Bristol bound and inked out

October has been brilliantly busy for me, with Inktober through the month and finishing with Bristolcon at the end. It was a wonderful event, and as well as selling some paintings and postcards, my colourful stall even had a mention in a few people’s blogs! (Thank you Sophie and Thomas). To finally see all 5 of the Urban Faerie paintings hanging together in the very city that inspired them gave me a great sense of achievement which has left me creatively fired up to get started on my next series in the new year. Masses of love and thanks to everyone who helped make it possible by babysitting, driving, carrying canvases, chatting to me, buying art and supporting me.

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I tried my best to take part in Inktober this year, but with varying degrees of productivity. I caught a cold, various members of my family got ill and life generally happened. I’m not going to say that I failed it though – even though there are some artists out there that insist if you don’t complete an ink drawing a day you’re not doing it right. I completed a total of 5 ink portraits: one of Aidan Turner as Poldark, one of David Bowie as Jareth and a triptych of David Bowie eyes.  The original paintings of Bowie’s eyes I had beautifully framed and sold at Bristolcon – I don’t call that a failure! If you’d like to have a look at the paintings, or download a digital version of them for yourself, you can find them on my Etsy store  You’ll also find some beautiful prints of the 5 Urban Faeries paintings on there too, and to celebrate their arrival, I’m offering free UK postage on them until next year.

So what’s next? Well I’m finally getting back to work on the comic book that I’m illustrating, which was written by Neil, and then after that, I will begin photographing my models in preparation for my next series. I’m very nervous excited about this series – I can’t say too much about it at this stage, but I think it might divide people like marmite! There will be a total of 7 paintings in the series and as with a lot of my art, they will explore our relationships with ourselves, environment and each other. It is my hope these paintings will invite the viewer to question the things we do, things we don’t do and what type of relationships they think they are seeing. Stay tuned!

 

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Inktober 2018

It’s almost October, and that means it’s almost time for the annual artistic challenge that is Inktober. Every year, artists strive to create a piece of artwork every day for the whole month entirely in ink. To find out more, have a look at the official website.

You may recall I tried Inktober in 2016, with mixed results. I managed about 25 out of the 31 days – not bad considering it was my first time working in that medium, and I only owned one single bottle of violet coloured ink! In 2016 I challenged myself to ignore the official Inktober prompts and instead alternate between two subjects I loathe painting – self portraits and still life.

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This year I’m going to ignore the prompts again, but challenge myself to complete some portraits – hopefully you will be able to recognise who they are! I will be sharing my efforts over on Instagram and Twitter, so please have a look and do give me a ‘like’ if you think it looks good. Once the month is complete, I will share my favourites on the Gallery page.

It’s a tough challenge, but that’s kinda the point – you need to challenge yourself as an artist and occasionally step outside your comfort zone to develop and grow. In preparation, I am cutting the watercolour paper to size in advance, have sourced all of my reference photos and am practicing sketching the people whenever I get some spare time. To further give myself a chance of completing the challenge, I have decided to stick to a small size. Jake Parker, the creator of Inktober, says you don’t necessarily have to complete the 31 days “You can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or just do the 5K and post once a week. Whatever you decide, just be consistent with it. Inktober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better.”

As a full time parent, I’m sure there will be a few spanners thrown into the works for good measure, I may not complete all the ink sketches I want to and towards the end of the month I am also exhibiting my artwork at BristolCon, so there’s plenty to be getting on with! Are any of you taking part in Inktober this year? If so, let me know in the comments below and feel free to include a link to where we can all follow your progress.

Wish me luck!

 

 

 

Exhibitionist

Just a quick update as I’ve been a busy bee lately. October saw me dipping my toes into finally exhibiting and selling my art for the first time which was terrifying and exciting in equal measure! There’s something very exposing and personal about hanging lots of your art physically in one place for friends and strangers to come and look at. However, I learnt an awful lot from both the local craft fair and BristolCon (like not to pack the tablecloth you need first underneath everything else!). Massive thanks and hugs to everyone who helped me with the events – you know who you are!

I’ve sold four paintings this month, met other artists and enjoyed finding out what people think about my work. I already have another craft fair booked for December and am pencilled in for next years BristolCon too. 


In amongst painting and preparing for the event, I also tried my hand at Inktober. This annual challenge tasks artists with creating a piece of artwork each day in October, using ink. I struggled with this medium, as it felt a bit like watercolour. I also decided to challenge myself further by tackling two subject matters that I don’t generally enjoy – still life and self portrait. I managed to complete 24 out of 31 and you can see them all on my instagram account, and here. Let me know what you think!

It’s About Time for Gareth L Powell

Continuing my series of blog posts about finding time to be creative, it’s now the turn of Gareth L Powell. Gareth is the award-winning author of the Ack-Ack Macaque trilogy and three other novels. He is currently working on a new trilogy of novels for Titan Books, the first of which will be published in the UK and US in February 2018. NewCon Press will publish his second short fiction collection The New Ships in April 2017.

With so many fantastic novels under his belt, as well as undertaking freelance work, giving guest lectures on creative writing at Aberystwyth and Bath Spa universities and occasionally on the radio, how does he make the time to write?

