Artist from the Philippines. Lives in Europe. Lover of Life. Follower of Christ.

Author: jittycreativestudio

Art Exploration: Textures

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

Feb 2022: I believe that practice makes perfect BUT practice without learning is useless. You won’t progress if you are doing things just for the sake of doing it. Keeping that in mind, it should be “Practice with Concious Learning makes Perfect”. This month I am applying that in my art exploration and learning about textures.

How it started

I have a project in mind that I want to implement but I was afraid to do it. This project involves incorporating different kind of styles and techniques and, honestly, I don’t know where to start. 

So I decided to list down the techniques that I need to learn and start small paintings that will allow me to practice. I have 2 things that I need to learn:

  • Light and Shadow
  • Textures

Light and Shadow

My oil painting that involves light and shadow

I started with light and shadow and studied ChiaroScuro. That research led me to start a black and white oil painting of a tiger. You can read my experience in this article.

Textures

Next stop, textures. In the project that I had in mind, I wanted to have a 3D flower. I was searching through youtube and I stumbled upon scuplture painting. 

Scultpure Painting Youtube Video from A&F 에이앤에프

I thought, “Wow this is exactly what I need!”. I watched a lot of videos about it and I learned that I need a sculpture paste to be able to create the 3D flower. Hmmm… I was hesitating because I do not want to buy a material that I would probably use for just one project.

I continued my research and learned that I could create my own sculpture paste. “Amazing!” I said to myself. This is a good way to practice because there is a cheap and easy way to create my own paste.

My first sculpture painting

My first sculpture painting

I tried it and it was a disaster! Scultpure painting is not easy to do. This technique requires a lot of control in the consistency of the paste and in the motion of my wrist when forming a petal. I was not able to produce the quality of work that fits my standard. I need a lot of practice and with that I lost my motivation to pursure this technique.

But I do like the paste and I was thinking that I could experiment and maybe create a 3D flower in a different way.

The texture paste

The ingredients of the DIY texture paste is a combination of starch, glue and acrylic paint. Much like asian cooking, I do not have the exact measurement of the recipe so I have different results whenever I make it. By accident, I created a marshmallow like goo and I was in love with it!

Lots of ideas flowed into my head and I quickly created a project that I could do to incorporate this paste.

The structure of the paste was silky smooth and because of that it inspired me to create a painting of the ocean with waves in it. Incorporating this paste as a wave or a sea foam would be perfect. I practiced my idea in a small magnetic canvas and it looked great!

Ocean Wave Series

Since I am practicing art with concious learning. I want this Ocean Wave project to be a series. The idea for the project would be to represent the levels of improvement of my practice as I work through it. My process would be as follows:

  • Paint the Ocean Wave on a canvas
  • Critically Assess the painting
  • Apply the feedback and criticism on to the next on.

The Ocean Wave Project would be a 3 part series that will show 3 levels of my progress using the textures I’ve created.

Ocean Wave Level 1

I wanted to keep it simple and I want the texture to be the star. So I got this reference photo from Pinterest and tried to do an abstract version of it.

Photo grabbed from Pinterest

It was a quick painting session. I started painting the canvas with light blue and pink. I blended the 2 colors in the middle with white so that I know where to put the paste. I prepared the paste and added it in the canvas. The final result looked like this:

It was okay… I was generally happy with it. I wanted an abstract ocean wave and I thought I got it. I liked how the waves were formed and I see movement. So, for me, it was a job well done! But…. with improvements.

In my next attempt, I want to improve the following:

  • I want to add texture to the sand and to the water
  • I want a clear separation when blending the water and sand.
  • I want to add depth into the canvas. There’s no shadow or any indication where the light is coming from.
  • I want a clear structure for the formation of the wave. So far, it feels like the wave is just smeared into the canvas and I let gravity do the work. haha!
  • I wanted to add color to the wave. It is too white. I want a little bit of the water or the sand to blend its color into the wave. Like a marbling effect.

So with this feedback, I moved on to my next attempt.

Ocean Wave Level 2

Photo grabbed from Google

For my next attempt, I want something like this. I want the middle to be a yellow sand surrounded by the blue ocean.

I prepared my canvas by added texture to the sand and to the ocean. I used a putty to get that sandy effect and I used a heavy body paint for the ocean. It ended up looking like this:

I let it dry and added my paint. I wanted the sand to be yellow-orange and the ocean to be blue. So the idea is that the color of the painting will mimic the 12noon to 3pm scenario in a beach. I want it be bright and active.

