Today’s Art (4th June 2018)

Woo hoo! There are multiple versions of today’s digitally-edited painting: The line art, the unprocessed version, the rain-free version, the “gothic” version (that is more accurate to the original daydream), the “standard size” letterboxed version and, of course, the final version (at the end of this post).

As you can guess, this painting was one of the most inspired paintings I’ve made in a while. In fact, if you look at the line art, you can see that it quickly ended up overstepping the usual sizing guidelines I draw in my sketchbook.

It was mostly based on a visually-striking moment from daydream I’d had the evening before about what Aberystwyth would have been like during the 1980s (although I used some artistic licence when depicting the promenade). The main musical inspiration for this painting was probably the song/music video for “Promised Land” By Skeletal Family.

As usual, this painting (and all the other versions of it in this post) are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

“And A Daydream Of The 80s” By C. A. Brown

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Making Art Based On Daydreams – A Ramble

Ok, most of the time, fully-formed ideas for paintings or drawings won’t appear in your daydreams. But, it can happen occasionally.

For example, the day before writing this article, I was randomly daydreaming about what Aberystwyth might have been like during the 1980s.

Suddenly, a rather vivid 1980s-style image appeared in my mind (with “Promised Land” by Skeletal Family playing quietly in the background too). The image was surprisingly memorable. So, a while later, I decided to turn it into a digitally-edited painting. Here’s a preview:

This is a reduced-size preview. The full-size painting will be posted here on the 4th June.

Surprisingly, I actually ended up turning this into an A4-size piece (rather than using my usual 18×18 cm size). And, yes, I messed up the perspective slightly too. But, interestingly, the final painting looked fairly different to the image from my daydream.

Originally, the woman was supposed to have black hair and the promenade was meant to look a lot more grey and misty (like something from “Silent Hill 2) than it did.

Here’s a reconstruction of what the painting would have looked like if I’d been more accurate to my original daydream:

An extensively digitally-edited version of the painting, which is closer to my actual daydream. As you can see, it doesn’t look as good as the “final” version of this picture does.

This, of course, brings me on to the subject of artistic licence. If you have a direct moment of inspiration from one of your daydreams, don’t be afraid to make some changes to your artwork in order to make it look like a better work of art.

Remember, however good your daydream is, your audience are only going to see the finished painting or drawing. So, don’t be afraid to make some changes if it improves the picture.

For example, I used a more varied colour scheme and lighting scheme (than just washed-out grey mist), in order to make the picture look more striking and to give it a bit more of an “80s”-style look.

Likewise, in order to add more background detail to the painting, I quite literally changed the shape of the promenade (by adding a sort of ravine to it). Whilst this wasn’t entirely accurate to my daydream, it resulted in a much better painting – despite the mistakes I made with the perspective.

Another reason why using artistic licence is usually necessary when making art based on daydreams is because you will probably only be able to make art based on the visual elements of your daydreams. All of the other parts of your daydream (eg: the exact emotions, the “atmosphere”, the personalities of the people there etc..) are a lot harder to translate into words or images.

So, all you are left with are the visual elements of your daydream. By using artistic licence, you can try to hint at the other elements of the daydream (eg: by adding some visual storytelling to the picture or using a particular colour scheme). So, if a change allows you to hint at parts of the daydream that can’t be easily put into words or pictures, then make that change!

Whilst getting directly inspired by a daydream is a fairly rare experience, it is always great when it happens. But, just remember, a good daydream painting isn’t always an entirely “accurate” one.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Today’s Art (8th April 2018)

Well, this (heavily) digitally-edited painting was a bit rushed. Originally, I’d planned to make a “realistic” still life painting of an audio cassette, but since I was running late with everything, the only way I could salvage the painting was to use bolder and slightly more surreal colours and to use a less realistic background. Still, it gave the final painting a cool 1980s/90s-style look though 🙂

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

“Audio Cassette” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (26th March 2018)

Well, this digitally-edited painting was kind of an interesting one. Originally, I felt somewhat uninspired until I remembered a really cool music video/concert video I’d discovered a while earlier and had been watching on repeat. So, I suddenly had the idea to make a music-themed painting.

But, fairly soon after I started sketching, the picture went in much more of a stylised 1980s/90s direction (what a surprise..). Interestingly, this painting originally had a much more detailed background (with a keyboardist and lots of vaguely industrial-looking machinery – you can still see part of it above the green light in the background) but this kind of made the picture look a lot less dramatic or focused, so I ended up using a more minimalist background in the end.

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

“Stage Lighting” By C. A. Brown

Short Story: “Village” By C. A. Brown

It had probably appeared in a film. That is, if films were even known about here. I’d like to think that if anyone showed up with a camcorder, they’d probably have to explain the whole concept of “moving pictures” to the people who gathered in awe around the new-fangled “horseless carriage” that had just ground to a halt on the side of the street.

