The excited artist

You’ve all probably done it. You’re on holiday somewhere, chasing down that great photograph of a lion or whatever gets you excited, and finally you see your first one. In my case, this is 1994 on one of my trips to Kenya. I was with my wife on a self organised safari holiday, no zebra striped minibuses – just us and our two wheel drive Datsun which could barely clear the raised grass down the middle of the dirt roads (in fact, I had to get out and push on more than one occasion just so that I could get the car moving again, not a good look when there might be lions watching me). We saw our first lion of the trip. It’s in the next photo – can you see it? We could, just, a long way away. Still, you never know if you’ll see another so you take the photo. Even though it’s the old 35mm days where each picture costs you money you take it, and more, just to record that you saw a lion.

Did you see it? It had our pulses racing despite it being a fleeting glimpse somewhere too far away for my little camera.

Oh well, you’ve seen what you wanted but you are a little disappointed. That may be as good as it gets.

Our next lion……..

and the menaces that pinched his meal. Oh yes, they were lining up!

Then the next lions doing their thing

And relaxing without the usual cigarette

Is there a lesson here? Probably not, other than to keep on going. You never know if that great encounter is just around the corner. I guess this could be a metaphor for life in general – just keep on trying.

The velvety vervet and the curious kangaroo

My most recent pieces have been a bit of fun. I’ve worked from my own photos, one of a kangaroo that was very inquisitive and the other, a vervet monkey that had clearly not had enough sleep. I really tried to create nice soft fur on the vervet, prompting friends to say it looks like it should be called a ‘velvet’ monkey. I’m happy with that!

I think I’m a lucky guy having lived where you see plenty of both of these animals. The kangaroo is obviously an iconic Australian animal and the vervet is such a cheeky – well, er, monkey! We had one literally destroy our food stash in False Bay Park in Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa. We were glad St Lucia was just down the road where we could stock up on groceries again!

Despite looks, these two boards were created in opposite fashion. The kangaroo was done on a scratchboard, which is coated in black ink and you remove the ink with a variety of scratching tools to create the image, kind of like drawing in reverse, whereas the monkey was done on clayboard (which is white) by spraying diluted Indian Ink and then scratching back to create the image, and repeating this process as often as needed to get the desired effect. I’ve predominantly used a fibreglass brush for both pieces.

ISSA 2012 Exhibition preview

The International Society of Scratchboard Artists 2012 Exhibition is available for preview. There are some incredible artworks displayed and I literally cannot wait to get over to Glen Ellen in California to see the actual show. If you’d like to see why I’m so excited, click the link below and enjoy.

The show runs for the whole of July and there is an artists opening (which I am flying over for) on the 7th July.