It all starts with a little contradistinction…

Does anybody else get so wrapped in all they’re doing and lose time? I saw the word constradistinction today and had to look it up… and it instantly made me think of the differnt mediums I’ve used and am still using… I feel like I jump from medium to medium all of the time in the haze of creatvity, but then I realise, it’s been over years and years and I got lost in time.

Last year, wow, leave that there, the new year, new start vibe hasn’t exactly made it disappear (not that anything ever will) but I have gotten myself through with writing. I never thought anything would compare to the tranquility, frustration or sense of peace (probably too strong a word there…) that painting can bring, but I dare say it has. Not to say I don’t get the urge to get all messy with plaster and emulsion and anything paint related that will exhausrt me, but writing definitely takes the edge off and is probably better suited to my late night creative tendencies.

I published my first novel on the 31.12.2016 and I am so pleased with the reception it’s received, I’m already a third of the way into the first draft and fairly certain I’m looking at releasing it towards the end of the year(hopefuly October time the latest). It was one of those things I kept quiet, I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish it, even family were surprised and voila! Before I knew it, the internet allowed me to publish on a next to nothing budget. Obviously designing the cover was insanely enjoyable but I instantly rolled away with the next set of ideas. I am pleased to say I have 5 star  reviews, great feedback and customers patiently waiting for the next installment.

At the risk  of marketing shamelessly, it’s available on Amazon and the links are posted below (Fire: A Heart and Soul Novel).

But back to my point, does anyone else just stumble across love for a medium they never thought they’d touch without being forced?

I struggle with academic writing, but blogs and anything emotion based, I’m all over it, enjoy the hell out of it. I can hear myself in it, I suppose that’s what’s missing, it’s rather regimented. I however don’t even learn by the rules. I maybe study the ultimate basics (Out of necessity) for a little while and then ignore everything I learnt in favour of my own way. I only from learn mistakes anyway… It’s the only way it sticks!

For years I only drew in pen and pencil. Now the project I have in line for a colleague at work has me wondering if I’m still capable because I haven’t touched them in so long, I get the feeling I might find myself replacing several of them due to neglect!

Because once I hit uni, that was it, it was all about paint and abstract expressionism, it was exactly what  I needed at that time to deal with life’s assault and since leaving uni, it’s been all about the digital painting,and writing. Is it the ease? The speed? The ability to edit and change as much as you need to and more? I haven’t figured it out yet but I am pleased I didn’t get stuck n the rut. Chances are I’ll probably go full circle like fashion (not that it’s going to entertain me by bringing back the 1940s – I’m all for the sweetheart necklines) because I don’t know, I cope with each situation differently and each medium plays its part – I am fascinated at the link between creativity and coping mechanisms ( I love reading about art therapy and psychoanalysis but that’s  whole other post).

Painting the way I do allows me to analyse my feelings without spelling it out for viewers and it’s something they enjoy; I’m all about talking out the process, not its meaning. Pen and pencil, is about design, someone trying to convey something to me and me helping them visualise what they want, it’s usually the nearest tool to hand so ci an help them express themselves and they use it how they please.

Writing allows me to create an entirely new world (escapism maybe). To describe what you envision rather than draw it is a completely new challenge. But yet the two are so intertwined because my entire novel started with and idea for a character I had and a background story line. And when I realised I had too much information to cram into one image, that was it, I was off! I knew I would get my vision across better in a novel than I ever would in imagery.

A picture may speak a thousand words but this time it wasn’t the case.

My Novel is available in the following links:

UK: Fire: A Heart & Soul Novel

US: Fire: A Heart & Soul Novel

It’s available worldwide, on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and Paperback is also available.

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It’s my Big Brother’s Birthday today!

It’s very important to me that my big bro’s birthday is celebrated in the best way possible. So yes, we may be stuck at work today and not down the pub having a few but I had to show the love. Because no one is ever more in sync with my train of thought than him; he gets it in those times when I am being totally inappropriate, when I’m supposed to be serious, like exhibitions, events, speeches, in church! It’s like a genetic defect that he shares!!  No one else is more in sync when I am doing my silly dances at parties or clubs and joins in, or when we randomly start dancing when shopping, mortifying whoever we’re with. When we start getting all crazy with the ‘Douglas wine’. Just one look and he joins in on my craziness!

For as long as I can remember, he has been fascinated by what I do, I remember him clearly when I was around very young, maybe 6years old and building the strangest buildings you’d ever seen out of Lego! The expressions on his face would change when he couldn’t find space because I was either colouring in books or spread on the floor with said Lego. It would go from anger to stepping on a piece of Lego he didn’t see to curiosity at what I came up this time to resignation to leave me be and find something else to do… And then back to anger because I’d leave what I was doing to follow him and ask him 100 questions about what he was doing!

The best memory I have of my brother’s fascination with what I do was about 8 years ago. We went to a house party at a friend of his now wife. And aside from the gigantic dog I called a horse and it being the first time I ever played guitar hero, I remember Jade and I were drawing designs on our skin – random little tribal designs, or anime faces, because that’s what Jade and I first connected with – Art –  and adding alcohol to the mix apparently called for some drawing fun!

Anyway, the reachable parts of my arms and legs were pretty much covered and despite praying and wishing, I am not ambidextrous and I couldn’t draw on my right arm. I stood in the kitchen and lifted up my arm and drew a quick sketch on my stomach, upside down of an anime face with flowing hair, wide eyes and a smile.

I looked at my brother who was watching in fascination and then he made me pound fists with him and gave me a hug to say that’s wicked. I didn’t get it at the time, thought it was a slight overreaction actually, he’d seen me draw before and come up with better.

