Wandsuna – Mr and Mrs Finch

So I’ve been up to stuff lately! I just completed my first semester in the Master of Communication, and now I’m on tenterhooks to see how I did overall. Nerve-wracking! I sail into my second semester over Christmas/New Years/my birthday, which is kind of relief, I’ve never been too enamoured of December in general. It’s hot.


I turn 30 this year. On the one hand, it seems to be some kind of stereotypical that I should be panicking right now. On the other hand, it’s just an arbitrary age that signifies the fact that I’m getting older. Something that happens every single day, you know? I don’t know how I feel about it. Do I wish that I’d achieved more by now? Of course. But I never knew Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder could be so overwhelming, nor did I realise when I was younger just how sensitive and gentle I am; and that has – by necessity – lead into a life where I take things slowly, and gently.


Do I have any goals for 2012? Yes. I want to finish the drafts of two books. One on shamanism, and a science fiction novel (booyah). And my personal goals? I’d like to learn a greater tolerance to stress, and experience greater periods of contentment. I suspect the two are connected.


Let me leave you with the new installment in the Wandsuna series:


Wandsuna - Mr and Mrs Finch, by Ravenari

Matt Pryor of The Get Up Kids fame crowdfunding next album.

Hi folks!


When I do a lot of my artwork, I either listen to music, or I watch TV series in the background. When I listen to music, the vast majority of the time, I listen to work sung and written by Matt Pryor. So I listen to The Get Up Kids or The New Amsterdams or The Terrible Twos or his acoustic album Confidence Man. I listen to it over and over again. On my Last.FM, the works of Matt Pryor together are the top music I listen to. The top track, that I have listened to 309 times since 2007 is The New Amsterdam’s ‘Strangled by the Thought.’


Aside from purchasing CDs and merchandise, it’s rare to really get a chance to give back to a man who has inadvertently and indirectly helped me to create some of my favourite pieces of artwork. Pieces like this, would not exist in the way that they exist, without Matt Pryor:


Wandsuna – Foxes Don’t Cry

Wandsuna - Foxes Don't Cry - illustrated by Ravenari


Wandsuna – The Universal Language

Wandsuna - The Universal Language illustrated by Ravenari


So, this morning I woke up and discovered that Matt Pryor is CROWDFUNDING HIS NEXT ALBUM. Yes, indeedy. The link takes you to the Kickstarter page, where he is looking for $10,000 in backing by Wednesday, June 1st. In exchange for backing, there are some seriously awesome ‘rewards’ you can opt in for.


I don’t have many heroes in this world, but Matt Pryor is one of them. I don’t know him personally, obviously. But I know and love his music. And I think if you gave him a try, you would as well. And on an aside, I’ll keep producing awesome artwork if he keeps producing awesome music! (Okay, crude, but I had to give it a try!)


This combines a lot of lovely things though. Wonderful music, with collaboration, and the excitement that is crowdfunding. I’ve had to crowdfund some of my own work over the years, and know personally how exciting it is to do artwork requested by others, or financially supported by a group who want to bring a creative project to bear. Crowdfunding for someone you respect is always fun and happy-making. I highly recommend it. And if you haven’t heard of Crowdfunding in general, here’s a good primer!.


Signing off, your artist (who is doing too much artwork. There will be an artwork post soon! I’ve finished six pieces in about a week! Dholes and Gila Monsters and Llamas oh my!)

Cabbage Butterfly Balloon

I did a series of two illustrations, a while ago, and I never did anymore. I can’t say why. It tapped into something inside of me that went against everything else I was doing. Bold colour, striking line, saturation, saturation. And then I drew this.

01. cabbage butterfly balloon by Ravenari

And yet I look at it and know I have to go back to that space one day. That space of fragmented line and downgraded colour. I need to know what it means for my soul to do this; and why this feels so much more like it will shatter me, than using brilliant pigments and bold line.


I am sometimes told by other artists that they feel intimidated by using bold colour. I don’t know why, but I have never felt this way. Perhaps it is that I hero-worshipped Franz Marc and his own striking colour symbolism as a young teenager. Or perhaps it’s just that I didn’t care when I was doing artwork, because I don’t recall ever concerning myself about colour, overmuch. And maybe that’s because I was raised first and foremost in the medium of pastels which – unlike their *name* – are known for producing the most spectacular brilliance of pigmentation of any traditional medium outside of just purchasing pure high quality pigment and doing it yourself.


I cut my eyeteeth on colour and saturation, rather than the specifity of line, which was hard for me to get at the age of 14 with only soft pastels to play with. I discovered the love I have for the line, particularly the black line, not that much later. I would have only been about 16. While I was working lineless for TEE Art (TER Art now, I believe), I was beginning to appreciate the boundaries of limning subjects with line at home in my private works. I myself am so fragmented, so much about boundary and borders and fixed spaces and brokenness, that I became addicted to the line.


One day, I guess, I’ll drift back to the low saturation illustrations that I can sometimes do, like cabbage butterfly balloon; but when? I don’t know. Originally, it was a whimsy, a flight of fancy. I didn’t know what I was doing, I only knew I wanted there to be a butterfly balloon and a snail shell in there somewhere.


The new The Get Up Kids album; ‘There Are Rules’ is awesome. It’s taken about four listens for me to realise this, but now I’m there and I have some new ‘art’ music. Keith Case still swamps me every time I hear it. I don’t know what it is about that song, but it rolls over me like a flood, and leaves me over-drenched and barren all at once. I could dedicate swathes of art to that single song; and no one would know.

Blast from the Past – Eucalyptus 2

Spot the raven.

Eucalyptus II in oils - by Ravenari

I identified Australian raven as my personal animal totem even before I’d graduated highschool. It’s been a long journey we’ve had together, but those are the best kinds.

This piece was done in oil pastels. I worked a lot with oil pastels for about two years, and then thought ‘fuck it’ and went to chalk pastels like Winsor & Newton and Schminke instead (moving up from Mungyo some years ago). I don’t really know why. I still have some highschool grade oil pastels in storage, but I don’t use them anymore.

Yet another piece done at the primary school park on Priestley Street, where I went to school as a child, and where I often went as a teenager to draw. That tree has been chopped down now. I wonder how many photos and pieces of art remain to remember it by?

Pelican as Firebird

It’s no secret that I enjoy drawing animals. And drawing animals with pastels has been something I’ve always loved doing. But several years ago I got bored with it. How could I zazz it up? What could I do to spice up the animals+pastels combo? I’m sure other visual artists or illustrators or pastelators (I’m sure that’s a word, shush) might have tried a different medium, or maybe a different subject, or whatever.

Pelican as Firebird, by Ravenari / Pia Van Ravestein

I decided I might try setting my animals on fire. I’ve always had a passion for the mythologies that surround the phoenix, firebird and other variations of ‘bird on fire but strangely not dead yet.’

Rather than a typical ‘phoenix,’ I started my ‘firebirds series.’ Of which Duck, Black Swan, Pelican and Lyrebird are members (though I’d like to redo Black Swan).

Pelican as Firebird was done with pastels and carbothellos on a dark blue Mi Tientes standard sheet. This was before I’d discovered Schmincke’s, so I was using the still-wonderful Winsor & Newtons.

I often amuse myself wondering what birds I can next set on fire. On my mental list coming up, is black cockatoo, white eagle and fairy wren. Though I’m not quite sure how I’ll make the latter work. Maybe a fairy wren orgy? They are, after all, highly promiscuous birds. Even by the standards of the animal kingdom.