Thursday, September 12, 2013

Disappointments, Inspiration and New Paintings

"Mistress of the Black Dog" Detail

It's been a while since my last post and in that time I have experienced a few ups and a lot of downs. Yesterday - the 12th of September - "R U OK?" Day was initiated in Australia addressing the rise in cases of depression and suicide attempts.

I am one of those Australians who have been diagnosed with depression and have had thoughts of suicide. This was first recognised when I was studying Fine Art at University over ten years ago. At the time my parents were splitting up and I was failing the only thing I thought I was good at it. I had no energy, no enthusiasm and I just felt constantly sad. My head was in a fog. My mum recognised the signs and got me to a doctor who was able to prescribe me suitable medication and recommended I get counselling. It wasn't a quick fix, my parents were still splitting up, I was still doing badly at uni but the medication helped me to focus, I started to think clearer and I managed to graduate with a Bachelor of Art.

Then came last month where I experience a massive bump on this journey called life... though I should say it was a series of bumps that just grew without any relief in sight (I'm still struggling with it to be honest). I won't go into it at this point (unless any of you would like to know please comment below) but lets just say it had a lot to do with traveling/visas, money, employment and illustration.

Anyway what I would like to say is, if you're doing it tough and you are struggling don't go it alone. Find someone you can trust, a friend, a family member, a boy/girlfriend, your wife/husband, priest, mentor - whatever - even your pet will do, (I know I have vented some of my frustrations to my pet dog Buddy and he gives the best feed back - a happy tail wag and a soulful look) tell them you are struggling and that you need a; hug/support/advice/help/coffee. Sometimes it's surprising just how supportive they can be. Don't give up, keep going and keep your integrity.

Below is two images I did during this difficult period. The first is my take on a nymph of a birch forest. She's preparing to leave the forest as it approaches winter and receives a message from Winter in the form of a raven. Her dress is caught in some of the undergrowth and tears as she glances towards the raven, she longs to bring life back to the forest but knows she must wait until spring.

The second is for the Artorder Inspiration Challenge  run by the fantastic Art Director of Wizards of the Coast Jon Schindehette. If you have never heard of these challenges and you like to create either digital, traditional 3D or 2D art you should definitely give this a go. The challenge is due November 18th 2013, so you have plenty of time to get something in.

When I first started working on this I really struggled. I was trying to come up with a cohesive way to combine my love of trees, Pre-Raphaelite art and my pet dog. At first the tree was the focus but I just kept coming up with ideas that have been done to death... then I came up with the final composition, I can't remember how (I think it might have been during an afternoon nap!) but there it is. I have been reading tonal painting and colour theory in "The Student's Guide to Painting" by Jack Faragasso which really helped me with this. The book is very good and is based on "The Reilly Method", I highly recommend it for anyone wants to grow as an artist.

The next painting "Mistress of the Black Dog" points of inspiration include; Pre-Raphaelitism, Romanticism, trees, flowers, sunsets and my pet dog Buddy - who is also representing "The Black Dog" . As I described above I have had some battles with The Black Dog and at the moment I'm keeping him on a tight leash, though it ain't easy! Luckily the black dog in the painting (Buddy) is not a depressing dog and is a fond member of the family.

Thanks for reading this and watching. I wish you all the best.

Belinda Morris.

UPDATE October 2nd 2013 
My painting "Mistress of the Black Dog" won the "Encouragement Award" at a local arts festival :) You can view photos from the event here. It's ironic... haha I needed an "Encouragement"

And for those who are curious here's my photo references, thanks goes especially to Deviantart stock photo artist *chirinstock who provided the inspiration for the girl and her expression.


Now here is the next painting "Mistress of the Black Dog";

and for the curious, here's the reference material (minus the blossoms as I used some blossoming branches from my mums garden - it's spring in Australia);




  1. A real honest and thoughtful blog Bel. Thanks for giving us a peek into your world; a real brave thing to do. And loving your new art, I think ill need a print of the Black Dog painting :)

    1. Hi Cody thanks :) I thought it important to let people know about my struggles hopefully to encourage them especially if they are artists trying to pursue their dreams and are constantly coming up against barriers not to give up and that we are all in it together.
      I'll be getting the prints made up soon both limited edition and lustre so keep an eye on facebook for when I'll be releasing them - thanks again :)