Here’s a picture I finished recently called “The Museum of Unnatural History”. It’s an idea that’s been knocking around in my head for a few years now but I’d been putting off knowing it was going to be a big, time-consuming job. Eventually I decided it wasn’t going to paint itself and got stuck in.
Perhaps a little self-indulgent. Even by my standards! I’ve hidden a number of things from my past (and future!) work in there, alongside some popular characters some people may recognise.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a dragon in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a dentist.
You see- for all their bluster and burning- roaring and devouring- dragons have yet to invent the electric toothbrush- and consequently have very poor oral hygiene. One point to the humans I say. Indeed it’s a common theory that serious toothache is what makes dragons so narked off all the time. Thus it makes good sense to help them out with their gnashers just to ensure they don’t get all agitated and torch a primary school.
Dragon dentistry however- is not something for the faint of heart, nor the flammable of composition. It takes a special kind of expertise to look death in the mouth- and then fix his teeth with big tweezers. This is the job of Dr Earnest Pimm & Sons professional dragon dentists. Est. 1813
Here we see routine operation to remove a rotten tooth. Dr Pimm directs proceedings while second son Toby dons the asbestos suit (for safety) and operates the no 4 drill. Eldest son Arthur operates the saliva pump while 3rd son Anthony controls the nozzle. Of course the best way to placate a dragon while operating is to use sock puppets- a job which falls to the youngest Pimm- Maggie- who isn’t technically a son but isn’t worth changing all the branded stationary for either.
A new personal piece for the gallery. This one’s been in limbo for so long now that I thought I better put it out there and move on:
They’d been travelling for almost a year now, a long journey through fens and swamps, badlands and scrublands, across the cratered plains where the huge trees grew- nervously watching the skies and scanning the tall grasses. At last they had reached the rift basin. They were close.
Signe waded knee deep through the tepid waters. The heat was sweltering- an oppressive, humid, damp that stuck her clothes to her skin and never allowed a single moment of comfort. Ragna sat high up on the back of Torvald- resting atop the truffle baskets and scanning the horizon with her scope. So far from the colony you could never be too careful.
It would soon be time for them to return, back to the distant frontier colony with their precious cargo of meteor truffles- the vast luminous fungi that grew only at the site of fallen meteors. One truffle could keep the colony going for half a year- lighting, utilities, recharging the energy rifles- it was all powered by meteor truffles. But truffle hunting was dangerous business, there were beasts aplenty, vast and harsh wilderness to traverse, disease , injury and starvation an ever present threat. Many hunters left the colony each year never to be seen alive again.
This photograph of the pirate ship “Dryad” was taken by a travelling photographer in the Northern reaches of the ravine province- confirming reports that pirates have been operating in the area. Dryad- Formerly HMS Swallow- was captured by pirates last Autumn while returning from a routine reconnaissance mission. Our sources in the intelligence service claim there’s rumours that the recent piracy “epidemic” in the Northern provinces are sponsored by foreign nation states.
Military forces have been deployed to the North including anti-airship missile batteries on-route from Edwinton. It is believed to be only a matter of time before Dryad is either sunk or back in Union hands.
I recently discovered the amazing work of photographer Jimmy Nelson and was inspired by his intense and beautiful portraits of tribal cultures around the globe. I heartily recommend seeing his work: http://www.beforethey.com/
Regrettably- I could only approach this new inspiration in my usual manner. So here’s a picture of someone in silly glasses.
The annual time traveller’s tea party was held this weekend (in 1862) I was lucky enough to attend – since I knew someone going I was able to snag a lift. I got the guests to line up and then we froze time while I painted them from life. It saves time you see, plus it’s impossible to get a dodo to stay still.
This illustration was done for Advocate Art agency’s annual “Head’s Up” calendar.
When you’re making artwork sometimes a piece just flows- you have it exactly thought out in your head and it streams out of your pen and onto the page whole and perfectly formed. Other times it requires a little more leverage.
This is one of the latter occasions. The images below give a rough outline of the head-scratching, umming, ahhing and general back and forth I went through while working on this piece. If this were a client piece, a deadline would have forced me to stay still and make compromises some time earlier, which is often a good thing- but since this is a personal piece I had the luxury of spending as long on it as my patience lasted.
The initial concept
A slight departure from the initial concept.
Needs more space vegetation perhaps?
Actually, it’s better without the vegetation.
I decide to crop it. Space is infinitely big and therefore should fit nicely into a smaller composition.
The final result. It needed less yellow.
Well, my patience ran out. So I’ve finally declared it finished. The annoying thing is- I still like some element of almost every stage that is then lost in the other ones.
Maybe one day I’ll have to do a series, to give me more angles on a subject, but I’ll need a good concept. Hm.