And the older I got, the more I understood what he was doing. Our father was more critical than openly supportive (not 100%accurate – it was his way of being supportive, it just didn’t always encourage). Our mother has always been and continues to be supportive but always encourages us to look at the next step or the back up plan. (No complaints here Mum, it worked wonders and I am happy.)

What Nigel was doing, was openly encouraging me to keep doing it because I enjoyed it. He was always engaged when I spoke about art and I never felt I pestered him. He’s pretty much that way about everything I choose to do, no matter how bad an idea it is! To go at it 100%. Better to regret it than not do it.

“If that’s what you wanna do sis, I got your back”. A typical Nigel quote when discussing my worries about a choice or someone’s reaction to it. The other quote being too explicit for a blog post…

Now I am 28 and look at him and his life with the same fascination. While I’d put myself out there and focused on a career at work and in the arts, he built the true definition of a home. The likes of which people crave for everyday, written about in books, where family and friends are always welcomed. Where support and your safe haven where no one dared to find you was right on the other side of his door. He’s even got the dog that everyone wants to keep!!

He has always told me he was proud of my achievements and it’s time to say I am proud of his. He has created two beautiful tiny humans who I love with all of my heart and works so hard everyday to support them. To the point where we don’t see him as much as we’d like.

I am proud of his resolve and the man that he is and the rock he has been to so many of us, especially as we stumbled our way through 2016. You helped make us that little bit steadier and I just want to say thank you for all you do. It doesn’t, never has and never will go unnoticed or unappreciated.

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Love you bro!

Tan xx

Giving in to Digital Art

So I mentioned I gave in and bought a drawing tablet and ArtRage and got stuck in… Years ago, to pass the time, I used to draw anime and thought that might be a brilliant place to start. I took to it quite well, able to work with layers from my previous work. I signed up to the Deviant Art community as DouglasDigiArt and I cannot stress enough how much of an inspirational community deviant art is, yes there’s your admirers and followers, but feedback is rip if you just ask for it, some really good in depth conversations if you’re willing to look for them. I’m not on there as much as I should be but whenever I needed inspiration to start a digital drawing, this is where I went.. because digital art requires more planning than painting.

I tend to start with a connection, such as When in Rome 2016 is from a photograph of my time in Rome in March, 2016. This tree was on the walk from the Colosseum to The Palatine Hill. It was behind a gate and untouchable and all I wanted to do was find a way to get to it… I even tried once I was in Palatine Hill but I still couldn’t get to it! Ha!

Some works I have produced are (starting old to new):

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When in Rome 2016

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Peace of Mind 2016

Peace of Mind stems from my everyday, anybody who knows me personally, knows I love my headphones with music blaring and I have to complete this ritual at least once a day or I feel offset.

Bajan Gyal is a tribute to my roots and also a redraw of of one of my earlier drawings in 2010:

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Bajan Gyal 2016

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Tenebrosity 2016

Others can be found on DouglasDigiArt and I will of course add more to other blog posts as they arise.

What programs do you work on? I occasionally use Sketchbook Pro and if I can help it, I avoid Photoshop – too complicated!

Do you have connections to your work? Do you meticulously plan? Or just go with the flow?

I’d love to know about other approaches to people’s work!

Much love and keep creating!

 

 

Tan xx

The After Uni Experience…

In my previous blog I went through how I knew I had to create something, all of the time, at any spare time, and then the worry sank in…

I left uni with the go and self drive of any graduate, all the plans laid out for how I was going to become this full-time artist and get to London.

I got the opportunity for a studio space with the wonderful 24WA and I was entering local exhibitions with all my previous work. Great right? The problem was, life, it was an hour bus journey and I was only getting a few hours in at the weekend. And while the rates are extremely good with them, it wasn’t worth it for a few hours on a Saturday because public transport didn’t run as late as I needed to and finished work 6pm most days.

I completed a studio exhibition with them – wet work as usual – and found myself packing up yet again. While my network is the most amazing and supportive group of people you will ever meet,  I couldn’t have them adding layers of varnish or writing repetitive obsessive numbers on my work. Add much as they would have loved to!

I’d be lying if I said this work didn’t get put on hold, and it breaks my heart, because I am aware it had a wonderful reception, but I couldn’t accept the responses first hand because I simply couldn’t get to the exhibition because I was at work. And while my room is quite big, it’s not big enough to be a bedroom and an art studio… painting got put on hold, because the smallest I work is 4ft x 8ft and as you can see, it gets messy!

So while I waited for the studio of my dreams to pop up locally, I remembered my promise to myself to create anything and everything.

I bought myself a drawing tablet and ArtRage and got to it…

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I was really impressed with the effects you can achieve and haven’t turned back while I patiently wait for the right opportunity… because some things cannot be forced and I reiterate…

Time does not have a place in this type of work. It cannot be the begin all and end all of works that are  deeply rooted in emotion, reaction and its immediate environment, it cannot be rushed.

It could also be a case of the fact that I am not yet prepared to deal with the obsession of those numbers. Because those numbers are significant dates of my personal life. But before I risk sounding like I’m making excuses for not painting, I’ll stop rambling and get to the point..

I am highlighting that something good comes of the things you aren’t able to control. Because sometimes other priorities come into play, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot do something else in the interim that satisfies the need to create… yes, it may not be your grand master plan, but what grand master plan comes overnight?

Many artists end up with thousands of pages of ideas in their sketchbooks and only send maybe 20 reach the public and it doesn’t bother me that these have ended up there.

I let go of my worry of ‘what now’ and let things take their own path, taking a cue from my very own artwork and letting things grow the way they are intended.

As a result, I have never been happier, I feel challenged, learning new mediums and getting stuck in to the many different types of art in the world.

Much love and keep creating!

Tan xx