Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Scenic Route

It's been a long time since I blogged - too long! I thought I'd share a couple of things that I've been working on:
I had this terribly ambitious idea that it would be really cool to create an entire city out of little cut-outs made from my own illustrations. However I don't work that fast. This would probably take me a lifetime, so I decided to start off with this which is a San Franciscan scene assembled from some of my illustrations. The basic idea comes from the pop-up theatre.
I first saw these in a London toy shop that I visit from time to time. They're sort of old-fashioned but always had so much depth. It took quite a bit of 'paper engineering' to work out the best design. It's a bit of fun and I wanted to create something that was a ready made and inexpensive 'art' that you can just hang on a wall to brighten things up a bit. I'll be looking at adding in a cable car between the houses at some stage.
This is my latest illustration which is a house on 18th Street, San Francisco. Yup, still got a lot of inspiration for this body of work, it has shielded me from any kind of creative block that's for sure. Some of the most interesting houses are off the beaten path in this city, away from the Alamo Square's and Pacific Heights. Don't get me wrong though the houses in these areas are also very beautiful. I was recently visiting the city and returned to look at some of the houses that I had previously illustrated and was curious to see that one of the earliest houses that I drew has since been re-painted! It sounds silly but I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this, and yes, I have thought about it! As it goes I was happy to see the change and decided that I would have to re-visit this subject again and paint it afresh.    

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Note About Inspiration...

Sometimes it can be hard to maintain your creative inspiration and motivation and continue your journey as an artist or creative. I call it a journey because it truly is and each person has their own path to follow. I have drawn inspiration in a couple of different ways recently but both come from looking at and understanding a little more about other people's work. I recently attended the annual children's book illustration show at Chemers Gallery in Tustin, Ca. Hearing about another artists' thinking process makes you realise that we are all fighting our own battle. Whether it's time, inspiration, economics, personal hardship - we're all in the same boat.

I enjoyed looking at the work of Mary GrandPre which is so colourful and confidently executed. I also enjoyed hearing about the personal touches that she adds to her work which relate to aspects of her own life. Making your work personal can be a real challenge but doing so really creates a connection with your audience. I also spoke with Raul Colon, an illustrator with quite a resume. His work conveys a strong sense of a personal journey and reminds you of the bigger picture. It also brings to mind ideas surrounding identity and of finding your place in the world. Consequently, he is often asked to illustrate stories of historical figures whose journeys through life are an inspiration to us all. I asked him to sign one of his books for me. Specifically, I asked him to write something inspirational in it for me that I could look at during those creative slumps. Which he did.

Looking at the work of other artists is such an important part of the creative process, which can be isolating and quite detached from the 'goings on' in the outside world. Above is an illustration I made in the spirit of these artists, depicting some of the major landmarks of San Francisco. It was created quite quickly and is not concerned so much with realism or perspective but more in capturing something spontaneous and trying to convey a sense of place.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kew Palace

This is an illustration I completed recently that had been in production for several months. It is one of the architectural gems in the grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London. Kew Palace is actually the earliest surviving building in the gardens, built around 1631 by Samuel Fortrey. Fortrey was a wealthy merchant of Dutch heritage, alluded to in the distinguished gabled roofs and carved brickwork.

The palace was a royal residence between 1728 and 1898 and has been open to the public ever since its release from royal duties - acquired by Kew in 1896. Notable residents include King George III, who reigned between 1760 and 1820 and used the palace as a school house for his children and during his convalescence from illness.

Kew palace underwent a 10 year restoration completed in 2006. This same year it hosted its first royal engagement for 200 years when it was the venue for Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday party.

I love the palace and have been visiting Kew Gardens since I was a child, seeing and enjoying it in all seasons. The gardens are a haven from the hustle and bustle of central London. At Kew the visitor has the chance to escape to the more exotic climes from which many species of plant life originate. As an artist now living overseas and away from my home city, I realise that increasingly I live through my work. The work itself becoming a connector to the places that I love.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Consulate General of Greece, San Francisco

Walking the streets of SF one day early this year I happened upon (of all things) the high commission of Greece. San Francisco is one of the ultimate in cosmopolitan cities and full of indications of the wealth of people and cultures that exist here on America's west coast. I decided to immortalise this one as I liked the mixture of classic Franciscan Victoriana with more modern additions such as the windows in the upper story. I also liked that they were proudly flying the flag for Greece far from home.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


These are 2 images from a recent commission to illustrate a number of frozen yoghurt and ice cream parlours belonging to a chain that can be found in north america and asia. I had a lot of fun interpreting the architecture into my own illustrational style.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Swensen's Ice-Cream Parlour

This is my latest completed illustration. Swensen's Ice Cream of Hyde St, San Francisco really captured my imagination as I passed by one day. It had to be a drawing. As a move away from earlier images I have included the sidewalk to indicate just how steep the streets here can be! In the very near future my illustrations will be available as greetings cards. As sets and individually. Check back for further info or drop me a line through the email to your right.

Friday, May 15, 2009

'City Of Trees' exhibition, 16th-30th May 2009

Here is a preview of my entry which was selected for the 'City of Trees' exhibition. The exhibition features artworks by both amateur and professional artists depicting trees and views from the city of Tustin, California. The rules stipulate that selected entries must show a tree, or part of a tree, that exists somewhere in the city. Given the number of palm trees in California it is unlikely that you would be able to guess the exact location of my entry from this cropped section of it! However, you can come and see the entire picture for yourself. The exhibition runs from 16th - 30th May 2009 at:

Chemers Gallery, 17300 17th Street, Suite G, Tustin, CA. 92780 USA

Contact me for further info at the top of the blog or link to the gallery's blog amongst 'my reads'.