The Plague Tree

The Plague Tree, 2020, ink on paper, 27 x 19 inches

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.

  • Richard.
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Rumour

Rumour, 2020, ink on 140lb Arches hotpress paper, 7 x 10 inches
Documentation – work in progress from iPhone
Documentation – work in progress from iPhone

Most of this week was spent editing my novel Tailor of Echoes before it goes back to the publisher for copy editing, but today, I needed to break out the technical pens and draw this vignette piece called Rumour. It’s a playful reflection of everything going on in the world right now. The piece is available on my webstore.

Speaking of the webstore, my summer sale has now ended. Thanks to everyone who took advantage of the 25% off deal to pick up a print or original. It’s much appreciated. Please keep checking back as I will be adding new things from time to time.

Finally today, I just wanted to remind you that copies of my illustrated short story collection Magpie’s Ladder are still available on the PS Publications website. If you missed the trailer I made for the book, you can see it on Vimeo. My novels Necessary Monsters and The Lost Machine are now available on Audible in audiobook format from Ecyclopocalypse

  • Richard

Atropa

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Atropa, 2020, ink on 140lb Arches hotpress paper, 14″ x 10″

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.

– Richard

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Atropa – Detail 1

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Atropa – Detail 2

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Atropa – Detail 3

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Atropa – Detail 4

Bird of Ill Omen

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Bird of Ill Omen, 2020, ink on 300lb cold press paper, 10 x 14 inches

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.

  • Richard

PS. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to see a homage to the Residents in this piece.

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Detail 1

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Detail 2

TheWedding of the Earth and Sky

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.

– Richard

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Spring Sale on Small Originals

I am offering 20% off original art on my web store until Sunday, May 19. This is a great opportunity to pick up a smaller original work for a great price. Several have already sold. I won’t be offering sale prices again until the fall. Here is just one of the pieces currently available.

A stipples drawing called Somnium
Somnium, 2018, ink on paper, 10” x 7”

Detail of a stipples drawing called Somnium
Detail of Somnium

Pollen

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Pollen, 2019, ink on paper, 12″ x 9″

Pollen is a new drawing (personal work) that I finished towards the end of January. It was done using .13 & .18 Rotring Rapidograph pens. The image below is a quick iPhone shot of a new work in progress called Hearts Divided. I’m hoping to get it done in the next few weeks, working on it between other things. The piece is 17″ x 14,” ink on archival quality illustration board.

On the writing front, I’m in the middle of a full revision of my latest novel The Tailor of Echoes. My goal is to have it completed by the end of March.

– Richard