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Monday, June 29, 2015

Overwork or Stop a Brush?

We, artists are a Hamlet at some degree in regard to decide a finishing touch of work. To stop, or not to stop ; that's the question. Btw, what is overwork? Does anyone have an idea of definition? It's vague. In my view, it depends a style and a context. So, neither a specific nor generalised answer is found. What do you think? A "context" includes a required goal of a painting and a subject's setting/mood/condition in work -- I've meant.
In my style, simple lines and a limited pallete are main. Freshness and liveliness is the most strength in my colour work. My black and white before painting is just like below. Technical criticism was "Put something more such as splashes etc," "Add more colours/paints," or "Have you finished this work?" at the beginning of my career. I accepted the critiques and worked on the suggestions, but I did not feel comfortable with corrected results. Too many brush strokes and decorated information killed the vigour in my work. Then, I've concluded that it depends on a style and the context in work. I've come back to what I am and keep on my own style. As a result, I've been more interested in a focal point in work in these years. It requires to simplify visual information as much as possible in work. 
For example, have a look of contemporary portraits at top level exhibitions such as Doug Moran and Archibald in Australia. You can often find a white or simplified background. They are all completed art work. Some people call my work sketches. But even called sketches, my work is already accomplished art work. *Of course, categorising is ambiguous and an empty thing in arts and not my job! It's up to viewers' value system. Unlike traditional portraits, postmodern portraits have gained more freedom of expression and shown variety of styles in different medium. The same is true of watercolour painting. It's changing, which very excites me. In international exhibitions, you'll feel what postmodernism encompasses in our future portrait work.
Regarding my own watercolour painting, I've decided not to touch a work in which once I stopped a brush. A newly added brush stroke will only mess up my work and worsen it than ever. I assume it's not appropriate to add a paint on an already dried work. Technically, it requires to "prewet" again (*by spray or brushes) on the dried work before a restart. I looked up the work above and I wonderd if I would add any thing more, even for a try? I, eventually, stopped it. When I become a Hamlet, I usually stop a brush and "the end." Then, I check the work. However, my general rule, "don't add more colour on a dried work," depends on a style or a goal. I add more brushes on an uncompleted work to achieve goals such as picture book illustration and a big painting.

Probably, to "find a finishing touch" is our another fun in creating work and a learning process. I'm a life long learner. Lastly, I'd dedicate Michealangelo's say for you, "I'm still learning." Hopefully, we will enjoy being Hamlets! 
Friends, Happy Painting!


Monday, June 22, 2015

"Moon" Available this Aug!

Moon will be publilshed in August. Our distributor is Peribo.
Great news is a famous department store, David Jones has taken Moon! I'm getting wonderful and warm cheers from our team, a boss, many staff, author Matt, book designer Teresa, editor Helen, my mentor Ann, book launcher Libby Gleeson and other involved people. They shower me with their positive feedback, "Very beautiful!" and "Congratulations!" It amazes me, for I'm shy and nervous. (*Helen warmly smiles at me.) I'm...slowly feeling, very proud of our Moon and my illustrations. 

"Max's dad is far away on his fishing trawler and Max is missing him badly, until his dad tells him to look at the moon. 
Dad is looking at the moon too, the same one that is watching over Max." 

ISBN: 9781922081445 Author: ZURBO MATT Publication date: 01/08/2015 
RRP: $25.99 Format: Hardcover   Pages: 32  Dimension: 254mm X 230mm 
I've learned a lot and am learning more. The publication of Moon has taken two years. You've seen the process in this blog. Creating picture books is a painstaking process and absolutely, a group work! Communication skills are vital to create the best results from each person's work : a text, image, design, editing, printing, etc. I, an illustrator is only a part of the group work. If you cannot negotiate others or not respect team members and will not compromise your stance, you cannot be a picture book illustrator.

But Windy Hollow publisher respects me fully! I've experienced ups and downs in the process and found Helen, the editor is amazingly patient, tolerant and supportive. Can you imagine it? She's very much respected this emerging illustrator, listened to my feedback and used it for our discussions. I hope I will work with WH and Helen in the future! 

Helen Chamberlin

You can get these portraits I've worked on are all about Helen. I've looked at her for these years. The more, I know her, the more I admire her and really like who she is. Once, I was a bit shy and did not disclose who the model was on net. But now, it's time to tell it and also I certainly got her consent. Helen is a very lovely lady.  

Now, we're preparing for book launch at a bookshop. I'll contact local libraries and schools that have supported me for long years. Of course, my old uni lecturers and all the supporters, too! Friends, thank you for the great and longitudinal support! When we set the date for Moon book launch at a bookshop, come over and celebrate our hard work. The topnotches of Australian picture book publishing industry are coming. See you at a book launch, local libraries, school and ... David Jones?! Yey!  
Happy Painting, Friends!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Anyone, Swimming?

