The Nguni cow’s portrait

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Nguni Portrait – Ink on paper, A3 200gsm.

I had the opportunity recently to paint cows again for a commissioned ink work, which is now in its home in Hermanus enjoying the ocean air.

Some notes on the process:

  1. A fairly rough sketch in 5B pencil on some paper to warm up and have a better look at the image – hey bingo, a separate artwork (below).
  2. Plot the basic lines in 2H pencil on the A3 paper using a light box (read: my window) and the reference image for proportion accuracies.
  3. Ink time! Start with large areas of washes in very watered down ink where the darkest areas/shadows lie in the image.
  4. Work on layers, painting smaller areas but darker shades, building up the details.
  5. Work
  6. Work
  7. Work
  8. Use your finest paintbrush, add the detailed finishing lines, like lashes and stray hairs.
  9. Sign.
  10. Hey pesto. Nguni portrait done 🙂
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Practice sketch

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All images are © Amy Slatem.

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Hello there, Adele.

Adele-Vinyl-cover

Adele has just recently released her single ‘Hello’, taken from her new album, 25, (release date: 20 November).
The song is great. Like really. Which is why I decided to pull out my (rather dusty) inks and brushes and while listening to this goosebumping song far too many times, I did an Adele-portrait-meets-lyrics piece.
I ended up simplifying the original artwork in Photoshop because there was just too much text… this should explain why not all the lyrics made it on in the end. But that’s just the fine print. Who reads fine print anyway? (I’m joking)

1I started the painting as an A3 landscape (I’m not sure why that made sense at the time) which was just a bit too big to fit in my scanner at the end. So the only way to really digitise it (other than photographing, but that’s not accurate enough) was to scan in the image half a side at a time, left then right with enough overlap each time. And yay Photoshop (and Google for showing me the answer) and its highly impressive automatic stitching command: Photomerge (File > Automate > Photomerge).

Stitched-Trio
1. I was originally going to manually try match up and layer the two scans myself – this would’ve taken a lot more time, effort and inaccuracy.
2. This shows the stitching that PS did by itself. Pretty incredible. I pulled the two pieces apart just to show how it merged the two separate images so perfectly together. I initially thought it was already flattened because it looked so natural.
3. How it looked immediately after it finished rendering the Photomerge. SEAMLESS!!


Adele by Amy SlatemFinal artwork ^^
Reminiscent of Billy Joel’s Piano Man actually…


Adele-OriginalThe original artwork scanned in (more text – but it looked too much like a beard so I erased it)


Adele-eyesAdele se oogbolletjies. (detail)


PROCESS PHOTOS…42


In case you STILL haven’t heard it…

“To mother” – a Mother’s Day commission series

I was sitting on my couch one evening recently and got onto thinking about things, and things as gifts, and life, and more things, and home… and then thought about Mother’s Day, well more like wondering when it is and if I’d accidentally missed it already, isn’t it usually in March? Oh flip, what I am going to do if it’s passed already!

Google reassured me though that in fact, Mother’s Day is still to come, on Sunday 10th of May to be specific. So now you can relax knowing that you still have a good amount of time – the whole of April – to start thinking of a special gift for yo mamma… Like, let’s see… Now wouldn’t a thoughtful white-framed portrait painted of your mom be a great idea?

That’s how the concept for my next illustration series came about, entitled: To mother.
It’ll be a collection of black ink portraits painted on A6 (105x148mm) 200gsm card for commissioning individuals of their lovely mothers, which can then be ordered with a white, box-frame and couriered straight to your mom, or to you. To keep. For yourself. Because your mom is cool and you wanna see a picture of her everyday.

The title’s concept:

1. (to) mother: (verb)

Past tense: mothered; noun: mothering
Bring up (a child) with care and affection.
“The art of mothering”: look after (someone) kindly and protectively, sometimes excessively so.

2. To, Mother

To address a letter to… yo mama!

3. To mother

An art series of commissioned portraits painted by Amy (me) of moms for Mother’s Day (Sunday 10 May 2015), to send as a present to your ma (or to keep for yourself).


frame-size-stand

And now…

How to get your mom’s portrait done:

1. I’m going to need a high res pic of your mother, preferably where her full face (no half-cut-off heads, please) and shoulders takes up most of the frame, or maybe you want to go with something more expressive that involves the whole figure, that’s cool too. REMEMBER: the more interesting and engaging the photo, the more likely the painting is bound to be too.

