10th anniversary Tree of Life


Yesterpost I was showing you the Tree of Life, the drawing that’s been with me for (still finding this bit hard to believe) ten years.

I’ve photoshopped it through a few variations over this time, and to celebrate it’s tenth birthday I decided to reinvent one more incarnation for 2017.

More vivid, more zingy, the colors are almost an inverse of the one I showed you yesterday. Here they are together side by side.

TOL2017small TOLfullcolor

I’m fascinated by how the mood shifts with the colors.

The underwater-y-ness is amped up with the sharper blues. I like the way that once again it’s completed a circle, as the beginning drawing was in shades of blue, and here we are back in this side of the spectrum.

Here she is in some little detail pieces…

So that the new version isn’t lonely (yes, that is a thing with drawings, didn’t you know?) it’s joined by a newly spruced up version of the original drawing, so a bluer blue version is out there too. TOL_bluesmall.jpg

All three trees of life are all available a prints in Society6 

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 18.03.35


Would you like to get sporadic updates on my thoughts and drawings delivered right to your inbox? Hop onto my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up in blankets. I will bring it tea and biscuits as required. (subject to availability)

tree of life


Life often moves in a spiral motion: I’ve been here before, haven’t you?

The view is a little bit different through today’s lens but what I see looks distinctly familiar.

It feels like no time passed, in so many senses, but the numbers tell me it’s approaching 10 years since I drew this.

TOLoriginal

 

I remember so vividly, when this drawing came through me. (Not to me, most definitely through me)

Have you had this happen too?

I had the strongest sense of just being a vehicle through which this drawing wanted to be made real. It could have been anyone.

TOLoriginaldetail.jpg

Of everything I’ve ever drawn, I’ve felt the least able to claim this as ‘mine’. If anything, I am its.

I remember the day it happened, I remember the big pad of watercolor paper, the watercolor pencils and paints, the frenzy of leaves and curves and wispy bits.

I remember watching it happen in front of me: Connected, and separate. Both at once.

TOLdetail2.jpg

The drawing had its own spirit, and was not willing to stay on paper.

It wanted to grow, to have more color, more depth, more vibrancy. What It had me draw was only a skeleton.

TOLfullcolordetail2.jpg

it demanded scanning and tinkering, new layers of color, new detail.

TOLfullcolordetail.jpg

Even all these years later, through it’s many incarnations and variations, it’s the most loved of all my drawings.

It’s me, and it isn’t me.

It’s an enigma.

It is, Tree of Life.

TOLfullcolor.jpg

To celebrate 10 years of Tree of Life I’ve adapted it for printables, so it can manifest itself around the world.

Would you like to give this drawing a space in your world? It’s available from Society6 in many shapes and forms.

tol_framed_S6.jpg
Art prints in many sizes, framed or unframed

Notebooks for musings & doodles, lists & lyrics, poems & plans. Cases, covers & skins for phones/ ipods. Totes & zippy pouches for carrying important things around in! And more! 

 

 All these & more can be found at: society6.com/mixy

 


If you like this, and things like this, you can get sporadic updates on my thoughts and drawings delivered right to your inbox. Hop onto my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. I will ensure it is guarded at all times by dragons. Hungry dragons.

take 5: episode 1, at a crossroads


I was telling you yester-post how I’d reached a crossroads in my reimaginings. Here’s the thing:

A thing with which you’ll be familiar if the kind of art you make has the option to re-wind time….

Merrily trotting along to a certain point and Save;
Turn down a figurative side road,
Do more stuff,
Have an adventure.

….And also

Be back at that same junction,
and go a different route,
and have a different adventure – with a whole new cast of characters – and a uniquely new plot.

It’s like choosing between the many-worlds of quantum mechanics.

Now that I’ve dwelt on this a little while I like the idea of a Repeating Five-ness by making each episode of Take Five venture off in Five wildly different outcomes. Yay! Five times the fun!

But I digress. That comes after this:

This is where I’d value your opinion.

I know you’ll understand, as an artist, the hardest part is recognising that final tweak before you call a job jobbed and comfortably move on. Leaving it be. (I thought I was there.)

I really did.

The last change – IDK – do I like V1 or V2? I like them both. Which do I like more? The more I look, the less I know.

So it’s over to you guys…

Version 1:

take5_01smaller

Version 2:

take5_02small

…and a bit of detail from both. Just in case that helps any.

take5_01detail  take5_02detail

Please help me choose before monkey-mind talks me into looking for versions 3 through 48. (She’s very persuasive…!)

TIA lovely ppl X

take 5: episode 1


Y’know how I’ve been revisiting my digital art? I’ve also been rooting through my online galleries. Some of those pieces date back almost a decade, and some still hold up well. But some were looking a bit tired, a bit shabby, or just plain meh. So I archived them away.

I’ve still got most of the images from which they were made, so over the next as-long-as-it-takes I plan to re-photoshop some of them into new works: Hybrids of old and new ideas. I love digital for many reasons – the ability to do this is a big one.

So you can guess the plan from the title, right?

I plan to Take Five images, and frankenstein re-imagine them together into a shiny new beautiful something. 

These are the first Five contenders for the project.

At the time of posting I’ve reached a crossroads in the making of the hybrid. I’ll explain later…

reinvention


My first lesson in silk screen printing at college (a few years ago now) had us making  monochrome collages to transfer to screens.

I recently updated my fav image I made for this project, and even after all this time, I love it still. This was one of those precious times when the muse was with me and together we generated something I really don’t tire of looking at.

