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Monday, July 29, 2013

Archibald 2013 & Sydney Sketch Club

I'd look back "Archibald 2013." We, brave Sydney sketch club went there, sketched the show and drew each other! Archibald is the most prestigious portrait competition in Australia. Any portraitists dream to get in. Sitters are often public figures. Archibald shows an Australian trend, social phenomena and hot topics. 

Apart from whether a model is famous or not, I looked at work purely from my interest in painting techniques. This year, again, none of watercolour work was in (*winner, Del Kathryn Barton used mixed media that had watercolour). Most finalists' paintings were oil or acrylics and huge. Watercolour was out of the main stream. But I'll keep my own style.

Abbey McCulloch's actress, "Naomi Watts," became my favorite. Even though it was oil, the work displayed lots of "washes." A light touch and a cheeky body language made me smile. A simplified subject and a simple background were very appealing.
Wendy Sharp's "Anything goes (Venus Vamp – burlesque star)" fascinated me most. Bold and strong messages were amazing. It was hard to copy that work with watercolour, but I tried and unfinished it. I still want to make a subject look more sexy. Especially, the eyes were so impressive in the original work.  

Archibald has famous entry conditions regarding subjects. A life model must be 1) a public figure (= "distinguished in art, letters, science or politics") or 2) a self-portrait. 
(Source : "Entry conditions for the Archibald Prize 2013"
Always, big-name models capture public attension, although it's not easy for an artist to get a famous person for a model. So, a self-portrait is a good option. 
Guy Morgan's self portrait caught my attention. I saw his self-portrait at Art Access Australa exhibition 2012 in Chatswood. Yes, my work, "Melancholic Beer," too, was a finalist for AAA. His "self-portrait" got in Archibald, too.

After sketching in the gallery, Sydney Sketch club members had our Archibald! We sketched opposite side members at a cafe table in NSW Art Gallery. We were blaming?!, teasing?! at each other and had a great fun. Below my friend/model and me.
The friend kept telling me, "You move too much!" Hahahaha!  Sorry, I did not stay still. Photos are courtesy of Jennifer.  

Also, Archibald has "People's Choice." This is Jennifer's fantastic idea to take a photo under "People's Choice Award." Hurrah, Sydney Sketch Club! The dear friend made a wonderful portrait of me with pastels. Thank you!
Archibald exhibition always shows very different, unique and magnetic portraits, sometimes, even, provocative. The paintings teach me lots about new techniques and intriguing approaches to handle subjects. I'll try new skills and enrich myself.

Friends, Happy Painting!! 


Monday, July 22, 2013

Get Inspirarion : Stop, Revive, Survive

Hi, Friends, are you enjoying drawing or sick of it? OK, the topic is how to get inspirations. When my brushes do not dance on paper and ideas do not come up for projects, it's a time to stop, revive, survive.

BTW, good news! Thank you for many warm cheers. I've finished up the work with Australian Council. A human rights organisation and I will work on a publishing project onward! Wow, exciting, a great honour and very happy!! Also, I've been working on the trade picture book. Now, I can get on portraits for competitions (*The picture books have occupied me too much.)  Regarding the work for comps, drawing freely is very refreshing! Ah, what a joy!!

Well, back to the topic, "Stop, Revive, Survive." Friends, have you ever dried up a well of inspirations in busy days? I sometimes struggle to get it for work. That's torturing!

First of all, put aside a half way through work. Smile. Coffee. Get out of a studio. Enjoy sunshine. I even smile at myself in a mirror.

These are my tips. Although they seem to have nothing to do with art work directly, I often "grab" inspiration whilst doing these things. If some could assist you, it would be my great joy. Go for it, Friends.
Here we go! "Feel happy. Forget job for a while," is the point.

I seek...
1) Third party's candid advice
● Suggestions from Mentor/Editor/experienced artists
● Chuck perfectionism. 
We all know pains in work and very nice to share them with wise people above. No one brings me down. (all know I'm a hard worker.) They give me great comfort, cheers and more time to finish a project. 
2) Put life back to a healthy life style or life cycle
● Lots of and regular exercises
Think nothing about ongoing projects. Move body. 
At least, do it until a body gets slightly sweat. I swim lots.
● Sleep well
Good healthy fatigue is best to go to sleep at once on bed. So, exercises are nice. Counting sheep makes nerve down, when an artist is in a sluggish time.
● Eat well and favorite ones
Give indulgences, not a carrot before a horse. A stoic attitude is too tough.

