Despite the amazing fortune of being able to paint for a living, I’ve been feeling very drained and down lately. It’s one of the few downsides of loving what you do – the ability to know when to stop and rest seems to disappear, and all sense of balance disappears with it.
Yesterday, I put aside my commissions and decided to paint just for me. The subject and colour scheme weren’t the result of tough choices, and – after painting myself sick – I was able to paint myself well again.
This was a very simple composition with Buddha and a candle on the one side, and “nothing” on the other side. If you meditate, you’ll get it 😉
First, one of my favourite Heritage Craft colours – Lime Green – to light up the background and set the whole tone for the painting. I’ve overlayed it with Vine Green on the left and highlighted it with Bone White on the right.
I always work from the background “up” to avoid trying to paint around fine detail that’s already been added. So, next came the leaves, which were done in a combination of Rayner Green (the dark green) and Vine Green with some Lime Green and Bone White for highlights again. The stems were done in Flesh and White.
By this point, I was very keen to get going on the Buddha and the rocks, but – as any of you meditating folk will know – Buddha doesn’t like to be rushed… First the shadows and lowlights (so that if I make any mistakes, I can paint over them in the next layer). Here, the Buddha was started in Burnt Umber and Morocco Brown, with Mushroom and White to help with the backlighting. The orange is done in Naartjie with a bit of Sun Yellow mixed in to brighten it up. Some Black was added to create depth, which will help to contrast the lighting effect at the end.
It’s weird to paint the reflection from an object that’s not even blocked in yet, but it was also a learning curve to help me understand the effects of light on colour… all part of my journey as an amateur… Excuse the bad quality night photo, but here you can see more of the reflection from the candle-that-is-not-yet.
Finishing under artificial light means that I get to go to bed and then wake up to see how I really did the next morning:
Ta-da! How peaceful and zen does this guy look? I finished off the rocks with Morocco Brown, Flesh, Mushroom and White. And, to keep the detail real while keeping my brush loose, a tiny bit of Mid Blue to give some life to that candle flame.
I’ll admit, I still have a long way to go to get where I need to be in the skills department, but this painting helped me to accept that process and the learning journey. I subsequently gave this Buddha to someone who needed it more than I did, and who showed me the best part of why I do this: to spread the joy of colour.
By the way, if you love these colours and are inspired to use them, you’ll find Heritage Craft Acrylics in any reputable art shop, stationery store, and even hardware shops like Builders Warehouse and Mica.*
*Not a sponsored post – I just believe in access!