i. am. exhausted.

& this is only the beginning. If this is the first you’re hearing about my current project, I’ll catch you up in just a few words:
I’m writing my second book (read more in my previous post here) and I just spent the last month and a half illustrating a full scene just about every day in conjunction with the inktober challenge. It was absolutely brutal. Creating a work of art each day is tough enough, but I was doing it within the tight bounds of a story I was writing as I went along. I can’t remember the last time I did a project of such intensity in terms of time constraint and it being coupled with writing a book along side. I pushed myself as hard as I could (and slept very little while pacing holes in my floors).

So yeah. I have about a third of the book plotted and over 30 illustrations done. It’s yet going to take a lot more work to get this book finished but I’m really excited for the challenge. If you want to see all the illustrations I did this year (and a few from last year), click the images below. &, if you want to read the beginning of my story, join my mailing list and I’ll send along the password to the secret page on my website. But for now, I need about a week long nap. (If only, on to the holiday commissions!)

Storytelling

If there’s one thing I love doing with my art, either on a micro scale within one single painting, or on a larger scale with a series - it’s storytelling. I don’t want my art to be something taken at face value, and so I’m really, really excited about my latest project that will culminate in my second book (First book? You say - click here). I detailed a little bit about it in my previous post (you can read it here), I’ve built up over 20 illustrations so far (check them out here), and I’m busy building out the written story itself. It’s taking shape organically as I create the pieces that inform the story, and the written story is inspiring new illustrations. It’s a super rewarding process, regardless of outcome - though I’m working hard to make the end result deeply interesting, and a book worth reading as well as collecting.

Although a lot of the work I’m doing on the art end of this has been digital (as I decided to work within the Inktober format, and to push out a full illustration a day is rough enough on its own, doing it traditionally would have been near impossible to keep up with for this project), I am going to be pulling ideas out of my digital work and creating hand drawn pieces as well as hand cut, hand pressed limited edition prints. These will be available as I go through the process of putting this all together. I’m thinking giveaways and/or a kickstarter? Those details are still a ways off, but they’re in my mind, and if you’d like to not miss anything, please join my mailing list (that form just off to the right) and keep up with my Dark Mysteries.

 Click this image to go to my  Dark Mysteries page  here on my site and view many of the illustrations that will be used for the book.

Click this image to go to my Dark Mysteries page here on my site and view many of the illustrations that will be used for the book.


Dark Mysteries

For once! I’m prepping and ready for inktober this year. If you’ve never heard of inktober, click here. Essentially it’s an exercise artists can participate in to challenge and push their skills in inking and design. I absolutely love it as I work in a fully black and white format and it informs my choices and spurs growth in my style very quickly. It’s also insanely exhausting. Last year I burned out (and my marker quit) after about eight days. One reason for this is that I work within the tight bounds of a very specific theme. It’s a darkly magical, Faustian, mysterious theme. It’s a flip side of my personality and interests, and one I can only fully delve into in such intensity for so long. The month long format of inktober is a perfect frame of time, but still not one I’ve ever successfully completed. This year I’m working not only to complete the 31 days but to push the complexity of my narrative, line work and composition, something I’m able to do thanks to the outrageously amazing app Procreate. Working digitally this year will allow me to experiment more freely without losing years of my life by - quite literally - going back to the drawing board when working out compositions. As a sneak peek teaser here are the first two pieces I’ve completed ahead of the start of the inktober challenge, and if you’d like to see more of this narrative you can click here to go to my Dark Mysteries gallery. If you want to follow along, each day of October I’ll be posting one of these to my Instagram & Steller pages. There I’ll also be posting time lapse videos of these pieces so you can see how they came together, which I think is a pretty awesome aspect of working digitally, as well as background details about pieces that unlock more of the symbolism. There’s more than meets the eye in a lot of these. Hope to see you there!

 Apothecary’s Darling. 2018, digital

Apothecary’s Darling. 2018, digital

 Be Wary What You’ll Find. 2018, digital

Be Wary What You’ll Find. 2018, digital

Roaring

 “Roaring” digital drawing done on procreate. 2018.

“Roaring” digital drawing done on procreate. 2018.

I don’t often draw people. Couldn’t tell you why, I find people insanely fascinating on so many levels, but it just takes a lot for a face to catch my eye and compel me to draw it. I’m working on changing that by getting some digital drawings together of faces I find intriguing - that all seem to be coming from the vintage fashion loving crowd. (Perhaps this has something to do with my love of Mucha’s ornately attired women.) This is burlesque performer Dandy Dillinger.

