Dec 18, 2011

The Last Stand of Captain Pugwart

Oh dear, Christmas almost, tinsel and lights and cake and cake and cake and cake and cake, and... err ..... tinsel.

Did I tell  you that I wear vinyl belts now? Unlike leather belts, they stretch - which is good.

Of course, like the pianist Liberace, they go the other way as well .... ie they don't just stretch, but shrink.

To be honest, so far I have not investigated their shrinking properties - though I once read in the Norwegian Adventurer's Handy Hints Guide (April 2009)  that if you leave them  in the freezer for three months they shrink two sizes.

With that tit-bit of information we can conclude (well,  it goes without saying, really)  that, if you go to the North Pole as a Santa Volunteer and happen to have a penchant for vinyl belts, there is small but calculable chance that you will need abdominal amputation if the temperature drops too far - courtesy of the tourniquet effect.

Hmm. Did you ever notice that I type rubbish in my posts? :)

I'm just trying to keep up with my friend Linda - who as a wordsmith has no equal - and types anything but rubbish!

Thank you so much to all my friends for your kind visits this year. It means very much to me. I count myself blessed to have met such a talented, friendly, encouraging, good looking and intelligent bunch of artists with superb taste and style. :)

I sincerely hope you had a WONDERFUL year - and that next year is double good.

I'll be round later and give you all a hug :) Let me know if you have sore ribs or anything like that.

PS: this is for IF's "Sink" - and yes, Elves always wear their pants (and coifs for that matter) in the bath.

Don't you? :)

Thank you so much for looking.

Merci beaucoup à tous mes amis de votre aimable visite cette année (even Leo the Toucan) Cela signifie beaucoup pour moi. Je compte myslelf béni d'avoir rencontré un tel talent, chaleureux, encourageant, tas beau et intelligent des artistes avec un goût superbe et le style. :) J'espère sincèrement que vous avez eu une année formidable - et que l'année prochaine est le double de bon.
Je vais être ronde plus tard et vous donner tous un câlin:) Laissez-moi savoir si vous avez les côtes endoloris ou quelque chose comme ça.

Muchas gracias a todos mis amigos por su amable visita este año. Significa mucho para mí. Cuento myslelf bendecido de haber conocido a un talentoso y agradable, fomentando grupo, guapo e inteligente de los artistas con excelente sabor y estilo. :) Espero sinceramente que usted ha tenido un año maravilloso - y que el próximo año es el doble de bueno. Voy a estar todo más adelante y darle un abrazo a todos:) Quisiera saber si usted tiene dolor en las costillas ni nada de eso.

Tusen takk til alle mine venner for typen din besøk dette året. Det betyr veldig mye for meg. Jeg teller myslelf velsignet med å ha møtt en så talentfull, vennlig, oppmuntrende, gode jakt og intelligent gjeng av kunstnere med ypperlig smak og stil. :) Jeg håper du har hatt en strålende år - og at neste år er dobbelt bra.
Jeg skal være runde senere, og gi dere alle en klem:) La meg vite om du har såre ribbein eller noe sånt.

Vielen Dank an alle meine Freunde für Ihre Besuche in diesem Jahr. Es bedeutet mir sehr viel. Ich zähle myslelf gesegnet, erfüllt eine so talentierte, freundliche, ermunternde, gut aussehende und intelligente Horde von Künstlern mit herrlichem Geschmack und Stil haben. :)
Ich hoffe, Sie hatten ein wunderbares Jahr - und das nächste Jahr ist doppelt gut.

(Oh if you are reading this before the 19th go here if you would like a free taste of Poser - a program originally designed for artists to pose models without having to talk to real humans.... it comes with a stack of 'models')

Dec 10, 2011

Suspendering My Disbelief.

I've been reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader  (C.S. Lewis) for a few days .. well actually I have been reading it for the last few nights. 

Specifically, very late at night.

You know that time of night when, tucked away  in bed, you tend to fall asleep with a book suspended by one stiff arm above your face. Regardless of whether your eyes are open or closed, the book hangs like an executioner's axe, threatening to fall and dent your nose or, at the very least, give you a bloody set of lips, should you release your grip for a moment.

