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jellyfish drawing, work-in-progress
I’ve been drawing jellyfish lately… and I realised pretty early on in my attempts that, despite the plethora of photographic reference material to be found in books and online, without access to a real live model I had no idea how to articulate the twisting, undulating, entwining, knurly oral arms of these compelling creatures.
What’s the next best thing to observing a live model (without leaving your desk)? A highly scientifically-inaccurate dummy hastily constructed from scrap paper, pipe cleaners, tape and bits of yarn, of course!
Fun to make… and it really did help me to figure out how I might draw those tricky, twisty oral arms!
Taped to a window, the overlapping paper ‘arms’ coupled with the play of light and shadow create some interesting abstract shapes too…
My trusty assistant has been on hand to offer advice on the best brush for inking…
… and to engage in a bit of virtual interspecies arm-wrestling.
More jellyfish WIP to come…
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.
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.
play of light & shadow
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!)
blue segues into green
magnolia, grape hyacinth
gateway to oz?
beneath our feet – spring growth, and a handpainted
reminder about what’s important embedded into the pavement
paparazzi-ing the locals!
“I am not interested in the relationship between form and colour. The only thing I care about is the expression of man’s basic emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, destiny.”
rothko speaking about his work
It had been a long time (too long!!) since I’d visited a gallery or museum, so I was very glad to be able to catch the last-chance late view of the Mark Rothko exhibition at the Gemeente Museum in The Hague last Friday evening (the exhibition ended on Sunday 1 March). I have always enjoyed looking at Rothko’s vast colour fields and pleasingly tactile, scumbled surfaces… exuding their shifting, ethereal inner luminescence. Even when his palette fades to black (on black) there’s depth and a remotely elusive glow to be found. For me his canvasses have the potential to envelop one with an effect akin to that of listening to music.
 &  No.9 [details], 1948
 orange & tan, 1954
 untitled [detail], 1949
 untitled (seagram mural sketch) [detail], 1959
 untitled, 1969
 &  untitled (seagram mural sketch) [details], 1959
 &  untitled (harvard mural sketch) [details], 1962
Despite Rothko’s assertions that his work is never about “the relationship between form and colour” I couldn’t help, on leaving the exhibition, feeling more attuned to noticing the colour fields…
and (sometimes dizzying) abstractions in the 1930’s tilework of the museum’s stairwells and corridors.
Vigeland Park is located a little north west of Oslo’s city centre in the Frogner district, and is the largest sculpture park in the world made by a single artist. More than 200 bronze & granite sculptures, and beautiful gates wrought in iron, fill the park. It’s all the work of the dauntingly prolific Gustav Vigeland (1869 – 1943), predominantly made during the last two decades of his life (although sketches and models for many of the sculptures were conceived earlier). It’s a “fantastic concoction, medieval in spirit and complexity” – a weirdly wonderful, exuberantly enigmatic celebration of life, death and everything in between. We made our first visit to the park late at night, and in the darkness and silence it’s a strange and eerie place…
We returned the following day – a breathtakingly beautiful spring day with an indescribably blue sky – for a better look (and to soak up some spring sunshine)…
And here’s the man himself, chisel and club hammer at the ready (and one of the intricate wrought iron entrance gates)…
I’ll be at Amsterdam’s Sunday Market at the Westergasfabriek this coming Sunday (3 Nov). It will be my first market experience as a ‘shop keeper’ rather than a ‘shopper/browser’, and I will be sharing the stand with my talented friend, Carmen – the designer and maker behind the unique carhusa range of bags, purses, phone & tablet cases. In addition to some of my ‘Curiosity Cabinet‘ and ‘Specimen‘ prints I will also have lots of new work available – such as this print, as well as the hand-coloured ‘huisje’ (‘little house’) screenprints and various hand-printed & hand-coloured cards shown here…
screenprinted and hand-coloured ‘dragon’ cards in blue…
… and orange
hand-coloured (watercolour) ‘huisje’ screenprints
‘sprig’ cards, hand-printed in two colours with envelope detailing
hand-printed ‘huisje’ cards in a restrained range of colours…
… and some eye-popping colour combinations too
If you’re in the area on Sunday pop by and say hello. The market is open 12 – 6pm, and I have it on good authority that in addition to the art and design that will be available to peruse and purchase there will also be lots of good things to eat and drink, and plenty of reasons to be merry :) Hope to see you Sunday!