New!

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So, I've been experimenting with pen & ink techniques, combining ink drawing with acrylic washes, and using acrylic varnish instead of glass as the protective layer. So far this approach has worked well on paper, heavy card, and on paper mounted to Masonite. 

 

 Raven  5"x7" 

Raven  5"x7" 

Amplified Warbler

A visitor at The New Art Festival asked me to paint something for him to give to his brother as a birthday present. He liked the image of Amplified Warbler since his brother is a bird watcher.

 Amplified Warbler 2014, 5"X7" 

Amplified Warbler 2014, 5"X7" 

While happy to paint the same theme more than once, I always like to explore the idea further, rather than make a copy. So I drafted an outline onto a panel and assembled some reference material: 

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And here is the result, delivered yesterday: 

 Amplified Warbler 2015, 5"X7" 

Amplified Warbler 2015, 5"X7" 

Kingfishers

I spent a lot of my childhood out bird watching with my family. While out every weekend snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, canoeing... But I never saw a kingfisher until I was in my thirties.  I was walking to work in the early morning beside the Rideau River. It was perched on an abutment for the Queensway (Highway 417) which may be the loudest, most human-dominated spot on the river.   But it looked glorious in the morning sun, looping out over the river, darting down into the water, then flitting back to its perch. 

So, since it's a Kingfisher, I thought it deserved a palace. 

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Then recently, I thought it would find lures useful  

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Kingfisher with some of Dad's spoon lures

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Kingfisher with spinner lures.  

Aesthetics of Encryption

I was surprised recently to realize how many of my pieces were about encryption. 

This came to mind while working on a pair of tinted ink drawings this summer, both of which use unreadable text (in traditional five letter telegraph code groups) as background texture. 

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These are unusual in my art for using a standard Roman alphabet.  

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I've been fascinated by obscure and invented alphabets since childhood; for the strange beauty some of them have, and for the sense of mystery they convey. 

Here's one using an invented alphabet to indicate the rows of brickwork.  The text describes the shopkeeper, who you can't see in the painting...

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PhD Gift

So, a friend recently completed her PhD with a dissertation relating to cyber security, and I was commissioned to produce a piece of art for her as a gift.

She'd seen me doodling in many meetings, so an ink drawing involving a rat seemed most appropriate. 

The finished piece is an ink wash drawing on watercolour paper.

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I used some elements from an earlier painting, because I really like the pose of that rat and because the base 12 abacus seemed appropriate for the recipient. She also appreciated the very old-school paper punch tape. 

There were moments of deep frustration while drawing this, when the paper was absorbing the ink washes in unexpected ways.  I nearly threw it into the recycling more than once! Happily it did finally work out in time after multiple layers of washes and hatching. 

New Year, New Look

In recovering from a nasty hacking incident, I now have an entirely new site here at alchemicalrat. com.  I hope you will find it enjoyable to look at and easy to use. 

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My friend Chris Manning, the fountain pen maker and jeweller at Silver Hand Studios -silverhandstudios.com - has been indispensable in bringing my site back to life.  The little doodle above was drawn with one of his pens. 

Pen and Ink

I've been working more with pen & ink lately. This has been my preferred doodling medium for years, using my modified fountain pens and whatever paper came to hand while in a meeting or on lunch. 

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My recent experiments have been on mat board using a combination of pen, ink wash, and acrylic wash. 

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