I invented the name 'Dashinvaine' for a character in a horror story I wrote when I was a teenager , which was set during the crusades (Sir Aylwin d'Ashinvaine, to be exact). I revived the name some years back as my internet moniker when I joined deviantArt, and a few other sites, because I knew it would be unique. I'm stuck with it now.
How much does it cost to commission you as a freelance artist?
Charges depend on the size and complexity of the project. Please get in touch, as I am always ready to consider proposals. I should be able to offer a viable product and give value for money within the constraints of most budgets.
Who is the girl in your painting? You must know lots of pretty women.
Always room for more. Actually sometimes I make up characters from my head, or use stock reference images, e.g. those provided by good souls on DA. I have a folder on there for 'sock used or might use'.
Can I model for you? / Can you do a portrait of me /my family /my pet?
Yes, especially if you look like Winona Ryder or have a pet dragon. Indeed I do take this sort of commission, and am able to produce pencil drawings or oil paintings from photographs that customers provide.
What are your inspirations?
Many things, including (in random order): Worcester Cathedral by night (representing fond memories of Worcester, where I did my joint art and history degree), the TV series Due South (the Mountie representing the archetypal honourable hero), Burne Jones's painting 'The Fall of Lucifer' , Winona Ryder, Don Quixote, Bouguereau's 'Dante and Vergil in Hell', Vlad the Impaler, Royal Holloway University of London (a magnificent building where I did my MA), a Venetian mask, the spooky church from 'In the Mouth of Madness', a lemur, the replica Golden Hinde at Brixham, John Collier's 'Lilith', Lady from E. B. Leighton's 'The Accolade', Waterhouse's 'A Mermaid', Red Dwarf, Waterhouse's 'The Lady of Shalott', Guinness (representing congenial meet-ups with kindred spirits over said beverage), Canova's 'Penitent Mary Magdalene', Knight from E. B. Leighton's 'The Accolade', HMS Victory, Howard Carter examining the mummy of Tutankhamun, Fella mascot from deviantArt, Father Ted, the Knights Templar, Kenneth Brannagh as Henry V, cup of tea, Lord Byron, San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, and Zurbaran's 'St Francis'.
Artistically I am most inspired by medieval and 19th century art and architecture. The work of modern fantasy artists also inspires me to continually strive for improvement.
What is your creative process?
Most of my images start with drawings on paper. I do like to make things up as I go along, I must admit, so am not in the habit of making too many preliminary sketches. I know it is better, in principle, to have things planned out in detail from the offset, but this takes the ongoing inventiveness out of the artistic process. I like to keep some surprises for myself as I work. With commissioned pieces I obviously have to be more methodical and leave less to chance on the final product.
Why did you go digital?
I first realized the potential of Photoshop when I was briefly employed as a Creative Artworker at Spiral Direct (early 2009). I had the chance to use an up-to date version of the programme, and a graphics tablet, which was something I'd crucially lacked in the past. Soon afterwards I went freelance and invested in a Bamboo tablet and the appropriate Adobe software. (I also commenced a home-learning course in web design using Dreamweaver; first fruits of which include this site, and carolehumphreys.com, a site I made for a friend and fellow artist.)
I have also tried other digital art programmes like Painter, Gimp and ArtRage, but Photoshop is the one I have most taken to. The beauty of 'going digital' is that, when painting, you can make more dramatic changes and corrections as you go along, which offsets lack of initial planning. It's easy to move things around or resize whole elements, for example. I still do oil painting, and occasionally find myself having to paint out and repaint some feature that is in slightly the wrong position. I had to do this with my 'Lady of Shalott', for example. Her eyes were fine, but one needed to be a fraction higher, and there was nothing else for it but to start over! With a Photoshop painting, you can just select and copy the desired part and paste it somewhere else. If it looked better before, after all, you can step back. For all these advantages, though, you can't beat the tactility and physicality of traditional painting, and I won't be getting rid of my brushes, boards and paints any time soon. Of course it's possible to digitally tweak a scanned photo of a traditional painting, but then you are left with a faulty original, and that's not very satisfactory.
You are also an author of factual books. Do you see yourself as mainly an artist or an historian?
Yes. It depends what I'm doing at the time. I don't think people should be pigeonholed. During the Renaissance only pigeons were pigeonholed.
How do I improve as an artist?
Practice makes better. Improvement is a never-ending process. Key aspects include self analysis, and comparing the work you do to the work of others whom you aspire to emulate. Identify where and why you are lacking. Expose yourself as much as possible to the type of art you want to make. Develop your powers of observation and analysis.
Can I add you as a contact on MSN Messenger/friend you on Facebook?
Please send me an introductory email first if I don't know you.
Can I put your art on my website? Can I use one of your pictures for my RPG character (etc.)?
I don't mind my images used in this way as long as you let me know, and it is not for profit. I would appreciate it if you included a note of credit and ideally a link to my website. Some of my work is licensed and/or property of clients, so it is best to check with me whether it can be reproduced elsewhere.
Can I get a tattoo of one of your images?
Yes, and I am always interested to see photos of the results. I am also available for commissions of personalized designs.
Do you sell prints of your work?
I would like to buy an original painting of yours. How come you don't have any list of pieces available for sale on this site?
What is your favourite of the images you have painted?
The next one. Some have been easier to part with than others, that said. The Lady of Shalott sold recently but is still waiting to be collected. I'll be sorry to see that one go.