I’ve had a nice run recently. I submitted my nine piece Meerkat Montage to the annual exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists (being held right now in New Jersey) knowing that they only take a small proportion of the entries. I was delighted when I got accepted and even more delighted when they informed me that the art was further selected for their smaller travelling exhibition which is a massive honour for me. As such, even if it doesn’t sell over there, I won’t see it again for well over a year as it goes from one side of the States to the other. As such I couldn’t resist so I booked a ticket and will be flying over there with my wife Gaynor for the artists opening. We will be staying with our friend and most amazing artist Cathy Sheeter (check her work out – http://www.aphelionart.com/) and then we’ll have a holiday in New York City and be tourists.
I also won a highly commended award for my bonobo “Pan” up at the Mcgregor Art Extravaganza in Queensland. I’m glad this has finally won an award because it’s one of my favourite pieces and being large, it took me forever to finish.
And then to top it off I’ve just won the scratchboard section in the Nossal Art Show in Victoria with “Temptation”, Meerkat and Grasshopper.
I’ve finished my solo exhibition for SALA (South Australian Living Artists) which is always fun and I’ve also been conducting workshops. When I go to schools I like to pass a small scratchboard around and get everyone to contribute to it. Hence the following two scratchboards have input from over 50 kids, about two minutes each. Their styles are so totally different and of course not everyone follows the fur direction or works out the light. We are talking about some kids being less than ten and when I was that age, I didn’t know which end of the pencil to hold so it’s understandable that the results are a bit “all over the place”. I then use the boards to show how forgiving a medium scratchboard is. I spend no more than 30 extra minutes on it with a bit of diluted ink and a fibreglass brush and the difference is massive. That’s what you get when you use the best boards in the world (made by Ampersand). The finished boards, (on the right) are darker because they’ve been varnished.
Who doesn’t love a meerkat!!
The International Society of Scratchboard Artists normally holds its annual exhibition in prestigious galleries in North America, but in Feb 2017 it is in South Australia. Come to the opening night, February 10th, and see some of the finest scratchboard art in the world. We have exhibiting artists from the US, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, China and South Africa, not to mention all over Australia in the lovely Stump Hill Gallery in the beautiful winery region of McLaren Vale in South Australia. Many artists are flying in to attend the show and it is a great opportunity to meet some of the world’s finest artists, see and purchase amazing art.
If you can’t come to the opening night, the exhibition lasts for five weeks until March 16th 2017.
I will have a couple of pieces in the exhibition and these are below, so if you are in the area, I’d love to see you there.
One of my favourite artists, Avril Thomas from Magpie Springs Gallery, Vineyard and Cellar Door, is holding an exhibition of small works from people all round the world. Proceeds from this show will go towards helping Marilyn Jetty Swim raise money for Cancer Research with Cancer Council SA, something that is very dear to Avril. All works are unframed and only 4″x6″ to make postage easy and inexpensive. The art will be displayed at her gallery in the Adelaide Hills and sales will be via auction. Gallery hrs:- Fri Sat Sun 11 – 5 Magpie Springs, 1870 Brookman Rd HOPE FOREST SOUTH AUSTRALIA 5172
Check out Magpie Springs Facebook page and also the “It’s a small world” page.
I have been honoured to be asked to take part and have sent this small piece called “A mother’s Protection”.
I wish I was in London this week. The David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition has been on at the prestigious Mall Galleries in London and the photos of the artwork that I’ve seen have been absolutely stunning. This is a link to the work that’s been hung on the walls this year. It looks like it’s been a very successful event and will raise much needed funds for wildlife conservation, something that drives David and all of us wildlife artists.
A fabulous artist friend of mine, Martin Aveling, sent me a link to a blog by well known artist Katherine Tyrrell where she had written highly about my “Meerkat Montage” which was a lovely surprise. It’s always good to see that people appreciate your work so a very big thank you to her.
Also, here are the two pieces that Martin got accepted into the show. I absolutely love his work and find his clever use of “what to” and “what not to” include very attractive.
