Saturday 17 May 2014

Working Large And Loving It!

Hi everyone!

A couple of weeks ago I was due to demonstrate how I create my artwork at my local Hobbycraft store. I have demonstrated there a few times in the past and has always been interesting to talk to other people while I am working as this isn't something that I normally get to do that often.
Well, this time when I arrived I was given a HUGE canvas as a challenge to create a piece that would be displayed in the store.

So out of my comfort zone.

And what made it worse was that I only had about 4 hours to do it. Truth be told, I didn't get it finished on time. I just couldn't get my head around the challenge at the time. I am not used to having challenges sprung on me and so I am still learning to deal with them. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't manage to get it finished within the time but I just don't work that way. In the past, when I have worked on a large substrate, I took time to prepare myself, find inspiration, do sketches or art journal pages, and then figure out how that will work on a larger scale.

I hadn't done any of this!

Luckily, I was allowed to take the canvas home to work on it further. Phew! I was relieved with that because I did really want to complete the piece. To prove it to myself more so.

So, this was my challenge:

I'm not sure if you can see the true size of the canvas but if you use the paintbrushes as a scale you might be able to get a sense of how large it was compared to the size I usually work on.

Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of the canvas when I had reached the 4 hour mark. Probably because I was unhappy with it and knew I wasn't finished with it. We threw it in the back seat of the car and spent the rest of our Saturday doing the things people do on Saturdays! Lunch, shopping, pottering about, watching movies etc. I didn't think any more about it until about a week later. I took me that long because everytime I went to pick it up and try to do some work on it I just felt like it was a chore. I wasn't inspired and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get inspired.
But then eventually, I decided to tackle it. It was starting to become the thorn in my side and I knew the only way to start it was to...start it! Sometimes you have to just dive in.

So I started to just mess and play around at first. I covered up the bits that I really disliked, tried to get it back to the colourful, crazy, fun backgrounds I am used to working with. Eventually I got there and then I chalked in a few lotus inspired flower images. When I was happy with the placement I then used black paint to mark them in.

It was only then that I started to get excited about this project. It was started to come together and look good! I was starting to feel really happy with it so I paused for a few minutes to do a little happy dance in the kitchen (I often dance while painting lol!)
I finished the rest of the painting with ease, confidence and joy! It all fell into place for me, with every brush stroke I fell more and more in love with it. So much so, that when it was time to give it to Hobbycraft I felt sad. Like giving one of children away (or what I imagine that is like, I don't have kids)

Here is the completed piece. I'm thrilled with how it turned out in the end and I am also really excited that it not only helped me to discover my true style a bit better but it also showed me that I LOVE to work on a larger scale now. I don't know why I was so against working large before..... It is so much better, the freedom that comes along with it is fantastic!
So, keep your eyes peeled for more large paintings. I am already working on two more at present, one is nearly finished.

This piece is now hanging in Hobbycraft, Sheffield if you would like to view it.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you are having a great weekend!

Ciara x

Wednesday 14 May 2014

New Vlog Series - Coffee With Ciara

Hi everyone!
Yes, I know I am a bad blogger :( I am just finding it so hard to connect with my readers through writing. I'm not a natural writer, I know that but I feel like I am not getting my real, true voice across to others. So I decided to start up a new vlog series called Coffee With Ciara and the idea of it is to answer random questions about myself in the hope that you will all get to know me better. I want it to feel like we are having a coffee and a chat together, just like friends would normally do. I will upload a new video every Thursday on my Youtube channel.

As this week is the first week, I just Googled a list of random questions ( I think I found "questions to ask on a first date lol) and I used to generate a question for me to answer. I am hoping that by next week I will have a few "real" questions from my readers/subscribers to answer and that will be a lot more fun :) If not, I will continue to use the list I have until I do get some real questions.
So I urge you to please, please ask me some questions. Anything at all! Anything you would like to know about me or about my art practice. Leave a comment below or email me at

This is my first time speaking to the camera and I have to be honest, I don't love it. You may notice that at the start of the video I come across a little stiff but I do loosen up as we go on and become more comfortable. I really dislike the sound of my own voice in a recording and I don't usually spend much time looking at myself in that much detail (I had to during the editing process). You start to notice all your "flaws" and subtle mannerisms that you never even noticed that you do.. but, I will get used to it. I think it will be a good thing to get used to it because at the end of the day, no matter what I hear or imagine about myself in my head, what other people see (physically speaking) is what we really are, wouldn't you agree? So, it is a good way to start loving the real you.

