In Search of Safety illustrations for The Red Cross

I was so incredibly thrilled when recently approached by The Red Cross to work on an illustration commission. The project, funded by The Australian Government (which I find surprising) is to educate children about common myths surrounding asylum seekers. I created 7 illustrations, which will soon be pieced together by The Red Cross design team as a giant poster to be distributed amongst Australian primary school classrooms. I feel like misinformed adults could also gain a wider perspective from these facts. I’ll share each illustration with you in the coming days.

So here’s the first.

FACT 1: Are asylum seekers illegal?

NO. Everyone has the right to seek asylum. Asylum seekers do not break any Australian laws by simply arriving on boats or without permission. (Article 31 of the Refugee Convention)

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Clouds

There was a beautiful downpour yesterday, completely welcome after a particularly hot day. As the sun was setting, I was in awe of some of the most beautiful clouds. They were all layered. Some soft and wispy, others shapely and billowing like a slow explosion. One cluster in particular looked like something Buddha himself would come rolling in on. These photos are for the most part untouched, though they didn’t do the sky the justice it deserved.

While photographing these beauties, my initial thought was “….it’s all because of the sun, the light, that is making all of this so wonderful to see”. But I instantly knew this wasn’t entirely true. That it’s the bits of shadow and darkness which give the clouds shape and dimension. Yes yes yes, light and dark…..can’t have one without the other….very philosophical of me. But it’s true, no?

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A surprise trip to Norway

Norway wasn’t somewhere I thought I would be visiting so soon. My sister has been hopping between Australia and Norway for a couple of years now as she fell in love with a Norwegian boy at university. They suddenly decided to wed and so I hopped on a plane to be there for the big day.

The landscape there is like nothing I’ve seen before. So rocky and shapely. The pines, especially ones near the water are all squat from coastal winds. I sometimes felt like I was inside a giant bonsai display.

With such a small population, there’s a delicious sense of slowness and absolute quiet, but not in a desolate way.

It was so wonderful to spend time with my sister again. Only sharing the same father (different mothers), we didn’t grow up together, though our similarities in personality are surprisingly striking. We went on lots of nature walks together, which I will now share photos from. I’ll put up a couple of wedding snaps in another post (I had the pleasure of taking some bride and groom shots after the ceremony).

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Complete! Post Impressionist BFF’s.

Well, my painting is finished and in the mail to Illustrators Australia to be hung in their yearly 9×5 exhibition. I’ll post details about the opening night closer to the date. In the mean time, here’s my piece all colourful and finished. I used gouache which is my new favourite painting medium. I like how matte it is and how easily you can paint in layers without it getting all tacky like acrylic.

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WIP: Post-Impressionist BFF’s

I’ve recently become a member of Illustrators Australia who have a yearly exhibition for their members. We’re all sent out a 9×5 plank of wood to paint on and this years theme is “Play time”. It’s taken me some time to come up with an illustration which isn’t overly obvious. But an idea came to me quite randomly while going for a walk (though this is how ideas often come to me).

I was thinking about the friendship between Van Gogh and Gauguin, how legend tells us they were rather close while also being quite argumentative. So I loved the idea of a playful illustration with Van Gogh giving Gauguin a piggy back ride. Kind of sums up a sense of closeness with a touch of antagonism. I don’t think either of them thought they were better than the other (or did they?). But it just felt right, Van Gogh’s personality considered, for him to be trudging along doing the heavy lifting, cementing his devotion to his friend.

Oh my goodness, if only my high school art teacher could see me now! I used to hate going in to detail about art theory and symbolism, but look at me go! So much nonsense over a lil illustration.

So yes, the sketch is ready, but I need to paint a background before transferring these guys. I’m thinking a rolling meadow with lots of flowers.

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Lost – David Wagoner

I’ve been doing a short course on illustration, one night a week. It’s been a welcome escape and break up of a weekly routine. There was an activity where we had to illustrate the following beautiful poem. Below is my take on the piece. I used ink on watercolour paper.

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Lost
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree of a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest know
Where you are. You must let it find you.

– David Wagoner

First film photos in nearly a year

Grief can do funny things. Once you’ve had time doing almost nothing (what is time?) you start to get back in to the things you used to enjoy. For some reason, it took me extra time to pick up my Olympus film camera. The first few photos felt so clumsy, but it didn’t take long until its familiarity and warmth laid weightily in my hands.

Here are a couple I took in a paddock near my friends property. I always feel like I enter some kind of dream state when walking around there.

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