Web Statistics Archives for 2014 | Kerry Thompson's Blog - Artist ~ aka Kerry Millard, cartoonist/author/illustrator

The Korean-Australian Arts Foundation dropped me a line

Two months in Canada recently were really wonderful, and I'm curious to see what turns up on the canvas next as a result.

I came home to some lovely news, "Hey drop me a line" has been selected as a finalist in the 2014 Korean-Australian Arts Foundation Art Prize.

Hey drop me a line_Kerry Thompson _72x25 copy
Hey drop me a line Kerry Thompson 2013 Acrylic on canvas 76cm x 92cm

The entries last year were of a very high standard so I'm anticipating an engaging exhibition.

Paintings will hang at the Korean Cultural Office, Ground floor, 255 Elizabeth St Sydney Australia from 26 November 2014 - 30 January 2015.

Daisy hits Bologna

With my "Kerry Millard" illustrator hat on I'm tickled to tell you that "Daisy's secret" by Jodie Wells-Slowgrove and published by Penguin (Australia) for which I made the illustrations is one of 30 books to be selected for an Exhibition of Australian Children's Book Illustration, "Hello! from Australia", at the Bologna Book Fair 2015. The Exhibition is thanks to Books Illustrated and the Australian Publishers Association, supported by Copyright Agency's cultural fund.

Cover Daisys Secret _Kerry-Millard opt 72

Daisy is brushing up on her Italian…

Wynne and Sulman adventure 2014

A number of weeks ago I had a lovely adventure as I dropped off two paintings at The Art Gallery of NewSouth Wales, one entered for the Wynne prize, and the other entered for the Sulman Prize, two competitions which are run alongside the Archibald Prize for portraiture.

For the Wynne (Australian landscape or figurative sculpture) I entered Flame tree at "Bundanon" which was begun on an artist residency offered by the "Bundanon" Trust on the Boyd property inland from Nowra NSW.

Flame tree at "Bundanon" 72x15 copy
Flame tree at "Bundanon", Kerry Thompson
acrylic on canvas, 92cm x 92cm
Private collection

In the Sulman category I entered "Hey, drop me a line" created as a message in a bottle to sit on my website home page in case my absent brother were to visit.

Hey drop me a line_Kerry Thompson _72x25 copy
Hey drop me a line, Kerry Thompson
acrylic on canvas 76cmh x 92cmw
Collection of the artist

I love that paintings which are entered have to be delivered to the Gallery so the judges can actually view them rather than virtually experiencing them via photographic images, which is the case for many competitions.

To deliver them you get to turn into and travel down the long driveway to the back of the Art Gallery, sail past the open boom gate, then try to wriggle into a parking nook amongst all the other entrants at the loading dock. I always crack up at the idea of a loading dock for art ... like a loading dock for poetry...

You then get to carry your work through an open behind-the-scenes grey concrete area to the lively smaller packing room where you are asked to lean your painting against the wall and facing it. Your paperwork is checked, each painting is given a number which is written on its back (inked forever!) and then it is loaded onto a special paintings trolley where it gets to rub shoulders with who knows who and is whisked away to await its turn to be glanced at. This year I commented that my paintings were very excited and one of the lovely packing room chaps said, "Of course they are!"

Many faces of arriving artists are grim you notice - annoyed to eyeball their competition? Worried at leaving their babies? Wanting to appear professional and slightly disapproving of having to go through this process? Wondering how they got the thing in the car in the first place because it certainly doesn't seem to want to come out? Who knows?

If by any chance your work isn't selected to hang it's not all bad because you then get to go back again to collect it, only this time the boom gate is down so you get to press the button and tell security with a casual air that you are so-and-so collecting your works from the such-and-such prize, the gate lifts and you pass into the much quieter parking area given that there are more days available to pick up than there were to deliver.

You are again amused at the idea of a loading dock for art, hand your paperwork back which is passed to a lanky fellow whom you trot after as he loops and swoops out one door, across part of the actual gallery with artworks on the walls and public milling about little guessing the back room goings on in their midsts, through a well concealed door into a large room where there are paintings leaning against paintings leaning against paintings. Oh wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to take a peek at them all???

Your own canvases are located by number and you carry them back across the public corridor, back through the inconspicuous door you hadn't realised you'd emerged from and certainly wouldn't have been able to find if the lanky chap weren't navigating, out through the loading dock and back to the car. As you wait for the boom gate to lift you savour the last few moments this year as an artist whose work has been viewed at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Daisy's Secret is about to be let out of the bag...

