Posts tagged art
Faces of Fiction \ The Ice Queen

Anybody who knows me knows I love to draw portraits. Most of the time those drawings/paintings are from life and sometimes the drawing from the memory of characters I encounter in life and some completely ficticious faces constructed by my mind and the moment in which I find myself. 

Well here we have one of my semi fictitious characters. The Ice Queen, conceived in my mind over two years back now, is a subject based on certain qualities of an individual that you could say I know very well, or at least I thought I knew very well, mixed with my ideas and visions of what a true Ice Queen really is. Obviously elements such as coldness, or 'lack of' warmth come to mind. Blues, icy blues, hard edges and strong contrasts alongside some implied character traits suggested in amongst the distorted facial features. I was liberal with the oils and richness of the blues whilst refining the lines with charcoal as I went, what you see below is the outcome of about 5 hours painting, enjoy the ice queens but be warned, don't get too close, frost can bite, hard.. 

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.  

Naked Chaos \ Vad art kiállítás

I was lucky enough, as an artist who adores drawing nudes, to recently have six girls pose naked for me in one sitting. The space was small and alcohol had been consumed, as you can imagine the scene was a little chaotic and the chances of keeping anybody still for the amount of time to capture an accurate representation of the scene before me were slim to naught. 

However an opportunity to represent the scenario arose in the form of a bubbly and determined Irish girl who goes by the name of Dervla who happened to be hosting what she called a 'Wild Art" Exhibition. Somehow, Dervla had managed to get her hands on a fairly large apartment and permission to paint on alllllll of the walls and she was recruiting artists to fill the space with both paintings and unique, temporary art. Naturally the Painters Palace was a solid point of call and a few of us got together and took over one room of the apartment. We each took our own section of wall and started painting a few days before the exhibition. I had the idea in mind of what style I wanted to implement to show the chaos, the movement, the intertwining limbs from that night with the English girls. I did not do any preliminary sketches, other than the drawings from the 90 minute session. Working in this style is a very impulsive and intuitive process, I find that trying to build the picture before you meet the canvas can intrude on an organic and spontaneous outcome. Therefore I dwell on the idea of the scenario/memory, what I found interesting, the conversations between the subjects (which were extremely fascinating), less on the real form or identities of the girls themselves but most importantly, thinking about the actual process of the painting, down to the brush strokes, in forms of movements that translate into marks that make the picture. Little moments of memory come to me as I create, like the side of a thigh running into the curve of the calf, the expression or tilt on ones face and it seems the as the moments come to me, I have to realise and compose them on the wall. As the exhibition was only intended to be one night I held back on refining every detail of the painting and rather looked for an overall harmony in the piece which ended up being roughly 4m wide and 2.4m tall.

Big Thanks to Dervla and everybody that was involved with the event. It was a huge success with attendance around 700 over the space of 5 hours, which in my book is pretty funking incredible for a first time event! For more info on the exhibition, the artists and works involved plus upcoming events > check here.

Below you can see the finished result, followed by the piece in context of the other works in the space, and then some shots of the process. As always, Enjoy.                                    

Final Piece.

Final Piece.

In context.

In context.

The process.

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:

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.

GALLERIES ARE DEAD \ Long live the Painters Palace.

  I set off on an adventure to travel and draw, I had a dream of opening studios. Studios to accommodate drawing and painting but most importantly studios with open doors and public participation. All in the aim of supporting and connecting travelling or local artists on their journeys but most importantly, studios that support and to every extent encourage, the creation of art itself, by anybody who feels that desire to create.

The magic of art is lost in galleries. And the connection between audience and artist severed. They are dead spaces with (not often enough) some nice "art" on the walls. My studios would be tactile and approachable, inviting not only the artists inside to work but the laymen, the public, the people who normally would not have the connection to art, artist or 'the process'. There is a little bit of artist in all of us and I want my spaces to nourish that character.

