I was quite happy with my most recent portrait commission, which is a painting of artist, collector and gallerist Neil McLeod. I guess having a potentially controversial subject matter meant the chances of being selected for the Archibald would be fairly slim (mind you, second guessing the selection criteria is somewhat of a crap shot – after all, in a competition that is “supposed” to be about ‘Australians of note’, a portrait of Kid Congo Powers is eligible?!).
My chances were even slimmer given the recent bombings of Christian churches in Sri Lanka. I would like to clarify, that the explosion in the background is meant to represent nuclear testing at Maralinga in the 50’s; I essentially wanted to make an image that questioned the follies of authority, as well as weave in elements of Neil’s life and work.
Happily, however, Lorin and the commissioning team were fantastic to work with, and luckily the project expanded to me illustrating each of the eight episodes in the series.
Compositionally, I took my cues from mural design – graphic bold images layered atop of each other to reflect the layered stories of the audio. Having spent a lot of time over the years in and around Fitzroy (being a ‘North of the River’ gal all of my life), it was great to be given the opportunity to explore a topic and area so familiar to me.
For those of you in Melbourne – the bi-semi-annual Illustrators Australia 9×5 exhibition is currently on at the Collingwood Gallery in Smith Street until July 26, 2018. There was a great turn out for the opening night last Friday, and a record breaking 120 entries as well! For the first time, works presented were not only “traditional” paint on wood (all of the pieces are presented on 9×5 inch sized pieces of wood, reflecting the Heidelberg School artists of yore who used to paint ‘en plein air’ onto cigar box lids), contributing artists were also able to submit their pieces digitally, to be printed on the wood instead. I was amazed by the quality of the detail and colour – and, yes, that is my piece above: ‘Shout Back’.
Inspired by this new direction in gallery presentation, I wanted to push the medium a little further and decided to experiment with my first piece of ‘augmented reality’ artwork. I really had no idea how to go about this – I knew about the principle, of course, but not about which software or apps would be suitable. After a few dead ends, I came across a group of app developers in Vienna who have developed an app specialising in AR for artists – Artivive . I did a short animation in Photoshop and After Effects to expand on the ideas of the still image (you can download the app for Apple or Android and check out the results by viewing the image above through the app). I was pretty happy with the result!
I was also happy that the piece won ‘Best Digital’ piece on the night. Managed to score a pass to attend ‘Looking Glass’ digital drawing sessions at Jacky Winter, so I’m rapt! Thank you to generous sponsors Procreate (which I already use on my iPad Pro and am keen to learn more about). I’ll let you know how I go!
A sneak preview of one of my portraits featured in the upcoming ‘Shout Out to the Girls: A Celebration of Awesome Australian Women’ to be published by Penguin early next year! This one, of course, is of Vali Myers, who I would see occasionally when I had my studio in Carlow House and she had her studio in the Nicholas Building (a block away from each other on Flinders Lane, Melbourne). Unfortunately I was always too scared to actually ‘meet’ her :0
This is my second contribution to the upcoming ‘Shout Out to the Girls: A Celebration of Awesome Australian Women’ to be published by Penguin early next year… a portrait of Alice Anderson, a pioneering car mechanic who worked as a ‘chauffeur to the stars’ of Melbourne in the 1920’s, as well as establishing her own garage in Kew.
From the Penguin Australia website:
Let’s hear it for the Australian women who have shaped our history and are expanding our future!
Shout-outs to 50 awesome Australian women with easy-to-read biographies of their incredible achievements. From Cathy Freeman to Turia Pitt, Edith Cowan to Julia Gillard, Mum Shirl to Vali Myers, plus rally car drivers, molecular biologists and more, this book is a celebration of women in all fields, from all walks of life, and from Australia’s past and present.
Brought to life by colourful illustrations from female artists, Shout Out to the Girls is the ultimate inspirational read for young and old.
All royalties from sales of this book go to The Smith Family.
‘Whimsy and Woe’, written by Kate McRitchie and published by Harper Collins Australia has bee an interesting project to work on – especially when, because the artwork was going so well, it was decided that hard cover (yes!) was the only way to go. Which sounded great, until I was told it was going to cut into my production time by about a month. So a two month deadline turned into a one month deadline – for 50 detailed pen and ink illustrations! (I decided to go “old school” this time – it was great to get back to the tactility of pen and ink, but with the best of both worlds. Spilt ink bottles (truth!) wearing out pen nibs, but also the ability to scan and make last minute changes if need be. Also good news: this title has turned into a two volume set, so look out for more adventures in 2018!
Release date: 21 August, 2017
So exciting to receive my box of beautiful hardcover books! Whimsy & Woe by Rebecca McRitchie, out soon from Harper Collins Australia.
