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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Child's Body Language

I came cross a boy studying German in front of me at a same table in a library. I enjoyed to observing a child's body language and interaction between a tutor. Before the teacher came, I asked the boy's mother for permission to sketch him. NOTE : I hid my sketch book from the boy so that I would not destruct him. Friends, capture the critical and interesting body language in your sketch. The boy looked having a great fun in drawing and colouring. 
"Today, your father asks me to teach you counting, too," the teacher said. I assumed his father was a German speaker. The boy's mother was an English native speaker, late twenties. His father was in late thirties. The private tutor was a lady, early twenties. You wonder why I could get each person's age so precisely. The boy asked around us, "How old are you?" A good question to know numbers! "When I was born, I saw a dinosaurs walking around my house!" The smiling teacher SERIOUSLY explained the concept of million. Unfortunately or fortunately (?!) the boy did not get it well. Probably, he encountered such a huge number for the first time in his life. I should have said, "In million steps and years, you can walk to the sun from here." But the boy was much smarter than me. He simply said, "You look like my grandma." The boy's say made us laugh. 

We use body language lot to convey messages. It was fun to see the teacher's face expressions and body languages in order to depict adjectives such as cold, hot etc. The teaching materials were clever, colouring and pictures or the boy's favourite. Visual information helps a language learner build up word concept in mind. The materials keep a child's attention in learning. The teacher emphasised the similarity and the difference between German and English in sounds and spelling. The boy answered very well and the teacher very much praised at his answers! Nice! 
In my eyes, body language is common in different languages. What do you think? I hope the boy will have a rich language assets. When I attended the "Bridging Language Barriers Symposium" this March, Prof Ingrid Gogolin told me that in Europe, a person with two language is no surprise. "You need a third language in CV to compete with others in job hunting." The boy's teacher said, "I teach Spanish and German," two languages. 

After the class, the mother and the tutor loved my sketches and took photos. Only the boy could not get why the sketches very excited care givers. Btw, I'm a naughty grandma?! Yes, I said before their class began, "In German, I only know, "Ich liebe dich!"" The teacher translated it to the boy, "She said, "I love you!"" Hehehe. Love and smile are a universal language! Thank you for modelling. 
Friends, Happy Painting!  


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Possum Magic Coins Out! Cultural Identity.

Ah, Mem Fox and Julie Vivas, you've done magic again!! I've got two dollars Possum Magic coins out from Woolworth and Royal Australian Mint. See the second image in this post! Who can imagine picture book characters and its famous scenes have become coins? Four $1 coins and three colour-printed $2 coins retell Mem’s story illustrated by Julie. Their work has become our cultural icon that represents an Australian identity in a modern children's picture book history. Before the publication of "Possum Magic," Australia had been importing picture books from a northern hemisphere such as Europe and the States. They did not fit to Australian subjects, weathers, settings and English. There was a hidden and serious want among Australians for "Australian" picture books. It was risen from nationalism in parallel. Timely, in 1983, "Possum Magic" satisfied the desperate need and became a million seller in Australia and the world! By that book, other countries could/can know what Australia is in a socio-cultural aspect.  
So, "Possum Magic" has many Australian native animals, food, custom and social conventions. The story goes like this. Two possums live in an Australian bush. Grandma Poss uses "bush magic" to make Hush invisible. But when Hush wants to be re-visible, the two possums must go around Australia to find the helpful and culturally iconic food that will make Hush visible again. I've loved that book since I got. Btw, American blog friends may know Mem well, as she has visited the States lots and as popular as in Australia!  

"Possum Magic" has a famous behind a scene story, nine times rejections. Despite many times turning down, how did Mem and Julie successfully get it published? Changing setting was the key, which has led to triumph. Mem's say shows that the tenth publisher, Omnibus required more Australian animals and a national setting. Original protagonists, mice were changed into native possums and their gourmet world trip was swapped with a cycling tour across Australia to enjoy Australian ordinary and familiar food. I admire Mem and Julie's clever ideas, guts and perseverance to respond the difficult request, a cultural identity. I also know well that it's very painful to start over illustration, because giving up the original is equal to "Killing my baby!" and illustrators cry out -- can you imagine our pain? Julie did it! Mem and Julie's hard work has turned out the extraordinary hit and become legend. Today, "Possum Magic" is making a myth. Many picture books follow "Possum Magic." The characters come up here, there, everywhere in an Australian daily life -- children literature, educational tools, a musical play at a theatre, stuffed toys, etc and finally, "coins," our currency! In my view, it's become a prototype of Australian cultural identity! We proudly assert that "Possum Magic" is an Australian picture book. 
Friends might have questions on the Possum Magic Coins and how to get them. The information source is Woolworth. When I chatted with staff at Royal Australian Mint over the phone, she said, "The coins are very popular." Wow...! Julie, ear burning? ( NOTE : The Mint produces Australia's circulating coinage, coins for other countries, medals, medallions, tokens and seals for private clients, both national and international.) 
Sweet Julie sent me a friend request, when I started FB. Very happy. Btw, she commented the image above, "Thank you, Sadami your laughing Queen Elizabeth is a break through." Thank you very much, Julie. 