Im writing this post as it so happens to be the one year anniversary of the first major step towards my dream. I came to Budapest little over a year ago to open my first studio, I arrived with my Dutch brother Jesse, who wanted to help build something special. Armed with big ideas and a crumbling basement we set upon opening the Painters Palace. An open studio space in the centre of Budapest where people could feel free to be themselves, create their art and connect with others along the way. 

It's been a truly great year, most days we have welcomed people from all over world through our doors. (This is great because if I'm not travelling go its nice having the world to come to me instead.) During the first year establishing a core group of artists was key to keep the paint of the palace flowing, thanks to this core group the studio has hosted a multitude of events beyond the realm of drawing/painting sessions and workshops. From concerts, jams and recordings, markets, parties (may we not forget Indian New Year...). From all this the Painters Palace has inspired life and art in people, it has brought them together and forged tight friendships. Encouraging all to be and express themselves. 

Don't get me wrong, it has by no means been a breeze. Reality is that 99% of the big ideas you have at the beginning of a process do not come to fruition in the first year of operation or in other cases tested and proven to be a sour tact. But that's just life, you win some and you lose some. For now my aim is to keep the palace rocking the best I can, we will see what comes of it.  

So Happy Birthday to my studio, may the Painters Palace live forever! 

Sneak peak from the party:

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It was a great party to celebrate, we had food, drinks, life drawings, portraits and Palinka Republic took the rook of the place with their epic upbeat tunes which eventually lead to the police being called and party time capped! Thankyou to all those who came down, and to all those that have made the palace what it is, no matter how big or how small your contribution, it is invaluable! 

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.

 

Inspired by Impressionists \ Painting the Museum Garden.

After indulging myself in a 3part/hour documentary of the impressionist movement, I got a inner burning to take my easel outdoors again and paint like the pioneers of this colourful style. 

The documentary focussed mainly around Monet as he is considered the father of impressionism, but also includes the stories of Degar, Manet, Cezanne and a few other characters central to this artistic revolution.

I decided I wanted to use a limited palette today, and build the numerous colours from a stable base of primaries. The colours I had on my board were.....!!!!  I began the painting at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and could only paint until 5pm before the light had changed too much. So I went back the next day.

unfortunately I did not take a photo of day two progression.   

A week later after being away I managed to get back to the museum to continue.  

Its amazing how in just a week the scene had changed. the foliage on the trees had become less dense, he yellow/orange I was seeing burn through the Center tree had diminished significantly. Alas, I continued. 

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day 3 (total time painting 5/6 hours) 

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.

painting \ mum's birthday present

Im sure that every person, at some point in their lives has, in some way, failed their parents expectations on their birthday. If you're anything like me then this feeling can become somewhat of an annual event! 

My mum has done so much for me growing up and still continues now. Being a 24 year old painting living abroad she still manages to do the simplest, nicest little things that make my life just that little bit easier. This year I was determined not to fail at the birthday giving, I was going to produce more than the three rings of a phone call and a chirp birthday song. I had an eureka moment whilst parked in a small cafe in Amsterdam. Armed, for some strange reason, with a small piece of squared paper I birthed the idea of this paternal embrace. I wanted to convey an idea that the mother figure, despite distorting herself with the aim of comforting her child, maintained an eternal state of bliss. As if some how blindly guided to a place of serenity.

Luckily at that time had had a 1x1m square canvas lying in the studio. 

I got to work!

The tragedy is that due to the heavy, thick oil painting I laid onto this thing plus the pigment laid in oil, I was unable to deliver the painting to my mother for the intended birthday and had to wait one whole year whilst it dried. Eventually I got to hand deliver the painting and surprise my mum by showing up on her doorstep at the same time! The funniest thing had to be the dominance of the painting in the modest cottage bedroom of my mum and her husband. Sorry Andy!!

Mum, if you're reading this, I hope you enjoy your painting and sorry for all the shit presents in the past. I love you so much :) 

Wall Art \ Hostel 1, Budpest

Recently the Painters Palace was asked to add some excitement and colour to the white walls of the newly renovated hostel. This was my contribution, right newt to the reception.

I used some good quality acrylic paint and finished with markers. Overall I think the piece is about 2m by 2m. 

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...