'Pagan Soul' poetry project with Mark Westmore

I've taken some photos of my latest painting in stages, to demonstrate how I create my artwork. 'Pagan Soul' is my latest in an ongoing collection of paintings, part of a poetry collaboration with local poet Mark Westmore and this painting includes the poem within the artwork.

This is a page from my poetry collaboration sketchbook; all of the ideas start off as squiggles and doodles inspired by Mark's words. I felt compelled to use the spiral shape from the beginning, so based the composition around this.

I made some quick sketches of wolves from photographs in biro.

I decided to choose the white wolf, as that seemed to fit my original idea the best.

I lightly sketched out the basic composition within a box, so that the sequence of paintings are all the same size.

Playing around with colour; I didn't use all of these in the end, as I thought the greys may give a less vibrant atmosphere - and I wasn't sure how the silver would work. That's one to experiment with in the future, when I don't have a deadline to keep to.

I start with the light colours first; with my scraping technique the first colour you put down is the one that comes through, so I'm careful about where I'm placing them - but not too careful, as the random results are often the most interesting.

I make sure that no area of paper is uncovered by pastel (or the ink will just stay there) and then brush away the bits.

This is something I haven't detailed before: to make the writing black on a pale background, I scratch deeply into the pastel, before applying the ink.

I cover the writing with ink and allow it to dry, before scraping it away. Usually I like to work with wet ink, but this would ruin the detail of the writing here.

Next I cover the entire surface with ink, in this case prussian blue water based lino ink. I leave some white areas, so that it doesn't become too dark.

I need to start quickly scratching away the fur of the wolf - and particularly the eye - as this works best when the ink is still wet.

I decided to add some ivy as a border, as I thought the writing might look a bit random on its own.

Then I had some fun scraping away the ink from the writing; it's worked really well this time - probably the hot weather made it dry faster - and I don't need to fill in any gaps.

A bit more painting and scraping.

And I finish it off with some white and silver ink splashes, covering the writing, as I don't want to reduce the legibility of the poem.
To read more pagan poetry by Mark Westmore please visit: https://www.facebook.com/wayahed/
Thanks for reading my blog!
If you want to keep up with my regular blog posts please follow me on my Vikki Yeates illustration facebook page.