After painting and adding the texture, the final result looked like this:

I truly loved it! Somehow, with this, the level 1 painting looked like it was created by a 7 year old. This 2nd attempt has depth, more texture and it made sense. I felt like I was in a beach enjoying the sun while eating my lunch. It was awesome! I was very satisfied.

I started to critically asses my work and list down my improvements that I would like to add in my 3rd attempt. I want to add the following improvements:

  • I want a thicker texture paste. Somehow in this version, the paste was too runny that it ended up looking flat and loosing its structure.
  • I want shadows.
  • I want depth in the color of the ocean. There should be a dark part and a lighter one.
  • I want to lessen the marble effect in the wave. I hated that when I attempted to combine the color of the ocean and the sand to the wave, it turned green.
The wave turned green T_T

Ocean Waves Level 3

On my last attempt, I want to create something like this:

Photo grabbed from Google

I want to imitate the texture of a rock. I wanted more shadows so I thought a rock could give me what I want. I will also lessen the wave to give room for a darker/deeper part of the ocean.

The tricky part of this 3rd attempt is the texture of the rock. So far, I know how to create a marshmallow like texture. How am I going to create a rock texture?

Carving Clay

Since I am playing with starch and glue, I researched the other things that I could do with it. I learned that I could create an airdry clay with those same ingredients. I tried it out and I was able to create this:

Process video of me carving clay

Now, this was a revelation. The clay dried up and it started to crumble and it looked like dirt. I thought, I could combine this dirt like texture to a putty and create the rocks. I will use heavy body paint to create the texture for the ocean.

I was not able to take progress photos but the final result looked like this:

It was obvious to me that my focus on this painting are the rocks. I did put a lot of effort into adding the shadows and highlights and making sure that it looked like a real rock. I was happy with the results. I think I was able to achieve my goal.

I made a thicker texture paste for the waves in hopes that it will retain its structure. Unfortunately, just like the 2nd painting, the texture paste fell down and the waves didn’t form the way I liked it.

The ocean was good. I like that there are dark and light spots in the ocean, similar to what you will see in real life. I see movement as well and it works well with the waves.

Conclusion

This project took almost a week to finish. I was satisfied with the result and I was happy to see my progress. It was a successful series.

By the end of the day I learned a lot of things:

  • I learned that starch, glue and acrylic are a cheap way make a lot of different textures. It is similar to baking so it was not hard to experiement with these ingredients
  • I learned that assessing my work is a good to practice to expect improvements from myself.
  • I learned that applying your feedback to your next painting is a good way for me to not focus on perfection
  • I learned that I love textured paintings. It gives me the freedom to think of innovative ways on how to achieve what I want. There are no rules.

This was a very fun experience and I am excited to learn more in my art exploration next month!


Hope you had fun reading this, If you would like to see some of my work, please check out my pages:

Chiaroscuro: A battle between light and dark

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

Chiaroscuro (English: /kiˌɑːrəˈsk(j)ʊəroʊ/ kee-AR-ə-SKOOR-oh, -⁠SKURE-Italian: [ˌkjaroˈskuːro]; Italian for ‘light-dark’), in art, is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition.

Also, afaik, this technique is used by the great Italian painter Caravaggio. Now, I don’t know much about this technique to be able to talk about it in detail. But this blog is about my attempt to do it.

My experience

I wanted to paint a black and white tiger painting and, for some reason, I am stuck.

Photo by Uriel Soberanes on Unsplash

There’s always this sense of “awe and wonder” that I cannot seem to capture in my paintings. It really frustrates me.

I was talking to my friend about it and she mentioned Caravaggio. It was a lightbulb moment. Maybe this is something that I need to look into.

I learned that in chiaroscuro you need 3 things:

  • leverage your midtones
  • emphasize your shadows and
  • be precise with your highlights

Now, this is a self-taught artist’s understanding. If you are taught differently in art school then do follow that (and maybe share it with me 😄)

How I did it

I started by using Burnt Umber to draw my outline in the canvas. I also used it to emphazies my shadows. It was a pretty neat trick, actually. Having that Burnt Umber as a base for my shadows, it was easier to darken it and blend it with my highlights. It became a good guide.

After that I just continued adding more black and white. Blending it together and painting it in layers until I am satisifed. Here’s how it went:

How was my experience?

I think all in all it was a fun learning experience. I think I am learning more techniques and I am going deeper into the technicality of painting. I am not just smearing paint into the canvas but I am growing as an artist and gaining an in-depth knowledge about art.

final result

I am happy and satisfied with the result but It got me thinking “Is it time for me to enroll in an art course?”. As much as possible, I want to learn on my own and discover things as I go but, somehow, this “self-taught process” is leaving me frustrated and confused on what to do next. It would be nice to have a mentor.

