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Firestarter

This is a recent piece done by myself. I had fun experimenting with a quick pen drawing to add some energy and essence to the piece. I still like the original pen drawing, but somehow along the way I turned this girl into a bit of a fire starter. I think she could also be used to represent Carrie. Perhaps I should create a movie poster for the film using this image. Thoughts?

Anyhow, hope you like, and all have a great weekend!

It’s also Friday the 13th again (twice this year that I have noted!) so incase you missed it, check out my post Friday the 13th

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The original pen drawing below

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New

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This is one of my recent pieces I have been playing around with. It’s a pen drawing that I scanned and edited in Photoshop, adding the coloured aspects. Although it is quite simple, I quite like it. I am a bit like a Gemini when it comes to art. I am constantly changing, and struggle to commit to anything long-term. I suppose it’s because I haven’t settled on a particular style yet. I love digital, drawing, mixed media and painting (which I am aiming to get back into soon). Like this blog, the main subject that connects my work would be the female subject matter. Although I have a few pieces that don’t have women in them. In such a subjective industry it can be hard to predict what people will like, which is why I just have to trust my gut and own aesthetic and hope that others will relate to or enjoy some of my work.

I love sharing work by other artists because I know how valued you feel when people acknowledge and recognise your talent and hard work. And it is hard work. But of course it is worth it. I sincerely believe that all artists have a market out there – people who will buy and adore their work – but the most challenging part is connecting the art and the audience. With the internet it seems easy, but honestly how hard is it to find stuff on the internet? Unless you know specifically what you are looking for it can be pretty hard to discover anything new. That’s another reason why I started this blog, as a way to accumulate art and visuals for my followers. Online magazines and other blogs are great ways to keep discovering, as is Facebook. I found that since I created a Facebook page for The Visual Female I was discovering more and more artists through liking pages and what others were sharing on my News Feed.

I have finally taken the plunge and made a Facebook for my own personal art, and hope to build an audience over time. To see my work, visit my Facebook pageand please give it a like if it appeals. Obviously in this subjective world I am not expecting everyone to love it, I am just trying to see what people think.

Stay tuned for a cool new Visual Female of the Month coming up shortly! And thanks again to all the readers and fans of The Visual Female – you rock xx

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Inspiration

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Above: Inspiration collage.  Below: Pieces used to make the collage

charcoal    Tattooed Illustrations    mirandakerr    birds

sketch    stripes    lips    pink

The Visual Female recently set up a Pinterest page which acts as another outlet to showcase images from this blog. Each image that is posted here, will later be pinned to an appropriate board on Pinterest. But, sometimes there are pieces that haven’t made it onto this blog quite yet. For those, I put them onto my ‘Inspiration’ Board. It is also a way for me to repin the amazing visuals I come across from the boards I follow. I wanted to share some pieces from my Inspiration Board, so I decided to make a small collage of a few pieces as seen at the top of the page. And, just so each image gets its own little bit of fame, they are all there as thumbnails. Hopefully either my inspiration collage, or the individual images can get you all a little inspired. If you are on Pinterest, make sure to follow The Visual Female.

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Closer

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This is a newish piece of mine that I wanted to share. I think it’s been a wee while since I shared an original so it seemed about time for a new one! Plus, I have also added a bunch of new pieces to my Society6 page, so I thought I would do a little shameless self-promotion. If you like this piece, it is available for purchase as a print and other items at my Society6 pageAnd if this doesn’t float your boat, some of my other latest pieces might!

I hope everyone is having a good Monday – mine isn’t going too well as I’ve been feeling rather nauseous for the last few hours. Very strange! Let’s hope you are all doing better than me!

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Bow in Hair Bette

Alice in Aotearoa

Sorry I haven’t been posting for a while – the internet hasn’t been quite up to speed, so I figured I would save the frustration and wait ’til it was better (which is today!) Having slow internet can be annoying, but also rather helpful in terms of getting stuff-you-need-to-do-but-are-too-lazy-to-do done. Without that temptation of the web, one can get back to those things we used to do. In my instance, I started reading my book again (what joy), and worked on a design to submit to The Kiwi Diary 2014. I hadn’t really heard of The Kiwi Diary before, but saw it on The Big Idea – my favourite website for finding creative opportunities in New Zealand. I must have saved the info before the internet went dawdling, so I could read all the info offline and begin to work on a piece to enter. The Kiwi Diary takes all sorts of stuff that represents or relates to New Zealand and then curates a selection to go in the final diary – it can be poems, illustrations, recipes, tips and tricks and so on. Unsurprisingly, I sought about making an illustration. The result is what I called Alice in Aotearoa, which you can see below.