It all goes to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that it is a dangerous thing to be a reader of books.

I can only thank my lucky stars (read: Bank Manager) that I cannot afford an e-reader - because I fall asleep while reading so often that my nose, already bent like the beak of  the South Australian Yellow Breasted Nosy Noodletwit (genus: eripydies), would have been plastered all over my face by now.

Still, back to the subject at hand, what ever that was... 

..... ah yes, C.S. Lewis. 

The greatest thing about The Voyage of The Dawn Treader is its first paragraph. As a 'hook', as an entre, as a 'warmer-upperer', as a piquant sorbet, this paragraph is without equal. 

For example, the first line is: 

"There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."

Unfortunately C.S. Lewis must have had an apocolypitic attack of epiliopithy after he wrote the first paragraph, because, without so much as a deeply bated breath, the book soon sinks into the depths of of authorial narrative intervention. (eg: Dear reader, you should not worry yourselves about Eustace, our erstwhile hero, because he is nought but a scoundrel who never changes his socks, even on Sundays.

Lewis's clumsy interventions are clumsy enough to make us certain that he (Lewis)  is clumsy keen for his  readers not to be hung up by their clumsy suspenders of disbelief.

And the fact that it is written for twelve-year-olds is no excuse for these lapses.

Mind  you, I am older than 12 and I am still reading it, suspenders or not.

So, the cover of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the genesis for this image. 

It's also a bow, not only to the cover of Shaun Tan's book The Arrival, but to the techniques of my wonderful artist friends Janne and Mita.

Oh, I almost forgot: this Illustration is for IF's prompt "Separated", a word that I have only recently learnt to misspell. Thank you for looking. 

One more thing. Do you need a good laugh? Check out Penspaper Studio. :). Elizabeth has a great sense of humour. 

Dec 7, 2011

The Sky is Falling

My good friends  Karen and Shirley put me on to the SCBWI challenge about the Sky Is Falling - a story I confess to having never read till two days ago. Very interesting....

If you are doing this challenge please feel free to leave a note. I would love to see your approach.

Of course me not being in the SCBWI could be a problem :) If you are in Oz and a member please let me know what it's like so I can be tempted :)

cheers from here 

Thank you for your visit!

Dec 2, 2011


Thank you so much to everyone who checked out my new portfolio site.
And thank you for enjoying hump day and being good sports :) 

There are some few people I would still like to visit. I am the tortoise in that Aesop's fable, you know, that one about the dog and the tortoise where the tortoise (named Rhonda)  has a nanny nap .... 

'Rhonda'? Hmm must go and look that one up :)

So my deepest apologies to you. You know who you are.... 

Meanwhile I hear Bella Sinclair has some wonderful news :) She rips!
Congratulations Bella !!!

Oh this image is for IF's "Brigade". I gave the colonel a Santa beard and hat, but he looked silly. That's why the dog is running away.

see you and thank you very much for your visit!

(note to self: time for this image 6.14 am till 9.50 am)

Nov 27, 2011

Round, Humpty Dumpty Day, and Portfolio Links

    Do you have the expression hump day where you live?
    'Hump day' is used to describe Wednesday's position as the middle day in the five day working week. As a 'go word' or a catch phrase, it's something that has spread into our local language surreptitiously over the last few years.
    For a long time it belonged mainly with the business generation - along with such phrases and gestures as 'touch base', 'do lunch', 'network' and air kissing.
    During the ridiculously short time I have been on the planet, I have noticed a few things. And one of them is this: Expressions are like Irish people, in that they tend to migrate. (Finnie's Third Theorem)

    So..... the other day I had to call one of our dealers and the phone was answered by a charming middle aged woman. It was a Wednesday, so, as you do, I said:
       "Hi, it's Andrew Finnie. Happy Wednesday!"
        "Yes, hi Andrew! Happy 'hump day," the woman said chirpily. She has a very refined voice, very lady like, very motherly.
        There was a bit of a pause then, as we both pondered the ramifications of her use of the adjective that proceeded the word 'day' - and what other meanings it might have colloquially. Finally there was a small embarrassed 'titter' from the other end of the phone and the refined feminine voice said:
        "Well, I never thought of it like that, you know..."
        "Oh, oh," I said, trying to think of the fast retort that didn't involve 'hump signs' or 'camel humps' or monosexual amoeba.

