Sunday, May 28, 2006

Thursday night

It's been awhile, so I thought I'd just post a coupla quickies here. These were done last week in my short breaks at a hotel gig. Cartridge sumi ink and water, 20.3 x 12.7cm (8 x 5") cold pressed watercolor paper .

This was from the week before, slightly larger, paper not quite as nice....

My experiments continue with the sumi brush pens and waterbrush. Finally starting to get the hang of it. I like the latest watercolor pad I'm using on the first two sketches, definitely the best paper I've tried so far. With these brush pens I need to use paper that doesn't absorb the ink too quickly so that I can use the waterbrush to get decent gradations. If I was using a real sumi-e brush that could load multiple gradiations on the same brush, washi paper would be fine to use, but washi just doesn't work so well with this portable setup.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"Waiting to Soundcheck"

conte on grey paper, approx 33 x 25cm

A few weeks ago I wrote about a gig I did with the band, Fuse. Here's a quick sketch I did of some of the band members while we were waiting to soundcheck. Note the Mac powerbooks Gary and Lorenzo brought along with them. But hey, we knew it would be a long afternoon (that's why I brought my sketchpad, hehe). Apologies to Lorenzo on the far right - this doesn't look like Lorenzo! He kept moving around too much to catch him. I'm grateful to Kaleb and Gary for hanging longer in one spot.
I've always wanted to do a sketch or paint a series of Tokyo musicians.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

An Unexpected Sketch

"While I Was on the Phone"
conte on toned paper 24 x 33cm

Yesterday was one of those drizzly cold days that are just made for chilling out at home. I wound up on the phone for several hours with friends and family. I didn't mind, I was sketching at the same time. I hope they didn't mind, (no-one protested when I told them). My weathered and worn ol' ugh boot happened to be lolling around nearby begging for me to sketch it, so what could I do but comply.
If I hadn't sketched I wouldn't have been on the phone very long at all cos I was chomping at the bit to be painting, so I had the best of both worlds - relaxed conversation, which also provided valuable distraction from thinking too much about what I was sketching.

There were a couple of times when I couldn't switch zones fast enough - where I found my thought processes moving faster than I could speak, or perhaps I was speaking faster than I could think. At any rate I found myself stammering and falling over my words and needing to regroup. I guess my brain was in "right brain" mode rather than "speech" mode, though my listening was just fine. I was happy to listen more than talk, hehe, made me a better listener than talker for a change.

Later on in the evening I watched a DVD of the wonderful artist, Robert Johnson doing a rose painting demonstration. I am in awe of people like him who are able to talk so articulately while painting such beautiful and complicated works, while here I am doing a mere light sketch, but still stumbling over the odd phrase! I remember Kristin Newton telling us in our drawing class that this inability to talk while painting or drawing is very common with artists. I'm assuming that the right brain temporarily overrides and shuts out the left brain faculties. Some people may be more "brain ambidextrous" than others, though even with Robert, there were times when his commentary trailed off as he was obviously drawn deeper into his painting, especially in the latter stages of the demonstration. I know if I'm deep inside a painting I definitely don't want to have to come back to thinking mode. It's kinda like being rudely awoken out of a wonderful dream and having to suddenly be wide awake and fully functioning.

As for the ugh boot itself: a coupla minor issues that could use fixing, but - could I be bothered? I think I'll paint it in oils instead, what a fun subject!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

"Childhood Memory"

Oil on canvas paper 12 x 17cm (4.75 x 6.75")

When I was a kid my aunts used to give my sister and I those little trolls. We wound up with quite a flourishing community of them. They were superbeings that could do anything and tended to get involved in whatever activities we humans were into at the time.

A friend visiting Tokyo recently dragged me into Kiddyland to get a couple of troll moneyboxes for her nephews. I grabbed one too just for fun (it has a slot in the back).

Man, it was hard to paint! But I'm happy with how it turned out, quirky proportions and all! I really learned a lot doing it. The hair was pure fun and the imperfect proportions just add to it's charm as far as I'm concerned. At any rate, here I was more interested in applying the paint than perfect drawing.

Edit: my mother saw this and informed me that she too was troll crazy and provided us with the little ones (the pencil holder / keyring size). Apologies for missing this important credit!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Some song musings

I've got a couple of new songs on the boil.

One of these I've been playing around with recording whatever words (and chords) happen to pop out that day into the dinky little stereo mic on my Microtrack recorder. I now have about 4 different versions of lyrics.

Although I don't always work this way I do enjoy letting a song unfold and take it's own shape in a different way than it would if I were working on manuscript paper and writing everything down as I go. Eventually the lyrics will tell me what they want to say with a more focussed clarity and my 4 versions will become 1 version.

Sometimes a song idea will pop out of nowhere at one of my "no-pressure" gigs, often when I'm least expecting it. I enjoy following its unknown path while performing live cos, even being a no-pressure gig I literally have to come out with something that makes sense musically.

How nice to just flow with it and see where it goes. I can't just stop in the middle to try and figure out some chords for a bridge, I have to keep going no matter what. I've birthed at least a handful of songs this way, including these new ones I'm currently exploring.

I love living inside the energy of a song, feeling it work its magic within me, speaking to me in some deep mysterious language, changing me forever in some way through its very presence in my life. Sometimes a new song will shroud me in its aura for days, even weeks, as it works its changes upon me.