With a peculiar predilection to pack up & perambulate, this peregrine has picked an impractical path perhaps, but peregrination needn’t be practical to be pleasurable.
As someone who often chooses curious & circuitous pathways over direct routes (both literally & figuratively) I can attest that getting there really is half the fun! Painting the meadow in this piece for instance… possibly a slightly mad pursuit considering its tiny size & peripheral importance, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. And if you look closely at the finished piece, you may find an appropriate message from Tolkien amidst the foliage! (There’s also a bit of a nod to one of his aptly-named characters on the suitcase… can you spot it?)
Thanks once again to Anu of A.Word.A.Day for the inspiration!
I didn’t know this word until Anu suggested it for A.Word.A.Day, but once I looked it up I knew it would be great fun to illustrate! There’s something delightfully Shakespearean about the definition of “afflatus” in the old dictionary I used for the background text– any word that could evoke both “an exaltation of soul” & “belching” would appeal to the bard, don’t you think? Still, I hope his expression conveys that it’s divine inspiration he’s receiving here & not digestive vapors, however angelic. It was a technical challenge even to get a likeness since his face is barely the size of my fingernail!
Here’s a work-in-progress shot showing the scale of the painting. (If you’d like to see more of this sort of thing please follow me on Instagram.)
Nothing is more delicious than a good, juicy word, & A.Word.A.Day provides one every morning. I’m honored to be illustrating for Anu Garg’s succulent site again this week, & especially delighted to be given this word this year. In June we visited The Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, & saw the most astonishing collection of succulents there in the Desert Garden. My East-Coast eyes couldn’t get enough of their curious shapes & colors. There were a number of lizards enjoying the landscape as well, & I would not have been very surprised if an aloe-esque creature like this “S”-shaped fellow had appeared in one of the beds. Even an alien or a dinosaur would have seemed right at home!
(By the way, the Desert Garden is just one of many, & we were so entranced by all of them that we barely had time to pop into the Library at the end of the day before it closed– which was a pity, because their collection of rare books & manuscripts is as spectacular as the collection of plants.)
Yesterday I found out that these crazy creatures will soon be invading the Communication Arts 2016 Illustration Annual! To say this came as a happy surprise is putting it mildly– I think I alarmed my normally imperturbable husband by emitting something combining a shriek, a whoop, & hysterical laughter.
The news came at the perfect time, too, because I had just that moment been pondering my next painting & wondering if I ought to tame my ideas down a little. But I had so much fun working on Invasive, mostly because I had given myself complete permission to paint whatever came into my head. It seems odd really, how rarely I let this happen, when there is nothing stopping me but my own inhibitions. Now I feel emboldened to take another walk on the wild side!
The annual will be published in the May/June issue of CA, & as for the painting in my head, I’m hoping it will make its appearance before then!
Happy Year of the Monkey! In honor of the 2016 Chinese New Year, Shakespeare, the infinite monkey theorem, & antique typewriters, here’s the Infinite Monkey himself, complete with a background text from Henry IV Part 2: “Ah, you sweet little rogue, you. Alas, poor ape, how thou sweatest!” (Yes, I know the theorem usually refers to Hamlet, but who could resist that line?)
I happen to have been born in a year of the monkey (never mind which), & even though I don’t put much stock in horoscopes, I can’t help but find it delightful that nearly every description of the monkey personality includes the word “curious!”
Today’s painting for A.Word.A.Day illustrates a pair of elephants forming a mutual admiration society for their respective homes & customs. Just painting this made me want to travel to Africa & India, so I guess that makes me a xenophile too!
Today’s A.Word.A.Day painting is Quacksalver, a variant of the more familiar quack. This particular duck doctor is administering a terrifyingly large leech to his very unhappy patient. His office wall bears a dubious diploma from the Institute of Hirudiculture, conferring a degree in leechery. Three troubling vocabulary words for the price of one!
It just so happens that the painting I’m working on is full of pointy elements, so once again I feel like Illustration Friday is reading my mind with their latest prompt! It won’t be long before I’ll be able to post the entire painting, but for now here are some process shots, gathered from Instagram.