With the Chinese New Year approaching, I thought it might be a nice idea to create a drawing of monkeys in a Chinese brushed ink and wash style for my Chinese friends. I used traditional materials of Chinese ink (prepared using an ink block and slate rubbing stone), calligraphy brush and rice paper. I'd had a short lesson in the technique of drawing with a brush while I was at Shanghai Open University and had some sense of the challenges of this way of working. The paper is incredibly absorbant and unforgiving of mistakes. Mark making is not easy and there is no option other than to be brave and just go for it. After scrapping countless sheets of paper and really struggling I eventually got this pair of monkeys…
Another legend I painted at a time when I was exploring a range of musical themes. Beyond creating a straight representation, at the timeI was using a reduced palette of four colours; cadmium red, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow and titanium white, which I settled on to see how far I could push their creative potential. While this and other paintings I did at the same time are blue themed, others I did do not necessarily reflect the blue tones seen here.
The death of BB King gave me all the excuse I needed to draw him again, this time in vectors. As someone who was larger than life, I've nominally drawn him at A1 size, but of course, since the orginal is in vector format, he can be scaled to almost any size. The image below is cropped closeup of his face.
This was originally done as a sketched idea for a more fully developed commissioned painting. I was happy enough with the painting (of which I no longer have a photograph) though I do remember that it didn't quite have the zest and energy of this swiftly and playfully produced sketch. The dribbles and splodges of running paint I felt (and still feel) added to part of the spontenaiety of the sketch and I came to deliberately induce these sorts of happy accidents to happen in future work.