In the style of… Hundertwasser

Tree – mixed media, 2016
Tree – mixed media on watercolour paper, 2016
A tree in the neighbourhood, Christchurch ~ original photograph, 2015
A tree in the neighbourhood, Christchurch ~ original photograph, 2015

Austrian/New Zealand artist, architect and visionary Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928–2000) was an amazing person and he is one of my favourite artists. His work is colourful and exuberent, bold and quirky, unique and significant.

If you’re not familiar with Hundertwasser, you can visit www.hundertwasser.com to read about him, his art and his philosophy. ‘Blobs grow in beloved gardens’ 1975 and ‘Green town’ 1978 are just two of the beautiful artworks that inspired my tree painting.

I’m not sure if I like ‘Tree’ or not… but I do like knowing that I’ll never look at another tree the same way again!

In the style of… posts are where I use my own photographs as a starting point and draw inspiration from some of the world’s greatest artists and illustrators. It’s not about copying someone else’s art; it’s an experiment in seeing things differently.

CBD

CBD – note card from an original illustration
CBD – note card from an original illustration

‘CBD’ is another favourite that is now available as a note card. This one sprang from my ‘In the style of…’ drawing experiment and was inspired by the work of Jim Flora. You can read the original post here. It is based on a photograph I took of Christchurch in 2010. The centre of town looks nothing like this now… I really need to go in and take an ‘after’ shot ― I suspect that the only thing still standing will be that tree.

Click on the image to visit my Etsy shop : )

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.

Shoot it, Sketch it: Little sparrow

Little sparrow — ink and watercolour study, 240 x 180 mm, 2014
Little sparrow — ink and watercolour study, 240 x 180 mm, 2014. SOLD
Sparrow – Akaroa, 2012
Sparrow – Akaroa, 2012

If this little fellow looks familiar, that’s because he originally featured in one of my In the Style of… posts (click here to see it). The photograph is a bit of a favourite and so I thought I’d see how he looked in a different medium. Even though the background didn’t go quite as planned, I’m pretty happy with how the sparrow turned out.

In the style of… Brian Wildsmith

Diptych of daisies, Akaroa, 2009
Diptych of daisies, Akaroa, 2009
Diptych of daisies – acrylic on canvas, 175 x 230 mm (each), 2014
Diptych of daisies – acrylic on canvas, 175 x 230 mm (each), 2014

A little nature study…

Diptych of daisies (one)
Diptych of daisies (one)
Diptych of daisies (two)
Diptych of daisies (two)

Brian Wildsmith

Brian Wildsmith – illustrations from Birds (1967) and Squirrels (1974) Images from http://eye-likey.blogspot.com
Brian Wildsmith – illustrations from Birds (1967) and Squirrels (1974)
Images from http://eye-likey.blogspot.com

Brian Wildsmith (born 1930) has written and illustrated more than eighty books. I love his use of colour and the way he combines abstract textures with carefully considered details. And his animals… his animals have such life and personality. You can check out his website here.

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.

In the style of… Aubrey Hammond

The Press – ink, watercolour pencil and digital, 190 x 140 mm, 2014
The Press – ink, watercolour pencil and digital, 190 x 140 mm, 2014
The Press, Christchurch, 2010
The Press, Christchurch, 2010

Getting inspired by the 1920s…

Aubrey Hammond

Book cover (1927) and London Underground poster (1923) Images from www.sf-foundation.org and www.ltmuseumshop.co.uk
Aubrey Hammond – book cover (1927) and London Underground poster (1923)
Images from www.sf-foundation.org and www.ltmuseumshop.co.uk

British artist Aubrey Hammond (1894–1940) is responsible some of my favourite1920s London Underground posters. He also illustrated several books and taught commercial and theatrical design. I think his cover for Metropolis, Thea von Harbou’s novel designed to complement the movie (co-written with husband Fritz Lang), is simply stunning.

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.

In the style of… Evaline Ness

The convention – ink and watercolour, 205 x 255 mm, 2013
The convention – ink and watercolour, 205 x 255 mm, 2013
Seagulls at Lake Rotorua, 2013
Seagulls at Lake Rotorua, 2013

I’ve only recently discovered Evaline Ness (although the illustrations in Sam, Bangs and Moonshine do seem curiously familiar). Her work is delightful and quirky across a wide range of styles and mediums. I particularly like the bold lines and restricted use of colour in the illustrations below. The reference photo is yet another one taken using my nothing-special cellphone ― which explains the appalling quality ― but it’s still good enough for sketching purposes. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and I’m quoting photographer Chase Jarvis here), the best camera is the one you have with you. I’m starting to think it may be time to invest in a better phone… or a smaller camera.

Evaline Ness

Evaline Ness — illustrations from Joey and the Birthday Present, written by Maxine Kumin and Anne Sexton (1971) Images from http://myvintagebookcollectioninblogform.blogspot.co.nz
Evaline Ness — illustrations from Joey and the Birthday Present, written by Maxine Kumin and Anne Sexton (1971)
Images from http://myvintagebookcollectioninblogform.blogspot.co.nz

American artist Evaline Ness (1911–1986) has several claims to fame. As well as being an extremely versatile illustrator and author of children’s books, she was also a fashion model, a fashion illustrator and was, at one time, married to FBI investigator Elliot Ness. It sounds like a movie just waiting to happen.

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.

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.