As July Ends…

“Remember tonight… For it is the beginning of always.” – Dante Alighieri

Just a short post to say thank you really, to all those who have viewed my site, followed my blog and commented on my posts. July has been the first month of me really getting into the idea of blogging and keeping a regular schedule with my posts.

As July ends I have reflected upon this past month and I am pleasantly surprised by what has been achieved in such a short amount of time.

This is how I intend to move forward, keeping to my schedule of posts and always having an Art Project going on as I currently have; I hope to keep meeting new people, having interesting debates and conversations and reading the posts of others.

Thanks again,

JGlover

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Inside my Sanctum of Study

“An artist’s studio should be a small space because small rooms discipline the mind and large ones distract it.” – Leonardo da Vinci.

For this week’s post I thought I’d do something a little different and show the place where the magic happens, my Sanctum of Study. All of my artwork is carried out in this room; formerly a spare bedroom containing a bed and pink walls. Once I started becoming serious about becoming an artist towards the end of 2013 I started making changes, got rid of the bed and put a small desk in there; a humble space where I spent a couple of hours a week drawing.

As I began to spend more time drawing and started painting, I realised that I needed the space to be more appropriate for what I wanted and then the work began. I painted the room, white walls rather than pink which is much more appropriate and I began collecting art materials which gradually built up over the course of time. I’ve also collected art prints and ornaments from Paris, Rome and various art galleries.  My wife then bought me a unit; purpose-built to house a computer but adapted to house my art materials and books. The great thing about this unit is that once everything is finished with and put in it’s place, I close the unit and the studio no longer looks like a bombsite.

Thus the spare bedroom became a Sanctum – A private retreat from which most people are excluded. 

Art-Studio-Study-Artist-Josh Glover

This picture shows the unit once closed and everything’s away where it lives. Cut off on the left are my two desks; I usually use these to draw and paint on as I need a higher chair to reach the desk inside the unit comfortably.

The drawing of the Arc de Triomphe is a print that I bought whilst in Paris, I find it really inspiring to surround myself in artwork and this is the perfect place to do so. Also on the side of the unit, although it may be too dark to make out properly, is a spray painting of the Colosseum that I bought from a street artist in Rome.

Art-Studio-Desk-Artist-Josh Glover

This view shows the desks better; excuse the paint marks all over the desk I was going to clean it again but I thought it may add to the atmosphere of this being an art studio. A fellow artist and friend of mine is a very hands on messy painter, a strong believer in a messy studio and would see my particular set up as unused, however I’m sure he’d be proud to see that I left the paint splatter on the desk for the photograph.

Also something to note, the window is North facing and I get good light in this room, something that is certainly taken for granted, had this spare room had a South facing window things would have been very different.

Art-Studio-Artist-Josh Glover

Here’s the workstation open, it holds all of my materials, sketchbooks, art books, canvases and more. I have also stuck up various art prints, photos, maps and a calendar. This is my box of inspiration and a gift from my wife that I’m eternally grateful for. Before having this unit I couldn’t have appreciated the value of such a thing, but since having it I couldn’t be without it; ease of access and tidiness is priceless when it comes to creating art for me; when inspiration hits, the last thing I want to do is spend two hours searching for that number 2 Filbert brush which “I know I left over there somewhere next to the thingy!”.

I should add that this room doesn’t look anything like this when I’m actually working, I have stuff all over the place; several palletes of paint, pencils, charcoal, water, coffee, energy drinks, paper scattered everywhere and paint all over the walls. This is just how the room looks between projects or works. Also if I’m in there reading, I don’t make much mess when I’m doing that.

Art-Books-Studio-Artist-Josh Glover

On the subject of reading, this is my collection of art books that I keep in the workstation, well most of them are art books some are more for reference or have artworks depicted in them. This collection started around January 2014 when a friendly lady at an evening art class gave me the Pre-Raphaelites book after a discussion about the types of artwork I like. I hadn’t heard of the Pre-Raphaelites back then and in the time since then it’s unbelievable to think how much I have learned, not just about that particular group of artists but the art world in general. I have the college course to thank for that, there’s been an awful lot of research to do over the last year and it’s taught me alot.

The Eminem book that is in there is actually not art related as such and is there because it doesn’t fit in my other book case which contains smaller books that are not art related. In fact, I have an obsession with buying new books and need to get a large book case soon, eventually purchasing a lease on a library at the rate I’m going.

Art-Books-Study-Artist-Josh Glover

This end of the room is a bit messier than the rest at the moment, it shows my other bookcase and various pieces of my artwork and an art print of the Mona Lisa and one of the Eiffel Tower.

Also on top of the bookcase is a replica statue of Michelangelo’s David and a brass Roman soldier. One problem that I have is that I’m a trinket collector, whenever I go somewhere I feel the need to bring a piece of it back with me, usually in the form of art prints or ornaments but it’s a habit that could easily run away with itself if I’m not careful. Still though, it’s probably more acceptable than having a studio full of dead animals and human skulls as I don’t think that would go down too well.