Alice in Aotearoa - Anna McKay

I ended up working in Illustrator and digitally adding to a scanned pen drawing I had done recently. To me, the piece always had a sort of Alice in Wonderland essence. I have another version where I made the traditional Alice connection more apparent, and you may get to see that one day (just not today). But I decided that it would be fun to see if I could connect the piece with New Zealand (which is called Aotearoa in Maori). I added some native insects and a touch of  Maori symbolism and, to my delight, created what I strongly see as Alice in Aotearoa. I have sent it away to be judged and hopefully it will have a special place in The Kiwi Diary 2014. If not, I am happy to have made it.

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Bette Davis

I’m posting this painting I did a few years ago, today, because somebody (somebody cool) purchased a print from my Etsy store. Woohoo! I made an Etsy store ages ago, and only put up a few pieces that I have printed already (but more to come soon). I had almost forgotten that I had done this, when I received notification that I had sold my Bette Davis print. So, I thought I may as well share this image with my viewers.

Bette

It’s a lovely, simple painting that I did quite a while ago when I was rekindling my love for art. While I studied art at high school, I focused on still life and abstract art. Only when I left school and began more self-taught art did I start painting people (well, just women… what a surprise). In my third year of University I developed a renewed passion for art and anything creative. I was loving my film studies, writing interesting essays on all sorts of creative topics, and teaching myself how to paint women. I began with some classic actresses whom I was then watching in class. They were the perfect place to begin, and allowed my minimal resources (paper, black paint, a few brushes) to flourish. What better way to translate black and white movie actresses than in black and white? During that year I also experimented with women in colour, and while I like what I produced, it seems the public prefer my black and white pieces. Perhaps it’s the style, or the subject, or  the combination, but they seem to do alright.

I love this image and have the original hanging in my room. So, I am really glad that somebody else seems to agree! I hope the print brings them some joy. If you like this image, I have one small print left for sale on my Etsy store, as well as various prints and products you can purchase on Society6, and my most recent outlet, Redbubble.

Also, let me know if you like artwork like this, and whether or not I should dip my brush back in this style.

rein3 Bow in Hair T

This vs. That: Round Nine

It’s time for Round Nine of This vs. ThatThis month I look at two pieces by Jen Mann. The catch is, that the pieces are actually only one piece (!?). Well, not exactly, but I look at how she has edited an existing piece of hers to make a new piece. Photography, luckily, allows us to see the before and after to which I comment on. Have a read over Round Nine: Visibility and let me know what piece you prefer. Did Jen Mann make the work better? Or should she have left it alone? Or, perhaps it could still be worked on? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Round Eight: SkullsRound Seven: FacelessRound Six: Creepy Children

Want a wallet?

I have just discovered Dynomighty. You may be familiar with the somewhat recent Tyvek Wallet, or Mighty Wallet, which Dynomighty produce. As part of their democratic design concept, they have an Artist Collective which is a way for artists to submit their own wallet designs to become potential Mighty Wallets. The catch is, for a wallet to get to the printing stage, it needs 30 backers in 30 days. This is essentially a pre-order of the product, which you will only be able to receive if the design goes to print.

As you may have guessed, I have submitted a design, which you can see below (in mock-up). To see the rest of the design (inside, back cover etc) you can visit dynomighty.com. If you would like one for yourself, then ‘back’ the design, and cross your fingers it gets to 30 backers in 30 days.

dynomighty promo

You can also view other products utilising this design at my Society6 page. And bonus! They are already available for purchase. I’m digging the pillow cover, iPhone and iPad cases, and just simply as an awesome framed print.  Go on, get some pink in your life. And remember to ‘back’ this design at Dynomighty if you want a sweet wallet for yourself or some other cool person you know!

Album Cover

A while back I posted an old self-portrait that I had found hidden in a folder on my old computer. Feeling a little creative, I decided to play with it in Photoshop to see if I could make it a worthwhile piece of art (the portrait on its own wasn’t too good!) and came up with something I was relatively happy with. The essence of the image reminded me of an album cover for an electro / indie band or artist. So I promised myself (and my readers) that I would develop the piece even further (adding typography) and pretend I was half-musical and create my own album cover. The result is below.

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I quite like it – although it is a bit weird seeing someone who resembles me (even if just a little) on a cover or poster etc. I suppose the plus side of being a blogger or an artist is that you don’t have to look at images of yourself all the time. I’m more than content to keep my own visual identity a very minor aspect of whatever external identity I may acquire over my life-time. But for now, here’s something you can consider when you visualise the face behind The Visual Female.

And just to be a bit of a nag – The Visual Female now has a Facebook page which you should all go and like! Art and happiness xx

This vs. That: Round Eight

Round Eight of This vs. That is up. This month I look at representations of Skulls in the work of Kelly Durette and Florian Meacci. Be sure to check out my analysis and debate to see who I decided was this months winner.

