The Child Portraits of Laurie Wilson

Laurie Wilson is another one of the artists that has largely been forgotten and not much information exists either in books or on the internet. Child studies were only a small part of this artist’s collection, in fact these images may be the only ones on the internet. I still believe there are enough images to warrant inclusion on a website dedicated to the female child throughout art history. What made me write an article about this artist was when the following image disappeared off the Australian National Gallery website.

Laurie Wilson – No title (1977)

Taking into account the hysteria and irrational behavior surrounding child nudes many could guess why it disappeared. It appears similar in style to George Platt Lynes, so it may be inspired by that set of images or it could be coincidence. The following is a close up portrait of Gabby, implying that much like George’s set of images there should also be a set of Laurie’s images.

Laurie Wilson – Gabby (1977)

Lawrence “Laurie” Wilson was born on 17 August 1920 at Geelong West, Victoria, Australia, to parents George Alfred Wilson, laborer, and his wife Lilian May, née Oldaker. The artist had the most minimal of education, leaving Newtown State School at age 14, to help his father run the family farm.

The first sign that he had an interest in photography came in 1941 when he started work as an assistant at Lockwood’s Photographic Studio, this was probably the extent of his photographic training. The artist left after only ten months and started searching for a higher paying job, which he found at the Corio Theatre.

Laurie Wilson – The Imp (1968)

Wilson and his wife, Gwen, started their own studio in 1945, whilst supplementing their income through teaching ballroom dance. The secondary business was helpful in promoting the photographic studio as they would photograph their dancers at the end of each dance season. The main focus, and income, for the artist at this time was wedding and debutant photography. To a lesser extent there was also family, farm-based and small scale commercial photographic jobs, as well as making calendars for local customers and his own business.

Wilson had been physically frail all of his life, though it was a major operation and subsequent treatment for bowel cancer in 1963 that caused him to close his studio, sell his equipment and live off an invalid pension. As much as ninety-five percent of his archive from this early period is presumed lost. Unexpectedly, this decision resulted in what could possibly be a larger and more noticeable collection of work.

Laurie Wilson – Girl on a Sandy Beach (1975)

After regaining his strength and adjusting to his new disabilities he joined his local camera and photographic club. Being a part of this club increased his skill and knowledge of how to create interesting and memorable images. He remained within the club for the rest of his life. The first show to display his work was the small, yet still noticeable Castlemaine Camera Club in 1966. From this point onwards the shows he displayed at became more frequent and noticeable. From 1966 up to the start of 1974 his work had been exhibited at sixty-four different shows and competitions, from local all the way up to international level. During these eight years he was also awarded thirty seven trophies as well as a Associate membership in 1970, followed by a Fellowship in 1971 of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain. Due to the time that has elapsed and the lack of information available it is unlikely that anyone knows how this accomplishment was achieved.

Landscape photography constituted most of Wilsons output, to a lesser degree there was also documentary, still life, abstract and portrait photography. One of these portraits was considered so memorable and of such high quality, yet also charming and innocent that it deserved to be on the cover of an exhibition catalogue.

Laurie Wilson – Cover of Woman 1975

WOMAN 1975, was my introduction to the work created by this artist. It is part catalogue, part book and part historical record of an exhibition put together by the Young Women’s Christian Association of Australia to celebrate 1975, the International Year of the Woman. It was exceptionally rare for these images to appear within Australian publications, let alone on a cover. The untitled image outcompeted a thousand other images to become the cover photo and further enhanced the artist’s recognition.

There is no record of Wilson having a solo exhibition. He came close, when in 1975 a collection of his images was exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), in conjunction with John Cato’s photographic essays. Also in 1975 one of his images, from the Dog Rocks collection, was exhibited at the international exhibition, The Land, at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The image was the only Australian photograph selected. Additionally, in the same year, he received a grant from the Visual Arts Board of the Australian Council. No longer restrained by the need to save money for fuel and accommodation costs he spent most of the following year travelling around Victoria and greatly increased his landscape photography portfolio. A selection of this work was exhibited in the NGV along side John Rhodes’ Australia, in 1978.

Laurie Wilson – Rainy Day (1970’s)

By 1978 his health was deteriorating and he returned to focus on reworking old negatives, as well as photographing local landscapes. Laurie Wilson died from cancer in September of 1980. As he had no close descendants much of his archive and money was bequeathed to the NGV. The bequest allowed for the production of a book displaying his work. Published in 1982 and entitled Laurie Wilson, it largely focuses on his landscapes, however, contains none of his child portraits. His work is held in many other Australian and International institutions, however over time he has increasingly been forgotten.

There is very little information on the internet about the artist. Most of this article was compiled from the above mentioned book and also The Australian Dictionary of Biographies. More images may be added if they become available, hopefully the few that do exist do not completely disappear into the archives.

The Child Portraits of Kate T. Parker

Kate T. Parker is a commercial photographer who, in addition to producing images for many global companies, also photographs her own children and their friends. The artist was already working in the advertising industry when she started to photograph her children. At first she was making these images to document and create memories of their childhood, as well as learning how to create photos that matched her idea of what a good photograph looked like. As she had always been submitting images to art galleries it was inevitable that a photographic club, society or gallery would accept some of her images for an exhibition. In 2014, two of Kate’s photographs were accepted by a women’s photography club for an art display that was held at Mason Murer Fine Art. Two months later the gallery owner liked her images sufficiently enough that he offered her a place in another upcoming group exhibition entitled ‘Under My Roof’. The twenty images she displayed were black and white photographs depicting her two children, Alice and Ella, at play. After the show the photographer sent the twenty images to where they agreed to place them in an article. The Huffington Post noticed the web page and went onto create their own article, which subsequently went viral and gathered worldwide attention.

