Monthly Archives: March 2016

Oh! You Pretty Things

"Oh! You Pretty Things" a drawing of Satsuki with a sheltie dog. 380 x 565 mm. March 2016

“Oh! You Pretty Things”
a drawing of Satsuki with a sheltie dog.
380 x 565 mm.
March 2016

Three weeks ago I wrote  “I Do” – Art Relationships.  The post was about committing to creative endeavours generally and to this drawing in particular.  I admit that I began the drawing with no idea how I was going to pull it off – especially the dog.  After all, one doesn’t know what will be encountered along the way when one starts out on a creative (or any) journey. All one can do is set off well prepared with an open heart and a prayer for safe passage.

Early days of this drawing

Early days of this drawing

Now, late in the month of March, the drawing is completed.  It is a year and a month since my guardian angel put me in the right place at the right time to witness and capture this vision.   In a sense then, there are two journeys – the trip to Japan followed by the journey with coloured pencils and paper.

I have a constant arsenal of songs and tunes in my head.  Some of these are David Bowie songs.  Imagine how much “Oh! You Pretty Things” has gone round and round in my headspace for the duration of this drawing…and even now as I write!

“Oh! You pretty things.  Don’t you know you’re driving your mamas and papas insane.”

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Caran d’Ache Open Stock in Australia

imageI have just found a shop in Sydney which sells open stock of all Caran d’Ache coloured pencils including the gorgeous Luminance.  The staff told me that they are Australia’s biggest stockists of Caran d’Ache art materials and that they post all over Australia.

Every type of boxed set is in the shop however I am more excited to share news of open stock with my Australian coloured pencil friends.

The name is Kadmium Art + Design supplies.  The address is 80b Bay Street, BROADWAY NSW  2007.  Phone 02 9212 2669.  Website is Kadmium.com.au

As I had limited time (due to my imminent return flight to Perth) I was not able to explore the whole shop. All I could do during my quick visit was to check out the Caran d’Ache range, buy some blenders and chat to the staff.  It was the icing on the cake of my Sydney trip to find this shop…quite by chance.

Other Caran d’Ache pencil ranges included Pablos, Museum Aquarelle and Supracolor. Neocolor crayons and Neopastels were available in boxes and singles.  Plus there were all manner of paints, pens and papers.  (They also have open stock of Sennelier oil pastels.)

When I get home I will add all this information to my Art Materials page.  I just have to fly across the continent first.

Several hours later: home again.

"Alone in the Upper Marais" is a drawing with Luminance coloured pencils.

“Alone in the Upper Marais”
is a drawing using Luminance coloured pencils.

PS:  Since first finding Kadmium Art + Design Supplies, I have returned several times, made many purchases plus talked to the owners who are dedicated to the artists they supply to.   I highly recommend this art supply store.  It is a treasure trove.

"Nearly Dusk" an impression of rue Quincampoix drawn with Luminance. December 2016

“Nearly Dusk”
an impression of rue Quincampoix drawn with Luminance.
December 2016

 

 

Pencil Impressions

Blurry, soft-focus.  Blunt leads, light touch.  An alternative way of thinking with coloured pencils.  Because my drawings have elements of abstraction and realism, I call this style abstract realism.

Spring 160 x 230 mm

Spring
160 x 230 mm

Promenade 190 x 250 mm

Promenade
190 x 250 mm

"Fascination" 200 x 265 mm

“Fascination”
200 x 265 mm

Love Story 200 x 230 mm 2015

Love Story
200 x 230 mm
2015

Transition 217 x 425 mm

Transition
217 x 425 mm

These five drawings are from the last couple of months.  To see other drawings in this category, please visit my permanent page, Subject 3:  Mixed Media Impressionism

 

“I Do” – Art Relationships

Work-in-progress "Oh! You Pretty Things" in the making

Work-in-progress
“Oh! You Pretty Things” on the drawing board

It occurs to me that one doesn’t only form relationships with people.  Emotional investments (commitments) are made with each piece of art one creates.  “Am I ready to do this?  How much energy do I have?  Do I believe in this idea?  Do I have what it takes to make this relationship work?”  These are questions I ask myself when thinking about what my next project will be.

This is also a reason why a failed art work is so depressing.   It is a relationship which was invested in with the best intentions, worked on and ultimately lost.  An emotional toll is taken with each ‘irretrievable breakdown of art’.  (“We’re still good friends”.  Not.)

 A ripped up drawing from 2013.

A ripped up drawing from 2013.

A few days ago I started my current drawing, to which I already have a (David Bowie) title, “Oh! You Pretty Things”.  I photographed Satsuki posing with sheltie dog in February 2015 but it is only recently I felt ready to commit to using the photo for a drawing.

As with human relationships, so in art, circumstances have to be just right for an emotional spark to ignite.  What awakened my interest to the current work?   It was drawing “Encounter” which led me to this one.  I so enjoyed drawing the “Encounter” corgi that I wished I had another Kyoto dog to draw. Then I remembered the sheltie.  (One good dog deserves another!)

"Encounter"

“Encounter”

Why hadn’t I thought to draw this composition before?  The sheltie is wearing sunglasses and a hat – which is too daft.  Nobody would buy that (figuratively or literally). Then I turned my thinking around.  The hat and glasses are crazy but this is part of the eccentricity to be found in Japan.  The odd, unusual, theatrical and absurd are what endear me to the place!

In conclusion, a reversal in attitude may be what helps one to finally commit.   Mentally, Insurmountable Obstacle is somersaulted into Valuable Asset.  One sees the possibilities, makes the decision, then solemnly vows, “I do”.

