Sunday, 18 March 2012

'ophelia' and a glorious grumpy star giveaway!

Happy Sunday liebchens!

I wanted to share a sort of photo documentary over the week it took me to colour 'Ophelia'.

As with all of my work, I started by drawing her out in a fine mechanical pencil first (you can see the intial image here). Drawing is my first love and I can't remember a time when I haven't been without it.

My wonderful husband Dave then photographs my work, and with a bit of tweaking in Photoshop, I print it out at low opacity on very smooth hot-press watercolour paper (Aquarelle is particularly lovely).

The printed lines act as a sort of guide for me when I'm colouring. I am completely unable to just grab a blank piece of paper and paint straight onto it; I absolutely have to draw at least the faintest guidelines first.

Most often now though, I keep the drawing and the coloured version completely separate: the graphite drawing lets me dream while I sketch in the first faint outlines. Once they're there, the character just unfolds: I let it be what it should be, I get to know the character and they become themselves. It is a beautiful process for me to spend that time watching them come to life.

The colouring is much easier to do once I've got the 'underpainting' printed; we use Epson inks which are waterproof and fade-resistant, so they don't disappear as such but become nicely integrated with the colour I add on top, and add a depth I might not otherwise have using such vibrant colours.

You might notice from my previous post, or from some of the photos I've been posting up on Facebook recently, I've another album titled 'the first attempts of 'ophelia'' which features this same image in quite a different incarnation. I've left that album up on Facebook mainly because it's nice to remind yourself of the places you can go as an artist if only you give yourself permission to try new things and take risks. Shortly after the last photo in that particular album, I took the painting to the point of no return. I couldn't capture her in paint as I saw her in my mind.

There's really no point in failing in small ways: if you want to fail, stuff it up proper royally, take the five minutes granted you to cry, throw a tanty or snap the offending paintbrush in half. And then be proud: jumping in the deep end might well take you to a place beyond your capabilities, but at least you tried.

And silver linings are never too high for anyone with the smarts to go get a ladder. 

If you'd love a chance to win your own copy of 'Ophelia', you can go to the Grumpy Star Studio Facebook page for all the details.

Don't have Facebook? That's alright, all you need to do is: 
1. Sign yourself up to subscribe to or follow the blog;
2. Post a comment here, in as many or little words as you fancy, why you'd love to win her.

One lucky winner will be drawn on Friday, March 30th.

Good luck my pretties!

Mel x


  1. Thanks so much Amber; I've signed up to your blog too! Your dolls are wonderful, I look forward to seeing more additions to your Albino Collection.
    I'd love to hear your thoughts on 'Ophelia' if you'd like a chance to win her!
    All nice things x

  2. Hi Mel,
    I would absolutely love to have a chance to win a copy of 'Ophelia'! She is stunning and would look lovely hanging up alongside my copy of your 'Promises and Sleep'. Your work is so detailed, beautiful and feminine (even so, my 'Macho Miner Man' was quick to agree that Promises and Sleep should hang up on our bedroom wall in a prominent position. This in itself is a huge compliment and completely amazed me considering he has little appreciation for artwork!) Keep following your dream and producing such beauty.
    Elise x

    1. Thank-you so much for your kind and thoughtful response Elise. I'm afraid my work really is unabashedly girly; I'm so glad your boy loves 'Promises and Sleep'.
      All nice things to you both x

  3. I 've just discovered your work Mel, and I'm really touched by it. I'm so happy to find such a sweetness and melancholy...... all that I love reading in artits expressions............ thanks.

    1. Thank-you so much Ktrin for your lovely comments- I love looking at your work too! It is such a wonderful opportunity to share here. Thank-you for reading and all nice things ♥


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