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 1)

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 2)

Kate’s next project was to create the book Strong is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves and most images in this article come from this publication. The book contains about 175 images of girls who live across America, including her own daughters and their friends. The photographs show the girls playing sport, learning, either at home or in a school, creating art or simply playing and being normal kids. The girls that were photographed were also interviewed and their responses are printed next to their image. Some quotes are simple, yet adorable, for example “I can be whatever I want, even a unicorn” to more inspiring quotes such as “Many girls grew up dreaming of a hero to save them. I grew up dreaming of becoming one”.

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 3)

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 4)

The book was also created to celebrate the confidence that girls have, as well as to reignite that confidence in girls or women who may have lost that feeling. In an article for Insider magazine the artist described it like this.

Every photo celebrates confidence—something many women lose as they get older. When girls reach puberty, they lose the sense [that] they’re awesome just as they are. As you get older you just lose that sense of confidence. One of the reasons that I started this project was that I didn’t want my girls to lose it. I wanted my girls to have this sort of recollection, these actual physical pictures, like, remember what a badass I was?


Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 5)

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 6)

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 7)

The book was released worldwide and has been translated into many other languages; it appeared on the American best selling book list an well as being listed in The Best Books of 2017 (Amazon), Books of the Year and Pick of the Day, 2017 (A Mighty, Feminist Kids Books for Dismantling the Patriarchy (NY Mag), and “Heather’s Picks” Chapters/Indigo (Canada).

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 8)

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 9)

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 10)

Kate’s ‘Strong is the New Pretty’ photo collection has continued, and has also increased the number of companies that she does commercial work for. One of these is the Dream Big Princess photo campaign, run by the Disney Company. The #DreamBigPrincess project displays about sixty works from nineteen female photographers and Kate has provided at least five images. The campaign website describes itself as being an inspirational project, though I consider it more a princess rehabilitation project as the “princess image” is being pummeled in the current girl-child empowerment movement that we are currently transitioning through. As princesses are a major source of income for Disney then maybe they fear a reduction in their revenue? Kate, or more specifically her nine year old daughter Alice and friends, turned the idea of being a princess upside down. The artist’s photo series is partly inspirational as the images seek to show us that princesses can act in any way they want. Alice and her friends have literally been dressed as Disney princesses then they were photographed as they played. I have displayed what I think is the best of the five photos and is also the last one, it shows the aftermath of a mud fight the girls have had. Alice is in the foreground dressed as Snow White.

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (2016)

In addition to commercial work Kate T. Palmer is releasing more books with Strong is the New Pretty: The Guided Journal, published in October 2018 and The Heart of a Boy will be published in April 2019. Her family photographs and art projects are displayed on her Instagram account.

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled Instagram Image) (2018)

The M83 Music Video Trilogy – Midnight City, Reunion and Wait.

While some may debate whether music videos can be a form of art I believe that they can be and this is because they are able to have a plot, even though it is within a considerably shorter time frame than a full-length film. Additionally, they can create wonderful images, more so when there is a big budget, which the following videos have. Finally, they do make you think about what is happening or what the visuals and lyrics mean, something that I was doing when watching the third video in this article.

Five music videos have already been mentioned on the Pigtails website and I have decided to add a few more. The following three videos were created by the directors Fleur & Manu with music and lyrics written by M83, more commonly known as Anthony Gonzalez. The videos are of the narrative style and can be watched either as a loosely strung together trilogy or can be viewed as individual, though basic stories. The lyrics that appear in the videos are not related to the videos in any way, though I do recommend listening to them as well. The lyrics for Wait in particular are very moving and after reading the comment section this seems to be a widely-held feeling. Other than being artworks, these videos belong to this website due to the depiction of female children in them.

In the first video, entitled Midnight City, we are introduced to the main characters of the story and what they can do. At the beginning of the video we see a young boy being walked through a classroom full of children. On closer observation the children appear to have telekinetic abilities with one levitating objects while others read minds and distort television signals.

M83, Fleur & Manu – Still from ‘Midnight City’ (2011) (1)

The boy clearly does not want to be there so, using his telepathic abilities, he tells the other children they are going to escape. In the next scene it is now nighttime and the children are standing in front of a door, which they destroy and then run out of the building.

M83, Fleur & Manu – Still from ‘Midnight City’ (2011) (2)

Running through the woods they are chased by some of the scientists, however they escape and by the time morning arrives they have discovered an abandoned warehouse. They enter and proceed to run amok, using their powers to move around objects, the youngest child finds the biggest object there, a caravan, picks it up and throws it into a wall.

M83, Fleur & Manu – Still from ‘Midnight City’ (2011) (3)

They eventually make it onto the roof where they perform their biggest show of power: they make the sun set; this is the final scene and it moves on to the next music video.

M83, Fleur & Manu – Still from ‘Midnight City’ (2011) (4)

While the first video focuses little on the female characters—they are simply individuals within the larger group—in the second video, entitled Reunion, a female child takes the lead role. In this film the story continues and we find out that one individual, a girl, was left behind and she is being controlled by the scientists; it is not revealed whether this control is through intense brainwashing or via the machines that are connected to her.

M83, Fleur & Manu – Still from ‘Reunion’ (2011) (1)

The mind-controlled girl, whom I will refer to as Apollonia, takes possession of the weakest of the runaways and lights her up like a beacon, which simultaneously sends a signal to the scientists control room and reveals the location of the runaway.

