mujinotebook (amsterdam)

They say time flies when you’re having fun… but can it really be four months since I last posted here?! Apparently it can…

My summer has flown by, too fast, in a bright blur of visitors, first forays into roof-terrace ‘farming’, city explorations, art gallery visits, plenty of enjoyable reading, some interesting client work, and lots of drawing for projects of my own. My camera has been working overtime so I have many pics to share and I’ll be trying to catch up on some of the summer’s wanderings and meanderings in my next few posts. Kicking off the catch-up, here are some more pages from the sketchbook/notebook collaboration I’ve been working on with my friend Yoko…*

A recent project for a client required lots of mushroom research and drawing, so I used the notebook as a place to experiment and play with ‘shrooms of all shapes, sizes and colours.

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

notebook [amsterdam] – work-in-progress (animated GIF)

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

notebook [amsterdam]
dreaming of mushrooms | work-in-progress detail

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

notebook [amsterdam] – left side of double-page spread

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

notebook [amsterdam] – right side of double-page spread

During my research** I encountered many weird and wonderful mushrooms – the world of fungi is mind-bogglingly diverse and fantastical! Although the patterning and colouring of my mushrooms is mostly imagined, it would be no surprise if these curious specimens do exist in nature. However real or imagined though, I’m pretty sure those purple ones above are poisonous enough to drop a human at thirty paces… even if they’re apparently quite harmless to snails and ‘mourillos’***

Yoko’s most recent pages, as with all her previous entries, are filled with magic and mystery. Finely-detailed etchings of a unicorn and a nesting bird atop a kingdom within an apple are incorporated into a collage of beautiful old stamps, mulberry-paper leaves and delicate drawn elements.

mujinotebook (tokyo)

notebook [tokyo] – double page spread, and a right side page detail
(all artwork by yoko hayashi)

mujinotebook (tokyo)

notebook [tokyo] – left side page details
(all artwork by yoko hayashi)

Yoko also included a treat for me on the next blank page of the notebook: a glassine envelope containing more beautiful old stamps – inspirational triggers for my next entry…

mujinotebook (tokyo)

notebook [tokyo] – details (all artwork by yoko hayashi)

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notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam, and notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo.

The preceding four Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) (2) (3) (4)

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* Yoko and her husband visited in July and it was the first time since we embarked on this project that the two notebooks were in the same place at the same time :)

** I highly recommend checking out the photographs of Steve Axford for lots of fantastic fungi! Many of my mushrooms were inspired by his photographs

*** mourillos: as christened by a friend, when they first appeared here, for their resemblance to a cross between a mouse and a tiny armadillo

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On a recent day off we took advantage of the fine spring sunshine and made the brief 42 minute train journey to Delft. Despite its proximity, famous blue ceramics, and Vermeer connection I hadn’t visited the city before, and was hopeful to catch a glimpse of that particular quality of light and shadow so singular to Vermeer’s paintings.

      Johannes Vermeer, View of Delft, c. 1660 - 1661

view of delft, johannes vermeer, c.1660-1661

view of delft, april 2015

views of delft, april 2015

However, the uncharacteristically clear blue sky and intense spring sunshine had other ideas… and made for far less subtle, but equally rewarding, colours and contrasts.

view of delft, april 2015

delft blue

view of delft, april 2015

play of light & shadow

view of delft, april 2015

building bling!

view of delft, april 2015

for the cows
(as a vegetarian i find the consumption of veal [kalfsvlees] one of humanity’s more dismaying culinary practices… but i’m not averse to a nice bit of art deco stained glass typography!)

view of delft, april 2015

blue segues into green

view of delft, april 2015

city garden

view of delft, april 2015

magnolia, grape hyacinth

view of delft, april 2015

gateway to oz?

view of delft, april 2015

beneath our feet – spring growth, and a handpainted
reminder about what’s important embedded into the pavement

view of delft, april 2015

paparazzi-ing the locals!

It has been a while, but here is the next instalment in the collaborative sketchbook project I’m working on (at a slow but steady pace, across continents) with my friend Yoko [the preceding three instalments can be found here (3), here (2) and here (1)]

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

yoko followed on from my previous entry (above) with a line of
ghostly trees leading us deeper into the woods…

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

… with a turn of the page the moon has risen,

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

and in this magical forest wolf takes on the visage of a deer

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

from little red riding hood’s basket spring bursts forth,
to conquer the frozen landscape

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

but she keeps an apprehensive eye on this other woodland wanderer…

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

… wary of his bloodied paws.