Roaming Abroad

I've started a new series in earnest that's taking on a life of its own. It began with the simple idea of explaining how all my work comes together - both as a visual catalog of what inspires me, and to show what is constantly knocking around in my mind that informs the more involved paintings and compositions I pursue. It's also helping me work on what I set out to do at the beginning of this year, which is loosen up my style. Each of these paintings is one brush stroke closer towards instinctual mark making while letting the overly-focused/critical side of my brain rest after doing the heavy lifting with composition. I have to admit it's a freeing way to work. I'm holding myself to as few rules as possible while doing this in order to allow each piece to stand alone and be as idiosyncratic as it needs/wants to be. The only task I've set for myself is that each successive painting must have elements of the directly previous one - whether it be an object, shape, pattern, or just a color - and imagery from paintings previous in the series can and should pop in and out. So this first series is now starting to build momentum, and I'm really loving where it's going. I hope you'll consider following along with each new piece on my Instagram.

I'm calling it "Roaming Abroad" as that's what and where my mind always is, and by you engaging with it you're doing the same, taking time to explore the landscape I've created for you.

 "Waiting" acrylic on clay panel

"Waiting" acrylic on clay panel

 "Where Do I Fit In?" acrylic on clay panel

"Where Do I Fit In?" acrylic on clay panel

 "Untitled" acrylic on clay panel

"Untitled" acrylic on clay panel

 "Just Turn Off the Lights" acrylic on clay panel

"Just Turn Off the Lights" acrylic on clay panel

 "Untitled" acrylic on clay panel

"Untitled" acrylic on clay panel

S A L E

 "Gather in the Midnight Meadows" acrylic and oil on canvas panel. 

"Gather in the Midnight Meadows" acrylic and oil on canvas panel. 

If there's one thing I never, ever do - or, more precisely, have only done one other time in my life and don't plan on making it a habit - it's put my original works on sale. This is only the second time I'm doing this, and for reasons of my seriously pursuing residencies for the upcoming year. 

I'm finally in a point of relative stability in my itinerant ways, I've locked myself in to a new body of work (more on that in my upcoming post), and am looking forward to new possibilities. I'd really like to attend a residency in 2019, and so all my energies are currently being geared towards that. In collecting a piece of my art you'll not only be helping me cover costs for residency applications but for materials in my new series of work. If you've ever had your eye on a piece, now is the time to grab it! 

Click here to go to my online shop.

Original paintings are 30% off, original drawings are 25% off, open edition prints are 20% off, limited edition prints are 10% off.

Thank you everyone so very much for your constant attention and support of my work, it's both encouraging and uplifting that my art resonates with you.  Also, if there's a specific piece you see on my site not listed, please don't hesitate to ask me about it via my contact form, here

 "Other People's Lives" acrylic and oil on canvas panel.

"Other People's Lives" acrylic and oil on canvas panel.

 "Two ends of the Sea." oil and acrylic on canvas board.

"Two ends of the Sea." oil and acrylic on canvas board.

Melt

 "Melt" digital painting, 2018.

"Melt" digital painting, 2018.

 

I couldn't tell you if it's the weather or just a new pace my life is taking, but I'm embracing the slowdown as I let ideas simmer. In the meantime, here's another digital piece inspired by Mughal carpet designs, the scent of flowers on a warm wind, and one of my favorite colors - persimmon.

The Stormy Sea at Night

 "Turner-esque Nocturne" Digital Painting by Lauren Elyse S. 2018.

"Turner-esque Nocturne" Digital Painting by Lauren Elyse S. 2018.

 

I don't remember the first time I saw Turner's abstract atmospheric paintings, but I do remember how they made me feel. It was like a lightening bolt - they woke me up. The energy in them is insane. I particularly love Nocturne Black and Gold: the Falling Rocket, and Fishermen at Sea. My worship of a stormy sea rolls deep, and so here is a little digital painting in the vein of Turner.

Finally!

Some new digital work happening now that I was able to get Procreate back into my process. What a relief, it's such an amazing asset to have for working on the fly, for figuring out new ideas, or just practicing techniques. It's so important to my work flow that I'm really going to be able to kick it into overdrive now, and I could not be happier. 

 "Heatwave" - digital illustration 2018. Lauren Elyse S. For limited edition prints,  click here .

"Heatwave" - digital illustration 2018. Lauren Elyse S. For limited edition prints, click here.

