Friday 30 August 2013

Painting of the Day: "Timid Sun"

"Timid Sun" by Serge Marshennikov

View more of his works via this link.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Daily Inspiration: Epic Time Lapse Video

Monday 26 August 2013

Painting of the Day: "Enter"

"Enter" by Dima Rebus

  I don't know what drew me to this piece... I'm guessing it was the simplicity of it. Or perhaps the anonymity of the sitter- that he's faceless; an unknown. Maybe it was the hands; leaving me to wonder what the artist was trying to convey through the piece. 

  Dima Rebus does a lot of dark humour in his works– that's what prompted me to wonder whether this piece meant anything in particular.

  "Enter"....  What do you think that means? Leave me your answer in the comment section below.

  View more of Dima Rebus' works via this link.

Saturday 24 August 2013

Recommended Artist: ONASUP

  Shattered. Scattered. Geometric shapes.

  How much detail can you reduce while still retaining the form of your subject? It is this kind of boldness that I'm after. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Then ONASUP has done a brilliant job of reading the souls of the animals he portrays.

  View more of his works via this link.

Thursday 22 August 2013

Painting of the Day: "Kristofer Hivju"

"Kristofer Hivju" by Daria Zaitseva

  Drawing inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh's style, Daria Zaitseva created this vibrant portrait in coloured pencils. (And you guys know how I have a soft spot for coloured pencil works.)

  A beautiful contrast of the warm reds, oranges, and yellows against the cool blues and greens. Add a neutral background to complement the colours and the piercing gaze of the sitter easily captivates the viewer. Is he eyeing you in suspicion? Or is he just a mysterious stranger giving you a passing glance? I like that the artist left out all unimportant details and instead chose to make the eyes the focus of the piece, but wished that the beard had a little more shadow to give it more form. However, this piece truly shows the versitility of the humble coloured pencil, and you should totally check out Daria Zaitseva's "Sailor" as it has beautiful line work.

  View more of her works via this link.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Gold Coloured Pencils Aren't Quite Gold

  I received an e-mail asking about gold coloured pencils recently, and it reminded me of the fact that gold coloured pencils lack the shiny-ness and brilliance of gold acrylic and oil paints.

  Here, I'm using the Prismacolor "Metallic Gold" (PC 950) and "Silver" (PC 949). As you can see, the gold is sort of a warm dull brown. The silver is a cool grey. They do contain a certain sheen that the camera failed to pick up on, but the colours fall short of the brilliance of the gold and silver of acrylic and oil paints.

  A close up:

    If you'd like to know how to draw metallic and/or gold things, this page is extremely helpful:

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Painting of the Day: "Filip Peraić- Self Portrait"

Self Portrait by Filip Peraić

  There's something about self portraits that draws me to them. Perhaps it's the fact that they're a window to the soul of the artist. A representation of how the artist sees themselves. A self portrait forces the artist to analyse themselves. And being the critical creatures that we are, self portraits are always difficult.

  Filip Peraić's Self Portrait is a gif, (the first gif on my entire blog) and I think the movement between the frames add to the piece. It's sort of a heartbeat, don't you think? Dud. Dud. ... Dud. Dud. ... Dud. Dud.     I like that.     I also like the simplicity of it. Black against white. Straight lines and curved lines. A juxtaposition of opposing things. That's how every human is. Yin and Yang- we're all a mix of both.

  [Also, I read in an art book that a left hand held up to one's chest has a symbolic meaning in portraits. A way to show that the artist believes that God is working through him to produce beautiful art works. I'm not sure whether that was the intention of the artist, but that snippet of information popped into mind straight after the heartbeat thought.]

  To view his website, click here.

Sunday 18 August 2013

12 Lessons for the Artist

1. You'll never be satisfied with your work. 
  When you do become satisfied, it means you've not pushed your boundaries enough, or that you're not growing artistically.

2. The longer you stare at it, the more you'll hate it.
  I'm not sure whether it's something that happens to only a few of us, but if I'm ever slightly happy with one of my paintings, I will stare at it and begin to pick it apart and find all the faults I can in it. And in about 5 minutes, I'll go from actually thinking it's decent to hating it with my entire being.