2. Email the photo and postal address to amyslatem@gmail.com, and I’ll book a slot for you and send a invoice with banking deets. The queue to get your portrait done is going to be dependent on demand at the time, and if it is too close to the commission cut off date (30 APRIL 2015) I might not be able to do it, sorry. Right of Admission Reserved (?).

3. As a formality I require the deposit before starting (see below for pricing*), you can opt to pay full price then too (deposit + frame (optional) + postage).

4. Once the portrait is done, I’ll send you an email with a snap of the work, and the payment balance (if due). You can add a frame to your order still.

5. All portraits will be safely packaged and sent to the courier by Wednesday, 6 May,  (tbc) to arrive the next day and in time for the Mother’s Day weekend.

*Pricing list

– All portraits (deposit) R350
– White box-frame (pictured above) – optional R100
– Next-day courier (Aramex) R120
– Registered mail (non-framed portraits only, I can’t guarantee when it’ll arrive though) R50

If you decide on the full, framed & next-day delivery package, the total price is R570.

wall

The frame can both be hung up on the wall, or stand on a table.

23dom: Week 3. 07/02/15 – 14/02/15

Day 16. Saturday. 07/02/15
#CRIKEY

Day-16

I often get these big and wonderful ideas, this is my current adventurous tangle of practicalities. Watch this space…


Day 17. Sunday. 08/02/15
#WHAT NOW

Day-17

This is based on a recent experience I had while visiting family friends and being asked to “un-Uncle” my one uncle figure and call him by just his first name. It’s rather difficult to unlearn such set “norms” that have always been so since I was little. This is one example of many.


Day 18. Monday. 09/02/15
#AMAWOOFWOOF

Day-18

Hmmm, does it make it any better that I can admit that I can be one (from time to time only, obviously…)?


Day 19. Tuesday. 10/02/15
#CUTSDEEP

Day-19

This is the second time I’ve managed to cut my finger with a sharp knife while preparing spinach (of all things). This time at least it didn’t end in stitches.


Day 20. Wednesday. 11/02/15
#ONE

Day-20

Still early days and counting. One month together yet one month apart.


Day 21. Thursday. 12/02/15
#JUNGLEHEADED

Day-21

Today’s thought is a continuation from Day 16, in which my brain is a mushy mess of thoughts and confusions, of excitements and doubts about the future, foreign countries and hearts. Made me think of the fab song by Wankelmut & Emma Louise: My Head is a Jungle (Give it a listen. Let it get stuck in your brain too! My gift to you.)


Day 22. Friday. 13/02/15
#JUST

Day-22

I got thinking about the formalities of making plans with old friends, new friends and people in between and how one goes about deciding on what kind of “date” you would care/be able to do based on your relationship with that person. Simple coffee dates by no means [always] hold a negative connotation, but I wouldn’t necessarily want to go on an extended lunch date or similar with certain people, I mean you’re setting yourselves up for a commitment of being able to hold long[er] conversations, choosing what to eat (mothatrucking pasta vs the greek salad, darling) and then still eating it awkwardly in front of each other while trying to determine the difference between awkward silence or eating silence, oh… and then the bill. Honestly, sometimes just going for coffee is a WAY less stressful/awkward/intimidating/ idunno invitation… sometimes you’re just a coffee date to me.


Day 23. Saturday. 14/02/15
#VDAY

Day-23

The distance between us is only half of the Earth, no biggie.
Also the last day of the 23dom series… and it’s Valentines day (23 days after my 23rd birthday!).


Let me know your thoughts about 23dom, the posts, your own experiences of being in your confused 20’s, being a creative and anything in between… I’d love to chat (and maybe do a follow up similar series).
To keep up to date with my latest artworks, follow me on Instagram @shmaymee.

23dom: Week 2. 30/01/15 – 06/02/15

Day 8. Friday. 30/01/15
#CONUNDRUMS

Day-8

This post was inspired (again) by Austin Kleon, and what he’s coined “Newspaper Blackout Poems“, a coincidental and unique story-telling method made with a black koki and some sentence structure. Really great and interesting idea to play around with. I cut up and blacked out a Glamour page and made an appropriate poem about conundrums. #23dom for you…


Day 9. Saturday. 31/01/15
#RHODENTTOES

Day-9

Painted my toenails in some purple polish I still have from my amazing varsity days at Rhodes (insert purple nostalgia here….) and then painted with the polish onto the paper.