3) Do something different from drawing
● Sing loud, play music, dance, listen to favorite music.
● Read comic strips, watch comedies etc. What else?
Don't worry about a work deadline or a comp closing date. With a dried well and a weary heart, an artist only makes a dull and junk.  
4) Use net work / socialisation
● Ring up friends, have chat, chat, chat! Do "catch up."
Be honest with myself eg) swearing, chest off, cry, laugh, whatever, let emotions out. But don't do it alone. Do it with friends and family.  Yes, laugh well with other people. It's nice!
● Join group activities
Choir, bush walking, book club, fun events, shopping, church etc.  
● Do good things for strangers at random
This makes me happy, too.  
● Do something for community
As above. 
Now, after getting through it and when I feel like going back to work, I tell myself, "Be kind to myself." I do warm up sketching. The first one, a drum player was my warm up. Sure, I was ok! and a good idea for a portrait came up. Lalala~! I happily went home. You may say, "Ah, nothing special! This post is boring." But I've found too many of us cannot cut off a vicious circle and stay in blue. So, I dare to say, "Do relax!" If you have great tips to get inspiration, let us share them.
Friends, Happy Painting!! 


Monday, July 15, 2013

Life Drawing with Different Approach

Hi, Friends, are you enjoying drawing? I'll upload my life drawings. Quite simple, I love people, so I love life drawing. For me, life drawing is "alpha and omega" for drawing and painting. In my eyes, lines are the fewer, the better. Fortunately, my great mentor, Ann James suggested me, "Let lines breathe!" years ago, when I worked on illustration. Ever since, I always remember that advice, when I draw.

I quickly made this work, as a model could not hold it any longer. Strong lines made rhythms and worked well to capture a moment. Movement fascinates me so much.  (A2)

Below, the model's very feminine and gentle mood was lovely. First, I put watercolour on paper and then, drew lines. I'd like to explore this technique more so that I can control an amount of water/paint. (A2)
This male model gave me a very tender and kind image. Actually, he was an armature.  I was interested in washes to create a "soft touch" with colours in the work. (A2)
In this work, I used a "side" of a graphite like a charcoal. First, I put values, then, drew lines. This upside down technique saves lots of time and eliminate unnecessary lines = simplify lines and creates a strong message. If I add a texture or create a background with a texture, a work would be an interesting one. I'm planning to use this technique to make a "negative" drawing. (A2)

Not only accuracy, but also, a model's mood, movement, face expression and body language interest me so much. "How beautiful we are!" -- I'm always in awe. I hope I will capture the beautify of our body with every technique. 
If you have an interesting experience, a unique technique or an opinion for life drawing, please let us share.   
Friends, Happy Drawing and Painting!!



Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fundraising for Indigenous Literacy Foundation

Hi, Friends, exclusive! I joined "One Word One day" yesterday at ABC building (=Australian Broadcasting Corporation ) It's a charity run by Australian Society of Authors. The created art in the event is donated for an auction in September in Melbourne. All monies raised are going to support "Indigenous Literacy Foundation." Sounds brilliant, doesn't it?

Artists are invited to participate in this annual event in each state’s capital city. You will be given a word and art materials (provided by Micador) to create an artwork inspired by that word. "Scratchy" was the theme for Sydneysiders. *Photos are courtesy of a lovely camera woman, Ms Emily Wiech at ILF.

All of us did our best. I created 3 works in four hours. I weighed on "Aboriginal people." Particularly, two of my works seem to have won ILF and staff's heart. ILF has twitted this work. Friends, do you notice I had put "greenish Australia" in the eye? I heartily hope Indigenous Australians will enjoy fulfilled human rights and see a bright future with dignity. 
I was in very high tension just before moving into colour, after the stage of black and white, peeling off a kitchen towel.
Ready, Set, Go!!

My another work that has become popular, is children sharing joy in scribbling English letters on papers. (*later, I added letters and some colours on this work.) Here we go!! 

Nice friends, Rob (Fledman, *right) and Ben (Wood *left) created very charming work. I'll show you them. Rob was working on a humorous and nice cartoon (thanks for invitation of your upcoming book launch!).
This is Ben's really a cute and pretty work. He's a wonderful and established illustrator. 
My "next door" Jill (Carter-Hansen) and other artists. 

According to ILF, this creative One Word One day or OWOD raised $13,500 last year and more than 70 artworks were auctioned. (*yes,  ILF bought my sketch of artists last year.)
If you follow One Word One Day Facebook, you will soon find all our work for auction (are on the way!). 
 ...yes, our message is printed on a cool T shirt! I love it!!
I hope we will directly contribute to society through art.  
Also, I'd say special thanks for backstage players and my linguistics lecturers warm cheers to ILF twitter and facebook. Oh, yes, thank you so much for Ben, you twitted my work!
 Friends, Happy Painting!!!... and happy reading picture books!!


