Last year I moved my studio back home and set up in the corner of a room overlooking the River Lea and Hackney Cut. With one of the finest views in east London I quickly set to work on this illustration. The project began with taking photos of the activity on the towpath and sketching the most frequent passers. Some of my favourites are the swans and cormorant who have a strong contrast but co-exist happily, often cosying up by the weir; the shaggy black dog who walks past every day and seems so joyful to be outdoors that it always makes me smile to see him; and the great swaying plane trees who watch over everyone.
The illustration follows the style of the Picton Pattern, except its current format benefits from the inky texture of the gouache paint. A few weeks ago photographer Jørn Tomter visited me to document the progress of the painting for I Love Chatsworth Road.
I also couldn’t help turning this illustration into a pattern as it lends itself well to a repeat. I hope to see it as a wallpaper eventually.
A recent watercolour painting…
Naturally, science and technology influences contemporary painters, but these paintings by Nicole Duennebier make the connection all the more distinct. In the style of 16th Century Dutch still life painting, Duennebier draws on an interest in sea life and her research into the coastal ecosystems of Maine to create these dramatic depictions of peculiar living organisms.
In my painting I want to create the ‘inexplicably overwhelming.’ The depiction of the growing mass is my best archetype for this experience. Through putrefaction or fecundity the complicated form of the mass adds to itself and spills forward. The mass operates intractably in the dark, grows beyond its recognizable origin to become grotesque. There is an uneasy combination of textural pleasure and disgust in this germination. While fine white hairs of mold are delicate and beautiful they are the mark of decay and cannot be treasured.
Via The Fox is Black
We were on the verge of a white Easter this year. There were a few flakes of snow in London, but we trained our thoughts on resurrection, rebirth, flowers, eggs, lambs, sweet things and feasts. In my family, Easter is a very busy time, involving Polish traditions adapted to my Ma’s creative ways. We still paint (organic) boiled eggs. Some years there are new ideas. On this occasion, the onion dyed eggs were first decorated with masking gum, leaving tiny dots and vines. The duck eggs were painted with acrylic paints, and the chocolate mazurek was dedicated to our South African visitors; a marzipan elephant with almond tusks and ginger ears.
A watercolour illustration. Those plants that hang from the ceiling could form a whole jungle. Or a salad. Suspended grazing.
I just couldn’t stop looking at these. Becca Stadtlander has assailed the ranks of the great food portrait artists in a series for Jamie Oliver’s Recipe Yearbook.