I’m also trying to update my blog a bit, so you will notice my new way of promoting This vs. That! Way more visual, and a little bit more exciting. But do make sure to have a read over Round Eight: Skulls and let me know what you think – and what you think of  my new way of promoting This vs. That. As you know, it’s always great to hear your awesome feedback!

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REMINDER: thevisualfemale now has a Facebook page, so have a nosy and hit like – that way you can get updates about new posts directly on your news feed. Have a good day everyone! x

Vote for me!

Hey everyone! I was hoping you could do me a huge favour and go and vote for my design. I’m coming 11th in the competition which runs until the end of the month. Share with your friends, and help me get to the top! Although the top 10 get prizes, I would love to win it. $500 would be the perfect start to put towards my clothing design business I am formulating. If all my followers voted, I would have a chance! So be kind and I’m sure good karma will come your way! Vote here!

Below is the design I submitted. It is for a black and white t-shirt competition. So, if you like the design or just want to help me out, don’t forget to vote! Thanks followers!! xx

HippyWoman 2

Self Portrait

For any of you that know what I look like, you probably won’t be able to see the connection here too strongly. I’ll tell you why. The final result has been distorted in many ways. First of all, it is based off a painting I did of myself around five years ago. This painting was not to exact likeness and was also based off a slightly unusual photograph to begin with. Secondly, all I have left of this painting is a blurry photograph I happened to find on my old computer. And finally, I have just spent some minutes playing around with it in Photoshop to see what I could transform a blurry, mediocre self-portrait into. Below is the result.

Selfportraitphotoshoplay

I’m not disappointed, in fact, I quite like the effects I have created. Maybe if I was a super-cool, pop-electro (do I even know what that is?!) singer then it would make for a sweet album cover. Agree? Maybe I should come up with a band name and album title and Photoshop it for real. Challenge to myself accepted (I’ll keep you all posted).

I thought I would also show you the original photograph I had to work with. I remember painting this and luckily took a photo as I went, because I had one of those heated (passionate?) moments where I scribbled all over it and ruined it. And then I tried to make it a collage (bottom of page), with minimal success. I photographed that too. So now you can see it all – a work in progress… five years in the making…. and maybe still making…. Enjoy and stay cool x

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Copy Klimt

Like most cool people in the world, I am in love with Gustav Klimt. He has been my art hero since I was a teenager. I always have to scatter a few images of his art throughout my home and he has remained with me from flat to flat over my student years. The beauty in his work is truly incredible and actually quite hard to recreate (trust me, I’ve tried!). Many people, including myself, have attempted to do our own Klimt style piece – some staying true to Klimt by direct mimicking and others by using his style as inspiration only. Below I will share a range of homages to Klimt I have discovered so far. They are all great, but nothing can really beat an original Klimt in my opinion!

Oh, but first I better show you an original Klimt incase you have failed to discover him in your life so far!

Gustav Klimt - The Kiss

Gustav Klimt – The Kiss (detail)

And now for the copy-Klimts

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milo manara paying homage to Klimt

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And, just for fun I thought I would show you my attempt. I did this for a friend a few years ago. Originally it was done in oranges and golds to be more in line with Klimt, but I found it wasn’t working, so in frustration I kind of scribbled over it with blue which changed the whole essence. I decided I liked it so went with a more icy version of Klimt. I quite like the result as it is Klimt inspired without being as obvious as it could be. I have my orange version in a folder somewhere (!) so maybe I will dig that up at some point for comparison. It’s funny how I had done a whole other painting, which remains hidden under this one. Thank goodness for photography so I could capture the underpainting also. I hope you enjoyed these x

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Fleeting

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I started thinking about what I wrote about the fleetingness of street art – the way it could be taken away at any second, only to be truly remembered through the camera’s lens – which reminded me of some pieces I did.  This image is the only real memory I have of this painting.  It doesn’t look complete to me, and its technique is quite flawed.  But there is a nice innocence and ethereal quality that I like, and it is quite earthy.  This wee paintings entire life had nearly vanished completely.  I have no idea where the original is.  And, as it was stored on my old computer that has only recently decided to come back to life, it could have ceased existence.  Anyway, I thought I would share this piece so it will never be forgotten.  Happy weekend everyone.  I hope you do something out of the ordinary, and remember: always photograph your art! x

Close Up

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This is a painting I did probably around 4 years ago.  This was the time when I started learning to draw faces.  Until then, I had thought that it was something I couldn’t do, and had focused on still life and abstract art during school.  And while this was good for its genre, it never really inspired me too much.  I always preferred looking at portraits (as you can probably tell by reading this blog!) so one year decided to give it a go, and am so glad I did.  I thoroughly enjoy painting images of people and now feel confident enough to do this.  I usually use photographs as references, but love how much you can add in terms of mood and essence through cropping, colour and painting styles. I need to get back into it this year, and I also have another goal to do more writing.  I hope I have the motivation and drive to follow through on these thoughts as it always fascinates me what I am capable of achieving when I give it a go.  I look back at essays or creative writing I did years ago, and much like this painting, kind of think, wow, did I do that?  It’s funny, because as we change and grow we can forget aspects of our former selves, but if we document it in words or art we always can connect to a little bit of our own history.  Which can be a pretty amazing feeling.