M83, Fleur & Manu – Still from ‘Reunion’ (2011) (2)

The scientists send a team of people out to canvas the area where the signal came from to hopefully find them. Meanwhile the children start to run again; one girl tries to stay with the now unconscious female child but is convinced to leave her behind. There is then a chase scene which is limited to only thirty seconds (the full video length is less than five minutes). When the runaways are finally cornered, the boy who encouraged the escape in the first video, tells everyone to stop and fight the chasing car. Unfortunately for the runaways the girl possesses the car driver, which in turn gives him telekinetic abilities. The car driver then gets out of the car, levitates it above himself and throws the car at the runaways. They successfully stop it, however, this now creates a tug-of-war situation with the car hovering between the runaways and driver.

M83, Fleur & Manu – Still from ‘Reunion’ (2011) (3)

The scene also shows that Apollonia’s powers are equal to several of the other children’s abilities, something that is important to know when watching the third video. The escapees win the battle and launch the car back at the driver, crushing the driver and simultaneously breaking the mind control of the other girl. They then enter a church and light themselves up—though you need to watch the third video to find out what is happening.

M83, Fleur & Manu – Still from ‘Reunion’ (2011) (4)

The third video, entitled Wait, is by far the best video and can be watched as a stand-alone story. The highly professional acting continues and as the story is no longer restricted to the city we get to see some impressive cinematography, with large scale landscape scenes; this further enhances the argument that these music videos can be a form of art. As the music video is only five minutes long, the behind-the-scenes video, which is also five minutes long, should be viewed to get further insight into what is happening.

The first minute and twenty seconds of the music video shows where the runaways have gone, they are within futuristic pyramids that are floating in space, therefore they have all survived the previous video.

M83, Fleur & Manu – Still from ‘Wait’ (2011) (1)

Apollonia has been left behind on Earth, which is now in a state of decay. From the behind-the-scenes documentary, we can presume several dozen or maybe hundreds of years have passed since the second music video, although the child has not aged.

M83, Fleur & Manu – Still from ‘Wait’ (2011) (2)

We then get to see the remaining humans fighting each other and there is a large explosion, not caused by the remaining girl as we next see her within an an undamaged landscape dressing herself in a sheet she has just found. Several thousand years pass and Apollonia is shown walking though a desert landscape (good cinematography here) where she catches and saves the last drop of water on Earth, as stated in the behind-the-scenes documentary.

M83, Fleur & Manu – Still from ‘Wait’ (2011) (3)

The documentary also states that the video is about cycles of decay and regeneration and as we are now in regeneration mode the pyramid containing the boy starts travelling back to Earth. The rest of the film show the boy travelling back and crash-landing on the planet while the girl waits for him.

M83, Fleur & Manu – Still from ‘Wait’ (2011) (4)

What isn’t mentioned is how much is natural decay then regeneration or how much is caused by Apollonia, it would be nice to think of her, a young girl, being Mother Nature. Another reason I chose to mention these artworks are because of modern society’s desire to find and display powerful females and with this one possibly destroying then rebuilding an entire planet; it would be hard to find a more powerful creature.
These three singles come from the album ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming‘, released by M83 in 2011.

The Hyper-Realistic Art of Annie Murphy-Robinson

Annie Murphy-Robinson is an artist who creates hyper-realistic charcoal based drawings. She rarely exhibits her work outside of her home state of California, as such it is hard to find much information online about her art, career or how she creates her artworks.

The artist was born in Sacramento, but her family was constantly moving so she ended up pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Southwestern Louisiana; she graduated in 1994. The first images that she created were still-life acrylic paintings of objects she had or could easily find, usually clothing, cans, bottles, sheets and bones. After graduating she went back to Sacramento, to be closer to her family, got married and had her first daughter in 1996. The artist applied to the Master’s program at California State University but was refused entry. Therefore Annie focused on painting for two years, in addition to taking some college art classes, then reapplied for the Master’s program and was accepted. She now dedicates her life to creating artworks. For a short time she continued to paint with acrylics, before switching to drawing with charcoal. One of these charcoal based drawings, titled Flower Girl, won first place at a student purchase show; this was her first award. She graduated from the Master’s arts program in 2002.

Annie Murphy-Robinson – Flower Girl (2001)

After graduating she went to an artist’s opening and met Troy Dalton, who became her mentor. He allowed the artist to use his studio and also encouraged her to experiment with sanding the charcoal into the paper, a technique that she has continued to use throughout her career. Annie’s first solo show was held at a local community college in 2005. She continued exhibiting at various non-profit galleries before receiving her first sale for profit show at the B. Sakata Garo Gallery, held in 2006. It was at this show that she sold every drawing that she exhibited.

Annie Murphy-Robinson – Casey and Emily Tutu and Stockings (2006)

Annie Murphy-Robinson – Casey and the Quilt (2008)

Annie Murphy-Robinson – Casey and the Owl (2008)

Annie’s studio is a small sectioned off area within the garage of her home, within it you find print making paper, various grains of sand paper, a belt sander, cleaning rags, erasers and large amounts of charcoal. Most of the artist’s drawings are of her children, however she also creates self portraits, does commission work and also draws still-lifes. A significant portion of her drawings are created using charcoal, rarely using pastels as the dust is dangerous to breathe in and she dislikes wearing face masks. In many of the early drawings of her daughters they were depicted with minimal coverings, this was done to show their vulnerability, the beauty of innocence, as well as the beauty of their bodies, a message that could not have been conveyed if they were fully clothed.

