Some News & Some Progress

In the interest of feeling better about myself and being a more open and honest person, I finally feel like it’s time to reveal the ~big news~ I’ve been hinting at over the past few months. I’ve been keeping it to myself because I don’t know how well received it would be to some, but in the end, I have to do what makes me happy and need to stand behind my beliefs 100%.

I’m going to art school in the fall!

Two years ago I decided that I wanted to get into art again after having ignored it for a few years prior, and soon after, I started wondering why I didn’t attend art school in the first place. To make a long story short, I decided that it was time to make art a part of my life again in a big way. Spurred on by a particular thread at Concept Art Forums (NSFW language), I began drawing once a week, then a few times a week, then every day. I took as many classes in as many different medias as I could find and hit the ground running. Starting in January 2011 I put together a portfolio of works (contains nude drawings) to submit to art schools around the Maritimes provinces. My first two choices, both of which I’ve been accepted into, are Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (NSCAD U, Bachelor of Fine Arts Interdisciplinary) and New Brunswick College of Craft & Design (NBCCD, Foundation).

As excited as I am for this, it’s also pretty nerve-wracking, as my husband has yet to find work in my #1 choice city, Halifax. There’s a possibility that if he doesn’t find work there we may go out west, as far as Toronto. I’d basically be set back a year since all of the art school deadlines out there have already passed, though in the mean time I could try and take some courses at a community college to transfer for 2013. Either way, as of September 2012 I will be doing art full time.

I decided on today to tell the world about this since NSCAD recently contacted me to say that I could start studying as early as July (and as of a few hours ago, I’m registered for fall classes!). I’m hoping that networking with as many people as possible will help this move happen, so if anyone out there in the blogosphere has any info that could help us along, please message me!

Onto some progress I’ve made since I got back from the big road trip:

Owl of Death by Jess Lingley

Owl of Death by Jess Lingley

I finished off the last owl of the set on the Sunday we got back. Whew! The most fun I had on this one was probably the sky, with the most challenging part being shading the skulls. I enjoyed coloring the feathers as well but was getting a little cross-eyed by the end of it. It’s nice to have this project finally done; I’m pretty happy with how all three pieces have turned out . I’ll post some more photos later on when I have proper frames for them, and higher resolution images.

progress on models by Jess Lingley

progress on models by Jess Lingley

I started into the second color of this under-painting after I finished the last owl drawing. I used blue for the cloth and red/pink for the models themselves, since I wanted to have those colors as undertones and keep the two well separated in the final product.

finished under-painting of models by Jess Lingley

finished under-painting of models by Jess Lingley

I tried to put as much detail into the under-painting as possible, including some shading and patterns in the dresses. The patterns are very hard to see; I had to crank the contrast and dim the gamma on the original image to be able to make out the details at all, but I think it will pay off when I go to paint over it.

first layers of oil paint on models by Jess Lingley

first layers of oil paint on models by Jess Lingley

Last night I started in on the glazes for the background, which I plan to complete before moving into the main subjects. I tried to keep the colors thin since normally, I pile them on, and wanted to try a different technique. I’m still a little worried that the grid is going to show through, but I can always touch that up at the end if I still need to. I really like the psychedelic-vibe this piece has going on at the moment. Hopefully this will be dry enough in a few days for more layers.

Have a great weekend everyone (long weekend for those of us in Canada), and see you on Monday!

Guidance Owl and Copic Techniques

Thanks to the lovely day off, I’ve been able to finish off my Guidance Owl drawing:

Guidance Owl by Jess Lingley

Guidance Owl by Jess Lingley

I enjoyed doing the sky the most, but doing the snake with little dots of color was great too. I employed that type of “stipling” technique a lot: with the snake, the grass, and the walls. The image is sort of split in half: light versus dark, day versus night, heaven versus hell, and the owl sits in the middle. I paid close attention to the nuances in color, which are visible in a higher-res version of the drawing at Deviantart (though it’s still a cellphone pic). I’m feeling good about this and am ready to tackle the third and final owl of the series!

After absorbing Naoko Takeuchi’s work I was inspired to start looking up traditional manga techniques. I think I’ll take a separate post to elaborate on what I found, but while I was doing my research I found a few youtube tutorials on COPIC coloring from an artist by the name of Ocean-chan. To blend, she start with a dark color, then goes in with a lighter color, then uses a mid-tone to blend the two. It’s different than what I do and very intriguing to watch. She also uses tons of layers, and I’m curious what kind of paper she uses since my COPIC paper only absorbs ~5 layers or so before looking blotchy. Anyway, take a look at the video below to watch her draw:



Have a good (and hopefully long weekend everyone! I’ll be posting again on Monday, for those with computer access during the holidays.

