Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…

Happy New Year everyone! As the title states it has been a year of many changes for me. Most have been good and there are still more to come. The biggest so far has been a move of house, and in turn, my creative space. Both have been for the better as we gained desperately needed living and home working space. If any of you have moved from a well established home, aka you’ve collected so much stuff you scarcely know where you’ve been keeping it all,  you will know how much work it is. Ugh! This did however present a perfect opportunity to purge and boy was it a gooder. 🙂 What’s the saying ‘cluttered space, cluttered mind’? Well the clutter has been minimized and with it has come a burst of inspiration.

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My studio friends.

There are a number of things in the pipeline for this year and the goal is to hopefully be able to achieve most of them. Fingers crossed. By stating them out loud I’m hopefully giving it the power to keep me on track and make it all real. 🙂 So what are these things you ask? Well I have some new items in the works for the Society of Curious Creatures. There are some new dimensional objects I’m calling mini cabs ,which I posted about oh so long ago it seems, plus ones I’m calling Matchbox Curios. I’ll also have some mini zine type books called Explorer Journals that will be giving everyone some insight into these little trouble makers. Oh and stickers! I think the world needs creature stickers. 🙂

society of curious creatures

Sneak peek at some of the items I was talking about.

There will be some new watercolour work starting with the Year of the Rooster skull and flower painting out next month. Stay tuned. Over the latter part of last year I started doing some plein air watercolour sketching/ urban sketching. I’ll be heading to Portland for a week and plan on doing some drawing and painting there. I’m hoping to post a few so follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for those. At the very least I’ll be back with inspiration to work up some new paintings in the studio.

watercolour

The Steep Valley

As for the now, I’ve revamped my website so head on over and have a poke around. That pretty much covers it…or at least all that I want to admit to. 🙂 I leave you with my best nine of 2016 images from Instagram. Oooo…ahhhh.

best nine

Best Nine 2016 on Instagram.

 

 


Miniature Cabinets of Curiosity

The most interesting part of creating something, for me, has to be the journey of figuring out what it is. Some ideas come out fully formed and others change and morph over time so that only a semblance of where it began remains. The Society of Curious Creatures is a project that I think more and more will have an interesting life. Just when I think I may have to abandon this project, another piece of the puzzle falls into place and things start to morph and change.

Enter the mini cab. This is a miniature version of the larger cabinets I have made in the past but with a few more elements. I’ve been struggling to figure out a way to link a lot of these ideas I have about what is part of this world and starting this “mini cab” helped me figure a lot of that out. When painter’s embark upon larger works they tend to do a lot of small paint studies or drawings that will help them figure out a number of things about the larger work. This was exactly the same thing only dimensionally for me.

Process, process, process. Here it is.

The Aviary

drawing and scaling

Figuring out the door layers and the scale.

building the main cabinet

Starting to build the shape of the main part of the cabinet.

doors and box finished

Main cabinet and door completed.

some artifacts

Trying out the placement of the egg collection.

all the parts assmbled

Painted and fully assembled.

surprises within

Door has working hinges and a surprise growing within.

 

 


Seed Girls

 

Being able to draw people is something I have always admired in those who do it well. I fall in and out of love with the idea of wanting to get better at rendering a human image. I’m not sure if it’s because it doesn’t come easy to me so I try for a bit and then take my version of the lazy way out and switch back to plants or maybe it’s the eyes. Window’s to the soul and all. What’s the first thing we all look at? The eyes. They give away so much, or in some cases, nothing at all.

Fall into love I am right now with this idea of the Seed Girls. Brace yourself. You’re about to get a glimpse into the way my mind meanders about before it settles on an idea. 🙂 This whole concept started with ornate frames and foliage believe it or not. I was sketching ideas for some of my Society of Curious Creatures characters. Somewhere in the mashing of flora and foliage came out the thought what would the tiniest parts of some of these plants look like blown up to life size? which lead to me being interested in paper marbling (!?) and then somehow a combination of all these random pieces settled out to what I am now calling the Seed Girls. Yeah not sure how I connected those dots either.

I’m still refining the idea of where I think these girls come from and what they are all about but for now they are happy just being little portraits. Quiet reflections on inky surfaces.

 

For a print of one of these ladies check out my Society 6 store. If prints aren’t your thing the store has lots of other products to choose from.

 

 


The Year Of The Monkey

Short and sweet this time. I’ve missed the actual day that is the Chinese New Year, but we haven’t left the month yet. Better late than never. 🙂 So this month’s skull and flower painting is inspired by the Year of the Monkey. A little owl monkey skull surrounded by some lucky peony flowers and jade plants. I quite enjoyed building up the layers of colour in the flowers as well as in the eyes of the skull. I’m especially happy with the depth in the eyes. I’m also offering this guy up online in my Society6 shop where you can get prints or other various products with his mischievous little mug on it. Here’s a few examples.

To see more variants click on over to my Society6 page. They have also been offering  a number of sales this month so you can’t go wrong there. Thanks for the support.


The Parakeet and the Crocus

EPSON scanner image

What’s so fascinating about a skull? It should be kinda gruesome but I don’t see them that way. In some ways they are kind of mysterious. Maybe it’s ingrained early on in our lives with museums and dinosaur bones and wondering what these massive creatures might have looked like roaming the lands we now so completely inhabit. Oddly enough, even though the creature whose skull I’m drawing is no longer alive, their bones still seem to have a personality and they all want their portraits drawn.

Want to own this guy? Have a peek over at my Society 6 page and see some of the products I’m offering with this guys portrait.


Santa’s Companions

It’s my turn in the Sister Sketch Exchange and this time around I was having a bit of trouble figuring out what to do. I usually use this exchange as a way to experiment with things I have ideas about. Right now though my ideas are more other materials dimensional than paper related dimensional. If that makes sense. Finally inspiration did hit and out of it came little present doors with “Santa’s Companions” behind them. It started out as being a Krampus thing but then evolved when I found something referring to all these different characters as known “associates” of Santa. These guys are there to make him look good, or they are thought to be previous incarnations of Santa before he became more pleasant. It was a bit tricky to photo but hopefully you get the idea.

EPSON scanner image

Your can sort of see the doors in this pic when they are in their closed position.

 


Cupcake Cards

For the last few years I have been doing different art challenges. You know, the kind that give you a topic, or word, and then you make a drawing to go with. This year I decided to switch things up and stop doing those to focus on doing more of my own projects and less of those. There just wasn’t enough time in my life for both. Inadvertently, I managed to start a new one…sort of. There are quite a few people with birthdays in my life and about half way through the year I decided to start making cards for them. I certainly didn’t hit everyone, but as I was finishing up two today I realized that I had done quite a few. Twelve in total. Not sure if I’ll continue into next year, but I quite enjoyed doing them. They also got more and more elaborate I noticed. Even though theses cards had a simple theme, practice sure made proficient, cause I can certainly see the improvement as I went along.

cupcake year