Monday, 8 October 2012

Kaus, the illustrations

I've just completed a great project to illustrate young adult book 'Kaus, meerkat of the Kalahari' written by South African traveller and artist Elize Drage.
What a fun project! I completed 22 drawings with a soft black pencil on cartridge paper and these are now part of the lovely book you can buy on Amazon (for Kindle)

I will be making a very select few drawings available for sale later this year, so watch this space!

You can read more about the book on Elize's website

Monday, 30 April 2012

Fresh start

Well, it's been a bumpy few months with the gallery opening...and closing, but the time is now to dust off the brushes and get back into some painting. I have a really large idea that's been sitting in the back of my head for about 6 months now, but I won't be starting on that one just yet.

I want to try something a little different, and so I'm abandoning all my current projects to work in acrylic (for the first time in almost 20 years). I'm also going to step away from large formats and I'm going to do a miniature. At the moment I am sourcing a nice piccie. I'm thinking a classical image - maybe architectural.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Parliament paintings - bodies the colour of cement

I managed to get in a good few hours of painting today and after all the concern and procrastination, I actually feel like I got somewhere! I'm really quite enjoying painting in the studio and although I prefer an easel, the set up here is quite nice. I end up standing mostly, which is (they say) the best way to paint anyway.

So in this session I concentrated on the cement bodies of the bottle dancers. As you can see below, the colours of the bodies fit in much better with the skirts. I used very rough brush strokes to show the rough nature of the cement. I layered light over dark (wet-on-wet) brush strokes and used a fine watercolour brush to add some expression details to the faces. I especially like the way the figures' backs are to the light - it presents an interesting challenge for me.

The background is disturbing me at the moment and as mentioned earlier I want to add some additional details from the photos. This will probably include trees, and possibly some extra bottle figures.

Parliament paintings - dusting off the cobwebs and getting on

Getting back into painting has been a bit odd. I can't seem to get into the swing of it; always keeping an eye out for the doorbell at the front of the shop. It also doesn't help that the paint on the faces of the bottle dancers is quite thick and resistant to my new moves. I'm trying to capture the tortured, sad faces of the dancers forever locked into their immovable dance feast. I think I have a) the wrong colour for their bodies (getting aged cement is tricky) and b) there are just too many large surfaces of un-interest which is boring me a bit. I think I'm coming to the realisation that I'm not that keen on doing simplistic images. I seem to enjoy more challenging, complex ones with proper people and possibly some fabric :)

Anyway, I have decided to add some further details to the image including more background bits from the original photograph - this to add some interest.

I've started experimenting with a new medium called 'water mixable oil painting medium' and I'm finding it quite interesting. It smooths the paint and gives it an oilier consistency, making it quite velvety. Will keep using it for a bit and see how it behaves.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Back to business

Now that the gallery is up and running I'm getting back into painting and plan on setting aside a few hours a week to work first on the Parliament painting series, and then a new project that's been mulling in my head.

The studio in the gallery is absolutely perfect to work in as it is...well, a studio. Lots of space, tables, light, paints and best of all I don't have to run an extension cord from the house to get a bit of heating (like the shed in the garden)!

First order of business is to complete the Water Carrier and Bottle Dancer paintings which have been sitting in the shed for 9 months. I've dusted them off and put them in the studio for inspection and mulling.

Another project I'm starting is to decorate in some way the studio itself. It's a rather bland white room at the moment. Something on the walls will be nice!