         But the only thing I could come out with was a meek: "Me neither."
         Of course for a lot of people Saturday night is 'hump day' - in that it is the temporal fulcrum of the weekend and everything else is down hill from there till Monday morning.
         So I offer you this image as a kind of celebration of 'Humpty Dumpty Day" - which I have just invented and am still to choose a date for (I was humping for December 25th but apparently that one is gone)
         It's genesis is not only 'hump day', but an image I saw last year by Rene Millot, whose work reminds me of Maxfield Parrish - an ace craftsman artist (first half 2oth century) who built up luminous paintings by not mixing his colours on the palette, but by blending them optically as glazes.


Ahh this is sounding like a church news letter. Last Sunday immediately after church, a large white pigeon named Neville pooped in Mrs Saurekruat's left eye as she was looking up in the sky to see if anyone was really, truly watching her....

Oh  I made a portfolio site. I have a few books on the go and have finally sent one of them away - 'bout time. It's a site like this one with most of my blah blahing removed. I'd be honoured if you take a look. (There's also some press reviews here if you are curious :) )

Please click on a face and you will be magically transported to a new page. Alternatively you might like to right click open in new tab.

Red Riding Hood Cute and Cuddley Elves Dwarfs and Short People Da Vinci, Shakespeare and Medusa FRogs and Monkeys, Pigs and Unicorns The Secret of the Dancin Ducks Cute Strange Christmas Scary Fairies Jack be Nimble Elephants at The Circus The Adventures of Ralph, The Scarecrow Pinocchio and the Real Boy Fee Fie Foe Fumb! Little Witches The Case of the Stone Dog Father Gregory Discovers the Parchment Aeroplane Mirror, Mirror on the Wall The Little Matchstick Girl Off to See the Wizard! Roy Rescues the First Dog In Space Things Medieval To Hell and Back (PG rated) Book Covers, Posters, Advertisements Tarot Cards and Little Devils The Red Shoes Rub a Dub, Dub and Other Nusery Rhymes Hags and Story Tellers Aha Me Hearties! Ned Kelly, Australian Bushranger The Girl Who Span Gold from Straw Cinderella's Wild Pumpkin Ride Uncle Arthur's Picnic Party The Garden of Eden Platypus and Koala Cowboys and Cups of Tea Back Home

Any comments are very welcome. The fact that there are 34 pages of images is on the downside I think.
Thanks again for your time.

see you :) from Oz!

Nov 21, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

And so:


A year passed away, and the King took another wife. She was very beautiful, but so proud and haughty that she could not bear to be surpassed in beauty by anyone. She possessed a wonderful mirror which could answer her when she stood before it and said-
The mirror answered-
"Thou, O Queen, art the fairest of all,"
and the Queen was contented, because she knew the mirror could speak nothing but the truth.
But as time passed on, Little Snow-White grew more and more beautiful, until when she was seven years old, she was as lovely as the bright day, and still more lovely than the Queen herself, so that when the lady one day asked her mirror-
"Mirror, mirror upon the wall, Who is the fairest fair of all?"
it answered-
"O Lady Queen, though fair ye be, Snow-White is fairer far to see."

The Queen was horrified, and from that moment envy and pride grew in her heart like rank weeds, until one day she called a huntsman and said "Take the child away into the woods and kill her, for I can no longer bear the sight of her. And when you return bring with you her heart, that I may know you have obeyed my will."
The huntsman dared not disobey, so he led Snow-White out into the woods and placed an arrow in his bow to pierce her innocent heart, but the little maid begged him to spare her life, and the child's beauty touched his heart with pity, so that he bade her run away.
From the Brothers Grimm 1857

When I was a kid I used to watch Walt Disney's Disneyland TV show. Often it featured a magic mirror where some scary old man in a Greek tragedy mask would appear in the misty darkness of the mirror and laugh evilly.

