Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Back from a holiday

Hello.  I have just arrived home from a four week holiday.  First stop, Berlin.  Below:  dolls' house at the Deutsches Historiches Museum, with a leg of pork on the table and Hitler Youth patterned wallpaper on the walls.  Next to the curtain is a framed photo of Der Fuhrer.

 Above : Pucisca on the island of Brac in Croatia, where my family is from.  Below: view from Aunt Mirjana's.

 Above: a little tree grows out of a church in Nerezisca, also on the island of Brac.
 Pucisca again, above.
 My aunt Tonka's tortoise, above, eating a roasted capsicum.  Below: the tortoise's view.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

This week.

Here is another acrylic on wood panel from Meet Sidney Nolan (out in October).  As a young man, Nolan worked for Fayrefield Hats in Abbotsford, Melbourne.  From my not-particularly-extensive research, he seems to have worked on the sorts of things that a young graphic or industrial designer might tackle today, for example, branding and retail concepts.  During this not-particularly-extensive research (i.e. Googling) I discovered a Fayrefield Hats retail display which was actually designed by Nolan, so I got to include it in the illustration, above.  If you live in Melbourne, you might inadvertently have been to the site of Fayrefield Hats.  The stately Victorian red brick building is still there on Nicholson Street, but is now a series of apartments with a fantastic cafe, Three Bags Full.
-- That's a rather Melbourne ending to a story.

Please note that my Etsy shop will be closed until August 19 while I take a little break. 

Working on a few things lately that I probably shouldn't be showing you, but I can't help myself.  The Lady above is a tiny part of a huge and fun illustration project for a most unlikely customer.  I can't wait to reveal it in its entirety when it's done!  

They say it's not what you know it's who you know -- I am very lucky that my dear friend Jason works as a graphic designer in the television industry (immersed in the daily grind he will argue otherwise).  That's how I got to work on Winners and Losers, and that's how I got to paint this very strange and funny prop that I am showing you a little part of here.  (But it's not for W&L....!)
I would love to finish this scarf, which I meant to complete exactly a year ago for my Craft window.  Boohoo sore back poor me etc etc blah blah......

The painting above, which was originally commissioned by Frankie magazine, will be part of a VERY SPECIAL fundraising exhibition organised by the wonderful Lucy Feagins of The Design Files.  LUCY FOR PM!!!!!!!
I am very proud to be part of a show that will donate 100% of sales to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne.  What a great reason to indulge in some guilt-free art collecting.  Do tempt yourself and have a look at the rest of the show here.
And to end this post, another acrylic on wood panel from Meet Sidney Nolan: a soiree at Heide, the home of patrons John and Sunday Reed.  I am especially proud of this one, as I wasn't sure that I would be able to pull it off.  I worked as a designer of individual motifs for a long time, and lost confidence in my ability to compose a busy illustration with a sense of pictorial depth.  But I am happy with how this turned out.  Again, the wonderful thing about working on this book was the possibility of immersing myself in the subject.  Finding helpful photos in the State Library of Victoria online archive was a cinch.  Even better, I was able to take a trip to Heide and spend time in the very room that this scene might have occurred in.  Sigh.  What a privilege.

I think that the ghosts of the partygoers above helped me with this one.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Frankie Spaces, Volume 3

Very, very proud to have my work included in Frankie magazine's Spaces book, volume 3.  I am a big fan of the Spaces series -- I think I have nabbed all three within a week of them being released.  Like the majority of people, I love to snoop around other people's houses, learning all I can about them through their stuff..... 

The first commissioned portraits that I ever painted were (rather bravely) commissioned by Andrea Shaw of Stampel.   (See more about them here.)  To have them appreciated and displayed in her beautiful home is wonderful, but to have them appear inside a real live book is seriously amazing.  (That's her home on the cover, too.)

Spaces 3 is highly recommended.  Refreshingly non Melbourne/ Sydney-centric, it's a great read, too. 

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The last couple of weeks....!

Hello!  I am sorry that I haven't posted over the last two weeks.  Today I feel just like Michael in my latest Gardening Australia magazine illustration above: wanting to huddle from the cold.  It is FREEZING in the studio today!

I took this photo above of my hallway about a week ago, on a particularly cold morning.  I must admit that the bright colours warmed me up a little.

Above: Having piles of boards at the studio makes me feel like I am being busy and productive.  Ha!

Above: Sunset at the studio.  
 Hooray!!!!!!  I can FINALLY show you the book that I have been working on: Meet Sidney Nolan.  Written by Yvonne Mes.  Release date: October 1, 2015.
This was such a lovely project to be involved in: great fun to research (a trip to Heide, anyone?) and the perfect challenge for my illustration skills.  And have I told you how delightful the women of Random House are to work with??!!!  They are AMAZING.
Speaking of delightful people, Garth Oriander is a lovely fellow with whom I have been acquainted for many years.  A talented commercial photographer, he has recently started a blog about a variety of creative types called What Makes Them Tick.  It is thoroughly professional, beautifully photographed and REALLY worth taking a look at (and reading).  I am rather chuffed to have been included.  Thank you very much, Garth.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The Design Files: home feature

My home has been featured on The Design Files blog today.  It's a bit nerve wracking to have lots and lots of people peering into your rooms, but Lucy's styling and Eve Wilson's lovely photos ensured that they were looking their sparkling clean and colourful best.  Now they are are full of racks of winter washing and the floor could do with a vacuum.  And that is just the start.....

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Frankie magazine cover.