But, of course, this was just wishful thinking. As Tom brought the car to a halt next to a thatched cottage, he turned to me and said: ‘That hovel probably costs more than we make in a decade, Sally. Rustic chic or whatever. You’ve probably read about it in one of your magazines.

I laughed: ‘Nah. It reminds me of more of a bootleg Sisters Of Mercy record I got from this guy at a concert last year. The cover is this really bad photocopy of a group of uptight Victorians lining up outside a church that looks just like….‘ I pointed through the windscreen at the stone church at the end of the deserted road: ‘Anyway, if this was a posh village, there would be Land Rovers on the street and people with shotguns and tweed jackets.

Tom shrugged: ‘The Land Rovers are probably all in garages and they’re probably rich enough to hire farmhands to shoot their pheasants or whatever. Have you got the map?’

I fumbled through the mess of empty cigarette packets and mint boxes in the glove compartment before pulling out a well-worn OS map. We stretched it out and pored over it for a minute. After finding the nearest large town, we’d tried to trace our route but, no matter how many variations we tried, we still ended up at the same unmarked crossroads. Finally, Tom said: ‘We’re in the rustic village of Lost, population two.

They’ve gotta have a shop around here somewhere. We can ask for directions. That is, if it doesn’t offend your deep sense of tradition.

You’ve been watching too many sitcoms, dear.‘ Tom smirked, before opening the door. I opened mine and stepped out of the car. As I spotted a familiar red phone box standing tall beside what looked like a Victorian school, the faint smell of a bonfire reached my nose. It was one of those old smells that didn’t exactly reassure me. Above us, the sky was pencil grey.

I sighed: ‘On the downside, it’s probably going to rain soon. On the plus side, it won’t take us long to find a shop or something.

Tom smiled: ‘Don’t worry, I think that the pac-a-macs are still in the boot. I mean, I left them in there after that…‘ He wisely let the sentence trail off. A few weeks ago, we’d spent a “romantic” camping weekend in some rainy field in the New Forest that, by the end, had resembled something from a World War One battlefield. How the tent didn’t sink, I’ll never know.

Shrugging, we set off down the street. I was right. It didn’t take us long to find the village shop. It was locked.

Flashing me a lopsided smile, Tom said: ‘It’s probably one of those places that opens at three in the afternoon every other St. Swithin’s Day. We’re better off driving around at random until we find somewhere populated‘.

I couldn’t argue with that. As we walked back to the car, Tom spotted the graveyard next to the church. Spiky iron cages stood in front of the lopsided stones. A spindly, mutant tree towered in the back corner of the field. Tom raised his arms like a zombie and put on an American accent ‘They’re coming to get you…

His eye-rollingly predictable horror movie reference was cut off by the rain. There wasn’t even a rumble of thunder or anything. One second, everything looked normal and then it was like we were standing in the middle of one of those trendy power showers.

Without even thinking, we rushed into the little alcove in front of the church doors. Our way out was blocked off by a solid wall of water. I couldn’t even see the car through it.

Behind me, I heard Tom knock on the door. It was followed by a slow creeeak. For someone who watches almost as many horror movies as I do, Tom really hadn’t learnt anything. He stood next to the dark doorway and smiled: ‘Hey, maybe the vicar can give us directions? Don’t worry. If they didn’t want us going inside, they’d have locked it. Anyway, churches are meant to be open to anyone.

With a nervous sigh, I nodded. We stepped into the gloom. What faint light filtered through the windows showed rows of dark wooden pews, worn memorial plaques and stone pillars. Tom thought about calling out, but the words stopped in his throat. This place made a library seem as loud as a motorway. It was the kind of deep, heavy silence that doesn’t even need sternly-worded signs to tell you to keep it.

Then, I saw him. Against the shadows, something moved. Tom spotted it too. A robed man glided past the bare altar, his face hidden by a hood. We ducked behind a pillar and watched. Another hooded man followed. On some rational level, I knew that they had to be harmless monks. But, in a village like this? This was the kind of place where King Henry VIII’s decree to dissolve the monasteries probably still hung on the local notice-board.

When the third robed man appeared, Tom and I decided to make a break for it. We didn’t say anything to each other. We just nodded and tiptoed. Once Tom creaked the door shut behind us, we ran into the rain. Luckily, the car was directly ahead – but we almost ran straight into it.

Once we’d locked the doors and Tom had revved the engine, I caught my breath. We coasted off into the rain. Finally, I told Tom my thoughts about the monks. He just shook his head: ‘I visited a monastery museum in France when I was a lad. Real monks wear brown or grey robes. Their robes were red.