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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!   


Sunday, May 15, 2016

King St Wharf - Sydney Sketch Club

Sydney Sketch Club enjoyed sketching around in Darling Harbour. Wonderful to try different subjects that I used to do. It refreshes heart under sunshine. Many historical vessels are at Australian National Maritime Museum. HMS Endeavour is a tall ship, yes Captain Cook. I've loved tall ships since childhood. In a primary school time, I read "Treasure Island," "Moby-Dick" and "The Mutiny on the Bounty." The illustrations charmed me. A book can change a child's future direction. Do you know Jane Goodall (I'm her big fan!) and her episode of the book, "Tarzan" in a childhood? Young Jane thought, "I can do better than that Jane in the story!" She has become a pioneer to protect chimpanzees in Africa and a world leading environmentalist. Unfortunately, young Sadami could not join the crew on a ship. Instead of sailing a sea on a tall ship, I've embarked on visual art and creation. My dream is becoming true.     
 HMS Endeavour, Captain Cook *HMS = His Majesty's Bark
A next sketch is a destroyer, named "HMAS Vampire" It sounds a bit scary though, today, the fighting ship is the largest museum vessel. Can you see a tiny red on the ship? It's the mark of a vampire. Although a gun ship is not a favourite subject, this almost monotone subject interested me nearly in the evening. When I finished the sketch after 5 o'clock, a kind lady security took me into the area to show me the emblem of a vampire. "If you like, add it!" Oh, sweet and it helped to add an "accent" in the greenish work! That's the beauty of sketching that always brings me friendship and opens conversations with others. So, I love to sketch outside and join group activities. 
HMAS Vampire (*HMAS = Her or His Majesty's Australian Ship)
Many of us sketched "Puddle Steamer, Sydney Showboat." This showboat reminded me of an old song of a showboat gambler. I was singing or humming it. That's another beauty of sketching. It makes us happy and lifts us up. Sketch Club members enjoyed show-and-tell and lunch. It's nice to get advice from experienced artists. He, a former architecture teacher at an art school, inspired us lot and answered our questions at a lunch table. Great! 
At the same time, it's very important to listen to heart. A showboat did not excite me and turned out dull. I moved onto the interesting subjects. In a loose style, brush strokes are the lesser, the better. In the showboat, I put too many brushes and messed it up. The results show a clear difference. I feel I'm blessed to work on favourite subjects. 

In Sydney, you can sketch many different ships. It is wonderful to do plein air in an autumn soft breeze. Some people ask me about materials and stuff for plain air sketching. It's easy. Just bring yourself, paper and some paints or pencils. Thinking too much is counter-productive. The point is "Just do it" and make friends with others.    

Friends, Happy Painting!  


Monday, May 9, 2016

Leigh Memorial, Historical Architecture in Parramatta

I'm searching for my own style in architecture drawing. I'd really appreciate your feedback on different approaches : "traditional vs loose." Leigh Memorial is a Victorian Gothic church opened in 1885. Today, it's Uniting church in Parramatta. This historical and very charming architecture elegantly stands opposite to Parramatta Artists Studios on Macquarie St. 

A first image is created by a traditional methods. The church building has unified colours on it. My paints have come together well. The colour of a shadow seems fit to the architecture. I really enjoyed drawing. Street walkers often talked to me. Thanks for cheers, pedestraians! 
The black and white is below. In the colour work, added people show a scale of the building and something humane.  
A loose image is below. In fact, I had done it earlier than the work created by a traditional drawing methods. I enjoyed colours in a quick way. But my eyes have told that the building was too thin. So, I made the building stout in the first image. I tried Leigh Memorial for several times. The more, I draw, the more, I learn. What do you think about these two different modes?  
In my eyes, the drawing of architecture, itself, is not so complicated, as long as my eyes capture a building as a "mass" and chunk it down in a simple 3D way. A headache is architecture demands preciseness in drawing. Of course, there are many artists who cook architectures by their unique styles. Produced architectures taste good and so beautiful, which very much interests me! 

I need more time to learn how I loose up architectures/landscapes or try other drawing methods. Practice gives me answers. I'm very proud of messed up papers! 
Btw, we're getting into autumn. It was very cold today. What about your area? Take care. 
Friends, Happy Painting!      


Monday, May 2, 2016

6 naked women sculptures in The Biennale of Sydney

The exhibition by Bharti Kher was an enigma regarding the relation between an artist and a vulnerable model as well as viewers and art work. The sculptures puzzled viewers who they were and why being naked and pensive. They closed their eyes very tightly and painfully.... Why? Their body proportion was not like idealised life drawing models and ugly and some were aged. They looked like quite ordinary women -- was the first impression of the work. The 6 women were sex workers. The information is here. When I came home, I knew the fact. (*I, first, look at an art work without reading the statement and purely listen to my heart.)  

Why do these white plasters talk to me strongly? The questions motivated my drawing. I felt one lady was crying or nearly dropping tears... and emphasised it in my drawing. Or something, one piece of plaster was on a lower eyelid crease in the face. They looked like tears. 
The very quiet exhibition room was filled with the strange emotions from these sculptures. These women's emotions demanded visitors to show dignity and respect to them. Most visitors, particularly, men set back and esteemed the women or the sculptures. 
I felt these women and I had something common in sorrow, pain and agony etc. Because we, women can share them, those sculptures really touched my heart and provoked viewers. This art work reminded me of a Nazi concentration camp and naked people just before a gas chamber..., especially, when I looked these women from a side like below. The coloured women was sitting at the end of the row. I felt this sculptor should be a woman. Very interesting to feel that the sculptor's contradicted feelings : empathy and very critical eyes to the defenceless women. The sitters or the sequent art work is exposed, unprotected and hurtfully accessible. I wondered what motivated the sculptor to create these life size works. When I went home, I checked the sculptor, Bharti Kher. 
Bharti Kher is an internationally successful, highly regarded and very controversial multi artist and woman living in India. Then, I found the sitters's occupation. It was really shocking. I got why the art work had infuriated me like above. 
Even though the subject could be interesting, I want myself to keep empathy and respect for a vulnerable sitter as a same human being and a woman. I'm a portraitist and being as an artist, it's a joy to find an exciting subject. But being as a same human being, I keep privacy and respect of a sitter's human dignity. Humanity is my pursuing subject. What do you think, Friends? As I respect privacy, my blog post does not disclose a person's identity until I get consent.

Btw, I'm working on the projects and portraits, contacting a sitter. The fractures have recovered very well. Very quick recovery. A physiotherapist called me, "The best patient!" Thank you very much for your support.
I want to make heart warming work for others.  
Friends, Happy Painting!