September 13, 2016 § 3 Comments
An exhibition currently running at Paxton House, until 31st October, celebrating the book ‘Where My Wellies Take Me…’ which I was commissioned to illustrate by the writer Michael Morpurgo in 2009.
As well as the fifty or so framed works, which include original spreads from the book, etchings and paintings, there are several display cases with work in progress…
Having never illustrated a book before, I did everything the wrong way, including making a full size mockup of the book to work out how many pages the finished thing would be.
I also went camping in Devon, to do my research, part of which was mapping out the local landscape which is the geography of the book itself.
The best thing about the book is that it is written and drawn (I supposed) by an eight year old, so it was a fantastic opportunity to learn about all sorts of things like wildlife, and erm, how to draw…(not mastered that one yet, but keep practising!).
In the display cases are things no-one normally sees, all to do with how the book was made including some etching plates, which I used for some of the pages, and also one of my favourite things, the matchbox that Michael lent me when I was camping in their garden. I later painted this matchbox in the book…
By a series of misfortunes I was lucky to land myself in the lap of the villagers and to get to know many very kind people, all of whom helped to a great extent with my work on the book, and some of whom even modelled for characters in it, so thank you once again to the good people of Iddesleigh!
All this, and the finished article, is now on display at Paxton House. For more information please get in touch, www.paxtonhouse.com
There is also a wonderful Michael Morpurgo exhibition on at Seven Stories in Newcastle, also featuring some of the ‘Wellies’ & ‘War Horse’ work. Please visit www.sevenstories.org.uk
September 11, 2016 § Leave a comment
Artwork for Slightly Foxed Autumn Edition 2016. The brief was to create an Autumnal local landscape, preferably with a fox in it somewhere, and that it should be apolitical, so I desisted doing something to do with the hunt, and did this instead.
I hope the Slightly Foxed readership approve, and, after receiving several enquiries, I am pleased to say that there will be a print available of the original. More details at http://www.alisoneldred.com, coming soon.
August 8, 2016 § Leave a comment
An anthology of poems reflecting on age, by 35 of Scotland’s best-loved poets. Several of the poems refer to the sea, and sailing boats…
This is the poem from which the title was taken, and one of several which I chose as motivation for the final artwork.
Push the boat out, compañeros,
push the boat out, whatever the sea.
Who says we cannot guide ourselves
through the boiling reefs, black as they are,
the enemy of us all makes sure of it!
Mariners, keep good watch always
for that last passage of blue water
we have heard of and long to reach
(no matter if we cannot, no matter!)
in our eighty-year-old timbers
leaky and patched as they are but sweet
well seasoned with the scent of woods
long perished, serviceable still
in unarrested pungency
of salt and blistering sunlight. Out,
push it all out into the unknown!
Unknown is best, it beckons best,
like distant ships in mist, or bells
clanging ruthless from stormy buoys.
The proofs & finished work are on display at the workshop: www.lomenechgill.com
For more information about the book: www.birlinn.co.uk/Whatever-the-Sea.html
And to find more poems like this: http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk
July 20, 2016 § Leave a comment
The exhibition focuses on illustration work from the book ‘Where My Wellies Take Me’ and for the concert and reading of ‘War Horse’, both commissioned by the author Michael Morpurgo who will be coming to do a talk at Paxton House in October.
For anyone wanting to make a day trip, Paxton House is a beautiful venue in the Scottish Borders, with a fascinating history, some great examples of the Scottish National Art Collection in the main house, and, for those who know their chairs, a particularly good collection of Chippendale and William Trotter furniture. Also there are lovely grounds to explore, with play facilities for families, and most importantly, a good tearoom!
The Exhibition Opening is on 28th July, please get in touch if you would like to receive an invitation. Friends and family welcome.
July 7, 2016 § 1 Comment
The University of Stirling has a fantastic art collection, https://www.stir.ac.uk/artcol/artist-list/ and I am delighted to have recently had a piece of work acquisitioned, one of the two existing proofs created for ‘The Bonniest Companie’, Kathleen Jamie’s recent anthology of poems, published by Picador, 2015. The proofs were created using a combination of drypoint, chine colle, pen & ink and gouache. The ‘blue’ I created by hand-colouring Japanese tissue paper in an attempt to capture the oceans of school atlases, in the days we still studied ‘geography’….
…PS. The in-flight bird featured is not a Storm Petrel or a Skewer, or whatever else someone thought it was, it is a Leach’s Petrel, a small seabird which comes to breed on offshore islands of the UK including North Rhona, a suggested map of which is layered into the above work. I was introduced to this species through Kathleen’s writing.
April 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
‘The Monstrous Child’, by Francesca Simon. I was delighted to be commissioned by Faber to create the cover artwork and inner ‘illuminations’ for the new novel by Francesca Simon. (A bit of a departure from Horrid Henry!).
Work in progress, showing etching plates depicting some of the of the seven Norse worlds, including Nilfheim, Alfheim, Muspelheim, Asgard, Jotunheim and also two of Hels’ several-legged siblings, Fenrir and Sleipnir.
Editions of these etchings, plate size approx. 4 x 3″, are available from the workshop.