Me, me! I know, some blog Friends are getting into summer and we're in the middle of winter! But I swim in an ocean pool as well as regulars. Of course, people are in overcoats with scarves (and me, too!). "You're brave," they say. I think so, too, hahaha. Saturday, only me was in the pool in the evening and at night. Water was very lovely (20'c) and warmer than a land! Ocean water was much warmer than the pool. It was a high tide and warm waves came in. Rather rough and sometimes waves pushed me away though, wonderful. Only the problem was, gee, a cleaner shut a changing room earlier than 6pm! I had to take a cold shower in an outside, brrrr, under beautiful falling stars. I met another old lady at the changing room. Smart! She brought a thermos for her own little shower. It was a brilliant idea and I want to do it. 
Btw, a bit heart "warming" story. I found a watch on the floor in a changing room on Saturday. It should be that lady's one, yes, with the thermos! But I was already in a swim suit without a leg embrace. It means I cannot walk well. I asked the tall lady with a dog just sitting there to chase up the old lady on the way to a car park. The kind lady said, "Ok! No worries. Do your job(=swim)!" and ran to the direction. 
Today, one old lady talked to me at the pool. She said, "Thank you. The watch came back to me!" Oh, good! The lady with the dog did it! (*when we met, it was already dark evening. I do not remember her face at all.) We enjoyed a chat after the swimming. The lady recently had lost her favorite watch and almost gave up the newly bought one. We were happy. I appreciated the tall lady's kindness. Tiny things though, I like such tiny nice things that make us happy. Water was a a bit colder than yesterday, 18'. A few challengers could not stay and got out of water at once. I hope these exercises will strengthen my legs. 

A sea is lovely. It has a magic power to make us kind and friendly. If you have a chance, go to a beach, enjoy swimming and sketch! I enjoyed washes and got thrilled in colour mixture in the uploaded sketch. Narrabeen beach is popular among surfers and we have big waves! When the sun warms water, it's not bad. All what you need is guts and challenge spirit. Once, you dive in water, swimming is a great fun!

You, too, Friends, Happy Painting!  


Monday, June 8, 2015

Bluegrass Music & how I've learned drawing

I sketched the bluegrass band at a market. Music is universal language. While I was sketching, I began to sing together and tapped my feet. Many audience came around. We danced along the music played. We love bluegrass music. A studying methods of drawing is, in my opinion, very similar to learn music, I felt. I interviewed the fiddle player.

The lady started a violin at five years old and studied classic music. Wow! Before a primary school! She encountered bluegrass music much later in her life. It charmed the classic music violinist and turned her into a fiddle player! She went to study bluegrass in the States for a while. Her enthusiasm for music amazes me. Today, she loves to teach music at school and enjoys bluegrass for a hobby. Interesting. As far as I know, all violinists whom I've met have started from classic music and studied it well or completely for years. Then, they pick up their favorite music and will move onto a different area such as bluegrass.
I haven't studied at Art School though, it's never discouraged me. Some of us have never tried an art school and wonder how to study drawing. Me, too, started by myself. Start up with classic is a good option. "Read an old book. Take old wine," is wise advice. An artist needs both knowledge and skills. It's a chicken and egg issue. Basic knowledge and drawing skills are foundation for an artist to develop a unique style. Experience can bond knowledge and skills well. Just draw -- and that is all for me and my practice. I've started drawing from 3 or 5 yrs old and spent years in drawing. Little Sadami especially loved to copy illustrations in books and later loved copying famous works (*Mum loved to hang my paintings at home, hahaha?! Some were sold). I often made the caricatures of famous authors in literacy text books and my friends loved them at school, hahaha! I read through each classic artists' life/biography at library or book shops. Then, I studied about some theories used in visual art and went on drawing more and... to the present. Only the course I did is a "children picture book illustration workshop." Other people ask me to teach them. I want all the people to teach me! There isn't any magic, but I draw, draw, draw, while studying.
When I look back the past and think of myself, my experience has turned out good and made me humble. I always say, "Just a beginner (and truly so)" at any places. Because I haven't studied at an art school, I always ask others to teach me. Established artists are generous to mentor modest hard workers. Many people have supported me. Oh, yes, my friend's relative gave me my nice watermark (= *I still do not know how to create it). Then, I've chosen portraits and picture book illustration for favorite genres like that violinist did.   

We, learners sometimes need help, particularly, in exploring styles. If you do not have a mentor, never miss any good opportunity you have. Guts and enthusiasm touch others hearts. Look at me. I met Heesco on a street and he kindly taught me, "Heesco made a mural on Eastwood library." Fortunately, always I bump wonderful artists or teachers : lecturers at Julian Ashton Art School (*Can you believe that I joined their public freebie life drawing class on a street? I saw their ad on newspapers and popped up there!), Robin Norlin's life drawing class at NSW, Ann James, Helen Chamberlin etc, etc. Really, world leading artists have taught me and still mentor me.

So, Friends, let's enjoy drawing. Your passion will open doors. Art is universal language.
We have a long weekend. I enjoyed a long distance swim in an ocean pool in winter. Very cold! But it's my reward for a hard work for these busy weeks.
Special thanks for the violinist, for giving me the permission to post the topic. 
Friends, Happy Painting!