Drawing

Amsterdam's best Coffeeshop \ Abraxas

I lived in Amsterdam for two years of my drawing adventure and the place was nothing but good to me. Amongst the drawings and eventually paintings I made, great friendships were forged, stories were shared, projects created and some of the greatest of those moments happened in one of my favourite coffeeshops in Amsterdam. The Abraxas lies in the heart of the city in a tiny alley way under the shadow of the grand palace. The atmosphere is more than cosy with the organic wooden seating and mosaic designs that cover the floors. There's a social vibe here rarely found in coffeeshops around the city. The staff are friendly and the coffee is great, what more could you ask for? In the beginning of my time in Amsterdam, a few events and "small world" stories occurred around the shop which lead to some of my most treasured experiences in life and of Amsterdam..

Firstly, in my search for a job and asking in the Abraxas I became acquainted with another customer, a lively 19 year old Dutchman who shared a passion for great coffee and just so happened to be opening a lunch room restaurant with his family. What followed was too surreal for words. I had my first job as an artist painting the tables for the terrace of the cafe, which lead to me working in the cafe itself, working the food, drinks and service, and eventually being semi-(no paperwork)-adopted by the most beautiful of families. I cannot put a value on the 18 months of living with 'The Kroons", They taught me more of life's worth than I knew possible. The mother and father are embassadors of the purest love I have ever encountered. Life's truly awe inspiring people who I can admire as peers and role models, for if I gain a fraction of what they have created, I will be naught but a happy man. The 4 Brothers too, unmistakable of the same kin, yet icredibly unique and individual characters in their own right. I have no doubt in my mind that they will all follow in there parents foot steps and make great things in all aspects of life.

Another time, in the exact same spot where I encountered Jesse (my now dutch brother) did I meet a middle aged bearded Norwegian, coming from Berlin to find an apartment in Amsterdam. After small smoke on a magic dragon, I find out the guy is a painter and we spent the rest of the day hanging out. After this day I did not hear from or speak to Lasse for some months, until one very normal day I was enjoying a lunch with a regular customer of the family cafe when suddenly she had to dash. Over an hour she left her brother and I talking and eating her delicious burger. Upon here return she was so happy and buoyant, she had just sold her apartment and all the things inside! You'll never guess who bought the apartment, yep, Lasse, the Norwegian Painter I met that one day. The world is too small. We got back in touch once he made his move, and what followed was the making of a gallery. Everything Is Fucking Art, Lasse's brainchild of a gallery space to exhibit his paintings in Amsterdam. We dicussed our ideas of what a gallery should be, and from this he asked me to get on board and help me make his. 

There was another chance encounter related to the coffeeshop, however this took place on the terrace of the family cafe where I served a kindred spirit and after some chatting she agreed to let me make her portrait. All normal so far I hear you say. Well, the portrait went smoothly, I caught the girl reading on her sofa in the living room of her apartment. After the portrait we continue talking, at some point the girl mentioned that she was in the area a lot because of the Abraxas, which I thought was quite funny as the girl, to my knowledge, did not smoke. I mentioned that it was my favourite coffee shop, she followed with the words "I Know". At this point, I'm a little stunned, how did this girl know this, was she psychic? (it wouldn't have surprised me), I had just that day met this girl, how did she know this. She continued with, "you're the kid that draws.". Now I'm really freaked out. Turns out there was no mental telepathy going on here, but the girl, just so happened to be the daughter of the owner of the Abraxas. Apparently word went around the top that there was a new kid in town and he comes armed with a pencil!

The girl and I became good friends and it was no long before we were talking Abraxas design ideas for the Souvenir shop. So here are he drawings I've made in the name of my favourite Coffeeshop. I highly recommend you check it out if you ever find yourself in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. 

www.abraxas.tv

My idea of Heaven \ Portrait

I cannot say I am a huge believer in love at first sight. This being said, I feel I’ve gotten as close as I’m ever gonna get. Only a handful of times in life have I, for the first time, laid eyes on a member of the opposite sex and been sucked into suspended animation. The world dissolved around me, I would be reduced to a rabbit caught in headlights. In this transfixed state I would try my hardest to recoil my grounded jaw, replace my eyes balls into their sockets and find some resemblance of a functioning human being within myself once again. Id say it is these moments in life that I would most resemble to this notion of “love upon first sight”.

