Tag Archives: Personal work

Tusitala – Robert Louis Stevenson – the Storyteller

TusitalaInk and watercolour painting based on a photograph of Robert Louis Stevenson in the Writers’ Museum in Edingburg Scotland. RLS on the bow of the Equator. A4 ish

Last December I’ve been to Edinburgh for a few days by myself. One good thing about travelling solo is that you can do whatever you want for however long you want to do it. In my case this means taking reference photos of just about everything including lots and lots of stuffed animals and sketching stuff in museums for hours on end. The painting of Stevenson is a result of this. I noticed a little photograph in the Writers’ museum which is a small but very interesting museum on Scottish writers( and it’s free!) that really spoke to me. So i made a sketch. It was very sketchy. The audio in that particular exhibit room was on repeat which is fine if you’re there walking around. Not so much when you’re doing a sketch 😀 So I want to end with this:

Pieces of eight! Arggggg!!!

Hen Wen the magical pig

The Book of Three Henwen 1800This is the white magical pig Hen Wen running through the underground world of the fairyfolk of Prydain.
I chose to illustrate the first book of the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander: The Book of Three. These books have always been childhood favourites of mine. Especially The foundling but I thought it a bit odd to start illustrating covers for a series and not start with the first one.
The Dutch version of the Chronicles of Prydain had illustrations that managed to intrigue me and frustrate me as a child. They were pen and ink drawings with very fine detail that drew me in but when you looked at them more closely all sorts of things didn’t add up compared to the stories.  I remember drawing on top of the cover, getting even more frustrated and papering over it to hide it, feeling ashamed.  Consider this take two 😉

It’s a painting to be used as a wraparound cover. You can see what I sort of had in mind for the text layout herehenwenwithtext. It’s also an entry for the Train your Brain Contest run by the Art Department on Deviant Art. There are many many many entries and lots of them are awesome. Go check it out

And with that I leave you with this quote from the book:

“Most of us are called on to perform tasks far beyond what we can do. Our capabilities seldom match our aspirations, and we are often woefully unprepared. To this extent, we are all Assistant Pig-Keepers at heart.”
Lloyd Alexander, The Book of Three

The Gold Bug – Poe

Hi, long time no blog!

I had picked up a small( 10×10 cm) wooden panel from my local art store a while back to experiment a little. It has a very smooth surface and I was curious how this would affect my painting.
I chose the short story The Gold Bug by Poe as a subject.
The text says:
“Nonsense! no! — the bug. It is of a brilliant gold color — about the size of a large hickory-nut — with two jet black spots near one extremity of the back, and another, somewhat longer, at the other. The antennæ are” —

And that’s about all that is said about the appearance of the bug. Plenty of room for interpretation.

I like how my bug turned out but I do know that next time if I want to paint a dark skinned hand I’m not using my own as reference. Getting the colour and light right on the hand was difficult and I feel I could have done a better job. Which is why I experiment! The smooth surface of the panel was nice to work with for me though I could use some more practise. I can definitely see the benefits of it for certain subjects.

For those who would like a little bit more info:
straight from Wikipedia
“The Gold-Bug” is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Set on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, the plot follows William Legrand, who was recently bitten by a gold-colored bug. His servant Jupiter fears Legrand is going insane and goes to Legrand’s friend, an unnamed narrator who agrees to visit his old friend. Legrand pulls the other two into an adventure after deciphering a secret message that will lead to a buried treasure.

The click beetle Alaus oculatus, along with a longhorn beetle, inspired the fictional “gold-bug” of Poe’s tale.
You can read the entire story here

Snakes and Ladders

 

An idea based on the boardgame Snakes and Ladders, or Chutes and Ladders as it is also known. Growing up I always liked the game but the board we had sported some of the ugliest sausage-like snakes I have ever seen and that always put me off playing.

I had some trouble deciding on which route I liked to go on so I decided to do two versions I like the one with the white snakes for the immediate impact it has and the other one has more depth to me. Depends on what you’re looking for really. Both are done with watercolour and black and coloured inks on paper.

Sea lion salon

The colony – watercolour on paper. 21×21 cm.

A colony of sealion like creatures on a rocky beach. Two males are about to battle it out. Watercolour painting on paper.  21 by 21 cm.

With this painting I wanted to do some fantasy animals and since I’ve painted only paintings with one or two subjects in it lately I wanted to tackle a group for a change as well. I like sea lions ever since I was a child and I got sent a very smelly sea shell that had been sat on by a walrus/sea lion for my shell collection by my grandmother. Since they are pretty much always heaped together they’re great subjects for a group painting so the general direction was obvious to me.  However when I started sketching a few ideas I quickly found out that I didn’t really like the more outlandish things I could come up with so I just send them off to the hair salon and changed their coats. I had two good reference photos and even though I changed a lot the basic poses of the sea lions stayed the same and I didn’t have to guess where the shadows where supposed to be which helped heaps. Mostly happy with this one even though as usual there are a few things that I’m not too sure about. For instance I could have finished of certain areas with more details and a little sharper if I wanted to but I wasn’t too sure I could pull itoff in others and I decided to leave everything at the same level of (un)finishedness. Good decision/bad decision? Hmmm
Anyhoo, here’s one of the sketches I did.

Photo reference by Matthew Hull