new print : : crowdspotting

Crowdspotting is now available as an art print on paper or canvas in my Society6 shop. Yay! And if you order something using my Artist Promo link, Society6 will ship the items anywhere in the world* for FREE.

You can also click on the framed print, above, or the promo poster, below, to avail of the free shipping offer.

UntitledAnd here’s a large image of the design, so you can scrutinize each little character (35 of them) that I managed to coax from blobs of watercolour paint, using this simple exercise in imagination:

crowdspotting print

Society6 promo, and my little “crowdspotting” characters

UntitledI am working like crazy to get a print of my little “crowdspotting” characters posted to Society6 as soon as possible.

If you remember the post An exercise in imagination : : cloudspotting, posted not too long ago, these little characters were “found” and coaxed out of random blobs of watercolour…something I did to exercise my imagination, but a few of the results were so surprising that I think they’re worth putting together, grid-style, and printing on tote bags, or as posters.

The new design isn’t up yet, but this promo runs for a few days, and I’ll let you know when I’ve got it posted for sale.


*Free Shipping offer excludes Framed Art Prints, Stretched Canvases, Wall Clocks and Rugs

An exercise in imagination : : cloudspotting

In this quick exercise of imagination, I put blobs of masking fluid in a grid on the paper with my fingertip…cloudspotting…then a quick dash of watercolour in random swipes or strokes over each one (when the masking fluid had dried!)

cloudspottingSometimes I bled a different colour into damp spots…no rules, no real plans for what each blob would become (sometimes, yes, pointy ears or a ball at the top for a head, but nothing careful or overly thought about). cloudspotting
After rubbing off the masking fluid, I drew a little face into each white dot…
cloudspottingThis is where my imagination came in to play: staring at each one, I tried to see the rest of “the character” hiding in the washes and subtle edges of dry paint. It was a lot like looking for images in clouds—”cloudspotting”—except that I pinned the images down with more watercolour, an ink pen, and touches of coloured pencil.


No one is more surprised than I am at some of the figures I managed to coax from these random blobs of colour…
cloudspottingLooking at them now, it’s hard to believe they weren’t planned from the start, some of them fit their blobs and their ink faces so well.

A different kettle of fish : : Sopa de Sirena

Sopa de SirenaWhen Kris brought this old brass cauldron home from the flea market, I knew that I would paint it. After I had lovingly painted the cauldron (and the bas-relief wooden flowers in the background) the question was then: What would one cook in such a special pot? Something mythical and rare…

I’m afraid a black sense of humor took hold of me, just then, and I ended up making a poisonous-looking green soup in the brass kettle…along with recognizably fishy pieces, and sinister bubbles. A sprinkling of iridescent blue-green scales in front of the pot completed the brew. Voilà, Mermaid Soup was born. Except that it’s called Sopa de Sirena, because it was born in Venezuela (and was partly inspired by all the Sopa de Mariscos that we have been enjoying here.)

I managed to get the image uploaded to my Society6 shop, too, and there are 30 hours (or so) left to avail of Free Shipping via my Artist’s Promo link. You can also click on the image, above. I’m so pleased to be able to offer something new along with the free shipping, in one go.

Tuck in!

The Wreck of the Mazaruni

Wreck of the Mazaruni sketchKris was going crazy with the rainy weather, too, and didn’t even have me to talk to, once I got into my painting. At last we decided to go exploring the Essequibo River a bit…rain or no, at least the sailing part would give him something physical to do, and we’d have a different foggy grey jungle view to look at…

We headed back down the river, the way we came when we first arrived. We’d seen a wrecked ship along the banks, halfway down, that had fascinated us…the jungle was taking it over, growing over its bridge and filling the cracks in its hull with vines and ferns. So we headed for the same spot, and anchored for two days near the wreck of the ship “Mazaruni”.

Of course, the first thing I did was sketch the ship…once, in pen on brown bag paper, and then a (less successful) watercolour, in a brand new sketchbook that I had bought at the Darwin airport to use up my Aussie dollars, and decided to finally use.

