POP ART & FACIAL EXPRESSIONS: A MOOD

Which mood have you been sporting throughout the pandemic? The oh-so-cool chilled out vibe, the scared/stressed out look, the simply unhappy one, or a combination of them all?

Like many, I have experienced a combination of these moods…in fact, I experienced my own emotional journey whilst completing this artwork! Drawing faces has never been a strength of mine, but I persevered with this project, because I wanted to set myself a personal challenge and learn some new skills, as a part of my on-going art journey. It is safe to say that after numerous attempts, countless pencil sharpenings and a significantly reduced eraser, I am finally happy with the end result. Hallelujah!

About the artwork:
Pop Art has always been a style of art that I have enjoyed – it’s bold, fun and punchy.

Pop Art was invented in the USA in the 1950s and became a more prominent movement in the 1960s. It was part of the beginning of changing attitudes and moving away from more traditional forms of art. Unsurprisingly, this form of art paved the way for modern contemporary art styles such as feminist art, abstract art, minimalism and an increased use of facial expressions.

In the US, Pop Art came about as a response from many young artists who felt that art should capture what they experienced in their everyday lives – for these people, the sources of inspiration came from pop music, advertising and of course, comic books.

Pop Art was also widely used in wartime Britain, to increase morale and encourage people to sign up to the army and take on bigger roles elsewhere. Pop Art was further used for academic purposes, often serving a role in conveying messages of irony and parody.

Top tips:
Feedback from the comments in previous posts has shown that the top tips feature in my blog has been found to be helpful, so I have included my tips for this particular art style for you below: –

*Pop Art is known for being bright and bold. Do incorporate colours that are bright or provide a statement, such as yellow or red and do not blend colours together, to achieve a “bold” look. Feel free to use a combination of pencils, as well as coloured pens and paints for strength in colour.
*Add definition to your art piece, by going over all lines using fine liner pens and use a slightly thicker fine liner pen for outlining shapes.
*Pop Art incorporates stippling (use of dots), particularly within faces to add colour. The background of an image will usually contain dots and stripes; stripes can be used as a tool to support facial expressions and emotions – see the lady on the bottom of my artwork for reference.
*Pop Art faces will usually have big lips and eyes and less detailing on the nose.
*For text, use block letters and surround the text with a cloud or banner of colour.
*Fill up those blank spaces as much as you can!

Where to place this artwork:
Place in the bedroom, living room or a small, empty room to add style, attitude and plenty of personality to any setting!

ELEPHANT MANDALA ART

Who doesn’t love a cute elephant or two? Drawn onto a canvass in a fun, mandala style – yes please!

In many cultures, the elephant is considered to be a symbol of strength, wisdom and tranquillity. Being of Indian heritage, it is safe to say that the elephant makes up a large part of the décor in a typical Asian house, so my mum couldn’t wait to get her hands on this one. And yes, I was after another excuse to get out the Micron fine liner pens (don’t judge me!).

For this piece, I started off with a pencil sketch on a canvass; for an additional element of cuteness, I included a baby elephant, tied to the mother’s tail for a mother-baby bond. I then proceeded to add the outline and detailing in fine liner pen.

Important to a mandala piece is the use of geometric shapes, such as circles, triangles, rectangles, as well as the inclusion of lines, which can be straight or curvy.

My personal recommendations:
* Start with a pencil and outline with a pen, if you are not feeling confident.
*Go small and start with a centre point for the mandala – in this case I used a number of floral patterns with starting points being from the feet going upwards and on the face, going down to the trunk.
* The more detail used, the more intricate your mandala piece will look. For added detail, use dotting (also called stippling), slightly thicker lines and shading.

I felt that the elephants were best left in black and white to suit this particular mandala style pattern work. However, since I wanted to incorporate colour, I added this into the floral pattern work on the borders. This was achieved using colouring pencils for a softer colour effect and coloured fine liners to provide the depth and tones that make this piece more visually appealing.

Where to place this: The elephant mandala is best placed in a hallway, living room or in a workspace, if you have one, to bring positivity into the home or to provide personal growth to your career.

A DAY OUT IN PRAGUE

This artwork is inspired by my travels; of which included a weekend trip to Prague. From its medieval cobbled streets to its cathedrals, galleries and museums, art is everywhere in this cultured and unique city! I was inspired by the intricacy of the special architecture, which showcases a prevalent gothic theme, alongside statues of fallen angels. Let’s not forget the pretty pastel coloured houses, which instantly uplifts spirits and can brighten anyone’s day. Accompanied by trams and lakes, Prague is a definite show-stopper and its beauty has been captured by many artists around the world.

Fun Fact: Prague houses its largest art gallery in the Czech Republic, which is so vast and expansive that it is spread across six different buildings.

About the art: This artwork began as a pencil sketch, which was outlined in fine liner pens to accentuate the details of the buildings. It was then coloured in using a combination of colouring pencils and oil-pastels, for the buildings, trams and streets. Finally, the sky was finished using paints (water colour paints achieve the best effect here, but as I didn’t have any, I used acrylics and applied some water in appropriate quantities for the desired effect).

My personal top tips:
*Always have a source of light, to add texture and dimension to any drawing – this can be seen in some of the blacked out windows, where I used a white oil pastel to contrast.
*Take your time and add plenty of detail using lines for shading.
*When painting the canvass, use the paint brush to wet the canvass a little; this provides a more pliable texture and prevents the paints from drying out. Always trial the colours on a separate piece of paper, to ensure that it is the desired shade before applying to the artwork.
*Do not be rigid and do blend several colours together to achieve the desired tones; in particular this piece is inspired by bright pastels, so these colours can be difficult to achieve alone. Oil pastels are a personal favourite of mine…I like the effect that they provide when you smudge them, allowing the easy blending of different colours.
*Yellows, oranges and whites are perfect for brightening, whereas blues, browns and blacks are great for achieving a deeper tone.

Due to the blue sky, this piece is best placed in a bright spot in the house, where it will catch light. Place in the living room to fill a blank wall space with a cultured and travelled vibe!

FLOWER POWER

My first piece. The inspiration for this artwork goes back to a flower wall-print project at primary school; this was a project that I really enjoyed and felt that I was strong at.

When choosing between the different types of flowers for this piece, I thought about my favourite types of flowers; Sunflowers, as they are bright and uplift a persons’ mood, bringing happiness into any room; Roses, for an elegant and romantic vibe; Hibiscus for their tropical feel and intricacy in detail. And finally, small but sweet forget-me-nots…although tiny, they are impactful in their presence with their gorgeous pastel blue colour, which makes them stand out infinitely.

This piece was drawn using HB pencils firstly for the outline and finished with fine liner pens (I’d recommend using the Micron pens – they are a bit pricey – but definitely worth the hype in my unbiased opinion!). I drew this on a canvass, which I hung on my bedroom wall for chic vibes.

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