Sunday, 30 December 2012

Graham Philpot - illustrator

The image below of Jack & the Beanstalk was painted after researching the skills & talents of UK illustrator Graham Philpot (can that be his real surname??).
Graham has a beautiful style with bold, structured, graphic lines. I was introduced to his work as a kid with the book - The Wacky Book of Witches, followed by - Fairytale Frolics (both books have since joined my library of inspirational illustrations!!) Both books contain immense detail per image with his incredible eye for character creation!
Below are the pencil sketch and the finished painting in watercolour, bodycolour & colour pencil.


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Wishing everyone a safe & happy Christmas :)

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Tomie dePaola award - missed opportunity

Been playing around with a few ideas for the Tomie dePaola award through SCBWI and guess what....missed the submission deadline!!! Guess I gotta study the guidelines a bit better :o
The images below were works in progress. I particularly like the simple composition of the first image.






Thursday, 6 December 2012

Ross - Tasmania

Having a browse through a couple of old sketchpads and came across a section from my trip to Tassie in 2011.
It's amazing how a sketch of a scene brings back more memories than a photo ever could - I almost smell the scents, hear the sounds, the emotions I was feeling at the time through these rapid paintings.
The town I was staying in - Ross - has a very small population, so without distractions I filled half a sketchbook with picturesque scenes of the area!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

City on the Sea

Painted a odd scene of a "city on the sea" at the Mandurah Dream Create Inspire Festival. This was an art demo without any prior planning. Resulting effect is buildings crowded together in awkward, unrealistic poses.... :)

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Dream Create Inspire Festival

I'll be painting at the Mandurah Dream, Create, Inspire Festival this coming Saturday.
This event is a fundraiser for suicide prevention.
I hope to be drawing a few portraits throughout the day and give some art demos :)
It'll be great to see some support for this event.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Elves & the Cobbler

Recently painted a commission for a quaint little shop in Bridgetown - 'The Cobbler's Wife'. It's a gift shop front for a cobbling business. The cobbler uses an old fashioned sewing machine that I took great pains to replicate in the painting.
Below are the significant steps I took to complete the painting

1. The preliminary sketch achieving the overall composition of the painting.


2. After alterations in the preliminary stage I take the image to the final drawing on watercolour paper - hot pressed 300gsm. I ruled in the correct perspective lines and established minor details. At this stage I'm limited to pencils ranging from HB - 4B.


3. The painting is brought to conclusion in colour. Although the majority of the painting is in watercolour there is the inclusion of bodycolour and coloured pencil for highlights.




Saturday, 24 November 2012

A dream treehouse!

I would love to live in a house like this!! Only problem would be the ongoing renovations as the tree grows....
This ink drawing was started and completed over the weekend as an art demonstration at the Bridgetown 124th Agricultural Show.
This relaxed 'doodle' is a picture that grew as I sketched with no planned finish.
On hindsight I see a touch of Thelwell technique peeping through - although that's purely unintentional.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The golden meadow

This image was inspired after researching Arthur Rackham's paintings.
I've based the background on a local farm scene that I often paint in my larger conceptual works.
I love the fresh quality of this artwork....


Below is the scene that inspired the backdrop (this oil version painted in 2010)....


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Bridgetown Agricultural Show

Recently received the photos from the art award at the Perth Royal Show.
The painting will be on display at the Bridgetown Agricultural Show - November 26th 2012.
I'll also be at the show giving art demonstrations throughout the day!

Afternoon light

A spontaneous painting in watercolour that captures the late afternoon light.
Painted from a stretch of paddock that is sadly being threatened for housing estate.... :(

Sunday, 18 November 2012

It's all blue!!

Painted a dramatic blue landscape for the Bridgetown Show.
Using large amounts of Cobalt and Ultramarine blue with splashes of Alizaron crimson I have concocted an exaggerated sky that's more like an ocean towering above a cops of trees....

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

A gesture in grief

This drawing breaks away from my usual detailed work. I've focused on the gestural lines of the figure eliminating any unnecessary details.
Even here I could have reduced the lines to a more minimal state if I'd chosen...

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Magic Shop - completed!

Finally completed this painting!
On two previous posts I documented the steps towards its completion.
Executed in watercolour, ink, pencil & gouache

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Ghostly dance

I like the dreamy, Victorian atmosphere of this watercolour...