We’ll see… I am still thinking about it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I learned the following:

  • Burnt Umber is a good base for this technique. I see its value.
  • Don’t be aftraid to add more shadows. Oil paint is very forgiving. It is easy to paint over it.
  • NEVER BUY A CHEAP OIL PAINT! 🤣 A thicker oil paint is really good for blending colors and creating a realistic looking painting. Cheap oil paint are good for beginners who wants to try palette knife.
  • Appreciate your friends. They are a great source of valuable feedback and encouragement.
  • Believe in yourself and follow your gut! By the end of the day, the only person that you need to impress is you.

That’s it! I hope you had fun reading it as much as I had fun writing it! If you are interested to purchase the painting, please visit my shop. See you on the next article! 😊


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Art Exploration: Portraits


Photo by Thái An on Unsplash

January 2022: I wanted to set a routine for myself and practice painting twice a week. They say that practice makes perfect and, in art, I believe that. This month, I tried portraits. 😜

My Previous Experience

Portraits has been quite a challenge for me. I initially started with charcoal and it’s… well… not easy for beginners 😆

I learned that in doing portraits, I need a skill to draw a face. I am familiar with the grid method but my problem is that after doing all that hardwork my drawing still doesn’t look like my subject. It is quite frustrating that the final product doesn’t meet my standards.

Which begs the question “Are my standards too high? If yes, how do I fix it?”

Beginner’s Technique

I downloaded an app on my phone that allows me to edit photos. Originally, I wanted to edit my photo so I could have a pop-art effect. My plan is to print it, trace it on a paper and color it with colored pens. Maybe add some zentangle patterns for added effect. This is the result:

Made from colored pens

It was good and I was happy because it looked like me. Yay! 😄

But the reason I started painting again is to learn how to paint. So colored pens is not an option.

As I looked through the app, I saw that there’s a flow effect and it converts your photo into a watercolor painting. I thought “Hmm… maybe I could use this as a reference to practice. “ The color separation is clear enough to identfy the shadow from the highlight. 

Sample photo generated from the app

I could print the photo, trace it and then paint. I thought it would be easy and good first step for beginners, like me. 

But before that, I thought to myself “ I should set some standards. There should be a point where I could say that I am satisifed and it is good enough.” And so I decided that I will start grading my work, list some improvements and apply those on my other future works.

So I grabbed a photo of my nephew and began the process. This is how it went:

I tried using oil paint because the paint stays wet and it will be easy for me to blend the colors. I gave it a 6 ⭐️. It looked nice, it looked like my nephew. I love the blending of the colors but I think it can be improved. I listed out the things that I liked and the things that I think should be improved

What I like:

  • I like the blending of the colors in the skin
  • I thought the nose is good
  • For a beginner, I think the result is good enough

What needs to be improved:

  • Shadows could be darker
  • Add more highlights in the eyes and lips
  • The crumpling of the shirt 

I was satisfied with the result from the oil painting and I am eager to try again! 😎 I took out my watercolor and gave it another try. And here’s the result:

Cutie Pie!

I loved it! ❤️ I gave this an 8 ⭐️. I listened to my critique and darken the shadows. I added bold colors so it will be distinct and I made sure that the mouth and shirt are taken care of.

While painting this, I realize that I have lots of doubts in my ability. I am holding myself back because I am afraid to make a mistake. I want my first try to be perfect even though I am just a beginner. I am putting a lot of pressure on myself. 

Listing out those critiques helped me a lot. It pushed me to not make the same mistakes again. And I am more aware of what I have to do because it became my goal. 👩‍🎨

I was so happy with the result that I decided to practice more and paint my family. 

The result varies but all in all I am happy 😄💯

Conclusion

In conclusion, I learned a lot from this experience. I learned…

  • how to be bold and how to embrace your fears
  • how to be forgiving and allow yourself to make mistakes
  • how to set standards and critique my work
  • that in portrait painting, you should start with the eyes and focus on that. It makes a lot of difference if the eyes are correct.
  • not to expect perfection

This was a fun experience and I look forward to next month!


If you would like to see some of my work, please check out my pages:

My Journey: Returning to a place I once loved

Photo by Ravi Pinisetti on Unsplash

My dream is to be an artist. When I was young I imagined myself as a full-time artist… I could be a painter or a potter or crafter… maybe a musician, singer or an actor. I don’t know. The possibilities are endless but what I do know is that I want a career that will allow me to immerse in art and access my creativity.

