Stamp of ap­proval

North Coast Times - - FRONT PAGE -

A QUINNS Rocks artist with Asperger syn­drome cre­ated pic­tures fea­tured on a col­lec­tion of frog stamps re­leased by Aus­tralia Post this month.

The four frog stamps are Owen Bell’s fifth set of na­turethemed im­ages for the postal author­ity and fea­ture the crit­i­cally en­dan­gered ar­moured mist frog, as well as the en­dan­gered baw baw and Aus­tralian lace-lid frogs. The fourth is the Tas­ma­nian tree frog and a fifth, the dainty tree frog, fea­tures on a min­isheet.

“It’s a great hon­our and priv­i­lege to have my work fea­tured on stamps,” Bell said, adding it was sat­is­fy­ing to have them in col­lec­tions all over the world.

Aus­tralia Post philatelic man­ager Michael Zsolt said the set in­di­cated the di­ver­sity of Aus­tralia’s frogs through pho­to­re­al­is­tic il­lus­tra­tions.

When he was in his early 60s, Bell was di­ag­nosed with Asperger syn­drome, an autism spec­trum con­di­tion, and be­lieved that helped him pro­duce his de­tailed il­lus­tra­tions.

“I con­sider it a gift, as it en­ables me to fo­cus on de­tail and re-cre­ate it in my art,” he said.

“It also al­lows me to main­tain that fo­cus for long pe­ri­ods – I of­ten spend 10 to 12 hours work­ing on a paint­ing with­out a break.”

Bell be­gan work­ing in the UK as a free­lance il­lus­tra­tor in 1974, work­ing pri­mar­ily in gouache be­fore he started ex­per­i­ment­ing with dig­i­tal art in the 1980s.

“I paint in more or less the same way I did when us­ing tra­di­tional me­dia; the main dif­fer­ence be­ing that now I paint with light, which is pretty mag­i­cal,” he said.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey­mu­ni­ d484696

Artist Owen Bell with his dog Arrow .... Bell’s affin­ity with the nat­u­ral world is ev­i­dent in his com­mis­sions for Aus­tralia Post (top left).

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