Saturday, December 31, 2011

Long time, no blog.

I just realized how long it has been since I last posted a blog here. One reason I guess is that Mary and I moved down to Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast just before the Christmas before last. I have been too busy living and enjoying life rather than writing about it much.

I draw people at least three times a week at the Markets at Eumundi and Caloundra. I do cartoons, caricatures and even a few more "realistic" quick fine art sketches. depending on what my customers want. I hope you enjoy the attached samples. Please comment if you wish.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Creativity Killers

One of my friends on Facebook found an interesting and perhaps even useful link about creativity killers. It is worth having a look at, but unless 7. Being overwhelmed by information
includes it, it does not mention "Wasting time keeping up with friend's activities on Facebook". Creativity requires time spent creating.
I guess I had better take my own advice!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What does an artist do?

The judges at a recent art competition I entered did not award a prize in one section. The main judge's explanation was rather high-brow and long-winded . One of the audience (not me) walked out loudly cursing and swearing. What the judge basically said was that no one had gone creatively out of the square.

I think I understood their attitude a bit better when I read and laughed at this except from "Lanark" by Alasdair Gray:

“What work could I do?”
“Have you visited Galloway’s Tearoom?”
“Did you speak to anyone there?”
“Then you can’t be a businessman. I’m afraid you will have to take up art. Art is the only work open to people who can’t get along with people and still want to be special.”
“I could never be an artist. I have nothing to tell people.”
Sludden started laughing. “You haven’t understood a word I’ve spoken.”
Lanark had an inner restraint which stopped him displaying much resentment or anger. He pressed his lips together and frowned at the coffee cup.
Sludden said, “An artist doesn’t tell people things. He expresses himself. If the self is unusual his work shocks or excites people. Anyway, it forces his personality on them. Here comes Gay at last. Would you mind making room for her?”

Alasdair Gray is an artist as well as an author and does the illustrations for his own books . See above.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nude - Variations on a Theme

Hi There

For some reason I prefer painting on canvas rather than the computer. It seems too easy sometimes and having a thing you have made directly in your hands gives me a bigger kick.

Photoshop can be handy and interesting though. (Interesting for you too, I hope)

Yesterday I had a painting which looked more or less like this. (I have "reconstructed" it with a bit of help from photoshop.)

I was of two minds as to where to go from there.

(A) Do an Abstract Art version

(B) Continue on towards Realism. My Muse suggested the latter. So I took another look at the original photo, Used Curves in PhotoShop to darken and increase contrast, took a look at it after doing a Poster Edges Filter.

This is what I was more ore less aiming for

This is what I now have on canvas: A rather unfeminine muscular female body builder!

Thank heavens for Photoshop. At least it can help me visualize what might have been or still may be.

Anyone wantta be my Virtual Muse?

Monday, May 25, 2009


Part of working to commissions is the way that negotiations can change your plans. Talking with fellow artists or even simply delays can also cause you to take a second look at things.

All of these figured in my deciding to modify the pose I am using in my latest portrait. See above.

Friday, May 15, 2009

My First Review

Hopefully, this may be a post I will look back at and laugh later.

Here is my first review in today's Chronicle (which featured my court sketch on it's cover again yesterday, this time as a mirror image.) :

Bon Amici [Coffee House]in Margaret Street is featuring the work of Des Howell in the exhibition Faces and Figures.

Enthusiasm seems to over-ride any firm selection criterion in this over-crowded and sometimes difficult to see show.
[Next time, I show in a properly set up gallery!] The work ranges from competent [such fullsome praise!] stylized and detailed pencil studies to colourfully exotic female subjects, some [actually one] brandishing lilies, and others adopting sultry latin poses.

This is alongside other reviews, one of which contains lines like

This exhubriant exhibition of colourful abstract statements uses spatters of paint and fluid shapes, some reminescent of forms from nature, to express an internal journey through the corridors of an artist's poetic imagination.

I am still trying to figure out which of my paintings feature "sultry latin poses" and I put the lilies there because I thought poses of implicitly naked ladies putting an empty hand on their head look silly unless you emphasize the "Art Noveau" connection. Anyway, someone loves her. I have been told they are racking up a deposit to buy her.

Ah, it is all in the eye of the beholder!

As for my diversity, my "signature" is If people say you are always going off on a tangent, it probably means they are still going round in circles.

My experience of academia suggests to me that lecturers often impose narrowly defined assignments with a view of making them easy to rate later. Their students get into the habit of working within narrow themes to meet their memories of academic critics' expectations. I tend to agree with the artist who said that if they understand you, you might be doing something wrong.

Anyone like to comment on their own reviews?



Monday, May 11, 2009

My first commissioned nude portrait

Someone has just asked me to paint some figure studies of her "before she gets too old to look good" and I have agreed to take up the challenge.

The young (late twenties I would guess) lady in question particularly liked a couple of paintings I currently have on show. These feature women standing draped with strategically placed scarves.

When she phoned, I made a silent "guessimate" of her age and sincerity of motives. I specifically made sure she would have a friend there when I called to discuss things further with her. As it turned out, it only took a couple of minutes face-to-face for both of us to feel comfortable enough about trying out some poses. I also felt good about having her friend there to help with the posing and arranging of draperies, etc.

I took a few of my life class sketches along. These not only demonstrated and reassured her about my skill level, they aided our discussions about poses, media, styles, costs, etc.

This is roughly the pose I will be working on first. (I agreed not to post any images of my sketches or artwork she has commissioned, particularly as she has a realistic portrait in mind.)

One of her other girlfriends arrived in the middle of all this so it turned out to be quite a relaxed, giggly fun sort of experience. I will let you know how it all turns out later.