Jane Eyre series

One of the projects I’ve wanted to tackle for a long time has been to do a series of illustrations for Charlotte Brönte’s  Jane Eyre. I recently re-read it and was amazed at how good it was. It’s a Victorian page-turner! I’m a big fan of the Victorian gothic imagery and the romantic melodrama. Having recently returned from a trip to England, I was also inspired by the moors, the tors and the hedgerows. Here are the illustrations:

Sketches from Devon and Cornwall

Joel and I spent two weeks in the Devon and Cornwall area of England recently. We had excellent weather for plein air sketching. Words can’t describe how inspiring I find the landscape in those parts. Lovely! That’s all I can say. I especially love Dartmoor National Park.

These sketches are available as prints in my Etsy shop.

This is a view of Dittisham, in the south of Devon. We took a tiny “ferry” boat to go over to Greenway from here (Agatha Christie’s summer home). I highly recommend the experience to everyone. It was a beautiful day, ideal for sketching. I was sitting in the churchyard while sketching this.

While in Devon, we stayed in Dartmoor National Park near Dunsford. We sketched this house, name the Olde Court Farm in Dunsford. The owners informed us the house is over 700 years old! That is madness to my Canadian ears. The owners were such lovely people, they served us mint tea (from her garden) and delicious cake while we were sketching! It does not get better than that.

Our AirBnB was across from the Teign River and these old stepping stones (the Old Stables on AirBnB, check it out). We decided to paint them one day. It was very relaxing to wake up to the sounds of running water. You could cross the stones to get to a network of walking paths on the other side.

This was sketched on a drizzly day in Lustleigh, in the Dartmoor Park. I like how much the cottage is leaning (not an exaggeration, I measured). I like what the rain did to the sky and pavement part of the sketch. There is a fantastic tea room next door, The Primrose Tea Room, where I had one of the best afternoon teas of my life.

This is a view from the harbour of Porthoustock in Cornwall. We started drawing this at around 7pm so it was pretty quiet there. Of all my sketches with boats in them, this is the only one that turned out. I’ve since given up drawing boats and put them in the same category as drawing cars, i.e. unpleasant things to draw.

Ah, the Tin Coast in Cornwall. Another great day for sketching. If you’ve watched Poldark like I have (and are mildly obsessed with it) then you will recognize these chimneys. They are all over the coast in this area of Cornwall. This was at the Levant Mine complex, an old tin mine ruin.

 

 

Women’s History series

March was Women’s History Month and I decided to do a series of portraits highlighting some of my favourite women in the arts and literature.

Mrs. Doyle, the long-suffering housekeeper on the classic TV series Father Ted ,has a few of the funniest scenes I’ve ever seen. Just thinking about them makes me laugh. Like when she falls off the windowsill…good Lord it’s hilarious.

Beatrix Potter is undoubtedly the most famous female illustrator of all time. Just like L.M. Montgomery above, her books have never been out of print. Peter Rabbit is an enduring character, and her illustrations continue to bring joy to kids (and adults like me) around the world a hundred years later. One day I hope to visit her estate in the Lake District. 

L.M. Montgomery is one of my favourite writers and our Canadian pride and joy. Anne of Green Gables is a modern classic; it’s never been out of print since its publication in 1908. I’m working my way through her archive of over twenty novels and hundreds of short stories. Her work has also provided me with the source material for two of my absolute favourite tv series of all time: Road to Avonlea and Anne of Green Gables (the 1980s series, not the recent crap, thank you very much).

Emily Dickinson-  the 19th century poet whose mournful poetry some people find depressing, but I like the melancholy of it.

Julia Margaret Cameron – one of my favourite artists, she took up photography in her sixties…in the 1860s! I started seeing her photography pop up on the web in the late 1990s, but didn’t know they belonged to her. I drew a lot of her photos in those days because I was drawn to the pre-Raphaelite Victorian tragedy of them (lots of Madonna/child poses). She is credited as being one the first “artistic” photographers.

New Year, new illustrations

I had some time over the holidays to work on more illustrations, including a portrait of Florence Welch, the lead singer of Florence and the Machine. I’ve always thought her look was reminiscent of pre-Raphaelite paintings, so here is my homage. I also made an illustration that celebrates the history of printing (yes, my letterpress modelled for this one).