Sock design -- tick.  Editorial illustration -- tick.  CD cover art -- tick.    I can't cross this off my bucket list though, because the idea that I would ever have an illustration on the front cover of a magazine was too incredible.  But -- ta da! -- here she is.  I can hardly believe it.  (I plan on roaming newsagents around the country for the next two months, just to make sure that I am not dreaming.)

I am hugely grateful to Sophie Kalagas and the team at Frankie, but especially to Lucy Feagins from The Design Files, who commissioned this little lady in the first place (for Open House 2013).

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Markit, painting in progress, The Age, and a knitted Scottie

Hello!  Very neglectful of me to forget to post these printed cotton hemp bags, above, and painted bats, below, which were made for Markit last week.  Some of the items have sold, the rest are now in my Etsy shop.

Acrylic on wood painting in progress, above.  It's based on a photo that I took in Swan Street, Richmond. Something a bit different!  I have enjoyed working on this picture, and I look forward to being able to show more of it to you.
Fame in The Age! There is still something that feels so special about being in print, despite the internet having a wider reach these days.  Thank you very much Janai Anselmi and Markit.  (The floral bat has sold.  I hope to make more soon.  The portrait can be found in my Etsy shop.)

I'm in love with my new old sweater.  Now I just need a little black scottie dog.
There is a scottie that lives in the next suburb, maybe I can 'loan' him.  He is old, very furry and waddles when he walks.  (Actually I don't know whether he is a he or a she but I am always tempted to think of scotties as a 'he' because of that beard, I suppose....)
Happy Sunday.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Boom Gallery, Geelong

There is a great article on Geelong's Boom Gallery on the Design Satellite blog.  I have never come across Design Satellite before -- it's a really interesting read and testament to all of the creativity happening outside the major cities of Australia.  With life in the big smoke getting more and more expensive in this country, I'll bet that there is going to be even more creativity in regional centres in the future.  Photo above (with my clumsy cropping) by Bo Wong.
I am very proud that my work is part of Boom.  Kate and Ren are such achievers (why? read the article!).  I really like that they have combined a couple of my mirrors with my X and Why (2012) painted wooden hands here.  Looking good!  Thank you.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Around the place this week

Illustration for The Big Picture, Gardening Australia magazine, June issue.  Michael is happy to accept that severe frosts mean that there's only one winter annual for him.

A lovely ol' blue eye.  A portrait commission in progress.

And here: a kind-of self portrait in progress, 1991.  (As in, the portrait is me in 1991, not painted in 1991....)

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Around the place in the last week or so

Hello.  The days are getting shorter in Melbourne.  Above: Last Thursday afternoon: a portrait in progress.  I finally remembered that I own a little easel (it had been pretending to be a bookstand for about two years).

Above: a little face in progress.  I like that she is somewhere between sullen or sad (what do YOU think?).

Above: a commission for two incredible artists, Lucy James and her husband Kent Wilson.  To have two people I admire give me a commission and THEN pay me double my asking price is a feeling beyond description.  If there were more people like those two, the world would be a marvellous  (and art-filled!) place.  'Champy' is one very lucky little boy....

Above: photo of me looking through my studio window by another lovely and talented woman, Tatanja Ross.  Do I look like I am talking to my mushroom?

Sunday, 26 April 2015

The last week or so.

Above:  A self portrait exercise that my father made while training as a stonemason in the 1950s.  A bit like an ancient Roman Elvis....
Above: My illustration for Gardening Australia magazine, May 2015.  While protecting his delicate seedlings from the freezing cold of Mount Macedon, Michael ponders what it would be like to be a gardener in the tropics.

Above: After it grew dark I realised that a mushroom had been staring at me the whole time while I was working.

Above: Hallway home improvement.  It felt rather grown up to get my 1930s slavic costume lithographs properly framed.  There are eight of these beauties in total.  I like to stare at little their details while brushing my teeth.  (There are similar ones for sale here.  They depict French costumes rather than Slavic ones, but they may well be by the same artist.) 
Above: Fridge looking somewhat less grown up?!!

Above: These tiny portraits are now in my Etsy shop.  They are 10 x 10 cm (that's 4 x 4 inches - I think!).
 Above and below: work in progress.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Hotels & magazines

No I am not presently in a hotel reading a magazine, much as it sounds like a very fine idea.  Instead, I am very proud to be able to show you an event that my work is presently part of, above.  'Etsy at The Cullen' is an entire penthouse hotel suite temporarily decked out in artwork and products from Australian Etsy sellers.  A fantastic idea, beautifully realised.  Above: my Flame and Bed Strange Fellows, by the bed.  Of course.  For details on the concept and other items, please click here.  

Above: Fete magazine, Issue No. 10: a feature on Lucy Feagins' Open House 2014, including an entire wall of my painted bats and other items, on the right.

Above: Inside Out magazine, April 2015.  My Girl Wearing Beret portrait print appeared courtesy of the wonderful people at Modern Times.

......I'm really happy to be able to show you not one -- but two! -- magazines in which my work has been featured this month.  Fete and Inside Out, above.  There is something about magazines -- to me it still seems like an incredible honour to have been included in one, even though their power has been diminished in the face of online media.  Maybe it's a sign that I'm old, and it's an old dream that comes true every time my work is in print.  Or maybe it's the fact that I can put these magazines away and look at them in twenty years' time and still feel proud.
(Quite a different feeling to looking at an old blog article.  The internet and email as artefacts: something I have been pondering lately, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.)