Watercolour and ink

I’ve been experimenting with watercolours and fine liners lately.

With the lockdowns and fading light, photography has become more and more difficult. I love being creative and wanted something I can do in my house, on my own, whenever I have a spare moment.

I’ve been exploring these two media, both very new to me. There is so much variety in the art store – it’s difficult to know where to start!

Experimentation

So I started by drawing and painting the same thing, over again, using different pens, brushes and paint mixtures, to see what I liked.

Once happy with a technique, I then reproduced it on watercolour paper (more expensive than the cartridge paper I was using, so not for experimenting!)

I used a size 4 brush for this. It has a lovely fine point so I can use it for some finer details as well

Digital art

I first created the dandelion in Procreate on my iPad. I then wanted to see what it would look like painted.

That’s what I’ve been up to lately, and some drawing.

Have you learnt any new creatives skills lately?

Take care,

Michelle

Photo review from Rise International Photography Awards – Family

The RISE International Photography Awards is a unique, online photography awards system aimed at seeing entrants elevate their work from one award year to the next.

The judges gave written feedback to all entrants on all photos entered. I entered three images into three categories: Maternity, Family and Creative.

I love this photo

This photo is a self-portrait of myself and my daughter, when she was two. I used a tripod and a remote shutter release to take it, and processed the colours in Photoshop.

It was originally part of an exhibition titled ‘Skin’, and represents the mother-child bond between us. For me, it’s about love, and I’ll always cherish it.

Feedback

Judge 1: I love the organic lines and shapes through this composition. The hint of the fingers at the top of the frame is a little distracting. I would either like to see more or less. The same goes for the cropped ankle at the bottom of the frame. An interesting and brave approach to colour toning which really grabs the viewer’s eye.

Judge 2: This is a unique and great portrait – honest and with a lovely sense of flow. The colour palette is different and good. Only two little things to watch. There’s the slightest of yellow-tinged haloes where the bodies meet the background, interrupting that block colour background. There’s just the tiniest hint of a hand coming around at the top right of the frame; it would have been wonderful to see more of that hand, to give symmetry with the mother’s hand mid-left of frame. Well done, this is excellent.

Judge 3: Nice softness and feel but i feel we need more of the subject to get the story. We have a little hair top left that makes me want more of the story. More contrast or even black & white would help visually.

I take all of these comments on board. I think I may need to recreate this image or similar to include the judges’ advice.

Take care,

Michelle

Rise International Photography Awards

Rise International Photography Awards - Alana Lee Photography

The RISE International Photography Awards is a unique, online photography awards system aimed at seeing entrants elevate their work from one award year to the next. Every entry receives feedback from a panel of highly trained international judges.
to elevate the entire photography industry,

The overall objectives of the awards are:

  • to elevate the entire photography industry,
  • to create an industry of highly skilled photographers with a passion to grow and learn, and
  • to give them the tools they need to develop a sustainable business for years to come.

My entries

I entered into three categories in the Rise International Photography Awards: Maternity, Family and Creative.

I won Bronze in two categories! I didn’t expect to achieve in any category as the standard of previous winners was so high.

The written feedback on every image entered and that was worth the entry fee alone. Constructive criticism is super valuable for artistic development.

I have never had any professional feedback on my images before and I was nervous to receive it. Creating art is very personal and I find it hard not to take criticism negatively – always working on this!

I’ll post the feedback on the images in my next post. I figured if it’s good for my development, it could be helpful for others too 🙂

Take care,

Michelle

Designing a business logo

I was asked a few weeks ago to design a logo for someone about to launch a new business.

I have zero experience designing logos, but I said yes! There was no expectation, if they didn’t like it, they would find someone else. I was happy to see it as an opportunity for my own creative development, and if it didn’t work out, never mind.

We discussed the nature of the business and the client wanted the logo to show the theme of “growth’, the core value of her business. She shared colours she liked and we agreed a colour palette.

I showed her some of my illustrations (not photographs this time!) and she picked out things that she liked. This gave me some solid graphics to start with.

Finally she decided she wanted the logo presented square.

I did three preliminary sketches, and she chose her preferred design.

I refined and polished the design and gave three subtle variations. Would you believe it? She liked them!

Taking away the pressure of expectation made the whole experience easy to learn from and fun. I’m happy to try something new. You never know what you will take from it or where it might take you.

Have you tried anything new, lately?

Take care,

Michelle

Imposter Syndrome

I have been making art for five years. Yet I have never marketed or sold my work.

I have entered open calls and exhibited, and been commended and published, but I have shied away from actively promoting my work and selling it.

Imposter syndrome has played a large part; fear of failure and not being good enough. I have also had a stable job as a teacher. With such financial stability, I didn’t need to put myself out there and take risks.

2020 has changed so much for so many people, including me.

  • I find myself without a teaching job for the first time in my life.
  • I am a stay at home mum with a 9 month old baby.
  • I have Chron’s disease and take immuo-suppresants, making me more vulnerable to Covid-19.

I see this as an opportunity to change. This is a new chapter. It’s time to do the thing I wanted to do for most of my life, and become a working artist.

So Imposter Syndrome has to go. There is no room for it anymore.

I printed some of work professionally. It looks so good, it’s made me think, ‘maybe I can do this…’

Take care,

Michelle

Young Guns Emerging Art Awards

I’m officially a Young Gun!

I have been shortlisted in the Top 40 of the inaugural Young Guns Art Awards! I am so excited! What I love about this award is its focus solely on art and new talent.

‘We don’t care where you come from, where you are based, or how old you are. We just care about the art and the stories you tell.’ – Young Guns

I am proud and honoured to be part or a new and relevant award, and truly grateful to be shortlisted. If this is as far as I get, I’m happy!

​There is some seriously great talent nominated – check all the shortlisted artists on their website: YoungGuns

Or on social:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/younggunsartawards/

Facebook https://www.instagram.com/younggunsartawards/

Ice

Sometimes I come across as cold, rude or disinterested. I am none of these things. I have anxiety. I am afraid.

This image came about through a bit of playing around with ice. What I was trying to create didn’t work so I used the ice as a textured layer instead created this.

Construction:

Nikon D700, 50mm lens. I photographed a block of ice and layers it over the top of the original image using blending modes in Photoshop. Image shot with natural light. Self portrait.