Tag Archives: gouache

Equine Soliloquy

equine soliloquy B&W heads

Another soliloquy seems to be forming in odd moments… ‘The Tale of Two Horses’ went on the train into the city the other day as a sketchbook, and came back with several new horses in it. More will come when I have a little time.

Image

In wondrously poor condition on the outside. Inside, the pages are smooth and lovely to draw on.

This one is taking its own shape more easily than the last one. Sort of ambling along.

Some pages I will start by liking, and then not. Some the other way around. It won’t bother me. It’s contemplative. And because they are horse doodles, it’s a bit like climbing cosily back into my childhood for a while. (And I draw them exactly the same way now!)

Fun drawing a foal dance over other horses. Then a squiggly cameo shape and brushy, brushiness all about.

Fun drawing a foal dance over other horses. Then a squiggly cameo shape and brushy, brushiness all about.

I’ve just done a page that is more interested in pattern, shape and contrast than in horsey correctness. It was very freeing.  But I’ll play with it some more another time, and take the shapes and tones further into pattern.

This page reminds me of two things: The poodle wallpaper we found on the walls of our 1950s house after removing the 70s wallpaper; and my brief period of lessons with Richard Birmingham.

This page reminds me of the poodle wallpaper we found on the walls of our 1950s house after removing the 70s wallpaper. It could be much better if it went further away from the horse shapes I think.

The Burrowers

Image

‘Doug and the Dowager’ –  fineliner, indian ink, pencil and gouache on vintage book page

Handsome Hamster

‘Handsome Hamster’ – fineliner, indian ink and gouache on vintage book page

'Sylvester did not remain long' - fineliner, indian ink and gouache on vintage book page

‘Sylvester did not remain long’ – fineliner, indian ink, pencil and gouache on vintage book page

Image

‘Hamster Hearsay’ – indian ink, gouache and pencil on vintage book page

Image

‘An Armadillo in Spaunton’ – fineliner, indian ink, gouache and pencil on vintage book page

'I'm sorry, the shop is closed' - fineliner, indian ink, gouache and pencil on vintage book page

‘I’m sorry, the shop is closed’ – fineliner, indian ink, gouache and pencil on vintage book page

'The Moocher of Mystery Mine' - fineliner, indian ink, gouache and pencil on vintage book page

‘The Moocher of Mystery Mine’ – fineliner, indian ink, gouache and pencil on vintage book page

'Jon and Penny' - fineliner, indian ink, gouache and pencil on vintage book page

‘Jon and Penny’ – fineliner, indian ink, gouache and pencil on vintage book page

Sold

Dick Russell and Porky Simpkin

This set of four pages will be up for silent auction at the Australian Children’s Laureate Fundraiser.  Consider buying a ticket to what will be a fabulous night of fun with the Australian children’s publishing community and grab a one of a kind gem from the selection of silent auction items. (Soon to be uploaded to the Laureate Website.)

Image

Dick Russell Grinned

Image

Three Tasks for Dick and Porky

Image

A Bone of Contention

Image

A Little Unreal

Image

Set of Four pages

sold

The Cornish Soliloquy or How to Deface a vintage Mills & Boon

Cornish cover

The hero… or is he a villain? of this vintage romance ‘Whispering Winds’, is the mysterious Mr Cornish. I sprang off from there to Cornish Rex cats, and 25 or so drawings later, here we are. With a Cornish Soliloquy. An artist’s book full of Cornish Rex drawings and paintings, tracing the internal conversation I had as I learned how to draw a new thing.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a Cornish Rex in person. I feel I know them a little now, and I’d certainly like to be introduced to one. Apparently they are wonderfully soft, and wonderfully curious. They have simply enormous ears, large eyes, a delicate build, a prominent roman nose and a crinkle cut hairstyle.

I won’t include all of the drawings here. Suffice to say it was an interesting journey. From fussy carefulness, through wild experimentation and daring (I should have been wearing my superhero mask for that bit) to lazy and half-hearted (before afternoon tea) and finally simple ink outlines, which are some of the ones that worked the best.

I’ve put them roughly in their order as they appear in the book. But this is not the order in which they were drawn. I wonder if you can work out which ones I did first and last.

Cornish soliloquy 26

Cornish soliloquy 25

Cornish soliloquy

wet on wet. Good fun.

Cornish for 'welcome'

Cornish for ‘welcome’

mission I set myself

no matter how unpromising resolve second pass

Cornish soliloquy 1

I made a hash of the drawing on this page and in the spirit of challenging myself to ‘save’ every spontaneous picture, I quickly followed Matisse’s example and ‘drew’ another cat with scissors. I was happy with the result, despite the fact that this fellow does not have the required roman nose. Other pictures were ‘saved’ less well.