(this is notebook [amsterdam] * – artwork by yoko hayashi)

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mujinotebook (tokyo)

my intervention with yoko’s previous entry in the second of the two notebooks (above) introduced a plump, purple caterpillar…
a juicy snack for the watchful crow perhaps?

mujinotebook (tokyo)

or can he crawl to safety, over the page,
and fulfil his destiny…

mujinotebook (tokyo)

… as one in a whisper of moths?

mujinotebook (tokyo)

I drew these moths with Indian ink and a dip pen, and was once again reminded of how tremendously satisfying the scritchy-scritch-scratch sound of a metal pen nib on brown kraft paper can be! I’m also rather partial to the unintended, random patterns that emerged on my ink blotting sheets (as seen in a couple of the frames in the ‘work in progress’ animated GIF below)…

mujinotebook (tokyo)
(this is notebook [tokyo] *)

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* notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam, and notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo.

Since Yoko and I began this collaboration I have moved from Amsterdam to Haarlem. But as the two cities are extremely nearby neighbours we’ve agreed to stick with the ‘Amsterdam/Tokyo’ label for the project to avoid confusing ourselves (and Yoko informed me that ‘Haarlem’ (NL) and ‘Harlem’ (NYC) are spelt the same in Japanese… which could indeed be confusing!)

Previous Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts: (1) (2) (3)

 

springbok skull and glassblown polar bear

In celebration of today’s vernal equinox – and the promise it brings of much more light to come – here are some of the sunlit critters currently keeping me company at home and in the studio…

puffer fish and finger lickin' cat

paper puffer fish… finger lickin’ good

felted owl by swig (swig-filz-felt-feutre.blogspot.com)

owl (elegant fowl!) waits patiently in his not-quite-pea-green boat… (but pussycat is apparently too busy licking his paws for nautical nuptials?)

seahorse mobile by flensted

gently floating seahorses

abstracted cat

abstracted cat

work-in-progress wolf drawing

an unexpected rainbow cast across a work-in-progress wolf drawing

what cd shall I play now?

precarious pile of CDs (my studiomate’s DJ-ing aspirations are foiled again by his lack of opposable thumbs)

gira waving
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credits (in order of appearance):

◈ the skull once belonged to one of these majestic creatures
◈ the polar bear was made by the clever glass-blowing ladies of blåst glasshytta in tromsø, norway (northernmost glass-blowing studio in the world, apparently!)
◈ the fish is a japanese paper balloon – i found him at roppongi in amsterdam
◈ the handsome owl was made by the amazingly talented felt artist swig (you can pop over to her website right now for a spring postcard giveaway!)
◈ the very soothing seahorse mobile was created by flensted
◈ the angry (or is he remorseful?) yeti silkscreen print was made by kronk

(not included in this list are my own wolf drawings and the pictures of my furry studiomate :)

plaid sky

early morning sky with vapour trails

When the atmospheric conditions are just right the early morning sky visible from my studio’s east facing windows can be a veritable web of vapour trails (I don’t see or hear the planes… but I guess they’re always there even when their trails aren’t visible). The patterns these trails create against the blue and golden gradations of a winter’s sunrise have a certain beauty and appeal and they got me thinking about, and playing around with, plaid / check / tartan patterns… made out of early morning sky, vapour trails and Photoshop. Fun!

plaid sky

source sky image #1

plaid sky pattern

pattern derived from this source

plaid sky pattern

turquoise & red colour variation

plaid sky pattern

red & turquoise colour variation

plaid sky pattern

red & turquoise detail (look at all those little crisscrossing vapour trails! :)

plaid sky pattern

variation: “blue neon”

plaid sky pattern

variation: “dark matter”

plaid sky

source sky image #2

plaid sky pattern

pattern derived from this source

plaid sky pattern

variation: “rose tinted check”

plaid sky pattern

variation: “indigo diagonal”

The below animated GIF (9 frames in total) gives some indication of the (Photoshop) processes involved in creating these patterns:

plaid sky pattern construction

plaid sky pattern

another variation on the pattern created in the preceding animated GIF

Producing patterns in this way is a great way to learn more about how colour and tonal variations can impact on a design, and it is endlessly entertaining – I could spend days wandering this rabbit hole… but I really should get back to drawing wolves and jellyfish (more on those in due course).

some of my work, available on etsy
support worldwide wild cat conservation

Photos on Flickr

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

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