when I started this project, I refused to use the word valentine; so for the first day or so, it was simply the ‘mid-February project’
My reluctance to bind myself to the valentine hype, was partially from my current bah-humbug-to-love attitude and partially that I wanted to create something more permanent, not a card or a throwaway item that ties itself to one day and not the other 364, I don’t want my pieces to live in a drawer, dusty box or on the shelf.
I really resisted the classic man and woman kissing cliché… I wasn’t sure I wanted to do a work featuring a couple at all, but I knew I needed to push myself to celebrate my instinctive representation of that love. All the while wanting to create an image of a woman standing happily alone, doing things her way.
So I decided that I would create two designs: one from the part of me that still believes in romantic love, and one from the part that now understands it’s more important to love yourself first.
Thus a limited edition of 10 prints for both the VALENTINE: “EMBRACE” and the GALENTINE: “BUY YOUR OWN FLOWERS” was born.
It took me a couple of days to finalise the designs, with the advice of my wonderful sisters and mumma before sending the files off to be printed!
Read more below for the process…
I started looking through soppy kissing photos on pexels, rolling my eyes and kidding myself that I was never one of these sickeningly in-love people (ha!). I downloaded a broad range of photos of couples, I knew I wanted to sketch a bit but wasn’t sure if I’d keep the images – I obviously couldn’t use any of my own photos for this project!! (inappropriate)
I had a lot of fun sketching, but didn’t find it easy – I worked and reworked, trying to capture the illusion of a kiss in as few lines as possible. Eventually settling on a combination of many sketches of the same kiss, merging them together. I filmed the process and will post one day…
Obsessively using circles in my art, I didn’t even question it, the circle was there before I’d even thought about it – but, the circle needed something in it! I wanted to use one of my photographs as I’d chosen to use only the line sketch of the kiss, and didn’t want this to just be a line drawing (nothing against them, I love them… but that’s not what I do). So I searched my archives for some simple textures which would look great in black and white; another instinctive decision. I almost sided with a ceiling shot from a london pub* (sat on the floor attending a Sofar Sounds gig) which had lovely circles and was pretty ambiguous, but then I tried the top right corner of my most recent painting which I’d instagramed and it was perfect!
*nothing says love like a pub ceiling…
Four hours into editing photos of flowers that I found searching through my old photos and feeling like it just wasn’t working, I thought to myself, why on earth am I not BUYING MY OWN F+CKING FLOWERS!?! At this point, I had actually already (unofficially) settled on the title “Buy your own flowers” and here I was, scrapping the barrel with something in-authentic and uninspiring. Not only that, they were photographs of funeral flowers – could you get any more depressing?! – that I had been asked to photograph, rather than wanted to.
SO, off I marched to my local shop (mask & gel) to purchase my bouquet, ready to photograph and then enjoy! Integrity intact and passion back on track.
I continued with my first sketch, which I had grown fond of, but was conscious that I hadn’t tried any others…I played around with different photos in the background but eventually selected this unused shot from my Old Mill Creek walk, where I was really happy – I’d wandered off with my camera soaking in the sun’s rays and exploring the foreshore – I thought this was quite an apt image for this piece. With the crop transforming it into quite a subtle abstract, with light bleeds for texture and the blurred woodland sat moodily in the corner… perfect.
My family eventually voted against my beloved sketch, which shows a woman seeming to choke on flowers… my bad. My mum also was adamant that it actually looked like a frog, thanks mum.
I ordered one of these prints for myself, because if a frog choking on a bouquet of flowers isn’t art then what is!? 🐸💐 ➡
Going back to all my saved images (from pexels), I was drawn to the photo of a woman hugging flowers – I knew I would likely be able to use most of my flower arrangement from the frog piece on this if I added to it and manipulated it into the woman’s arms. I didn’t want to overthink things, so I kept it very simple.
some quick videos on the project…
what happened to pt2? life happened.
Seriously though, while out on my walk I managed to rip the skin off the tips of two fingers on my right hand * so fine detail gold-leafing met a little delay & challenge… and I honestly just couldn’t be bothered to edit pt2 with the giant padded plasters on.
by the time I was finished, I was too excited to show pt3 and just glossed over the making-of – well, who doesn’t like a bit of mystery!?
*(HANDS ARE QUITE IMPORTANT TO AN ARTIST!)
p.s I think I look adorable in this video ➔
note to self: make more videos
2 designs available as A4, printed on a smooth, bright white, 240gsm stock poster paper hand embellished with paint & gold leaf detailing
GALENTINE: BUY YOUR OWN FLOWERS
A celebration of & gratitude for: flowers, freedom & females (wxmen)
A celebration of embraces; after a year where they became so much more important or suddenly absent…
Pick your preferred design & then which embellished version you like best! There are only 10 of each design and as they are individually hand decorated – you will be picking the exact print you will receive – no duplicates, no surprises! (make sure you select the right one!)
Each print is numbered and signed.