O is for Ovenbird

As a child, I’d always illustrate the stories I wrote. I’d fold a piece of A4 paper in half and design a full book cover, with blurb, barcode and all. Now I have a child, I’ve been thinking about how my art has changed, and how it needs to change.

A new baby to care for inevitably means a more practical mindset, and I’ve been wanting to take my Cosmic Nature series in a new direction for some time, I just never knew where. I want art that can be more functional instead of space-consuming, reusable, relevant and yes, perhaps a touch sentimental. I’m also a little bit selfish, that I want my child to be directly inspired by and learn from my art.

So, the Cosmic ABCs series was conceived. Stylistically and compositionally, I’m still toying with several concepts. But the plan is to create a series of alphabet flashcards, each with its own cosmic animal. The series will be 26 small paintings, one for each letter, uniform in style and medium. Small enough to be portable and functional. Sturdy enough to handle sticky and clumsy fingers.

There may be animal constellations. There may be texture, layers, letters. There may be stories. That’s the beauty of a new series, just like learning new vocabulary. You start with a small template, then the possibilities grow exponentially until you’ve got yourself a complete library.

The series aims to be more than a series of ABC flashcards, but an inspirational journey through the animal kingdom and the solar system. There’s so much more out there than just ‘A is for Apple’ and ‘B is for Ball’.

O is for Ovenbird – a watercolour concept sketch

I write about this series on my blog so that I am committed to it. It’s all too easy to shelf an idea before it’s even begun, and even easier to second-guess, or simply get distracted. But I need a project, and I need a piece (or pieces) of art that will remind me of these precious earliest months with my child.

It’s early days, but I hope you’ll follow me as I document this series, however it evolves!

You can show your support for my blog by following and liking this post. For plenty of art updates, head on over to my Instagram!

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