Annie Murphy-Robinson – Casey and the Red Ball (2008)

Annie Murphy-Robinson – Emily and the Eggshell (2011)

Annie Murphy-Robinson – Trophy (2011)

Annie Murphy-Robinson – Dragonfly Eyes (2011)

The artworks featuring her children are drawn from photographs, not from real life. The photographs are increased in size so that they are the same size as the final artwork and placed beside the canvas she is working on. She first outlines the image with compressed charcoal and then blocks in the light and dark. Secondly she uses 400 grain sandpaper to hand sand the entire image, this grinds the charcoal into the paper and sands off the sizing on the surface of the paper. Next she starts to fill in the details and sands them into the paper. Finally the rest of the details are then drawn onto the canvas, a process that can take weeks. She draws every day and averages twenty-five hours of drawing each week. In the comments of her Instagram account she hints that she teaches, therefore I presume she has a part time job teaching somewhere, in addition to devoting time to creating her own artworks.

Annie Murphy-Robinson – Casey the Damned (2013)

Annie Murphy-Robinson – Holly’s Three (date unknown)

Annie Murphy-Robinson – The Wedding Dress (2014)

Annie Murphy-Robinson – Theodora (2014)

As mentioned above there are limited details online about the artist so I can’t say how often she sands her works, maybe it is only the two times I mentioned, or maybe more. There are several places where Annie describes how she creates her artworks, one place is an article for Artists on Art, which also shows progress images of one of her drawings. Another place to find this information is the artist’s Instagram feed, again also showing works in progress. Annie Murphy-Robinson is currently represented by Arcadia Contemporary.

A Journey Through the French Countryside: The Fox and the Child

Part film, part nature documentary, The Fox and the Child was directed by Luc Jacquet and is one of many nature films and documentaries that he has created. Prior to this movie he made March of the Penguins and Il Était Une Forêt was his follow up project. The movie is set in the Giron, located within the Ain department of France, an area chosen by the director as the story is a partial retelling of memories and experiences that happened during his childhood and the Giron was the area he grew up in. Jacquet hasn’t specifically mentioned what parts are completely true to his life, though it is interesting to note that he made the main character a girl. In an interview for Pathe UK he tells us that he decided to use a female actress, Bertille Noël-Bruneau, as she would be more curious and sensitive, therefore more accurately portraying the character he wanted for this story; it was thought that a boy would be more brash and brutish.

Luc Jacquet – The Fox and the Child (2007) (1)

There is little plot within the movie; it is a simple story about a child that becomes obsessed with a fox and sets about trying to tame it. Once the fox is more tame the film goes on to show the interactions they have. The lack of a plot is made up for by the amazing cinematography, which is the reason many describe the movie as a nature documentary. Much of the budget would have been spent in this department and if the director was attempting to make a high quality documentary then he has achieved this.

When creating the scenes with the fox both wild and tame foxes were used. Six tame foxes were used during the production of the movie and the wild foxes and other wildlife were mostly filmed in the Abruzzo National Park, located in Italy. A team of cinematographers were sent there, for several months, to collect footage and this process was documented for a separate production entitled On the Trail of the Fox. There were few special effects used in the filming of this movie and in some interviews the director said he used none. However, in an interview for he did hint at the fact that some tricks were used in the chase scene between the fox and the lynx. I also think that some effects were used in the scenes with the wolves. In that scene they either would have used very tame wolves or would have used split screen technology, which would have allowed the scene to be filmed separately with the individual characters then merged together.

What follows is a brief description of the film. Since the ending is described, those who wish to view the film first are advised not to continue. Also I would mention a link to the film, however the videos are quickly removed quickly for copyright violations, making such links pointless.

The story starts with the child travelling to her school. During her journey she observes a fox and though the encounter is brief it creates a strong desire in the child to see the animal again.

Luc Jacquet – The Fox and the Child (2007) (2)

Throughout Autumn she spends as much time as is possible in the local forests, observing its inhabitants, though her main aim is to find the fox. However this never occurs and as winter sets in she learns how to identify the tracks different animals leave in the snow. While on one of her tracking expeditions she is startled by the howling of wolves. As they sound close by, the girl panics and tries to run home. In the process of running home she falls and seriously injures her ankle, which renders her house-bound until the spring arrives.

During her recovery we observe the child reading books about foxes and other animals of the forest. We are also shown scenes of the fox hunting, finding a mate as well as escaping from a lynx.

Luc Jacquet – The Fox and the Child (2007) (3)

Springtime arrives and the girl recovers so she resumes her exploration in the woods; this sequence devotes a lot of time to the nature-based cinematography. The following scenes show her finding many fox’s dens, including one that is that is obviously inhabited.

Luc Jacquet – The Fox and the Child (2007) (4)

Sitting amongst some bushes she patiently waits for the fox to appear; however the fox is very wary of humans, more so now that it has cubs, so only appears after the girl has left. The fox is so upset that a human has discovered its home that it starts moving its young to another den and, coincidentally, the child sees the fox moving the last of it’s young. The girl, understanding that the fox is extremely frightened, decides to observe the fox from a distance and, after many days, she sees it again.

Luc Jacquet – The Fox and the Child (2007) (5)

The next scenes, which occur over several weeks, depict the girl trying to gradually tame the fox. She starts to put out pieces of bacon that lead to her tree. The fox initially flees as soon as it knows that there is a human nearby, but gradually starts coming closer. After many weeks the fox allows her to follow it from a distance—another sequence that allows for a lot of nature cinematography—and takes food from her hand.

Luc Jacquet – The Fox and the Child (2007) (6)

During the summer the girl lives through many adventures with the fox. The following scenes show both characters exploring a stream, as well as travelling through a cave system and almost getting lost inside. Fortunately, they only spend one night in the forest and are found by the child’s parents in the morning.