Anyway, that’s it, that’s an insight into my Sanctum of Study, a slight difference to the usual set ups most men like to have like a shed full of tools and a workbench or a garage with a pool table and a bar often referred to as ‘Man Caves’; this is my sanctuary and a place of learning, peacefulness and creativity.

Although slightly cluttered it provides the inspiration needed to carry out my work and never suffer from artist’s block, in fact I’m not at all sure what that feels like I think there’s too many creative options available for it to even be a recognised problem but that’s just my opinion.

As for the quote at the start of this post by Leonardo da Vinci, I find that I agree with it completely, having worked in large studio spaces it’s certainly easier to become distracted, discipline of the mind is vital in this trade and shouldn’t be underestimated.

JGlover

Featured Image: Gandalf searching the manuscripts of Minas Tirith searching for information about the One Ring – Screenshot from The Fellowship of the Ring directed by Peter Jackson based on the books by JRR Tolkien.

Study of a Man in Profile After Leonardo da Vinci

Study of a Man in Profile After Leonardo da Vinci - Charcoal on Paper
Study of a Man in Profile After Leonardo da Vinci – Charcoal on Paper

I spent about 15-20 minutes on this sketch and I’m reasonably happy with the result and what I learned in the process. I love the way Leonardo captured his subjects and sketching one of the Maestro’s drawings is like learning from him in person in some respects.

JGlover

My Artist Statement

Foreword

It’s taken me a little while to get around to writing this, partly due to searching out the direction that I intend to go in; also the fact that I’ve spent the last two years in the education system, there has been little opportunity to create the types of work that I personally wanted to create. Throughout college I have worked with the themes and projects I’ve been given and turned them into work that is personal to me, it’s more so the fact that there wasn’t the time to spend on one particular piece of work. The closest I came to creating a narrative artwork in college was my final major project “Coffee Comes to Europe, 1615”.

Anyway, now that I’ve had the time to gather my thoughts and reflect upon the road that I wish to take in this artistic journey, I have finally written my statement and any future works will be true to it; because at this point if you were to look through my portfolio and saw the work that I’ve got in there it could be thought that my work isn’t true to my statement. This small factor will be amended over time with the more work that I produce now that I’m free to work on a personal level.

The Statement

I find myself driven by a split-personality consisting of a deep thinking, self-analytical perfectionist and an inventive artisan motivated to utilize my creativity ceaselessly. My over-active mind doesn’t allow me to cease thinking and planning creative ventures; at any time I’m not physically producing artworks, I’m mentally creating them.

Through the work I produce I explore the concept of the artist as a storyteller, making narrative artworks and breathing a fresh lease of life into some of the oldest and most ancient legends, myths and folklore of the British Isles, resurrecting onto canvas the tales that have been passed down from generation to generation. In harmony with that, my interest in world history provides me with a wealth of inspirational sources to work with.

In addition to narrative artworks, I also intend to create landscapes in a wide variety of locations; more often than not with my landscapes, I tend to search for a hidden story within my scene, evoking myth and legend into what could otherwise be depicted simply as a scenic view.

My preferred style of painting is traditional or classical, a style that I am currently working towards and learning more about with every stroke of the paintbrush and mark of the pencil; using either oil or watercolour as my preferred media. In light of that, I have no intentions of merely duplicating the styles of old masters; I wish to build upon a knowledge of traditional methods in order to excel my own technique as an artist, working towards a new age of classicism.

The achievement I hope for is that I can make works of art that communicate with the audience, evoking emotions and inspiration, bringing them so close into a narrative that they are as much a part of it as the characters depicted in the unfolding scene. I want my work to leave a lasting impression upon all who partake in this communion of visual storytelling to the point that the audience will describe their experience to others, thus passing the tales on as has been the custom since the dawn of mankind.

Afterword

Well that’s it, relatively short as is the usual custom as far as I’m aware but to the point and descriptive of my objectives and goals as an artist. The next step now is to create more artworks harmonious to my statement and get them published as soon as possible. I’m currently working on a five part project based on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ which will culminate in a narrative painting that I can be truly happy with.

Jglover

The Lord of the Rings Project – Part I

So as promised I have spent some time over the weekend locked away within the solitary confines of my sanctum, working towards this Tolkien inspired project. I managed to get five sketches done in all and experimented with different drawing materials than the usual graphite pencil method I zealously employ.

For my reference and influence I will be using both the books written by the genius JRR Tolkien himself, and the films made by Peter Jackson.

This is only Part One of this project, a series of sketches that I’ve created mainly to get myself into the mindset needed for further artworks.

For Part Two I plan to create a couple of watercolour landscapes of Middle-earth locations, there’s plenty of reference material available to work with and I’ll have to do some research for this before jumping into it in order to choose the perfect locations to work with; again for these watercolour landscapes I won’t be spending days on them, treating them as sketches or studies in order to familiarise myself with the scenery for the final part of the project.

All in all  this project will be documented in five parts, broken down as:

  • Part I – Sketches
  • Part II – Watercolour landscape sketches
  • Part III – Preliminary sketches and drawing for final piece
  • Part IV – Progress of final piece
  • Part V – Final piece and description; more than likely an oil painting (depending on how it goes as I’m completely new to oils.

