Spring Has Arrived!

It’s official; I survived my first year at NSCAD! It’s a huge relief to have some time off, but it’s also bittersweet, because many of the foundation students will now go their separate ways. Some will transfer to other schools, and I won’t see them again. Others, I will be seeing much more of, since we’ll be taking a lot of the same classes. It’s been an intense and wonderful ride, and I look forward to all the fun that next year entails, including lots of painting, illustrating, and some printmaking, too! In the mean time, starting in July, I’ll be dedicating some time to one of the biggest influences I had growing up, graphic novels, through a history course.

Now that I’ve met all my school deadlines, I’ve had time to look at some of my own projects, and started by updating my Deviantart page with a few of my stronger pieces from the semester.

Modern Surreal Vitruvian Man by Jess Naish Lingley

Modern Surreal Vitruvian Man by Jess Naish Lingley

This was my final project for my drawing class. The concept was pretty open-ended, allowing us to use many of the techniques we’d learned over the past few months. After a few days of mulling over various ideas, when making coffee one morning I came up with the idea of using a master drawing that would allow me plenty of space to express myself. This led me to choose the infamous Virtuvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci (bonus round: I completely the drawing on his birthday!).

Over the course of this class I most enjoyed working with ink, something I hadn’t really given any time to before, so it’s the main medium in this work, both with brush and pen nib. Despite only having a few short days to work on it between all my other final projects, I’m very happy with the way it came out. Working with pen nibs was interesting and something that I will likely revisit in the future.

Beach at Dusk by Jess Naish Lingley

Beach at Dusk by Jess Naish Lingley

This illustration began a few weeks ago when, on a whim, I decided to give my wacom tablet some love, instead of doing my homework. Four hours later, I was assured of my xmas purchase and discovered a new love of digital painting/illustration. After finishing my final projects, I was able to finish it off and upload it. It’s not perfect; the line art is a bit messy since I started it in GIMP, which wasn’t giving me great quality lines for some reason. The software wasn’t as intuitive as I needed it to be, so I tried switching over to Photoshop Elements and had a much easier time of things. Though I’m still working on anatomy and creating decent backgrounds, I feel like my new knowledge of color really shows through here, along with my love of painting. I had a lot of fun using dusk-like colors and will continue to challenge myself with these colorful atmospheres in future works.

It’s strange, since I didn’t enjoy working with the Cintiq as much as I enjoy working with my simple Bamboo and laptop. I’m enjoying digital illustration now a lot more than I was a year ago; perhaps my mindset has changed? My new-found love of digital art prompted me to pre-order ImagineFX’s Digital Painting issue, which I will use to bolster my newbie digital art skills over the summer. I’m not sure how much digital technique I’ll be picking up at NSCAD, so I’m hoping this magazine will be a good starting point. I know there are a lot of things I could probably be doing faster/easier, which is one of the great benefits of digital coloring. That, and no mess to clean up!

Perspective, Loomis-style

Perspective, Loomis-style

With my time off, I’m studying Figure Drawing, For All It’s Worth by Andrew Loomis. I want to try and drill myself on anatomy and perspective as much as I can this summer, after all the years of drawing I missed out on after my college stint. I definitely have some catching up to do. Loomis is tough stuff, but if I can learn his basics and strengthen my knowledge of perspective, I can basically do anything. Just by mapping out perspective lines and very basic figures, he can easily build an entire complex drawing. Once you’ve got the foundation down, the rest just seems to fall into place. Getting that foundation down, though, is very tough to get right. It wasn’t until I started studying his proportions that I realized how far off some of my own (from imagination) were.

In short, I’ve got my work cut out for me! There are so many things I want to catch up on this summer. Between all the art I want to do, and the movies I’d like to catch up on, I’ll have plenty things to stave off the boredom. I’ll also have more time to update my precious blog, so stay tuned for more progress reports, and posts on inspiring artists!

Exciting News!

