Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Rescue - New Watercolour Painting

Here's a painting I just recently completed, it's my interpretation of the moment of rescue where The Little Mermaid rescues her prince, whether or not she is bringing him up to the surface or dragging him down under is up to your own interpretation ;)

I was inspired by a great contemporary artist Arantza Martinez who also painted this beautiful moment with the Little Mermaid and her prince which is also called The Rescue. If you haven't heard of Arantza before I highly recommend following her work you can see the image that inspired me at the end of this post :)

Below are images depicting the process from thumbnails to completed painting. Materials used include; cartridge paper, kraft brown paper, Arches 300gsm medium watercolour paper, coloured pencil, graphite, masking fluid, gummed tape, various sized brushes, white gouache, white ink, watercolour paint; Art Spectrum, Windsor & Newton, Cotmans.



Thumbnail Sketch

Finished Drawing





Finished Painting

Framed Print

Prints are available of this painting. They come in 2 sizes 8 x 10" $15 and 11 x 17" $25. The prints are on Epson Lustre paper and are of a very high quality. They can be purchased through my Etsy store here
The original can also be purchase for $200 and it's size is 27.5 x 37.5cm it can also be purchased through my Etsy store here 

The painting that inspired me.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Disappointments, Inspiration and New Paintings

"Mistress of the Black Dog" Detail

It's been a while since my last post and in that time I have experienced a few ups and a lot of downs. Yesterday - the 12th of September - "R U OK?" Day was initiated in Australia addressing the rise in cases of depression and suicide attempts.

I am one of those Australians who have been diagnosed with depression and have had thoughts of suicide. This was first recognised when I was studying Fine Art at University over ten years ago. At the time my parents were splitting up and I was failing the only thing I thought I was good at it. I had no energy, no enthusiasm and I just felt constantly sad. My head was in a fog. My mum recognised the signs and got me to a doctor who was able to prescribe me suitable medication and recommended I get counselling. It wasn't a quick fix, my parents were still splitting up, I was still doing badly at uni but the medication helped me to focus, I started to think clearer and I managed to graduate with a Bachelor of Art.

Then came last month where I experience a massive bump on this journey called life... though I should say it was a series of bumps that just grew without any relief in sight (I'm still struggling with it to be honest). I won't go into it at this point (unless any of you would like to know please comment below) but lets just say it had a lot to do with traveling/visas, money, employment and illustration.

Anyway what I would like to say is, if you're doing it tough and you are struggling don't go it alone. Find someone you can trust, a friend, a family member, a boy/girlfriend, your wife/husband, priest, mentor - whatever - even your pet will do, (I know I have vented some of my frustrations to my pet dog Buddy and he gives the best feed back - a happy tail wag and a soulful look) tell them you are struggling and that you need a; hug/support/advice/help/coffee. Sometimes it's surprising just how supportive they can be. Don't give up, keep going and keep your integrity.

Below is two images I did during this difficult period. The first is my take on a nymph of a birch forest. She's preparing to leave the forest as it approaches winter and receives a message from Winter in the form of a raven. Her dress is caught in some of the undergrowth and tears as she glances towards the raven, she longs to bring life back to the forest but knows she must wait until spring.

The second is for the Artorder Inspiration Challenge  run by the fantastic Art Director of Wizards of the Coast Jon Schindehette. If you have never heard of these challenges and you like to create either digital, traditional 3D or 2D art you should definitely give this a go. The challenge is due November 18th 2013, so you have plenty of time to get something in.

When I first started working on this I really struggled. I was trying to come up with a cohesive way to combine my love of trees, Pre-Raphaelite art and my pet dog. At first the tree was the focus but I just kept coming up with ideas that have been done to death... then I came up with the final composition, I can't remember how (I think it might have been during an afternoon nap!) but there it is. I have been reading tonal painting and colour theory in "The Student's Guide to Painting" by Jack Faragasso which really helped me with this. The book is very good and is based on "The Reilly Method", I highly recommend it for anyone wants to grow as an artist.

The next painting "Mistress of the Black Dog" points of inspiration include; Pre-Raphaelitism, Romanticism, trees, flowers, sunsets and my pet dog Buddy - who is also representing "The Black Dog" . As I described above I have had some battles with The Black Dog and at the moment I'm keeping him on a tight leash, though it ain't easy! Luckily the black dog in the painting (Buddy) is not a depressing dog and is a fond member of the family.

Thanks for reading this and watching. I wish you all the best.

Belinda Morris.

UPDATE October 2nd 2013 
My painting "Mistress of the Black Dog" won the "Encouragement Award" at a local arts festival :) You can view photos from the event here. It's ironic... haha I needed an "Encouragement"

And for those who are curious here's my photo references, thanks goes especially to Deviantart stock photo artist *chirinstock who provided the inspiration for the girl and her expression.


Now here is the next painting "Mistress of the Black Dog";

and for the curious, here's the reference material (minus the blossoms as I used some blossoming branches from my mums garden - it's spring in Australia);



Saturday, August 10, 2013

Frank - A Fantasy Character Illustration

The following painting is for Bevan McGuiness a fantasy writer who has published several books including Scarred Man. The painting is based on a scene in his upcoming book depicting one of the main characters - a girl called Frank - seen from the view point of another character;


 " To distract him, he focused on Frank. She was floating across his ragged, dying lawn towards the front door like a beautiful black cloud. At the door, she looked around, her hair flowing out with the motion of her head like a black silk waterfall, catching the sunlight and glowing with luxuriant health. That perfect, wide smile lit up her face, crinkling the corners of her eyes, making the intricate pattern that extended out like red and black branches move as if in a light breeze. Billy was utterly entranced. 
How could anyone so perfect love a big lumbering oaf like me?  
It was about then Billy realized that his perception of Frank ‘floating’ across the lawn was not the hyperbole of a man in love. She had actually floated. Her feet were hovering just off the ground. He could clearly see the gap between the soles of her black Doc Martens and the wooden planks of his verandah. Billy shook his head, seeking to shift the thickness that was rapidly filling his mind, muffling sounds and blurring his vision. His balance shifted, sending him staggering sideways to land heavily on the side of the VW. He grasped at the car, trying not to fall, but only managed to inadvertently slam his injured right hand onto the steel. A cry of pain, quickly bitten off, escaped his lips, changing Frank’s expression from happily smiling to instant concern. She ran back across the lawn towards him, but Billy’s mind was so full, so muffled, that he could only barely make her out."

