Time flies when you’re making cupcakes

I just had a big shock when I realised I haven’t posted anything here for over 9 months. I have still been doing my artwork, just not as much as I should – and the bits I have done, I haven’t got round to blogging about.

I’ve had a frustrating few months with plenty of failed paintings and a subsequent loss of motivation. All this has forced me to have a rethink about my style and what I’m trying to achieve here. The cupcake painting is the best thing that has come out of this period and I’m very happy with the result.

Cupcakes - mixed media watercolour, gouache and pastel
Cupcakes – mixed media watercolour, gouache and pastel

My paintings have failed for a variety of reasons. The paper stretching process has failed on occasion. I leave it overnight to dry and come back to a wrinkled sheet that’s lifted off the board. At other times I’ve made mistakes with the initial watercolour background wash – usually because I’ve made it too dark for the effect I wanted.

I’m not expecting 100% success rate, of course, things always have a chance of going wrong. My objection recently is that I’ve been having about a 25% success rate which is getting very trying. Not even counting the time taken to make the initial drawing for a piece, the process of tracing onto watercolour paper, stretching and leaving to dry can take up to 12 hours. This makes it a very slow turnaround time when things go wrong. I’ve found myself staring anxiously at the freshly stretched drawing and avoiding getting started in case things mess up – again!

I hate the fact that the mountain of ideas bouncing around in my head are effectively queued up for months on end and have been exploring ways of speeding up the process of getting from idea to image. More about this later.

I’ve also realised there may need to be a separation between art and illustration after all – with illustration being done with a faster turnover and a commercial mind and art being done at a more leisurely pace for it’s own sake.

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