“Bateleur” by Martin Aveling
“Clear to Land” by Martin Aveling
One day about 18 months ago a flat pack parcel arrived for me at home in Adelaide. I noticed it was from the US. I often send art to shows in the States and if it doesn’t sell, it gets sent back to me. However at this time I wasn’t expecting any returns. I noticed it was from my friend Diana Lee. Maybe she’d sent me a magazine? Excited, I ripped the parcel open to be faced – literally – with myself. Diana had colluded with my lovely but sneaky wife Gaynor and the result was a fabulous portrait of me. Totally unexpected and the best surprise one could get.
Great scratchboard artist friends Harold Farley, Lorna Hannett, Me, Diana Lee and Allan Ace Adams
To put things in context, Diana Lee could be described as one of the finest artists in the world without a shadow of doubt. She is a pioneer of scratchboard art and has inspired many many artists to get involved with this fine art medium. She was with me when we created the International Society of Scratchboard Artists with five other artists. Due in no small part to her, this society has now gone global and as a result, Diana has ended up touching even more lives. She certainly touched mine and my family’s. We all loved her and I’m devastated by her passing to an aggressive form of cancer.
This is the portrait she did of me and underneath that a selection of her art which will show you why I consider her so highly. However, no matter how good her art was, it didn’t match up to how good she was as a human being and I will sorely miss her.
I’ve had a very good month. I submitted my Meerkat Montage to the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year annhual exhibition. This esteemed event attracts entries from all over the globe and a very small percentage gets accepted. Last year I got into the category “Selected but not hung” with a grazing zebra which was very nice but this year I have managed to go one better by getting into the actual exhibition. The event will be at the prestigious Mall Galleries in London from June 27th to July 2nd 2016. It’s particularly important to me because David Shepherd was my original inspiration in wildlife art, something he’s been a pioneer of since the early 1960s. I believe I have five of his books and three of his prints. We as a family have also adopted elephants and wild dogs that his wildlife foundation saves so to get into his exhibition is awesome for me.
Then to cap it all off I applied to join the legendary Society of Animal Artists. This society is full of my heroes. I skimmed through the member list and saw amazing luminaries as associate members. They have a higher level called Signature level but that’s reserved for the best of the best – a bit beyond me I would have thought. So here I was waiting for my application to be judged and hoping I would get in (apparently 75 people applied this year and only 25 were accepted) when I get the email saying “Congratulations, you have been accepted as a Signature Level member”. This didn’t even enter my head that I would get this result. I have been indeed honoured this month and am very grateful. Along with being able to sign my work with the letters MSA for my Master status in The International Society of Scratchboard Artists, I can now also add the letters SSA as a signature artist of the Society of Animal Artists.
Here are a few recent pieces I’ve done
“Pads”, Amur Leopard
“The Stalk”, African Lion
It’s that time of year again for the International Society of Scratchboard Artists to hold their annual exhibition, this time in Maryland USA. I sent two pieces over from Australia, entered into the Masters category and am delighted to say that for the second year running I won the “Silver Award”, this time with my Meerkat Montage, below.
This is a real honour because I am exhibiting next to some of the world’s greatest scratchboard artists – in fact some of the finest artists in the world full stop. It’s always a great show for the public and artists alike. I attended the 2012 show in California where artists gave workshops and demonstrations and I certainly learnt a lot.
In this post I’m adding a few pieces of recent art below, both pastels and scratchboards.
This first scratchboard of a Namibian girl (from one of my trips to Africa) is completed entirely with the use of tattoo needles.
Here we have a meerkat created with an airbrush and the fibreglass brush I use so much, a great tool for creating a soft look. I was particularly drawn to the backlighting from one of my photographs of meerkats at the Adelaide Zoo. I started out with a white board. Normally I use black boards where black India ink has been sprayed onto the clay by the manufacturer but you can also buy clayboards where you put the ink on yourself.
Perhaps an unusual subject for me, done again with tattoo needles. It was a birthday present for my bodybuilder son and is of Shawn Ray, one of the world’s best ever bodybuilders.
With this group of zebras in scratchboard, I’ve tried to use composition as a tool to tell a story. I’ve cropped them closely and called it “Our world is closing in” in reference to the fact that, even in Africa, the game parks are being encroached on by such massive human population growth that even relatively common animals like zebras are being driven further and further away to escape those pressures. The zebras are drinking in a formation where they can still see the dangers around them which can be an analogy for this world that they are being forced to live in.
This is a pastel of a backlit zebra and following that a pastel of a meerkat, both quick studies for larger works to come later.