The Blue Rinse Brigade...

I know I said I wasn't going to create this week (much) as I'm preparing to move house, but I found some inspiration (honestly I wasn't even looking for it!) and just had to finish off this canvas. I tried a different blending technique for the face and also used my watercolour crayons (Caran De Ache) rather than paint. I'm really happy with the result and am keen to continue along this line.

It's funny you know. A few times now I've read and heard the comment that you get to a stage about half way through your painting called the 'ugly' stage when nothing seems to work and you feel disappointed and want to throw the thing in the fire. Then you walk away, and come back again with a fresh look, and take it through to a place where you're happy with it.

Well this certainly happened with this painting. Originally it was a background of orange and blue with a great quote written on it. I had outlined the back of a fairy with long wings hanging to the ground. I lived with that background for weeks and it just didn't sit right - I walked past it every day on my easel and I ended up hating it!

So here's a couple of photos of the background with the new sketch. As you can see I had a narrow head to begin with, and then changed it to a much wider oval shape in the second photo...

So I rollered over it in hot pink (what was I thinking?) and it looked even more disgusting! Then two nights ago, in a flurry of gel medium and paper I layered the background again, drew and outlined the subject and the rest is history. (I also added gel medium to my acrylic paint for the background - you can see how this- esp the dusky pink - dried thick and shiny in the close up of the words in the photo below. Gel medium gives acrylics that glossy lift and thick consistency instead of the often 'flat' feel they get when they're dry)

Now I actually love the finished product and am so glad for the experience of persisting through the 'ugly' phase to make something beautiful and worthwhile! It's a bit like life really isn't it...

'she cherished that which she held tenderly'

X Me


  1. Yes... you persevered! And the results are magnificent. There is nothing like fresh eyes.

    And how is the packing going? Better put art supplies away last, just in case you are stuck by more inspiration.

    The watercolor pencils are great. Did it feel like you had more control?

    Please feel free to email me. saramoriarty@gmail.com

  2. It's a really nice piece. I'm glad you didn't give up when it got ugly! I am tempted almost every time my work gets to that stage and have to remind myself to keep going...

  3. It's lovely Donna - I really like those BIG eyes - very soulful somehow.
    Love, Yona xx

  4. Oh I love how it turned out! All my paintings go through an ugly stage and then sit against the walls for days sometimes months at a time. I'm glad you decided to do art this week anyway. THe piece turned out great!

  5. SO glad I found your blog! I LOVE your art and style!!! Great work, keep it up!

  6. Absolutley scrum-didily-umptious like my beautiful sister. Love her eyes. Mabey she's a mirror of what's happening to you, the widder your eye's the more light that gets in, and you're definetly being filled with light. Love Kaz xx

    Hi aunty Don xx maddi here, LOVE the painting, it turned out really well, you're so talented. Love you. Keep up the fantastic work xxx Maddi :)

  7. i think that this one is my fave at the moment - great job donna ... hope the moving goes well and you get a real burst of sunshine in your new home... with lots of love and creativity to boot... love ya!

  8. Oh yes, I know that ugly stage very well! Persevering is the only way out of it and your results are fantastic!

    Thanks, I will try some gel medium, I often get frustrated with the flatness of acrylics.

    Maybe you should pack your art supplies first! Then you might just get the rest of the packing done :)

  9. Hi Donna some how I have come to your page.
    just love your work.
    if you feel inclined have a look at my daughters blog on my blog It is Verdigrisrose she does your kind of work too.
    I love these eyes
    love and peace to you