If you attended my art reception on Friday March 31st 2017, you will understand why I’m still on a high! As I write this blog, I am still digesting this particular good news….. This is my oil painting of Lulu that I named ‘Youth’,  it was finished late last year. It has been accepted (voted in by judges) into the International Juried Exhibition ‘Light time & Space Figurative Art 2017’ and it got a Special Recognition!!!  My oil painting is featured on their website under the ‘Special Recognition’ section – http://www.lightspacetime.art/figurative-2017-online-art-exhibition-painting-category/ . This particular Juried show received a total of 667 entries from 26 different countries and 36 different states. So, I was thrilled when I got the news that I was included in the small selection of entries that had been accepted!  Just to be voted in to any Juried Art Exhibition is an achievement and it helps to build my art resume, which is now growing.

I went through various stumbling blocks with this particular oil painting, which is great as it means I’m learning. If I’m learning then that means I’m growing!  I wanted to share this journey with you.

Last year I realized that I need to start building a strong art resume. Entering Juried Art Exhibitions is one of the many things I can do to achieve this. So I decided to create two pieces of artwork especially for this. With each piece I wanted to learn and push myself. I decided to create one portrait and the other a still life oil painting (see my bowl of lemons painting blog).

I picked my model, Lulu, based on her natural soft features, confidence and easy going personality. I didn’t want to take the focus away from her features so she wore a plain colored top and minimal make up when she posed for me. Spending time with Lulu allowed me to analyze her beautiful skin tone, notice that typical Lulu subtle smile, and finally decide on which pose to use. I played around with various compositions on canvas. I scrapped two canvases as I wasn’t happy with the composition. I had a mental block with this painting at one point and this piece sat abandoned in my studio for awhile.  I worked on other pieces and decided to come back to it when I could re-analyze and approach it with a fresh mindset.  Canvas number three seemed like the best composition.

I experimented with various colors of oil paint in order to get the skin tone. I started with warm colors, I wasn’t happy with them. As soon as I switched to cool skin tones things started to work! I thought about some of the techniques I had seen in live portrait demonstrations at the conference in Washington DC (see blog for details) and decided to apply some of those.

I seem to be drawn to blue colors right now, so I wanted to use blues as much as I could. Her skin tone has ‘Prussian blue’ mixed in with other colors. The background was created using Ultramarine blue, burnt umber and flake white. Lulu initially modeled for me wearing a red top. I thought blue would make her skin tone and the overall painting pop and it would feed my obsession with blue! So I changed her red top to the one you see in the final piece.

My deadline to complete this painting was fast approaching. We had a vacation booked in Florida, where we rented a carriage house for our stay. Considering all this, I thought I could bring this painting with me, a table easel and my supplies in order to complete this painting. The carriage house was perfect, I set up my work space at the dining room table and spend a couple hours a day on the painting. Then I relaxed on the beach for the rest of the day, which was heavenly! By moving my work space into a different lighting and spending time on the beach all day, Lulu’s skin tone began to look tanned! It’s amazing how you see things differently according to light, settings and mood. I gave the painting a rest and decided to work on it back in my own studio, straight after our vacation.

I made the necessary adjustments and completed this painting before the deadline. I entered this piece into my very first Juried Art Exhibition alongside my bowl of lemons painting. Both of my oil paintings were rejected. Obviously, I was annoyed.  As I imagine a large number of other artists who entered this Juried exhibition were. Each Juried show can only accept a limited amount of entries.

Determined to build my art resume and progress further with my art, this year, I decided to enter these same pieces into different Juried shows. Both pieces were accepted!

When I got the news that my oil painting of Lulu ‘Youth’ was accepted, it was a day after my first art reception. It was a busy, exciting and late evening. Saturday morning, at 5am my phone was buzzing with messages from family and friends from the UK wanting to know how my first art reception went. So, I woke up unusually early and blurry eyed. As I was up I decided to check my emails. When I saw the good news about this Juried Exhibition, I was doing cart wheels in my head but my body was still recovering from the night before!

Thank you for taking the time out to read about my journey.  Also a big thank you to my amazing model, Lulu, and her mom, Katie, for supporting me.