The collaboration continues …


The next booklet in the collaboration series is on its way to snowy Minnesota! From there it will go to Denver, Colorado before returning to me. The theme is loosely based on marine subject matter. These drawings are inspired by photos I have taken of bluebottle jellyfish washed up on the beach. At first they were going to be just pen and ink, but I decided a haze of blue would anchor them to the page better. So Cathe (Amaryllis Log) and Chris (Christopher Beeson Encaustic) will be taking it on from here.

Bluebottle jellyfish have had a fascination for me for a while, and are starting to appear in my artwork (see here) more and more in different forms. No doubt there will be more …

This one is pen and ink and a little coloured pencil.

Moleskine booklet, each spread is 22 x 17 cm (8 ¾” x 6 ¾”)


Collaboration – next step


The collaboration I tentatively suggested is under way! In response to my post about the Moleskine booklet I had three responses from artists keen to be involved. The first booklet (see here) has gone to Kylie Fogarty, an artist in Canberra, see here for her website, and the booklet above has gone to Karen Bailey in Melbourne. Karen has been busy with an exhibition (see here on Karen’s blog about it) but will now be ready to add some pages. Karen’s will then go to Kylie and vice versa, and we will all collaborate on the first and last pages. There will be a third one in this set, yet to come.

The fourth one which I am still working on will go to Cathe (see here for her beautiful blog, Amaryllis Log) in Minnesota in the US and we will do this one between the two of us.

I am so looking forward to what happens with each of these books – the three artists are all very different and all very good, I respect and am inspired by what they each do, but the intention of these books is not to create great art but to experiment and have fun. For each booklet there will be a loose theme, in that each artist will use what the previous artist has done to inspire their page, whether by the mark making or subject matter or other more abstract concepts.

The image above is identifiably inspired by seaweed, and the one for Cathe will have a similar marine/natural history basis. This one is drawn with pen and water-based ink, some of the lines have been made to bleed with a wet paintbrush, then colour added with coloured pencil.

Here’s to some surprises!

Playing with encaustic


‘Encaustic’ is a painting term I have known for some time, without knowing a lot about the technique. The works I have seen have a wonderful textured quality, and sometimes an almost ghostly depth to them.

One of the friends I regularly paint with, Cindy ( see for some of her work) took part in a winter school last year in encaustic, and so promised to pass on her knowledge and provide some encaustic mix for the rest of us to work with. The mix is beeswax melted with a small amount of a solution of damar varnish crystals marinated in gum turps. Apparently there are many recipes for the mix, and it can be bought ready made. It starts off as a solid block, placed in a saucepan over low heat. When it melts, it’s ready to use. There are as many ways of using encaustic as there are artists, but we simply painted random streaks of wax on our prepared surfaces, then added paint and scratched and scraped into the wax. The paint can be rubbed in, wiped off, layered. The wax can be layered as many times as necessary, or even used almost as a mask and scraped right back each time. I enjoyed it more than I could have imagined. Not every attempt was successful, but this was a chance to get a feel for the materials.

The image above was on mdf board (14 x 14 cm), which had been sealed with gesso, then a simple, fairly abstract painting started in oil, which was quite dry before I started doing the encaustic. First I painted on wax, then oil paint in some areas, gradually building up layers and scraping to create texture and form. Totally unexpected imagery can result.

distant_web cave_web snow_web drought_web

These four smaller images are 8.5 x 6 cm, so qualify as miniatures. These were done on Ampersand Aquabord, a rough textured prepared surface. The initial colour was applied using Neocolor 2 sticks, (water soluble oil pastels) then moved around with water. Once it dried I could add more wax, and more colour, either using the sticks or oil paint. It seems the only incompatible medium is acrylic paint, Cindy was using washes of ink to great effect. The world is your oyster with this medium – I think there are more experiments to come!

Moleskine booklet


Some time ago I found some small Moleskine booklets in a remainder shop – they have eight pages within a light card cover, which has flaps that can be folded over to make an envelope. They are designed to be then posted. I liked the idea, but as with so many things, I put the booklets away and forgot about them.

When I got them out again, an idea I had was that they could be used as a collaborative project, I would do a couple of pages then post it to another artist who would do a couple more, then back again. But who keeps the booklet in the end? Maybe the answer is have two. If there is someone who would like to collaborate, let me know – the work does not have to be like mine, in fact it is better if it is different. Each spread can inspire the next. I can start another that will be different and we can work on both.

The imagery in this one is from blots of Liquid Pencil that I often use as a start. It is then drawn into with pencils, pen and coloured pencil, with no real plan, but marks are suggested by the form of the blots. I have called this one Spiderweb, as the gauzy connectors between areas remind me of fine webs.

Moleskine booklet, each spread is 22 x 17 cm (8 ¾” x 6 ¾”)