At the beginning of the current lockdown in Melbourne I gave myself an assignment: to create an animated artwork reflecting the strange times we’re in – days of walking from room to room, the transition from day to night, the leisurewear…Now that we are on the eve of easement, my deadline has arrived – I share with you the results of my rather ‘experimental’ piece, entitled “There’s a Ghost in my House’ (and I think it’s me)”. I ran out of time for a soundtrack, but hopefully you get the picture 🙂
Personal musings, links and stuff.
Merrily we go to Hell
Recently I was commissioned by The Criterion Collection to create a new cover for a re-release of a classic 1930’s ‘pre-code’ drama starring Sylvia Sidney and Frederic March. I hadn’t been aware of the film, but it’s well known for featuring one of Cary Grant’s earliest celluloid appearances as well as being directed by one of the few female directors of the time, Dorothy Arzner.
It’s also an interesting glimpse into a more permissive society that of course was rarely, if ever, seen in American film after the introduction of the Hays Code in 1934.
The cover image hangs on a pivotal moment when Jerry and Joan, after a somewhat flawed and whirlwind ‘romance’ head to the altar. Jerry, portrayed as an alcoholic reporter, misplaces the ring and has to make do with something ‘handy’.
The artwork itself is a multilayered digital file, interpreting details from the scene, using a combination of linework and painterly techniques. Freeze framng the film allowed me to pinpoint the perfect expressions of the characters to capture a sense of their unease with inevitability of the consequences of their decision.
New Print series
Here we are, freshly into spring and still in the midst of the second wave of Covid-19 here in Melbourne, Australia. A couple of months back I resurrected an idea I originally had back in March when our lives first changed for the foreseeable future. So I have created a series of themed images based on the age old ‘language of flowers’ and producing them as affordable prints for people to send to loved ones in lieu of their presence (now that contact and travel has been limited somewhat). I anticipate there will be at least five in the series, with a new design unleashed as it is ready, available as A4 archival prints on 310gsm Hahnemuhle German Etching paper.
The first design features Hydrangeas, which are a symbol of thanking others for understanding.
The second design in the series features ‘Bird of Paradise’, which are a symbol of anticipation.
The third design features Asters – a symbol of patience.
The fourth design features the Australian native Waratah – a symbol of remembrance in absence.
Check back for updates or join my newsletter list – prints in the series can be purchased for AUD40.00 each (including postage) here – I’m also happy to include a handwritten note!
Even though I am in Melbourne, I have just completed this artwork whilst breathing the terrible smoke from the bushfires that have plagued the New Year. Most of us feel powerless in the face of such disaster, but I think there is a fundamental change in public sentiment – things cannot go on the way they are, and the government needs to realise that the environment is just as important, if not more so, than economics. If you would like to join ‘the revolution’ I have uploaded this artwork to redbubble – check out the range of products here. All profits to SAVEM – South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management / https://www.savem.org.au/ to hopefully help the koala population on Kangaroo Island after the devastating fires of January 2020.
Portrait of Neil McLeod
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.
A couple of months ago I was contacted to illustrate a hero image for ‘The Fitzroy Diaries’, a podcast series written and voiced by Lorin Clarke (btw, I am still a bit freaked out about the colour palette later created by the ABC design / marketing dept.– unfortunately I was not briefed about any colour prerequisites!).
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.
Check out the series here.
There’s also great overview of the process (including roughs!) of this project written up at the Jacky Winter Blog if you would like to find out more about the behind the scenes story.
Shout about the 9×5
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:
The History Listen
Recently did this for a new ABC / Radio National podcast called ‘The History Listen’ – looking forward to checking it out!
I always have a bit of fun with the trivia nights that Melbourne Cat rescue group Maneki Neko put together – here’s the latest, for their upcoming ‘Star Wars’ inspired event 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/
Whimsy and Woe
UPDATE:26/10/18 Whimsy and Woe win Silver for ‘ Best Children’s Book – Series” in the Illustrators Australia Awards
UPDATE: 17/7/18 Whimsy and Woe has been shortlisted for the 2018 Speech Pathology Australia Book Awards!
‘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.
Here is my poster and artist statement for 40 Hour Famine: World Vision Australia which has been launched this week. Hopefully there will be an exhibition as well – shall keep you posted!
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…
Intersectionality through the eyes of the ‘west’
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
Under the Bottle Bridge
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?!
Louis 4 Sale
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.
My portrait of Anna Walker – “Basement Bird” has happily made it into the semi finals of the Moran Portrait Prize, so it is currently in transit back up to Sydney town 🙂 Out of a field of 216 chosen as semi-finalists, only 30 get through to the Grand Finale – so we’ll have to wait and see what happens … some great entries, you can take a tour of all 216 entries here: http://www.moranprizes.com.au/competition/2013-doug-moran-national-portrait-prize/semi-finalists
IA A3 Show 2012
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 .
“Song of The Dove” is a fanciful romance based on the life of the ill-fated Romantic Opera composer Vincenzo Bellini (3 November 1801 – 23 September 1835).
Here are some sample spreads below:
NSW Association for Gifted and Talented Children
Silver – Illustrators Australia Awards
Finalist – 4th CJ Book Awards (Korea)
Imprint: WALKER BOOKS AUST
Release Date: April 1, 2011
Dimensions: 250 x 267mm, 32pp
Australian RRP: $29.95
New Zealand RRP: $31.99
Stock Level: In Stock
Do Not Forget Australia
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.
2012 Illustrator Australia Awards
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 .