My latest painting now hanging in the gallery at the Otago Art Society in the Railway Station in Dunedin. This boat shed is on the waters edge at the beginning of Portabello Road. Near this site is a historic cave where Taranaki Maori (who were brought as slaves to Otago to work on the roads and other projects) had to live in the less than temperate climate of Dunedin. The cave still exists today but not exactly well signposted...more brushed under the colonial carpet. Our history of shame.
Mixed media (acrylic, paper, oil pastel) on canvas
Its been a productive week in the land of tiny houses....here is number 3 of 4 paintings of houses on Stafford Street, Dunedin, Otago. I do miss having paintings with a sea/landscape view, but these old houses are quite majestic on their own too.
Here is the second in the series for the miniature paintings of houses on Stafford Street....I could do every street in the city and create my own painted version of GoogleMaps! ...but given it takes me 10-15 hours per painting I wouldn't finish it in my lifetime.
Well, its taking a long time: these works are tiny and take many hours with a brush that is about the size of a toothpick ... I have started another set of 4 miniature vintage street paintings. This time all of the buildings are along Stafford Street in Dunedin. Here is the 1st completed painting.
This is my latest illustration in my bird series. This is a native bird to New Zealand - the North Island Pied Fantail, and they are gorgeous little birds with squeaky little voices who fan out their tails and tilt their fanned tail about like a geisha posing with a fan.
A couple of days ago when I actually had time to sit back and sketch I just couldnt even think of something to draw. Sometimes you spend your days thinking "if I just had time to do more art"...and then when you get a whole afternoon the mind goes blank, the pencil rolls off the desk in a sulk, leaving you staring out the window like a zombie wondering whats for dinner (do zombies actually wonder whats for dinner? surely its the same meal every time?? - hmmm, maybe that was a bad metaphor...or a meat-aphor ...I digress)...
another question I asked in our household this week "If you were a
monster what confectionery would you eat?" - they're starting to look
at me weird this week, too many questions, must remember not to
verbalise these thoughts in future.
For Illustration Friday's theme "sweet" I bring to you - "The Monster Candy Sale!"
Ok, so its not a Monster Sale....its a pretty small pathetic sale... but it is Monster Candy - annnd its on sale! (drum roll please....pleeease?)
I ask all the big questions in our
house....for example "what animal would you be?" and "what clothes are
associated with your job?" ....and then Cyril appeared (and wild horses
wouldnt drag him away)...poor guy trapped in an office job.
Outer space has crept into the inner space of my mind this week. Rather than robots who are shiny, perfectly manufactured and emotionally void, my collection of robots are a bit emotionally insecure and badly designed.These guys aren't about to revolutionize how we live or protect us from intruders ....
Its the official start of winter in New Zealand tomorrow. In 'sunny Dunedin' we have a forecast for snow and the cold is biting. Its a hard time of year for some people I know...lots of anniversaries of losing loved ones, lots of changes in relationships and financial hardship....and theres nothing I can do to change anything for them...all I can do is offer to stand with them in their storm until it passes.
A friend of mine graduated last week and turned 30. Now the looming question is "what next?" Lucky that life always rolls on and brings opportunities to your door, so often we just have to keep doing what we love doing and it all works itself out. Meantime your illustrator friends can make you obscure birthday cards.....(details of bogus newspaper article obscured to protect the innocent).
Here's an illustration I did recently for a friend who just became a mum. In New Zealand we have plastic clothespegs which are "sunshine" brand. I've had sunshine pegs my whole life and they seem to me to be a bit of a New Zealand icon because they've been around for so long. Made the baby clothes ridiculously small as it seems to look like that when baby clothes are hanging out to dry.
We all aspire to be something.......is our goal too idealistic? ...is our goal someone else's 'should' and not a vision of our own making? ...more importantly - will we ever make it? ...do I use too many dots in all of my sentences? .... (This is very deep and meaningful...cue orchestral music ...)
Steve Tyler brought Aerosmith to sunny Dunedin last week, and it reminded me of a bogus invention I drew a couple of years ago - the pea fork (unfortunately the pea fork, the juice filled lightbulb and the peach waxer "get that silky sheen like a nectarine" never made it to production) here it is for those of you who missed it...
Introducing the Pea Fork, invented in 1709 by
Percy Peasnabber in an attempt to prong more peas than the average
utensil. Unfortunately the market for such a fork did not eventuate as
no person actually owned a mouth 4 inches wide to wrap around the fork
(Steve Tyler and Mick Jagger were not born until the 1900's).
Experimenting with using shared colours as the substance of houses, instead of each house being a different solid colour with detail. I quite like the effect...its as if everyone's houses all exist in the same aquarium regardless of their individual shape or structure. Experimenting is fun!
Heres an illustration for the theme "train" this week. I was thinking of the famous painting "Whistler's mother", and that maybe Whistler's father was a steam train....oh the things that come into my head!?!
I often think the creative process is like a form of torture, especially on days where the ideas don't flow into your head easily....or the idea is there but the skill to replicate it on paper/canvas is sorely missing. I love the days when my hands and brain actually do work it out and come up with great things...maybe the mental drought at other times makes us appreciate it when it does happen!
This week's Illustration Friday theme is "Urban" and it made me think about how we all live in a shared space in towns and cities, but each of us has completely individual thoughts on what the ideal lifestyle is.
A few weeks ago we went to the Porcelain Punch Travelling Circus theatre show which was full of old world acts (everything except the bearded lady) and Porcelain Punch being the "best elixir guaranteed to fix ya!" (we bought 2 bottles just in case). This old fashioned show inspired me to think of what creatures we could revive or reveal in a travelling circus of New Zealand wonders (mythical creatures like the giant Canterbury panther, or the mystery moose herd of Southland...much fodder here for consideration) and I couldnt go past my favourite extinct bird the Huia. Last sighted in Aotearoa NZ in about 1907.
So welcome one and all to the amazing, the incredible,the wonderful and supposedly extinct Huia (on trapeze for your entertainment)....
One of the felines at our house is a tad sinister looking, you never quite know whether he's summing up how much red meat you equate to or not....sleep with one eye open....danger lurks on the end of the bed.
Well its that time of year again in New Zealand. Daylight savings is about to end next week, it will get dark early at night, and we will all be swaddled in layer upon layer of wool, looking slightly misshapen.
One of my favourite childhood poems was The Owl and The Pussycat (who incidentally went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat, for those of you who were unsure of their whereabouts). I decided I would start on a children's series of paintings that were a bit looser and fun than my "historic buildings" works I have been doing lately.
So Gareth Morgan (who has recently said in the media that all cats should be kept indoors, or be eradicated due to their impact on native birds in New Zealand) - so, does the pussycat truly love the owl (because shes a beautiful fowl) or will he attack and kill her the instant the viewer averts their gaze?
(click on the image to view a larger version of it)
Here is last week's effort - a cityscape of some of the historic buildings around central Dunedin. A painting like this takes me over 40 hours to complete as the detail in the buildings (because of the small scale Im working at) is very fiddly! This is being exhibited in the Otago Art Society's latest exhibition opening Friday the 8th of March.
Actual size is somewhere around 400mm wide X 300mm tall. Acrylic on canvas. (Click on the image to see a larger version of it).
Well its 2013 and I decided its time to ditch my terrible old brown boring painting clothes which were always the worst old clothes on hand....and move into brighter arty gear ....and what better for a painter & illustrator than hand painted t-shirts! So now if I answer the door on painting days I wont look like I live under a bridge anymore....I will just look...er....silly or slightly unhinged :)