Your cart

Your cart is empty

Mountain, forest and moon illustration by South Island Art with text my art in 3 words.

How I create my art: my style in three words

South Island Art table set up outdoors with paints, brushes and canvases in progress

Over the 7 years since I started South Island Art, my artistic style has adapted and evolved, whilst the core has remained the same. I began with an emphasis on painting, then digital illustration. Right now, it’s a mix, and I merge them in many of my fine-art prints. I'm fascinated by how those blends feel and how they deliver extra richness, depth and distinctiveness.

If I could describe my art in three words, it would be Architectural, Escapist and Kaleidoscopic. In this post, I explore those three words and how they impact my style and technique.

Architectural - seeing the world through shapes and stripes

Illustration of Southbank on the River showing geometric style of art.

This is probably where my experience in graphic communication exerts its influence! I'm intrigued by our environments and the balance between the unpredictability of nature with the precision of urban engineering. Reflecting our surroundings through clean, crisp shapes.

I use stripes as highlights in my illustrations, forming intricate patterns, as well as using them to break down the landscape (sky, water, land) into simple blocks. In my paintings, stripes create more abstract scenes, something I have started exploring more and more. How can a landscape be simplified - what would it look like as a series of stripes?

Escapist - from past (reflect) to present (relate) to future (dream)

Escapism encompasses wanderlust and wanting to explore the world and places you’ve been that have had an impact.

All my art pieces are travel-inspired as I'm curious about the connection between a joyful memory and location. How our environments combine, how we relate to them and how our memories connect. Is a memory really sharp, does it get distorted, or is it something softer and trickier to grasp? All those different facets have an influence.

How does a place make us feel when we’re there in the present and when we recall it? How do we feel when we imagine going there 'one day'? It's taking those feelings and moments in time, like looking at a landscape such as a dreamy ocean or the sun setting over a skyline or an amazing building - and finding a visual way to relive that sensation.

Kaleidoscopic - a mix of elements (colour, texture and contrasts)


There are a lot of different elements that go into each piece:


I love to explore how colour can interpret how a place makes us feel. How can it reflect the buzz of a city or the dreaminess of the ocean, or the warmth of the tropics? What colours mean, how it influences our perception - my bookshelves are crammed with books on the topic! Creating a colour palette is usually my starting point for every piece. The colours are rooted in ones we’ll find in our home interiors to help eliminate thoughts of 'will-it-go' - it's one less thing to think about when choosing a piece.

Contrasts - the digital with hand-painted; precise geometric shapes with organic, free-flowing paint.

Winter Forest illustration by South Island Art combining painted textures, both fluid and brushstroke, with digitally illustrated shapes.

My digital illustrations often merge architectural elements with painted textures, whilst in my paintings, I have started contrasting fluid bands with flat stripes of colour. I love those contrasts, and reflecting those really structured, urban landscapes with nature - being by the sea or in green spaces, seeing how the sunlight or season affects a scene. So I've been experimenting with how I convey that, how I explore that more - coming through as fluid, painted elements.

My technique: layering

I bring those three aspects - architectural, escapism, and kaleidoscopic - together through layering.

Lost In Time Original Painting by South Island Art

Lost in Time, 2023

What I like about layering is something more to be revealed each time you look. You can find something new, something more to discover, especially with the fluid, poured paintings. Interpreting it one day might trigger a certain set of memories and then the next, it’s something different.

I love the spontaneity of the fluid or poured technique. How you mix the colours, the consistency and the ratios of what you mix, how you control what you're pouring from, and how you manipulate the surface - they all play a part in the finished result. It's technical and instinctive, it takes on a life of its own as well as what I control. It's different each time and represents that natural aspect.

I want to create pieces that bring you joy, whether it’s on your wall or table - for it to be a piece you can look at and see something different each time. A space to reflect on a memory, dream about somewhere you want to go or enjoy just where you are right now in this moment.

Previous post
Next post