 

Jewels of Kyoto in Perth

On Saturday 27th February there was an event in the city of Perth.  It was the Perth Japan Festival 2016.  Artists and performers were brought over from Japan.  The crème de la crème were Maiko and Geiko from Gion Higashi…”Jewels of Kyoto”.   I have chosen 20 photos to tell a little of the story as I saw it.  (Please click on photos to enlarge.)

10 o' clock in the morning at Forrest Chase in central Perth. It is one hour before Perth Japan Festival is due to start and already it is 36 degrees C. Up in the distance is the stage where the performances will be. The audience will sit in the white chairs in full sun.

10 o’ clock in the morning at Forrest Chase in central Perth. It is one hour before Perth Japan Festival is due to start and already it is 36 degrees C. Up in the distance is the stage where the performances will be. The audience will sit in  white chairs positioned in full sun.

From left ; Hinagiku, Tomitsuyu, Ryoka and Tomitae. It is now 11 a.m and the young ladies wait to go on stage for the Opening Ceremony.

From left ; Hinagiku, Tomitsuyu, Ryoka and Tomitae. It is now 11 a.m and the young ladies wait to go on stage for the Opening Ceremony.

As their performance is not until 12 noon, the Maiko and Geiko have time to explore their immediate environment. Myers Department Store is the coolest place to head to as its air conditioning is a great relief. Onlookers are amazed!

After the Opening Ceremony, as their performance is not until 12 noon, the Maiko and Geiko have time to explore their immediate environment. Myers Department Store is the coolest place to head to as it is air conditioned.  Onlookers are amazed!

The Okaasan of Tomikiku Ochaya; Reiko Tomimori, introduces the audience to the concept of Maiko and Geiko.

The Okaasan of Tomikiku Ochaya; Reiko Tomimori, introduces the audience to the concept of Maiko and Geiko.  Her English is very good.

A double portrait of Ryoka and Hinagiku as they stand on stage.

A double portrait of Ryoka and Hinagiku as they stand on stage.

Different Japanese styles!

Different Japanese styles!

The view looking back at the audience. By now (noon) it is 38 degrees C (that is 100.4 F). It is ferociously hot amidst all that concrete.

The view looking back at the audience. By now (noon) it is 38 degrees C (that is 100.4 F). It is ferociously hot amidst all that concrete.

Now I show you my problem...the setting. You can have a stunning painting but if it is badly hung and lit, its lustre is lost. And so it is here. I do not want to see an ice cream van behind the stage - but there it is and it spoils everything.

Now I show you my problem…the setting. You can have a stunning painting but if it is badly hung and lit, its lustre is lost. And so it is here with the Jewels of Kyoto. I do not want to see an ice cream van behind the stage – it spoils everything.  Where is the finesse?  Where is  sensitivity and empathy?

There is no vantage point to get a view of the performance without it being spoilt by the surroundings. Tomitsuyu and Ryoka do their best in a hostile environment.

There is no vantage point to get a view of the performance without it being spoilt by the surroundings. Tomitsuyu and Ryoka do their best in a hostile environment.

Ryoka - always lovely.

Ryoka – always lovely.

Ryoka again

Ryoka again – I’m doing my best to crop out the pink ice cream van.

Hinagiku - with green cactus "sculpture" behind.

Hinagiku – with a bit of green cactus “sculpture” behind.  (Cringe)

Ryoka and Tomitae.

Ryoka and Tomitae.

Tomitae (There's no escaping the pink monstrosity behind; sorry)

Tomitae
(There’s no escaping the pink monstrosity at the back; sorry)

Hinagiku sings (she has a lovely deep voice). Miyako plays shamisen and Ryoka plays Japanese flute.

Hinagiku sings (she has a lovely deep voice). Miyako plays shamisen and Ryoka plays Japanese flute.

After the first set, a Samurai warrior (he is also a professor at Tokyo University) is in the picture with Tomitsuyu and Tomitae.

After the first set, a Samurai warrior (he is also a professor at Tokyo University) chats to Tomitae while Tomitsuyu looks on.

During the second performance at 13:20 I have changed position and am now standing at the back of the stage. I think I might have a better view of surrounds but I am wrong. There is no 'right' place to stand. Therefore I take very few photos. The women, though stoic, show signs of the tremendous heat in their expressions.

During the second performance at 13:20 I have changed position and am now standing at the back of the stage. I think I might have a better view of surrounds but I am wrong. There is no ‘right’ place to stand. Therefore I take very few photos. The women, though stoic, show signs of the tremendous heat in their expressions.

Obi-view of Hinagiku. That's the central post-office behind and a banner advertising "PIAF" (Perth International Arts Festival).

Obi-view of Hinagiku. That’s the central post-office behind and a banner advertising “PIAF” (Perth International Arts Festival).  The faces on the banner look spooky.

Hinagiku leaves the stage. This would make a good source photo for a drawing, I feel.

Hinagiku leaves the stage.

Tomitsuyu leaves the stage.

Tomitsuyu leaves the stage.

Of course I am happy that “Jewels of Kyoto” came to Perth but I do wish some more thought had been given to the environment they danced in.  Even a curtain of some sort to block off the detritus behind the stage would have helped.  The acoustics were not good either plus there was some feedback.

They are in Auckland, New Zealand, as I write this post.  In Sydney, Auckland and Wellington they performed (and will peform) in small theatres.  It really would have been much better to see them in an intimate theatre than outside in a banal, soulless and boiling hot concrete jungle.  However, thank you, Japanese Government, for bringing them.