Monday, July 8, 2013

Kids Ice Skating

Hi, Friends, how are you?Are you enjoying summer or winter? We, Australians are in the middle of winter and school holidays! Children are so cute on an open ice rink in Parramatta (27 June - 14 July). I hope my sketches will send you kids and parents bouncing voices!  

People look at my sketching, but all respect me (thank u!). A mom showed my sketch to her crying daughter who had slipped badly. My work made her happy and she stopped crying!!

The boy above tried very hard to walk to his mom. His tip toe walking was very charming. Balancing is tricky. We often slip away and cannot always stay well. Woops! 
"That's all right! It happens!" Mom and Dad cheer up kids. Can you hear them? Any parents and care givers call their kids' names and cry out cheers. 
The boy below got stranded with a frown face after slipping away. Ah, life is sometimes not easy. Hang in there, dear! You stand up again. Go, go!!  
Well, this little girl was very smart. (...or I should say her brother or parents good idea?). She was sitting on a penguin brother pushing.  All what she got to do was looking after a little monkey on her back!
But whatever happens, moms are here to hug you and support you!! Probably, a mother's voice and a child's cry is the first and the most fundamental call in our human relationships. Oh, my most favorite scene is a mother's love for children and children's response, vice versa. It's very touchy to sketch little skaters.
Very lovely to see those intimate human interactions and my privilege to sketch them. 
Oh, yes, in addition, I'd say special thanks for securities and skating rink staff. They remember me well, "Oh, you were a last year's artist!" Yes! Particularly, I'd say thank you for a security who watches the rink and cares for settings all night long. Then, we can enjoy safety and have a wonderful event daily. The skate rink staff and securities invite me for skating. Nice!! We are having a great fun!

These sketches give me ideas for a bigger size work. 
Friends, Happy Painting!!!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Inner Child & Text Interpretation

Hi, Friends, did you enjoy your weekend? Yes, I did refreshing! BTW, a question, "Can you feel the world like a child?" When I meet good children's picture book illustrators, all have inner children, I feel. "That's the problem," a big name said. The illustrator implied difficulties to cope with social conventions and values complicated in society. I told the illustrator, "An inner child, it's your most strength!!"
It's interesting, in my observation, if picture book illustrators set a target audience freely, they tend to pick up a similar age to their inner children's ages.

"Can you see the world from a child's eye level?" is a crucial question and an important quest in interpretation of a text. In picture book illustration, if I feel things like a child, I can develop characters well. If I can hear an inner child's voice, I'll get how characters respond to a context in a manuscript. Imagination gives me wings to fly across a sky called "creativity." Then, illustration images come up in me.  Above, an image is a colour rough for the ongoing picture book project, an experiment of creating texture in a background.  (*A boy is in the scene.)   

Friends, do you remember your childhood... full of curiosity, strong interest in anything, creative/imaginative, fear, anxiety, want for love/safety, free, full of life, fond of naked truth, sense of smallness (physically, mentally) = a ground is near/huge etc, etc? What esle? Can you still feel them?

As well as a picture book illustrator, a good fine artist has this precious assets, an "inner child" that drives an artist to create work, don't you? Your inner child talks to you and urges you to pick up a pencil or a brush.  Without an inner child's tapping, in my illo job, work gets very dry and just only follows surface matters. Picture books do not reach at children.

I believe artists are the people who will never forget inner children and pursue quests forever, aren't we!! For adults, to keep an inner child alive and fresh is difficult and challenging. I had a tea with my friend and psychologist for school children. I told her a joke. "At the age of 16, a person discovers life issues, almost, all. After that, he gets used to them and forget them all..." The friend had a big laugh. Well, I do not want to forget my findings.

I cherish my inner child, little Sadami, although once, my family and some friends teased at me, "When will you get grown up? Eh?" ... I was very happy to get matured, but I did not want to leave little Sadami alone. A friend said, "My kids do not think you an adult, but include you as one of them, kids." Her say embarrassed me so much at that time. But today, I believe it's a great honour and doubles my credits as an artist!

So, I've chosen a perfectly matched job, a picture book illustrator. I also always dreamed to advocate voiceless children. Yey!!! What a wonderful job!
I hope myself to centralise children forver in picture book illustration. I'd keep a heart fresh and sensitive and remain creative whole through a life. I'm very fortunate to be surrounded by a wonderful mentor Ann James, brilliant illustrator friends and blogger Friends who share joy.
Friends, Happy Painting!! Happy Illustrating!!