At Floating Castle Festival, Slovenia – Part 2

On Saturday night it was the ‘grand finale’ of the festival. In order to get a good view people began to gather early, long before it was dark, as the photo below by Paolo Tanze shows. By the time the concert started there were so many people that there was not one patch of grass visible on the bank and crowds were also standing on the path and the bridge to the castle.1-20615951_10211856887310653_2030352709448392462_oWhile the etno histeria world orchestra began to assemble on the stage over the lake,  the Czech folklore ensemble from the music school of Chrást, near Plzeň stood among the crowds and began the evening’s entertainment with music from South and West Bohemia….02-P1000208…and I made this drawing to accompany their performance.

04-P1000224Then the orchestra began to play….1-P1080659…and I began a new drawing sequence. 05-P1000225Below, Matija Solce in his golden suit plays his accordion on the raft in front of the orchestra… 06-P100023607-P1000243…and in the photo above on the bank opposite the bridge the huge fantastic bear  puppets can just be seen in the darkness swaying in time to the music. The atmosphere was quite magical, the music of the orchestra, acrobats under the bridge, the puppets and the castle reflected in the water – all together it made it a real joy for me to draw.10-P100027011-P100027912-P100028513-P1000291Then , with Matija on the stage leading the orchestra, the concert continued with a spectacular fire show…14-P10003041-P1000293…followed by more great music from the orchestra….16-P100031717-P1000324.., and of course the audience kept applauding and shouting for more!20-P1000336It was very late when we turned off the projector and packed up our equipment and I was so thankful when Pepa and the crew arrived to carry everything up the steep bank for us – it had been a great concert, definitely a night to remember!

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At Floating Castle Festival, Slovenia – Part 1

We returned again this year to beautiful Loska Dolina valley to draw on the castle, Grad Sneznik – and to enjoy our ‘summer holiday’ of three days and nights of great music, theatre and puppetry at the Floating Castle Festival! On Thursday night, while a large and enthusiastic audience danced to the music of Nano Stern, I made some late night improvisations on the front of the castle.1-IMG_20170803_2344293-IMG_20170804_0004274-IMG_20170804_000605 Unfortunately I have only these few photos from Dima’s mobile phone of this session. It was so nice to draw on the castle again so I worked till late amusing myself by drawing some big heads…

7-IMG_20170804_0032248-IMG_20170804_003532Unlike last year when the weather was cold and damp, this year it was blisteringly hot and I was really glad that I was drawing only in the evening when it was a bit cooler.  Each day from breakfast time there were lots of different outdoor performances on the various stages and little groups of musicians practising in the shade under the trees. The hot weather brought out the crowds and everyone was in holiday mood – perfect festival atmosphere!

On Friday we set up the Tagtool and projector to draw on the side of the castle from across the lake. I had two performances during the evening, the first for Kate Young’s group, Kate in the Kettle. Her programme featured songs about the flowers and medicinal plants of her native south of Scotland so it was a special joy for me to provide the visual accompaniment for her concert as her compositions instantly transported me back to my own childhood, walking and gathering flowers with my mother in the countryside around Borthwick Castle.1-P10000453-P1000073I began by drawing the landscape with the castle in the background then added a meadow of the plants and flowers featured in the songs, including  dandelion ‘clocks’, gentians and (my mother’s favourite) gowans.5-P10000816-P10001131-P1080568So – this was a departure from my usual subject matter but with Kate’s music as inspiration I was quite happy with the result. Dima took lots of photos for me, but I think that this one below, by Marko Gasparovic, is my favourite as it also includes me standing drawing next to the projector with the audience on the bank behind me.7-20645405_10214349167262574_650780303196692364_o

Then, after an hour’s break it was time for a change of subject matter when I began to draw for the concert by the Wild Strings Trio.01-P1000116

07-P10001322-P1080591After these figurative sequences I continued to work in full colour…..08-P100015009-P1000153…and over this abstract background I gradually added a procession of silhouetted figures climbing up the bank away from the stage echoing the shadows on the round tower and reflections in the water of the musicians.10-P10001674-P1080611 I ended my night’s drawing with one last figurative sequence.

5-P1080637

15-P1000190It had been a long night of drawing but it was a real privilege to be able to work with these two great groups of musicians!

