Learning to look

It’s almost March and I feel like we’re on the cusp of a new season (despite the imminent arrival of a cold spell). I’m furiously wishing Spring into being by painting a ‘mini artwork’ series of spring flowers. This explains why most of my recent Instagram posts have just been flowers, flowers, flowers. (Sorry, guys! I’ll mix it up soon, I promise!) It also necessitates the creation of a new section for my Etsy shop. Since I’m broadly separating the sections first by material and then by theme, I’ve added a section for the floral oil paint studies named ‘Board | Mini artwork’, which will hold the small oil paintings on canvas/linen board (mostly priced at around £20). This mirrors the ‘Paper | Mini artwork’ section, which is mainly soft pastel studies from my sketchbook.

I also thought this would be a good opportunity to share a little more about my process – particularly how these studies eventually relate to my main pieces of work.

In order to become familiar with a new subject, I’ll practise drawing it in pastel. This process is less about working with the pastel and more about seeing the unfamiliar subject. Anyone who has tried to draw something will know how impossible it feels trying to depict something that doesn’t first exist in your mind’s eye. When doing the pastel studies, I’m focussing on the shape, colour, and texture of the subject; taking note of these features one by one. Then, when it comes to painting the subject in my main work, I can ‘access’ these features and depict them more easily. [For example: the image on the left is the pastel study; the one on the right is part of a subsequent oil painting.] Taking the time to practise looking at the subjects helps me to visualise them while painting.

Since my main medium is oil paint, it is also important for me to practise working with the paint; experimenting and improving on my favourite techniques. This gives me the chance to try out new brushes, play around with the consistency of the paint, and find new ways to apply it. These studies (or ‘test runs’) also improve the speed and accuracy of my main work, and will often be available to purchase as ‘mini artworks’ in their own right.


Purchasing these ‘mini artwork’ pieces is a great way to engage with and support the growth of Studio Llewellyn. Since I am also able to take custom orders, if you see something in the ‘mini artwork’ section(s) that has not progressed into a main piece of work, just drop me a message to indicate your interest in turning it into a personalised painting!


Are you an artist looking to share your work? Become a content creator and promote your art by writing articles and tutorials for Studio Llewellyn. Leave a link to examples of your work in the comments below to be considered!




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