The First Swim Of Summer

Summer is fleeting in the far south of the equator. There is tell tale signs that the much anticipated warmer days are about to start. Usually the wait feels long. Then comes the blue skies, the scent of summer wildflowers in the dunes and slightly longer days. The wait is over and I am ready to take the plunge.

 

The water is still cold. Not icy but cold enough for only a quick dip. Skin feels warm after. Salty exuberance takes over. This moment is bliss. This is the very start of many more beach days to come.

I created this series of 5 square designs, capturing the elation of early summer beach days.

The colours match with the palette of my Seafoam collection.  I drew these about the same time. I don’t usually create square artwork. I had to adjust my usual visual proportions.

Each design can be printed as large as 30 inches in high resolution. Personally I think these would look very cute printed as small square mini prints, resting in a neat cut wood block. Something to glance at on the shelf as you grab the car keys or daydream in the office.

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Puffer Jackets By The Sea

Some of my favourite beach days involve cloudy skies and warm puffer jackets. The colours of the rocks and sea really pop against a grey sky and the diffused light is beautiful. Hours can pass rock hopping along the granite boulders that lie jumbled between acacia forest and the swirling sea.

This piece is one of the first beach illustrations I drew, experimenting using bright colours, to create abstract landscapes. Mustard, grey and pastel pink are a lovely colour combination.

Pastel pink beach scenes aren’t purely the domain of summer. This is winter in all its drizzly glory.

 

Beach Ballet

This artwork is the portrayal of rhythm, gracefulness, and fluidity of movement. It is a dance between rose lace swirling ocean waves and a young girl splashing in the shallow water.

It is a celebration of poise, roses and the sea, with an orange and beige palette bringing warmth and energy to the scene.

I love the solitude of the dance and the immersion the child has with this moment. Yet, there is a sophistication to her pose, that adds a timeless feminine element.

I was definitely experimenting away from my usual bright colours here. This is a beach illustration devoid of classic nautical blue.

The beach is actually full of browns and warm tones.

I will leave you with this photo mood board of imagery.

Wild romance of lighthouses

I have always loved lighthouses. They are romantic, wild and adventurous places.

Australia has a stack of wonderful lighthouses. We have so much rugged coastline after all. One thing that you very rarely get to see, is the inside of the lighthouse. Mostly tourists are allowed to wander the grounds, peep into the lower windows and sometimes go inside a perfectly preserved keepers cottages. But the swirling internal stair case and upper rooms of the lighthouse remain a mystery.

I have always attached romance to lighthouses. Prior to the automation of lighthouses it was common for the keepers family to stay on site in a small cottage. Keepers wives had to make a home in such unforgiving, lonely and remote places. I love the idea of roses and daffodils, petite embroidered handkerchiefs, vases of wildflowers and grasses, homely kitchens and woven baskets bringing a soft feminine touch to an otherwise harsh landscape.

This piece titled “Cape Lighthouse” is about infusing a bit of this floral vintage whimsy into a typical nautical and seafaring subject.

Also if you ever have an idle evening to pass with a glass of wine and box of dark orange chocolates, I recommend the movie “The Light Between Oceans.” I honestly don’t think I have ever cried so hard with a movie. It is one of those stories where there is no possible ending that isn’t sad. Love, loss and grief are explored with a rawness that is matched by the wild scenery. It also happens to be filmed in one of my favourite little coastal towns – Stanley in North West Tasmania and yes it centres around a lighthouse.

I will leave you with the visual inspiration behind my lighthouse illustration.

Shadows Of Water

On the channel side of the island, low tide exposes vast stretches of sand. The receding water leaves behind beautiful carved ripple patterns in the sand. When low tide coincides with sunset these grooved patterns cast dark shadows. The remaining pools of shallow water, glisten in the late setting sun. 

It is a perfectly glorious chance to explore on foot a world that spends half of its day submerged by water. There are crabs, starfish, shells and interesting rock and seaweed formations. Shadows are long this time of day. As you comb over the landscape, this makes your own shadow appear spindly like a giant crab.

I have long been fascinated by the connection between water and air. The patterns created on the sea floor by the ocean currents mimic the patterns that can be seen while flying high over sandy deserts and dunes. Likewise air currents can make these same ripple patterns with clouds in the sky and on the surface of water.

This setting is the inspiration behind my piece titled “Lunawanna.”

 

Lost In A Story

I was blessed to live a childhood filled with real exploring, sailing and abundant storytelling.

This digital illustration is based on a sketch of mine. It is inspired by both real and imaginary adventures and treasure maps.

It is about the simple joy of being lost in a book; immersed in a storybook world created by words and imagination. 

This sketch has been sailing around my studio for months now. It was time to turn it into a full colour graphic illustrated print. It is blue, teal and sleepy.

 

You can find this design in my ETSY store.

I admire the patience and commitment of my parents, to read so many books out loud to me, in front of the open fire on the couch. While the particular details of the stories have faded, I still cherish the fiery spirit of adventure of the young at heart.

Dwell On Lovely Things

This was a quick sketch I did one night while lying in bed. 

It is about those moments when negativity starts to descend like a thick cloud, hindering sleep.

Instead of letting those thoughts grow, choose to dwell on lovely things.

 


This digital illustration is about the power of positive thinking to ensure pleasant dreams. Choose to to surround yourself with the things you love and focus only on good thoughts, let the others drift on by. For me a happy place is a field of sunflowers.

 

I like the skewed flat perspective of this design and a peaceful but happy colour palette. This design is available in my ETSY store as an Extra Large poster.