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Sunday, June 26, 2016

A portrait in washes

Timing is crucial to create washes. I enjoyed colours and washes in this Helen Chamberlin and show the process below. I saw Helen checking my manuscripts for a children's picture book story with a pen. She looked shy, but very passionate about her job. My image of her background is very bright. Washes are great fun! I put, "Splish, splash, splosh," and got high on watching the paints spreading on a paper. I got thrilled and excited.   
My portrait always has one focal point. In this work, Helen's face expression and a mood is the theme. Without a background, it looked like below. 
It was good that an image of her background came up my mind from the beginning. After making the background, I partially emphasised her red dress to blend in the washes. At the same time, I checked a "depth" of washes in work. I hope I will create good depth in washes in any work. 
Black and white is mainly by a graphite and some, by a pencil. A black and white drawing is the simpler, the better, in my loose style.  
Do you enjoy washes in portraits? I will! I'm busy between projects, research and study. But I always enjoy sketches and watercolour like a daily jogging. 
I hope you, too, have fun in washes. 
Friends, Happy painting! 


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Listen to Your Drawing

Sydney Sketch Club, we sketched a pretty house and I drew one member, too. Another member so much inspired us at lunch. "Listen to your drawing. What does your drawing need to put in?" I've realised that I tried so hard to apply new approaches to a subject and did not work well. Apart from an experiment of a new methods, I need to well listen to what my drawing needs. Otherwise, I will mess up the work. His say sounds like upside down though, it convinced me so much. I want to feel what my drawing wants for. What do you think, Friends? 
But it is certain that we cannot grow without stepping out of a comfortable zone and try something new or different. Experiments are fun and pain, which depend on outcomes. I'm interested in a background for a portrait. This is the portrait of a sketch club member. I felt a blank background was empty. I wondered if the portrait wanting for a background and added a simple background. It seems I like bright colours, hahaha!? Any feedback is welcome. Sometimes, an image of a background's colour comes up from the beginning of live portraits on spot. Sometimes, not. Or I might be a deaf and cannot listen to my own work's cry. Or that work does not want anything more and enough. I should leave it alone. Technically, it's hard to resume watercolour in my style, because of edges and washes. I prefer to finishing up work in a short time on a same day.  
The member who enlightened me was a former architecture teacher at an art school and an artist. He always gives me something interesting and generously helps us in need. That's the beauty of group activities and Sydney Sketch Club. 

The pretty house was on Queen St. We had fun on Queen's birthday. Another member commented, "Nice painting, Sadami. I see that yours is a lot more accurate." Until his say came, I did not realise my architecture drawing was precise. I always start from accurate "dessin" in a traditional drawing learning methods. Then, I can loose up or other techniques in watercolour painting. Ultimately, -- another artist taught me -- a person's techniques cannot go beyond her drawing ability/skills. "So, Sadami, draw!" he said. I've kept that advice for ages. Btw, I used a hake brush in this work to create a background. It was fun. Not completely satisfied with a result though, an interesting and good lesson. I'll try it more to enjoy hake.  
How do you interpret this "Listen to your drawing"? I've got that it means in a more profound and general way. It could mean "Look at your work objectively," in my interpretation. I hope I will grow as an artist. 
Friends, let's enjoy our art journeys. It's wonderful to have company in journeys. Thank you for your friendship. 
Happy Painting!!    


Monday, June 13, 2016

People At Work : Clockmaker

Sometimes, we get lost on our journeys in art. Me, too. I doubt my ability and drawing skills. Fortunately, mentors support me well. Ann James says, "Sadami, you capture real people, real life and real moments in a very special way. Just be content that you are you. The best possible thing to be!" Oh, thank you, Ann! Even in exploring new techniques, it's important to hold an individual stance in a personalised style. Probably, it relates to the beauty of working people. Especially, craftsmanship is divine. I post the sketches of clockmakers. 

