some thumbnails of my illustrations

some thumbnails of my illustrations
Please click on the links below to view my portfolio ........ Images copyright of Carrie Osborne

Friday 5 April 2013

For David....

Our friend David Fisher with his painting 'First Things First'
 Today we said goodbye to our good friend David and the overflowing crowd in the church was testament to just how many people held a place in their hearts for him. He was such a generous, inspiring, radiant man...
 " You only meet someone like David once in a lifetime" Said one mutual longtime friend of David's earlier this week, and today another mutual friend, both fellow artists, added "It was a priveledge to have had the chance to know him." Another artist friend said of their art group "He was the glue that held us together."
As you can see he meant a great deal to a great many and we will all miss him.
David had been battling with cancer for the last four years and the dignity and courage with which he faced it was just awe inspiring. I have such admiration for the strength he and his wife Brenda fought it with together. He never once complained, never gave in to it -  even when he lost the use of his arm, as a painter he just said with a wry determined smile "I'll have to find another way to paint that's all."

The painting 'First Things First' above was his last finished painting and won 'The Most Popular Exhibit' at the 2012 Royal Bath & West of England show, which was the ninth time he had won the award.
He was a very prolific artist with a forty plus year career in painting, often on a vast scale, and it is so hard to choose which of his wonderful paintings to show you, so I will just show you some of our favourites... and here one of his most powerful...

'Why Me?'  self portrait by David Fisher

In David's own words: 
"This self portrait was my first piece of work in 16 months after being diagnosed with cancer in the Summer of 2009. It was on show in the Bath Society of Artists 106th Summer Exhibition at the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath."
And to me this portrait says everything in brushstrokes of all that I never heard him speak aloud.

' 2.36 am  Tramadol Nights '   By David Fisher 

 And another powerfully autobiographical painting, again in David's own words:
"This was a scene that greeted me many many times during the broken sleep pattern I experienced whilst recovering from the surgery that was necessary in my fight against cancer. An image I felt compelled to record."
This painting won 'The Chairman’s Choice' at 2011 Royal Bath and West of England Show Art Exhibition.

One of David's proudest acheivements was to win the 2008 Holborne Museum Portrait Prize with this portrait below of fellow artist Philip Ledbury - himself fighting leukaemia. He had said that winning this he felt he'd finally been recognised as an artist... He was ever humble about his own skill!

'Dead Man Posing' By David Fisher - Winner of the 2008 Holborne Museum Portrait Prize

Again here are some of David's words about this painting:
"Philip has only recently come into my life through art. A man diagnosed three years ago with leukaemia, his passion for life is inspiring. His desire to live life to the full...'quality not quantity'... is a favourite saying of his, combined with a wicked sense of humour, was my inspiration to paint his portrait. A fitting record of the man."

David with his Holborne Museum Prize portrait of actress Stephanie Cole
This was the commission portrait he painted for the prize which is now part of the Holborne Museum's collection, of actress Stephanie Cole painted rehearsing lines backstage. He called this 'Once upon a time..' and I think it captures so much spirit of the woman beneath the actress and of the atmosphere of theatre.

 "I chose Stephanie for my sitter as to that time there were no female portraits in the collection, she has strong links with The Theatre Royal in Bath and The Bristol Old Vic, and resided very close to my home..
After our first meeting backstage at The Theatre Royal I felt that this would be the most appropriate location as, not only did Stephanie feel completely at home there, it was obvious that theatre was in her blood and her comment that the most evocative words in any story are " Once upon a time…"
Hence the title of my painting."

'Once upon a time...'   By David Fisher  - Holborne Museum Prize commission
 There are so many paintings and I wanted to talk about David 'our friend' rather than make it a biography, but he was a supreme artist and his paintings deserve to be shared. Here are some more favourites...

'Friend or Foe' By David Fisher "Most Popular Picture in Show"
Royal Bath and West Show 1998
Finalist - "Not the Turner Prize" 2003

'Grand Turk'  By David Fisher "Most Popular Picture in Show"
Royal Bath and West Show 2006

'The Joys of an English Summer'  By David Fisher  "Most Popular Picture in Show"
Royal Bath and West Show 2005
'The Onlookers' By David Fisher  Won the “Most Popular Picture in Show”
at the Royal Bath and West of England Show 2004

'Waiting their turn' By David Fisher

'New Acquaintance' By David Fisher

'Tru' By David Fisher

David with his painting 'Dreaming of Cats'  "Most Popular Picture in Show"
Royal Bath and West Show 2003

David Fisher 
21st July 1946 - 21st March 2013

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Easter Day wanderings in the woods under broad blue skies...

