Some Nude Studies

I’m in a transition period with my art. The goal is to set aside the self-portraits and move on to something else, but for the moment, that “something else” is only half-formed in my mind.

In the meantime, I did these figure studies because getting back to the basics is always helpful.

Screentime

©2022, Emma Pittson, “Screentime”. Rebelle 5.

I’m just as guilty as the next person of spending too much of my time staring at a device, and also allowing my kids to do the same. I would also admit that I may have let things get out of hand over the last two years, but I can’t blame everything on the pandemic, can I? Long gone are the days when I would purchase a few Saturday newspapers and then spend the rest of the week-end reading them at a leisurely pace. Nowadays, all of my news comes out of a little glowing box that fits neatly in my purse. The upside is that I also get all kinds of art instruction out of said glowing box, and if it hadn’t been for that, I might never have learned about the “Rebelle” digital painting software. I used it to paint this piece of my daughter indulging in one of her favourite pastimes, which is “screentime” (naturally).

With a little help from my friends

©2022, Emma Pittson “Summer Study” Photoshop

The first few months of 2022 were spent pushing myself to produce as much art as possible, and then the summer came… and I needed to take a break. And well-deserved, I thought!

But I admit that I’ve also been feeling the pressure from my empty easel a lot more lately, and I knew it was time to get back in the saddle. Summer was long-gone, after all! And if I don’t keep up the art-making on a daily basis, I’m prone to letting self-doubt creep in and knock me right off my stride.

Don’t get me wrong: I was over-the-moon happy to have my work featured in a magazine (#artgoals!!), but as a result, I was also hit with a MASSIVE case of Imposter Syndrome, too. Even now, I still can’t believe that my paintings are sitting alongside the work of REAL ARTISTS – women who have a body of work, gallery representation, a full bio of exhibitions, etc, etc. All I can think of is: “I’ll betcha that being an artist is their full-time job! How can I possibly think of myself as being worthy to stand amongst them??”

Well, if “working takes away anxiety”, then I knew what I had to do: get back to work!

AND it was around that time that an old high-school friend generously offered me some recent pictures of her so that I could paint someone other than myself. Talk about excellent timing! Of course, this is still digital, so in a sense, it’s a bit of a “cheat”, but I didn’t think I could handle the pressure of paints and mediums after such a lengthy absence. All in good time, all in good time…

Tidying up

©2019, Emma Pittson, “La Malbaie”. Photoshop.

I hope you’re enjoying the new layout for my website because I sure am! I’m in a real Organizing-And-Take-Stock moment of my life. Some people relax by watching TV or reading a good book, but for me, nothing soothes my nerves as much as decluttering. Now, if only I could get my family onboard…

And while sorting through some old files, I found this old gem from 2019 that I’d never posted. I was done during a moment of downtime between projects at work, and was the inspiration for the lunchtime landscape studies that got progressively more involved and sophisticated. The Charlevoix region of Quebec has some pretty spectacular scenery and I’d love to go back and try my hand at Plein Air painting, but I think I’ll have to wait until the gas prices go down before I head out on another road trip.

Stripes

©2022, Emma Pittson, “Stripes”. Rebelle 5.

For this piece, I decided to keep things simple and low-concept: just a roughly painted self-portrait, using a reference photo taken with my computer camera (note the tell-tale glowing blue neck). I kept the brushwork loose, and even cheated a little by sometimes relying on the eye dropper tool to help me get the right colour. There have to be some advantages to working digitally, right?

This piece was also an opportunity to better understand the newest addition to my digital painting arsenal: Escape Motion’s Rebelle 5. It’s early days still, but this might turn out to be one of my favourite softwares. Photoshop will always reign supreme for the sheer number of tools at one’s disposal, but Rebelle 5 has a much better “surface texture” feeling. Many digital painting programs claim that they can mimic the sensation of pushing paint around, but this one comes closest of all, in my opinion. And if nothing else, how can you not like the ripped edges of the canvas? Talk about a perfect little detail that I never knew I wanted!