Luc Jacquet – The Fox and the Child (2007) (7)

Luc Jacquet – The Fox and the Child (2007) (8)

In their next encounter the child finds the fox trapped on top of a tree trunk and surrounded by wolves. She manages to save the fox by screaming, throwing objects at the wolves and generally acting crazy.

Luc Jacquet – The Fox and the Child (2007) (9)

After this encounter the fox allows the child to visit its home and interact with the cubs.

Luc Jacquet – The Fox and the Child (2007) (10)

In appreciation the child decides to show the fox her home. She entices it up to her bedroom, closes the door and starts to show the fox around. Unfortunately, the fox does not like the enclosed space and panics. Running and jumping around the room in a desperate attempt to escape, it eventually jumps through a closed window and falls to the ground.

Grief stricken, the girl carries the fox back to it’s home and promises it that she won’t force it to do anything it doesn’t like if it gets well again.

Luc Jacquet – The Fox and the Child (2007) (11)

As she walks off she notices that the fox has survived; this will be the last time she sees it. From then on the fox keeps away from the child though she does still hear it calling.

Luc Jacquet – The Fox and the Child (2007) (12)

In researching this movie I noticed that some plot descriptions have slight differences to them which means the film has multiple versions. The description above is just one of the ways the movie plays out.

The Hyper-Realistic Art of Kevin Peterson

Kevin Peterson was born in 1979 in Elko, Nevada. The artist’s family moved around a lot during his childhood before finally settling down in Sherman, Texas, where he studied art and psychology at Austin College. He received degrees in Fine Art and Psychology in 2001 and after graduating pursued a career in social work. However, drugs and alcohol soon became part of his life, which lead to his arrest and the loss of his job. It was during his time in a drug and alcohol treatment facility that the painter rediscovered his interest in creating art and decided that it would be his new career.

Kevin Peterson – Bricks (2014)

Most of the paintings that Kevin creates feature a child set within a broken urban landscape, which is in various states of decay. While a smaller number of images focus solely on the animals or other features located within these cities. His early works were more portrait like, with the focus being almost entirely on the child. The background and surrounding landscapes, in these early paintings, lacked detail and in many artworks the subject was standing in front of a wall.

Kevin Peterson – Old Wall IV (2009)

Kevin Peterson – (Title Unknown) (2009)

As his work progressed over the years the backgrounds started to become more detailed, the animals appeared and the child became less of the focus. Additionally, all his years of experience show through as the images go from merely looking realistic to looking hyper-realistic. You also notice that a narrative occasionally appears within the newer paintings, for example, in the Funeral you can see a child holding a funeral for a dead bird.

Kevin Peterson – Funeral (2016)

The pairing of an innocent, yet strong, child with a dark and broken landscape is a deliberate choice for the artist. The artist describes this on his website…

My work is about the varied journeys we take through life. It’s about growing up and living in a world that is broken. These paintings are about trauma, fear and loneliness and the strength that it takes to survive and thrive. They each contain the contrast of the untainted, young and innocent against a backdrop of a worn, ragged, and defiled world. Support versus restraint, bondage versus freedom, and tension versus slack are all themes that I often visit. My work deals with isolation, loneliness and longing teamed with a level of optimistic hope. Issues of race and the division of wealth have arisen in my recent work. This work deals with the idea of rigid boundaries, the hopeful breakdown of such restrictions, as well as questions about the forces that orchestrate our behaviour.


Kevin Peterson – Lion, Lion (2015)

When Kevin creates his paintings he uses photographs as a reference and has a large stockpile of images, mainly featuring urban landscapes. The artist also has a collection of images for the humans that appear in the artworks, most of which have been photographed in his own studio. He then uses Photoshop to piece these individual images together to get the look of the final artwork and then it is just a matter of painting it on the canvas. A process that takes many hours and layers of painting with many works taking about 100 hours over several weeks.

Kevin Peterson – Holy Fuckin’ Puke War (2015)

When I first looked at Kevin’s early images I soon got the feeling of familiarity, especially with this painting.

Kevin Peterson – Old Wall II (2009)

I soon found the original photograph that was used as the model for the artist’s image.

Anna Palma – Vogue Bambini Cover (2008)

So it appears as though the artist was using magazine images to model his early paintings on, probably because he had no money to pay for models and no friends with children who could voluntarily model for him. It is also possible that he really liked the photos and simply wanted to show his appreciation to the original photographers by making his own interpretations of their images. I think he has made some good decisions when choosing what images he uses. Anyone recognise this?

Kevin Peterson – Timmy and Kathy (2009)

The original image happens to come from one of my favourite movies.

Le Renard et L’Enfant Movie Poster (2007)

I have not contacted the artist so it is not known if he has received permission, to use these images, from the original creators. If he hasn’t there may be some copyright implications depending on which law you attribute to them. There are many possible laws that can be used here, most likely U.S. copyright law would be applied or, less likely, the Berne Convention, which deals with copyright on an international basis. As the photographs appear to be created in Europe the copyright laws of the individual countries, in which the original photographs were created, may also be used. Using previous cases as an example we can see that the U.S. laws are completely inadequate at preventing unauthorised use of images and instead favour freedom of expression. An artist can make the tiniest change to an image, in Kevin’s case it is changing the background, and this would have enough of a transformative effect to prevent any lawsuit. Richard Prince is a perfect example of this law. He has made a career out of using other people’s images, making tiny additions to them, which transforms them into his own artworks. One of his most recent exhibitions, including the anger it created, is detailed in this article. However, a successful prosecution, for unauthorised use of an image, can be seen when the estate of Jean-François Bauret successfully sued Jeff Koons. French Copyright Laws were used in this case and it should also be noted that this situation was first mentioned on the Pigtails in Paint website. As I am not an artist I am unaware how common this occurrence can be, though this article implies it is frequent as it describes how Bill Gekas has been copied … again.