In the spirit of kicking off 2013 with a bang, I’m very excited to announce that I’ve been accepted into Argyle Fine Art’s Pre-Shrunk show! This will be my very first time having work shown in a gallery! INTERNET HIGH FIVES!

Pre-Shrunk at Argyle Fine Art

Pre-Shrunk at Argyle Fine Art

Ahem. Last fall on one of my visits to the gallery, I spotted a call for artists for this show. Pre-Shrunk is a show of 4″x 5″ works both from new and established artists. The goal is to make affordable art available to everyone. The fact that it was open to all artists caught my eye immediately, and I figured, why not? I was especially intrigued by the small canvas size, which was ideal since I wouldn’t have to dedicated large blocks of time to it in between school work. Nothing to lose by trying, since every painting I do helps me grow.

This will be an incredible opportunity to have my work seen by the public, and to play meet ‘n greet with lots of other artists in the HRM. I’m beyond psyched to have gotten in and can’t wait to attend!

Eye Shadow by Jess Lingley

Eye Shadow by Jess Lingley

This is one of three paintings I submitted to the show. All three are acrylics on canvas board, 4″ x 5″. They were very fun to paint! It was a little restricting to paint that small, but at the same time it was very rewarding to finish a piece so quickly. When trying to come up with an idea for what to paint for this show, I was a bit stumped. Fortunately I received an early xmas gift of some colorful items that instantly inspired me! All three paintings feature elements that I really enjoying rendering, from shiny reflective surfaces, to bright colors, to pretty things.

Come on out from 7pm-9pm on Friday the 25th of January to Argyle Fine Art in downtown Halifax to see my work! I’ll be hanging around for a bit as well, taking in all the other amazing art that’s bound to be on display. See you there!

Tones & Values in Painting

I’ve realized recently that one of the areas I need to work on the most in painting is tone and value. Color value is the lightness or darkness of a color and is relative, depending on what colors surround it.

It’s easier to deal with value in color as opposed to black and white, because there is a larger range of values to work with. When doing a black and white painting or drawing, value becomes much more important since all you’re working with are shades of white and black. The painting below was the second painting I did at school and was extremely tough to get through. The mix of textures in the still life set up for us, ranging from smooth to rough, fuzzy to shiny and everything in between, provided an interesting challenge.

Greyscale Still Life by Jess Lingley

Greyscale Still Life by Jess Lingley

Just FYI, yes, the statue head’s eyes were crooked! It was trolling me the entire time. D:

I enjoyed painting the different textures and choosing a composition. However, when it came to putting tones down, I really struggled.  With acrylics, we were told not to paint a light color over a mid-tone or dark color because the lighter color would lose its luminosity, something I’d never considered before. This would lessen the overall contrast of the painting and flatten it. Since I’m used to laying it on a bit thick, I had to be a lot more careful and it made the process more tedious. We also had to mix a particular tone and apply it all over the painting, rather than working on one item at a time. This helps unify the painting and keeps things from popping out and looking strange.

The worst part of the painting was mixing a grey on my palette, and having it look completely different on the canvas because of the shades of white and black surrounding it. To show you what I mean, take a look at this greyscale from an About.com article on Tone & Value. This article explains tone and value quite well, definitely worth a read.

Tone Is Relative to Other Tones

Tone Is Relative to Other Tones

The first vertical stripe in the above picture appears to get lighter as it goes down the image; it doesn’t. It’s all the same color, but depending on where you look at it on the picture, it’s lighter or darker because of the surrounding shades of grey. The second stripe is the same, appearing to get lighter as it descends the page but is in fact the same shade the entire way down.

One of the things I’d like to do to get better at tone-matching is to paint a tone-map of all my acrylic colors. It’d be nice to have some swatches of paint to hold up to whatever I’m painting, and then put them on the canvas without trying to second-guess things.

The other tricky thing with acrylics, especially when using just black & white, is that sometimes they dry darker than what they look like when wet. Since that project, I’ve taken to mixing colors a bit lighter than what I think I’ll need. I’ve also started painting from light to dark, because it’s easier to paint over light colors than paint light over darker colors.