Usually artists prefer not to show their mistakes - it's hard enough to show pictures we made that we think are ok! This time I thought I'd post the photos that show my mistakes. One of the important lessons I learned while doing this painting is - even when you think you have ruined something don't give up!

Enjoy :)

At this point I showed the image to a couple of people and after a bit of feedback I decided her expression was just not quite right... I scrubbed her face away - and freaked out when I found that the paper just wasn't holding the paint...

After a couple of days of thinking and sketching another version on a bigger piece of paper, I came back to the original painting to see if I could re-paint the face...

And here she is - Frank - I changed the colour of the eye makeup from red and black to turquoise and dark blue to match the colouring of the overall image. I was really glad to be able to complete the painting and send it off to the author Bevan McGuiness. Check out his books and like him on facebook to keep up to date with the progress of his books, he is currently in negotiations with Harper Collins for getting the first 2 Frank books published. He also just told me recently that he just signed a contract for a mainstream novel based in WA. It’s to be published with Satalyte Press and should be out early next year. It’s called The Only Evil.

And for those with sharp eyes - yes there is a watermark in the paper, you can just make it out underneath her skirt, it says Fabriano Artist [Paper]. This can be removed in photoshop (thank God!).

Reference Credits;

Cara Smith
House and sky photos taken by me.
You can find the rest of the images I referenced here

If any of you have any questions you'd like to ask like techniques, commissions or collaborations you can contact me via facebook or leave me a comment below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. No SPAMMERS thanks :)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tanked! Another Artorder Challenge and Supanova Perth 2013

I am really enjoying these Artorder Challenges despite the fact that some of the themes are not necessarily what I'd personally choose, but nevertheless they are fun! Plus it's nice to see how other people approach the same subject under the same time restraint. I also want to get my hair dyed the same colour pink/purple rocks!

The Artorder Tank Girl Challenge can be found here and other submissions to the competition can be found here 


I was going to have her winking but I think it just didn't quite look right

I was going to have ash clouds behind her (as if she has just bombed something) but I found that the clouds became too distracting so after a bit of web surfing to see how other artists solve this problem I changed the background to the matte turquoise colour it is now.

Since Tank Girl is supposed to be based in a post-apocalyptic Australia I have included some Australian motif's. They are the ANZAC badge on her beret, the Aboriginal flag on her shoulders (one of our greatest athletes Cathy Freeman famously displayed it on her shoulders after winning an event at the Commonwealth Games, she is wearing the Australian flag in 2 parts - the blue part on the top (which shows the large white seven-pointed star known as the Federation Star and the Southern Cross constellation which can only be seen in the southern hemisphere) and the second part which is of course the British Union Jack. There is also the words "Sorry" with a smiley face on her missile this is to relate to the apology the Australian government offered to the Aboriginal people for the way they were treated ( The fact that it is painted on a missile is my comment on the handling of this "apology" by the Australian government. You can interpret that however you like... So... this picture has a bit more happening than I suppose you'd notice at first glance. 

I hope you guys like it.

I almost forgot! On the weekend I went to this great little convention that happens annually here in Western Australia it's called Supanova, it's like a mini ComicCon but it's getting bigger every year. I had the opportunity to talk to Mark Raats and pick his brains for about a half an hour when I missed his panel talk, he was kind enough to look at my portfolio and offer me some advice (this happened in the Green Room where I got to see David Hasselhoff, the twins from Harry Potter, some of the actors from the tv show Merlin. I was practically peeing in my pants!). Thankfully Mark is really down to earth and not fazed by either :) I also got to meet some of the guys from Weta and saw some of the concept art for the dwarfs from the Hobbit film. I was able to show them my work and received encouragement to keep up the good work, which was very nice. I'm a big fan of their Dr Grordbort ray guns and was encouraged to contact the artist for permission to use the guns as reference for an illustration idea I have in mind... And finally I met up with a local comic book publishing group called Gestalt Comics I showed them my portfolio and on the spot they asked if I'd be interested in possibly doing a pin up on one of their characters and/or doing a sequential piece for a story idea they have... AWESOME!! Of course I said... YES!! Waiting to hear back from them the exact details but it's pretty exciting...

Oh yeah I also won the Wacom Fan Art Competition with my Tank Girl painting :) Don't know what the prize is yet but I imagine it's something from Wacom - duh ;) Admittedly I was up against mostly 8 year olds and teenagers... but oh well a competition is a competition.

The winner is...

My friend Nat surprised me with going as Tank Girl - she was awesome fun to hang out with

My other friend Cara made her awesome Wonder Woman costume - and straight after this photo we lost her for the rest of the day (I feared she had been kidnapped by the nerds geeking out over her cosplay)

The crowds - oh and by the way this is the middle of winter... and it's sunny without a cloud in the sky... Global Warming is real kids

Zombies are all about brain health :)