Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Gallipoli Illustration for Gourmet Traveller Magazine | Watercolour Landscape

Yesterday I was updating you all about my recent trip to Sri Lanka, when I realised I hadn't updated this space in rather a long time. It might appear that I have given up on my illustration career all together - but fear not, because... I haven't.

Speaking of fear, below is a recent piece I worked on for the Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine. I was a little fearful of this brief, because it involved a) a landscape and b) conveying a story. Typically I am most at home painting things that are right in front of my eyes; things like food, faces, animals and objects. When I have to illustrate any more than this I panic slightly.

The article that accompanied this illustration was about visiting the Gallipoli peninsula, which is steeped in history surrounding the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I. The author couldn't help but think of the many men that had lost their lives on such a beautiful coastline.

Hopefully my illustration conveys this message. I breathed a little sigh of relief when I finished it, as I think I surprised myself. I had painted a landscape that I didn't hate.

I'd love your thoughts! Should I paint more landscapes? Where's a good place to start for a landscape beginner such as myself?

Monday, 27 April 2015

My Trip to Sri Lanka (HD Video) | April 2015

In the first two weeks of April we travelled to Sri Lanka.

On our first night, after a long-haul flight and 8 hours on a bumpy train, we reached the base of the sacred mountain of Adams Peak, at 2am. The climb was tortuous to say the least, but seeing the locals undefeated by a lack of shoes, old age or babies in tow, we were ashamed of our exhaustion and pushed on to the top. We watched the sun rise on shaking legs and in awe of our surroundings.

Next we visited the city of Kandy, where we rested our tired muscles and watched thunderstorms and fruit bats zig-zag over the lake. Kandy was our base from which we visited the hot, hot plains of Dambulla and Sigiriya, to see ancient cave temples and the ruins of a civilisation on top of a giant rock formation. Our english skins did not do well in the heat - heat rash and mosquito bites ran riot on our bodies as we packed into crowded local buses to get around. Friendly Sri Lankans quickly offered up their seats, the first of many acts of kindness we experienced on the island.

From Kandy we took the train to the hill country where the climate was like that of a perfect, English summer - my skin breathed a sigh of relief!  In Ella we woke to amazing views of the hills, and the mews of a two week old puppy living beside our room. We  took a tour of the nearby tea factory, for the first time seeing the source of the drink we consume every day. The smell of freshly picked tea leaves was intoxicating!

From the hills, we travelled down to Tissa , and stayed beside the huge lake - filled , we were later told, by giant crocodiles! We borrowed bikes from our guesthouse and explored the remote dirt roads, through rice fields and tropical fruit plantations. At night we feasted on crab curry and local rum.

Early one morning we hired a jeep and drove to Yala National Park for a meeting with the wild and elusive Mr leopard, which we spotted eventually before he slunk off to hide from the rain. And on to Tangalle, to our beach accommodation - bungalows by the sea. The beach was like a film set, bowing palm trees and sunsets more saturated than any filter could produce. We ate some amazing prawns and baked fish, looking out at the ocean they'd been caught from that very morning. One night we watched a sea turtle haul herself out of the sea to dig a nest. She was huge and beautiful.

Our last stops were Unawatuna, and finally, Galle. We spent a few days under the scorching sun exploring the colonial streets and eating egg hoppers.

Lastly we visited a protected beach in Kosgoda. A 3000 LKR donation to the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project meant we could release our very own bucket of 20 feisty sea turtle hatchlings into the sea. We watched them make their first journey, just as ours was ending.

I hope you enjoyed this video! If you ever get the opportunity - visit Sri Lanka! It was a beautiful island, bursting at the seams with wildlife, and the people were some of the most friendly we've ever met. I miss it so much already.