Rendered the first figure on this piece.
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.
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.
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 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’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.
These are two personal works.
I’m busy creating new drawings. I just finished the top one, Wingless, today. I’ll be posting it in my webstore this weekend along with my drawing Prong – see earlier post. The other drawing Irridis was done for a friend.
This is a detail of the piece I am working at on this cold, cloudy November day. It’s a small figure but it took 3 hours to ink. The reason being that the brush I was using is superfine, and though the godless jpeg compression would not have you believe it, the gradations are quite subtle. I hope you enjoy this little peek. This morning’s musical selection in the studio was Foals. A really excellent band I was completely unaware of before 9 AM.
Also, a friendly reminder that the Bestowed Upon Us show opens tonight at the Alexi Era Gallery. If you are in the area, please go and check it out. I’ve seen the preview and it is a gorgeous show. Thanks for your support.