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Beyond Myself

A new theme I'm experimenting with..."Beyond myself"
A floating land mass is a scene regularly depicted in movies, paintings, books etc.
But for me the painting below is a place to escape in. It's not tied down with concerns but free to float in any direction. Self contained and reliant on nothing.... You're no longer what you imagine yourself to be - you are who you are!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Zig Zag festival

I was at the Zig Zag Festival in Kalamunda over the weekend...
During the day I provided free portraits for added interest to the event. As soon as people realised they were free there were instant queues!!
I did manage to get some painting done. Below is an unfinished painting I worked on amidst 35C heat and a freak 20min storm!

Friday, 26 October 2012

A Response to John Grimshaw

A painting based on a response to John Grimshaw's mystical artwork.
Painted in watercolour, gouache & colour pencils.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Elf Dance

Previously I showed an incomplete design I was painting at the Balingup Medieval Fayre. It was an image I'd outlined in 9b pencil  - to maintain a soft focused effect. Unfortunately - although this approach is often successful - it didn't work for the picture leaving it looking incomplete.
With nothing to lose I outlined it in pen. This instantly completed it.
I don't know why different techniques work for some and not for others.......

Before...

 After...

Friday, 19 October 2012

Howling Harmonies - 2

The second 'Howling Harmonies' painting. Heavily washed watecolour with highlights in bodycolour.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Matt Smith (Doctor Who) caricature

Latest caricature - still haven't grasped the art of caricaturing:(
A portrait either has the spark of life or not - no in between area.
This latest portrait depicts Matt Smith, the latest Doctor Who....an interesting looking character I didn't have to exaggerate the features much :p

Zig Zag Festival

The Kalamunda Zig Zag Festival will be in action next week.
I'll be drawing portraits - with a twist - in my street performance skit as the "Medieval Masterpieces".
See you there ;)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Caricatures - Justin Bieber

The most regular commission query is whether I do caricatures. Unfortunately its a field I haven't concentrated on at all!
But I'm now determined to master this skill basing my study on well known celebrities. Can't say my first few have been successful....
One of the first was of young Justin Bieber...
Any constructive feedback is welcome :)

Boyup Brook Workshop

I'm running a three hour illustration workshop through the Boyup Brook Community Centre this Saturday. This workshop will discuss the process of book illustration. It will lead into constructive activities that aim to explain some of the approaches to illustration.
I believe the best approach to learning techniques is to give demonstrations - so there'll be plenty of them :)
For more info click here.

Oops....wrong paper!

This painting has one major mistake! It was painted on Stonehenge paper - an etching paper :(
There was a sheet of Stonehenge paper disguised amongst sheets of Arches paper. The drama with this paper is it's not sealed to accept watercolours and the resulting effect is irregularity in the washes.
So I applied the colour thickly to try and disguise the poor quality....the result wasn't so bad...

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Magic Shop painting

Update on the "Magic Shop" painting. The base colour was a mix of Alizarin Crimson. Alizarin, French Ultramarine and Light Red play dominant roles in this paintings mood - although it's still in early stages of completion.
I'm unsure whether to darken the back of the shop to enhance the foreground characters or just leave it in predominantly mono colours......:o

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Into the Light series

New series I've been working on - "Into the Light". It refers to a personal spiritual journey. At the lower half of the artwork is dark complex shades, this breaks into lighter peacful tints where the figures attempt to reach.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Toy Shop - sketch

New painting I've been working on. It's at this stage I'm tempted to leave it black & white because it looks so effective!
However, since taking this photo I've established the major colors...

Froggy Fundraiser

Just completed painting a wooden frog for a fundraising event to fit out a specialist cancer ward in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi!
These model frogs will be auctioned off on Oct 21st in Bridgetown, WA.
Below is the completed frog. My concept is based on frogs being a crucial part of the environmental food chain. The adults feed on insects - that often carry disease - while the tadpoles maintain waterways. If frogs disappear from an area then the local environment is considered unhealthy.
My 'frog art' views the frog as the 'water of life' where it provides a necessary link in our survival. The theme also carries through when the profits from the auction provide cancer patience with 'the water of life'.


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Take a tip from the masters....

A good reference book I've been reading recently is 'Imaginative Realism' by James Gurney.
He is a great example of an artist whose success is based on the study of master painters (he has an entire chapter on this subject).

A popular attitude today (that I came across a LOT at art college) is to discover new ways of interpreting themes and imagery by looking forward. It's seen as a weakness to look back and learn from the masters. Yet a step back will often result in a leap forward!

In my work I often experiment with techniques used by previous artists. I then adapt the technique to suit my needs and incorporate them along with many other processes. The effect is a mongrel of techniques creating a new pedigree result!

Although it sounds straight forward some techniques aren't always successful. Mainly because they don't suit my style of painting.