I learned a lot from this exercise. If you paint thickly (but not impasto) and study tones really carefully, when you move far away from the painting the tones will blend together to give the illusion of depth. Almost all the paintings in my class looked much better from far away. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to get up and away from your work!

I would like to give black & white still life painting another try. I’ve also seen examples where artists will add a tinge of color to the mix, and it produces some really interesting effects. In fact, even the different between Titanium White and Zinc White (first is a cooler white than the second) makes for a distinctive look.

2012 Wrap-Up

This year has been a significant one for me for many reasons.

  • I applied and got accepted to two art schools.
  • Went on a 2-week road trip with Tim and went to places I’d never been before, including New Hampshire, Boston, New York, Niagra Falls, Montreal and old Quebec.
  • I quit my safety-net tech support job, moved away from home with my husband and started a new life in Halifax.
  • I started attending NSCAD for my BFA and began fulfilling my childhood dream of attending art school!

If you’d told me five years ago that I’d be doing this, I’d have told you that you were insane. But, here I am, and I’m so happy to be here!

This year I did a lot of drawing and painting, especially in the latter half of the year. Here are the first and last pieces I’ve completed in 2012.


Assess Your Personality
by ~soulexposed on deviantART


Yummy Yummy
by ~soulexposed on deviantART

Though 2012 has been a great year, there’s more I want to accomplish in 2013:

  • Have my art shown in a gallery setting (I’m working on this one and should know in a few weeks whether or not I’m in!)
  • Improve my painting skills as much as possible, specifically by studying more anatomy and concentrating on different light sources. I bought James Gurney’s Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter for xmas, and it’s full of ideas and knowledge for me to use. I’d love to get my paws on his other book, Imaginative Realism, and might crack and buy it soon. The reason I like these books is that they teach how to paint things that don’t exist, realistically. They focus on the study of form and light to bring life to imaginary subjects. This is what I want to be able to do with my work; come up with fantastical ideas that I can bring to life through wondrous paintings.
  • Complete my 1st year at NSCAD. Since I have no intentions of leaving this should be fairly straightforward, but I’m adding it to my goals anyway because it’s always nice to have at least one thing to cross off, confidently. 🙂 This semester will be full of classes where I use my head and hands: design, modeled forms, constructed forms, wood & metal, and of course drawing. I’m hoping that building things with my hands will give me a better understanding of forms, and help me draw and paint them more confidently.
  • Sell some more of my art! It makes me sad to see pieces I love collecting dust or hiding out in my studio space, so, likely in the summer, I’ll have a nice big art sale. I would also like to start doing commissions! I’m going to start thinking about how I want to set it up, and come summer time, will start advertising to the world. I’ve got a Wacom Bamboo create on the way to help with this. It’s not an Intuos or Cintiq, but I used them at school and fell in love with them. It’ll also be a giant help to Tim when he edits photos.
  • Figure out a way to update this blog during the school year. This might mean stock-piling post ideas when I have down time so I can spread them out during the busy times. Still working on this one.
  • Stop buying new art supplies and use what I’ve got! I’ve got every kind of paint imaginable, books, and I bought tons of canvases when Michael’s had their boxing week sales, so I should be good to go from here on out! (Excluding school supplies, boo hoo)
  • Keep my chin up even when it’s tough. There have been some rough patches, like getting settled into the new living space and adjusting to a new city, but even when the schoolwork load got rough I made an effort to remember why I’m here. I’ve been fortunate enough to have the chance to follow my dream, and I can think of nothing I want more in life. Full speed ahead!

It’s been a really great year, filled with change and new adventures. Here’s to 2013!

Cheers! ^_^

Finished My First Semester!

Last Wednesday was my official last day of classes! I’m so relieved that I have some time off to recuperate and enjoy the holidays, but I enjoyed myself immensely and can’t wait to see what semester #2 has in store for me!