Julie left one more comment! 
"Thank you, Sadami, I do admire your skills, Mem's workshops sound inspiring. Lots to do for book week. Take care." 
I replied. 
    Sadami Konchi Thank you, sweet Julie!! I DO and have been admiring YOU, as u know. You've taught me lot and helped me. I hope we'll bump on streets. You're busy for Book Week. I'm preparig for a book launch. Take care. Enjoy life!!
    Show More ReactionsReply21 August at 21:06Edited
Friends, don't easily give up a dream by rejections. "Possum Magic" got through baptism of fire for nine times. Very encouraging and inspirational. Have a wonderful and creative week. 
Happy Painting and Happy Dreaming! 


Monday, August 14, 2017

Winter Swimming, Tips to Capture Waves

I swam 800m in an icy ocean pool. It was all mine. At first, as if water were stinging me like pin needles. A few other people dabbed themselves for a minute and got out. I kept on as I wanted to make 500 m, at least. One gentleman came close to me and looked into my swimming from his curiosity for quite a while. I began to feel the fingers got white and lost sensation. Too cold to stay in the rock bath for more than an hour. Then, I got out of it. 

I saw a brave regular lady in a changing room. Yes, I learned to bring a "thermos" from her last year! We chatted. It was good that I could make a long distance. The leg rehab is not easy though, my positiveness makes others happy, too. The neurologists said, "It's a miracle!" with a big smile. Hahaha, thanks! Yes, I walk and stay in a good or best condition. I'm going to give the neurologists "My Dog Socks" signed by me.  
Yes, we tend to think waves are very hard. Try this -- simplify a topic = choose the most impressed one and focus on it = pick up the most interesting waves. Observe how they move. They repeat the movement. Understand the pattern of movement. Colours are up to you. Your colour use is different from mine. Use your own colours and show your own approach. Make lots of messes and have fun. You'll find your unique approach and the solution of waves. An artist's love towards a subject will come up in work, which will reach others hearts. 

Capturing waves is fun by wash techniques and colours. I want to apply what I've learned to depict a seascape in a bigger size paper and other general or abstract subjects such as still life or deep human emotions in illustration. Also, I want to study other masters's work like Winslow Hormer and learn different approaches to water. A long way to go. I'm only a starter and life long learner. 
Friends, Happy Painting!   


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Why Do You Draw?

A lady I sketched in a cafe asked me "Why do you draw?" I answered, "I like it. Joy." The lady showed a big smile and affirmed my say, "Joy!" I honestly told her, "Sometimes, artists get stuck in drawing. Not easy." She encouraged me, "Remember, why you draw and joy!" I've realised the answer is in me. After a good bye to her, I created this work and enjoyed washes. Wet-in-wet excites me!  
I feel "Seek and you'll find it," is true. Or, paradoxically, an answer is in her. Each individual will find a different answer that will respond to her uniqueness and who she is. I read through most classic psychologists' writings on personality and studied counselling psychology. In fact, a psychology lecturer assisted me to find who I have been/am/will be. The psychology lecturer recognised my artistic talent and encouraged me to be honest with myself or be an artist. I could not believe what I had and no confidence. To be honest with myself is not easy. First, a person needs to know who she is. My journey began. The kind lecturer suggested me to read some psychology books, respected my agency and let me make a decision. I read lots in uni. It took years for me to ponder about what/who I am and claimed, "I'm an artist." My seeking empowered me and liberated me. A lovely bonus is that I've started to work on what I will be most and fully. I focus on "now-and-here and future." 
I was not a good student (?!) though, lecturers have been cheering me up. Now, above, "Intercultural Communication" written by Prof Ingrid Piller is out in Australia, too (Edinburgh University Press). Nice to hear other former lecturers' celebrations. I'm looking forward to compliments books signed by Ingrid, probably, one of the most beloved linguists in the world! No kidding!! That lady has taught us and teaches around the world. Another linguist secretly calls her, "Super woman!" Yes, indeed! Hahaha, Ingrid, your ears must be burning? 

Today, I'm dead honest with myself = so happy to live an artist life, particularly, a picture book illustrator, a portraitist and a book cover designer. But I know the time when I wondered for years were very precious and important. It has made current Sadami. When I get lost or wonder in a journey of art, I will remember why I draw and joy. 
Btw, we're planning "My Socks" book launch. It will be fun in the mid October.  
Friends, Happy Painting and enjoy drawing!