 It has been a thoughtful and sad two weeks, a bittersweet beginning to a cold bright spring and an ending too as we wait to say goodbye later this week to a good friend who lost his long battle with cancer on the spring equinox. I will say more words about our friend, an artist and a truly radiant man, in another post after we have said our goodbyes on friday, and show you some of the wonderful things he painted.

For now I will share with you some pictures of a bright Easter Day walk in the woods, bitter cold but with the earthy scent of green and growing things waking in the sun.

 With Grandma and Grampy under the broad blue sky...

A very mischievous Easter Bunny here...!

 Leading Grampy along winding fox trails...

Happy children in the sunshine...

 I'll leave you with the hares seeking skyward over my hearth... Hope you all had a bright Easter and blue skies to bring in the spring. I'm looking forward to the greening of the woods...

Sunday 3 March 2013

Life drawing at Bath Artist Studios...

 10 minute sketch

I thought it was about time I got back to some life drawing after yet another long gap without doing any at all! So yesterday I went along to the six hour life day that happens every couple of months at Bath Artist Studios. It's been well over a year since I last went along to a life day and I was seriously rusty! But it was great to get drawing again with a good model and to chat to other like-minded artists.
A life drawing day once every blue moon isn't quite the same as a regular run of weekly sessions, but it is so hard to find both time and money to keep up a weekly course. I think I will try and get to a life session somewhere once a month if I can - I do love it, though it is always so challenging...
The first sketch above was actually the very last quick one I did right at the end as an afterthought  in the last ten minutes, but actually its the drawing I liked best.

Here's some of the very rough and ready five minute warm up sketches that we started with, trying to get my eye and hand back in:  

And then one of the ten minute sketches (below), trying to make more of an effort to take time to measure properly which wasn't entirely successful!

Finally two different viewpoints of the last longer pose (in fact the first example at the top of this post was a third view of this same pose)

 45 minute sketch

This 45 minute one was a lovely pose, but I felt my handling of the charcoal was very murky and laboured so it isn't one I particularly like. The 1 hour hour one below had some lovely lighting (with a very tricky bit of foreshortening on the right leg that rather stumped me!)

1 hour sketch

So there we are, not the most spectacular results but great to make a way back into drawing from life again. I am itching to do some more now - I learn so much from this and I really have missed it.
A friend to my surprise recently asked me, don't you get embarrassed by the nudity? The truth is it has never occurred to me that there would be anything to be embarrassed about. I have been life drawing on and off for the last 18 years and have never felt uncomfortable with any of the models I have drawn. In fact quite often you can chat to a model and completely forget that they haven't got any clothes on! 
I just become immediately absorbed by the line and form, light and shade, and abstract composition of shape the body makes and try to capture that on the paper. 
The human form I have always found a beautiful and fascinating subject to draw, the dynamic and energy of body language and expression in a pose, the energy and movement, tension or subtle poise all express so much. And then there's the fascination of muscle and sinew, the skeletal frame beneath, the way the light excentuates the hidden structures.
I wonder for any of you who love drawing the figure, what is it that you enjoy most about it?

Thursday 28 February 2013

Another Small Stone - A Hedgerow Heart...

(You may need to click on this to read it larger!)
Here's the Small Stone that fluttered its way into my notebook this week - though it is maybe a little long for a small stone and a bit ragged around the edges. 
Earlier this week one frosty cold morning, I rescued a tiny wren from the paws of my Mum & Dad's cat. She seemed unharmed and I could hardly feel her at all as she sat calmly and patiently in my hand.

I was enthralled by the brightness of her black glitter eyes, there seemed so much spirit contained within that fragile form, light as breath. Her beak was like a single curved blackthorn, a tiny embodiment of Hedgerow and breezes and wild greeness. She didn't cower or tremble in my hand, just waited, full of awareness, sparkling with it.

A bit blurry - sorry!
 We took her across the field and I opened my hand where she coiled poised for a heartbeat on my palm before fluttering into the hedgerow. She could fly and perch on the fence wire, so I hope she was strong enough after her tangle with the cat to get away safe and rest.
I was intrigued by the spirit of her, the bright spark of her enfolded in feathers.
I'm sure she has more songs to sing.

Monday 25 February 2013

'A Monster Calls' - the power of images and words...

Just a quick post to talk about this extraordinary novel 'A Monster Calls' By Patrick Ness. I just finished reading this book two nights ago and its one of the most powerful things I have read, harrowing, deeply moving and full of wrenching truths, it totally floored me.
The last few chapters reduced me to tears and left me shaking, yet it is told with such compassion and strength and depth of understanding. The story of this is sadly very close to the bone for some dear friends of mine right now... they are still fighting but I don't know for how long.
Its an extraordinary, genius book, and I have to thank Jackie Morris for bringing it to my awareness in her review of it on her blog here.
 The illustrations fill me with uneasy awe, they are perfect and I love them. All the more powerful for being black and white. Just looking at them makes my heart turn over with the wonderful wild presence of the monster and all the currents of emotion they carry.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Small Stones.... fragments and thoughts, wingbeats in sun...

