Sunday, 23 July 2017

ends & beginnings

Today marks the end of 16 years of continuous study - starting with an arts degree, on to Honours, a Phd, then graphic design and concept illustration. 16 years ago I hadn't even used a computer. Today I no longer make art in the real world. Apart from the occasional bit of hand drawing - it's all digital. It's an understatement to say that the last 16 years have been a very steep learning curve. 

This shift, coupled with a change in jobs last year, has had huge practical implications. I have recently divested myself of most of my art books and all but a few traditional art materials. I no longer need the big studio we designed into the new house 8 years ago to accommodate the 3 x 2.4 sq meter paintings I was doing for my PhD. I don't need crates of drawing props or other education materials either. Over the last few weeks I have removed piles and piles of stuff  - to the auction, local OP Shops and the Tip Shop. I've emptied out filing cabinets and got rid of them too. And I've finally accepted the reality that I won't be pursuing music so I've taken my beautiful Washburn bass and saxophone to the auction. I am reduced to a bed, a desk, computer, a box of tools, some books I just couldn't let go of, enough clothes, a few paints and brushes and a ridiculously large pile of art journals. 

This downsizing process has also been driven by a planned physical move to a few acres with a smaller house (if we are able to sell our current one). The house we have is already small, but the next will be even smaller. I have been saying for years that I want the smallest practical house with the biggest bit of land around it I can afford. Houses just fill up with stuff and need constant cleaning. I want to be able to step through my front door and straight into the veggie garden, and most of all - get some peace and privacy from neighbours and the detritus of daily life.

My partner has been going through a similar process and we have been talking a lot lately about 'identity' - how it shifts as you reach certain age milestones in your life and how priorities change. We've come to the conclusion that this is the right thing to do because although neither of us is ready to leave the planet, sorting out our stuff is probably a gift to anyone we leave behind. I recall a family gathering during which we doled out my father's belongings. They fit into a small garage and I remember thinking - this is the sum of a life, and nobody really wants this stuff. I don't want people standing around thinking that about me. It may not be possible, but when I leave I don't want to leave a trace - just sink into the abyss.

In the meantime I feel lighter and hopeful. After an initial feeling of 'I don't know if I have the energy to build again', I am looking forward to the next phase of my life.

image: One of my WIP digital drawings entitled 'Miss America'.

Friday, 30 June 2017

folio time

Finishing up my digital drawing course in the next couple of weeks. I'm adding pieces to my Artstation folio as I finish them. This was a prop paintover.

I'm pretty happy with my final folio, though some I had hoped to include won't be finished in time.

Monday, 15 May 2017

'visual development' thumbnails

This is our final assignment before we take a week long break. And then only 8 weeks left of the course to finish 13 pieces for my portfolio. Eeeeeek!

For this exercise we had to create 5 thumbnails based on a script, choose one and develop it as a background for a scene. Tossing up between 2, 3 or 4.

I won't be taking on any more courses after this - I've been studying for 16 years non-stop. 10 of those were for my PhD. I'll keep developing my digital drawing - but probably just focus on random video tutorials and have fun with the skills I have learned.

Friday, 21 April 2017


This is a WIP creature design. The background is based on the view from my kitchen window (though I've added in the buildings and removed some trees). I don't know why I felt compelled to give her several breasts, but when I did some research the motivation was revealed (as it often is).

In Roman mythology this many-breasted fertility goddess of the woodlands, wild animals and hunting is known as Diana. In Greek mythology she is Artemis. Artists often portray her as a virgin hunter with bow and quiver, accompanied by maidens, hunting dogs, or deer.

Although she is a 'goddess of light' who represents the moon, Diana is also associated with Hecate - the Greek goddess of darkness and witchcraft who reigns over the kingdom of the dead. In mediaeval times this goddess was denounced as 'queen of the witches' or 'goddess of the heathen'. Religious leaders often referred to her as the 'devil' - a fairly predictable patriarchal response.

This is the second pass. I changed the background colours to make it look more 'distasteful' and made the wings a 'flesh' colour so they integrate with the body better.

I really indentify with this female character. As goddess of forests and hunting, she is pure and virginal. Yet she is also arrogant and vengeful. As moon-goddess she is mercurial and unpredictable. As goddess of the underworld she is unforgiving and bloodthirsty.

Artemis is another classic 'vengeful goddess' - rising up from the collective unconscious because the feminine desperately needs heroes.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

'Yaroma' - WIP update

Life is a bit hectic at the moment. I am working on several pieces at once for my folio submission due at the end of June, for which I will need a minimum of 15. Only 2 are actually finished.....Eeeek!!

This is my interpretation of an Eastern Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime character known as Yaroma.

‘The Yaroma is a creature closely resembling a man, but of greater stature, and having hair all over the body. Its mouth is large, which enables it to swallow a blackfellow whole, without mastication. There are generally two of these monsters together, and they stand back to back, so that they can see in every direction. Their method of locomotion is by a series of long jumps, and at every jump their feet strike the ground with a loud sudden noise, like the report of a gun or the cracking of a stockwhip.

Yaromas have large, long feet, of a different shape to the feet of a human being. When one of these monsters is heard in the vicinity of a native camp during the evening, the people keep silent and rub their abdomens with their hands, and puff or spit in his direction. Some of the headmen or doctors shout out the name of some locality a long way off, and the Yaroma is supposed to depart to that place. If he cannot be dispersed by this means, the men take sticks which have been lighted in the fire — a stick in each hand — and strike them together to throw out sparks. This usually causes the Yaroma to disappear into the ground, making a flash of light as he does so. If a man be pursued by a Yaroma his only means of escape is to jump into a waterhole and swim about, because these creatures cannot wet their feet. They have long teeth, which they sharpen on rocks in the high ranges; and some of the old men aver that they know of rocks where there still remain marks of this tooth-grinding.’

Thursday, 13 April 2017

'make America great' WIP update

Made some lighting & compositional changes. Much happier with it now. Still lots to do.

ends & beginnings

Today marks the end of 16 years of continuous study - starting with an arts degree, on to Honours, a Phd, then graphic design and concept ...