As a child and as a student, I enjoyed art class. I was able to paint, print designs and draw different kinds of things. As I grew older, I learned more about precision art like paper crafting, quilling and carving.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Art, for me, has always been a comfort zone. A place where I could speak my mind, where I could share my thoughts and my feelings, a place where I could just be myself.

Growing up, it is hard to express myself without the fear of bringing shame to the family. Art and creativity gave me the space where I could express anything that I want without bringing embarassment to anybody. That’s why I told myself that if I go to college, I will take Fine Arts. But, unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

I need to choose a different career path. A path that can put food on the table and provide for my family. I convinced myself that I could pursue this path and re-visit art someday. That took 15 years… 😆

During that 15 years, I forgot about my artist dream and I lived life as if that dream never existed. But this is about to change…

Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

Stress, at work, took over and I became anxious and overwhelmed. A friend, who knows me so well, gave me an easel with painting materials and told me to re-visit my dream. I could start painting again and release some of the stress. Honestly, that gift gave me mixed emotions.

A part of me felt pain and anger. Deep inside of me, I felt hurt and betrayed that I did not pursue art. Another part felt very excited.

“Finally I can pursue my dream! But…what if I suck? I haven’t done this for a long time. What if I can’t do it anymore? What if I fail? What if I am just wasting all these materials? I could have bought some food instead.”.

This is the conversation that goes inside my head. I was so torned that it took me a while before I open that gift. I was filled with fear and anxiety that one day I decided to just do it. I finally gave in…

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

“So…. What now? Where do I start?” Ugh! so many questions 😐

I decided to start with what I know. Youtube! I searched for easy paint-along videos that I could try. This is the result… 😆

It was fun pausing the video and painting at the same time. I felt very frustrated and confused but I think that approach was a good first step.

The result was okay. I was not satisfied but it was a good first try. I still don’t understand why it looks so grainy, dark and weird. But it doesn’t matter now. 😆

Feeling somewhat disappointed, I decided to do some doodling. I used to do this when I was in high school so I thought I could do it again.

Now, this is a satisfying result! 👍 I’m glad that I can still draw but this is not enough. I want to push myself. I want to see what else can I do. I want to try other mediums that I am not familiar with and, maybe, create something good. I want to try charcoal and give watercolor another try.

After several tries, I created something that I am happy to see. Not bad! I think I’m getting used to watercolor. And charcoal is a whole new level of experience.

I wonder “What else?” Maybe I could try some acrylics…

I like it! The design came from the Bible Project videos and when I saw it, I thought I want it in 4-piece canvas. 😄

Photo by Yannis Papanastasopoulos on Unsplash

I practiced a lot! Some are good and some are not so good. But what I notice about my paintings is that my emotions can affect the results. So I created an initial question for myself before I start the process. An initial assessment, if you could say. I will ask myself this question

“Does this spark joy?” 😆

I may laugh but that question helps weed out the not so good paintings. I paint designs that I want to see on my wall. With this technique, I am always happy with the results.

Going back to painting made me feel young again. I felt the same feeling that I felt before.

I felt free. I felt that I could be myself again. That I could express and show who I am without the fear of embarrassing anybody. I felt like I found something that I’ve been missing for a long time. And I felt happy.

I returned to a place that I once loved. I thought it was gone but it was just waiting for me to return. And I’m glad I’m back.

Photo by Marten Newhall on Unsplash

Looking back, It kinda sound dramatic that I was struggling to start painting. It made me wonder why was I so afraid in the first place? But my feelings are valid. My struggle is real. Sometimes doubt and fear can really get the best of me. And in this particular moment, I needed to recognize that fear and anxiety and overcome it.

This is just the beginning of my journey and I’m pretty sure there are still lot of things to learn in the future. But what I learned from this experience is that dreams do come true. The journey to get there might be long or it might look different from what you are expecting but dreams do come true. I also learned that if you really want something, you should take all the opportunities that you can. Some might result to failure but you can always take it as a teaching moment. A learning opportunity that can help you grow and be better next time.

I look forward to the future! I think I am still holding myself back and letting fear and doubt take over me. But I am learning. I would like discover myself more, to learn who I am and to express myself more through art. I’m excited to see who I can be if I can just let go.

By the end of the day, I am happy to say that I gave it a try and took the risk. I am so grateful that it paid off and there are no regrets. I am given a chance to pursue my dreams and, this time, I’ll grab it and won’t let go.


If you would like to see some of my work, please check out my pages: