There were no iPads, laptops or smartphones when I was a kid. Not even colour TV. At the age of 8 my imagination was ignited by comics. I spent my ‘Saturday Sixpence’ on The Dandy, Beano, Topper, Beezer or Eagle. Most were printed and published by D.C. Thomson in Dundee, Scotland. Of all places!
Desperate Dan, Lord Snooty, Roger the Dodger, Oor Wullie and a host of others were the creation of uniquely-gifted cartoonist, artist and storyteller Dudley Dexter Watkins. And then there were the purveyors of glamour, sexual innuendo and downright-slick advertising art – Pierre Brenot (in France) and Gil Elvgren (in America). Amongst a galaxy of others.
I like this stuff and it, obviously, still ignites my imagination and influences the choice of themes and the subject matter in some of my paintings. But there‘s other stuff too that influences subject matter.
Like the water dragon (indigenous lizard, top right) in this piece. They live on the banks of the lake on which my home sits. Just a while ago one wandered, through an open door, into the kitchen. It was rattling around caught up in the venetian blind. It was only a young fella, about 40 cms head to toe. I put a towel over it, bundled it up, took it outside and put it in a cab! I also took a photo of it which I’ve used in this painting.
So, really my references and the images I use come from ‘left field’ and are, in essence, a collision of ideas. I just muck around with them ‘til I’ve got something I’m half happy with that fits the parameters of the canvas.
The title of this piece sums up exactly how this painting and the choice of subject matter came about – ‘life is full of surprises.’
Life is Full of Surprises
Acrylic on Canvas
61.0 cms depth x 45.7 cms width
Finalist 2017 Brisbane Art Spectacular