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choc rain in germanresized

I’m so excited. I received the German edition of my book in the mail yesterday. Originally published and available from Hawker publications, they have sold the German rights to Hans Huber, a large international publishing house with branches in most major European cities.

I’d seen one other translation they’d done of one of Hawker’s books- it was well done and ‘clean’, but the same handling of my warm, hand crafted book   would have killed it. I wrote the book and illustrated it, then Hawker gave me free hand in designing it. I also set it up in InDesign and prepared the  preproduction process which was a steep learning curve for me. So you can imagine, after having been able to design each and every page and spread, and attend to every last detail to the fraction of a millimetre, how hard it was to let it out of my hands. I hadn’t been consulted on the translation at all, so I was preparing myself for a major let down as I was opening the package.

Well, I hardly have words to say how beautifully the whole thing is done. Whoever handled the art direction loved this book as much as I did. The spreads were preserved, all the design was intact. Even the most difficult, hand-written spread was done as well as I could have done it using my own handwriting. There is so much care put in to preserve the spirit of the book in every way, I am infinitely grateful.

So Chocolate Rain is going out to an entirely new public, where hopefully it will connect people to the power of the arts to move, engage, bring healing and comfort to people with dementia, their caregivers and families.

Cup in sunlight

March 28, 2013

Lian's place series- Cup in sunlight

Lian’s place series- Cup in sunlight    oils on canvas board

This is fairly large format. The aim was to not correct too much, to keep the painting fresh, and to not be rigidly tied to depicting reality.

Every week I go to a Tai Chi lesson in the attic studio of our Tai Chi teacher Lian Ong.  Often, while performing the slow, hypnotic movements of the form, my eye strays to the little lounge where sunlight streams in and lights up the yellow and orange soft furniture.  I’ve started bringing my camera because of the visual richness in this little space- there is a small wooden glass-fronted cupboard with a hodge-podge of beautiful little ceramic cups, for one. I placed one of them on the floor for this picture.

This tranquil space has found its way into several works of mine already, and there will be more to come.

Here is the original photo.

photo

photo

Grouped by colour

Grouped by colour

An artist friend whose blog I follow was interested in other’s methods of reconstituting dried up watercolours. (Do check out Richard’s blog, he paints wonderful watercolours and writes intelligently and inspiringly.)

Years ago I went through my watercolour supply and separated out perhaps a hundred dollars worth of tubes of dried paint. I then cut apart each tube and with a knife or wooden stick, scooped the sometimes sticky pigment out into the stackable plastic pots pictured, I added a bit of water, then I labelled each one. It was  very messy and took a long time but it was a worthwhile and profitable job.

I use them just  like I use my travelling watercolour box with the little squares of colour, just moisten the brush apply it to the dried watercolour and brush the paint on to the paper normally.

I had a good time with the labels. I wanted the pots to look like they were found in some old drugstore or antique shop. I took some paper I’d treated with coffee to age it, then drew the red lines and lettered the names of the colours with a very small (Mitchell 5 Italic) calligraphy pen.

Stackable containers

Stackable containers

I wasn’t happy with the dark tulip at the left bottom of the painting. I kept trying to ‘correct’ it and it wouldn’t gel.

Spring!

Spring!

My biggest objection, besides the fact that it took up so much space (due to lens distortion of the original photo), was that the painting style lacked the spontaneity of the other tulips.

So I took  deep breath and wiped it out, down to the purple acrylic underpainting.  Yikes.

Wipe out!

Wipe out!

I left it overnight so I could approach it freshly in the morning. I wanted to spend about 10-15 minutes at the most.

I’m happier with this result, it is more playful, less tied to being ‘correct’, and the brush strokes are fresh.

The new improved version

The new improved version

Tulips!

March 3, 2013

First phase

First phase

The first tulips are in the flower markets here in Holland, it is finally starting to feel like spring.

With this piece I wanted to paint more directly and get less distracted by detail. Above is the first stage, showing the purple acrylic underpainting.

Spring!

Spring!

This is the finished piece, I worked into is as little as possible, it was done in 3 sittings over 2 days. If you are viewing this on a laptop, there is a good chance the colours won’t come across as vividly. In real life, this painting has a good ‘glow factor’.

I don’t think this painting would have been quite as loose if I hadn’t done the oil pastel below a few days before.

Tulip and lily fantasy

Tulip and lily fantasy

And the one underneath paved the way for ‘Tulip and lily fantasy’.  A good example of just keeping working and following the work where it leads.

Glass and lemon fantasy, oil pastel

Glass and lemon fantasy, oil pastel