sticky heat, sickly sweet

Kitchen table, 4pm.

For some bizarre reason, it seems like I am at my most inspired during or just before a thunderstorm in Summer. Why is that? Is it the strange light? The electricity in the air or the low-pressure setting in? Anyway, I got some good painting done this afternoon. I actually enjoyed the acrylic paint for perhaps the first time in my life. It still dries to fast for my liking, and maybe I will try some drying retardant stuff I saw in the art shop today, but it didn’t drive me crazy like I remember it doing. Here you can see the start of my first canvas. It came out far, far better than I expected, as I think I was actually expecting the worst. It’s not earth shattering and stinks of cute (as usual!), but it will do.

I am off to listen to the “sickly sweet and twee” Belle and Sebastian mix tape on the triple j website while I cut out some marshmallow rabbits. Seems quite appropriate really.
** update, 20 minutes later — gah! that much B & S is too much even for me! **

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45 Responses

  1. I love it!
    In case you didn’t already get the word, this week’s topic at illustrationfriday is ‘cats’.

  2. Yeah, it’s cute. Which I like. But the beautiful and unexpected colour gradations show signs of big promise (like perhaps some training that hasn’t been broken out in a while).I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of this!
    Acrylic takes a while to get used to, and many people give up before that happens, but I love it! I find the secret is using a lot of water; and occasionally my fingers; and somtimes cloths to quickly pick up pooling paint.

  3. I have been reading your blog for years and have just now started to feel the urge to document my life online… late bloomer… or busy girl…
    Anyway, I just wanted you to know you have been an inspiration to me for years. Thank you.

  4. Oh my, that painting is gorgeous!

  5. Hi there,
    We love checking out all your drawings and work… And as a result have each been (recently) bitten by the blog bug. We’ve set one up each, to keep us on our toes with our own works on paper. Aiming to create a drawing or collage each day – fingers crossed & no more procrastinating! You might wanna check them out? AND

    Enjoy those acrylics and thunderstorms!
    Cheers, Gracia & Louise

  6. Great painting!! Cute is good :)…I worked in an art store for years (until 2004) when I was going through art school, and the gel retarders are great for use with acrylics..they really do make them perform a bit more like oils. Also, you can make up thin transparent glazes with some of the gels, that look great when blending (like for this ones cheeks!!). I like Windsor and Newtons ‘extras’ the best…altho dont know if you can get them where you are?? keep up the good work :)x

  7. What a wonderful painting! I love the tones on his face.
    You’ve inspired me to do the Artist’s Way course. I’m on day four today, and I already feel more inspired!

  8. i love this painting it is adorable! i love the blog! congrats on being a bloggie finalist! you def. have my vote!!!

  9. I love the painting!
    The soft background and the bold stripey-shirt, not to mention the cutie itself 🙂

  10. Okay it is a bit cute. But it is CUTE! Love the sideways glance. Brave you trying out acrylics again.

  11. I love the facial expression and rosy cheeksvery cute indeed!!!

  12. Go for it Claire!Who knows where painting will take you? Experimenting is good.
    (and I’ll have to admit that I like the cute…)

  13. I think it’s great! Are you going to be doing any more and putting them up for sale?

  14. You’re right: it *does* stink of cute!! 🙂 I’ve never tried acrylic painting before. Our college module uses markers instead.

  15. Looks great! Cute witha sombre tinge.

  16. I think the storm’s negative ions must be part of the reason. They help mood, creativity, etc. I too, was inspired by this storm, going out right after it to photograph a golden field in the sunset.
    Love the painting!! Keep up the good work!

  17. I love the little look on her face, it’s adorable. I wish I had a smidgen of your talent. I love Belle & Sebastian, but then again Joanna Newsom is one of my all time favorite singers, so I guess I love anything sickly sweet & twee!

  18. I think your picture is great and yes, “cute” too! But what really caught my eye, was your kitchen table! Do you have to clear every thing away when family needs demand it? My table is covered in Mosaicing stuff and I’m so reluctant to put it all away!!

  19. I think its wonderfuly sweet Claire! Those eyes…would love to be able to “play” with acrylics like that. Maybe we need a good thunderstorm here, we rarely get a good crashing one here. I love them.

  20. Darling. I could see a series of three of those on a nursery wall. I love the white leaves on either side. What talent!

  21. It is simple, sweet and very pretty. It makes me want to pick up a cup of tea and sit down with it to imagine what he is thinking…

  22. I love it!! SO cute and the colors are fantastic.

  23. I love it! It is a little sad but so adorable. Good luck with inspiration and with the show!

  24. It’s very, very cute. But cute is very, very good.
    Love the colors and the white branches.

    Makes me think of Tove Janson’s books about Finn Family Moomintroll, a favorite around our house.

  25. I love your painting!!!

  26. Retarder is a good thing. Just don’t use too much. I’ve heard stories of stickiness but have never had a prob myself.

  27. Congrats on meeting one of your goals! This is a lovely piece, especially your sophisticated color palette, and that wonderful character’s facial expression. It’s fabulous that your characters and style translate well in so many mediums. I look forward to seeing more of your canvas work. Keep at it!

  28. says:

    Beautiful! Love the colours and the subject.

  29. great painting, claire. cute=good!

  30. The acrylic painting certainly looks lovely… and very cute too! Makes me wanna try my hand on acrylics as well! 🙂

  31. I like!!!que lindos trabajos!

  32. I have never seen your work on canvas or the use of acrylics, . Also I think every artist has some insecurity about their work and I think the marshmallow rabbits are completely adorable..and yes it stinks of cute hehe

  33. Love your painting. I am a HUGE of “Stinking Cute”! :0 )

  34. Gorgeous work Claire!I’ve really enjoyed your recent posts about “the artists way” and cooking exploits. It’s great to hear how others pursue the creative process. 🙂

  35. Cute is good. I love it! My attempt at cute can look like a 5 year olds drawing at times, your cute is really cute..

  36. children’s book illustration?

  37. do you sketch onto the canvas first or just paint?

  38. He is so cute…Alot of personallity!

  39. Cute is GOOD!! Especially this cutie-pie painting!Acrylic does take some getting used to – but I love it & that’s what I work with most often now. Liquitex Flow medium is a retardant I’ve used at times or the gloss or matte mediums (as someone else noted), depending on the effect I wanted; but most often I just use water. Really do love your painting – you have such a distinct style!

  40. says:

    well i like it! 😀

  41. says:

    Hi! I found your site from the bloggies, and thought I’d mention KY Jelly as a drying retardant. It’s cheap and it works. And you get run around with lube in your paint box. Scandalous!

  42. Must. Have. Painting. Please let me know if you decide to sell any!