These last few months have gone by fairly quickly, but I had a lot of work to push through in that time. I’ve got almost more material from my first semester than I had putting my art school portfolio together. Drawings, paintings, prints, writing papers… I’ve been very busy! The great thing about the subject matter at school is that it all ties together. I used an idea from a computer project in my final drawing project, and used illustration skills in a computer project, for example.

It would take forever to describe each and every piece I did, so I’ll post a few of my favorites over the next few weeks. I recently updated my deviantart page with some new art while applying for a scholarship, so here are a few from there:


Self-Portrait 2012
by ~soulexposed on deviantART


Gouache Color Study by ~soulexposed on deviantART


Linocut Sugar Skull by ~soulexposed on deviantART

I haven’t had a lot of time to collect outside material for this blog, and I’m just now catching up on my Google Reader, tumblr and pinterest. Between that and some upcoming personal projects, I’ll have plenty to do over the break! Anyway, I wanted to share this Jen Mann painting video I came across on tumblr yesterday.

Jen Mann- Speed Painting from Wolf & Sparrow on Vimeo.

She’s using my favorite colors, pink & blue, so naturally I’m in love with this piece! She paints with her work flat on the wall, using a photo reference, with oils. It’s very interesting to see how small she works right off the bat, rather than putting down blocks of colors and working over top of them. She blends each section of the face beautifully. Also worth noting is that she paints in a very planned-out way, from the top left corner to the bottom right. It was very educational and inspiring watching this painting come together.

I think that’s enough for now. Stay tuned, as I hope to update several times a week while I’m on break, and maybe even stockpile some posts for when I’m back in school in January.

Cheers! 😀

The Charming & Exotic Oils of Tatiana Suarez (nsfw)

Tatiana Suarez‘s exotic paintings are filled with elements of nature and beautiful dreamlike creatures, all blended with rich oil paint.

Leopard - Oil on wood 2011 by Tatiana Suarez

Leopard – Oil on wood 2011 by Tatiana Suarez

The eyes of the girl above are hard to ignore. While they’re large and pretty, the bags underneath them give her a jaded and cynical expression. The creature around her neck, a combination of lizard and snake, is drawn to her floral tattoo. Despite this she seems comfortable, almost starting to smile.

Kooka Burra, Oil on Wood 2012 by Tatiana Suarez

Kooka Burra – Oil on Wood 2012 by Tatiana Suarez

I really like the composition of this painting, with flowers growing up from the bottom and a bird’s feather framing the girl’s head. All the different elements of this work flow seamlessly together. Tatiana mixes a more tattoo-style art, with thick outlines and flat shading, with a more realistic method of painting best shown in this girl’s lush pink lips. The light source in this work is particularly interesting with the backdrop being a glowing pink, and the light against her face being warm yellow.

Suki - Oil on wood 2008 by Tatiana Suarez

Suki – Oil on wood 2008 by Tatiana Suarez

Tatiana’s paintings are a strange cross between pinup-style models and cartoon characters. The exaggerated facial features and her rich palette of nature-esc colors give her subjects a twisted fairytale vibe. As I mentioned earlier, there looks to be a lot of tattoo inspiration in her paintings but she’s pushed it a step further, giving her subjects far more depth. Again, the background in this piece is luminious and beautiful, almost like a landscape that’s out of focus.

Miami 2011 Tati x 131 (by Tatiana Suarez)

Miami 2011 Tati x 131 (by Tatiana Suarez)

She doesn’t limit her work to canvases; she does murals as well! Her work seems suited to larger surfaces where she’s free to add as much detail as she wants whether it’s flowers, creatures from the forest or elements of the sea. She’s also able to push the painting further out than a normal tattoo-sized piece would allow. The blue details in the back really make her pink and orange tail stand out on the wall. I like that, rather than ignore the pipe on the wall, she’s painted right over top of it. The art takes over this space.