Tony Smibert is another example of a painter who has spent majority of his painting career studying 19th century watercolourists - mainly J. W. Turner. His resulting paintings don't look at all like Turner's but carries the essence of the master's work.



Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Artist at Work

The artist at work.... :p

The Fox Shop

Latest painting. Harking back to late 19th - early 20th century illustrations.
Although it's obvious to see that early illustrators tinted their painting prior to painting I was still interested to note the instant result of an 'old worldly' feel to my work when I applied a base tint of Light Red to establish a warm unity. I also experimented with the contrast of a warm fire and cool misty light from the outside - how would they meet in the scene?
Note the black weighing scales on the counter - copied from an old set in my kitchen :p

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Maralinga (Lin Onus)

While in Perth over the weekend I visited the State Art Gallery.
I came across a powerful sculpture by Lin Onus called 'Maralinga'. It depicts an Aboriginal mother protecting her child against the onslaught.
I sketched this image trying to capture the emotional structure of the image but feel the sketch lacks the rawness of the original.



Perth Royal Show win!

I was fortunate enough to win 1st prize at the Perth Royal Agricultural Show's rural art section (many thanks to the Endeavour Mining Corp for sponsoring the award).
The painting was an oil depicting the final moments of the sun's warmth as the moon rises in a blushing eastern sky.
Below is a poor reproducition of the painting.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

How long did that take...?

I was asked the other day how long it takes me to paint an illustration. The answer might as well be 'how long is a piece of string...?!'
The time it takes to complete an image depends on the complexity of the subject, the colours and layers involved, the techniques used, and probably most importantly - if I connect with the painting. If I enjoy the painting it can be completed remarkably quickly.
The illustration below is an example of an image that worked. It was completed today in about an hour from start to finish. The mediums used were a 9b pencil, watercolour, Chinese White, ink and coloured pencil.
Luckily there was a goose in my garden that posed as the model!!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Wongan Hills Art Exhibition

As artist in residense at the Wongan Hill Art Exhibiton last week I gave demonstrations throughout the four days.
Below are four results from the demo's -

1- A detailed pencil drawing overlaid with delicate washes of watercolour.


2 - A detailed pen & ink overlaid with stronger washes of watercolour, bodycolour and coloured pencil.


3 - A charcoal sketch tinted with watercolour.


4 - A detailed charcoal heavely overlaid with watercolour, bodycolour and coloured pencil.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Still Life Tonal Study

Getting back to some true Aussie themes with a still life of a worker's smoko!
This watercolour was a tonal study I used as an exercise to sharpen my observational skills.
Apart from poor composition I was relatively happy with the result:)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

New design

A new greeting card using a style influenced by artists - E. H. Shepard, Alfred Bestall and Alfred Aris.
A standard 'S' composition using large sections of reserved white to create stronger focus on the characters.



International Day of Peace Art Exhibition - last chance!

The Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes International Day of Peace Art Exhibition entry deadline will be closing Friday, Sep 14th.
With an entry cost of $10 plus a bottle of wine for the opening night you can't miss out!
The Bridgetown Primary and St Brigid's have both put some fab effort into producing masterpieces for the exhibition so make the effort to check them out.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Jebediah & the Book of Love

The latest book I've illustrated has been realeased!!

Written by Brad Kyle, a Melbourne author, 'Jebediah and the Book of Love' is the second title we've collaborated on - the first being 'Herbie and the Tune'.

"Set in the mythical land of Lovenia, this beautiful story - as told by a Grandfather to his sad Grandson - tells of a special book that magically becomes imprinted with every thought, feeling and action of the local townsfolk. As the miracles unfold, Jebediah ultimately discovers that the Book of Love is, in fact, within each of us. It is our heart."


Retails for $14.95.

An enjoyable book to illustrate with plenty of artistic license. Below are the three steps taken to achieve the final painting.




Sunday, 2 September 2012

Wongan Hills Exhibition

I'll be running art demonstrations at the Wongan Hills Art Exhibition from September 20 - 23rd. This is a biannual event that exhibits a broad range of artwork from the area.
Check the site our for more details!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

International Day of Peace Art Exhibition 2012

The Bridgetown - Greenbushes Shire are holding an art exhibition supporting the International Day of Peace.
We hope the local community groups (and anyone else who maybe interested) will support this event.
Part of my job is to promote this exhibition through the local primary schools by running art workshops to encourage students to exhibit.
Anyone interested in exhibiting are welcome to contact Megan or Tania at the numbers provided on the poster below.
Best overall will receive $400.
Submissions cost $10 each - can't go wrong at that price!!!