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

Nguni-process-combo542

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All images are © Amy Slatem.

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…

Oh, love me do!

Shirt-guyLove-me-do-bg2

Found this little floppy-tongued greyhound on my Facebook TL (below) and thought he needed an ode-to-puppy watercolour portrait done. It really was just going to be a little painting… but it turned into an Instagram post, then a scan and digital painting/edit which needed to be mocked up on some swag-a-lag chap from Tumblr (above) and then put into this here blog post. I guess this was a productive procrastination session when I have other work that needs to be done. Oh well.
At the end of this post is a bit of listening pleasure from the Beatles by whom the pup’s tagline is inspired. So please, love me do. Whoa, love me do.

detail1Detail 1

detail2

Detail 2

OriginalOriginal painting. A4 watercolour on cartridge paper. 

Girl with Hat

Girl-hat-Lanscape-websmall

Final artwork. Mixed media illustration.

I started this piece off doing a pencil portrait one evening sitting in front of the TV before deciding to take it a step further and use my Wacom and some good ol’ Photoshop to try bring it to life. I played around with a bunch of PS brushes which I’ve been collecting (some great, some a waste of space) but I particularly like the watercolour and the tree brush sets. I found an image with an attractive colour palette to base my colour picking off. A good few hours later, a spontaneous dash of typography and ta-dah… Sunday illustration done.

Girl-hat-sketch


Process shots:

Girl-hat-process2 Girl-hat-process     Girl-hat-wb


Detail shots:

Girl-hat-detail3Girl-hat-detail2Girl-hat-detail1
Follow me on Instagram @shmaymee for more frequent updates

“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.

Ink painting teaser video

I wanted to have a go at a “live painting” recording by doing a short one of a quick figurative ink painting. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the whole painting process recorded because I don’t have my tripod with me in Joburg and had to make an alternative plan with the camera set-up… which worked for the duration of this vid before the camera fell off its make-shift perch (the camera made it out unscathed, don’t worry).

But I’ll need to work on that and getting better video editing programs, so don’t take this video too seriously, but rather as a work in progress/first attempt.

Below is the finished piece, with another portrait work from earlier this morning:

Figure ink painting

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.