I really hope that you enjoy this series and that it gets some interest. I can't express how much I want it to feel more like a chat among friends as opposed to me just talking about myself so the best way for that to come to fruition, I think, is if I receive some real life questions.

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!


Friday 2 May 2014

Thoughts Become Things.

I have decided to do something right now that may seem a little bit "out there". I am making a decision to live my life according to how I want to live it. I am no longer allowing myself to float around in this world with the belief that I have no control over my life, my situation, my experiences, my goals, my everything. I am going to try to ask for what I want and believe I will receive it. Any of you who are familiar with The Secret and the law of attraction you will understand exactly what I am doing.

A few minutes ago while sitting on my couch drinking a cup of tea, I set about writing a "letter to the universe" if you will. In that letter I thanked the universe for all of the things I want in my life but I wrote it as if I already have them. Then I decided I would go one step further by typing it out and printing it out so I could put it somewhere to read everyday. Great idea! But then, another, better, more unusual thought came to me. What if I not only type it up but also publish it on my blog for everyone and the universe to see?
I know, I know this does sounds a little wacky but what is the harm in trying? There are things I want so very badly in my life and I'm not sure yet how I have them. But I know I will have them.

I know it, I deserve it and now I have asked for it.

I am making a conscience effort to believe everything in this letter. I am a successful artist already. I am right where I want to be already

What do I have to lose?
I think it is going to be really interesting to see where this is going to take me. Will the universe respond?
Well..... stick around and find out.

Take care

Thursday 24 April 2014

Art Jumping From The Page!

Hi everyone! 
Some of you may recognise this page in my art journal from my latest video where I cleaned off a stencil. Well, today when I got to the studio I opened up this page to work on it and almost instantly seen a figure within it. This is a rare occurrence so when it happens I go with it like hell!! I don't know if you can see but I lightly marked out a woman in a dress with pencil. Can you see that? 

 I then painted in the face, neck and arms with white acrylic to allow me to add more colour later.

 I further developed the girl's body with charcoal and then added flesh tones using some new alcohol markers that I purchased at the weekend. I found these by accident in a kind of cheapish art/craft shop for 99p each! I only bought 4, to try them out first but they seem to be good quality. Not as good as the more expensive brand of alcohol ink markers though but you get what you pay for don't you?

 I blanked out the background and then used my Neocolours 11 to create a cheerful splash of colour!
It is so refreshing when a piece of art emerges from the page in front of you and you don't have to go fishing around for it for too long. Some days are a struggle but some days are an absolute joy.

Have a great day!
Ciara x

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Two Faces To Share - New Art + A Video

Hey everyone!
I haven't posted in nearly 2 weeks.. I didn't even feel the time going! Lately I have been doing a lot of sketching and some of those sketches I have turned into paintings.
Now, any of you who have been following me along my artistic journey for a while will probably know that I don't usually sketch out my work. As a matter of fact, sketching hasn't been a part of my art practice at all for a long time now but lately I feel like my creative direction has changed a little and I have been exploring sketching and painting people's faces, more specifically, women's faces.
It is something that I have wanted to try out for a long time now but for some reason I got it into my head that dreaded thought (that I'm sure a lot of artists will be familiar with) "you can't do that, your sketches are not good enough" or "you can do this kind of art no problem but not that kind of art" Does that make any sense?

Well, I don't really know what changed in me to make me feel comfortable with sketching faces but I think I just started off slowly sketching with the mindset that it was "only for me" and "no one is going to see it anyway"
But then once I started to sketch more and more, gradually filling up sketchbooks I realised that I CAN sketch and paint faces and my art IS valid and beautiful even if I am the only one who thinks so.

So, today I want to share with you a couple of new paintings I have done recently that are of women's faces.
They both started off as simple sketches in my sketchbook. I sketch almost daily now (I miss some days) and not all of my sketches work out, as a matter of fact a lot of my sketches are U-G-L-Y! But that is the beauty of it I find, I never know when one of the faces will turn out to be beautiful and to speak to me, letting me know that they have a story to tell .And these two faces did just that:
Both wear expressions that I felt held a story that needed to be told. So I developed these sketches into full, finished paintings.

What do you think? I love how they both turned out, I find it interesting how their expressions developed and changed throughout the painting process, in my opinion, further revealing their story to us.
You can see how these paintings started off in this video of me in my little old studio!

You can subscribe to my channel here to follow more of my art adventures!! Hope to see you over there and see you leaving some comments.

Speaking of comments, I'd love if you left me one here to let me know what you think of these two women paintings. I really enjoyed creating them and so would love to hear any feedback you have to offer.

Take care
Ciara x
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