I love to look at a clockmaker working. His every movement at each moment fascinates me. My curiosity is like a little kid! All other adults go around for shopping and will come back to the shop to pick up watches except me. When I ask a clockmaker for permission to sketch, my say puzzles him and he gets surprised. In my experience, working people are shy and friendly. I sketched this clock maker a few days ago, when I put a new battery into my watch. His concentration was impressive. Each clockmaker's face expression and body language interests me most. 
This clockmaker uses a magnifier. Tiny parts, sensitive tools and a rubber dust blower are on a desk. It seems that each clockmaker can choose a different colour of a rubber dust blower (*I saw red and green!). I could not interrupt his work and did not ask his motivation to become a watch specialist. Simply because he liked it and he chose the occupation? I smiled at him silently behind the counter.  
"Originality and uniqueness," I always seek and find it in working people. 
Each clockmaker's face expression and body language interests me. So far, I like this image most in the collected clockmakers. Working people are shining and special
Ordinary people's ordinary scenes are extraordinary. An individual is "one and only." In my eyes, ordinary people's ordinary lives are heavenly beautiful. People at any occupation look marvelous.  
...if so, I hope myself to be content to myself and others, when I work on drawing. While I draw working people, I think of myself. Btw, do you like an hour glass? I like it, sometimes I watch it and think of many things. I can see "visible" time in the sand clock.... I hope I will keep on capturing real people in my own way. 
After a long weekend of Queen's birthday, we'll get back to a routine. 
Friends, Happy Painting! 


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Australian landscapes in wash study

I post copied two Australian landscapes paintings for "wash study" and one for fun ( *a wild weather, heavy rain, a flood in a storm last weekend!). How to interpret oil paintings into watercolour is a good challenge. It's fun to create "losing edges" vs "hard edges." Probably, softened edges and transparency in watercolour work are the most differences from medium oil. Technically, timing is crucial to put paints on wet papers. 

Which landscape image do you like? I put my own favourite colours on the works.  
Eucalyptus trees -- we call "gum trees," -- create beautiful scenes in a very strong sunshine. It's cool under the shade of gum trees, even it's more than 30' (*although we're in winter now). I always wonder why gum trees are peeling off trunks ... like a banana!  
Study of Frederick Leist "Landscape." 
Australia has very flat lands that do not have rigid mountains. Exposed red lands make a strong contrast in colours in quite a dry weather. I love white sands along the beaches and relax myself on sands.  
 Study of Howard Ashton "Through Sunny Meadows" 
I'm getting the timing of washes for landscapes. In my view, washes are "calculated spontaneity" and a person who can control water is the winner of washes. Although there are many watercolour painting techniques and I will study them, I want to keep simple methods for myself.    

Another is just for a fun. I love bright colours. A red section reminds me of strawberries. Mmm..., yum, yum! I may use this outcome for strawberries in a loose style. 
Now, I'll get back to my projects. 
Friends, Happy Painting! 


Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Richness of Silence

Btw, do you like silence? I sometimes like silence and sometimes, not. I'd say, it's wonderful to have a family/friend/ or an intimate relation to share a rich silence, feeling "Silence is not bad," over coffee. Our society is very noisy. It seems that silence is not welcomed. A modern society has the phobia of silence. But I feel different silences : empty vs rich. The other day, a friend said, "We are so afraid of silence because we are afraid of sitting with ourselves!" She told me an interesting episode. 
Ages ago when my friend took a short week off - just a place to stay in the bush and on her own. She took books and some music but not much. And someone who visited her yelled, "How can you stand this quiet? It would drive me crazy!" Unfortunately, the visitor could not share silence with my friend. I wonder if the visitor only felt an empty silence. On the other hand, my friend was enjoying a rich silence. Unfortunately, they could not share it. Do you have a similar experience? 
I recall another lady desperately asked me, "Why are you silent?" years ago. I was just concentrating on well listening to her say over the phone. The question puzzled me. Later, I knew she had the depression from the pressure of fame. People are afraid of the lack of conversation called silence. My friend's say, "We are so afraid of silence because we are afraid of sitting with ourselves!" is spot on. However, the friend was, in fact, unconsciously enjoying the richness of silence in the bush! 

