Friday, 29 July 2011

Not So Technique-Driven Techniques

It hasn't rained here in a while, and being a "cloudy-rainy day" person, I always feel a little bit off and forlorn waiting for the droplets to fall from the sky. It's amazing how the weather can really affect's like some people are built for certain climates, don't you think? So while I anxiously eye the sky every now and then, I've also been keeping myself busy with some deadlines and playing away with Photoshop. Now, for many people who know me well, they'll tell you that I'm not a very technique driven person. I don't do too well with manuals and tutorials, hopeless with gadgets (which drives my husband crazy!), and prefer to use the only reliable tool I have in me. My feelings. :)

You can pretty much see my point by following the way I work with Photoshop to transform this painting into a new form of life...

For a start, I picked three templates to help me create the depth and textures I want for the piece. Many times I would go crazy and paint my own templates, but sometimes I just scan real pages and then alter them into something more to my likings.

Of course as anyone who are familiar with working digitally, most artists and designers usually have their own tricks and techniques of "layer effects" that they use to achieve the right characteristics needed for the work. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. Why? Probably because I usually change the layer effects so many times that I lose track of what I've done so far. Haha! Like I said, I rely on my feelings....

Other than the layers, I also like to play around with the brightness-contrast tool, and especially balancing the colors. With this particular painting, I wanted the old antique feel to it but still show some brilliance of the colors. So I added some sheer blue and pink to the robe and the lady's cheeks for a richer look, then painted a little yellow light across her hair for a vivid glow.

Lastly, I added some crackling effects by using the crackle-texture template to the overall piece, and there you have it...a new form of painting created using my very, very simple steps and techniques.

The Guardian, watercolor, pencils and digital mediums

I wish I could show you one of my more complex pieces that involves dozens of layers, but that would probably just drive us all insane! :) Well, I think I'll go back to my sky watching now. Thought I saw a little grey cloud hovering above the trees somewhere....


Amalia, oxx

**The original painting of The Guardian is available at my Etsy shop, and fine art prints (of the rendered piece) is available over at RedBubble**

Monday, 25 July 2011

Little Star

Little Star, watercolor, pencils & digital mediums

A painting inspired by one of my all time favorite songs, Little Star by Stina Nordenstam...

I hope you like it too! :)

Amalia, oxx

Fine art prints of this painting is available in my RedBubble shop, and the original art is available at Etsy.

Friday, 22 July 2011

To be Something or Everything?

I often wonder about my profession and what it is that I do. Most of the time I just 'label' myself as an illustrator, you know, a commercial artist or someone who illustrates... as the dictionary puts it. But then what kind of illustrator am I? I mean, does it even matter? Apparently when you've plunged in and currently swirling in the pool of the so-called professionals, it does. And professionals being...? Well, basically those working specifically in the field, making money out of it and rubbing elbows with the others to get to a certain level of recognition (...which just adds to the things I need to ponder on). To be honest, at first all I wanted to do was to become a children's book illustrator, earning a proper income from making children happy. much, much, earlier work in the old days...

But surely enough as humans do evolve, my interests shifted little by little and suddenly I found myself creating work that selfishly revolves more around myself, mainly as a medium to translate all those scattered little pennies of my thoughts. So what sort of illustrator exactly am I? I now ask myself, especially after this nice gentleman laid down the same question the other day (as if there should be a specific genre where I prefer to map myself...)

 ...attempting what used to be the unknown (digital mediums)...

Am I...
A children's book illustrator?
Novel covers enthusiast?
A digital illustrator?
Perhaps a traditional one?
Or maybe none and all of the above because I do a lot and also very little of them, depending on my moods and needs. It's funny isn't it when sometimes you are forced to present yourself as a specific type of  'something' when your heart tells you that you can be just about 'everything' you want.

 ...a new found love of mixed media art...

 Andromeda the Stars Keeper, pencils, watercolor and digital medium latest work, which I created solely from watching a Nat Geo's program on galaxies (^_^)...

One thing I know for sure. Creating art, whatever the form, makes me feel alive and happy. I have absolutely no idea what's the next agenda for me... would I find myself facing a giant blank wall to paint a mural? Getting tangled in threads attempting my first piece of embroidered work? Or maybe even carving a statue out of wood? Illustrator, artist, art maker, whatever the label people or myself might pin on me, I think I would be happiest thinking of myself as a student. Preferable one that never graduates! :))

Happy weekend, my lovelies!

