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.
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.