Boyrá - Oil on Machete 2012 by Tatiana Suarez

Boyrá – Oil on Machete 2012 by Tatiana Suarez

This is the first time I’ve seen a machete used as a painting surface; what a unique idea! I really like the psychedelic color palette used here. Complimentary colors of pink and green are balanced by her flowing neutral hair. Working on a surface like this really forces you to be aware of your space, and to be careful of your composition.

Tatiana Suarez has a definite style that she’s able to use to explore a lot of different themes, and her website has tons more to look at. Her style is a kind of jumble of illustration, tattoo and cartoon which makes for very interesting pieces to look at and admire.

On Nudity & Sexuality in my Blog & the Art of Daniela Uhlig (nsfw nudity)

First of all, I want to say thanks to my readers, because I was recently told by WordPress that I officially have 100 followers! I hope that everyone is still enjoying the blog! I’ll do my best to keep it up during school, because it’s important to me to keep inspired and to keep writing. This blog has been largely about narrowing down what things in particular inspire me and what things I want to focus on as an artist. Over the past year I really feel I’ve made progress on this.

I’d like to follow up by quickly discussing nudity and sexuality in regards to my posts. To dismiss a piece of art because the subject matter is sexual or relates to fetish is a huge mistake and something I refuse to do. I’ve been a bit hesitant on posting nudity or sexual content in this blog because I don’t want to offend readers, but at the same time I need to be true to myself and to what inspires me.

Sometimes inspiration comes from landscape, sometimes from kittens, and sometimes from leather or fur or skimpy clothes or nakedness. I’m not ashamed to be inspired by any of those things and so I’ll be honest on this blog and feature them. The skill required to properly render a fairly-realistic nude body is impressive, and there’s nothing more beautiful than the human form. That being said, I realize some of you are reading my posts at work so I’ll tag & title any nudity or sexual content NSFW – Not Safe For Work, so that you can bookmark and read later. 😉 Now, onto your regularly scheduled blog post!

Daniela Uhlig’s art is a fun digital mixing of caricature and sexuality. Each of her subjects are carefully styled, from hair to eye shape to accessories, to create images that draw the viewer in with characters that seem to tell stories through the paintings. Daniela does a lot of pin-up & sexual work,  showcasing the female body and playing on sexual imagery without being overly vulgar.

by Daniela Uhlig

by Daniela Uhlig

The juxtaposition of angels wings against her punk-inspired shaved head drew my attention and makes me want to learn more about this girl. The simplicity of her styling (minimal makeup or accessories) and painting’s soft color palette create a relaxing atmosphere.

by Daniela Uhlig

by Daniela Uhlig

The triptych framing is an interesting choice for this image. The colors and patterns in the background help draw attention to the girl and tentacles. It’s definitely a pin-up inspired piece and the tentacles are a little worrying (trust me when I say not to google image search them…) but it’s a fun and colorful image, and I like it anyway.

by Daniela Uhlig

by Daniela Uhlig

There’s more of a graphic design feeling to this work. The style is more flat and cell-shaded while the background is full of patterns. Artists that have a style that’s recognizable across mediums seem very successful to me and are people I want to emulate. Working with a limited color palette is important in screen-printing and other print matter, and she these few colors very well. Also I absolutely love her haircut and I’m a sucker for pink!

by Daniela Uhlig

by Daniela Uhlig

Two of my favorite colors, pink & blue, are a winning combination in any painting I see. The duality here between these two girls is intriguing. Evil versus good, hot versus cold? Despite the two very different colors, Daniela’s achieved a comfortable balance in this image.

by Daniela Uhlig

by Daniela Uhlig

This image is one of the most beautifully rendered I’ve seen from Daniela so far. I especially like the detailing on this girl’s dread locks. Everything from the freckles on her face to her jeweled necklace are stunningly realistic. She looks like she’s about to say something, but what?

Make sure to check out her website (obviously NSFW) for more of her work. I had a hard time choosing just five images to post here since all of her paintings are striking. Daniela paints not only beautiful women, but women that are more than simply bodies. Everything from their facial expressions to their backdrops contribute to a new world in each painting, somewhere beautiful and mysterious that begs a closer look.