3. But it's actually not as bad as you think it is.
  After you go through the stage of hate with your painting, set it aside for a couple of days. When you return to it, you'll be much more objective and not so emotionally attached to it. And it won't look half as bad as you think it did.

4. Don't be afraid of teaching others and/or learning from them as well.
  No one draws, or paints, or sketches exactly the way you do. When you teach someone else your method, you are giving the joy of Art to them. And you cannot somehow "be less than a certain artist" if you learn from them, so don't be afraid to do study sketches of another artist's work. Just don't sell it as your own after.

5. There will always be someone better than you.
  Always- no exceptions. You're awesome at graphite drawings? Cool, but can you paint in oils? You won an award in a watercolour competition? Go and join a coloured pencil competition– I'm sure you'll have much to learn there. There's always something else to learn and that you should always...

6. Listen.
  When someone gives you criticism, don't be defensive. Everyone has their own opinions. If another artist tells you about their method of working, just listen. Absorb what you think has value, let go of everything else. It doesn't help for you to think that only your way is the right way, or that you're the best on the block.

7. Be nice to everyone.
  I think this is a rule that applies to all human beings, but I'd just like to remind you just in case, you know, you forget. Artists need people to buy their works. The more people like you, the higher the chances of them wanting to buy your work. Also, you never know whether the gentleman/lady you just met might introduce you to a gallery who might have an interest in representing you, or to a friend who is currently looking for art to hang on the empty walls of their new apartment.

8. Draw (or at least sketch) every day.
  Most of us have other commitments, but if you really want to improve you have to keep that pencil, brush, and/or pen moving. At least give yourself 15 minutes a day to draw.

9. Procrastination is a time-sucker. Set yourself deadlines.
  I procrastinate a lot sometimes. But I'm learning to overcome it. At the end of each week, I take a few minutes to reflect back on my week and what I had managed to accomplish. I identify the things that I could have done without- the things that I use as an excuse for procrastination- and I eliminate (or at least reduce) those activities. If you set yourself deadlines, you'll feel the need to finish your project and it'll push you past the "ugly stage".

[See blog post: Ways to Stop Procrastinating]

10. There'll always be an "ugly stage" in your painting.
  You know, that gap in time when your art piece is about one third done and all there is on your paper are the outlines of the subject and the base colours. Everything looks horrid and you feel as though it won't work out and you just want to give up... Don't. Keep going.

11. But sometimes things just don't work out...
  Like when you pick a subject that is too complicated for you right now. Or when you didn't sort the composition problems in the sketching phase. Or when the colours are getting muddy because you just couldn't get that shade of lilac-blue correctly. Things sometimes just don't work out. But don't be disheartened. Try something else. Or maybe start anew. Tripping up is part of the learning process.

12. Know where you stand, but don't compare yourself to others.
  Look at other artists' works and ask yourself where you stand amongst them. But don't fall into the trap of saying "I'll never be good enough because is wayyy better than me". It sounds contradictory, I know, but what you need to do is know that you're not the best– that there is still room for improvement– but that you're still making progress in your artistic journey. Compare yourself to the you of yesterday. If you've improved and have learnt something today, you're doing well.

  And most important of all...

13. Cut yourself some slack, for Ford's sake.
  As artists, we're usually far more critical of ourselves than others are to us. Stop beating yourself up. It's bad for the soul. You're awesome in your own ways, and no other artist can create what you create exactly the way you do.

  Yeah, I know that brings the number of points to 13 but I never was any good at Maths. Cut me some slack, alright.  :)

  What other lessons do you think are important? Leave me a comment in the comment section below.

Friday 16 August 2013

Recommended Artist: Jieun Park

  Through her works, Jieun Park attempts to express the sort of paradox that we experience when living in a city– being surrounded by so many people, yet strangely feeling alone. I love the contrast of the randomly made background when compared to the realistically drawn cityscapes. There's a sort of beauty in the paintings; like when you begin to unwrap a present and get to see only parts of what's inside the wrapper...

