Friday, 5 February 2016

Take me home again

I finished my painting! There were times in the last few months I thought I was never going to finish it, but this new year I started working on it in earnest and I couldn't stop anymore.

I love painting on a large canvas like that, it's a totally different experience. It's harder in a way too, because I always turn my canvases around all the time, and with a large, heavy frame like this one that wasn't always easy.

This painting went through so many stages I even lost track of how many layers there are actually on it. But there are lots!

I'll show you the process from start to finish, although I didn't take pictures every step of the way. Sometimes I just sprayed some colour on there as I was passing on my way to somewhere else...

Since most of the pictures were taken on dark, dreary days, the colours are sometimes very drab. The pictures of the finished painting are more or less how it is in "real life".

I'll have to warn you though: it's a long way down before you get to see the finished painting. If you don't want to see all the in-progress pics, just scroll down to the bottom of this post ;-)

This is how it all started:

stamps, stencils and random marks

using lots of water to spread the paint around

adding more marks

and drips of course (my favorite ☺)

trying to soften all the lines

and adding some contrast - ugh

moving into the ugly stages ...

more of the same

no images are appearing to me, so I just keep layering on top

brightening it up a bit

I keep turning the canvas. Still no idea what I 'm doing or where I'm going

brightening it up again.... oh my .... all my marks have disappeared again....

making new marks *sigh ....

at this point I'm starting to see quite a few images: a big dog in front, and 4 faces! But this is around Christmas time and I don't have time to work on it during a week or so, and after that week the images don't appeal to me at all. So what do I do?

Right, I drip some more .... Will there ever be an end to it?

turns out there is .... I can see the outlines of 2 faces in the bottom right

so I bring them to life :-)

And then it goes fast: I see one bird, and while I'm painting it 2 more birds appear

And two faces that were there before and refused to disappear ....

discover an owl in the bottom left corner

now I just need to bring it all together .... (which is often the hardest part)

I had been trying to stay with purple and pink tones (beside the blue), but after I'd painted this bright blue the pinks and especially the purples started bothering me, so I followed my heart and went for my favorite colours: oranges and yellows.

I know now where I'm going with this canvas, but there's one thing that keeps bothering me: the left figure in the foreground. It's a male (I think), and I have no idea what to do about his hair. I try different hairdo's (sorry, didn't take any pictures of those) but none feels right. So I make some circles raining down on his head ...

but don't like it and cover them up again...

In the end I just start moving the paint around with my fingers and somehow he gets a kind of white cloudy hairdo. While I kinda like it, I find it doesn't fit with the rest of the painting and it keeps bothering me.

So I finish the rest of the painting while I keep thinking what to do with his/her/its hair .... In the end I decide on a sort of hat / headband / whatever .... I think it suits him ...

So here's the finished painting:

"take me home again" - acrylics on canvas - 100x100 cm (39,4 x 39,4 inches)

While I was finishing this painting, I realised that for me it represented Australia: the birds, the reds and yellows of the earth, the bright blues of the sky and the oceans, the feeling of longing and home. The country that I fell in love with years ago, and was allowed to call my home for more than 3 years. It still sits in my soul and will stay there. Even though we moved back to Belgium, a part of me stayed behind in Australia and I will always long to get it back. When I look at this painting I feel joy and happiness and longing and sadness all at the same time. How I love it when my feelings get translated onto the canvas without me realizing it. That is for me the biggest discovery of painting intuitively.

So, after this avalanche of pictures, I have a few more things to share, so I better make it quick :-)

First of all: the 29 faces challenge! It's been going really well, and I've been enjoying making a face every day. I have been blogging about it too every day. Not sure whether I'll be able to keep that up though. Since this post is already so long, I'll just show today's face, which is number 4:

You can find the other faces here, here and here.

Secondly: this week I received a lovely package from Jackie. I "met" Jackie online last year and have been enjoying reading her most inspiring blogposts and seeing her wonderful creative art. After asking her about a colourful fruit she showed on her blog, she sent me a whole bag of seeds together with a beautiful artwork and a big bag of "white Christmas"-candy, a delicious sweet that she makes every year with Christmas. Here's a picture of the beautiful tag she made me:

It's so nice to see it in real life, after seeing so many lovely creations on her blog. And I'm looking forward to seeing my own colourful fruit grow. Hope I don't mess it up! Thanks Jackie, you're a sweetheart!

Thirdly: since it's a new month again, I made another wallpaper that you can download if you want:

You can download it here. It should work, please let me know if it doesn't!

Phew, this is it at last. Linking to Paint Party Friday, to Show Your Face and to 29 faces. Go have a look at all these links, so many beautiful and creative things to see and admire!

Thanks for visiting and reading right through to the end ;-) Hope your day is going great, and your weekend will be full of joy. And since I have so many pictures already in this post, one more won't hurt. Here's my funny for this week:

hahaha :-D

See you tomorrow for the next face! ♥ ♥ ♥


  1. I absolutely love the process even the ugly stages, sometimes they are the best to open us up by the sheer frustration. I can feel so much of your Australia work in this piece. It must be spectacular in person. xox

  2. Thank you for sharing your process! It's nice to know someone else goes through the ugly stages too! I LOVE the finished piece! And your #4 face!

