More Doors

To be honest, I really can’t explain the fascination with doors. Thats why I find presenting my work difficult sometimes. I feel like I have the explanation and sometimes I can almost get it into words, but its never right, its never what I actually mean to say. I do think when I paint, its not as if I just randomly started drawing doorways, the thought process is evident in my sketchbook. It’s just hard to describe, and I don’t really like having to describe it, I wish the work would just speak for itself and there would be no need for explanation. I’m not good with words really, I just paint.

This is another acrylic piece, as most of my folio is. I like how the doorway forms a frame round the painting. I also like the transparancy of the brown door and how you see beyond it. This is a simple piece drawn from a view within Larbert High. The lines are clean cut and the colours bold and more blocked than my usual style. Following this blocked style I went on to develop an abstract piece where I overlapped another corridor image on top of this image of the doors.

This is perhaps my favourite piece. Partly because its different from what I usually do and partly for the memory of doing it. It was painted in January and if I remember correctly it was painted to Julia Nunes. I hadn’t painted in weeks, having stopped at the end of 2008, the folio was stressing me out. And then I just got paints out one night and this was the result, it was great after having not done anything in a while. We have to present a sheet at freshers week for all the art students to see each others work, I might use this.


I’ve been in Spain for the past week and so haven’t been able to make a post in a while. My laptop is also broken which makes it harder to upload and edit photos. Things are still good though. Got my materials list and everything in from Dundee the other day, still hasn’t sunk in that I’m going there in less than a month. Also got my exam results back, an A in Advanced Art – yay :). Been thinking that I should have assigned myself a summer project instead of spending four months aimlessly doodling. I do love to doodle though.

I collected some things when I was in spain, newspapers, tickets, maps and so on. Also took a lot of photos, mostly of graphited walls and aspects of urban decay. I’m intending to make a sketchbook of my time in spain, once my photos are uploaded. Sketchbooks are great for recording this sort of study, random drawings and experiments with textures and materials. Sometimes theyre more interesting than finished pieces I think.

My first real sketchbook was called Ronald. I got him a little over a year ago and carried him everywhere. His purpose was to develop my study of doorways and windows. Sketchbooks are good for noting down something when you’re out, making a quick sketch or developing a drawing on a small scale.

These were done around August 2008 as part of the study of street scenes and doorways. They are early sketches of some previously posted paintings. The first is a college, I used torn up paper with charcoal and paint to get the basic shapes of the piece before going onto a painting. The second is a simple sketch which was also later tried in acrylics.

These are some very rushed sketches, I’d just bought new acrylics and wanted to try them out, so little thought went into the colour. I hadn’t had much experience with acrylic paint at this point so a lot of this sketchbook was seeing what could be done with it. The fourth sketch above is a study of texture, the paint was applied thickly and then scraped off with the end of a brush several times to create the rough wooden frame.

These are just a few early sketches from Ronald, to demonstrate how the sketchbook is a good tool in developing ideas. Sketchbooks are the most personal part of the portfolio, they’re an ongoing study and really just books of thoughts and ideas, I had four in total, though this one was my favourite.

The best way to spend two days

Every year my old school has an annual prizegiving for various student achievements. Theres always a guest speaker and he’s always presented with a painting as thanks. Its always a 6th year that gets to do this painting and since I was getting the art prize, I got to paint it. Our Rector was also leaving this year, so there was a second painting to be done for him.

I was told about this around March, plenty of time to prepare for the occasion that wasn’t til June.  But of course, the concept of a school painting didn’t seem very thrilling to me and I pushed it to the end of my to-do list. Two days before the paintings were to be handed in for framing, I decided it might be a good idea to actually start them 🙂

So all day Wednesday and all day Thursday I stayed on my bedroom floor and painted. I hadn’t painted in a while, not since my folio had been submitted. It was the best two days ever. Thats when I discovered that Bob Dylan is awesome to paint to.

My studio 🙂 I’m gonna miss my bedroom floor when I go to Dundee. Sounds like a strange thing to miss. But its where I work best. I’m quite chuffed that I got those paintings done in the time, like I’ve said before, its better to do a painting in one sitting rather than over a larger space of time.

The one on the left was for our rector and on the right was for Lex Gold, chairman of the SPL. It was very embarassing carrying the paintings up on stage to present, I’d rather stay hidden and let people just see the work rather than me, but I managed ok. The prizegiving was a fun night actually, the last night my friends and I were all in school uniform together :).

Now playing: Bob Dylan – subterranean homesick blues
via FoxyTunes

The Corridor

To help with my portfolio,  I went to classes at Edinburgh College of Art. I love the Fine Art building there, especially the Sculpture court with its pillars and open spaces. This tied in with the theme of doorways in my portfolio, the image of a long corrider with a door at the end. The sketch for this was done with charcoal and water,  and took about an hour. This was a very early sketch from last August and one of the first studies attempted of a doorway. It was also around the time I discovered the wonders of charcoal…

The final painting of the corridor was done a long time after, it was one of the last additions to my portfolio. This painting is a favourite of mine. There were two other versions of this, one in charcoal which was kind of dull and lifeless, and the other in brown tones which just didn’t work at all. I had a good time with this version, its larger than most of my other stuff which I found fun as I got to work with housebrushes more 🙂

I don’t actually consider this piece to be finished, the silhouettes are rough and need some work, but I don’t think I’ll go back to it. I don’t like adding to paintings long after I’ve done them. It’s better done all in one sitting, preferably on my bedroom floor with bob dylan playing and a big jar of millions to keep me company. good times.