Shining Crows


Like facets of anthracite
                      in the wind-bladed light,

Mobbing a Prince of the Air
                      with relentless irreverence.

Words by Carrie - February 2013

I have been thinking for a while now as a bit of a prompt or a discipline of sorts, to properly stick to a regular 'Small Stone' post, maybe at least once a week, both to keep the writing part of my mind open and fluid, and to try to make more frequent visits to my poor neglected blog!
A 'small stone' as I'm sure many of you are familiar with, is like a moment of distilled perception, a fragment, the words or thoughts that fall into your mind when you truly look or feel and respond to the world in its unfolding, in a moment in time.

This is very much the way I have always written anyway, before I ever heard the term 'small stone' and it suits me well. I used to never be without a notebook and pencil or scrap of paper wherever I went. A thought or a fleeting observation would scrawl its way into my notebooks in fragments. Sometimes that small fragment would spark on into another one and then open a meandering trail that might lead into a story. Sometimes I would gather various fragments up like pieces of a puzzle and discover the thread to bind them together into something other with a life of its own.
My most recent two stories for children that I have written were each sparked from a single small stone, a phrase or two that sparked an entire wild journey of words and images - one maybe a little flintier than the other! 
I love the unexpected leaps and turnings these moments of absorbed perception can take, and often love the fragments alone just for the shape and sound of their words.

This one arrived as I was watching a magnificent young Buzzard in the field beside our house, utterly confounded and grounded for all his broad brindled strength, by a pair of very bold derisive crows.
They would not let him be, every time he tried to take wing they would dive down and harry him relentlessly. He was outdone! He was forced to remain grounded for a good half hour or so in our field which gave me a rare good view of him... Eventually with expansive evasive manouvering he managed to flee to the woods hotly pursued by his jeering tormentors!

So, the first stone posted - I will endeavour to add another each week, and if I'm feeling really pro-active I might even start up a 'sketch-a-day' exercise and fill up those sketchbooks too!

Thursday 31 January 2013

Of Wolves and Words...

I love language with all the flow and rhythm of the river of words that when gathered and shaped and spoken become something more, something alive and powerful.

I was recently at Toppings and Company Bookshop in Bath for my brother-in-law Jack Wolf's fabulous reading, talk and book signing to launch his brilliant debut novel 'The Tale of Raw head and Bloody Bones' which deserves a special post all of its own (which will be coming up very soon!)
Its a real Aladdin's cave of beautiful, wonderful books and I came home with a small trove whilst looking back longingly at many others I would have loved to added to the pile... (to add to my ever growing collection here!)
One of those I came home with was Alan Garner's Collected Folk Tales in a beautifully decorated and gilded hard cover, a real treasure! The comment on the back cover by Philip Pullman says:

"The great collections of British folk tales such as this one, should be treated in two ways: first, they should be bound in gold and brought out on ceremonial occasions as national treasures; and second, they should be printed in hundreds of thousands, at the public expense, and given away free to every young teacher and every new parent."

But in the introduction Alan Garner says words that strike a resonating chord with me in all my love of language and stories. Of the folk tale he says:

"The real meaning is in the music; it is in the language: not phonetics, grammer or syntax, but pitch and cadence, and the colour of the word.
In this selection I have tried to get back, through the written word, a sense of the spoken. I have worked to recreate the moment of the telling, so that the printed word may sing."

Yes! I thought, exactly that!
Terri Windling on her blog Myth and Moor has been talking about Storytelling in a far more eloquent way than I and is always inspiring and thought provoking - a well of creativity for all lovers of words, art and story! Do go and have a read...

There is something about writing that I love so much. I often hear it as a trail of thought from another place, bringing with it scents and sounds and dreamlike bright or shadowy images. Very often in the past as now, I have written and illustrated in tandem - sometimes the words manifesting first to lead the image, and sometimes the imagery first, sometimes so vividly that all the words have left to do is describe the scene.
The story I am drawing a dummy book for at the moment arrived suddenly and very strong in its words, and I enjoyed the words so much for their own selves that even though it was always intended for a picture book, it stands alone, which I am pleased about.
I wish I could share this tale with you all, but I would really like to give this its best pitch to a publisher and don't want to scupper its chances... so not yet I'm afraid...
Instead I will show the you one of the double page spreads I have been drawing for the dummy book, sadly for now without the words which would sit on the empty right hand side of the drawing...

Here below is a detail of the top right corner...

 And a closeup of Wolf

Until I drew him I had no idea whether or not I could in fact draw a wolf... this was the first spread I tackled to make sure I could do it, so hopefully the images and words will knit together and sing! I really hope so!
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