A couple of weeks ago I decided to move one small piece of furniture from one place in my crowded studio to another. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But, having moved that one piece, then I could see how another piece could also be moved, but that would involve moving the stuff stored in it somewhere else, and my considerable amount of shelving was already literally overflowing with stuff so there was nowhere to move the stuff to. Did I mention I have too much stuff in here?
Long story short, the plan to move that one piece of furniture turned into an all-out declutter and rearrange of the studio that took almost ten days. It was exhausting, frustrating and liberating all at once – I’d say nearly half of what was in here was either thrown out or sold on eBay. Ironically, the one piece of furniture that started it all ended up being removed from the studio altogether!
Finally, in my new, decluttered, dare I say organised studio, I’ve done some new paintings!
First up was a pen and wash painting of Dunluce Castle in Northern Island. I love castles, but live in totally the wrong country to see them. This one has been sent to the Postcard Art Group.
To relax after painting this, I picked up The Art of My Neighbour Totoro – a book I find just too darn inspirational, not something I should look at when I should be resting. I love the final art from the movie, but I think I love the pencil and watercolour concept art sketches even more. Looking at those made me want to draw and paint something – anything! – in that style, so I went back to the (clean!) desk and sketched the first thing that came into my head – a wishing well. This is the end result, which my wife Savannah claimed for her collection immediately!
Observant long-term readers of my blog may have noticed my work moving more and more towards an illustrative style, something I’m both conscious of and pleased about. The fact is, if I could only look at a single style of art for the rest of my life, it would be book illustrations, and you can’t really talk about famous book illustrators without thinking of E. H. Shepard, the illustrator behind Winnie The Pooh and The Wind In The Willows to name but two. I have a beautiful hardcover version of WTP, and this morning it was from this that I decided to create a study of just one of the illustrations.
In the original, Eeyore is having a drink, but I’m much more interested in places than characters so I left him out. I used a recently acquired Sakura Pigma brush pen for this, plus just three M. Graham watercolours – Nickel Quinacridone Gold, Scarlet Pyrrol and Manganese Blue Hue. If you want a fast way to paint warm and cool greens, that particular yellow and blue are your new best friends!
If you really study Shepard’s style, you realise the genius of the man – his linework is energetic, loose and expressive, and his use of colour is sparing but equally expressive. I’ve tried to capture this and have, I think, been fairly successful. My lines are heavier than his so I might need a finer brush pen for my 4×6″ paintings, but otherwise I’m really pleased with how this turned out and look forward to inventing my own scenes in the same style. This painting is also going to the Postcard Art Group.