Me, too, not afraid of sitting with myself in silence. I've felt the difference between empty silence and rich silence. Probably, that's one of what I've learned most important insights in psychology -- love oneself properly = love others properly in silence. Although I'm still learning a lot, that insight has enabled me to taste rich silence and enjoy it with myself and others. 
Most of us have fear and hatred to face ourselves. I remember the section I read, "Projection" and "distortion" in "defence mechanisms" in a counselling psychology book at uni. Because of the small capacity of our ego's acceptance of reality, we project our hatred of ourselves or self denials onto an outside world and a third party. In short, we blame on a third party, not us. In counselling, a first and important step of a client is to face her/himself. It's painful to recognise one's own distorted value system. A counsellor assists a clients to dig deep why such self-denial happened and to trace it back even in a childhood, if necessary. As we're so afraid of facing ugly ourselves in silence, we turn away from it and could run into noises in society. Or we can't bear to accept what we are or to see distorted ourselves. 

I wonder if, once, we accept ourselves properly, we will love ourselves properly and others, too. We can enjoy the richness of silence and share it in joy with others. At the same time, this sounds contradicted though, we cannot be totally alone even in rich silence and need a third party to share joy in silence, I feel. We need balance between silence and noise. Silence could reveal the level of the intimacy in people. Can you remember when the friend and I visited the all handmade house in the bush and we had a wonderful time? Often we were totally silent. She had some books and I had a sketch book. We seldom spoke or had a flat chat and looked at beautiful nature around the house. We tasted rich silence and came back to a noisy society. When we came home, we began to chat again like before.
Also, I usually sketch in silence, but in joy. I'm very happy that all the people have come out beautiful! It shows how much I love others and myself in a healthy way, as you know. In my eyes, anyone is shining. I love what they are or what we are. 
Friends, I hope if I will see you in person one day, we can share both a chat and silence. Thank you for reading my post and share time! 
Happy Painting! 


