Animal Artist ~ Diane Young

Every Picture tells a story – realistic and stylised animals in art from Manic Illustrations


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Art, Painting and Unfinished Business

Painting, when to stop….

It happens so often, that artists actually stop working on a painting sometime after the vital moment when they should have stopped.   Spotting the optimum time to stop working on a piece is just so difficult as unless you could see into the future the you cannot anticipate whether your next few painting decisions will better or possibly worsen the painting’s outcome.  For this reason a good many paintings are over-worked and without a lot of experience this optimum moment can pass you by before you know it.

Painting of a wolf by Artist Diane YoungThis is a painting I have been working on today. It takes some concentration to be disciplined in the craft and it is best to work when feeling energised.  Once an artist tires and concentration waivers then sloppy decisions and actions are made leading to frustration and disappointment in the outcome.

I liken this process to swimming.  Whilst striving to get one’s swimming stroke right you need concentration, some discipline and energy.  Once the energy is depleted you fall back on old sloppy habits, inefficiency and then more tiredness is the outcome.   My painting and my swimming can go the same way.   This painting of a wolf is unfinished in my opinion.  It is just a matter of how far past the optimum point I persist…..

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Inspiration – Daily Paintings in Watercolour.

I cannot remember how I stumbled upon this blog but this artist’s sketchbook paintings are wonderful, spontaneous, light and full of character.  Often you come across such paintings but less often you come across such consistency of skill.

watercolour painting by Shari Blaukopf

Shari Blaukopf watercolour painting

The artist is Shari Blaukopf who is based in  Canada and is  a “ graphic designer and teacher who spends too much time working on the computer and not enough time drawing and painting”.

A fantastic source of inspiration for getting art and sketching into your daily lives.

Follow her Blog here :  Shari Blaukopf Blog.


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Creativity for New ACEO paintings in the New Year

My creativity shut up shop for the Christmas period.  I could sense my focus slipping as extra festive activities took hold.   Rather than wrestling Christmas photo of Toy Santabetween the two I gave myself a break.  I let myself off the hook.

Creativity is often seen as an easy kind of self indulgent luxury.  Those that feel they have not been bestowed any creative talent imagine the enjoyment and loveliness of making pictures.   Perhaps it does come easily to some, but I would imagine that like me plenty of artists procrastinate, heading off down the  path of least resistance, that is any other activity except creativity.

Picture of Diane Young artist decorating.Even washing the car has an easily perceived outcome…you wash it, it looks clean.  With shopping, you shop and hey presto you have food you can cook with.  What about a bit of decorating? Assuming you buy the right paint, paint it on in a sensible fashion, the room looks completely renewed.  Having done all these things before there is no real danger of me straying into unknown territory and making a complete hash of this lot.

As for creating art, well only hundreds of decisions have to be made as you progress, tiny but important ones, the outcome of which make or break the painting.  One of the hardest decisions is eliminating your options, what should one do next?   And when things are not going right do you keep on with it or bin it?

It might be that I have too many hats to wear, a bit of a jack of all trades.  I have a background in accountancy, I know how to use a drill in hammer mode, or wire in telephone connections, I quite like cooking and I love the knowledge my computer wants to bestow on me, and for me it is easy to find reason to do something else,  something that thinks itself more essential than art.

Sketches for ACEO paintings by artist Diane Young

So enter creativity as a discipline.  I gave myself a Chrismas break,  now I have to reintroduce my creativity.  Like a daily supplement.  It needs to be rated as essential, like fruit, or vitamins to let it grow, grow, grow.

Today being the first day on my renewed creative path I have gathered some ideas and started on something new.   There are polar bears, hares, wolves and owls, cats and mice.  Harvey the Aardvark is still hibernating, but only for a short while, he will be back soon.

I am still specialising in ACEOs and hoping to not just sell originals but prints too off of the ACEO category on Ebay and direct via my ACEO Prints Shop site.

Wishing anyone taking the time to read this a very Happy New Year for 2014.  And for anyone wanting to be creative and not quite getting around to it,  do a little bit each day and make it essential,  just like your daily fruit and veg.


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Painting In Progress

Lazy Painter’s guide recording Work in Progress

It really depends what medium you work in but even drawings can take on quite a transformation from the outset of the original idea.  Artists may use different tools to progress from the first sketch to the finished drawing or painting.

Drawing tools such as tracing or layout paper, light boxes and/or photo shop manipulation enables the good bits of a drawing to be retained easily whilst the areas in need of change more easily manipulated. With these tools there is a trail of changes which could be recorded digitally or glued in a sketch book to inform the artist at a later date how the work evolved. This sort of recording comes easily.

Painting images showing work in progress

For painting work-in-progress the best tool for recording is a camera. How often I have been too lazy to put down my brush and halt for a few minutes to get the camera and quickly take a picture.

It is impossible to remember the phases of a painting’s evolution and in addition artists repeatedly overshoot the optimum moment for the painting to be finished.

Recording the painting at different stages enables an artist to sit back at a later time and review how each stage of the painting has progressed and make objective decisions for making further paintings.

Don’t overshoot the optimum moment to put the brush down, you know that old adage Less Is More.  It just takes a moment to take a snap, and on review will reap benefits for your next masterpiece!


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Diane Young – Painting Edges

Manic Illustrations – Lazy Painter’s guide.

Anything from not changing the brush to not changing the water,  not being lazy means making less mistakes and mess and is more time effective in the long run.  I could have done with a list being given to me many years and many mistakes ago.

The Lazy Painter from Manic Illustrations says:  don’t be lazy – turn the paper around for best results when painting up to an edge!

Pictures showing how to use a paintbrush up to the edge of a drawing.

When you are painting up to an edge place your paper so that your brush is inside the edge and your brush point is against the edge as in Bunny 1 and Bunny 3 .  So many times I have been too lazy to turn the paper round and would reach over the edge as in Bunny 2.   Bunny 3 is happy to be upside down as it is easy to paint accurately this way.  This is for a right handed person,  for a left hander just flip the images horizontally.