Playful Marley Rolling

Playful Marley Rolling
Acrylic on wood panel

8″x8″ (20cm x 20cm)

Here we are with another puppy painting, but this time it’s my brother’s Labrador, Marley. We’re not entirely sure how old he is, we got him back in 2013 from a rescue shelter when he was around two years old, but no one knows for certain. In any case, he’s now at least 7 years old, yet his playfulness has only increased over time! We suspect he was abused by his previous owners, so as he settled into our family and then became increasingly confident of his place in a loving environment, he’s continually opened up to expressing more of his playful puppy self, a self that may have been suppressed or even punished in his past. We don’t know for sure, but it’s been an incredible journey with him – when we first met, he would flinch if anyone made a sudden move, apparently afraid someone would hit him… whereas now he will actively seek out our hands to pat him, even nudging under them and leaning into us to maximise that connection!

Another thing he likes to do is roll about on his back, asking for tummy rubs, or sometimes just for the fun of it, and that’s what I’ve depicted in this painting. The inspiration came just after we’d installed a new vinyl floor, one which looks like wood, but is noticeably softer to walk on compared to what we had previously. I cannot pretend I know what Marley thought of the whole thing, only that he took to it immediately, happily rolling about, glancing up at me like this was the best thing ever! It’s at this point that I snapped the reference photo that eventually lead to this composition.

This was a particularly challenging painting for me to complete however. When I painted my portrait of Hope last year, well he was in the sun, so his white fur was even whiter and brighter than usual – relatively easy to handle – and the rest of his features were pretty well defined in patches of black, brown, and grey. Marley, on the other hand, is in theory a single-coloured “yellow” Labrador, but in practice, his fur features different shades of orange-brown, without any very clear points of distinction separating different sections, not helped by the layers of undercoat that seem to vary in shades as well. On top of that, I was painting him upside-down, exposing the rolls of his neck which create their own odd areas of light and shadow. But beyond the difficult colours, I also just had a huge struggle even drawing him in the first place. Hope, in his portrait, is essentially just an oval with ears. Whereas Marley was a whole lotta shapes all put together.

I had to take a different approach to this painting. You can read about my process and see some “making of” photos here.

In any case, I’m both surprised and happy with the results on this one! There seriously was a point about halfway through where I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. But as with my previous Hope painting process, I just persisted, adding layer after layer and refining it each time, until suddenly I took a step back and realised it was actually improving, and soon after, finally done! It feels like such an achievement to me, to be able to complete a painting like this, so far out of my perceived set of skills. An intimidating challenge, but you have to step out of your comfort zone in order to improve.

So now I’ll be pairing this painting with Sunny Hope Dreaming, and taking it up to enter them in the local gallery show. Cross fingers they like what I’ve done! These paintings are not for sale however – I’m too attached to them! Not just because they’re my family, but also because of what they represent to me as an artist, overcoming my doubts to paint better than ever before.

Metal vocalist looking to join or start a band, based in Sydney.

Photo by Anna Watanabe

Metal vocalist looking to join or start a band, based in Sydney.

I’m a chick, doing growls like Arch Enemy (Angela Gossow era) and mid to high cleans, sorta like Evanescence or Within Temptation, with a bit of influence from Disturbed. I really wanna do both singing and growling in my next band because it’s fun and I like messing with people.

Here’s what I sound like [Updated April 2019 – added cover]:


[Updated July 2019] Guest vocals on Fireland’s Forged In Fire album

Original music recordings:
Solo electro project coz I suck at guitar – http://destroyermariko.bandcamp.com
Previous band, but not much growling – http://rainbowdeathray.bandcamp.com

I don’t want to do the same kinda music in my EPs though. I wrote the songs, and coz I suck at guitar, they were never really what I wanted (and the electro thing was for uni so I had to play that game). For my next band, styles I am interested in tend to be metal subgenres from the 90’s onward, including nu metal, industrial, gothic, symphonic, djent, metalcore, etc. I like some aspects of older styles, but my voice really isn’t suited to classic metal, and I like my death metal to be mixed with other sounds. Either way though, if you like my vocals, send me your band’s demos and we’ll see what happens.

I have a feeling I’m just gonna have to start a new band though, so if you’re interested let me know. Main thing I’d be looking for right now is someone who can help me write, probably a guitarist to fill in that weak point for me. Send me some riffs etc, if we can get the vibe right, then we can start there.

Note: communication and organisation are super important to me. Hoping to find people on that same wavelength to help things run smoothly. Bonus points if you have experience in things like band management, promo, recording etc, but I’ve already got that covered, so main thing is that you can help with writing the music, stay organised, and communicate well. Mention potatoes so I know you read this far, it’ll make me happy lol.

Thanks guys. Send me your sounds, or if you know someone looking, share this post with them and send them my way. \m/