Sunday, 8 September 2013

Serendipity and an Obsession with Dragons



Being Welsh I guess it was inevitable that at some point in my life Dragons would appear in my art or crafts, though not for one minute did I think Dragons would take me on a journey into a style of work I never thought of as coming ‘naturally’ to me.  I have tried many times to achieve the style of fantasy ethereal work I have long admired but have never been very successful, be it flowers, landscapes or fairies they never quite turn out as I imagine them in my head.

The closest I have come to achieving the style I want to achieve is in using alcohol inks and that was purely be accident. Alcohol inks are notoriously difficult to control, and mostly just do their own thing! Though I do enjoy working with them for this very reason. This is one of my favourite works, I just love the way the inks flow and blend together.



Then a few weeks ago my lovely hubby just happened to say he would love to be able to draw Dragons (he does not paint or draw at all). This sparked my imagination and the following day I got out my inks, I didn’t hold out much hope for taming the ink enough to paint a dragon, but I was keen to try.  At first I concentrated on creating the backgrounds and then lightly pencilled in an outline not expecting the ink to play ball, but I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled with my first results. 





I painted a few ACEO’s to see if they would catch the eye of the Collectors. I was thrilled and a little awestruck when they did, the first batch I listed in my Folksy shop sold within a few hours, as did the ones I listed on E-bay.  The second and third batches sold quickly too and I can’t express how much that means to me, selling art is just incredible.  I have also painted Dragons on coasters, bookmarks and done a few larger sizes and to date all have sold quickly.



I found very quickly also that I didn’t need to sketch the outline, once the background was ready and I had the paintbrush in my hand the images just flowed for me and Dragons appear with very little conscious thought, I think at last I may have found the right medium and subject matter to create the fantasy style I always wanted to achieve.


I wanted to mark this serendipitous moment in my artist's portfolio and thought a blog post fit the bill nicely.  So today I painted the fourth batch of ACEO Dragons and took a few pictures as I went along for posterity and hopefully to help other artists who struggle to achieve on paper the image they hold in their imagination, keep trying in different ways is my advice, all you need to do is find the right medium and the right subject matter then relax and let the paintbrush do the work.

Step 1 – I prepared the background.  This was created with alcohol inks on Yupo (synthetic paper).  The size of this is ACEO (2.5 x 3.5 inches)




Step 2 – I use my brush to roughly place my Dragon




Step 3 – I start very slowly and with teeny tiny brush strokes (you can only do tiny strokes with alcohol ink, too much and the ink spreads and does it’s own thing!



Step 4 – I paint the Dragon in stages letting each section dry a little before moving on, this helps to prevent to ink from merging together and spreading too far


Step 5 – add detail 
Step 6 - finish off with fine details

Step 7 - leave to dry and go paint some more.  I usually paint 4 at a time so that I can keep painting whilst they dry in turn.  Here's a few of the others I painted today

I hope you enjoyed reading about my obsession with Dragons, off to finish re-opening my Etsy Shop now that I have enough stock! back soon

8 comments:

  1. I love your dragons, and have already added one to my collection. It's great to see this one at various stages of progress. You are so talented you make it look easy but I'm sure it's not! Good luck, hope the next batch sell quickly too.

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  2. Great blog post Max, interesting to see how you build up your ink dragon paintings and I look forward to seeing them if you list any new ones on Folksy! Hazel.

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    1. Thank you Hazel, I will indeed be listing a few on Folksy, I also have some 7 x 5 fantasy landscapes and ACEO's for listing next week too :)

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  3. Beautiful work Max, and fab to see how you did it. I can highly recommend your dragons to everyone - I adore mine, we exchange good mornings every day :)

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    1. Thank you Stephanie, he was very lucky to find such a nice owner! :)

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  4. Great blog post Max and really interesting to see how you work in producing these amazing paintings in ink :-)

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  5. Thanks for sharing I have some of the paper and might try with watercolour and Brusho. Thanks for inspiring me.

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