What inspires my colour schemes and backgrounds.


I've had a little break from blogging recently. I have been pretty busy with commissions and trying to finish personal work so it has been neglected slightly - sorry! I thought I would get back into the swing of writing again by talking about what inspires my colour schemes and backgrounds. It is always important to me that my paintings have a contemporary twist. I think a lot of Pet Portraiture is quite traditional - photographic drawings of labradors and pheasants - not that there is anything wrong with that style of work, it's just not something that I'm particularly interested in creating.

Sometimes colours I see while I'm out walking in St Leonards and Hastings work themselves into my paintings. I am particularly drawn to candy coloured pastels (like this perfect pink door here.) If I have a clear idea in my mind of what I want a painting to look like, I do a few rough sketches of it first to ensure it's going to work. Otherwise, I start painting the pet first and take inspiration from the pets colouring or it's surroundings.

Often I am sent a photograph that lends itself perfectly to a scenic background without many alterations or sometimes I am requested to paint in a certain backdrop. A recent example of this is Tiberius (the ginger cat pictured below). My customer requested him to be surrounded by a floral, leafy jungle and asked that I include some flowers they grow in their garden - Cat Mint, Peonies, Gladiolas and Cosmos. I absolutely love painting scenic landscapes as I can spend hours obsessively building up layers and layers of detail.

Foliage and floral prints always seem to have a habit of popping up in my work. My mum is a garden designer so I practically grew up in garden centres and country gardens. I haven't quite caught the green fingered bug yet (our garden still needs a lot of work!) but I have lots of house plants at home as well as lots of floral print bed spreads and throws. This background was inspired by a bold seventies print fabric I came across online.

I'm also a huge fan of Pinterest and always find some inspiration there if I ever get stuck. My 'Art I Like' Board is my favourite is scroll through when I'm feeling a bit lost. I'm a massive fan of Kris Knight's luminous pastel coloured portraits and Naomi Okubo's paintings which are an INCREDIBLE mash of colour, pattern and textures. I hope one day I will be as amazing at painting as they are. I read somewhere that to become an expert at something you have to put in 10,000 hours of practice - I better get painting!

Kris Knight - Speak for Me, 2014

Naomi Okubo - Between a room and a room of the wallpaper of the leaf pattern, 2012

If you enjoyed this blog post, please do give it a like and a share! Any support is as always much appreciated! Come find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter if you would like to see more of my work!

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Finnley Elliott // Professional artist specialising in Gouache and ink  / Contact : finnleyelliott@hotmail.co.uk

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