Getting out of the slump…

I’ve been a bit slack on the posting over the last little while, which is not a great way to start off 2012! Artistically I’ve been feeling a bit stale as well, with no classes in sight and no solid goals to work towards. I’ve decided that this just won’t do.

The last time I was stuck on a painting and wanted to finish it, I made a list of all the things left to do to get it into a “finished” state. After completing the list, not only did the painting look great, but I felt accomplished. The piece in question is the textbook still life I did a while ago for Tim. It made sense to get a list going of steps left to complete since there were so many details in the painting itself that it was easy to get lost. I used this strategy on my abstract self-portrait and it worked just as well.

When coming up with a to do list of what I’m currently engrossed in, I decided that my Life Owl drawing is not finished. After consulting with Tim (he has a completely different and refreshing perspective on things), we decided parts of it need more shading so that the work as a whole is more dynamic. The other piece that’s been on my mind for awhile has been the abstract. You can tell that I’m feeling weird about it since it doesn’t even have a proper name yet. I haven’t been able to make up my mind about where to take it next and I think that’s because I’ve been going about it the wrong way.

I’ve been looking at it in terms of what’s already there and how to make pieces come forward and push others back. While looking through my pinterest boards for abstract art inspiration, I came across a bunch of wallpaper patterns that have been attracting my attention and then it came to me: what I currently have looks like a background, so why don’t I add some kind of pattern to the foreground? I’m going to add a pattern of cherry blossoms on top of it, some transparent and some opaque. I’m armed with a list and ready to paint, so let’s hope I can finally cover some ground on this!

So this isn’t a picture-free post, here’s what I’m looking at for inspiration on the abstract:

Paintings based on double exposures, by Pakayla Biehn.

Paintings based on double exposures, by Pakayla Biehn. (via

marilyn-monroe by fab ciraol

marilyn-monroe by fab ciraol

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms (via ArtBooksTea)

Progress 12-03-12

I’m getting back on track! We went to Saint John for the day on Saturday and the change of scenery was refreshing. I even managed to get inspired in Winners to start a new piece, though I’m not entirely sure how to go about it. First, though…

Owl of Life

I felt like it was finished after I’d blocked in all the color yesterday afternoon, but now I’m feeling like it’s missing something. I’m thinking of darkening some of the shadows on the owl to make him stand out more. I took a really different direction with Athena; at first I wanted to color her like a gypsy tattoo but as I got further into coloring the owl, I realized that too much additional colors could be overwhelming. So, instead of using skin tones and bright blush/lipstick I kept the flowers colored and made her into a statue. I’m very happy with the way she turned out and I’m glad I made that last minute coloring decision (besides, it would’ve been a bit awkward having a live woman with flowers in her eyes, right?). With all the bright colors in front I chose to keep the sky calm and light, though I may go back in with a few greys to give it some depth. What do you all think?

A few weeks ago I went to Michael’s to pick up a few frames:

Male Foo Dog, framed

Female Foo Dog, framed

After looking at these for the first time in months, I wasn’t sure they were good enough to be framed, but they seem to look pretty spiffy. For the time being, I’d like to hang them by the front door (inside, of course) since that’s where they’re meant to stand guard. Seeing my work framed always gives me a little ego boost. 🙂

Now, regarding that new idea I had. I spotted a large collage-type print at Winner’s featuring one of my favorite decor trends, the Union Jack. I’ve been trying to figure out how to incorporate it in my current decor but haven’t had any luck until now. It would be simpler if it was part of some kind of collage and hanging on the wall. I can’t find an image to show you what I was looking at, but it was a combination of the colors in the Union Jack plus some gritty textures and a set of lips, perhaps a Rolling Stones reference. It got me to thinking about why the Union Jack is cool to me; I dig Brit Rock (Def Leppard was my soundtrack in high school, no shame!), BBC and UK culture. I would like to put together a similar collage using the Union Jack’s colors, possibly even the flag itself and a bunch of brit rock memorabilia. It would be a blast researching the bands I’m into now, discovering new ones and looking into the culture further. The question becomes, what medium do I paint on? I have a few smaller square canvases, a bunch of primed masonite boards and a huuuuuuge canvas that was meant for something ~epic~. Hmm…

Whoa. Okay. I just got another idea writing up this post. Instead of limiting myself to british rock bands, I could expand to include all the things I love about the UK (tea, fashion… and an embarrassing amount of TV-related stuff like Top Gear, Doctor Who, James Bond, etc etc). If I were to include references to all of those things, using the bigger canvas would make more sense. One of my friends has this wicked coffee table that has a bunch of rock legends’ heads painted on top of it. Hanging something like that in the living room would be a super cool conversational piece. Am I up to the challenge? HELL YEAH!

