It's my 100th post!!! I can't believe I've dedicated so much time to this nonsense over the last few years!
Anyway, here's probably my last painting of the year and it's also the last of my Christmas card images I've been working on pretty much all year so everything's coming together nicely. This is the lovely Lauren, laying in wait for any chimney climbing Christmas intruders..
I'd originally planned for a slightly more extreme pose than this but things always change in the sitting depending on what's comfortable for the model. Consequently this painting is a little more vertical than anticipated and unfortunately a little too centred - I didn't give myself enough space for the bear trap so the composition doesn't read as well as I would have liked.
I think I struggled with the colour again too, the metal of the bear trap reflects all the greys of the stone so practically disappears. The green of the garland was a late addition too to offset the purple. I wasn't sure about the purple santa hat but I think it still reads as being Christmassy, at least there's not too many colours fighting each other so that has to be a good thing.
I'm going to try and find somewhere that will print all four of my Christmas cards and I'll put a link on the front page as soon as I do. I think then it will be time to take a little break and maybe try exploring a few different avenues to see if I can try and improve on what I've done so far.


Hot on the heals of my last post is another new painting! This is a summery vampire, Natt, cooling off with a favourite tipple.
The sittings for these two new paintings were only a week apart, so they were being worked on almost simultaneously - interestingly this one has turned out quite different from the last one. I've been trying to force myself to stay looser in my handling, but I think I've just ended up a bit sloppy here. Natt has lovely big eyes, which, whilst it fits my usual habit of making eyes too big, has the effect of pushing this painting slightly more into the cartoony realm which wasn't what I'd intended. Another failing on my part is not getting out and researching what sunlit grass looks like - granted, we've not had any sunshine this summer but I should have tried harder to nail the lighting, it may have helped make it feel a little more realistic.
Still, all things considered I like this one, it doesn't hurt to keep things light hearted sometimes.


Here's the lovely Bettsie BonBon showing her generous side by leaving some cake for everybody else..
This is actually a concept I've had knocking about for a while, it was originally intended for a birthday card design but, as I wasn't able to find a model in time, the card ended up with a simplified sketch version of this idea, so it's been nice to finally see it realised.
The sitting went well, Bettsie is very much the vintage gal so this one leaned more heavily toward the retro side of things. Her naturally warm skin tone lent itself nicely to the colour range of a more vintage pin-up too, although I kept my usual working palette rather than heading back into Elvgren territory. The painting went extremely well, by keeping so busy this year I've settled into a nice groove and this one is definitely one of my better efforts.


Back to my Christmas card designs again and this one is with model Natahlia preparing to fight off some killer midget snowmen.
We set the pose with a stand-in flame thrower (a lightbulb at the end of a cardboard tube..) and luckily the warm glow from the bulb had a similar look to firelight. It was an overcast day too so the mix of lighting worked ok for the setting I had in mind. I think I've learned my lesson now about setting the lighting properly, it really does help!
I'm really happy with this one, it makes a nice addition to the set and I should have time to squeeze in one or two more before I need to think about printing.


Moving swiftly on, here's a promo piece for multi talented performer Layla Louise. A bit more 'pose-y' than usual, this one leans more towards the traditional pin-up style.
The drawback of having an interesting composition is that the pose is difficult to hold for any length of time but Layla did a sterling job and with a little extra tweaking in the final layout this one reads really well. On a technical note, I was experimenting with a warm pink undertone - big mistake! I've had to fight the skin tones all the way through, they're still slightly too warm but the influence of the surrounding pink circle probably isn't helping either. Colour theory is always a struggle.


OK, so I know April isn't normally a month for posting Christmas pictures, but I'm planning ahead! I have a few christmas card designs I'd like to get done in time to have printed up ready for sale at Christmas, so expect a few more unseasonal postings. This one is the lovely Dana, decorating her tree in true vampire fashion.
I did try to put some fangs in but she looked a bit goofy so the vampirism is implied here. In all honesty I made a mistake in not lighting Dana properly during our sitting, but it's turned out a bit more dramatic than my usual stuff and I think it works given the subject. I wasn't sure how I would approach painting the tree, but in the end it just 'appeared' without too much trouble. There is still something that bugs me about this picture though, I know the bats aren't that great - I did want them to be a little cartoony, but something else is causing me to be not that happy with the outcome and I can't figure out what it is. Most annoying. Still, once the graphics go on and it's part of my little set of cards I'm sure it'll look fine.


I wanted to post this one strictly for my records. The is the first of a series of nudes I have planned that I'm hoping will bridge the gap between my pin-up work and my more academic figure painting. I'm trying to limit the number of hours I have with the model so anything I learn from these will be directly applicable to my pin-up work in the future. As always, these are still retaining some humour, the oversize hat that I made for these is a bit tricky to wear but my fantastic model Mira was up for the challenge!
This one hasn't been particularly successful, however, it took a second sitting to correct probelms with the pose and by getting off to a bad start, it set the tone for the whole work. It was a real struggle but this is the best I could make of it. One thing to come from this already is a new, simplified palette for the skin tones which is already in use on my next two works so it's been time well spent. Hopefully, others in this series will teach me more new things.


I'm taking myself literally when I say 'onwards and upwards' with this painting of Ruby DeeVine being swept away by flying saucers. It's my first stratospheric picture and so required a change of scenery for our sitting. I had Ruby at the top of the stairs while I was at the bottom so I could get the correct perspective.
I'm so happy with this one! It's only my second full colour background, unfortunately the February weather meant I couldn't get out to paint real blue skies, but I took notes when the sun did come out! The different perspective gives it the sense of height that it needs and also had the effect of making me concentrate harder on the drawing, with the result that it was probably one of my best. I'm pleased with the colours in this one too, the blue sky against the warm skin tone, the strong black and white polka dots and the flashes of warmth in the reflections under the saucers to help tie everything together. If I can keep up this quality then I'll be very happy I think.


It's the intrepid Amie again and she's back - from outer space.. still in her rather fetching Space Ranger uniform.
Her Christmas card went so well I just had to ask Amie back for another sitting (my first repeat customer!). She battled through snow and ice to make it for our sitting which consisted of wrapping her up in bits of silver painted foam and pulling silly faces for minutes on end. She's such a trooper!

Anyway, I'm so pleased with this painting, everything went smoothly and the finished result is probably my best work so far. I'm really hoping I can keep things going in this direction, it feels much closer to what I've always felt my work should be like.