I remember these few occasions vividly, as if all could have happened yesterday. Even the first, I was just 15 in a new city and a new school. It appeared to be as normal as any day could be for a fairly new student, from a distant land speaking a respectively foreign English. As I made my prescheduled commute between class with a couple of friends, it happened. The double doors that created regular intervals along the absurdly long corridors of the school, flew open ahead of us. What followed were 3 girls heading our way, chatting amongst themselves, laughing and giggling somewhat shyly. None of this really registered in my brain at the time, stunned and infatuated, Amelia Heaven “first love” a “firs sight”. What came to be is another story entirely, for now, heres a pretty picture. My idea of Heaven.

Mili Heaven.jpg

In terms of my process, I worked from a photo using a pencil to lay down the basic structure, from then on, it was all pen Bebe.  

Mandala Madness \ Feeling the Vibes

I went through a what I would call a mandala madness phase not so long ago, every page of my sketch book was being attacked with a compass and ruler, a few pencil lines followed by few hours each with pens. As well as being very peaceful and meditative to create mandalas it also allows you to explore and improve your drafting skills and penmanship in the process. The best thing is that you never quite know how your mandala will turn out in the end. Despite laying down similar pencil foundations in the beginning, the outcomes seem to be dramatically different. 

So here's what one week of 'Mandala Madness' looks like:

Portrait \ Spike

People are always passing through here in Budapest and this summer was no different. This week Spike was passing through on his way to help in the Belgrade refugee camps. I don't know spike so well, we've met each other only a handful of times in Amsterdam, we figured out that our connection is that he is my X-Girlfriends, X-Housemates, X-boyfriend! After a portrait and some nights up talking we know each other much better and can consider ourselves friends rather that two folk that know each other through their lover.

So heres the portrait anyhow. Working in this cubistic style I captured spike sitting and looking around the Gallery. You can also support Spike on his mission to help others here **GoFundMe**

Painters Palace \ At its best.

The Painters Palace has been a hive of activity over this festival period Budapest. It's buzzing with the creativity of artists and musicians. Over the 2 days we've had a visiting Italian artist Lou Rido stay with us. He's travelling with his chalks and laying his swirls where he can, incredible drawings. For some reason there seemed to be an overwhelming amount of French people with two large groups passing through. We've had numerous noise complaints, even the police called once for just one guy on guitar at 5:30 in the afternoon. The music in general consisted of violin, flute, dijurido, saxophone, guitar, Cajon and guitar along with many 'un'classical instruments, beer cans, wine bottles etc. Sewn into the life music we had some improvised life drawing session, mixing up the models and times of poses as we went.

For me this is the palace at its best. People drawing and painting (creating in general) good live music (most often improvised by spontaneous meetings of musicians) casual nudity (its a must, it works so well with life drawing and pushing peoples concept of a 'normal/steriotypical' scenario or social situation) New people, when the palace has just over a few people inside it becomes a even bigger magnet for even more people. Its great to see so many faces in such a short amount of time come through the doors and experience a new type of space, it's even more exciting to see so many happy faces. The palace has been humming with good vibes and its been getting people to hum in tune. What more could one wish for?

Here's some of my drawings from these days, as always, enjoy.

IMG_4667.jpg

Taka Tuka 2017 \ Drawings speak louder than words.

When it comes to describing Taka Tuka Festival in words things become a little tricky, its somewhat the same as trying to render the idea of enlightenment into written or spoken language, you fundamentally just cannot and actually, the more you try, the further you get from explaining it. Thats because its a feeling, and feelings must be felt, not understood. 

The best way I can describe Taka Tuka however, would be to imagine the period surrounding Christmas, when you know Christmas is just going to be the best Christmas ever, your extended family is complete with around 350 beautiful people with lots of energy and special musical/artistic skills. Put all this festivity onto a small island on the Danube with a limited supply of electricity yet unlimited supply of alcohol, food and music, pepper that with casual nudity and glorious sunny weather and you have the recipe for a great festival.

Compared to last year everything was 100x better not only from the weather, the fact that there was a well and access to abundant clean drinking water, but also the construction and basic infrastructure were massively improved. Previously the bar and kitchen in the main area were basically built from oversized twigs, however this year, tree trunks set a solid foundation for the structures to live on for years to come. Even better is that no trees were cut down to build the structures but the trees had been fell by beavers and reclaimed by the gang to build. The dance floor went from flooded muddy swap land to smooth beach stones centred with an all new DJ booth which took the form of a pirate ship extending from the base of a dead tree. The ship was complete with its own sails and mast, which you could really climb! The tree house was also more solid and better established with ropes, rings and things to play on. A new addition was the hate bar, here you could release your inner demons and let it 'all' out. What was the chill/jam stage last year was only a seating platform for the new Esperanto stage. A medium sized tensile structure over a solid, surprisingly flat, stage and this year there was a much needed bar in this area too. There was also a new area, probably my favourite addition, the Garden of Eden. This area was located a short walk down the island, separated from the music, it was a paradise in its own right. Even though there was no stage so to speak, here I heard some of the best music of the festival as musicians would rock up with their instruments and go acoustic and jam together. Best of all were the dijurido and the flute, both sounds sent from above!