Last week the most lovely package arrived - my advance copy of the fourth Wilderness Fairies book, Daisy's Secret! It's always a big thrill to see the first copy!!

WF_4_cover front DaisysSecret _KerryMillard 72

Daisy's Secret, published by Penguin (Australia) will be let out of the bag on August 23rd.

There were some very challenging and delightful animals for me to draw in this book (have you ever looked closely at the pattern of scales on a diamond python? I mean, REALLY closely?), and we meet some great new characters created by Jodie Wells-Slowgrove. Keep an eye out for Raven!

The gorgeous and subtle dusting of glitter on the cover is a really nice treat so thank you Penguin for adding that sprinkle of sparkle to these books.

Daisy Takes Charge is born!

WF_3_cover front  DaisyTakesCharge opt 111kb  copy

On July 23rd Daisy Takes Charge by Jodie Wells-Slowgrove, which I illustrated with my Kerry Millard hat on, was released - it's a great story, and when I have some good copies of the internal drawings I'll show you some.

Because these stories are set in the Australian bush with real Australian wildlife and plants, I have enjoyed doing a lot of research to get everything right.

Whenever I illustrate a book there seems to be one illustration each time that I'm looking forward to painting. The illustrations in these books are painted in grey, like black and white photos, and I love how important light and shadow become. There were actually two illustrations I was really looking forward to painting in Daisy Takes Charge and I will put them up here when I can ... my scanner fell on its head and is a bit woozy so I'll see if I can get some excellent scans from Penguin.

The fourth book in the series, Daisy's Secret, will be released in September. There were some doozies of illustrations including a diamond python whose markings were a real challenge and delight to create; it all went to the printer a week ago so everybody is busting to see it put together as an actual book!

Oh, and there's a subtle layer of delightful very fine glitter on the covers - more on Daisy Takes Charge and Daisy's Secret than on the first two books - we all loved the touch on Daisy's Quest and Daisy's New Wings so much that we indulged ourselves with the second two! It's just a fine sheen, like frost, and is very satisfying.

... and there's a chance that there may be two more books - just a whisper on the breeze at the moment...

A cautionary tale

Last weekend I went for a walk and passed a driveway with a sign saying art, antiques, etc were for sale so I thought I'd have a look. Saturday is a good day for Garage Sales!

Teacups, model trains, pedal organ, ... I said hello to the chap and we chatted. I was carrying a piece of paperbark which I'd picked up because I've just made an illustration of a character dressed in that very material, he commented on it, and the subjects of art and illustrations then came up. He told me that he and his wife have a gallery and in fact have had several galleries, and that he is an illustrator too. When I asked about their gallery he said they have one in the city and organise artwork to be hung at a major hotel in Sydney.

I said that I'd probably be coming to see them one day because I paint and have planned to chat to several hotels about my work.

After yarning with his wife who was lovely to chat with, we exchanged details; I offered her a post card with mine on them (I always carry a batch with me for when folk ask me what kind of painting I do) and when I suggested she could keep as many as she liked, she asked if she could take them all to try them out. Sure, I said, never having had anybody take the lot before, but happy for them to see how people in their gallery respond to my work.

We arranged that she would ring me in a day or two to book in a time for them to come over to my place to look at my paintings in the flesh. Exciting!

So the next day I Googled them to see what their gallery looks like and to find out exactly where it is.

Up popped headline after headline about artists who had been ripped off by them, a NSW Supreme Court case where a chap owed $71,000 sued them and they were closed down - they have had several galleries close leaving artists in the lurch for over $118,000.00 at one stage - then have re-opened elsewhere - several papers ran articles about a large number of artists who had never been given their portion of sales or had never been given back the artworks themselves and whose phone calls, letters, emails, and even court orders where ignored!!!!


I am glad to move through life trusting and enjoying people, but am also grateful we have the facility to discover unwise business partners thanks to the efforts of those who have suffered at their hands and have tried to do something about it, journalists who report on them, and Google where the information is available.


Hurrah Degas

I love The Art Gallery of New South Wales. All of the words in its name are friendly, and I think it reminds me of the excitement and pleasure of visiting the Art Gallery in Ottawa as a child with my grandmother, then having lunch in the cafeteria on the top level.

I still remember being entranced by an exquisite little bronze figure of a woman standing with her head bent over, combing her curtain of hair.

