Art Musings No.5–Playing with patterns and illustration


Detail of unfinished painting – featured at the end of this post.

Johnny Portrait 2009



This was a work I did of my husband. I wanted to experiment with patterns and illustrated images, with the block colour techniques I had previously developed (refer Art Musings No.4). As this was an exploratory work I used a well known Florence Broadhurst pattern as the background and colour blocked where necessary. The illustrative techniques I used were the same in previous works, the only real difference was I decided to incorporate the shadows in as part of the work and use unusual colours to create an interesting perspective (all the extra lines are tattoos that he has). The figure now appears to stand in front of the back ground by the use of a pale green, instead of blending into it. The colour rule to remember in composition is ‘cools to the back, warms to the front’ to create perspective and give a dimensional quality. The entire painting is comprised predominantly of a cool palate so I selected a pale green (nearer the warm colours on the spectrum) to offset the blue grey, cream and deep maroon pattern. I love it, my husband thinks he looks like the ‘joker’ from batman….. and is a little weirded out by it.

The hardest thing I found was trying to get the picture to work properly. The background is flat and unforgiving and the figure is on the slightest of angles. I drew my husbands image from a photograph and I remember having to stand on a rock to take the photograph as he is a bit taller than me. That resulted in the image being skewed slightly from a top perspective. I could have taken extra time and patience to fix the perspective in my drawing, but my primary objective was to explore the relationship between the elements of the picture it didn’t really matter what they were.

Untitled 2010, (work in progress)


100cmx80cm enamel, oil and acrylic on strained canvas. 2010

Carrying on the exploration of pattern and illustration, I started this painting…. I still haven’t finished it.

I have included the element of illustration in the limbs of the girl figure, in the pony silhouette and plane. I incorporated the flat pattern background in the upper & lower portions of the painting and the horse silhouette. I also brought in my painterly rendering skills in the work of the skull of the girl image.

My thinking is, keeping with the pop surrealism theme and mixing up the qualities of the painting will translate into a more sophisticated reading, than just the plain illustrative work in the last post (refer Art Musings No.4). There appears to be a lot going on, firstly with trying to decipher the colour work and then the changes in painting/illustrative style throughout the piece is maddening. A little schizophrenic in nature, it reminds me of a ransom note cut from the pages of a magazine, a haphazard collection of letters but clear in the message……. I haven’t finished it yet and rest assured I plan to add in a lot more things to this painting (bullets carefully arranged in a spiralling pattern descending from the plane and introduce a chaotic element to the horizon line somehow).. I’m enjoying the journey so far, can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Be right backP


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