My personal experience of the festival was one of much drawing and a lot dancing, I held an Adam and Eve themed Life Drawing session in the Garden of Eden then became horrendously ill with flu and other things... The sickness stopped me for 16 hours but not for longer, I continued to draw and dance and see out the rest of the festival in good spirits. I drew so much that in 5 days I filled an entire sketchbook (roughly 150 pages) with pen drawings of various moments I found myself in.

Here is a selection of the best drawings. Please bare in mind that a lot of the drawings were made with in extremely low light conditions which makes legible drawing a challenge.

A few more...

I hope you enjoy these drawings, whether you were able to make it to Take Tuka or not, I hope they give you an insight (or my insight) into the island and the people that inhabited it for this small period of time. Maybe you recognise some of the faces in the scribbled lines, possibly even see yourself. I cannot thank the Taka Tuka crew enough, the Brothers, their lovers and everyone who pitched in big or small, you made the best festival I've ever been to, with that you get all my love and respect & my attendance next year! 

"Thats a Wrap." / Painting the movies.

For sometime now they have been shooting some movies in my area, as I walk to and from my house I see shooting in action. First of all it's great because I love films and seeing the makin gof them is a pleasure, I love the extremes that blockbuster shows push in terms of amount of technology, equipment and coordination, the whole operation is a performance in itself. However what I always happen to see is people (usually extras dressed in full costume) standing around waiting for their call to scene. Now this is where I see opportunity, they would make perfect models in costume especially now as they seem to filming two period pieces set in 1920's. People everywhere dressing in ornate hats and dresses, surrounded by horses and carriages in these smokey ethereal street scenes. 

Today the opportunity to paint these scenes metaphorically slapped me in the face and quite literally landed on my doorstep. Right outside my studio on the Brody Sandor in Budapest, the whole of the Vas Utca was cornered off for filming. The street was hung with oversized Hungarian flags, which instantly reminded me of Monet's Paris scene with French flags flying everywhere. There were small legions of foot officers or soldiers, I couldn't see from the distance and the smoke and also there where troops on horse back riding up and down the street. The rest I hope the pictures will explain. 

This is the final painting from the day. I gave the painting away to a young security guard who took an interest in it. 5 Minutes later, the special effects guy gets a call saying the Oscar award winning director, László Nemes, wanted the painting. Shucks, could have met a super star.

UbikFarm Festival \ One night in Drawings

This last weekend I attended the much anticipated UbikFarm Festival, the little sister of the wicked festival UbikEklectik. The event was hosted by the guys at Farmunk in Vértesszőlős and I recon about 250 people in attendance. A petite festival that was overflowing with kindred spirits and feelings of free love and good vibes. I took A fresh sketchbook to see what would come of one Saturday night on the farm. Below are the results in order. I arrived at around 5pm on the Saturday and the last drawing was from 10am Sunday morning, when I wasn't drawing I was dancing and dipping (in the lake). Please bear in mind it was very, very dark during the majority of these drawings, and that I was drawing with speed to capture more of an idea of the festival rather than a realistic image. Some images I missed, like the piglets running behind the bar and the goats cruising with a rattle through the trees but I had a wicked night and am happy with the sketches.

Biggest Thanks to the Ubik guys, Taka Tuka crew and the wonderful folk of Farmunk for, as always, a great gathering of people combined with all sorts of fun. You really know how to do it. 

For More info check here \/

UbikEklektik  \  Taka Tuka  \  Farmunk

Portrait \ Passer By

It was a lovely Saturday afternoon and as I was just set up to paint at the doors of my gallery, two girls walked past and took a gander at the goings on inside. After passing, there quickly returned and inquired if I make portraits. I obliged and admitted to the certain style I was making them in this moment, and that a portrait would take roughly 15 minutes. She decided to site for me! 

