Thursday, 24 April 2014

What does the fox say?

I'll tell you exactly what he says. 

He says 'I bet you wish you'd never started painting me because you hate the end result and all those hours you spent trying and failing to portray my fabulous fur are hours that you can't get back'  

That's what he says.

Fox in gouache 21cm x 21cm

I started off with the eyes which I was happy with but that fur - I just got so fed up with it that eventually I just decided to stop -I wasn't enjoying painting it anymore.

Still, it's a good lesson in how sometimes paintings just don't work out the way you'd like them to and I think it's a good idea to post my failures on the blog as well as the ones I'm happy with - it's all part of learning and improving, I guess.

In other news I'm very excited that I discovered that it's possible to create impasto paintings with acrylic and even gouache with the addition of impasto paste. I'm so happy because those are my favorite type of paintings -the sort I'd hang on my own walls were I to buy original artwork and I really wanted to try my hand at painting that way but I just can't be doing with oil paints (and the slowness and smelly turps) which I had thought was the only way to do it. 

So, the Amazon Fairy has brought my palette knives and I'm just waiting for the impasto paste to arrive. I'm working on a set of four mini landscapes for one of the upcoming art exhibitions. I've nearly finished one without the use of the paste just by plabbing (a technical term!) the paint on super thick. So far, so good and I'm really enjoying using palette knives and a much more expressionistic style. Stay tuned- I'll post the results soon. In the meantime I'd love to know-did you find your style straightaway or are you still experimenting like me with different styles and mediums?  


  1. Nic you are far to self critical! ( That failure label has to go) When I looked at the fox I looked deep into his eyes and began to melt! You really do breathe life and vitality into your paintings. I like the blue tinges to the fur and especially the area on his little nose with the little dots of paint. I read with interest your experimentation with mediums. I love collage as you know but didn't start off that way. I was a tapestry weaver and often my designs would begin by me ripping up my failures and then sticking them down in my sketchbook. As time progressed I spent more time ripping up paper than weaving!

  2. when the fox popped up it was his eyes that I thought were amazing, so I think the fox says he is beautiful, I know you are searching for your personal identifiable style but I think its there you just don't see it, maybe its the medium to which you will settle with thats the search, the only way to know is to keep trying, you will know when you fin it, because it will be all you want to do, You are an amazing artist, who says we have to have one signature style!!! You are you and you are brilliant!

  3. The eyes are perfect but fur is always hard, I just keep fiddling but it's very hard to get it right.

  4. Oh yes-that failure label most DEF. HAS TO GO!!! I just want to give that fox a hug! I'm still exploring products, styles and mediums and finding my way. I don't think it's a bad thing because I feel one will KNOW when they have found their ultimate style, medium and passion. Keep on moving and doing Nic!

  5. what are you talking about?? this fox is great!! he has such soul in his eyes!! i love all the different colors in his fur. this is awesome!!

  6. Well, I think he turned out very nicely, I really like the variety in colours in his fur, especially the blues, which make it more lively than greys or blacks would have done. But I know what you mean, sometimes the images of what we want the result to look like is so clear in our heads, that we're disappointed when it doesn't come out like that. But I'm glad you posted this. I sometimes can get overwhelmed by all the fabulous art that is posted everywhere, making me feel that everyone else just effortlessly creates great pieces, always, while I seem to struggle quite a lot. But of course that's not true, we all tend to show our best, and keep the 'failures' locked in the drawers. But all the failures are valuable lessons for us to go on learning, and always good practice anyway. As to my own style - I'm still working to discover that. And I've put away my paints for the moment and gone back to drawing in order to finally force it out. On the other hand, I think it's good to stay flexible too, and not get too stuck. Nothing's more boring than an artist who stops developing and ends up doing the same all the time. So keep on experimenting!

  7. "Failing".... !?? You're being way too hard on yourself! Maybe if you put it next to the photo you worked from you can see the difference, but I don't know that picture, I only see a beautiful painting of a fox with a beautiful colourful fur. The eyes are amazing once again.No failure AT ALL!
    I keep on experimenting with different styles and mediums. The only thing I won't try again are oil paints. Smell too much and give me a headache. Otherwise I'm open for anything that speaks to me.

  8. wow Nic this is definitely NOT a failure its blooming gorgeous my friend. The question of style....have no idea, just paint at whatever grabs me, good or bad its all part of this wonderful art adventure. Annette x

  9. but, but, but... your fox is truly beautiful. I always need time to get used to different media. I have started to work with oils recently which I was very scared of. However I really enjoy them now, and there is still so much to learn and discover about them. Beautiful fox!!!!!

  10. I'm too pulled in by his eyes to notice anything wrong with the fur - and since you have pointed it out, I still see nothing wrong with it! I think he is lovely!!
    Styles evolve naturally over time and it maybe that the way you paint isn't necessarily what you are usually drawn to for your own walls... and that's not a bad thing because when you paint in a style that you love, it may mean that you are painting someone elses style rather than painting what comes naturally to you. This is a bad move I think. But there is nothing wrong with experimenting at all and as far as I can see, your own signature style which you already have, shines through in everything you do! 0)

  11. If you have a iPhone and ask Siri "what does the fox say" the answer is pretty amusing. Ask a few times for different answers.

    I must disagree with you. I LOVE your fox. Beautiful and colorful. And I like the fur although I understand the feeling of not liking the way something is coming along and just stopping.

    I'm still searing for my talent along with my style.

  12. First of all, the painting. I don't see it as a failure. I love the blue against the orangey-red. I like it that the eyes are so detailed, drawing my eye, the viewer's, to them. I am constantly re-evaluating how much detail and where and leading the viewer's eye to where I want it to go.
    Style is something that happens while the artist is creating. I do not think of it as something the artist consciously does. It happens over time and develops with one's character. It may even be totally elusive to the artist himself. It happens between the artist and his materials and flows from the thoughts and the hand and the movements from which the piece is created. What a wonderful question. I think the most frequent thing style becomes confused with is an artist's choice of technique. They are two separate things.

  13. I'm seeing a lot o foxes lately. I wonder i they're trying to give me a message. :) I think you're too hard on yourself. I see nothing wrong with this painting. It's absolutely fantastic! :)

  14. Allow me to chime in and praise your fox -- foxes are tricksters, you know. I think you painted the way the fox wanted -- mesmerizing eyes and gorgeous fur -- the colors and depth are amazing.


Your comments always colour me happy! Thank you for popping by.


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