I’m a couple of days late with this week’s post. Most of the past week was spent marshaling supplies needed for a couple of big illustration jobs, making sketches and basically getting into the creative headspace needed to immerse myself in a multi-month task. I’ve also been in the workshop assembling strip frames for my 8×8 oils, varnishing and trying not to amputate any essential digits. At some point in there I cleaned up the digital file of the Harbinger drawing so that it is ready for the printer in January.
This week I’ll get going on the aforementioned illustrations, and start a couple more of the 8 inch oils. I have an idea for another large ink, so I may spend some time on that as well.
On the writing front, I am almost finished working through the copy edit of Tailor of Echoes. My morning writing project (new novel) is making progress as well. I’ve edited everything I’d written earlier in the year, and now I’m producing new text. It’s very motivating to see that word count climbing.
Currently reading the Quincunx by Charles Palliser and listening to Cluster. If you haven’t seen the Brian Eno documentary called Man Who Fell to Earth, – an odd title given its association with Bowie – it’s on Amazon Prime. I stumbled on it a couple of days ago and it reminded me of a ton of amazing music I’d all but forgotten about.
It’s been a busy week. I’ve been working steadily on Harbinger (see previous post), and on this series of oils (below). These are rough and ready iPhone images off my drawing table and once they are properly finished I’ll put some better shots on my website. Birds and flight seem to be the central theme. I hope you like these in-progress views. I’m really enjoying interspersing my other work with these color pieces. The largest, Cardinal, was actually started the summer of 2019 and had to sit in the studio for a while while I attended to other things. It’s great to finally get back to it. These works will be available for purchase once they are finished, dried and varnished.
Late this week I received the copy edit of Tailor of Echoes from PS Publishing. It doesn’t look too onerous, so I’ll be working though that in the coming weeks, as I also begin work on the illustrations. Progress on the new novel is slow but steady. I have a great sense of my protagonist and the story is unfolding nicely.
What else, oh yes, this week I need to get back to my book blog Amnesiac’s Library. It has been badly overlooked in the past few weeks.
Finally, if you aren’t listening to The Dark Art Podcast, hosted by Chet Zar, get on it. I’ve been listening to some of the recent interviews while I work in the studio. The most recent is Chet’s interview with Kris Kuksi! I had the pleasure of showing with Kris a number of years ago when we were both with Strychnin Gallery in Berlin. Kris’s interview is fascinating. The interviews with David Stoupakis, Matt Levin, Erwin Tschofen, Cris Velasco, Dos Diablos and EGO are also highly recommended.
Truly, finally, if you have a few minutes, please check out my studio sale on Big Cartel. If you use the code ECHO on checkout, you can get a 20% discount on your order.
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.
The Darkling Lands is a new 40 page perfect bound book, which reproduces 28 of my images and includes a new weird tale titled Ecesis. I posted 10 copies on my webshop yesterday, and I am pleased to report they went quickly, but there will be more copies available in about a week. As I noted in the book’s introduction The Darkling Lands of the title, first appeared as a setting in my short story Magpie’s Ladder. The project itself is conceived as a kind of inexpensive portfolio of images from the past few years, selected because they work together. You may have noticed that this is Volume 1. My intention is to create future volumes that follow the same pattern of art and writing, and always include something new with each volume. I hope you enjoy it.
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.
This is an iPhone snap of a watercolor I did a few weeks ago. I plan to do a version of it in oil in due course. It was necessary to suspend my use of oil for a while as the products I was using led to some pretty trippy – but ultimately not fun – ocular migraines. Since then, I have added some odorless oils to my supply cabinet. I’m at the point where I can resume. I really like working in oil – though if you are familiar with my monochromatic ink work you would be forgiven for assuming otherwise. I’ll post my progress here.
At the moment, I am taking a break from social media, specifically Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, so this blog is your best bet if you are interested in my new work. My reasons for stepping back are largely related to a desire to enhance my productivity, but they are also related to the attitudes the designers of these platforms have for privacy, data harvesting, and surveillance. Time will tell how these issues are resolved but for now I plan to be more circumspect in the use of the platforms (though in full disclosure these blog posts are shared to Twitter).
If these issues are of interest to you also, I recommend:
The Age off Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff
World Without Mind by Franklin Foer
Zucked by Roger McNamee
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
These books have all been published recently and give excellent overviews of the issues from slightly different perspectives.
I haven’t posted here for a while because I’m working on some larger projects. In the meantime thought it would be fun to round up a few orphan works. These works were created more or less as materials or technique exercises, or explorations of certain ideas. Hope you enjoy this peek at my process.
This drawing done for fun. It is a brush and ink drawing with a watercolour tint. The underlying monochrome base bled, which gives the piece its mottled appearance.
I really like this piece and hope to use this technique more in the future. The image itself is essentially the same composition at the piece above.
Another acrylic piece.
Yes, this is ugly and a little forlorn. It was basically a stress test for the paper. I kept loading pigment to see what this very thick watercolour paper could absorb. The painting is very tiny and unfortunately its difficult to see properly on a screen. Up close, there are some interesting little passages, such as the one the detail below shows.
I’ve been balancing my production between personal work for upcoming group shows, illustration and fiction writing. Balance is hard to achieve, especially when you get seduced by one particular project. This week is was short stories. I finished two that were, sort of, almost there. I might drop one here, to celebrate the first anniversary of my novel, Necessary Monsters. Like my art, my fiction isn’t intended for everyone. It’s my statement, my aesthetic. I love it when readers respond. It’s so gratifying when people “get it.”
Now that the two stories are finished, this weekend I am returning to the final illustrations for my collection of short stories (Magpie’s Ladder, PS Publishing, later this year). Work on my next novel is progressing, but it’s the kind of thing that has to slow cook.
Booking group shows into 2019. Very excited by projects coming down the line. Thanks for your interest and support.