Studio Update 15/09/2023 – Fighting a Painting, Planning, and Inspiring

Before you read any more, I should point out that I don’t usually have this amount of bother with a painting, and that the ongoing battle I am having with this painting is down to how much I really need it to be a good one.

This is where we are so far.

Again; I put a lot of time into my paintings, and I want every one to be good. I want everyone to be blown away when they look at them at first. I want them to be happy with the result. Most of the time, it’s a lot of money people are spending to have a piece of art, and I make sure that I’m treating that with the respect it deserves.

I was complaining about how stressed this painting was making me to a really good friend recently while on facetime, and she very sagely told me that perhaps what I needed to do was to Gesso the whole thing and just start again, and I strongly considered it. I might still do it, but I’m trying really hard not to. The worst thing is that she’s normally right in her advice as well, but I will persevere until I am convinced that there is no saving it.

Why is this painting causing you so much difficulty?

Without going too much into it (because I’m really trying to not give the game away to people who don’t know that I’m working on this) this is a portrait for someone that I kind of heavily implied that I would love to do, and now because of that, I really want to do a good job. And that’s not to say that I still don’t love the project, I’m just struggling because I’ve made the stakes so high in my head that there’s no talking them down now.

Again, and please forgive the mystery, I promise I’ll publish the full story once I’m done with the painting.

The last few weeks have been a battle, and not just of the psychological variety, but believe me, the pressure I’ve put on myself for this has been intense. No we’ve also had to contend with running out of white paint, even though I was sure I had loads, my fourth bout of COVID (don’t worry, I won’t be going into details) and the fact that I’ve been spending a lot of time researching ducks. They’re relevant to the portrait, I promise.

I will get back to it; thankfully the ‘commissioner’ isn’t really impressing any deadline on me either, which is also frustrating, because that just means that it’s too easy for me to just do other things rather than continue to fight with the painting.

Like this random illustration of Final Fantasy 8 Sorceress Edea I busted out when I just had to have a good time drawing.

Sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants, and what the heart wants is to draw characters from one of your favourite RPGs.

Other Drawings I’ve Done while avoiding working on the painting

I rewatched The Faculty recently; you know the one from 1998 which is like a cross section of everything I’m interested in life. A late 90s movie set in a high school with a scary vibe? Sci-Fi? Disparate losers banding together to save the world tropes? Love of my life Josh Hartnett? Famke Jannsen getting to play a meek, shy character that turns into a sexy badass? A full cast of absolute icons. CLEA DUVALL?

I should be clear, that I haven’t done much drawing over the last week or two, because I’ve been mostly on bed rest and trying to recover, but I did have a really fun time rewatching ‘The Faculty’ one night so I sketched Josh Hartnett’s character from it, Zeke:

I genuinely love nothing more than just throwing a film i’ve seen before on, and sketching my way through it. The only thing is that I don’t have anywhere I can do it comfortably. Whenever I’m on the couch with a film on, I end up with a really sore back and neck from being curled over looking at a screen or a sketchbook, but I just love the method of doing it regardless.

I find that it’s the perfect blend of comfort, the kind that a film I’ve already watched before gives, and also the novelty of meaning that I have to watch the film differently, because I’m sketching. I’ll have to focus on the character more, because I’m in the process of drawing them, so I’ll notice little quirks and reactions of their character that I maybe didn’t notice before.

So what’s coming up? Are you getting back to the studio?

Well, about that…

Next week will be a special studio update, because I’ll be taking the studio update on tour. Please don’t get too excited, because what I mean by that is that next week I’ll be in attendance at the Young England and Wales Programme 2023.

I will try to get some sketching done, but next week’s Studio Update might just be my travel journal, along with some fun photos from the event. I don’t like to talk about the event too much beforehand, because I would hate for any delegates who keep up with my work online to get a secret insight, but this week looks like it’s going to be as exciting as always, and I’m incredibly excited to get away with the team again, because I always come back from the programme with a real zest and passion for making cool work again.

OK, so we should expect cool things when you get back?

You really should. Priority number one will of course be to finish the painting, but you know I’ll have some other bits and bobs to share along the way. There are new prints coming for Halloween, which I am loving working on at the minute, as well as more plans down the pipe line for Christmas (another C word that we’ve all come to dread) once I get the logistics of things worked out.

But before all that, I should really get this painting finished. Especially if anyone is going to commission me for another one.