  3. This is a fabulous post. Seeing how you achieved your big canvas shows us just how much work goes into it. The face is also on the fab list. Perfectly shaded. See ya on PPF and tomorrow for 29 Faces.

  4. Wonderful post, I admire your patience for going through all those stages and working on the changes to get the final, fantastic result.Have a fun day, happy PPF, hugs, Valerie

  5. Fabulous work, love the dog photo...funny! Happy PPF

  6. I so much love your magical art. Thank you for the calendar page.
    Have a happy weekend ♥

  7. It's lovely, and the process is very interesting. I admire your ability to stay put and finish it off during such a long time. Not sure I could have. Thanks for sharing.

  8. This is wonderful work! Thanks for sharing the evolution of your creation!

  9. As I watch your process I am so aware of your gift that brings these amazing backgrounds to life.
    Thanks for sharing and Happy PPF

  10. i always love seeing your process... it is so mesmerizing!

  11. I do love the new painting and the whole process of getting there is amazing!Once in e great while I can do intuitive painting but fir the most part it alludes me :/ Loving all of your faces this month ♥

  12. I didn't see one "ugly" stage in your process Denise. This is such an amazing piece!! I've also been enjoying seeing the daily faces too-very impressive. Gorgeous tag and how lovely to receive such a thoughtful gift.

  13. Thanks for the step by step transformation of your gorgeous painting, Denise. The colors are beautiful. I love the look of translucence where the light meets the dark. And your 29 Faces face is so pretty.

  14. Woowwww--I love that you showed us the process--so cool. I have a low level of process ability. I like to finish fast, and I know it hurts my work sometimes. This is an inspiration. xo

  15. Your paintings always amaze me. I love seeing your progress and knowing that you also have that "ugly" stage. The finished piece is stunning! I also like your face #4. She's so expressive.

  16. Congrats! Australia got an awesome homage by you! So interesting to look at the different phases of your painting! The colors just embrace the universe and soul.

  17. Oh I loved this long post and each stage of it!!My first thoughts were that the couple was vulnerable. Now I do see the longing too!I did see the hat or shape on the mans head at the start... Oh and do you ever use white chalk to sketch out the shapes...I find that helps because you can wipe it off without compromising the painting!! Love it and your 29 faces too!! Good job...

    Hugs Giggles

  18. Your painting came out fantastic, and I love how you showed us your journey from start to finish. Have a great weekend!

  19. Thank you so much for the step by step! I really enjoyed seeing the process. It is beautiful.I am enjoying my calendar that you created for this year.

  20. Your painting is so beautiful, I loved hearing the story of it and seeing all the in progress photos. Your first face is lovely as well.


  21. I LOVE this post... what a wonderful gist, to see the steps of how you do magic... Awesome!

  22. Oh yes, it was a long way and I enjoyed every single step. I switched back and forward to see if the images were there in the previous paintings and sometimes they were, hiding. Even the owl took some time before he showed himself. Funny how the birds started appearing and the man kept asking to have his hairdo redone.
    A great process post, story and final painting.

  23. WOW Denise
    in addition to the gift of seeing your final painting (a BIG one for sure!) how great that you took time to photograph steps along the way.
    Truly fabulous to see it unfold.
    You are an amazing artist.
    When reading about your Love and longing this quote that I just came upon the other day came to mind (and I know you like quotes).
    "You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place." – Miriam Adeney
    Thank you for sharing so much goodness here.
    I think I need to go play with some paint.
    Happy PPF and Happy Weekend too oxo

  24. Beautiful! And that process is just totally amazing! And the patience you have, wow. I am certain my hesitation with painting is because I just don't think I have the patience to spend the days and days it would take to really finish something great.

  25. my goodness what a process!!!! incredible! so amazing to see how your painting develops! Truly brilliant! :) Have a beautiful weekend!!

  26. That was fascinating seeing your process and perseverance! Gorgeous as usual! Than you so much for sharing. I think it may be time for me to do a canvas soon!

  27. Oh Denise!! I am so happy to finally sit and read my emails and see this post!! I am so excited to see your process and stages of your canvases! My oh my!! I had no idea how many layers you actually go through to get to your final result!Just breathtaking every step of the way!I say this because I hold my breath when I see how you can cover up so many beautiful stages! heeheee I envy you and strive to learn this technique!I adore your art!
    Thank you so much for sharing my art tag on your blog! You are ever so sweet!! And i look forward to hearing about your crop! ")
    I am so glad to have met you and connected,dear Denise, and smile when I look each day at my beautiful calendar!!
    hugs & love,

  28. What a great set of process photos!!! It's fascinating to see where you wander before getting to your destination!


Thanks for taking the time to comment! I love hearing your thoughts about my work. Because I'm getting too many spammer comments nowadays, l have banned anonymous users from commenting. Hope this isn't a problem for you !