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.