This Oil Pastel on Brown Paper is a view of the coastline near Christchurch from the Red Rock Gondola Café on top of the mountain. It is a very beautiful spot with trails and 360 degree views all around (weather permitting!) The day we visited started very sunny and hot as we took the Gondola up and hiked on the numerous short trails around the top. After this we got a coffee in the Café and sat enjoying the views as I started this drawing. It wasn’t long before the for bank that had been out at sea started to come in land, enveloping everything in a mysterious clouds. This started quite slowly and was very beautiful to have clouds moving around you, although I would have to draw the parts of the view that were still visible! This continued for about an hour with the clouds completely covering and then revealing small parts of the view to me, and being the stubborn person I am I continued to try to capture anything I could! Eventually it became a complete and very bright whiteout and I decided the picture was as finished as it could be!
This Acrylic Paint on 300gsm paper is a view across a semi-dry riverbed and valley done during a visit to Yilan with my wife. It was painted “en plain air” early one morning from our balcony. The scale of the mountains and valleys in Taiwan is incredible and hard to feel unless you visit them. They have a very spectacular beauty and are also very dangerous due to landslides. In this picture you can get an idea of the scale if you notice the horizontal line of the road near the bottom of the mountainside. The beautiful springy looking broccoli like vegetation and trees on the mountain are scarred and marked by areas of orange and brown earth, the results of landslides. The super fertile volcanic earth will ensure re-growth over the past landslides as you can see by the flatter diagonal area of green. It is terrifying to see the power and destruction that is caused by these natural disasters. Typhoons cause most of these and they also swell the rivers and make them rise to unbelievable levels. This piece was made by building up thin layers of Acrylic paint on top of each other.
This painting is a commissioned piece that I was very fortunate to get through my good friends at the RedRoom in Taipei City, Taiwan. It is part of a 12 artpiece Mural project that has been installed in a newly built Apartment building on Zhongshan North Road in Taipei City. The brief for the project was to highlight the role of Zhongshan North Road in the history of Taipei City and to include the image of the Taiwan magpie into the piece. We all had to create proposals along these themes and submit sketches showing roughly how the idea would be represented. I was very excited about this project as I really wanted to work on a bigger scale and have always felt a special connection to Zhongshan North Road due to a skatepark being there when I first came to Taiwan in 2001. I originally proposed three different ideas and 6 different sketches because the project really got me thinking and excited and I really wanted to be a part of it. Luckily, one of my ideas was chosen to be part of the project and I was delighted!
The scale of the piece is a total of 196 x 196cm, made up of 4 canvases each 98 x 98 cm.
My idea for this piece was to show a streetscene with the actual Ju Lang Apartment Building in the foreground viewed from an elevated viewpoint. I wanted to create a time-lapse style effect of the passing vehicle lights to suggest the passing of time and to reference how the new Ju Lang Apartment Building is adding a future chapter to the long history of Zhongshan North Road. With the elevated viewpoint I was able to include some of the famous nearby landmarks and also the Keelung and Tamshui Rivers which were historically the main trade route into the city. I also included the Grand Hotel and Yang Ming Mountain range and tried to show a soft dusky sky over the city. It was definitely a challenge to work on such a large scale and within quite a tight timeframe, but it was also an incredibly enjoyable time and project that I feel very proud and honoured to have been a part of.
Thank you to everyone at the RedRoom for this opportunity! We have all created a very varied, interesting and high quality project!
Here is a link to the RedRoom page about the project where you can see all the artworks and a short video.
This Ink and Acrylic on 300 gsm Paper painting was done from my room in the Hotel Zoe over three early morning sessions in San Francisco, California. It was the view from our window and was painted whilst I was visiting the city with my wife. I was interested in the view of Coit Tower and the cool crisp beauty of the morning light in San Francisco before the city woke up. San Francisco is a very special place with all parts of life on show on the streets, highs, lows, and everything in between, and I have been fortunate to have had many great times there. This painting was made by first roughly drawing out the scene in Ink and then adding thin layers of Acrylic paint over the top. After this I built up the layers of paint and redefined areas of the Ink drawing by drawing over the top of the image. This is a combination of materials that I like to use as I like the contrasting effect of the stronger Ink lines and the delicate thin layers of Acrylic paint.
This Oil Pastel on Brown Paper drawing is one of a pair that were drawn “en plein air” in the foothills of San Jose, California during the late afternoon as the sun was beginning to set. They were drawn near the same location as my Ink drawings of trees and shadows. After the Ink drawings I wanted to go back and try to capture the beautiful afternoon colours of the countryside. I hiked to this spot and set up my easel facing towards Santa Theresa as I could see many beautiful colours in the hills and mountains. As with the San Jose sunset pictures, I would sing as I was drawing just in case any wild visitors were sneaking around and to let them know I was there!