Cornish soliloquy 24

Nice and simple

Cornish soliloquy 23

This has the cornish character.

brushy and quickbrushy and quick

Cornish soliloquy 21

Yoda?

This is just blatantly cute! I mean really!

This is just blatantly cute! I mean really! There’s simply no excuse for this sort of thing. Ha ha! But seriously, why is it that this looks horribly cheap to me, and the two ink kittens at the front of the book seem to me good? Of course, all is subjective with art. But perhaps some of it is the soft pastel used here, which sometimes has an association with sentimentality. The ink looks vaguely oriental, and perhaps more sure-handed. It’s all conjecture. But these are things that get me pondering. And it’s a constant source of friction when drawing for children’s books. How to make the work feel like genuine art to me, and not fall into any of the several mine shafts that say ‘sentimental’, or ‘cute’ or ‘sugary’ (aaagh!) or ‘mediocre’ (that’s a very easy one to fall into, and let’s face it, by its very definition, most of us will fall into that category much of the time.)… the mine shafts go on forever.

Cornish soliloquy 2-2

This was the first one I did and is horribly overworked. In fact, just horrible, full stop. Truly cringe-worthy. Good thing I continued on and improved… he he

collage funcollage fun

Cornish soliloquy 2

I could have improved this I think, with a different background treatment and a little more work with the swirling lines on the cat.

Cornish soliloquy 3

I quite like this one, despite the fact that he looks a little like a panther. At least he goes well with the ominous phrase picked out… ‘Mr Cornish is here, he wants to see you.’ Dum dum daaaaaa!

Cornish soliloquy 4

Corny cornish. Would have been less corny if I’d kept away from the colour highlights. She is ready for the chocolate box lid :-)

What the...?

What the…? Mad, but I don’t mind it. It’s a bit quirky. And I enjoy the effect of the lines across the text.

Cornish soliloquy 6

A mistake to colour the eye. Another corny cornish.

Cornish soliloquy 7

Very rough, but rather soft and expressive. I don’t mind this one.

Cornish soliloquy 8

This cat is lying down. I perhaps should have drawn a shadow. Then he wouldn’t look like a floating phantom. But it would have lost its graphic quality…I quite like him nevertheless. He’s a shape as well as a cat. These last two employ a chinese brush pen with a rubber tip. It’s quite nice to use, dries out quickly though, and the ink is so soluble that it’s rather ‘volatile’ when you add water later on. You can lose all your lines unless you work with care.

Cornish soliloquy 9

Here I used a fine liner pen, way too fine for the job, but it looked interesting once I added the ink with a brush.

Cornish soliloquy 10

DREADFUL. But if you’re experimenting, you’re experimenting. You have to take a risk or you get nowhere.

Cornish soliloquy 11

The cat is more interesting than the drawing. Quite a personality by the looks of him. ” ‘You look wonderful,’ he said. It’s years since I had such a glorious pet’ .”

Deep. Very deep

Deep. Very deep. he he.

que?

que?

Cornish soliloquy 14

Here I used a LARGE conté stick.

One of my faves. Jaunty little fellow.

One of my faves. Jaunty little fellow.

kittenish

kittenish

I think this is shorthand.

I think this is shorthand. (This was before my afternoon tea. Did you guess?)

What do you get when you cross a sheep with a cat?

What do you get when you cross a sheep with a Siamese?

This is my favourite. Love the library dates. They go well with the drawing gestures. All flicky!

This is my favourite. I LOVE the library dates. They seem to go well with the drawing gestures. Don’t ask me why. (One day later: Ask me why! Ask me why! I’ve worked it out. It’s the repeating verticals and hook gestures… Of course I did that on purpose. Phew!)

There are many more drawings and writings in the book. Something on nearly every page. I kept coming back to it, as it became quite addictive.

This book is supposed to be on exhibition at the Courthouse Gallery in Camperdown, western Victoria from next week as part of the community exhibition ‘Animalia‘. I’ve missed the post, but I’ll try to get it there in time anyway.

'Alice's Ecstasy'

Alice is the dog. She loves train trips. She loves train trips almost as much as swimming in circles in the dam with a stick in her mouth. And she really, really loves that!

The well dressed lady is inspired by a photo of Ada Rehan. Ada lived from 1859 to 1916. Does this make her Edwardian? She was an actress and she fed her retriever too many chocolates.

The picture is possibly for Camperdown’s upcoming Animalia exhibition… only how to get it there? If I frame it, the glass will get broken in the post won’t it? If I don’t frame it, how can it be displayed? I was going to send the artwork still in the book, so that it could be displayed open on a table. That didn’t work with this one, as I ended up collaging three pieces of paper together and they are no longer in the book!

I’ll have to make up my mind by tomorrow or I won’t get anything there in time.

Well! I made up my mind. I sent the Cornish Soliloquy instead. And Alice’s Ecstasy can be purchased in my Etsy shop here. Hooray!