Monday, May 23, 2016

Blacktown Medieval Fayre 2016

My Lords and Ladies, I'll take you to an international jousting competition, historical battles, archery, crafts stalls and lots more! A great fun, Blacktown Medieval Fayre, all free! The jousting excited audience most! A contestant and kind lady explained me the rules to get a score. Hit the target/shield on the opponent (= a heart) or hit upper the shield (= a head). Interesting, the lady also told me that the contestants armoured in the 14th Cetury style. It means that armour does not full cover a body. Yes, in my sketches, horsemen/women put on leather or colthes. In the 14th C, the total weight of armour was from 35 or up to 50 kg. In the 15th C, it became heavier, 50 kg in average. I tried the helmet later and felt it so heavy! Thank you for the historical information, the lady at "Full Tilt."   
Of course, all the people at Medieval stalls teased at my complaint of the heavy armour, saying, "You have to protect your life!" Ah, yeah, not the matter of fashion. In the knocking off, sometimes, broken lances flew up very high in the air, which made audience, "Oooohhh!" The jousting contestants and their horses looked colourful and noble. In watercolour painting, I only weighed on values and colours, because I could only see the subjects in detail from the distance. It worked out positive. The jousting participants and audience loved my sketches. Thank you!  Below, a brave "lady" was in a bull like helmet. 
Btw, do you realise that all jousting participants use right hands? I asked the kind lady, "What about a left handed person?" A horseman must use a right hand is the jousting rule. "So, a left handed person struggles to get used to a right hand in jousting," was the lady's answer. Wow, really fascinating! 
The most beauty of jousting is the sportsman ship. The contestants praised at each other after the fighting. Lovely. 
OK, does anyone want to see a battle field? All armoured men made a good fight on the ground. The big bashing sounds scared me enough. I could imagine how heavy the swards and other weapons were! But some guys played like clowns and made us laugh. Oh, thank goodness, it was the entertainment, not the real war.   
In the battle game, the archers hit the shields of the armoured soldiers. One lady in a green dress was very eye catchy. Here we go! Btw, I tried to pull a bow and a guy at a stall helped me. No, I could not!! Friends, it means you pull 30 pounds or so. (*I have no idea!) "Oh, I'll give up archery," said I. "No, no! You can't drive a Ferali from the beginning. Start from an easy bow and gradually, move onto a hard one." Ferali made me laugh loud though, his kind say gave me hope! I may join the group and try it?!  Thank you for kind help, "The Society of Creative Anachronism." 
The Medieval Fayer had craft stalls. Glutton Sadami wanted to try food though, the food in that time deprived my appetite. So, I enjoyed to look at weaving. This lady explained the very long process, how women made yarns and clothes. All day long, women worked on making fabrics for family, while men hunted for food and they cocked for busy women. To be honest with you, I could not stand it, if I were born in that era. Oh, I REALLY felt the meaning of "Industrial revolution" and thanked for the mass production. At the same time, I told myself, "Don't waste!"   
Thank you for the lady and her lovely daughter who taught me lot and demonstrated the weaving! 
Another demo stall I visited was Blacksmith. This 20th Century man fell in love with an artisan's demo when he was in a teenage and decided his direction to be a blacksmith. I love to look at craftsmen and admire their craftsmanship. 
Did you enjoy the Medieval Festival with me? Which image do you like best? These are my precious references for illustration. I'd say special thanks for Blacktown Council and all the organisations that carried out the event. The fair was wonderful and freebie. Many people so much enjoyed to look around it for two days. I sometimes wonder if I were in the 20 Century or not! The enthusiasm of Medieval lovers was great. All of the society members said, "I wish I could get in a time machine. I want to go back to that time and see their lives." Their passion and dedication amazed me most. The Blacktown Meieval Fayre was held on the huge reservation area and the beautiful park. This should be recognised that the free event offered plenty of free car parking spaces. In particular, there were lots of disability parking spots. It enabled people with disability, their carers, family and friends to access the event easily and enjoyed it fully and together, which included me! Thank you!! 
Friends, you, too, enjoy to sketch around events and people. It's a great fun! 
Have a creative week!   



Thursday, May 19, 2016

Networking in Sydney Writers Festival "Getting Published"

I enjoyed networking in the workshop, "Getting Published : Words to Wise," in Sydney Writers Festival like I discussed in this popular post, "Networking, Illustrator's Essential Skills." The panellists : Robert Watkins, Lex Hirst, Rosie Waterland, James Arvanitakis talked about publishing from both sides, an author and a publisher/editor. The main points of how to get published are "courage to submit a well polished manuscript, uniqueness, resilience to publisher/editor's feedback." Their discussion eloquently shows how difficult for an emerging author to be read by an editor. Editors are very selective and read only good work. 
The lecture room was almost full. I sat at the first front row to sketch panellistsEveryone turned his body into all ears, except me?! in a very relaxed mood. But a paradox, I could get the speaker's say very well and often laughed, nodded and thought of my mentors and a publisher, Helen Chamberlin. 

