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.
Along with a couple fairly involved ink drawings, I also have several paintings on the go. Everything is in various states, from OMFG why did I start this thing? to hey this is working. So, those of you who paint will know the piece above (put through a render on my “tin type” app) only has a neutral layer of oil. What you see here will vanish pretty quickly. I’ll post updates as I go along. I’m racking up half finished works to get me through the winter, like a squirrel storing nuts, or maybe a nut storing squirrels. Who’s to say?
Today’s musical recommendation is Foam Island by Darkstar. Or anything by Darkstar actually. Music is essential in the studio. If you don’t know them, check out Foam Island, I doubt you will be disappointed.
This watercolour is a study for a future oil painting. I wanted to give the figure an avian quality, hence the placement of the eye. The whole piece hinges on that pitiless eye! I think it’s also quite funny. I have a series of paintings in mind featuring monsters in remote outdoor settings. I plan on doing these in the coming months, probably spread out over the year. If you’re wondering what that might look like, Tadpole Tales (below) is the kind of thing I am talking about. Each medium has its own qualities to recommend it.
I had to take advantage of the light this morning to do a watercolor (or strictly speaking an acrylic ink) painting. The paper wasp nest on the figure’s head is directly inspired by a yellow-jacket nest I’ve been watching over the summer in our garden. The recent cold mornings have killed off the nest, but over the past few months it was fascinating to watch the activity rise and fall with fluctuations in temperature and humidity. This figure is an anthropomorphic representation of hunger, a hunger that might be literal, but which I intended to be a more abstract.
The Veil is a cross hatched drawing done with a dip pen and then painted with acrylic inks. The drawing was done last year but the coloring was done today. One of these days I’d love to illustrate a book in this technique.
This piece is on sale. If you are interested you can check it out in my webstore. Each time one of my sale pieces sells, I put up a new sale piece (eventually).
I had a nice time working on this painting last summer, so it is rewarding to see it in its finished form. The cover design looks great. I believe it comes out next month (March). The book also includes b/w interior illustrations.
I came across this image while poking around on the Morgan Library and Museum website. It’s a beautiful sketch by Audubon. In the notes I discovered that Audubon had written a few lines in graphite on the back of the paper. I don’t know the circumstances that would have enabled Audubon to work at such a time, but the note is a moving reminder of what artist’s sometimes ask, and receive, from their work.
“I drew this Hare during one of the days of deepest sorrow I have felt in my life, and my only solace was derived from my Labour – This morning our beloved Daughter Eliza died at 2 o’clock – She is now in Heaven, and May our God ever bless her soul!”
James John Audubon, from the back of drawing “Gray Rabbit, Old Male, Female and Young.” Morgan Library and Museum.