Okay, now that the formal introduction to the project is done it’s time for the sketches from Part one.

“I have no memory of this place at all!” – Sanguine Dry Pastel on Toned Paper

This is the first of my sketches and it shows the scene where the Fellowship are in the mines of Moria, Gandalf has the party stop in order for him to recollect his previous knowledge of the place in order to know what direction to head in for the exit.

I used a relatively new sanguine dry pastel pencil for this sketch, they’re not the easiest pencils to draw with but they produce beautiful results, especially on the toned paper. I also used a white charcoal pencil for highlights.

“The stars are veiled. Something stirs in the East.” – Charcoal on Toned Paper

Of the sketches this is my least favourite, mainly because my Legolas looks less like an Elf and more like a Medieval doomsayer; I think perhaps I should have sharpened my charcoal pencils a bit more and worked for finer lines. That said however, this was only a quick sketch and it serves its purpose as such, I enjoyed sketching the background mountains.

The blue toned paper worked well for the atmosphere of the scene but with hindsight I would have used a slightly darker blue, still I live and learn.

Frodo's Flight from Amon Hen - Charcoal on Toned Paper
Frodo’s Flight from Amon Hen – Charcoal on Toned Paper

This sketch shows the scene when Frodo is fleeing from Amon Hen, having made the decision to break away from the Fellowship and go it alone to Mordor, he flees towards the boats in order to slip away unnoticed.

The sheer simplicity of the surrounding elements of this sketch really appealed to me in the creation of it, I used to be so anally retentive when drawing and would have depicted every single tree in the background rather than the scratchy lines that I have put there.

The freedom of sketching used to be something of a myth to me as I was always so concerned with detail and not the fluid motion of marking the surface with a quick, rough interpretation; something  that can worked into more at a later date if need be, or used as a foundation to recreate the scene again but in a finer detail.

Weathertop - Charcoal on Toned Paper
Weathertop – Charcoal on Toned Paper

Opting to sketch a landscape scene, I chose to draw the ruins of Weathertop or Amon Sul. During the reign of Elendil, the Dunedain of Arnor built a watchtower on its summit and installed a Palantir there.

This is also the location where Frodo was stabbed by the Witch-King with a Morgul blade.

Sketching this piece was a great pleasure as I love both landscapes and ruins.

Portrait of Frodo Baggins - Graphite Pencil on Paper
The Ringbearer; Portrait of Frodo Baggins – Graphite Pencil on Paper

This piece I spent the most time on and possibly overworked it in areas but again it was a good experience and also a great learning curve for portrait drawing.

I actually considered creating my final piece for this project as a portrait of one of the members of the Fellowship but reconsidered as my goal is to create narrative artworks so I’m going down that route instead.

Tolkien created a very strong character in Frodo and a character who faces extremely challenging circumstances which affect him both mentally and physically. I chose this portrait as I believe it shows some of the mental anguish of the ringbearer and the burden that he bears.

Anyway, that’s about it for Part I and I hope that you’ve enjoyed seeing the sketches I’ve created for it and I look forward to posting again with Part II; this should be ready in a fortnight and will be available to find under my Art Projects page if you miss it when posted originally.

Please feel free to leave any feedback on this post or my work and also to make any suggestions of Lord of the Rings scenes you would like to see; I’m strictly focusing on Lord of the Rings for this project though and I may do another project for The Hobbit at a later date.

Until next time, take care and thanks for reading!

JGlover

New Sketchbook Page

Drapery Study After Leonardo da Vinci - Biro on Paper
Drapery Study After Leonardo da Vinci – Biro on Paper

I’ve decided to add a sketchbook page to my site now as to avoid confusion between sketches and studies and my portfolio because before hand, all my work has been stored there. My portfolio will now only contain finished work that I’m happy to keep as a part of my portfolio and not every single work I do.

To begin with I’ve just added this old study I did of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s drapery studies, plenty more will be added as time goes by and I’ve got a few new sketches from my Lord of the Rings project to add on Wednesday.

Current Direction – Tristan and Yseult Art Project on Hold

In light of a few technicalities I’ve been having with getting started on my Tristan and Yseult painting, I’m going to put that on the back burner for a short while; though I have written an outline of the legend as I want it to be and will flesh that out and edit it to post real soon. For the painting itself, I will get round to it once the arisen problems with it have been solved.

In the meantime and due to the inspiration I received whilst writing my last post, I’m going to create some ‘Middle Earth’ themed artworks, it’s something I’m a huge fan of and also by regularly creating artworks it’s good practice and training for me.

This will mainly consist of loads of sketches and drawings, finally culminating in an oil painting showing one of Tolkien’s masterful narrative scenes; there’s also the possibility of one or two watercolour landscapes as well, I’m currently more comfortable with watercolours than I am with oils as I’m totally new to them therefore the one oil painting that I do produce may take some time to accomplish.

My next post will be on Wednesday 15th July and will contain some sketches that I’ve been doing for this project.

JGlover