Years later I was in France and entranced by Degas' little dancer (I fell in love with her) and a small figure of a schoolgirl.

Degas little dancer1_photoByKerryThompson

Incidentally, I’ve read descriptions of the little dancer calling her deformed and drawing all sorts of conclusions as to what that meant - I don’t know if the model was in fact deformed, but the sculpture has never looked that way to me.It’s just the way she is clasping her hands that is lifting her shoulders…

Degas little dancer2_photoByKerryThompson
The woman in the background just happens to be demonstrating what happens to your shape when you clasp your hands behind your back. Photos©Kerry Thompson

Degas' schoolgirl_PhotoByKerryThompson
Degas schoolgirl Photo©KerryThompson

This schoolgirl is tiny, but utterly captivating.

Degas was a magician with body language - Here is a horse - we don’t even miss the neck which is undeniably there, even though it isn’t. And the legs, though roughly formed, look exactly right to be weight-bearing or partially weight-bearing.

Degas horse_PhotoByKerryThompson

There's always something deeply satisfying when an artist working in any medium knows and then captures a subject from the inside out.

A hug, some snow, and a bit of Bach

As the wood stove takes the chill off in the evenings and the days are glorious here in Sydney, I thought you might enjoy a mini exhibition of a few new paintings. 

Wrap me in a warm hug_Kerry-Thompson 72x15

Wrap me in a warm hug ~  Kerry Thompson ~ acrylics on canvas ~ 76cmh x 76cmw ~ sold

This painting ended up being about a blanket and a hug. When I took it to be professionally packed to go to its new home, my chap had left a note sticky-taped to the door saying "Closed - we are visiting our first grandson!"

Pretty appropriate, I thought!

The next canvas turned out to be:

Snowflakes_Kerry Thompson 72 x 15opt

They say that no two snowflakes are the same, but how do they know?
~  Kerry Thompson ~ acrylics on canvas ~ 122cmh x 91cmw ~ available (at time of writing)

How DO they know? And who are "they"?

I have visions of little scientists running about in snow flurries with mittens and microscopes ...

Snowflakes are usually symmetrical so you'll notice I've included a little personal visual chuckle with a few rebels.

Topographical Bach_Kerry Thompson 72 x 20  opt

Topographical Bach ~  Kerry Thompson ~ acrylics on canvas ~ 76cmh x 76cmw ~ sold

This piece was created for and about a musician. While working I listened to her favourite music including Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #5, the handwritten score of which was sitting online (!). It was exciting to use a bar or two as a topographical map for the landscape.

Among the trees are clarinets, music stands, trombone slides, brass instruments, flutes and piccolos and fiddles sprouting from the ground, staves flow across the landscape and musical notation fashioned after Bach's handwriting is sprinkled through the undergrowth and canopy.

The musician is going to try to find the exact spot on her recording that I used as my map - so she'll be listening to her painting. Layers upon layers -  fantastic!

Daisy's Quest and Daisy's New Wings have arrived!

With my hat on as Kerry Millard, illustrator, I am very excited to be able to finally reveal the covers of my latest two books!

Penguin Books (Australia) invited me to make the pictures for a new series by Jodie Wells-Slowgrove,

Wilderness Fairies set in the Australian bush, with a delightful young fairy called Daisy and her family, friends, and adventures.

Daisy's Quest and Daisy's New Wings are books one and two in the series and it was so exciting to finally see them as actual books and not just illustrations and pages of words scattered all over my living room!


Jodie has written great characters and relationships and stories and I enjoy the language she uses. Set in the Australian bush, we meet a variety of familiar and less well known bush plants and animals.

The drawings on the inside have been painted with a grey wash which was handy as a lot of Daisy’s Quest takes place at night or underwater!

I’m about to begin working on the next book in the series with a meeting with our editor tomorrow to talk about what illustrations I have in mind. There are quite a few new characters in book 3 whom I am looking forward to meeting as they appear on the page.

The first two covers have a subtle splash of sparkle on them here and there which gives them a really gorgeous texture and makes them very tactile. I’ve never done books with sparkle on them before and now that I’ve seen how excellent it is it will be very hard to hold back from going a bit nuts on books 3 and 4!

Do take a look at them if you see them in your travels!

I’ll add one of the illustrations here, from Daisy’s Quest.

©2014Kerry Millard From Daisy’s Quest by Jodie Wells-Slowgrove (Penguin Books)