Oh, wasn’t that a smooth way to drop my Business Video that I made for my Postgrad Course right into your lap?

Let me know what you think of the video in the comments. I am hesitant to say that it was fun to make, because that would be a lie, but I quite enjoyed the process of making it. If anything it was a fun way to let people know that I’m not just going to sit in a dark room and stare at a wall for 8 hours a day when I say i’m ‘going to the studio’.

What are you listening to?

Wow, what a loaded question. There are two ways to answer the ‘listening to’ part.

If I wanted to answer it and make you think that I had any kind of music credentials I would say that recently I’ve been listening to the latest album by The XcertsLearning How to Live and Let Go in preparation for going to see them play live in October.

Being honest, none of the new tracks have particularly grabbed me yet, especially not the way their entire album In The Cold Wind We Smile did while me and the friend I’m going to see them with lived together while we were at Uni (the same friend who I was complaining about the painting to). This is one of my favourite songs from that album instead.

Just Go Home by The Xcerts

If I wasn’t caring about what you thought about my musical tastes and opinions, I would tell you that I’ve also had the new single from Kylie Minogue – Tension almost exclusively blaring through my headphones since it blew up last week. It has ROCKETED to the top of my ‘On Repeat’ playlist on Spotify and to be honest with you, I can’t imagine it really going anywhere.

Tension by Kylie Minogue

I especially like to have it playing as loud as my wee lobes can handle while I go strutting around like a maniac.

And what have you been reading?

I’m still taking advantage of the free Kindle Unlimited trial I got with my new Kindle, and The Virgin Suicides was on it for free last week, so I read that.

I had watched the film once while I was in University, but I had no memory of it whatsoever other than the obvious, and I could remember that the girls were all morosely trapped in their house, that was it.

I wanted to watch the film again, to try to figure out why I had forgotten literally everything about it and in doing so I found out that Josh Hartnett was in it. That wasn’t the reason that I wanted to watch the film again, but it was the reason why I then went on to rewatch The Faculty. It’s just Joshes supporting other beautiful Joshes.

I didn’t figure out why I had forgotten everything about the film, but if I had to guess, I’d guess that I was just massively hungover when I watched it.

The book however, I have to say I did enjoy. It was the perfect blend of teenage obsession, mixed with an unreliable narrator situation, with a massive dose of teenage existential angst mixed in for good measure. I remember journalling angstily about how strict my parents were (absolutely not strict at all in hindsight) and about how much they would just never understand what it was like to be me (that’s less of an issue as you grow up turns out) and I can’t say that I wouldn’t have gladly followed like a sheep should an older sibling have have whispered to me ‘let’s really show maw and paw’ over a dinner of some congealed casserole. Thankfully, I am the oldest sibling, and I had less dramatic overtures than the Lisbon Girls, and was probably also inherently less interesting, despite being convinced of the contrary.

I would say if tumblr culture was a huge part of your personality in 2009-2013, or if you’re into books with a strange twisting nostalgia for a life, time and experience that you never had, but always saw on TV then give it a read.

Anyway, that’s all from me this week. I’ll see you next week, hopefully with some fun stories about my time at the Young England and Wales Programme, and not with harrowing tales of my attempts to travel across the country!

Question of the week?

A film related question this week, inspired by my High School Film Fest I’ve clearly accidentally been living through recently, but:

What is your favourite depiction of High School in film?

If I had to pick just one, and it would be hard for me to pick just one, because I have a lot of favourites for a lot of different reasons (Ginger Snaps anyone?) but mines would be Wes Craven’s Scream from 1996.

The suspicion of your friends, the intrigue of going to school with a killer who’s trying to kill you, the uncanny but familiar feeling of an empty school building and high school parties as a metaphor for a bloodbath. It’s perfect.

And the barely concealed sexual TENSION between Billy Loomis and Stu Macher? Compliments to the chef. Skeet Ulrich in this role was a gay awakening for me, and yes you are correct I 100% have a type, and that type is floppy haired male lead in a late 90s/early00s horror film. I like what I like.

I will not be taking notes, thank you.

I remember being absolutely terrified of this film. So much so, that after it came out I would run home from this boy I was friends with’s house, which was four houses away, because I was convinced Ghostface was on the roof of my house waiting for me.

In my defence I was 9 at the time

Simpler times.

Liked it? Take a second to support Josh on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.