Tag Archives: exploration

Cornish Rex (again)

The finished head

The finished head – because he is three dimensional (or at least high relief) he looks different from different angles.

Cornish Wraps…
Cornish Rips…

Whatever, it’s Cornish again. And he’s made with crumpled brown paper sandwich bags. I think this medium could be a lot of fun to pursue in all sorts of directions. This is actually a ‘card’ for Dad’s birthday. A kind of weird card perhaps, but it comes with lots of love.

It wasn’t completely out of the blue. I started using a variation on this method a couple of weeks ago to produce a puppet for the Puppet Challenge. I’ll post on that as well. I love the feel and flexibility of the crumpled paper. It’s soft and flexible but has enough stiffness to have a bit of expression of its own that it contributes to the shapes you make.

So here’s how he was made.

After thoroughly crumpling and squishing a few brown paper bags until they began to soften in my hands, I started folding here and there until a face emerged (a bit like playing with blobs) and then added a daub of glue here and there to hold sections in place.

I started with the head. The corners of the paper lunch bag practically made the cat's ears on their own.

I started with the head. The corners of the paper lunch bag practically made the cat’s ears on their own.

The flat nose piece is (from memory) a separate piece glued on top of the architecture of the nose and upper jaw. I liked the way the edges of the bag where there is a fine zig-zag cut are reminiscent of the curly coat of the Cornish Rex. So I made use of it on the cat’s wrinkled brow.

He now has a neck

He now has a neck, and mouth

A body begins to emerge

A body begins to emerge

legs and tail

legs and tail – not particularly happy with these, but no time for second takes

The application of ink was a little rushed because I was due at Dad's birthday lunch in a few minutes

The application of ink was a little rushed because I was due at Dad’s birthday lunch in a few minutes

I added the eyes. I wanted them to contrast with the rest in their bold blockiness, not crumpled at all. The Cornish has huge glossy eyes.

I added the eyes. I wanted them to contrast with the rest in their bold blockiness, not crumpled at all. A Cornish Rex has huge, glossy eyes. I didn’t quite get the effect I wanted, but it had to do for now. He does look alert, I think.

Lastly, he had a quick toasting in front of the fan heater and then we had to leave for birthday celebrations. The hugs and kisses were added later with the waitresses’ black texta :-)

toasting by the fan heater

toasting by the fan heater

Happy (belated) Birthday Dad. xxxx




Some Fishes

I recently looked up the correct usage of fish vs. fishes. I was pleased to see that fishes is the correct term when referring to different varieties. There’s something nice about the word fishes and it goes nicely with swishes and wishes.

If you happened to be a fisherman and you caught 25 fish they would all have to be  of the same species.

These fishes are not of the same species. Some might say they were not drawn by the same artist.

Sometimes I worry that I should have a single, recognisable style; that all my work should be instantly recognisable, like a trademark. You can always recognise a Quentin Blake, a Mondrian, a Mitch Vane, (to take a more local example).

Other times, I say to myself… whatever comes out, comes out. Art is a lot about the process of discovery, the process of play, imagination, exploration, invention. And when I wander into new territory, with an insatiable curiosity for (and delight in) new artistic approaches, I am glad to be a wandering artist… I learn new things all the time and that is a great thing to find in life.


Detailed, or static styles are not, and never will be my strong point. I’m too impatient (and ambivalent) to invest much time in details, so my ‘detailed’ work never stands up by comparison with the work of those who specialise in that area. But every now and then I come back to it, and play around and there’s something satisfying in the process, even if the result lacks both the liveliness of my quicker work and the detail that would seem to be required. Often the honesty of the piece redeems it.

In this case, the vintage Collins Dictionary (with pages disintegrating and falling out) seemed to ask for a static approach. I think the single artwork above is unremarkable. But if I were to fill the book in a similar manner with various artworks, the book itself may become a thing to treasure one day. The fish will be swallowed by the larger beast.


Here is a return to my much quicker approach. The prismacolour artstick strikes again. It may be partly inspired by political weariness… the idea of the dangling lure… leading to what?…

But mainly it was a very rapid experiment in the power of transforming a sketch with PhotoShop colour. I’ll be using this technique in my next book, so why not?


Finally, a very quick sketch with watercolour. The first watercolour experiment I did (not shown here) was deader than a doorknob. This was a 10 minute exercise in proving to myself that I could do the same fish with a bit of life. Not sure what he is up to. I think he may have the same kind of determined expression I adopted when drawing him…