Showing off

The Last Autumn, 2015 — photograph by AJ Scott Construction
AJ Scott Construction

What a lovely surprise ― The Last Autumn has appeared on AJ Scott Construction’s website in a feature about my client’s beautiful Waitikiri home. I’m thrilled with the photographs they took of the painting (which only went up on the wall the day before the photo shoot). Click on the image above to see the complete slideshow.

The last autumn

This commission was a bit special, both for the client and for me. The Press Building was the home of The Press newspaper from 1909 until February 2011. A beautiful building situated in Cathedral Square, it was one of the casualties of the Christchurch 2010–2011 earthquakes. Even though the painting shows its last autumn (in 2010), we wanted it to represent happier times and evoke fond memories.

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The painting is a combination of two of my In the Style of… paintings: the building and tree from The Press and the leaves from Tram. The red geraniums originally appeared in Press Lane, an experimental sketch I did in 2013. I photographed the final painting on a dull day — the tree is actually very dark brown, not black. And at 40″ x 54″ (1015mm x 1370mm), it’s my largest ever painting.

Shoot it, Sketch it: Cathedral Junction

Cathedral Junction — ink and watercolour, 240 x 180 mm, 2014
Cathedral Junction — ink and watercolour, 240 x 180 mm, 2014. SOLD
Tram photograph and WIP
Tram photograph and WIP

I’ve been meaning to get around to this one for ages. The photograph originally featured in my In the Style of… Fougasse and became an ink sketch coloured in Photoshop. I’ve redrawn it and replaced the digital colour with watercolour. After a little bit of trial and error experimentation, I decided on the version you see here. I did try it with more colour but it just looked wrong. Overworked and wrong. I may paint it again and colour only the leaves… ‘Cathedral Junction’ is now my first watercolour for sale on Etsy.

A little light relief

Through the trees — acrylic on canvas, 100 x 305 mm, 2014
Through the Trees — acrylic on canvas, 100 x 305 mm, 2014

This is one of the smallest paintings I’ve ever done! It’s based on this painting and this photograph that I posted last year. It may still be autumn (officially) in Christchurch but this month has felt a lot more like winter ― the sunny glow coming from this little canvas has been very welcome here in the art cave.

Shoot it, Sketch it: My autumn almanac

Autumn calling, 2013
Autumn calling, 2013

Autumn calling (blue, detail) – mixed media, 2013
Autumn calling (blue, detail) – mixed media, 2013

Today’s Shoot it, Sketch it is yet another experiment. The inspiration was a photograph taken at our back door last April. Something about the dry, curly leaves and the tiny, creamy white petals really appealed to me.

Autumn calling – acrylic on canvas, diptych: each panel 125 x 175 mm, 2013
Autumn calling – acrylic on canvas, diptych: each panel 125 x 175 mm, 2013

I painted it three times ― twice with brushes (above) and a third time with a palette knife (using the leftover paint for the background) and acrylic paint markers (below).

Autumn calling – acrylic on canvas, 165 x 215 mm, 2013
Autumn calling – acrylic on canvas, 165 x 215 mm, 2013

Then I combined the three paintings in Photoshop and tweaked a few filters to create the series below.

Autumn calling – mixed media, 2013
Autumn calling – mixed media, 2013

Autumn calling, orange – mixed media, 2013
Autumn calling, orange – mixed media, 2013

Autumn calling, blue – mixed media, 2013
Autumn calling, blue – mixed media, 2013

In the style of… Maurice Sendak

St Germain and the tree – ink and watercolour, 297 x 210 mm, 2013
St Germain and the Tree – ink and watercolour, 297 x 210 mm, 2013
St Germain – Christchurch, 2010
St Germain – Christchurch, 2010

If this looks a little familiar, that’s probably because the reference photograph was taken right next to the one I used for last week’s sketch. This time I used watercolour pencils and my trusty Staedtler pigment liners and took inspiration from one of my favourite illustrators, Maurice Sendak. You can see the early stages of my sketch below. (St Germain is the name of the restaurant in the photo.)

Work in progress #1 – watercolour pencil sketch Work in progress #2 – after adding water
Work in progress #1 – watercolour pencil sketch
Work in progress #2 – after adding water

Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak – illustrations from Where the Wild Things Are (1963) Images from http://mrbiggs.com
Maurice Sendak – illustrations from Where the Wild Things Are (1963)
Images from http://mrbiggs.com

Everyone has heard of American illustrator and author Maurice Sendak (1928–2012), haven’t they? And even if you don’t know his name, I’m sure you’ll be familiar with his wonderful book Where the Wild Things Are.

In the style of… appears occasionally instead of my regular Shoot it, Sketch it posts. Using my own photographs as a starting point, I’m drawing inspiration from some of the world’s greatest illustrators. It’s not about slavishly copying someone else’s art; it’s an experiment in seeing things differently.

Shoot it, Sketch it: Sunlight is green

Sunlight is green – acrylic on watercolour paper, 205 x 295 mm, 2013.
Sunlight is green – acrylic on watercolour paper, 205 x 295 mm, 2013.

Here, as promised, is my painting of the sunset in Hagley Park (taken from the same photo I sketched last week). If you’re wondering about the title, it was inspired by something I read in The Acrylic Artist’s Guide to Exceptional Colour by Lexi Sundell. Apparently there is research to suggest that sunlight is not yellow but pale green. Think about that for a minute. Green is a cool colour but sunlight is warm. Other research suggests it may be pale blue. Whatever it is, it seems sunlight is not a warm colour. I don’t know about you but that thought really messes with my head.

Sunlight is green – acrylic on watercolour paper, detail.
Sunlight is green – acrylic on watercolour paper, detail.

Shoot it, Sketch it: Last minute

Hagley Park sunset sketch – ink and watercolour, 205 x 290 mm, 2013.
Hagley Park sunset sketch – ink and watercolour, 205 x 290 mm, 2013.

Hagley Park sunset – Christchurch, 2010.

A last-minute sketch of the last minutes of a sunset in Hagley Park (because the acrylic painting I had planned to post today isn’t quite finished yet). I hope you’ll forgive the slightly blurry photo (my fault for not taking a tripod). Sunsets in the park can be spectacular at this time of year ― yes, we’re well and truly into autumn now in Christchurch.