  You only get to see a part of the scene– that's kind of how it is when you live in a city as well. You live in the same apartment for a good decade and yet you've never seen the entire city. Lots of unseen beauties missed by you and many others– a quaint cafe five blocks away from your workplace, or a secluded part of the park, or a bookshop hidden in an odd corner down the street. We keep saying we want to explore the world, yet we never think to have an adventure right where we are. Just like how we search for happiness in others when we never care to look within ourselves for it. That's just how the eternal paradox of what being human is.

  View more of her works here.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Ways to Stop Procrastinating

  This is an Art blog, but the information in this post can be applied to most, if not all, people. Change up the methods to fit the activity you're doing.

  Keep in mind though that you must really feel compelled to not want to waste time on things that don't help you in order to free up time for things that you want to do– like eating healthy, studying, drawing, exercising, or spending time with your friends/family.

Method #1: The Reward Systems

  The Science behind procrastination, simply put, is just your brain being afraid of hard work and thus telling you to do useless stuff like checking your Facebook or e-mail every five minutes and rewarding you for it. So you have to find a way to work around that problem. The way to do it is pretty simple. You set yourself a target goal, and you reward yourself for achieving it.

The 40-10 Rule
  For things that I don't enjoy doing, I use the 40-10 rule. 40 minutes of work in exchange for a 10 minutes break. Using studying as an example... If you spend 40 minutes of PURE studying (no distractions) you earn yourself a 10 minute break.

The Red Crosses
  This works for things that you have to do on a daily basis. Like exercising, for example. Or drawing. Get a calendar and a thick red marker. At the end of each day, if you've accomplished the activity you needed to do, you cross out today's date with a big red X. 

Will Work for Reward
  This is a method I like using because it's extremely effective. Say, you have to do something you don't like tomorrow- for example, cleaning your room. Find an activity that you enjoy and use that as a reward for cleaning your room. It could be anything from being allowed to watch your favourite show at 7pm, or giving yourself time to go watch a movie after.

  A word of advice for this method; never use food, water, or sleep as rewards because your brain requires these things. A healthy snack (like an avocado, if you like avocados) can be used as a reward, but meals should never be used as rewards.

Drop and Give Me Twenty!
  In the other extreme, you could use punishment as a way to push yourself through. For example, if you're like me and hate doing Maths homework, you could tell yourself that if you do not finish your homework in a reasonable amount of time, you'll have to do extra problem sums as punishment.
  This works if you need some motivation to push yourself to finish an activity. Always give yourself a reasonable amount of time– not too much (otherwise you'll just be lazy) and not too little (don't make the task impossible for yourself).

Method #2: Stop or Reduce

  If you're spending too much time on an activity that doesn't help you, the best solution is to stop doing it all together. If you cannot stop doing it entirely, limit the amount of time you spend on it.

Identify the things in your life that you could do without.
  I'm not talking about chores, or errands, or important things that you need to do. I'm talking about watching tele, playing video games, surfing the web for cute cat pictures, Tumblr, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter... Anything that doesn't help you in improving yourself should be scrutinised.

"Do I really need to do this?"
  Keyword being "NEED". Want and need are two very different things. You need to eat in order to keep yourself alive, but you want to eat that bar of milk chocolate because it tastes good. If you don't need it, you should either;

Stop or reduce.
  I identified that I was spending way too much time on YouTube. I tried to reason that I was watching educational videos, so it was improving myself. So I chose to reduce the time I spent on it, and I hid the app in a folder so it wouldn't be staring at me in the face every time I unlocked my iPhone. Another thing I was spending a lot of time on: Tumblr. It's an endless loop of like, reblog, refresh. I really enjoyed Tumblr but it was eating up far too much of my time. So I had to stop the activity. Thus, I deleted the Tumblr app on my iPhone.

  A week later, I knew what wasn't working... I had managed to stay off Tumblr for the entire week, but YouTube was still sucking me in. ... So I deleted the YouTube app on my phone as well.

  Tough decisions? Yes. Worth it? Definitely.


There are some activities that you cannot stop doing (or are not willing to give up entirely). For example, I sometimes get lost in the interweb while looking for artists to recommend on my blog because there is just so much good art to look at, but blogging is important to me.

The solution: a deadline. You only give yourself a certain time frame to work with and you stick with it. For blogging, I give myself 3 hours at most on each post. If the time is up, I save the post as a draft and continue tomorrow.

