Back in March, when Covid 19 started to seriously impact our lives, I knew I wanted to do a piece of art as a way of processing what was happening. I had a large sheet of watercolour paper mounted on an archival board that had been sitting around the studio for a number of years. This seemed like the right surface for this project. The imagery came out of my subconscious, mostly fragments of dreams I was having, and some were pulled from sketchbooks. The theme is simple: human knowledge and structures, represented by the tree of knowledge, are humbled before nature.
I took advantage of a very rainy May weekend to finish this new piece called Atropa. It was done with .13 & .18 Rotring Rapidograph pens. I hope you enjoy it. The work is available. If you are interested, drop me a line.
The Bird of Ill Omen, was finished earlier this year. Even though it’s only the end of March, the time spent on this drawing already seems long past thanks to the dramatic events in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first tentative lines for this piece were drawn many years ago: the creature with the bird wings for arms and a few simple lines to indicate the form of the main figure. It was put away, and I forgot all about it. When I returned to it this year, I started by fleshing out and rendering the figures. Only when that was done did I add in the background, and the owl (lending the piece its folkloric title). Compositionally, this piece is a pattern of scalene triangles, and rectangles. The buildings in the distance echo the two main figures. There are strong lines from the elbow of the bird man to the eyeball and the hip of the primary figure. Thematically, it follows my usual preoccupations: artificial life, mutable forms and birds.
The primary figure of the artificial life form is not a scientific construction, but rather magical creature embodying the form of its human creator. It’s simultaneously liberated from stasis by human imagination but fated, maybe doomed, by the limits of the same. Its form follows the human. It’s bias is human. The mutant may represent science gone awry though genetic manipulation – an attempt at developmental peak hopping contrasted with the slower hill climbing of evolution represented by the owl. But I guess if you’ve watch Blade Runner, or more recently Westworld, you know how reliable appearances can be.
PS. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to see a homage to the Residents in this piece.
I hope everyone is doing okay. Today I’m posting a couple of things I did over the weekend. I hope you enjoy them.
I found a little scribble in an old sketchbook and decided to turn it into a drawing. The watercolour gives the piece the feel of a children’s book illustration. One of the faces is even smiling, albeit a little wistfully, which is fairly unusual in my art.
This piece was more or less freestyle. I love playing with the hard silhouette of a profile. This character’s head has the shape of a flea. The foreground character was meant to evoke a death’s head moth.
One of the pieces I’m working on this fall is The Wedding of the Earth and Sky. It will be entirely stippled with my trusty Rapidograph pens. I am pleased with the progress so far. Apart from the pencilling, these images represent about 4-5 hours work thus far. I’m already penciling two more pieces in this cycle of work. I’ll be posting updates as work progresses.
I started a silverpoint commission several years ago (2006) called the Secret Society. Each of the 10 drawings is a miniature (4″ x 3″). This past week I had the time to finish the series, 7-10. I hope you enjoy them!
It’s been a busy summer so I haven’t had the chance to update my blog. With fall approaching I can get back to posting on a regular schedule.
So, first up is this piece, Garden of the Moon, which I just finished on Wednesday. It took two months to complete, in sessions of 2 – 5 hours. So lots of hours, but lots of fun too, working with small brushes and carbon black acrylic ink. The brush and ink allow a fluidity that is more difficult to achieve with stippling, my usual technique. The crazy level of detail is intended to invite exploration within the piece. I am much more interested in that aspect than how it looks from across the room – which is kind of cool too though, right? Really, I’d just like the viewer to read the piece as if they were immersing themselves in a tangled and mysterious fairy-tale.
Garden of the Moon will be on show at the La Lune II show in the Haven Gallery later this month.
This past week was productive. I handed in all of the artwork for Magpie’s Ladder (my forthcoming short story collection) to PS Publishing. Unfortunately I can’t show it to you yet, though if you follow me on Instagram you might have glimpsed some of the work in progress.
Instead, I am showing you this new watercolor piece called Crown of Coral. After a long, monochromatic winter I am in the mood for some color work. I hope you enjoy this piece. I have made it available on my Etsy site for a low price.
Work continues on edits for my new novel, Tailor of Echoes.