Collage

So, as promised (for those who actually read me!!) here is my own collage attempt. I posted a while back Pieces, which showcased some interesting and alternative styles of collage.  And, somewhat inspired, I thought I would give it a try.  It is not really anything I have experimented with before, so it was an interesting exercise.  I would say the results are okay.  And certainly working in Photoshop had its benefits.  I find when doing a hand-made collage that the most frustrating aspect is not being able to alter the sizes of your material to make it work/connect with other images/aspects.  Photoshop makes it easier to scale images to an appropriate size to help the overall flow of the image.  Arguably, this image would have turned out dramatically different had I only had access to predetermined sizes of images and thus only be able to manipulate them in a compositional way.  Nevertheless, I am pretty happy with what I created.  It is really quite fascinating that you can have no vision, find multiple images and then compile aspects of them together to make something that works.  And yet, any one of you would have made a completely alternate result.  Truly fascinating.  If anyone would like to give this a go, I would be more than happy to send you the images I made myself choose from and let you compile your own collage.  Only catch is that you must send your result(s) to me and let me post it/them on here.  Go on, challenge and excite yourself!  I would love to see what your creative minds come up with xx

Distorted Image

I thought I would put another of my original pieces up seeing as I haven’t done this for a long time!  I did this one in a drawing class while I was studying.  We had to find a photograph of a person we admire and then create a random grid that would distort the image.  The concept was that we couldn’t tell how the image would turn out until we had finished drawing it.  So, despite it being an exercise about ‘letting go’, the Virgo in me couldn’t help but somewhat try to plan the grid in my head to make an image I could visualise and thought would be aesthetically pleasing.  As I’m no mathematician, the final result didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned. But, I really like how it worked out.  To me, the image I created has such a likeness to a witch.  And, despite this not being what I had intended, I quite like it.

Here is the image.  It was made using black pigment liners of varying point sizes.

If you like this drawing, it is available for sale on Society6.  I especially like it as a tote which you can see below.

And for those of you that are curious, the original image was of one of my favourite ladies, Louise Brooks.  Points if you had guessed that!

Green With Envy

I just submitted this image to Design By Humans.  It’s a place where you submit t-shirt designs and if you get enough votes and they like you, your t-shirt could get printed + you get some moolah.  I have just finished my design course and am essentially unemployed, so I thought why not give it a go.

If you like this image, you can see how I would position it on a t-shirt here, and if you are feeling super nice you could even give it a vote!

Have a nice day xx

A Little Serenity

This is an illustration that I did recently.  I used some existing patterns that I had drawn and put them into a simple line drawing to create texture and variation.  I think the result is quite nice, especially for something so simple.  And I love the serenity on her face.

It’s Saturday and the sun is shining so I thought this image seemed appropriate.  Enjoy x

Eostre

copyright Anna McKay 2012

This is a painting I did.  I was hoping to make it to the New Zealand Art Show and sell some work, but it seemed that the judges didn’t like me.  Never mind, now I get to keep it.  I haven’t actually ever sold any art yet.  I would like to as it would be great to get some income and also to know that people have liked and purchased my work!

I used acrylics on paper to make this image.  I really like it.  Her face is so simple (i.e. not much shadow / shading on her skin), but I tried to put nice detail into her eyes and lips so they grab you and draw you in.  I love striking art that you can’t just walk past.  So much stuff out there is good, but a lot of it you might not notice unless you were purposefully looking.  I think this is why I love portraits.  They are certainly harder to ignore, especially when the eyes take you on, or follow you around the room.  Beats landscapes for me any day.  But that’s just me.  What do you prefer?  Painting with people in them, or painting without people??

Leo Woman

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This is a sketch I did to represent the astrological sign Leo.  I have been working on a zodiac series in which I start with a drawing and then take it into Photoshop and Illustrator and make it more of a graphic poster. So often the sketches can be quite simple and don’t work too well by themselves.  However, I really like how this one looks as it is.  Definitely another example of a strong woman.  Sexy and seductive, but also powerful and a little confrontational.  This photo I took turned out a wee bit blurry, but I quite like that as it gives it a kind of vibrating energy which is pretty in sync with a Leo.

Hope you like x

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