Rumours that I disappeared in a puff of smoke after the Shambles Bookstore event on July 30th have been greatly exaggerated. As you can see, I've just been quietly holed up in my studio, obsessing about those non-stop travellers Cow and Bird whom I painted previously. I always felt my painting of them in a rowboat was a bit dull, so I had another go. This is closer to what I intended - I've sent them to Japan and given them a kayak instead of a rowboat so Bird can paddle and they can zip along.
As usual a bit of action was lost in doing the formal painting, so I also did this quick version:
I don't know which is better, but this one seems livelier.
Which got me thinking about being a quick draw - a useful skill in the Wild West, and the art world too, as I learnt at our Shambles Bookstore afternoon. I took my camera along, fully intending to document the event, but completely forgot to use it. Shambles owner Thomas Connelly kindly provided popcorn, juice and lollies and we had a nice crowd of children. Anne Morgan and Sue Moss read their latest picture books, and then the children joined me in speed-illustrating Julie Hunt's book "Little Else" as she read it aloud. They did some great drawings and showed particular interest in Little Else's pony, Sam Strong's big muscles, and evil circus owner Ma Calico.
I found it quite difficult to draw large cartoons quickly on an easel. While there, I saw and admired a book by Quentin Blake called "Drawing for the artistically undiscovered" which emphasises creativity and spontaneity. Julie generously bought it for me so now I have a resource for leading drawing exercises. It's full of suggestions for things to draw that get the creative juices flowing, e.g.: a candle for looking round corners, barn for giraffes, clock owned by rodeo star, etc. Quentin's philosophy is that "the details can be horribly botched, as long as you catch something essential about the subject". I prefer the details NOT to be horribly botched, but I take his point.
Artist Beth Niquette just got in touch to say she's featuring me on her FATuesday Artist Spotlight (#43) this week. Here's a link to her blog: http://bethlniquetteart.blogspot.com/ which features her own richly coloured Art Nouveau style artworks, and selected work by other artists. Thank you Beth!