The reason I Warned the girl as to the style of portrait is that when I utilise this style (especially with females) the character of the line itself is hard, often blocky which works well with the features of the man but can do a metaphorical dump on the physical appearance of a girl. 

Heres my attempt at Uma's Portrait, I'm happy with it considering the time it took and the fact that I had just met this girl I was portraying. I would love another 2 attempts to create the piece, I've found that in doing more that one of these portraits in quick succession is the key to create one that really hits the mark.

 

Style Test \ Nick Drake

I've found this new style I want to experiment further with. Using ink and brush I go over an initial sketch with a continuous and directionless line to build up tonal regions. (original photo by Keith Morris)

My initial idea was to actually build up the tones in greys, however when it came to use the ink I was so excited that I forgot to dilute it down, therefore had to continue with pure black. Still a satisfying outcome, however many improvements to be made. I want to use this technique to portray characters and people that have influenced/inspired my life to this point. 

Watch this space, more too come.

 

Apple Pencil 2.0 \ 8 ideas for the ultimate digital pencil.

I've had roughly a ten year history with apple now, I started using Mac when I was 16. Safe to say I was converted by mostly the user experience and quality of their products and in many ways their company ethos and morals. With the WWDC now past, although it was a good one and I would love to get my hands on the new 10 inch iPad, I was hoping to see more improvements to the Apple Pencil hardware. I know there were some software updates, which is cool, it has a few more little nifty features in notes and the lock screen, also the benefits of the new display with high refresh rate and less reflectivity. but just software updates did little to excite me. When the pencil first came out, I was excited, I predicted it 5 years prior to release, I knew apple would never make a stylus, but a pencil now thats a completely different story, the pencil for me is the most powerful tool in my arsenal. The Apple Pencil in its own right is a great pencil, the pressure is smooth at 1024 lvls, tilt and palm rejection, all is good. But in my opinion it could be soooo much better, so much more! The pencil is not just a drawing instrument, its a fully fledged tool, in the right hands it could conduct an orchestra.

Heres how,

1. user awareness, imagine if your pencil could distinguish whether it was you, your friend even your grandma who was using it. You could separate and view input into collaborated documents such as movies, drawings and notes (contextual)

2. multiple pencils on one device (video editing, collaboration drawing/painting, air drum sticks in garage band)

3. local notes, carry your notes with you in your pen.

4. A button... or two, yes the pencil has its pure slick design, but that doesn't mean it has no need for a button, I can. live without the eraser on top, but adding a custmisable button or two built into the apple pencil would make workflow a dream. It doesn't have to be a classic push button, I'm imagining more of a tap ribbon/zone setup with perhaps haptic feedback that wraps around the pencil, you could single tap to invoke an action or double tap to get a a quick menu, brush presets, colour palette etc, embedded Touch ID would be an ideal way to get into your cloud files on others hardware, 

5. Siri notes. Imagine if you could just speak memos to your pencil, you don't even need to get your iPad out but they would be available later.

6. measure more with sensors, what if you could use your pencil as a drumstick in garage band, to tap out a tempo or a rhythm. As a 3D brush, just imagine for a second if you could wave your pencil around and draw in thin air and the lines would appear in AR. With camera and sensor tracking the pencil could be orientated in space and hey presto, your painting in 3D! Or use your pencil with Apple TV and other apple devices. Open out the pencil platform, allow developers access..

7. Other colours! Product RED, jet black, c'moooon this ones a piece of cake and very disappointing not to see introduced at last weeks event.

8. Wireless charging, its not going to happen to the pencil until at least the 3rd iteration. Yet we all know, its a must and its coming, one day.

I realise that to maintain the current and essential form factor of the pencil, then some of these updates would involve huge tech advances in terms of battery and processing power/efficiency. Whilst on the subject of form, the pencil is comfortable to hold with great balance, however, and maybe its just my hands, the pen could be a hairs width thinner in my opinion.

All this said I cannot wait to see how the new iPad refreshes feel of the pencil, I'm most excited to see how the screen refresh rate smoothes the experience of drawing digitally. I don't see that happening other than in stores at the moment though unless I sell a painting or two! Does anybody know if apple does artist sponsorship? 

flash back \ 2 models, same place, 24 hours apart, 1 BIG difference

Once upon a time I was lucky enough to have two separate models pose within the space of 24 hours on the same location. In normal circumstances the drawings would have end up seemingly similar, however, as it turns out, the drawings couldn’t be any different!

1st Lena, where I made one or two pencil drawings taking roughly and hour each, came out looking quite realistic although I would say somewhat masculine, which in reality, is not necessarily the case.