Amalia, oxx
PS: Original work of Andromeda The Stars Keeper is available at The Wish Forest, prints available at RedBubble

Saturday, 16 July 2011

The Muse - A Glimpse of Red

 I was sorting out my portfolio folder the other day and I noticed something quite significant about my work...the fact that I have repeatedly drawn or painted redheads as the main object in many of them. Now I don't really know why I do this, but I admit that I've always had a fascination with red hair. Being Asian born, as a child I had gotten used to the idea that normal people had very dark hair (except maybe some ladies with "yellow hair" that I had seen on TV. :)). So you can imagine how stunned I was the first time I saw a redhead in person. There was a mystical magical glow about it, and I was instantly bewitched.

 The Muse #1, watercolor & pencils on paper
(Original artwork available at The Wish Forest)

Some of my "redheads" over the years...

You may already noticed, but did you know that many famous artists of the past were in fact fixated by redheads? Some well known painters such as Gustav Klimt himself repeatedly used women with red hair as the main object of his masterpieces, and I just admire how beautifully he had captured the exoticism and mystique of his muses. These are some of my favorites...

 Mother and Child


Another painter I hugely admire in this case is Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. Although very different in style and imagination from Klimt, he always managed to show his redhead fascination in a very subtle yet obvious way. He was even known to have a certain fixation on one of his lady friends, Jane Avril, who appeared in so many of his paintings.

 At the Moulin de la Galette

La Toilette

At the Moulin Rouge

So I suppose there are many ways an artist is inspired, whether through experience, objects, desires, people, literature or perhaps music? Whether they have lived the golden years or still climbing the steps like so many of us... Either way, inspiration thrives whichever way you look, and even the simplest things can help you create the most incredible piece of art.

What kind of inspiration have you had? Do you share my passion for red headed muses ? :)

Amalia, oxx

Monday, 11 July 2011

A Peaceful Day for Mommy

Hello everyone, I hope the sun is shining brightly and bringing smiles to your face. Today, the school holiday officially ends and I woke up early in the morning hustling bustling away to get my kids ready for school (it's my little boy's first day in kindergarten and I was fussing over everything like mad!). But after everyone's left, I had a sudden feeling like I was in another world. It was so quiet, that it actually took me a few minutes to recover from the shock! Haha! Well, after over two weeks of constant loud noises and the bickering every now and then between the little people, my ears had gotten used to the havoc. So I'm happy to say that overall, this day has been a lovely peaceful one for mommy at home. :)

Speaking of lovely, do you remember the giveaway I won from Kaspian Shore? I was so excited when a package arrived from Germany a few days ago and I just love, love, LOVE what I had found inside! It was a print of his original illustration, Stellar Dreams, which I think fits in with the title so beautifully. Thank you again, Kaspian, for the wonderful gift.

And what better way to celebrate these little joys than giving away something in return? As you can see, I have recreated my Wishes artwork into a desktop wallpaper design and you can download it for FREE, for your very own personal use through this special link.

Enjoy! I hope you like it...

Lots of hugs, Amalia, oxx

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Yearning for the Night Sky

Last week had been a long exhausting week for me and I don't think I've felt this tired for quite some time. What's funny, I wasn't even overloaded with work, but really just playing the "Mother". Well, you know what they say, there's no tougher job than being one... especially during the holiday season! Yep, kids can be more than a handful, and as my mom keeps saying these days, "Remember, there will be three of them soon..." Yeah, no need reminding me there, Mom! :D

Well, with very little time for myself, I have been thinking a lot about the past and missing all the nights I used to spend with my old friends back in college. Nope, we weren't the sort who went out constantly to clubs and shook our booties till dawn. We just loved going out for meals and then spent time together outside to chat, savoring some fresh air and the night sky. Times like those really bring people closer together, believe me. I even fell in love with a friend once...whom I married years later. :)

Here are some beautiful and inspiring images that have accompanied me in my thoughts while reminiscing the past...

Altitude by Robert Cadloff

 Dandelions by Anne Solfud

 Beauty of the Stars by Esra of Sunshine Art Design

Twilight Garden by Anna of My Little Pixels 

Night Sky by Erin Reynolds

So inspiring to me in fact, that I then decided to recreate my old ACEOs as new artworks and they are now both available as fine art prints and greeting cards at my RedBubble shop.

 Rose in Dreams, acrylics & digital painting

Lily at Midnight, acrylics & digital painting

So anyway, I have no doubt that this week will be another exhausting one for me, and I would have to steal away some alone time for a breather now and least until school starts again. :))

Here's wishing you plenty of peace and serenity...

Amalia, oxx