If you read my post on digital editing you’ll recognise it as the image I used to demonstrate the technique.

Here it is full size.counterbalance_penngregory_s

If you love it like I do you might be interested to know you can get a print here, or find it printed on a T-shirt, or a cushion, or a bunch of other stuff 

Pixel Pushing


TOLdetailSmall

A while back I was remembering an episode in my life when indulging in messy painty art just wasn’t practical. Limited by space constraints, impeded by my environment – a short term let in a flat with a brand new carpet.

This coincided with the opportunity to teach myself to Photoshop. Digital cameras were still quite new. It feels like a thousand years ago compared with the ease of tech we can enjoy now.

I took to pixel-pushing immediately. What I thought was just a temporary work around became a big part of my world. An all engulfing passion.

Some years later when I went on to  fulfill the life long ambition of becoming a proper full time art student, and I threw myself back into all the real tangible visceral creativity that comes from paint and ink and clay and the such.

Contrast. It’s how I thrive. When I’m feeling flat and lacklustre I know I need to turn direction and play somewhere else for a while.

Just lately I was recombobulating my website, and in doing so I got back into photoshopping together some imagery. It’s been like spending time with a very dear old friend.

Now I’m nourishing my spirit by reinventing some of my doodles and paint sploshings in the realms of the crisply clean vector curves and the hazy glow of a Gaussian blur.

I’ve set myself some new challenges which I’ll show you soon. Meanwhile here are a handful of my favorites from a while ago…

(Prints of all of the above, plus lots more, are available from my shops on DeviantArt & RedBubble.)

 

 

digital art – rewind


In a recent post I was telling you about my early beginnings in digital art.

But guess what – turns out there was earlier stuff that I’d totally forgotten about! Pre-dating that by a good couple of years ago or so, there was stuff like this.

blueDisc

This is like rooting through the loft space of my past, ideas and experiments I packed away  in the back of my mind and old hard drives.

warbled

I look back and remember vividly the delight of discovery in this myriad of new possibility. There was no limit in my mind as to  what could be spun out of this magic.

OF everything I made in these early days, this is the one I loved the most.

I called it Fireglass,  and I was entranced and enchanted by this little image.

fireglass copy

But that was the thing I suddenly came to realise – this was such a little image.

Such a very little image.

At the point I made it – which was by some mental abberation of a puppy in exuberant scampering mode, delirious in uncharted territory so of course I couldn’t accurately back track that one – and I had no grasp of pixel size.

No idea at all that the resolution at which this freakishly gorgeous little gem arrived on my screen meant it would print out at not much more than 1 inch square.

And even then not at especially sharp quality.

This little glowing rectangle of orangy red joy was what really kicked me into the next level: from play and unchanneled driftless clicking, now I wanted to take control over this alchemy. I went from careering about unchallenged by anything to navigating my way toward a more deliberate composition.

I was embarking on a massive adventure.

thinking in digital


I got back into art after a long while away from it. Whilst ‘grown up life’ was busy occupying too much of my time and I pedantically stood in the way of where I wanted to be, I dwelt in a creative famine that lasted for too many years to recall.

The thing that brought me back to life was digital art: I acquired myself a computer with all kinds of glorious programs and bit by bit (ha!) I fathomed out how to make use of them. I began in Adobe Photoshop. And I fell in love with pixel pushing.

At this time I lived in a tiny one-room rented flat. Painting wasn’t viable: This carpet was new when I moved in, I paint messy, I can’t afford to lose the deposit.

sketchery

Digital was my perfect solution.

The ‘desk’ where my computer was homed was a big shelf unit, with the tower on the floor, the ginormous CRT monitor on one shelf, the keyboard and mouse on a piece of board I perched on my lap.

Ideal?

No.

But I was entranced by the magic of what could be done, so comfort and ergonomics were very much secondary.

After all, this is where my soul belongs: in the midst of a multicoloured frenzy of streaming ideas and glory. I Stuff like this began happening…

moreconcentric

And a short while, and on with the addition of digital camera, bits of ‘reality’ entered the mix.
daisies 2

I got massive value from the magazines that were about at the time – we’re looking back about 10-12 years ago now. All my spare money went on anything with Photoshop in the title.

I devoured the tutorials, I dabbled and played.

I was up all night on this stuff. A lot!

lamplight

I got my collaging head on.

And I took my ideas with me down this rabbithole of dreamscape.

(I’ve been there ever since)

digtal fings


hey folks, hope you’re all keeping well n keeping warm!

"Circle of Life" doodles & photoshop
“Circle of Life” doodles & photoshop



I’ve just been looking through some pics from last year on my computer, and thought I’d share with you some of my digital doings.

digital collage - this looks familiar from somewhere..!
digital collage – this looks familiar from somewhere..!

For about 10 years, pretty much all the art I made was based in the digital world.


"Golden London", photos and doodles
“Golden London”, photos and doodles

Having a small space in which to play was the reason I got started like this – it’s pretty much impossible to make an actual mess – you can’t spill pixels on the carpet and get in trouble with the grown ups for a start!
"Abstraction" Photos n Photoshop
“Abstraction” Photos n Photoshop

I became entranced, as I learnt new skills I was seduced by the squillions of options, and I poured my spare hours into learning more and more.
"Digital Pond Life", doodles in photoshoppery
“Digital Pond Life”, doodles in photoshoppery

While I still enjoy a good dabble, the world of inks and paints and stained hands (and, ahem, carpets… shh don’t tell!) and all that has, for now, won my heart.

Who knows what comes next! 😀