Thursday, August 13, 2009

Production break

Moss covers the forest floor everywhere

The carnivorous pitcher plant is Newfoundland's provincial flower
and grows in damp, boggy areas.

I need to spend some time concentrating on art production and marketing for a few days. I have a deadline looming and a project not close enough to completion for my comfort. So I need to knuckle down, ignore the online world more or less, and just do some serious drawing and painting.

Sales are picking up for me which is good, and I have to produce to replenish stock for sale. I also need to do some marketing and administrative work. New business cards, greeting card prints, applications for grants, research and photography for a new project on local landmarks, etc. etc. There is so very much to do, but I would have it no other way.

So stay tuned, I will be back within the week! Meanwhile I'll leave you with some images that I've taken in my travels. This is the Salmonier Nature Park which has a wonderful wooden walkway through mossy forest and displays with indigenous animals along the way. These animals were brought to the Park as injured, unreleaseable animals where they live out their days in comfort.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The artist's high

I've done a little more work on the pup, but still not enough to bring out the texture and colours of the fur to any degree. I'm still laying down colour more or less at this stage.

I haven't intended this to be a detailed drawing, more a sketch, but I'll let it take me where it wants to go. Drawings or paintings seem to find their own direction sometimes without a lot of effort from me. Its like that 'runner's high' that you get when something in you overcomes physical tiredness and pain and it feels as if you could run forever. Art has similar highs and you know when you experienced it.

For me, my brain takes over and pushes everything else to one side. I don't hear noises around you or notice time. My complete being seems to be concentrated at the end of a paintbrush or pencil and the energy and form comes through that medium onto the support. I don't realize I'm even in that space until it stops.

When it stops, it a bit like waking from a deep sleep and it takes a moment to break away from that deep concentration and move back into a world full of interruptions, noise and movement. When I write it down, it sounds very strange and anyone reading it could well think that I'm ready to be committed soon. But I believe I'm not alone and that this same process of complete concentration happens to many others whether artists, writers or other individuals involved in creative production.

What does your artist's high feel like?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Portrait of a boy

Still on my multi tasking, I'm fitting in a portrait as well as the dog as well as a large painting, etc., etc. What can I say, its just how I operate. So while I haven't done a lot to update the puppy since yesterday, I have done the bones of a portrait of a boy. This is August's portrait challenge. I love faces and can't resist most of the time.

Still in my brown paper sketchbook. (don't worry, the novelty will wear off soon) I'm using coloured pencils. The boy's colouring is very pale with little distinct shadow and that wonderful smoothness of youth that is so difficult to capture. I keep telling myself - just a little one, as if its a treat. And it is in many ways.

Monday, August 10, 2009


When I was a child I had a vivid imagination that worked in several ways. Part of it was simple childhood brain development and experimentation, part was an escape mechanism. Funny thing is, that while I presume most of the brain development is over with at my advanced years, the escape mechanism still works beautifully.

Drawing is a bit like reading a book. It can take you into a new world, it can take the pictures in your head and put them onto paper. It can bring places, people and animals to you, morph them, place them in odd situations or scenes and made very ordinary scenes extraordinary.

One of my favourite illustrators is James Gurney of Gurney Journey, who has a magical mix of reality and fantasy that is the ultimate in escapism for adults and children. His drawings of Dinotopia are exquisite and finely detailed that bring you to places and show you things that you have not even considered previously.

This puppy is a little bit of escapism or wishful thinking. I'd like a puppy, but for a variety of reasons, I can't have one, so I made do with the next best thing - a drawing or the start of one. It was past time I drew an animal and I'm still fixated on the earthbound sketchbook and the lovely brown paper.