Last year I was asked to imagine what ‘Future Melbourne’ might look like for ‘The Melbourne Awards’ (run by the City of Melbourne). I came up with a day-glo mix of the past, present and future, interweaving nature and the built environment with the bonus of being lead into the labyrinth by Vali Myers and her fox. Here’s hoping the ghosts of Melbourne never fade…
Hot off the pixel-press! (literally finished this at 2AM this morning :0) Honored to be part of a series of illustrated articles published as part of the ‘All About Women’ festival taking place at the Sydney Opera House : https://medium.com/all-about-women/is-intersectionality-enough-if-the-only-intersections-we-see-are-those-that-affect-women-in-the-6a319534681f#.yol358zej
Here’s a sneak preview of a brand new cover for ‘Under the Bottle Bridge’ by Jessica Lawson, Children’s Author, published by Simon & Schuster / New York due out in September 2017. It was a bit of a ‘compositional challenge’, but fun to research – I think it worked well in the end?!
Sold! My painted bulldog “Monsieur le Roi” took part in a charity gala event at Smartartz on October 23, with all proceeds going to ‘Dress for Success’ – a charity that helps economically disadvantaged women get back on their feet by providing free professional attire and styling to help with self-esteem and economic independence. Happy to say he achieved quite a respectable amount.
This a preview of the limited edition print I’ll be showing at this year’s Illustrators Australia A3 show, which opens 6-9pm on Friday June 15 @ the Northcote Town Hall, High Street Northcote (Vic/Australia). AND I’ll be spinning the wheels of ipod! A preview of the show and other opening hours / details can be found here. If you’re in town, hope to see you there?!.
To coincide with the school holidays, I’m in a little show with five other children’s book artists involved with Illustrators Australia. It’s on at Hill of Content Bookstore, 86 Bourke Street, Melbourne, until April 15. I’m displaying a print (available for sale) from “Do Not Forget Australia”. The other artists are Lisa Coutts, Kim Fleming, Sarah Hardy, Jody Pratt and Anna Walker. Have a look if you’re in the neighbourhood
I’m in a group show opening this Thursday in Melbourne. Entitled “Little Deities”, sixty or so artistes were given similar baby dolls with instructions to “create a God”. I looked to the skies for inspiration, a came up with the creation of “Baby Cetus”, the ancient Sea Monster constellation. It was great fun to experiment with different materials! The show is on @ No Vacancy Gallery, QV Building 34-40 Jane Bell Lane, Melbourne. Opening 6-9 pm March 8, and on until March 18, 2012. Website here .
Out today! My latest picture book, Do Not Forget Australia, written by Sally Murphy and published by Walker Books. It’s a lovely story set in WW1, that tells of the bond between Australia and the little village of Villers Bretonneux in Northern France. If you would like to find out more, both Sally and I are doing a Tour de Blogs during the month of March 2012.
The 2012 Illustrator Australia Awards are finally announced today! Happily I scored a Silver in the Book Category, for ‘Song of the Dove’ and a Highly Commended for the set of covers I’ve done for the reissue of Alexandra Adornetto’s ‘Strangest Adventures’ series. Given the calibre of judges (Annette Harcus (Designer, Harcus Design, Aust), Tony Palmer (Executive Designer Penguin Group, Aust), Chris Buzelli (Illustrator, NY), Yuko Shimizu (Illustrator, NY), Stefano Imbert (Illustrator and board member SOI, NY), Charles Hively (Publisher & Design Director , 3×3 magazine), it’s quite an honour to make the grade. The Awards results can be seen on the IA page here .
Years ago, in my favourite bookshop in a basement in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, I came across a small collection of a publication called “ARK”, published by The Royal College of Art. I’m not sure which years they hail from – probably early to mid 1950’s – but they are great little books, featuring articles for and by students, and featuring advertisements designed by the RCA students as well. The limited colour palette (most pages are black and white, and any additional colours look like they’ve been hand separated), lends itself to a predominance of drawings and sketches for the imagery – a lot of which are beautifully graphic in that mid 50’s way. Very inspiring!
Last week I thumbed through these books for the first time in years, and was reminded of this great illustrated article by Ronald Searle, recounting his experiences as a POW in the second world war, and working on the publication “The Survivor” (with a “print order of five and a readership of fifty thousand”). I thought more people should see it… then came the news that Mr. Searle had passed away. I show these pages as a modest tribute. (more info and scans of the actual pages from “The Survivor” can be seen here: http://ronaldsearle.blogspot.com/2009/07/changi-gaol-3.html
The annual Illustrators Australia 9×5 show – in which each IA member is sent a 9×5 inch piece of plywood and is asked to create a work on a given theme – is almost upon us again! This year the theme is “Rapture” – the pierce above is entitled “Isadora’s Dream” , as Isadora Duncan was the most rapturously inspired subject I could think of. (The medium I used is acrylic and varnish on wood, with gold wax highlights.) The opening is on October 14, 2011 at Space 39, 39 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, Australia from 6pm onwards. All work is for sale, with a reserve price of $195. If more than one person is interested in a piece, it goes to a silent auction. It’s always a bit of a fun night 🙂 The exhibition is also open on Sunday, from 10am – 4pm (There is a seminar being held on the Saturday, so it will be closed to the general public). You can see the rest of the show here
Bureaucratic Maze- Published in Community Care magazine, UK
Shortly I will be going through each image in my online portfolio, uploading roughs and background information, so please visit again soon, or email email@example.com if you have any questions about this image.