure it’s most of us!

In the past feelings like this have overwhelmed me- there’s so much that I want to do, that I’ll take on too much at once, and feel bad because I didn’t finish everything I wanted to. Now, I’m trying my best every new year to think of something specific to focus on for the coming months in order to better my practice (and myself) to really target my weaknesses!

For example, I’ve never really liked drawing buildings. As a child, animals, humans and landscapes always caught my attention- they seemed to offer so much more in terms of colour, texture and movement to work with. As my love and skill for drawing more organic subjects grew, the frustrations with drawing buildings just multiplied. Perspectives of streets confused me, windows and bricks just always came out looking so … boring. Much like you can often tell an artists’ mood by looking at their artwork, you could tell a lot of my relationship with drawing buildings from my project work – a hope, a desperation to make it look perfect, then a flat, dull finished piece where I’d once again given up.

A couple of years ago, on a resolution-making day, I thought a lot about drawing buildings. I thought about my university course, and my wonderful tutors who had always seemed to know how to help me out of my comfort zone into something I was really passionate about. It’s been at the back of my mind ever since- when I went to Dublin and Edinburgh I took hundreds of pictures to help me study oddly shaped and colourful buildings, and dedicated a section of my external hard drive to artists who had drawn or painted them.

In Rain - Ludwig Bemelmans
Ludwig Bemelmans – from “Madeline” – “In Rain…”

I discovered two key things during this ongoing study.

a) My buildings didn’t have to be architecturally perfect. Not every window, door and brick had to be identical- in fact, the more I embraced the different shapes as opposed to getting bogged down in the detail, the more improvement I noticed.

b) The interest in buildings for me doesn’t necessarily lie in how they look… Their relationship to outside effects- eg. age, weather, daily routines happening around them is where their appeal lies.

In November of last year, my brother and I organised a surprise trip to Cornwall for my Mum’s birthday. Despite my previous studies, I realised during this visit that I’d never completed a project solely based around buildings. So, over the next couple of months, I documented our journeys around Marazion, Penzance and St. Ives through the buildings we came across, as often as I could completing a piece per day as a warm-up. One of my official New Year’s resolutions was to complete this project, and this post is designed to share it with you!

Kernow- A Visual Diary – © 2017/2018 Carina Roberts Illustration

The King's Arms (signed) 72DPI © 2017 Carina Roberts Illustration
“The King’s Arms” – Marazion

 

St. Ives Street (72DPI) © 2017 Carina Roberts Illustration.jpg
“St. Ives Street” – St. Ives
St. Ives Street 2 - Elderly couple © 2017 Carina Roberts Illustration
“St Ives Street 2 – The Climb” – St. Ives
St. Ives Fishmonger (72DPI) © 2017 Carina Roberts Illustration.jpg
“Fishmonger” – St. Ives
St. Ives Day (72DPI) © 2017 Carina Roberts Illustration.jpg
“Daily Route” – St. Ives
Marazion High Street (72DPI) © 2017 Carina Roberts Illustration
“High Street” – Marazion
St. Ives Street III Final (72DPI) © 2017 Carina Roberts Illustration
“St. Ives Street 3”
Marazion High Street - Night Final (low Res) © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration
“Night” – Marazion
St. Ives Street 4 Final (Low Res) © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration
“St. Ives Street 4” – St. Ives
Cornish Pub sketch final (Low Res) © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration
“The Sloop Inn” – St. Ives
Penzance Harbour (Low Res) © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration
“Penzance Harbour” – Penzance
Penzance Pub (Low Res) © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration
“Penzance Pub” – Penzance
Market Place- St. Ives (Low Res) © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration
“Market Place” – St. Ives
Marazion street painting (Low Res) © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration
“Marazion Street” – Marazion
Jowder's Cottage (Low Res) © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration
“Jowders Morning” – Marazion
Washing Day Final Artwork (72DPI) © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration
“Washing Day” – St. Ives
Beach Garden Final Artwork (72DPI) © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration
“Beach Garden” – St. Ives
Marazion Dusk Final Artwork (72DPI) © 2018 Carina Roberts Illustration
“Dusk” – Marazion

 

I’m slowly improving in my building painting- in that I’ve learned a huge amount about why I always hated them as subject matter, and how I can apply the skills I’ve enjoyed in illustrating other things to making them interesting to me!

As you can see from some of these pages, I’m also actively doing a lot more work with different types of lighting (which has also scared me in the past) – another of my resolutions this year! There’s a post I would like to write soon about a very showery walk I went on recently up quite a steep hill- the patches of cloud and sunlight dancing across the blustery sky made for some really impressive lighting, which is my next challenge to have a go at painting since finishing this mini-project!

There’s a lot to look forward to this year, and a lot of work to be done… But that’s how I like it!

The AutumnHobbit

© Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

Vår: The coming of Spring!

Hello kind readers, and the happiest of Easters to you all!