Day 10. Sunday. 01/02/15
#FOUND

Day-10

Well… hey, Boo.


Day 11. Monday. 02/02/15
#ITSAWRAP

Day-11

Lunch was so great today it needed its own special mention. I don’t often eat out during lunch breaks, but when I do it’s usually the highlight of the 8-5er.


Day 12. Tuesday. 03/02/15

#POPCORNY

Day-12I have such a great food relationship with popcorn that I can have it almost every night for supper. So, please don’t you dare tell me it’s not a proper meal… :p


Day 13. Wednesday. 04/02/15
#PROCESSOFELIMINATION

Day-13

Process of elimination. Some days certain beings = such ARRRGH!!


Day 14. Thursday. 05/02/15
#PINNED

Day-14

Okay, a little drastic and a little dark. But ja, day 14 was pretty strongly felt…


Day 15. Friday. 06/02/15
#CURRENTDILEMMA

Day-15

Been partying (read: moving our asses from the office into our usual spot in the pub) too often during the week that by the time Friday comes I’m 1) tired and 2) broke and end up going grocery shopping on a Friday instead of spending another night out.

23dom: Week 1. 23/01/15 – 30/01/15

Day 1. Friday. 23/01/15
#BIRTHDAY

Day-1“It’s ma birfday, it’s ma birfday, Ima spend ma money.” – as according to Will.i.am.  And there I sat on my bed in the morning before work on a Friday, opening my presents brought back from home over the holiday, waiting patiently for this day. I’m 23. No more Taylor Swifting now, but then again: “We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time. It’s miserable and magical.” Oh yeah!


Day 2. Saturday. 24/01/15
#SHATTERED

Day-2Shattered was my passenger window. Shattered were my emotions, my security. Shattered as I drove home from the best day spent with my best mates in the Joburg Botanical Gardens for my birthday picnicing. Shattered went my window as I came to a robot and a man broke my window, got half into my car, and tried to take my bag. Hello crime. Bad timing.


Day 3. Sunday. 25/01/15
#REPORT

Day-3With crime comes admin and police stations. Today I learnt how to file a police report. And got hit on by a police officer. Could SOMEONE in an authoritative role in this country please just do right.


Day 4. Monday. 26/01/15
#BLACKOUT

Day-4Eskom is going through a very selfish stage and doesn’t want to share its power. For that, we’re experiencing total blackouts for a few hours at a time, which is actually only bad when you’re at home, at night, alone, in the dark, after a traumatic experience (see day 2). Buuuuut… when it happens during the day at work, well then it’s not my loss…


Day 5. Tuesday. 27/01/15
#BEERBROS

Day-5Our lunch break was only granted late afternoon when the power was expected to go out. Starving, us cool people hit up our local lunch spot (which is also conveniently unaffected by power outages). Chillin’ with da boys, dranking beer – the only way to do it.


Day 6. Wednesday. 28/01/15
#SUNNY

Day-6Sometimes it’s necessary to take a moment to remember that the smiling, fabulous models in magazines are paid to look so. They’re working a job. It can’t all be peachy. They leave that wardrobe in the office. I also just felt like tearing up some magazine pages.


Day 7. Thursday. 29/01/15
#LOVE&ATTRACTION

Day-7

Well because Austin Kleon is the bomb dig, and the writer of the book I’m busy reading about how to show you creative work to the world. This guy. His brain is great. And so inspiring.

Wrong angle, right caricature.

comboSo this happened totally by accident!
I was doing a bit of portrait painting from a glossy mag and once finished and ready to take a photo of the end work (because Instagram… because @shmaymee *hint *hint) I tried taking the photo from a weird angle to see how it would distort. A few shots later from different angles and I liked what had happened: A super quick way to “draw” multiple caricatures. A cheat perhaps, but yay 😀
So ja, do what you wish with this random bit of art info… It’d probably work on stick figures too. 3Original portrait. Ink on paper, A4.61 2tableSome work space lovin, just cause.