Category Archives: Paintings

A rainy day in Chichester high street

Chichester in the Rain: the final painting
The first draft

Last year I went to a workshop with the artist Lindsey Cole, and I had such a great time learning new methods of painting. Some of the techniques were familiar but I hadn’t put it all together into one workflow before. It was such a great exercise to take a painting right from the start, creating a tonal drawing, then a mock painting, testing colours, and finally, a completed artwork.

The sketch and final piece

The whole process was enjoyable. I remember quite a lot of Patti’s advice, which means it’s finally sinking in! I cannot believe it has been two years since I did Patti Mollica’s online course.

It was interesting seeing everyone else’s artwork, too. Sometimes, we preferred the “mock-ups” where we worked more quickly. They were more spontaneous and had more random, imperfect brush strokes. The earlier piece has vibrancy and energy, definitely, but I think overall my final piece was better than the earlier version. The composition, proportions and colours are more balanced. The brushstrokes are more considered. There are still bits I would change if I could go back, but I don’t want to overwork the paintings. I shall just try again with new reference material!

Over a year ago, I took the original reference photo on a rainy walk through the Chichester town centre near the cathedral. I really liked the silhouettes of the people walking in the rain, with the puddles reflecting underneath the storefronts. The geometric shapes created by the perspective was part of the appeal. Lastly, the glow was an important feature, so I chose to complement the yellow tones with shades of lilac. (Going for a complementary colour scheme, thank you Patti!)

The original mock-up and the final piece are now available to buy. Contact me on the Contact page if you would like to arrange purchase.

Birds, OWLS, and naked ladies

I spent the majority of 2019 attending a local life drawing class; you may have seen some of the pieces on my instagram @yasminfrench or my artfinder account. I posted some of my favourite pictures- they’re not all great, but I just love capturing expressions and mannerisms, it truly is what makes us human.

I’m hoping to continue drawing and sketching to my heart’s content this year, but, amongst all the naked ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be trying to sketch more scenes and animals. It’s hard, isn’t it – always looking for that balance! Does anyone ever achieve a balance of everything they want to do, or is it just some kind of utopia? 

Spotted Eagle Owl Hiding in Tree Trunk
Spotted Eagle Owl Hiding in Tree Trunk

In December I got really excited to have an excuse to get my acrylics out. I decided to paint an owl for my boyfriend’s parents for Christmas! His mum had hinted she would love a picture of mine and I thought, well, why not?! I chose owls, just because… well, I’ve painted lots before, and a lot of people like owls. His parents live in the countryside, and I knew my portraits of alpacas, emus and similar wouldn’t go down well (they used to run a farm and were sick of the sight of them!).

Owls were a safe bet so I found a really lovely reference photo of a spotted eagle owl in a tree trunk. I cropped in a lot closer, changed the background a bit, adjusted and simplified the bark … you know the drill. There are little bits of Golden gold mica in there, too, to really make the bark pop.  I had so much fun playing with the textures in this!

It is in its new home now. The painting has gone and I’m sad because I was pretty happy with the results (which is rare!). I’m pleased that they were really happy with it and it’s got pride of place at their house. It’s definitely one that I’ll be producing prints of, on greeting cards, and 8×8″ prints.  If you’d like a print, message me via the contact page.

I will be back and will post more about the workshop I went to last year, where I rediscovered a love for painting street scenes! I am seeing paintings everywhere I walk in town, now – expect more in 2020…

All things pink: New Babies and Blossom Paintings

I recently had the privilege of photographing a good friend’s newborn – she is absolutely gorgeous and I wanted to try and create some traditional newborn shots with cuddly toys and soft blankets. I have shared some of my favourite photos in this gallery. Here is sweet Sophia:

I have also added a recent piece to Artfinder and the painting gallery. This was a lovely, whimsical painting of cherry blossom. I wanted to create a serene, soft atmosphere and it’s a relatively large canvas for me. This could be a real statement in the right spot!

P!nk Attitude – New Ostrich Painting

P!nk Attitude – 2018 – Acrylic ink on mountboard
P!nk Attitude – 2018 – Acrylic ink on mountboard

Added to PaintingsAvailable on Artfinder

Ostriches are one of my favourite subjects – they are so funny and expressive, you can almost see human characteristics in them.
I’m so drawn to these birds – llamas and emus too. I loved playing with the FW Inks here although I still need to practice more. I tried wet-into-wet, but it dried so fast, I don’t think I used enough water. I also cropped the painting afterwards because initially I started with washes of colour, and it slowly, before I knew, became another (more colourful!) ostrich painting.

I think it was the colour palette I started with – pinks, blues, and purples. Before I knew it, I wanted a subject with attitude. The title is a play on pink, punk and funk. I call it – P!nk Attitude.

There will be more birds in this series, with the inks, in less “real” colours. I’m also enjoying embellishing and using my iridescent colours – so watch out.

This week I’m hoping to finish a few pieces I have lying around, or if not finish them, at less progress on more unfinished work. I have a few sketches I’ve been working on. I also intend to take the peacocks further, and try again, but in a looser, less illustrative style. I like the pose that I have come up with, so I’ll try some new, looser variations and try to progress it.

I saw this recent post by Nicholas Wilton, and it’s a good watch. It’s about how to find time to make your art. It’s common sense, but it goes against the notion that you have to spend a lot of hours to grow as an artist / creative. Little and often seems to be proven to help lessons “stick” and not lose energy to keep going. Breaks are good, but consistency, and being able to slot in creating around daily life is important. It’s just not realistic for me to spend chunks of 6 hours or more painting. I work full time, and I try to balance that with eating healthily and exercising as well, which also takes time. None of these things exist in a vacuum. When my mind and body are healthy, I have much more ability to focus during those short periods I can dedicate to my artwork.

Book of the week: Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom
Track of the week: Portugal. The Man – Feel it Still