The speakers are ; 
Sociology Prof James Arvanitakis is a chairman, in the Humanities at Western Sydney University and the Dean of the Graduate Research School.
Robert Watkins is a publisher of literary fiction and non-fiction at Hachette Australia, and has been working in the Australian book industry for 20 years. 
Lex Hirst is an editor at Penguin Random House, working across titles on Random House's print and digital lists, from memoir to true crime to literary fiction. 
Rosie Waterland is a popular writer of memoirs ( she’s never got rejection!) this decade and a media phenomenon.
Because Robert was from Hachette, I wanted to see him in person. Helen worked at Hachette Lothian Books from 1990 to 2008. 
Robert Watkins Publisher (Hachette) 
The speakers discussed about publication from a publisher and an author's view with humour. From an emerging author's side, Robert, Lex, Rosei and James clarified the essential elements to get a manuscript published : "Be fu**** brave! Have your own voice. Originality. Flexibility to accept feedback and respond it well." Other lovely episodes in publication were disclosed such as cover design. How much James got excited, when he looked at it in the visit of Oxford Uni (Gulp, I thought of my cover work "Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice" (Oxford Uni Press) by Prof Ingrid Piller this year!). Rosie rejected a cover for five times (Ooops, it scared me enough! But Rosie told me later, "It was my own photo." Oh, I got relieved so much!)  
From a publisher / an editor's side, Robert, Lex and Rosei addressed how important to submit the best work to a publisher. It sounded like a common sense or etiquette. "If you think it needs to change more, please do not send it to a publisher. Send the best." They all agreed so painful to read unsophisticated lengthy manuscripts in little spare time in busy days. I carefully listened to a publisher's stance. Robert said that a manuscript had to get through many meetings in a publisher. The cost of publishing a book is equal to buy a house! I perfectly understand the huge risk of publication from a publisher's financial aspect. So, even if a publisher rejects a manuscript, we ought to be grateful for all the involved people. Even if a text should come up on a publisher's discussion table, an author must appreciate it and should thank for a publisher's hard work and celebrates his/her talents partially recognised by professionals or experts, I believe!   
Lex Hirst, Editor (Penguin Random House)  
In a Q and A time, participants often raised questions how to work on the feedback from a publisher / an editor. "Do what they say," was the all panellists's unanimous answer. Yes, I do and we always work in a team in publishing industry. I deeply thank for any publishing team. Helen Chamberlin and Ann James's names are very famous. The speakers knew them. Because of their names, the panellists showed interest in me and picked up my business cards. I got their signatures in my sketches. *So sorry, I mistook Robert's Maxine Beneba Clarke for Maxine Mckew!! **Maxine Mckew is my good client and a strong supporter. Anyway, I worked hard for networking.
Rosie Waterland, a popular writer and very friendly lady
Btw, it seemed that only me and another lady were the illustrators and visual artists in the workshop. One old illustrator talked to me in a hall before the workshop. At first I did not get who she was. (*she published her picture book more than ten years ago and after that no publication) and asked me how was it going. I told her my published work such as a picture book Moon, the book covers of linguistics books by Oxford this year, Edinburgh uni press next year and ongoing projects with Helen Chamberlin and Ann James. It surprised her. "Why did you come here?" I was going to connect the guest speakers and ...sketch them! After the workshop, I told the old illustrator in the hall, "I'm very happy that I could work with Helen Chamberlin, my dreamed editor and am working with her. Windy Hollow is a small publisher, but I'm so happy."
The workshop showed how challenging for an emerging talent to crack into market. At the same time, publishing a book is so laborious and too risky for a publisher. Again, I am so grateful for all of my mentors or mothers. Thank you, Helen, Ann, Jess! 
How much they've cared for me... fed me and nurtured this emerging illustrator. 
All of them have encouraged me to write stories and illustrate them. I was very reluctant to do so. Now, I feel how lucky I have been!! 
I felt like crying out there. Oh, thank you, Helen, Ann, Jess and all supporters. 
You really have spoilt me for years. 
Furthermore, I could / can get projects from education and academics.  
It is certain that I've been very blessed and so much fortunate. I told the panellists how caring and friendly Australian picture book industry was. Rosie smiled and agreed, "We're a good community!" Indeed, what a wonderful community I belong to!! Then, happily, the guests and I said good bye. Some people say, "You're not an emerging artist any more." But I always feel so. 

The great bonus is that I could see you and you have become wonderful and supportive friends. Love and smile, big ((hugs))
Friends, Happy Connecting! Happy Painting!