It gave me nightmares.

And a hundred years later became the genesis for this image for Illustration Friday's "Vanity." Of course since then I have become aware of the genre of painting known as Vanitas, which refers to the transience of life - (or intransigence of death). You can read about it here if you like.

I hope you don't mind, I have the comments off again - just so you can get some work done :)

Thank you very much  for looking - I appreciate it very much ......

 See you at your bloggs.

PS here's a wonderful artist I just found about a minute ago ....

Nov 13, 2011

Neighbours, China Dolls and Tennis Socks ........

We have had new neighbours for about three weeks. 
They have a dog. 
The dog doesn't bark in the normal doggy kind of way. Instead it 'yips'. 
For the first few days the dog 'yipped' all day and half way into the night. 
On the third night it woke me up at two oclock.
Then it woke me up at three.
When it woke me up at four I lay awake for an hour deciding what I would do.

By the time I climbed out of bed at half past six I had decided that if the neighbours didn't get rid of the dog I would either: 

1) sue them, or
2) kidnap the dog, gag it with some of my old tennis socks then dump it down a mine shaft.

Of course as a kind hearted intelligent man I didn't do any of these things - after all someone might see me, or worse, recognize my tennis socks when they finally found the body.

Instead red eyed and saggy cheeked, I went and politely knocked on the neighbour's door the next morning.

But that's another story - needless to say the dead rat in this  image is a metaphor for something deep in my psyche. 

Did you know that rats belong to the genus Rattus? And the black rat is known as Rattus Rattus? Who ever said that scientists don't have imagination, eh?

About this image? It's for IF's "Silent".  As you can see it works on three different levels. The top level, the middle level, and surprisingly enough, the bottom level. I think the justification for the paradigm, is found in the imposition of the persona of the rat, mirrored of course both symbolically and metaphorically by the metallic finish on the horn, which, in some ways, the horn itself is an iconic archetype of both the horn of plenty - representing harvest, lust, and loud noises - and the God of Thunder, Thor, who had an amazing lisp, and a way with his tools. I haven't even touched on the flower patterns which came with a book of Japanese patterns, on their own DVD which was marked, Copyright, nothing in this DVD can be reproduced, I mean I ask you? How can they sell you a DVD of patterns that you can't use....? I think that's why I gave them green nipples, which to be perfectly honest, was an accident, but I thought, gee if that sicko sadistic Surrealist guy can do amputee doll sexual innuendo, the least I can do is give my dolls green nipples.....

Okay, sorry about that.I just felt like raving as the kid next door has started playing with his electric car outside my window. The car goess zzzzzzzzzzzzsiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiisssssssssssssssssssiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip, ssssssssssssdfagggggg, gggggggwwwwwww wwwippppppp every five seconds. The kid goes YOOOOOOWAAAAZAA and kind of gurgles occasionally in excitement. He sounds a little like a baboon in the last throws of a tumultuous orgasmic terminal pancreatisis.

I hope his mother poisons him accidently before I have to use my tennis socks on him. I know which would be the worse fate.

Err, just kidding. Actually my neighbors are quiet, well mannered and a joy to speak with.

The genesis of this image.

 Recently I went to our national gallery and saw an old book of photographs of dolls by Hans Belmer. Very surreal. A quick search on google gives me a lot of pseudo erotic bondage type photos so beware. This  is one of the photos in the book I saw. I didn't realise it was meant to be erotic till I saw it in the context of his other work. I just thought it was weird.... in fact maybe I shouldn't have bought it up.... but I think his work evokes an emotive response and so is worth examining for this aspect alone.

Thank you for those people who wished me well with my books. That means very much to me thank you. There was a small mention of one of my artists' books in the paper on Saturday - which is also very exciting! 

Meanwhile prayers for Jack Foster's wife who has been very ill recently. You can wish him well at Jacktoons if you like.

