This painting is based on a photo of my nephew Alex taken by his parents Julia and Brian in Hawaii. I really liked the photo and thought it would make a great painting and lend itself well to a more painterly finish. I had planned to paint it in layers and build up areas of thicker impasto to try to make the image pop out from the darkness of the edges. This painting was planned as a thank you to my sister and brother-in-law for very generously letting my wife and I stay with them in the summer of 2017. This painting and the photo it is based on were also the inspiration for the Silent Auction painting that I did. Even though this picture was painted after that event, it was an idea I was working out in my head before I started and I thought the theme and image fitted the live painting/silent auction event.
This painting was made during the Redroom’s 8th Annual Artists Bridge the Gap Festival in Taipei City, Taiwan. The festival included many different events on different days and this particular day was a live painting day with a silent auction aimed at raising money for the Redroom and introducing people to creative and artistic processes. There were also many stalls selling hand-made crafts and items making it a very creative and inspiring event.
My idea for this painting was based on another piece I was planning to do of my nephew paddling in the water at sunset. I really liked the photo and idea of experimenting with a dark border to create a more dramatic composition. I decided to include a couple in the water as I thought it would connect more with other people. It was very interesting to hear people’s thoughts and comments about the picture as I was painting it, especially how many different thoughts and memories it seemed to evoke. As with most of my pieces I started with an image in mind and many different reference photos with which to work. The actual painting itself quickly became very organic and evolved in its own way as I was making it. This allowed me to enjoy the mark making and freely experiment with it as it changed throughout the day. It was an enjoyable departure from the more planned paintings that I usually do and although it was a very tiring day, I definitely had a good time.
As I finished I noticed the silent auction table had no bids for my piece and I admit I felt a little disappointed. But, as I was packing my equipment away, I was approached by Charles from the Redroom with a woman called Hazel who lives in Hong Kong. He introduced Hazel and said that she had bid on my painting. I was very surprised to hear this right at the end of the day and Hazel said she had been planning to bid on it for a while, but wanted to wait until the end. This was a great end to a very enjoyable day.
This Acrylic and Ink on heavyweight 300 gsm Paper piece was created in my studio in Nangang, Taipei City, Taiwan. It is a painting of a Phoenix statue from one of the Temples in my local area and has taken almost a year to complete due to the amount of detail. I waited for a day with a clear blue sky to visit the Temple and take photographs, as I wanted to capture the contrast of colours between the Phoenix and the sky. I enjoy working in these mediums as I can slowly build up the layers of colour and drawing is a key part of the process. This picture was first drawn in pencil, and when I was satisfied with the size, placement and likeness I defined the outline in Ink. I tried to use a new method for the sky where I painted it all first and then thinned down the areas that I wanted to be lighter. This involved using a special block similar to a “Magic Cloth” that was wet and rubbed over the paint to thin the colour. It worked but has caused some rippling of the Heavyweight Paper, but this will less visible when the picture is mounted and framed. I then added layers of thinned down Acrylic Paint to different areas to create tones, building some parts up more than others where it needed. After this had dried I added the black Ink over the top to redefine some of the details.
This tree was also drawn on a hike with my wife and friend in Xindian, Taipei City, Taiwan. I found this tree at the peak of the trail and drew it “en plein air” as we rested and enjoyed the views for a while. The trunk of the tree looks like it has been struck by lightning and broken in half with the charred remains surviving. The jagged shapes and textures were very interesting to me and I was drawn towards it. I also liked the shape of the branches stretching away from the trunk and find it quite amazing that it can still survive after being so severely burnt. Only nature knows how.
This tree branch was drawn on a hike with my wife and friend in Xindian, Taipei City, Taiwan. I found this tree at the peak of the trail and drew it “en plein air” as we rested and enjoyed the views for a while. The trunk of the tree looks like it has been struck by lightning and broken in half with the charred remains surviving. The jagged shapes and textures were very interesting to me and I was drawn towards it.I also liked the shape of the branches stretching away from the trunk and find it quite amazing that it can still survive after being so severely burnt. Only nature knows how.