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Please don’t touch that

I wasn’t *greatly* looking forward to the still life in watercolour workshop last weekend, as I always think still life is a little uninteresting, no matter how well its painted, but I still went along, and was happy to attend……

It was mostly women there on the day, which is understandable, as I think still life does tend to be quite a feminine thing on the whole, pictures of flowers, or fruit, or jugs and bottles, are very peaceful objects to paint and enjoy looking at. The tutor had chosen a cut glass bowl filled with licorice allsorts to paint, on a white linen tablecloth, a difficult task to capture on both the cut glass aspect and the white linen cloth. She didn’t finish the picture, but at least we were able to start to see how the beginning of her painting began. Then it was our turn to put paint to paper. We’d all been given the chance to take our own still life objects to paint, which I thought was a good idea and meant we could paint the objects that interested us most. A few had taken flowers, one woman had taken balls of wool and some knitting (to paint, I hasten to add, not to knit with!), and the majority had bottles and vases to paint. But I’d chosen something a little different, I’d taken some sea shells, picked up on various beaches in Devon and Cornwall on long distant half remembered holidays. I like shells. I like the intricate shapes, the pretty colours, the rough outer shell as opposed to the translucent inner parts where the sea creature lived, the gorgeous beauty and sense of natural history attached to them. So shells it was, for me.

I started by picking the shells that interested me for colour or shape and laid them out in a composition that pleased me, noting the negative shapes next to the positive shapes of the shells, and liking the formation of the design I was making………………… then I started drawing it out, and made sure I was happy with my design on the paper before I did any painting. We stopped for lunch then, and I sat and ate my ham sandwiches, chatting with my friends as we ate. It was as I returned to my table, that I found the woman at the next table peering over my shells and bending down for a closer look. “What sort of shells are those?” she asked “I don’t know” I replied and she bent even closer and asked me if the flat shell was the same as the rounded one next to it, I wasn’t sure if this was a trick question, since shells are always the same symmetrical shape……………. and then, she did an astounding thing………………she lent forward…….. and I could tell my her body language what she was about to do “PLEASE DON’T touch them!” I said urgently, and she drew her hand back, at my words. I couldn’t believe she was just about to touch my STILL life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The whole point of it, is that it DOESN’T move!!!!!! Especially after I’d drawn it all out and was just about to start painting, it doesn’t bloody move!!!! Rule one, of doing a still life workshop, don’t touch anyone else’s still life, and be careful as you walk past the tables, incase you barge into the table and knock it, inadvertently rearranging all the oranges and apples, flowers and feathers onto the floor!

So, on to the painting, and I decided to do a wet wash to start, to get some background in, and pull the image together before I started on the tiny details in the shells, and as I did the wet wash, I had that lovely piece of serendipity, as the paint wove its magic on the paper, it created the lovely wet beach effect before me – sand and water, light and shadows appeared, so it was easy enough to paint the shells afterwards, to pick up the contours of the shells, their shapes, and patterning, the way they sat together, the depth and form of them, and how they related to the shells around them, and the beach they were sitting on, and as I painted, and the afternoon wore on, I got more and more positive and admiring comments from the people around me, for the effect I’d created in my still life. Its got a life. It may be still, but it told a bit of a story, of the way the shells had been collected together on the beach, for their interest and natural beauty. I had to do a bit more work on it when I got home, but it all came together nicely. I’ve called the painting “Beach treasures” as that’s what I think they are…………….. and I really love my still life, after all!!! LOL

I've been an artist all of my life, and my paintings now hang on walls in Europe, USA and Canada. I'm working on getting them on the other continents! My wide range of artwork has been exhibited nearer to home in the East Midlands, with the Guild of Erotic Artists at Beaumont Hall Studios in Hertfordshire, and at "Erotica", Olympia, London. I have also been featured alongside my work in the Guild of Erotic Artists book (volume 2). I love to create dramatic interest in my pictures, whether it’s to paint an unusual landscape, or just to utilise dramatic lighting in my figure drawings or strong colour in my animal portraits. Delighting in the spontaneous tendencies of watercolour adds an interesting and distinctive look to my paintings, some of which are purposefully ambiguous, enabling the viewer to use their own interpretation of my artwork. I also love to hide images, and humour within my paintings, whether it’s a secret message, or an erotic couple hidden within a landscape, or even an erotic landscape where the couple are camouflaged as the features of the land itself. I am equally happy painting in oils, acrylics or watercolours and love to draw with pencil or ink. I have also developed the very effective method of drawing using white pencil on black card which creates dramatic pictures by just picking out where the light catches the body and leaving the rest of the image to the imagination, in darkness. I can also utilise many different styles, whether it is realistic, abstract, surrealistic, erotic, fantasy or camouflage art where something is hidden within the painting. I'm just passionate about my art, whatever I paint! But, it doesn't matter how many landscapes or pet portraits I paint, its always the erotic stuff that people are interested in! I started blogging to share some of the strange conversations I have with the people I meet. But its evolved into far more than that now.

Comments (5)

  1. nitebyrd
    May 19, 2009

    Jackie, I thinks it’s a gorgeous painting. Maybe because I know you’re an erotic artist, I always see something very sensusal in your work.

  2. Jackie Adshead
    May 19, 2009

    Nitebyrd – That’s one of the nicest things you could ever say to me, thankyou!!!! I know I do erotic subjects, but I try to evoke as many of the senses as I can, whatever the subject matter, even one as non erotic as this one. So if its sensual, then I’m a very happy bunny! 🙂

  3. Fitzy
    May 26, 2009

    Perhaps you should have added a little don’t touch sign in the corner of the painting! You would have at least thought that a fellow artist would know better, but it seems not.

    It really is a lovely painting and it does look very calming, just what you need to admire after a busy day at work.

    Well I hope that you were able to return with blue fingers following that workshop, although they could have been black and blue fingers had she actually picked up any of your shells.

  4. Jackie Adshead
    May 27, 2009

    Fitzy – Yes, she should have known better than to try and touch my still life!!!

    Thankyou, yes, it is calming isn’t it.

    And yes I had blue fingers at the end of the painting session! LOL

  5. Fitzy
    May 27, 2009

    It seems that all was well in the end then given you went home with blue fingers! lol

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