Jack's a good bloke and a very funny guy and I'm sure he'd appreciate your prayers more than you imagine.

Nov 5, 2011

Stripes, Yippee I Won! and some Limited Edition Books

I had great news yesterday. I won a give-away from the sparklingly talented Shirley Ng- Benitez!

So I have been walking a little taller since then. Shirley's work always make me smile. Her watercolours are fresh and scintillating, her characters dynamic and charming and, dare I say it, just so cute :)

 Thank you Shirley!! 

Shirley's work is here. She has just released two new works that look amazing.

Sorry about the long post. I didn't even tell you how Bella Sinclair of  Doodlespot was my 40,000 visitor the other day! Thank you Bella :) I made this small image to celebrate :)

And  thank  you everybody :)

PS the rest of the Zebras are here:

(Edit: wasn't comfortable with selling the books from the blog so removed that section)

Nov 1, 2011

Where the Wild Things Are

This one for Myles. Myles is Karen Puddle of Crumb's grandson. Myles went Halloweening the other night dressed as Max.

You can read about everything on Karen's site here. Of course Myles would have looked much more handsome than this.

I'd never heard of Sendak until last year. I bought a book about his work recently. The book delves into his influences - from Blake to Laurel and Hardy. It's amazing how much he has appropriated. And all acknowledged.

So today I have appropriated Max as Myles for a brief appearance :)

Oh and good news. I just found the spell check button :) on blogger.

Sorry to make three posts in a week. It's an anomaly! I am working on this (see below) and am practicing procrastinating. So far I am getting good at it (procrastinating).

I have some great feedback on the covers to help me select them so far. Thank you so much!
It's not two books, maybe one book with two different covers :)

Oct 30, 2011

The Second Scary


Hello thank  you to everyone who commented on my last post. Your comments made me keen to work with the scarecrow a little more. Thank you to those who suggested that as well. You know who you are :)

The Scarecrow is a bit weird really. He keeps telling me his name is 'Ralph' - and that he is not really a scare crow, just a poor chap from Tasmania who cannot afford the right brand of conditioner.


I ask you.... what were his parents thinking?

Oct 28, 2011

Watch out! Here Comes the Bogey Man - and Boy is He Mad!

I once read a story about a little boy who goes a' wandering and meets up with a talking scarecrow.

Together they go on some wonderful adventures around the countryside. They meet other talking objects. They see the world.

The story has all the hall marks of a best seller. There's romance - the scarecrow falls in love with a straw broom they find in a barn. There's danger - the scarecrow must brave the flickering infestuous flames of the camp fire. And there's intrigue - who is the talking scarecrow? What does he metaphorically mean? Is he the embodiment of our own inner psyche? 

Or, perhaps, when every thing is said and done, is the scarecrow just a talking scarecow?

Oct 26, 2011

The Battle of Evermore

Oh dance in the dark of night,
Sing to the morning light.
The magic runes are writ in gold to bring the balance back.
Bring it back.
At last the sun is shining,
The clouds of blue roll by,
With flames from the dragon of darkness,
the sunlight blinds his eyes.

From: "The Battle of Evermore."
For guitar and mandolin; written by Robert Plant

When I was a teenager records cost $7.95.

They were so expensive we could only afford a record every few months - so we'd share them or tape them. We'd a small library of records going, and so it turned out that each member of our social group knew all the words to a small bunch of songs. This knowledge was a unifying factor, a kind of tribal subconsciousness.

Oct 15, 2011

Stand and Deliver!

This week I have been revisiting the bush ranger Ned Kelly, whose bones have recently been identified in a mass grave outside one of our oldest prisons. (you can find my original post here)

Well most of his bones - his skull is yet to be found. I had heard it was being used as a paper weight by the prison warden for quite a few years - and then vanished. But that could be apocryphal. But maybe not. The victors have often treated the bodies of the vanquished with distain. Just look at the Iliad and Hector and Achilles.

But before we go on, can you do me a favour? Just start the music in this youtube video while you look at the pics? - assuming you are looking at the pics !  It's not Kelly, but another bushranger. But it sounds kinda good. :0