Scratchings

Yesterday afternoon I locked the girls up to keep them nearby so that I could draw them. After they got over the idea that the paints, palette, brushes and water bowl might be edible, they carried on with their scratching, leaving me to do my own scratchings. Hilda, kept coming back to check though, in case I had just forgotten about the treat I was going to give them.

This altered book thing is a little like op-shopping… you go in hoping to find a little gem, and often, you do find it! In each case here, I drew the chicken first, and then found a few words in the text to compliment the picture. It seems to nearly always be there. Mysterious, happy chance.

Image

‘Charming’ felt tip, watercolour and gouache on vintage book page.
This is Vita, who is a Light Sussex Bantam, and thoroughly charming.

For sale on Etsy here.

'I have quite lost my appetite' felt tip, gouache and watercolour on vintage book page. This is Vita again. Vita is ALWAYS hungry.

‘I have quite lost my appetite’ felt tip, gouache and watercolour on vintage book page.
This is Vita again. Vita is ALWAYS hungry.

For sale on Etsy here.  (sold)

'Phoebe leaned forward' felt tip, watercolour and gouache on vintage book page.  This is Hilda really. Phoebe is her stage name :-) Here she is demonstrating the Pekin 'forward tilt' which is a sign of good breeding and general loveliness on the show bench. Hilda rocks the 'forward tilt'.

‘Phoebe leaned forward’ felt tip, watercolour and gouache on vintage book page.
This is Hilda really. Phoebe is her stage name :-) Here she is demonstrating the Pekin ‘forward tilt’ which is a sign of good breeding and general loveliness on the show bench. Hilda rocks the ‘forward tilt’. She is a black birchen Pekin.

For Sale on Etsy here. (sold)

I did another of Storm, but it needs a little further tidying up… or saving… so I’ll leave it off for now.

The book, by the way, is Georgette Heyer’s ‘SYLVESTER or THE WICKED UNCLE’ 1957. The mind boggles.

The Geebung Polo Club

Image

I picked up this book of ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s verse in the op shop the other day. It is past its prime as a book, in that the pages are all coming adrift, perhaps expressing their wish to break away and start a new life on their own. In this I intend to help them.

Having lived around the corner from the pub of this name many years ago, I started by reading this drily catastrophic verse about an epic Polo battle. It is really very playful, and much shorter than I had imagined. After one reading, the pages came out of the book in my hands.

I took the hint and obliged…

Part A. They were long and wiry natives from the rugged mountain side, and the horse was never saddled that the Geebungs couldn't ride;

Part A.
They were long and wiry natives from the rugged mountain side,
And the horse was never saddled that the Geebungs couldn’t ride;

(sold)

Part B: Now my readers can imagine how the contest ebbed and flowed, When the Geebung boys got going it was time to clear the road; And the game was so terrific that ere half the time was gone A spectator's leg was broken - just from merely looking on.

Part B:
Now my readers can imagine how the contest ebbed and flowed,
When the Geebung boys got going it was time to clear the road;
And the game was so terrific that ere half the time was gone
A spectator’s leg was broken – just from merely looking on.

Admittedly, both parts of the poem were originally to appear on the same page. But due to a serendipitous error, wherein I found I had glued the first half of the poem on the right hand side of the page instead of the left… well, we now have two works of art. He he.

I’ve just begun to list artworks on Etsy. You can find my shop here. (Although there’s not much in it yet!)

Twisted Whiskers… or the Spoodle Doodle

Okay, so hopefully your café waiter is enriching your life with insightful children’s book recommendations by now. (See my earlier post here)

But is your vet into book illustration? If not, change to this one. My vet sends me photos of endearing beasts from her surgery. All illustrators need this service.

Here is a Spoodle with very talented whiskers. His name is Charlie and he looks a little glum because he is sleepy after his pre-med. I have heard that he likes to lick feet (and sometimes dig up veggie patches after they have been covered in Blood & Bone;-)

Image

If you can’t see how talented his whiskers are in that photo, try this one.

photo 3

If you still can’t see, then you must use your imagination. I did.

Stage One... the whiskered wolf

Stage One… the whiskered wolf

But it  wasn’t enough. I mean, really… was it?

photo 2

Stage 2… some further growth

In for a penny, in for a pound. Might as well have a bit more fun…

I like the irish terrier. If only she were a standard poodle instead, she would make a fine, proud mother for a doodled spoodle.

I like the irish terrier. If only she were a standard poodle instead, she would make a fine, proud mother for a doodled spoodle.

It has been interesting to spend time making meaning progressively more tenebrous rather than aiming for clarity as would be more usual in my paid work! It’s rather like creating a very elaborate and wandering daydream on paper.

I wonder whether this imbroglio represents the state of my mind lately :-)