I'm a New Zealand artist, living on a small plot of land surrounded by animals, whose many demands leave me with less time than I'd like for getting on with my painting!
I’ve always been fascinated with illusion in art. While growing up I was very inspired by Graham Rust’s ‘trompe l’oeil’ murals in his book “The Painted House”. For me, rock painting is an ideal art form because I can combine a lifelong love of animals with a realistic artistic technique to produce a 3D illusion!
My choice of subject is mostly inspired by the stone’s shape, including any irregularities it might have. I only use rocks that are 3d in shape, rather than flat, so that they sit upright and look as realistic as possible from all angles, as an animal would be in real life.
I don’t begin work until I have the animal’s posture, colouring and expression clearly visualized in my mind.
The actual painting process involves gradually building up many layers of paint, using very tiny brushes to acheive the finest details such as fur and whiskers, and finishing the eyes at the very end. As I paint, any irregularities or fissures in the stone are carefully included to merge with the natural shape or texture of the animal.
As a child I spent a lot of time observing the intricate details of the plants, animals and birds around me, and also the way they interacted with each other. This had a lot of influence on my artistic style. I love to portray ‘close up’ moments in the busy lives of the creatures I paint and to capture their expressions and emotions.
I paint in acrylic, and I enjoy its flexibility, in that it is possible to combine a watercolour-like transparency with oil-like richness. For my wall paintings I use wood or hot pressed paper instead of canvas as a surface because the smoothness makes it possible to paint very fine details. My obsession with the cute and tiny has meant that over the years my brush sizes have got smaller and smaller. I have now reached the smallest size there is and it's still too big!
This page would not be complete without a mention of my two faithful companions and occasional artist’s models of the past eleven or so years. They are pictured below, doing as usual an excellent job of moral support while I work.
Mousewhisker Studio is so named because of the mouse which hops onto my signature when I’m not looking. The ‘whisker’ part expresses my aspiration to create art ‘fine enough to be painted with a mouse’s whisker!’