2nd Tempest, the difference is quite apparent. What emerged from this 2 hour draw session was a psychedelic, 3 legged lady thing lying upside down on the sofa, head dangling freely whilst one of her 3 big toes caresses the rim of the bulbous lampshade. The penned piece is so far flung from the previous nights drawing you would be hard pushed to say that it was the same artist who authored them. Had I not just told you.

So whats the difference, why the dramatic and sudden change in style? 

Easily put, the difference was music. On the first occasion I was catching up with a friend as well as drawing a figure, there was little room for music. During the the day prior to next evenings session, I spent the day with a good friend Monsieur MacDonald who so happens to be a member of this so called 'Dream Rimmy" band from Perth. Pretty finger licking stuff that played on my mind until the night. Tempest came to pose and I asked her to sit/lie however she wanted on the couch and then to get comfortable. She took it upon her self to lay her legs over the back of the sofa. Whilst capturing the scene in ink like this, I do not worry so much for proportion or irregularities, I get my one line and I got for it worrying more about creating an atmosphere and sense of the moment rather than fixing mistakes. This leads to fair accurate but absurd looking characters, in this case the third leg arose as I thought to make a "Dream Rimmy" piece out of it, I asked Tempest to imagine herself trying to turn the light "on" with here big toe. The rest is history. 

What is interesting to note, is that the impression of the lamp is constant in both drawings, this was intentional, I didn't want to mess too much with the for of the lamp, I mean c'mon, its beautiful. Also, in the second drawing, I captured moments of the model walking around the couch eyeing up the perfect spot to place herself, you can see her on the right.

sketchbook \ two dudes

I love to draw from my mind especially when drawing portraits and characters. the results are usually unpredictable. 

Here’s two examples of recent sketches I made whilst playing with the proportions and features of the face. I am particularly happy with the texture of the stubble and the size of the glasses on the face of the first character. The second character is far more loosely drawn and the least successful of the two drawings. I remember in both I wanted to specifically have the mouths open, I got bored of drawing closed ones.

brain jones town massacre \ Budapest concert

Got to see one of my all time favourite bands for the second time last night, Brian Jones Town Massacre. Arriving 2 hours early to the show at A38 we were lucky enough to run into and have a chat with the man himself, Anton Newcombe, who's music has accompanied many of my drawing sessions in the past and inspired me to no end! He was exactly how I imagined him in person, the only thing that surprised me was that he was wielding an iPhone and showing me some of the quirky collages he'd been making on the tour, I didn't expect a musical legend to be so tech savvy and apparently in that way orientated. He also had the phone in his back pocket the whole concert, killed the all white linen, angelic vibe I think he was aiming for with an outline of a house brick dangling from his butt. Music was great though, an eclectic 

Anyhow, didn't stop me making a drawing! I left it the drawing in Anton's pedal case, haven't heard back from him yet... haha

dream rimmy \ fan art

Yet another incredible band to come out of Perth, Australia. Dream Rimmy will take you on the psychedelic journey you're looking for. Soothing lyrics on some sick base and ridiculously raunchy riffs. Listen to the rim of your dreams for yourself and see. 

>>>> DREAM RIMMY <<<<

drawing \ sitting, sketching in the Abraxas Souvenir shop

A must visit whilst in Amsterdam. Super chilled and easy vibes all the way. Great staff and quality selection of products. You can even by postcards, t-shirts and prints with my designs on!

drawing \ eye of Ra

Before I left Amsterdam for a period of travelling, I was gifted a necklace with an eye of Ra attached by somebody I love. The eye mainly represents protection and good health amongst other things. Definitely a good omen for my travels. Its a bizarre feeling you have a third eye that always watching out for you - comforting, once you get used to it.

I took it off one day to make this drawing. Completed with only a Bic biro.

Text reads:

RA, Creator of all. Maker of me, Shine your light. See my soul, it is Yours. Not part, But Whole. RA...

I struggle with writing so much. I always want these poetic moments in my life and then reading back it all sees so cheesy. 

I ended up getting very frustrated with myself one day and ripped this drawing up and put it in the bin... long, different story.

 

Stadspaleis & I \ mini documentary

A lovely bunch a film making students recently fell in love with the adorable cafe, Het Stadspaleis. They asked very politely if they would be able to make a documentary of the place, me and how it came to be.

Thankyou guys for the great documentary, it really captures the stads-vibe. A slightly embarrassing first film experience for me. I think it shows...