DSC_0200(My first experience with Moleskine watercolour sketchbooks, I have to say I was very disappointed, the paper is crappy, only 20% cotton and with a tendency to bleed a bit. What gets me is that, for the exorbitant price I paid for the thing, I could have bought nearly 2 pads of Arches 100% cotton watercolour paper. Shoot.)

Kris, on the other hand, went exploring in the dinghy…around the ship, and discovered a creek that ran behind it. Up the creek he saw Morpho butterflies (common in Guyana, but magical nonetheless…Vladimir Nabokov collected these iridescent blue butterflies. These days they are being farmed for jewelry and collectors, so the wild population has managed to recover from the past centuries’ mania for naturalist collections) and a large boa constrictor.

We started calling the creek Gabriel’s Creek, after a scene from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude, where Jose Arcadio Buendia and his band of men come upon a galleon smothered in jungle, miles away from any sea.

Jungle paintings are on Society6

My two recent jungle paintings are available on my Society6 page as art prints, or prints on canvas.

Cheers! Nat

Back in the arms of colour

back to colour

Thank you, Dave & Sharynne, for the concerned e-mail! As I mentioned in my last post, whatever mood my posts may depict, chances are that the moment has long since passed, by the time I manage to write about it. I can’t paint and stay glum for very long…so whatever mood my paintings are in, I am probably feeling better simply for having painted them.

Just to reassure you that I have not fallen into a swampy morass of riverine jungle moodiness, this is something I painted more recently…as you can see, I have “climbed back up” into the saving arms of colour…

It’s nice to know that there are beautiful people looking out for me, though! Thanks, again.


Into the jungle

green world 1As the gloomy days stretched on, I moved from my journal and making postcards on recycled oatmeal boxes, to a small canvas…expanding on the plants and elements of the previous two, I painted these two fantasy jungle scenes, using plants and details both real and imagined.

DSC_0198They match up to form a bigger picture.

Monument of Hope

Hope Monument ParkI came to sit in the park and playground of the Monument to Hope in Bartica, a couple of times. There was never anyone there, it was a good place to be alone and sketch. The monument itself was not very sketchable…a grey granit obelisk, erected in memory of the men and women who died when a boat full of escaped convicts arrived in the town at dark and robbed several of the gold-buying businesses.

The swing set was more interesting, though probably not very exotic. I’ve been having some trouble with this whole “travel sketching” idea, to be honest. Because we have been to some exotic places, I guess I felt that I owe it to my sketchbook to document the unusual, the novel, the never-seen-before. Naturally. When else will I get a chance to see these things? But, sorting through the files on my external drives, I came across this little PDF booklet, Start To Draw Your Life, again, by Michael Nobbs, and felt a twinge of longing for the days when I would draw my running shoes, a coffee cup, a tea strainer…nothing fancy, just getting lost in the drawing…

Because something in me loves the overlooked, ordinary, everyday things about life, and let’s face it, even up a river in a jungle, most days are just ordinary days…when you do the laundry, or sit on deck with a paperback novel, or cook oatmeal for breakfast. And if you did a tally of time spent “having adventures” and time spent doing everyday chores, you’d find that we spend probably 70% of our time just plodding along, doing the countless little things that make up a life. And why not paint that? It is as authentic and legitimate a subject as jungle vines and vernacular architecture.

It’s easier, too, to find a subject and paint it, if it’s around the home. Thing is, I love to do the drawing, I love adding colour. I don’t care what the subject is, in the end, I just love the doing. If I have to wait until I am somewhere unusual, or doing something exciting, before I can pull out my sketchbook, I won’t get to draw and paint as often. And that’s frustrating.

So, I know I’m in Guyana, living in a boat on the river, surrounded by howler monkeys and a dawn chorus of hornbills and parrots, but folks, sometimes my sketchbook posts will feature things from my kitchen, or stuff on my desk. And that’s fine, too.