LA > Chi Town > Philly & Back Again

Recently found myself on a train rolling back and forth across the country, so of course I had to document it the best way I know how. Did a digital sketchbook as it’s easier to carry a stylus and iPad than an entire paints set (also, I’ve ruined more physical sketchbooks traveling than I care to remember), so here’s the results. I can’t even begin to describe how difficult it is to sketch while being steadily jostled on a train for hours on end, so while I wish I’d done more sketches during my time spent back east, the protracted concentration needed to create these pieces on the journey demanded I give it a rest - until I was on the return trip with lots of time on my hands. (click the image below to view.)

Where does the time go?

“Dark Seas” digital illustration, 2019.

“Dark Seas” digital illustration, 2019.

No, but really. Where. I feel personally affronted in the ways in which time is always reminding me how long certain projects take to come together. This one - that I’m intending to turn into a second book with dozens if not a couple hundred illustrations - is coming up on three years now. Granted, the idea didn’t solidify until last fall, but still. So here is a new illustration to add to the Dark Mysteries collective, and I’m hoping to focus more on it from here on out so I can get the story finished and the artwork to go along with it realized as well. Cheers to the best laid plans!

Delirium

“Delirium” acrylic & oil, 2019. Lauren Elyse S.

“Delirium” acrylic & oil, 2019. Lauren Elyse S.

There’s so much I could say about this painting - about how it helped push my practice, my mindset about what I want my work to be, how it helped me further let go of caring about how my work is perceived, and how it gave me hell but was worth every second I worked on it and pushed through. But instead, I’ll just show you the label I’ll be affixing to all these pieces moving forward. I dug up a saucy antique printing block and, well, it just seems appropriate that they’re now a mark for this series.

“Delirium” verso.

“Delirium” verso.

“Delirium” verso.

“Delirium” verso.

Gene

“Gene” digital illustration, 2019. Done on Procreate.

“Gene” digital illustration, 2019. Done on Procreate.

While you’re busy letting thoughts for new work fully form, you mess around with digital. Or, at least that’s what I do. I have two paintings in my head that aren’t ready for canvas so here’s an illustration I did based off one of my favorite photos of Gene Kelly. Because, Gene Kelly.

Happy Accidents

“Midnight” digital illustration, 2019. Lauren Elyse S.

“Midnight” digital illustration, 2019. Lauren Elyse S.

Nothing in my work flow ever seems to go to plan. Got set up last night to figure out the final elements of a painting I’m working on when flipping through my inspiration folder brought up a photo of a face. I started mindlessly sketching to get in the flow and then this illustration happened. Didn’t get anything done for the painting. Oh well. That’s how it goes sometimes. You need to listen to the muse and not fight it, I’m not upset about it. I rarely have the interest to draw people - couldn’t tell you why. Perhaps an over saturation of faces in art leaves me wanting to focus on other things, but once in a while I’ll see a face that makes me want to create.

About Last Night

I think the top most frustrating thing as an artist (for me) is when things that usually come easy to you - because you put in years of practice - stop flowing. Being creative is most certainly a muscle you need to constantly flex and condition and even then you’ll have an off day. Normally the drawings I map out for my Touch series flow easily and I’m able to imagine all the spatial arrangements needed without too much difficulty, but this one was a couple days struggle. To decompress before I move this onto canvas I had to just find space to play. So here’s the original digital drawing and a little abstract color play alternate. Now to get this started as a physical painting, take it in a new direction, and hope it comes together with fewer mental blocks.

“About Last Night” painting prep sketch. Digital, 2019.

“About Last Night” painting prep sketch. Digital, 2019.

“Play” Digital Painting, 2019.

“Play” Digital Painting, 2019.

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.


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

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.