Method #3: It's not thaattt difficult...

  You procrastinate because you feel the task that you need to do is too difficult and that there are many other things that are much easier to do (albeit them being useless to your improvement). To overcome this problem, you break down the activity you need to do into smaller, more manageable tasks.

For example;
  You have to plan a birthday party.

Break it down into things that you need to do...
I need to make invitation cards. I need to get decorations. I need to get food for the party. Etc.

Then decide how each task needs to be accomplished...
I need to find out who to invite. Lily knows how to print invitation cards so I shall call her later to ask if she can help. I need to go to the party store to buy decorations and balloons. I need to call catering. Etc.

  Breaking something down to small tasks makes you see that it's not that difficult to accomplish it, and you won't feel so overwhelmed, or at lost as to what to do.

Method #4: The Two Minute Rule

  Can it be done in two minutes?

  Yes?  Do it now.

  No?  Add it to your to-do list. (ie: See method #5.)

Method #5: Make Lists. (It's what I do)

  Now, I've found that this method doesn't work for everyone... But it works for me so I'm going to share it.

  I like making lists of things. To-do lists... Shopping lists... Things that I'd like to draw lists... Lists helps me keep track of things and help me to keep my thoughts straight and my mind free to focus on other things. Because if all your brain is telling you all day is that you have to buy milk, and eggs, and you've got to remember to stop by your best friend's place today to ask her if she has that one comic book that you haven't read, and that you need to go to the library later to return two books, and that you have to go to...

  Yeah. You won't have space to think of other things. So I like to make lists. The daily to-do lists I make guide me through what I have to accomplish each day and I am accountable for my actions at the end of each day. I usually write my to-do list according to the order that I want to work. So, high importance things at the top, things that I can get done quickly go next, things that I should get done follow that, and finally, things that I can do if I find the time go at the bottom.

  It's good to add little boxes in front of every task you need to do so that you can check them off after completion so that you have a little reward system in place.   :)

Method #6: < you tell me >

  What methods do you use to help prevent procrastination? Were the methods I stated above useful? Leave me a comment in the comment section below telling me what you think.

Monday 12 August 2013

Recommended Artist: Steve Hanks

  Steve Hanks calls his style ‘emotional realism’. He often leaves the faces of his figures obscured or turned away, not only to leave the face to the imagination of the viewer but also to allow the entire figure to express the emotion. Backlighting is also a signature element of his style. “Sunlight has become one of my favourite subjects. I’m fascinated by how it filters through things, how it floods a whole room with colour. Often my paintings are really more about sunlight than anything else.”

  I agree that Steve Hanks depicts sunlight beautifully but I feel the paintings are slightly "over-drawn". They're still gorgeous and I really love the warmth in each piece. The quiet contemplation of his female figures are my favourites. Their face shielded from the viewer, just like how their thoughts are shielded from others.

View more of his works via this link.

Friday 9 August 2013

A short announcement I'd like to make...
  I have just revamped my website and would love for you to take a look and leave me a comment in the comment section below telling me what you think of it. :)

Stalk me-

My Art Website:

My DeviantArt:

My main Tumblr:

Business e-mail:

For questions regarding art, or to drop me a private note:

  I always love to hear from you guys.

Hearts and Hugs,
Stephanie Jennifer

Saturday 3 August 2013

Recommended Artist: Marco Mazzoni

  I love the soft richness of the colours in Marco Mazzoni's work. I am, however, a little puzzled as to why he chooses to draw his beautiful sketches on small Moleskins. They're slightly surrealistic– sometimes being impossible pairings between different types of animals, other times being portraits of female being obscured by flowers and animals– but they're always rich in details and a delight to look at.

  Visit his website here.

Thursday 1 August 2013

Painting of the Day: Vision

"Vision" by Stanley Lau
I've featured the artist before here;

  Stanley Lau created this poster for Gateway Entertainment Singapore as an advertisement for a magic show. It is, beyond doubt, brilliantly crafted and a feast for the eyes. I love the diversity of colours he used while still not having it look like a rainbow vomit. And the marble effect is superbly done.