Category Archives: photorealism

The Liberation of Art

“The Liberation of Art”
oil pastels and coloured pencils – 290 x 420 mm. April 2018

One of my favourite Paris spots is in Saint Germain des Près where rue de Seine forks one way and rue de l’Échaudé forks the other.  I returned there on my last trip and was delighted to find a blue neon sign in the window of Galerie Lumas saying “The Liberation of Art”.   What a subject!  All I had to do was decide on my composition and wait for passers-by.

Soon enough I had my people (and dog).  They’d do very well!

On the left of the composition is a corner of Galerie L. de Puybaudet and on the right, Galerie Lumas – 42 and 40 rue de Seine respectively.

What IS the liberation of art?  Perhaps the couple are discussing this very question as they stroll on a peaceful October morning past the galleries.

The undercoat of the drawing in Sennelier oil pastels, before coloured pencils were applied.

Past drawings of rue de Seine and rue de ‘Échaudé in coloured pencils –

“Paris en hiver” 2011

“Matin” 2011

“Quiet” 2013

“Rue de l’Échaudé” 2014

“de bonne heure” 2012

“Rhapsody in Blue” 2014

 

 

Rebel Rebel

“Rebel Rebel”
a drawing of an eroded poster.
Coloured pencils, 250 x 300 mm. March 2018

As I take one step after another on the journey towards my goal – a gallery filled with Paris drawings – I never know what the next addition to the exhibition will be.  It is often the last completed drawing which steers me towards my next piece.

The last completed drawing before “Rebel Rebel” was “Still Life”.

It is obvious how “Still Life” (a grungy Beaubourg urban-scape) metaphorically took my arm and drew my attention to a tattered poster I’d photographed when last in Paris.

This is my source photo for the drawing.

Looking at the drawing “Rebel Rebel” (the title I gave it is from a David Bowie song) I am mindful of Russian Constructivist posters from the 1920s and 30s.  I also think of the pop art of Roy Lichtenstein, romantic heroines of film and literature, as well as the white face and black hair of both mime artists and geisha.

I wouldn’t have made a drawing of a flawless poster.  What appealed to me was the texture and randomness of decay – and –  the fact that this caught my eye in the first place.  The tattered ripped subject is simultaneously beautiful and ugly; eye-catching and something to be ignored.  These dualities fascinate me!

“Rebel Rebel, you’ve torn your dress/Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess/Rebel Rebel, how could they know?/Hot Tramp, I love you so!”

Today I found an image on-line of the poster as its complete self.  If you google images of Fédération Anarchiste you’ll see that all their posters have gorgeous designs and are clearly influenced by the political art of the Constructivists [an artistic movement that extolled art as a practice for social purposes].

How the poster would have looked once upon a time.

La Fédération Anarchiste

You may like to read Subject 4: Street Art while you’re here.

 

In Town Tonight

“In Town Tonight”
A new drawing in my “Paris Revisited” series.
195 x 245 mm. April 2017

“In Town Tonight” is an example of a small arrangement which I found within a larger composition.

Occasionally a photo will be just perfect the way it is but most of my compositions are the result of cropping and then editing out bits I don’t want.  In this case I was drawing from a very small part of my original photo.

The source photograph for “In Town Tonight” taken on 27th October 2016 on rue Saint Denis.

My husband, Matthew, particularly likes “In Town Tonight”.  He associates with the suited figure.  In my mind this could be a Parisian version of a Japanese ‘salaryman’ – a little disheveled after a few drinks – gingerly making his way to the station.  (Possibly my soft-focus is how he is seeing the world at this time.)

 

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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“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”.

 

Encounter

Encounter Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle 300 gsm February 2016

Encounter
Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle 300 gsm
February 2016

For the past month I have been working on “Encounter”.  The drawing came out of a combination of two photos I had taken back in spring, 2013.  In this drawing I take reality and spin it into a slightly different story.  The term for this process is ‘artistic license‘. My bending of the truth makes for a much more interesting tale than what I actually saw through the lens of my camera.  What do I mean?  I invite you to look at my two source photos.  (Clicking on them will enlarge them.)

Source photo 1

Source photo 1

Source photo 2

Source photo 2

If you can be bothered scrutinizing the photos and comparing them to the drawing – (I suggest you simply take my word for it) – you will see that bits from both photos appear in the drawing.  Importantly, I have subtracted that which is unnecessary; various pipes, a Marlboro cigarette ad and, the main omission, the girl walking the dog.

Geiko and dog exchange glances as they approach one another on a Pontocho morning.   I can almost imagine them uttering morning greetings, “Ohayou gozaimasu”.   This is another of my drawings, therefore, which lurks under a based on a true story umbrella.  Julie’s truth.

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Spring Song

Spring Song Drawn in October 2012 298 x 425 mm.

Spring Song
Drawn in October 2012
298 x 425 mm.

Exactly one week ago I was showing Ann Kullberg* around Kings Park.  This beautiful park is Perth’s botanic garden.  As we walked around, I told her that I had done a drawing of the spring wild flower display in 2012.  In fact, I said, an image of the drawing was on my business card.  I fished one of my business cards out of my wallet to show her.  She looked at it and said, “But that’s a photo”.  I assured her that it wasn’t.  I told her I would show her the drawing on a blog post.  So here it is.  “Ann – this is not a photo but quite a large drawing.”

In 2012 I thought that I might have found a new subject in flowers.  However it drove me crazy drawing this due to the complicated details.  So I haven’t followed it up with any more botanical drawings.  I love plants but I don’t have the calling to make art of them. I’m happy merely to be an observer of their elegance without wanting to reproduce them with pencils.

Ann Kullberg photographs the view from a Japanese-style pedestrian bridge in Kings Park.

Ann Kullberg photographs the view from a Japanese-style pedestrian bridge in Kings Park.

After our morning in Kings Park, we drove to Point Walter; another gorgeous area in my neighbourhood.  Later that evening I drove Ann to the airport.   It is incredible to think that all this was only a week ago.  Now I’m still here while Ann is teaching coloured pencils on a cruise around Alaska.

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*Ann Kullberg is an American artist, teacher, and writer of magazines and books on coloured pencils.  She held two colour pencil weekend workshops in Perth, Western Australia.  It was my privilege to host her.

Belinda Lindhardt, artist, teacher and founder of Australian and New Zealand Coloured Pencil Group came over from New South Wales for the second workshop.  This was a time to learn from one another and exchange ideas.

Belinda Lindhardt, Julie Podstolski and Ann Kullberg.

Belinda Lindhardt, Julie Podstolski and Ann Kullberg.