GB:  Tell me what a typical day looks like for you?

GP: My day usually begins around 6:30 am, when I get up to help my wife and kids get ready for work and school. Then, when I’ve seen them off, I’ll take a shower and make a cup of tea, and settle down at the keyboard, where I’ll usually remain until the kids get home around 3:45, and I start to think about cooking an evening meal.

GB: What is your biggest time challenge at the moment, and how are you dealing with it?

GP: As I work alone during the day, Twitter and Facebook are like my water coolers; they are places where I can go to chat with other colleagues and friends. And while a certain presence on those sites does help with promotion, it needs to be carefully balanced with the need to actually get down and do some writing.

GB: Do you make use of internet limiting tools? Do they work?

GP: I haven’t tried them. I find it handy to instantly be able to Google information when writing. For instance, if I suddenly need to know how long a radio signal would take to travel from Earth to Jupiter, it’s useful to have that information at my fingertips.

GB: How has your craft evolved since becoming a parent? 

GP: The author and critic, Cyril Connolly, once wrote that, “There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall.” And there’s no question about it: bringing up children is hard work. It takes love, devotion and lots and lots of time. As a writer, it can put a serious dent in the number of daily hours you have in which to write, and reduce your lifetime output from a hundred books to ten – especially if you also need a full-time day job in order to support your family. But listen to this: Before I became a father, I didn’t really understand what people meant when they talked of unconditional love. Now I know. Being a father’s changed everything. It’s made me vulnerable again. It’s given me moments of true happiness, fear, helplessness, and pride. It’s put me in touch with my emotions and given me new perspectives and empathy, and insights into my own childhood. And while it means I have to sacrifice sleep in order to find the time to write, it’s unquestionably been worth it.

GB: What tip would you give someone struggling to find time to create?

GP: You have to look at your daily schedule with a cold eye, and decide what’s more important to you, what you’re doing or what you want to do. For instance, how many hours of TV do you watch in an evening? Could you limit yourself to a single hour, and spend the rest of the time working on your art? Would concentrating all the housework into Saturday morning free up time during the week? Would a part-time job give you more time to pursue your art, even if you have to tighten your belt? I can’t supply answers to any of those questions, as everybody has to decide their own priorities.

Knowing what I’m going to write before I sit down at the keyboard is a big help. If you’re subconsciously mulling over the plot of your story while washing the dishes, walking the dog, or doing the shopping, you’ll find yourself coming up with all sorts of connections and ideas that you just can’t wait to get down on paper. Some of my best story ideas have come while I was in the shower, driving long distance, or walking to the pub. Keep a notebook with you, and you can jot down notes that will have you ready and raring to go when the time finally comes for you to write.

GB: Tell us a little secret about your art/writing/craft 

GP: Sometimes, I’ll write out all the dialogue in a scene before going back and filling in the descriptions.

GB: Do you ever involve your child(ren) in your craft, or is it a no go area?

GP: While both my daughters are enthusiastic about my books, I haven’t really involved them. They have their own hobbies and creative outlets, and I prefer not to place them in the public eye until they’re old enough to decide how they want to present themselves online.

GB: What couldn’t you do without to get you through the day? 

GP: Large mugs of decaff tea keep me hydrated, and ambient noise helps me concentrate. I use websites such as https://coffitivity.com and http://rainycafe.com to screen out external noise and keep me focussed.

GB: Final words of wisdom?

GP: Compromise where you must, but bear in mind that the work won’t get done unless you sit down and do it.

Massive thanks to Gareth for taking the time to answer my questions, share advice and giving us all a lovely insight into his creative process. You can find him at www.garethlpowell.com or on Twitter @garethlpowell. Gareth has recently taken the plunge and joined Patreon – if you would like to support him (every little bit helps) and bag yourself some cool exclusive rewards too, then check out his Patreon Page Here. There’s also a sneak preview video of Gareth reading from his forthcoming novel on there for everyone to enjoy!

If you missed my previous interviews on finding creative time, you can find them here:
Andy Bigwood
Joanne Hall

As ever, feel free to leave comments and ask more questions below. At the end of the month you will be able to find me at BristolCon where I will be exhibiting some of my paintings, selling prints, postcards and original paintings in the Art Show.

Exciting News!

It’s been all go these last few weeks, with progress going well on my latest series of paintings and plenty of local networking. The most exciting news this month is that I will be exhibiting (and hopefully selling!) some of my work at the BristolCon Art Show.

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For those of you who have not heard of BristolCon, it is a fantastic one-day science fiction and fantasy convention in Bristol. It’s a fun and friendly convention that has gone from strength to strength since it started in 2009 (and I’ve only missed it one year).

I will have cards, prints and lots of new paintings to display, which will hopefully include at least one of the new series I’ve mentioned that I’m working on, as the entire series of five painting is…. (spoiler alert) set in Bristol!

The other bit of news is that I have finally taken the plunge and joined Facebook! Having resisted it for years, and hidden myself away on Twitter, I have come to realise that I am missing out on connecting with lots of lovely people and organisations and sharing my art with a wider audience. So, please do look me up on Facebook, like what you see and connect – see you there!

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