 "Cat" - digital drawing 2018. Lauren Elyse S. To commission a portrait drawing,  click here .

"Cat" - digital drawing 2018. Lauren Elyse S. To commission a portrait drawing, click here.

That Time I Wrote A Book

 

 

True story. Well, actually, it's an historical fiction, but it is indeed true that I published a novel, and it's currently free to download in Kindle format this week. So if you're at all curious, click the cover to the right (which I also designed and painted) to grab it. Truly hope you enjoy and would love to hear your thoughts if you do give it a read.

Botanical Waters

 San Diego waterfall plein air, oil on wood canvas, 2018. 

San Diego waterfall plein air, oil on wood canvas, 2018. 

 

A little plein air piece from a few weeks ago up at the San Diego botanical gardens. They have a really energetic and moody waterfall tucked in the hillside whose course and chatter I'm sure I wouldn't tire of even if I sat by it for days and weeks on end.

I'm currently in my studio wrapping up a piece from my main series of work, and although it's been stop and go for me over the past few months I'm looking to remedy that this week. Excited about it!

Nocturnal Animals

 "Nocturnal Animals" acrylic, oil & brush pen on linen canvas panel, 2018.

"Nocturnal Animals" acrylic, oil & brush pen on linen canvas panel, 2018.

New thoughts, figuring out new ways of deconstructing compositions and layering that leads to an impossible to photograph painting = another day in the office.

California and its Cliffs

 Plein air oil on canvas, 2018.

Plein air oil on canvas, 2018.

There's just something about the rocky coastlines here in California that draw me in, and they're either wonderfully caricatured or frustratingly impossible. This one started out the later but I tamed it to the former. A little cove down the street from my house - my favorite spot to tuck away on sunny days.

Lately

For a long time with my art I was concerned with subject matter. I didn't know what I wanted to paint, and over the years I've honed in on what I like: nature, mostly, architecture, and people, sometimes, but not in an academic realism sense. As you can see in my abstract limbs series I focus on representations of people and their suggested actions, asking you to look long enough to decode its imagery. Now I've come to the point where I know what I like to paint and I'm trying to push myself in technique. I've recognized I own a duality that, on the one side, causes me to obsess over accuracy, and on the other, an emotive side that wants things looser and more gestural. With each piece I've been working on lately I've been focusing on getting the grander image accurate and the details more instinctual. Trusting your gut is a terrifying business. Refining these two forces that pull in opposite directions is what I'll be working on this year, and here are a few of the pieces that have come of it so far.

 "Camerieri in pausa fumo" Gouache on paper.

"Camerieri in pausa fumo"
Gouache on paper.

 
 "When the Campaign is Won" acrylic on paper.

"When the Campaign is Won" acrylic on paper.

Meet the Hedonists

 Meet the Hedonists. Watercolor on paper, 2017.

Meet the Hedonists. Watercolor on paper, 2017.

Sometimes a commission comes my way by request of a passionate art collector who offers me the freedom to really stretch out and push the themes I've been working in - these are the types of requests I live for. I was asked for a mother daughter portrait in a dreamy format incorporating the abstract florals I've been using in my watercolor and limbs series (I've yet to come up with a name for this series. Working on it.) This watercolor portrait is the result and I couldn't be happier with it. If you're at all curious to see the stages of this painting I've been trying to update more progress shots of my work on my Instagram account. Click here to see.

Natural State

natural state sm.jpeg

 

It's been a while since I've had the time to dedicate to a lush piece. This one is titled "Natural State" & includes botanicals I chose because they're some of my favorites as opposed to their meaning - which is normally the way I compose these paintings. 

In case you were curious: 
monstera leaf, blue bird of paradise, zygopetalum orchid, winterberry, kiwi vine, clock vine, chocolate cosmos, foxglove, rubber plant, lunaria, fern curls, blue Himalayan poppy, maiden hair fern.  

You can grab the original or a print of this by clicking here.

New Things

New paintings of old things, actually. Historic books and buildings, all the places my mind likes to tuck itself away.

 

Prints!

So it's years overdue, but I've finally got the proper camera to clearly photograph my work - so this means, prints! I'm especially thrilled because now I can share with you my favorite paintings I've done. Click either of them to pick up the print in my online shop.

 "Other People's Lives" Click the photo to grab the print!

"Other People's Lives" Click the photo to grab the print!

 "Mind vs Mouth" Click the photo to grab the print!

"Mind vs Mouth" Click the photo to grab the print!