Lac Escalier and Being Afraid of the Water

©2022, Emma Pittson, “Lac Escalier”. Photoshop.

I’ve never attempted a landscape dominated by a great expanse of rippling water before, and now I know why: painting it was a dreadfully tedious pursuit! AND YET, after a particularly wrenching week of work, forcing myself to solve the problem of how to paint all those ripples turned out be a great stress reliever (well, actually, more like a STRESSFUL stress-reliever, if you catch my drift)! Who knew? There were plenty of times when I thought I was in over my head, but seeing the final result, I’m glad I took the plunge. Sometimes, all you can do is just dive right in (and also “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”).

(Sorry for the terrible water-related puns, but I just couldn’t help myself) 😉

Re-Visiting My First Painting

©2022, Emma Pittson, “Lake Wanaka in Blue II”. Photoshop.

After my self-portrait, I had a little spate of bad luck art-wise. While January was a really productive month, February has been one failed art experiment after another. I’m also trying to pep-talk myself back into picking up an actual paint brush and committing to a decent-sized canvas, but it’s slow-going for now. I’ve had this digital re-paint of my very first acrylic paint from 2016 on the back-burner for a few months now, and because it’s good for morale to actually FINISH things, this seemed like the perfect time to wrap it up.

When I look back on the original painting, I’m struck by how every single brush stroke looks nervous and hesitant. I had internalized so much negativity from my time at art school that it’s a miracle I’d managed to paint anything at all. I may not be as productive, nor as consistent, as I’d like to be, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come since this first painting.

Lake Wanaka sunset in blue new Zealand
©2016, Emma Pittson, “Lake Wanaka in Blue”. Acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″.

Self-Portrait with Kerchief

Self-portrait of Emma Pittson wearing a blue kerchief against Owhiro Bay, New Zealand.
©2022, Emma Pittson, “Self-Portrait with Kerchief”. Photoshop.

January was a fantastic month for me, art-wise! I made good on my promise to do at least 15 minutes of art-making every day, and that very often grew to 30 minutes or even a full hour on the week-ends. As you know, I’m still struggling to find my genuine artistic voice, and everything I’ve ever read about it states that your voice won’t just materialize out of thin air. You’ll have to make art – and probably quite a lot of it over a long period of time – before things start to fall into place. “Quantity leads to Quality” is the order of the day.

Anyways, here is a self-portrait based on a photograph of myself taken about 15 years ago when we lived in Wellington, New Zealand. The background is the view from the mountains south of Wellington overlooking Owhiro Bay. If it looks like I’m squinting, it’s because the mid-day sun in that part of the world could be unbearable bright, making every shadow look inky-black.

I’ve never painted jewelry before, but I have to say: that earring is my favourite part of the painting!

Paintover

©2022, Emma Pittson, “September 23 Paintover”. Photoshop.

One of the advantages of digital painting software is that you can easily block out new ideas without wasting any paint (this is especially good for us cheapskates!). Remember this unfinished painting from the “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge? One of the reasons why it ground to a halt was because I had doubts about keeping the gauzy scarf around her shoulders white or if I should go with a bolder colour – forest green, for example.

To be honest, I’m liking the addition of a coloured background more than the idea of adding a scarf, so I just might keep it like this. Of course, if anyone else has an idea they’d like to share, please feel free to do so!

From B&W Photo to Colour Painting

©2022, Emma Pittson, “Beatrice”. Photoshop.

I’m been obsessed for a while now with trying to paint a colour portrait from a vintage black & white photograph, but I never felt ready to try until just recently. There was no objective behind this project other than to see if I could do it.

Keeping the “colour zones” of the face in mind, I essentially kept to: 1) yellow tones for the forehead, 2) red tones across the nose and cheekbones, and 3) cool tones for the jawline. I would go one step forward and include yellow/green tone for neck area, and also blue right under the eyes.

Here is the photo of actress/artist Beatrice Chanler that I used as reference:

Beatrice Chandler