They have invited very impressive guests, and subjected them to the indignity of being drawn in footed pyjamas, up trees and in full Jedi get-up. All poses and costuming are at the request of the Evil Doctors.
This is my latest portrait for the Portrait Party Moleskine Exchange: http://mxportraits1.blogspot.com . Robin, on the right, is the owner of this sketchbook. The little birds came about because of the paint spots Jan (previous artist) left for me to work with. The dress is new.
In other news, NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. I am looking forward to it, and trying not to resent it a little because I was just getting back into the short story swing. I submitted 2 tonight: M (epistolary Australian vampire/thumbelina fable, although one of the very kind people who critiqued it at the last minute said it reminded her more of the Gingerbread Man) for an anthology, and that Australian Scarlet Letter/Cinderella/St George story E&tF which I hope finds a home, poor thing.
Earlier this year, Rita de Heer asked me to draw a portrait of her, based on reference photographs, which she could use in a range of sizes and formats. After discussing the details, she sent through the photos and I prepared a number of very quick digital thumbnails sketches.
Rita liked the black and white, but wanted images to reflect her land care activities. I did a pencil sketch and drew the portrait (above right) with a dip pen and ink. Unfortunately, the flowers at the left were easily confused with a noxious weed, so I picked a grevillea flower in the station carpark, drew that and then replaced it digitally. I also moved the butterflies around and added the black background. This let me rearrange the elements to suit a range of sizes, and the butterflies and frog (I am very fond of the frog) were suitable as thumbnail images.
Here is the final portrait at its full dimensions:
I enjoyed this project, and it was an opportunity to try out several approaches I’ve been wanting to use. The scattering of flowers and butterflies is loosely inspired by a vase my mother has, and the linework with black background is a style I admire for portraiture.
The weekend before last I made some wonderful (i.e. more interesting than expensive) finds at the vintage stores in Paddington, including these photo postcards. There were many of them, but these were the ones which caught my eye. To see larger versions, click on the photo which will take you to its page on Flickr.
And this is the marvellously horizontal hairstyle which caught my attention first of all the cards.
The next two postcards are printed on stock from different companies, but they look like the same woman, which might be the case since they were in the same shop. Her name is probably Nellie (unless it was common to write “love [your name]” on the back of photos of other people). I’m not quite sure if its a photo or a scarf around her head in the first photo. I do like her coat, but my father says her hat could be problematic in a high wind.
This couple, writing from South Australia, are concerned about the health of Bert. I hope he pulled through.
I also bought a few books and will post about them later (I’ve already scanned them, so that is not as empty a threat as it sometimes is).
On a carless Saturday, I set out to walk to Paddington and was pulled into a passing station wagon and taken off to Toowong to have crepes for breakfast. Cheryl kindly took me back to Paddington afterwards, and we had coffee and fine English chocolates and in an vintage shop I found a basket of antique photograph postcards: a young couple in a buggy, a distinguished Edwardian lady, a girl with a startlingly horizontal hairstyle and a young woman with a sweet haunted face that looks like she should feature in a Tim Burton film. Apart from the young couple, who had written a letter enquiring after the health of Bert, there was no clue as to who they might be.
When I took the cards to the counter, the elaborately eccentric proprietor (pearl chokered and velvet hatted, with fabulous eye makeup and all her cash in a large embroidered bag) asked me what I planned to do with them – frame them and pretend they were my family? I confessed I hadn’t decided and she said that is what she does, and her walls at home are covered with other peoples’ wedding pictures and she creates a family for herself of all those images of people forgotten but not gone.
Comments and critique are always appreciated – I am still learning many things, including how to balance light and dark when working in scratchboard!