At the moment my abstract painting seems to be mocking me a bit. I’m not really sure where to take it from where it is and may just give up and hang it. Maybe I should put it away and look at it fresh in a few weeks, and make a final decision then.

I’ll round out this post with a recommendation to check out Big Wreck’s new album (remember That Song? “So I always get nostalgic with that song… but in my room it’s forced”): 30 second clips tracks from Albatross. I bought this on a whim Saturday afternoon and have been listening to it non-stop ever since. It’s a rock album classified as “neo prog” which just means they’re not afraid of using lots of different instruments. It’s a rocky bluesy mix all rolled into one aurally immersive experience and so easy to sink your teeth into. It’s solid enough that I find myself listening to it all the way through. Ian Thornley’s raw vocals are top-notch and his education at Berkley has given his guitar melodies a rich diversity, without the music being pretentious. So, if you’re looking for some new tunes different than what you’ve been hearing from the Top 40, definitely give this album a spin.

Progress 05-03-12

Oh hey, this is post 100! My traffic has increased dramatically over the past six months and I’d just like to thank all my new readers! I hope you like what you see and are enjoying my artistic journey. I have some pretty big news that I’m not quite ready to share with the public yet but it will change my blog in a big way. I’m so excited! Hopefully I’ll be able to spill the beans in the next month or so.

This post is brought to you by ScribeFire since WordPress’ site is still acting weird. So far, I like it! Very nice layout; it acts as an extension to your browser and has all the same functionality that WordPress’ site does.

Last night I spent a couple hours on the life owl illustration and honestly, got far enough into it that I don’t want to show it until it’s all done. However, I will allow a few teaser pics and show you the color-testing page. I’m glad I tested some of the colors out beforehand, but in actuality I’ve taken the final drawing in quite a different direction. I’m looking forward to finishing it and showing it off!

Teaser 1

Teaser 2

Life Owl Color Testing

The more I look at my abstract painting, the more I feel like it’s mostly done. I think I want to try and bring some more subtle highlights into it but beyond that, I don’t think I need to take it much further. A few weeks ago I did some blue-glazing on it to unify the color palette, which was feeling a bit all over the place.

Abstract for Bedroom

You may notice the lighting in my photos is slightly brighter than usual. That’s because I bought a proper desk lamp at Home Depot! The ceiling light in my studio is actually quite dim and the table lamp I had was ancient and very yellow-y. This one is much bright and much better: fully ajustable, and it comes with a clamp-mount.

I know I’ve been a bit quiet for the past week so I’ll attempt to have posts up tomorrow and Friday as well. Stay tuned, and thanks again for all the support!

The Owls Are All Inked

Death Owl Inks by Jess Naish Lingley

Death Owl Inks by Jess Naish Lingley

The third owl image is now inked! I’m a little surprised that I didn’t empty out any of my pens on these drawings, given all the detail I put in. I plan to look at the three as a whole and make sure the styling is consistent (line widths and such). Having done a few copic illustrations, I’ve started adjusting the way I ink to better suit the medium. For example, with copics, coloring a large area evenly is difficult since the medium dries so fast and can streak, so I tried to fill empty space as much as possible to correct for this (the exception being the sky where I plan to do some color-blending). Now the fun begins… swatching some copics in my sketchbook!

I began another project last Thursday, this one completely different than what I’ve been doing.

Abstract for bedroom in progress

Abstract for bedroom in progress

There’s a lot of empty wall space in our bedroom and I’ve been meaning to paint another abstract, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and paint something for our room. I wanted to really get away from what I’ve been doing, the researching and planning and measuring out etc etc. With this I put on some music and just went for it, only having a color palette in mind. It’s already changed a lot from where I started (LOTS of water). I started by painting on the floor so the water wouldn’t run off, which as it turns out, is really hard on my back. Thankfully it’s dry now and I’m pretty well done putting large amounts of water on it, so I’ve got it up on an easel.

For a little inspiration, I treated myself to a book at the art store:

Acrylic Innovation (via

Acrylic Innovation (via

I had a choice between two other books on acrylics but chose this one because it covers so many different styles and interviews many different artists. The other books were mainly just a list of different techniques with no context. No word of a lie, I’ve been reading this book all weekend and love every page! I’ve already learned so much about abstraction using acrylics and I’m super impressed with the material and artists involved. Most of the hyper-realism I’ve seen has been by oil painters, but there are a handful of artists interviewed in this book that really know how to push acrylics. I highly recommend it!

One last splurge I made after writing that gushing article last Wednesday about Natalia Fabia:

Hi Fructose issue 22 (via

Hi Fructose issue 22 (via

Hi Fructose issue 22, pick it up if you get a chance! It contains a 12-page spread interviewing Natalia. Great magazine, great price and the only ads are other artists advertising their shows.