Kevin Peterson – Choose Light (2008)

La Stupenderia Advertisement (2008)

Kevin currently works out of Winter Street Studios, in Houston, Texas, and sells his works through Thinkspace Galleries.

Samantha Everton’s Vintage Dolls

I must apologize to Arizona and Pigtails readers for not getting to this sooner.  Ideally, this would have been posted before Halloween.  -Ron

Back in 2015 Pip produced a Halloween themed post featuring the work of Samantha Everton. As this is not the artist’s only project to feature girls, I thought it would be a good idea to create another Halloween post featuring her series entitled ‘Vintage Dolls’, which also has a spooky feel to it.

Everton is a multi-awarded and exhibited photographic artist who completed a degree in photography at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. When she graduated in 2003, she was at the top of her class and had also received her first awards, one for having the Highest Aggregate Score Winner for photography students and the other was the Steve Vizard Most Creative Folio Award.

Samantha Everton – Adagio – (2008)

The creation of her photo shoots can sometimes take a year, from sketching the idea, finding the location, sourcing the props, then the models and even deciding on how the styling, hair and makeup appears. In her ‘Vintage Dolls’ shoot the house was the most time consuming prop to find, largely because Everton planned on partially demolishing it. After many months of searching she found a house that was about to be torn down, which also had an owner who was willing to give her complete control of the building. After signing a one month lease she set about changing the appearance of the place by putting up wallpaper, smashing holes in walls and planting a tree in the lounge room.

Samantha Everton – Masquerade – (2008)

The series ‘Vintage Dolls’ is a collection of twelve works depicting several children participating in a surreal game of dress-up and make believe, however the artist never explains the symbolism or narrative content of the images, instead leaving the viewer to guess the meaning behind the photographs. She does give some clues as she explains that:

The house had a ghostly feeling and remnants of a past life; it juxtaposed against the playfulness of the children … It’s like the children are in an attic and they’re play-acting but on a deeper level, I wanted to show how children interact with culture and how they absorb and re-enact what they see. I wanted there to be a child with whom each person could identify.

The two images below show how surreal some of these images can become with the aforementioned tree, featuring in Nocturne, and a levitating cat, appearing in Camellia.

Samantha Everton – Nocturne – (2008)

Samantha Everton – Camellia – (2008)

Each of these images are a meter in width and height, therefore some don’t transfer well to small image sizes. For example, in the image entitled Black Forest you cannot tell whether the child on the bed has her eyes open or not, even a small difference like this can change one’s interpretation of the artwork’s meaning. The reason for including it here is because it seems to be the favourite among these images. At the exhibition for this series when other images had either not sold, or had sold up to only three prints, the Black Forest had sold over six prints.

Samantha Everton – Black Forest – (2008)

While the symbolism to that image is complex and obscure, I cannot see beyond the Red Riding Hood imagery. The next is clearly about racism; in Party Dress a young girl stands in front of a mirror, in reality wearing western clothes, but in the reflection she wears the clothes of her home country. The image suggests that the girl is wishing that she was living in a place that is more accepting of her appearance.

Samantha Everton – Party Dress – (2008)

The next two artworks imply a desire to escape something. In Secret Garden one of the girls looks out a hole in the wall but is seemingly unable to get out there. Whereas in the Bewitching Hour one girl, who is the only child in the series to smile, literally takes flight on a flamingo, while the other unsmiling girl is stuck on a bird that stubbornly refuses to move.

Samantha Everton – Secret Garden – (2008)

Samantha Everton – Bewitching Hour – (2008)

The entire twelve images from this series can be seen on Samantha Everton’s website, though these images are rather small and nine larger images can be found at the Arthouse Gallery website. Additionally, if anyone else wants to share their theories about what any of these images could mean then please leave a comment below.

The Child Portraits of Janet Cumbrae Stewart

Janet Agnes Cumbrae Stewart was born on 23 December 1883 at Brighton, Victoria, she was the youngest of ten children born to Francis Edward Stewart and Agnes Stewart. The artist was home schooled through her childhood and from the age of fifteen received private art instruction, with several different tutors, before enrolling with the National Gallery School in 1901. While enrolled there she received many awards, which in turn gave her recognition and thus began receiving painting commissions. Sometime between 1901 and 1906 the illustrator started to use the surname of Cumbrae Stewart. She graduated art school in 1907 and during the same year she exhibited at the Australian Exhibition of Women’s Work, which was her first group exhibition. During the early part of her career she created paintings to sell in art exhibitions and took commissions for private portraiture work. One exception was when she, along with three other artists, decorated the children’s wards of the Homeopathic Hospital, in Melbourne; one such image is displayed below.

Janet Cumbrae Stewart – Homeopathic Hospital Panel (1910)

At that time Cumbrae Stewart was mostly working with watercolour or oil paints and her subjects were varied. In 1909 the artist started contributing paintings to exhibitions at the Victorian Artists’ Society, which continued until 1919. Her first solo exhibition was held, in 1911, at Coles Book Arcade and was hugely successful providing her with more popularity and work. Due to her success she was able to become a council member of the Victorian Arts Society from 1914 to 1916 and then became a full member of the Australian Artists’ Association from 1916 to 1922; an honour usually reserved for elite male artists.

