Port Authority

Who knows a port better than one who inhabits it night and day?  The ubiquitous Silver Gull is right at home among the ships, containers, bridges and cranes of Fremantle.  Observant citizen of land, sea and sky, he could probably tell us the daily shipping news – if we asked.  He is the port authority.

“Port Authority”
Oil pastels and coloured pencils.   230 x 310 mm.  July 2017.

“Port Authority” is the second drawing of this particular gull.  I drew him last year with coloured pencils only.  This time I wanted to add oil pastels to the mix and do a bigger drawing.  And as you can see, he is looking in the opposite direction in the first drawing…because a bird needs to know what is happening all around him!

“Port Side” 
210 x 245 mm.  August 2016

I chose to put ‘port’ in the title again since these two drawings are clearly related (though I no longer have the first one).

 

 

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Entrance

“Entrance”
Coloured pencil drawing of Katsutomo. 370 x 460 mm. June 2017

“Entrance 1. the act or an instance of going or coming in; a door, passage etc. by which one enters; right of admission; the coming of an actor on stage.”                                        “Entrance 2. enchant, delight; put into a trance; overwhelm with strong feeling.”           (The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary)

In September 2015 I took many photos of Katsutomo during her erikae (when she become a Geiko).  This month, June 2017, I have made my third drawing from this auspicious occasion.

Two previous drawings of Katsutomo …

A Reflective Moment
330 x 490 mm, 2015

Being There
365 x 510 mm, 2015

and when she was still a Maiko…

Here she is in my drawing “The Art of Elegance”, 2014

I have recently been invited to exhibit my drawings at Kidogo Arthouse – 7th to 20th September 2017 – hence a return to memories – and new drawings – of Kyoto.  My co-exhibitor will be Ceramicist, Stewart Scambler.  This is a Gallery East exhibition.

 

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Once Upon a Wall

“Once Upon a Wall”
Luminance pencils over Sennelier oil pastels.
380 x 540 mm. June 2017

Once upon a wall there was a corroding remnant of street art.  Only a head and shoulder remained.  Whatever the rest of the image was had long gone.  It had presumably cracked up then flaked off, washed and blown away over time in brittle particles.

But look again.  The peeling layers of paint have transformed into tulle!

Once upon a wall there was a princess from a fairy tale; an apparition of Marie Antoinette; a dancer from Les Folies Bergère; a Belle Époque courtesan (maybe Camille herself);  or perhaps Saint-Säens’ Dying Swan.

I was touched by the vision of this tattered graceful wallflower – enough to prolong her life and give her a new audience by drawing her.

During the course of my drawing I searched the internet to find the street artist and see what the paste-up had once looked like.  The artist goes by the name of Sobr.  The original was a head-to-toe paste-up of a woman dancing in bandeau and shorts.  Weather and time have combined to transform the figure from nonchalant female to tragic romantic heroine.

Of course you might simply see a dirty wall.  And you wouldn’t be wrong.  We each bring our own stories and interpretations to that which we encounter.

Here are two more figures by Sobr which I photographed.  The subject of my drawing had been similar stylistically to these.  Sobr made a series of stencils of dancing women which he called his “It’s Time to Dance” project.


Technical note:  I used Sennelier oil pastels (a French brand) to ‘map’ in the colours on the paper before I put any pencils on.  Here is a detail of Sennelier under-colour before pencils were applied.  The addition of oil pastel adds to the richness and saturation of the finished coloured pencil drawing.

How it began:  initial layer of colour applied with Sennelier oil pastels, using a bristle brush to push the colour into the paper.

This image shows the range of 120 Sennelier oil pastels.

Here are the three sizes the pastels come in (shown next to a pencil to give you a comparison). The biggest one only comes in black and white.  So far I have been using the smallest size.

 

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Sumptuous Paris

I take photos to make drawings from.  But not always.  These ten photos don’t require reinterpretation as drawings.  They are happy just to remain photos – celebrating a city with more than its share of visual romance; sumptuous Paris.

La Conciergerie with reflections on the Seine pre-dawn.

Jardin des Tuileries

The view from the steps of Basilique du Sacre-Coeur in the late afternoon.

Ravens being fed at Parc des Buttes Chaumont on a benign autumn Saturday.

The joys of coffee and pastries from a shop such as this! (My daughter, Alicia and her friend, Marissa.)

Melt-in-the-mouth cakes within, elegant architecture without – appreciated simultaneously.

Stunning floral display at Jardin du Luxembourg.

From inside one of the art galleries at Centre Georges Pompidou, looking across from Notre Dame to Pantheon.

A view of Les Halles (St Eustache on the right) from Centre Georges Pompidou.

Construction and constructing…

 

 

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Kookaburra sits…

As I sat on a Sydney balcony admiring the view,

which included planes every couple of minutes,

I heard a song and turning around I saw that I was being watched

by a kookaburra on the balcony opposite.

I was inspired to sing an Australian nursery rhyme (with one or two word changes) “Kookaburra sits on the balcony/Merry merry king of the town is he/Laugh Kookaburra, Laugh Kookaburra…”

“Gay your life must be…”

“High in Syd-en-ey”.   

And when he had sat there long enough, (can you see him?)


he flew down to be with his mate.  (Can you see them?)

The End.

(Apologies to Marion Sinclair)

 

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Sideshow Alley

“Sideshow Alley” drawn with coloured pencils and Sennelier oil pastels.
213 x 230 mm. May 2017

Boulevard de Clichy in Pigalle is a busy strip of peep shows, sex shops, clubs and bars.  In search of bright lights as well as photos of Moulin Rouge, I went there one evening last October.

I have always had a fascination for fairgrounds – the scariness of them.  Pigalle with its neon kaleidoscope and promises of thrills is just like a fairground – a tawdry extravaganza of colour, people and noise.  By day it is simply sad but at night it bursts into showy splendor.  (Day or night you need to watch your back.)

A few months back I did a drawing of Moulin Rouge which I called “Show Time” also from this particular visit.  The two drawings make a good pair.

“Show Time”
November 2016

“Sideshow Alley”
May 2017

“Sideshow Alley” is an overcoat of coloured pencils – worked into an undercoat of Sennelier oil pastels.

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Evensong

“Evensong” is a drawing of rue de Rivoli in coloured pencils and Neopastels. 280 x 300 mm. May 2017.

Why would I give a prayer-like title to a drawing of a busy Paris street?  The answer is that when I walk and am deeply inspired by my surroundings, what could be more like prayer?  Or to think of a more modern term, ‘presence’ is what I feel when my senses give me pure joy – rapture at the gorgeousness as day transforms to evening on my rue de Rivoli stroll.

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