Now playing: Bruce Springsteen – Thunder Road
via FoxyTunes

Design Scares Me

I’ve aways loved the freedom of Fine Art, being able to express whatever I want in whatever way I choose, with no specfic purpose. When it comes to fulfilling a requirement, such as advertising an event, I panic a little. However, this year I’ve gained more experience in design, and I’ve realised that it can be expressive as well. I’m actually looking forward to learning more about design when i start art school. My course being a general first year course, where I get to try different areas of art, I figured my submission portfolio should have examples of design work.

The poster design I submitted in my portfolio was fairly last-minute but I’m glad I included it. The poster is designed for a Picasso exhibition, an event I made up to suit the image. The main focus of the design is the ink surrounding the other images. This was done during a class on an introduction to stained glass. A window pane was inked up and then drawn into to create a variety of different shapes and lines.

These images were then printed onto newspaer. The image above was printed onto a newspaper article showing a soldier against a red background, it was acually an advertisement for ‘Valkyrie’.  The black against the red was striking and this led to the creation of a poster design using the soldier to inspire a theme. Pablo Picasso often expressed his political views through his work, for example ‘Guernica’ was painted in 1937 and depicts the horrors of the Spannish Civil War. This is the reason for his name being used in the title of an exhibition on political paintings. His name and work are very well known and so this aspect of the design is important in advertising the event.

The newspaper print was scanned and then edited on phototshop incorporating text and other war images. This was the first time I’d really used photoshop, I should thank Mr. H for helping me edit this. Hopefully art school will help to enhance my skills in design.

Half-Blood Prince

It’s nice to take a break from having a set project. I always keep a sketchbook with me, simply just to doodle random thoughts and images into. It’s more casual than a sketchbook really, a sketchbook is a tool of research for something greater. My doodlebook  just lets me express whatevers going on in my head.

Today, it was Harry Potter. Usually I’d be one of those people that queue up at midnight to see Harry Potter as soon as it comes out. I’ve been disorganised this time round, I think my enthusiasm faded a bit with the long wait for this movie. But I’ll be seeing it at the imax tomorrow. Yay 🙂

I found myself doodling Albus when i was supposed to be tidying my room. Just a ten minute sketch with my favourite liner pen. My Dumbledore’s based on the Richard Harris portrayal. Gambon never really seemed right to me, too aggressive. Though in the book of the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore becomes more serious, so maybe Gambon will be more suited in this film.

American Street Scene

For Advanced Higher Art this year, part of the course was to research an artist that worked with similiar themes to yourself. Noone was really enthusiastic about this aspect of the course, but I actually found it quite worthwhile. Edward Hopper was my chosen artist. Hopper focuses a lot on windows in his work, using them to influence the mood of the piece. After studying a variety of his paintings, I dug out some pictures I’d taken in America and tried to mimic his realistic style.

This was a very early study, probably started around September last year, it wasn’t finished for a while after that. There are still parts of the stairs leading up to the door that are incomplete. This study is very controlled and realistic, the red bricks in particular are very detailed. However, I soon developed the street scene into a looser style, using the paint more freely and being less precise with the finer details.

For this quick paint study I applied a base coat of dark green acrylic to work on top of. I find this is the best way to work, a white background isnt good to work on top of, so i always apply a base of colour. I had more fun doing the quick, loose painting than the realistic detailed painting, it’s more suited to my style and works out being more effective.

The final part of the project was a larger painting, with loose brushstrokes and vivid colours. The colour palette of this was changed so often. It was very warm to start with, yellows and oranges. But it just didn’t feel right. After spending a period of art basically moaning at the painting for ‘not working with me’ it just kind of fell into place. Purple was the answer. I’d been trying to stay away from colder colours after realising that almost half of my porfolio was done in blues. But the colder purples and blues work well here framing the red of the middle door and contrasting with the surrounding  green.

I’m happy with this piece and the final colour scheme. There are small parts in particular that I like, such as the textured pavement or the main window at the front, with the drips of watery paint running down it. I enjoyed working on this piece and I think it was a significant part of my folio.


Hello world!

I’m Rachael, and I like paint.

I’ve spent the last year locked in my room, sitting on my floor and working on my portfolio. And as a result of my hard work, I got into art school! 🙂

So although I’m now practically sick of looking at this years portfolio, I’ve decided to post it online. I’m hoping to continue this through art school, posting both work in progress and completed pieces.

Starting at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art is a big step for me, I’ll be living in a new city where I know barely anyone. Did I mention I’m not good with meeting new people? So, along with posts of artwork, I’ll be using ‘Paint Me Sunny’ as an outlet for personal blog posts.


That’s me with Mr Kodak 🙂