Janet Cumbrae Stewart – Girl in a Ballet Dress (1923)

Janet Cumbrae Stewart – Mary Quinlan, aged 5 (1919)

Janet Cumbrae Stewart – Portrait of a Young Girl (Date Unknown)

In 1922 Cumbrae Stewart moved to London with her sister Beatrice. The artist had a solo exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery, in 1923, which lead to her inclusion in an exhibition of Australian artists held at the Royal Academy of Art. She was also accepted in general exhibitions at the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the Paris Salon. During the period between 1922 and 1939 the illustrator’s work was exhibited at many of the prominent galleries in England and France. So well received were these artworks that she got an Honourable Mention for a drawing entered in the Salon des Artistes Français. Concurrently to these exhibitions she was also sending works back to Australia. Most of these drawings were exhibited at the Anthenaeum Gallery, with other minor exhibitions occurring at Hordern’s Gallery and the South Australian Society of Arts.

Janet Cumbrae Stewart – Child by the Fire (Date Unknown)

Janet Cumbrae Stewart – Her First Dress (Date Unknown)

Janet Cumbrae Stewart – Young Girl Washing (Date Unknown)

At some point after her arrival in London and 1930 her sister left and Cumbrae Stewart met Argemore Farington Bellairs, also known as Bill Bellairs, who went on to become the artist’s publicist, business manager and companion. They travelled around Europe, living in various areas, before travelling back to Melbourne in 1939. What was to be a short visit became permanent due to the outbreak of World War II. Not much is written about the artist’s life after 1940, though it is known that she was still completing private portraiture work in addition to exhibiting other works. However as she was now 57 years old, her output would have been greatly reduced. Janet Cumbrae Stewart died on the 8th of September 1960.

Janet Cumbrae Stewart – Pink Bonnet (Date Unknown)

Janet Cumbrae Stewart – Portrait of a Young Girl in a Hat (Date Unknown)

Janet Cumbrae Stewart – The Blue Bathroom (Date Unknown)

The artist was regarded as a leading artist both in the field of pastel drawings and in figure paintings, though her subjects were much more varied and this can be seen in the website galleries of the Australian Art Sales Digest. Studies of landscapes, still-lifes and portraits are all noticeable. However the most significant part of her collection was dedicated to studies of the female nude, both adults and children, in pastel. The anatomical aspect of these drawings are faultless with the skin tones soft and exact, which would likely be the main reason for her fame. When creating these images she never used photography and always worked from life. This article from The Sun newspaper describes in detail how she worked with her child models. The largest, freely available, article about Cumbrae Stewart that I have found can be found within the Trove Archive.


Mabel Lucie Attwell

Mabel Lucie Attwell was born on the 4th of June, 1879, at Mile End, London, to Augustus and Emily Ann Attwell. The artist was always interested in drawing and had created a large collection of images by the time she graduated from school. Therefore, she thought that she may be able to sell some of her drawings to supplement her income. She approached an agency for artists who, though sceptical about the sale-ability of the drawings, took some of them. Within a month they had all sold and the agency was asking for more. Soon she was completing enough work, for various publishers, to live on and pay for her study fees.

Attwell spent five years studying art, first at Heatherley’s School of Art, then at St. Martin’s School of Art. The artist failed to complete either course as she had little interest in classical drawing and their other teaching styles, instead preferring to draw from her own imagination. The lack of qualifications did not prevent her from receiving illustrating contracts and was soon commissioned by W & R Chambers to illustrate a series of books. The first was entitled That Little Limb, written by May Baldwin and published in 1905. The image below is a drawing from this book, which when compared with her later illustrations is noticeably different both in style and skill.

Mabel Lucie Attwell – What For Did You Forsake Your Prince (1905)

Whilst studying at St. Martin’s she met Harold Earnshaw, whom she married in 1908. Through her husband’s contacts she came under the management of Francis and Mills, in 1910, and because of their extensive industry contacts and professional handling of her work she was always in demand. Her new managers expanded her work into new areas, which included poster, advertisement and magazine illustrations, with commissions for book work ongoing. The artist’s most recognised book illustrations appeared over the next twelve years; among these titles were Alice in Wonderland, The Water Babies, and Mother Goose. So desirable were her drawings that J.M. Barrie insisted that his publishers approach her and ask her to illustrate a gift book edition of his story Peter Pan and Wendy. The book went on to become a best-seller; the illustrations were some of the most detailed and artistically proficient drawings of her career. Barrie was not the only author to request that Attwell specifically illustrate a book; Marie, Queen of Romania, also requested her services. She provided drawings for two of Marie’s books entitled Peeping Pansy and The Lost Princess.

Mabel Lucie Attwell – Oh Dear! Oh Dear! I Shall Be Too Late (1910)

Mabel Lucie Attwell – Tom’s Escape (1915)

Mabel Lucie Attwell – May I Come In (1919)

Mabel Lucie Attwell – I Daresay it Will Hurt a Little (1921)

Many book researchers find it difficult to date books from this period since the date was not usually printed in them. However, Attwell has unwittingly provided another method for dating her works. In many of her books the artist would write a dedication to her children as well as draw an image of them, which corresponded to their current ages. For example, below is the frontispiece to The Water Babies. Taking into account that Marjorie was born in 1909, Peter in 1911 and Brian in 1914, it can be assumed this book was published in 1915.

Mabel Lucie Attwell – The Water Babies (Frontispiece) (1915)

In 1911 the illustrator began producing images for Valentine and Sons, a relationship that continued for the rest of her working life. During the 1920s she was producing twenty-four postcards a year for the company. In addition, other drawings were created for their greeting cards, calendars, jigsaw puzzles, plaques and booklets. The Valentine and Sons’ postcards became some of her most sought after as well as best-selling products. Her publishers reported that one design could sell half a million copies each month and they were sold globally.