It’s the warmest day of the year so far today, and aren’t we glad to have the warmth of the sun back after what feels like an age! On my walk this morning I closed my eyes for just a second to take a deep breath, and the scent of green freshness, spring flowers and sunshine is well and truly in the air! (Just try it, even if you’re on your way to work at a job you don’t like much, I guarantee it will make you smile!) It’s amazing how much difference a little warmth can make to everyone’s mood: every single person I walked past today beamed at me and wished me a “Good Morning”- it’s days like this that we live for!

I thought I’d start this post with a little follow-up on the topics I covered in March’s blog: when I get excited about new projects that are starting I sometimes forget to tie up the ones that came before!

First, a quick, but very positive note about the Twitter Art Exhibit some of you might remember me mentioning a couple of times since Christmas. This is an exhibition of postcard-sized artwork, held in a different location each year, to raise money for different charities. This year it was held in Moss, Norway, to raise money for Home-Start Moss, a charity which offers support to the young families residing in Norway that need it most. The exhibition had lots of coverage all over, but particularly in Norway, where it even had a short five minute slot on the national news! The latest update I read stated that they had raised 35.050NOK (Norwegian Krone) , translating to a whopping $4368!!

As well as this obvious success for the exhibition itself, I celebrated a personal victory, as my postcard, titled “North Star”, sold! In fact, I included a screenshot of the original tweet below from the founder of the exhibition informing me that my card sold to a “lovely family in Moss with small children”. I actually had a little cry when I first read this. The first year after uni is always the toughest, I was warned, and while lots of good things have been happening since I graduated, I’ve always had that little niggle at the back of my mind saying the “What Ifs?” – the what if I sink as an illustrator? What if no-one actually will want my work? What if I can’t support myself by doing the thing I love (and not be able to prove everyone who said it’d be too hard, or not a viable career, wrong?)

It was a small step, but a huge thing for me to receive this message. It proved that I really do have a potential audience, and people really do want my work… and, most importantly, a piece of my artwork has brought happiness to a family, who now have a postcard-sized artwork of a little polar bear in their house somewhere. The main reason I wanted to become an illustrator was to bring a touch of magic and happiness to children and parents alike, and I’m doing it! Slowly, granted… but I can do it! 🙂

David Sandum tweet

A quick update on Portishead’s North Somerset Arts exhibition, too:

I mentioned last time that the North Somerset Arts Week strives to highlight creatives in the region, a celebration of all their hard work and the beautiful things they make, and that our dates would be the 1st to the 10th of May.

I can happily confirm after our last meeting that the brochures for the event have now been printed!! The cover looks like this (particularly helpful if you’re local and were hoping to grab one and check out some of the things that are happening, this is what it looks like) :

NSA brochure cover 2015

(You can pick one up in most shops in the North Somerset area- just ask for a North Somerset Arts catalogue!)

We also have a page just for our Portishead group, “St. Peter’s” (named after the church we’re holding our exhibition in) – we’ll have a bit of everything in our show, as we all practice different mediums: everything from photography to ceramics, jewellery to painting and illustration, so it should be really interesting! (Avid readers might notice a certain Skogkatt three images along!)

NSA brochure Portishead cluster

This show is approaching fast, and we’re all getting really excited! We have a facebook page for our little group too: https://www.facebook.com/NSAWPortishead2015 – please take a little look, perhaps give us a like, and watch out for beautiful artistic updates! From me: here’s a little snippet of one of the new paintings I’m working on for this show, based on the character of Curlyshanks, a huge Newfoundland dog!

Newfoundland sketches for NSA signed for blog

Sketches for NSA signed
Final painting sketched out, accompanied by some preparatory sketches!

Previous readers might remember me mentioning a local gallery I’ve got some work in at the moment, called the Blue Room. I’ve been beavering away on some new things to take in there (mainly prints next time- I’ll update you next month on my progress with cutting window mounts, hopefully I’ll have mastered it!)

Here’s a little example of one of my greetings card artworks that are now stocked at the Blue Room, a little sparrow fellow:

Little Sparrow bird for blog signed

They’re mostly all like this, a very small original painting, dried thoroughly then framed in the window of a card which folds three times. (The window is cut in the middle ‘panel’ of the card, and the panel on the left is folded in and stuck down to protect the painting inside, while the right panel is left swinging free, to let the buyer write their personalised message inside!)

Bird cards image 1

Eagle-eyed spotters might have seen the new greetings card artwork portfolio link in the tab at the top- keep an eye on this, it’s filling up! I’m hoping to send some of these designs off to some companies in due course to see if there’s any interest from them too. Organising them for you readers first will put me in a much easier position when it comes to choosing which pieces to send them!

As for the next month, most of my time will be taken up by these three ventures. However, as I may have mentioned before in brief, I’ll be attending the book fair at Olympia next week, and will be taking an Erik-related portfolio along with me… Here’s hoping I can put myself one step closer to achieving one of my dreams, to illustrate children’s books!

Thankyou, as always, to everyone who reads and looks at my progress- I couldn’t do it without your support!! Keep your eyes peeled on the blog over the next few months, as in my “spare time” (haha!) I’m planning to open an online shop where you’ll be able to buy artwork, prints, cards, and other handmade delights: I’ll post up details as soon as it’s finalised!

– The AutumnHobbit

© Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.