Landscape artists, I admire you so much. How the devil do you cram in so much detail just through the odd dash here and brush stroke there?
I have shied away from landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes because I find it tricky to condense huge amounts of visual information into one moment in time.
What a frustrating RESIGNATION when you live at the foot of the Malvern Hills.
Between the ages of 10 to 18, I sat in their shadow. Gazing up the gorges and quarries, resting my eye on the peak of the Beacon as it simmered in and out of the wispy cloud, I wearily sketched and re-sketched the scene. I sleepily watched the shadows dance across the wild fluffy grass in the sunsets, and the rain washing in sheets from one face to the next.
But my representations of these never-to-be-seen-again seconds in infinity just never looked as beautiful as I wanted them to.
Fast forward another ten years - the last attempt at capturing the hills was gathering dust in my portfolio - and my folks announce: 'it's time to sell up and move on!'
I decided to make them a painting, with some trepidation (this hadn't gone well in the past, so why would it work now?), but I immediately found that the old frustrations were inexplicably long gone.
I was able to see the shadows of the vista a little more easily and put it on paper more simply. And they liked it, much to my relief :)
This painting gave me the confidence to experiment with mountainscapes in paint and pencil.
And, coastal scenes too...
The end of last year was bittersweet, for various silly reasons I won't explain here.
In lieu of money and clear life direction, I channelled a lot of nervous energy into making a batch of Christmas cards.
The 'collection' featured everything you can shake a stick at dashing through the snow. Foxes, boats and port towns were all lost in inky blue skies and seas as snowflakes fell from the heavens in front of a full moon.
I didn't have two pennies to rub together, let alone paint brushes, so I improvised! These were created with the edge of a matchstick and a sponge - magic!
In case you weren't aware, I have a four-year-old ragdoll cat called Chewie.
He is ADORABLE if I do say so myself. Much like any other cat, he is a bundle of curiosity with a quizzical expression. Icy blue eyes and snow white fur gives him the appearance of a wild snow tiger, rather than a moggy about-the-house. And, such is his striking appearance, drawing him felt rather intimidating.
I have a good understanding of colour so I wasn't afriad to pick up a set of watercolour pencils and get to it.
It was rather the texture and movement of fur that was a new challenge. In days of yore (whenever the hell that was), artistic folks capturing the likeness of horses, dogs, sheep and farm animals, commissioned other painters with a fur specialism to finish off and finesse their work.
As you can probably tell, I didn't ask my mate to do the fur for me, but I think these are rather sweet all the same.
The Portrait Artist of The Year competition is in full swing, and I'm hooked (as usual).
I've spent the last decade thinking that I can't draw faces and that my portraiture skills are a bit rough around the edges. Noses, eyes and ears point in the wrong directions. Everything's there, but it looks off-kilter.
Desperate to right these wrongs, I experimented with a technique that many of the painters use in Portrait Artist of The Year.
Usually, I trace the shadows of the image and build up the picture freehand. This gives the cartoon/graphic effect you can see in the Jeff Goldblum illustration I published last year.
The new technique makes use of a crisscross graph, laid over the top of a digital image. Then, square by square, you recreate the image on the page.
It's. A. Revelation.
I remember trying this method at school and failing miserably - clearly too distracted by boys to care one iota about drawing graphs and observational drawing.
I did this portrait of Dave Grohl in an afternoon - a timescale unheard of in the Bathory-Griffiths household, particularly without at least a few false starts.
Long time, no write. It's been very busy at work, you know!
This blue affair is the second illustration for my wedding, which is now under two weeks away.
The Oubyamywe Peninsula. A remote and fascinating region teeming with extraordinary marine life. We chose its mysterious waters as the Belafonte's next destination. In preparation for our voyage, the members of Team Zissou gathered at my oceanographic observatory... here on Pescespada Island.
My version of the island peaks above the water's surface north of Lybia and Greece, south of Italy's boot.
The Belafonte is anchored awaiting Team Zissou's next adventure.
The Zissou Balloon floats to the west, closely tailed by the submarine.
The Vietcong man-o-wars are beached to the east. It's just not a party without them.
Watercolour with acrylic white detail.
More to come... soon :)
My fiance and I are getting married in under two months and that can mean only one thing: it's time to knuckle down and paint a picture of Jeff Goldblum. I realise that makes no sense right now, but be satisfied that this is the first in a series of seven and all will be revealed in good time.
I traced an image of Jeff playing Alistair Hennessey in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Reclined on yellow sofa with glass of wine in hand on the deck of the Belafonte, Alistair agrees to help Steve after Team Zissou suffer the wrath of pirates. There's also a horrible bit with a dog shortly afterwards, but let's not dwell on it.
"Throughout our marriage, we want to celebrate our anniversary traditionally. The first wedding anniversary is usually celebrated with paper, and I wanted to give my wife Robyn something unique to remind her of the day, that wasn't just a copy of our wedding pictures. I immediately thought of Amanda's illustrations!"
Sam approached me way back in 2015 to create a one-of-a-kind paper anniversary present for his beautiful bride, Robyn.
The happy couple got married one-year ago in Cardiff Bay and one of their beautiful photographs was taken on the vintage carousel, which you can find at the mouth of the Roald Dahl Plass.
In this representation, we join Sam and Robyn at twilight. Bathed in the moonlight, the reds of the carousel sing out against the turquoise water. Robyn's dress glows as the focal point of the picture.
The picture is made up of three illustrations. The first and second feature the bride and groom riding decorative ponies (see process photos above). The third captures the background landmarks, such as the iconic Norwegian Church, pop-up Helter Skleter, and full moon.
I draw each picture individually to ensure a high-level of detail and finish for every element. The final image is digitally woven together and printed as a one of a kind artwork. Sam also received the individual illustrations as part of his commission.
I use pencil, watercolour pencil and watercolour paint to make art (and you might be able to tell that the style of the sky was influenced by Van Gogh's Starry Night!)
Sam's paper anniversary gift is a premium glicee print, on textured Canson Aquarelle Rag paper. And I was very happy to read that she liked it!
Happy Anniversary Sam and Robyn! :)
First go, not too shabby!
Siva maia oe le tausala
a e aiuli ane o ni tama
e o’o le teine ia tafatafa
e i ai ma se sei fulu lanu lau’ava