Mabel Lucie Attwell – Just Look at Me — Fido (date unknown)

Mabel Lucie Attwell – Broken Doll (date unknown)

The commercial success of Attwell’s images was multifaceted. First there were her subjects: most of her images featured toddlers and young children and the appeal of childhood innocence made the images hugely desirable. Secondly the subjects were often portrayed in a sentimentalised way, which was a style that was hugely popular during the 1920s and ’30s. Additionally, the artist was highly professional when creating her works, often discarding several captions as inferior until she found one that she considered perfect and then created the image. Finally, when producing a design for a postcard she would design it specifically for an adult audience. The images would commonly feature the children in, or talking about, adult situations. I have frequently seen the artist describing this: “I see the child in the adult, then I draw the adult as a child …” which simultaneously sweetens, or makes more tolerable, what would normally be a controversial caption, while also making it somewhat humorous.

Mabel Lucie Attwell – Mary Maud Marigold Madeline Marty (date unknown)

In 1922 Cyril Gamon, a publisher, approached Attwell with an idea for producing a children’s book. She accepted and the resulting book The Lucie Attwell Annual became another of her hugely popular products, so much so that it was produced, through reuse of previous material, for a further ten years after her death. During this time it went through several name changes and publishers, which is a matter of confusion for new collectors. The original name was only used over four years, from 1922–26, then it changed titles to become Lucie Attwell’s Children’s Book, until 1932 when Dean and Son’s took over publication and changed the name to Lucie Attwell’s Annual. The drawings that appeared in this book were more simply drawn than her others, largely because the audience had no interest in image quality and it made production many times quicker. The artist drew all of the annual herself and wrote many of the stories and verses.

Mabel Lucie Attwell – Lucie Attwell Annual (Cover) (Date unknown)

Throughout the ’30s and ’40s her popularity and diversity of her products increased. Now there were soft toys and nursery tea sets, based largely on her Boo-Boo characters, in addition to plates, biscuit tins and teapots. Additionally,there were china figurines, made by Shelley Pottery and assorted dolls. The artist’s output started to slow down in the 1940s.  By then she was sixty years old and had large royalties coming in. Yet she maintained her perfectionism and the quality of her images never really diminished. One of her new commissions was a comic strip for the London Opinion entitled Wot a Life.

Mabel Lucie Attwell died on the 5th of November 1964. During her lifetime she created a massive catalogue of work, providing images for over eighty books, in addition to forty of the Lucie Attwell annuals, over five hundred postcard designs and countless advertisement and poster illustrations. Most of her work was done in watercolour in conjunction with pen and ink. Since she had children, she got many of her illustration ideas from normal family occurrences; she also had access to a large number of children to use as models, with many of her friends’ children and her own nieces and nephews on hand. A lot of the images seem to use her daughter Marjorie, more commonly named Peggy, as the model. Compare the following two images as an example: one is of Marjorie, the other is a postcard entitled ‘Time for Bed.’

Mabel Lucie Attwell – Portrait of Marjorie “Peggy” Attwell (date unknown)

Mabel Lucie Attwell – Time for Bed (date unknown)

There are few resources available for researching this artist and many refer back to the one book, which is also the same book I am basing most of my facts on. The book is entitled Mabel Lucie Attwell, written by Chris Beetles and published by Pavilion Books in 1988. It takes most of its information directly from her descendants and the illustrator’s own personal papers, whilst also displaying approximately sixty of her images. The online resources I used, though brief and occasionally inaccurate are listed below.

Additional online resources:

Portraits from a Jungle Paradise: Karolin Klüppel

Karolin Klüppel is a German artist, who to date has produced four albums of work. One of these series is called ‘Mädchenland’ and is set within the village of Mawlynnong, part of the Indian state of Meghalaya. The people of this area are known as the Khasi and are a matrilineal society, whereby the line of succession passes through the youngest daughter and results in women being the main landholders. If the daughter marries then her husband moves into her family’s house and any children that are born take their mother’s name; there is no stigma or disapproval if a woman chooses to stay single. As only daughters can assure the continuity of a clan, women are respected and protected within the Khasi community. However the society is only matrilineal, not matriarchal, as the men still lead Mawlynnong’s village council and are the main employees within the security services.

Karolin Klüppel – Wanda on the Stairs to the Treehouse (2013)

Karolin Klüppel – Prosperity (2013)

Karolin Klüppel – Phida With Balloon (2013)

The photographer spent nine months living with various families in the village. During this time the villagers became comfortable with her presence, which allowed for the creation of some intimate and natural looking photographs. She chose to take portrait photographs of the young girls, rather than making a photo-documentation of the society, as

I did not want to do a classical documentary on their culture, … I decided to make a portrait series of the girls because I was so impressed by their self-assured appearance and thought that this must be how matrilineality becomes visible.

The images show the children as they interact, play or simply stand within their environment and homes, thereby displaying Mawlynnong’s physical beauty just as much as the girl’s individual beauty. These girls do get schooling, first in the village school until their teens, then they travel to the state capital for higher education, after which they can choose to go to college or return to Mawlynnong.

Karolin Klüppel – Ibapyntngen in the Cottage (2013)

Karolin Klüppel – Yasmin Taking Bath at the River (2013)

Karolin Klüppel – Yasmin With Mug (2013)

After its inaugural exhibition ‘Mädchenland’ has gone on to become a multi-awarded and exhibited series and was also published as a book entitled Kingdom of Girls. ‘Mädchenland’ is Karolin’s second series that is focused on a matrilineal society with her previous work, entitled ‘Dabu’, documenting the elderly Mosuo, who live around Lugu Lake, part of China’s Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. A more detailed article about Mädchenland, with fourteen high resolution images, can be found on The New Heroes and Pioneers website.