 

 

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With Grad Gori in Hradec Kralove

On Saturday 24 June I was drawing to accompany Grad Gori at this international festival hosted by Drak Puppet Theatre.  The performance was held in the big tent outside the building of the puppet theatre and museum, and their programme was similar to the performance at which I did drawings in Gyor in Hungary. This time I was drawing on the roof of the tent as the ‘wall’ behind the stage was covered with black fabric.2-00006 (0-11-06-00)This made it not so easy to connect the images and the musicians – and also I had to contend with the distortion of the sloping surface of the canvas.1-00006 (0-04-08-10) Most of the songs were quite short which meant that there was not enough time to develop an appropriate image for each item, although I was able to merge one drawing into another for some of the programme.`With hindsight, perhaps for this location it would have been better just to develop more fully two or three drawings rather than try to ‘match’ the images to individual songs….Of course there was no time for me to take photos but as Dima was testing his new video camera these are a few screenshots of the performance.4-00006 (0-28-42-19)5-00006 (0-31-28-09)This was the first time that we have visited Divadlo Drak and before the performance we were given a most interesting tour of the theatre and puppet museum. I wished we had had the time to see a performance in the theatre building, but we did see the premiere of Matija Solce’s ‘Dog’s Life’ in the big tent (which was great!) and before we left the festival on Sunday morning we watched the open air ‘Cirkus Nostalgie‘ – this was a delightful performance, featuring acrobatics and clowning, with musical accompaniment by the band Tygroo on a ‘stage’ formed by curtains strung between two old-fashioned caravans. We ate pancakes in the sunshine and everyone was laughing and happy – a perfect end to our visit to Hradec Kralove!

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At Museum Night, Louny

This evening event was held to commemorate the 500 year anniversary of the great fire that destroyed a significant part of the historic Czech town of Louny, one of several of the catastrophes that are the subject of the current special exhibition in the town’s museum. In the 1715 fire the nave and part of the tower of the spectacular late Gothic St Nicolas Church, which is adjacent to the museum, was destroyed and my evening of drawing to recall this catastrophe began in the courtyard of the museum.1-P1080422 The church was so large that it was not possible for me to take a photo with my little camera that would show both the courtyard wall and the tower and spires of the church behind it which were to be the ‘canvas’ for my drawing. However, we were able to borrow a huge 11000 lumens projector (for which a very big thank you to the Lunchmeat label!). We positioned this projector at a window on the first floor  of the museum so that it covered all of the church to the very top of the tower while our smaller projector was mounted on a tripod downstairs, projecting on to the white courtyard wall below the church.2-P1080434Here (on the courtyard wall) is my drawing of townspeople fleeing from the fire and below, the church tower engulfed in flames.4-P1080430This was a great set up – but drawing using two projectors like this to construct the one image was not easy. Only on one part of the surface of my Wacom drawing tablet could I draw on the church, with the other (much smaller) part of the tablet for the drawing of the figures below. So I had to be always very careful not to let any drawing of one part of the image ‘stray’ into the other! 3-P1080431 Jazz improvisations by Jan, Cyril and Radomil accompanied this performance and then after a short break we moved our projector and the Tagtool from the museum courtyard to project on to the gable wall of the town hall in the square – another great location and huge surface to work on – and this time I made not so much a performance drawing as a temporary mural, again imagining the panic and confusion of the townspeople at the time of the great fire.

I began with blue sky and an outline of the town in the distance, gradually adding  more figures in the foreground as the fire took hold behind them….03-P108046204-P1080470…with more flames and smoke gradually obliterating the town….06-P1080489….so that the figures were completely surrounded by smoke and fire.07-P1080494Some people who were at the museum performance came to watch this second drawing   but it also attracted some passers by who stopped for a while to watch what I was doing, while other people stood and chatted in the street at the refreshment stall.   11-P1080501It was great just to be able to do a drawing like this, working at my own pace, and it was after midnight when I faded the final image and we packed up all the equipment and headed for home.

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Tagtool at FotonXperience party

On Saturday we were invited to draw at the launch party of this new Prague-based audio visual collective.01-P1080401In the afternoon at VILA Štvanice (above) there was a picnic with music outside the theatre, continuing until late in the night with more live music, DJs and installations both inside the theatre and outside on the grass and among the trees. We set up the Tagtool to cover the whole of the building with the entrance to the bar in the centre and once it got really dark I began to draw.02-P108040303-P1080402As there was virtually no ambient lighting affecting this side of the building and the only illumination for people sitting outside was coming from the laser and led light installations on the grass and among the trees in the park, it was not difficult to produce dramatic effects with the Tagtool. But as well as drawing in full colour I also worked in black and white, making the building almost disappear in the darkness.04-P108040605-P1080408At the start of the evening the live music was outside  but later the action moved inside the theatre, although many people remained drinking at the tables outside the bar and sitting on the grass among the led lights and laser installations.06-P108041007-P108041108-P1080414Both the weather and the location were ideal for drawing and the relaxed party atmosphere meant that I could draw at my own pace and also stop from time to time and join the party. Some people who hadn’t seen the Tagtool before came and wanted to know about it. Because they were interested in having a demonstration, instead of packing up and going home, we had a late night impromptu ‘have a go’ session! I was sorry that we didn’t have our Tagtool mini with us as most people were right-handed and it’s not easy to draw ‘cross handed’. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos from this fun session but at the very end of the night I took the two photos below….11-P108042012-P1080421One of the party-goers had drawn a kaleidoscope of colours over the whole building. Then I drew this black silhouette on top of his drawing and he posed with his arms in the air while his friends took photos for him – great fun and a very nice ending to a great evening!

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Two recent performances

It’s catch up time for the blog! On Friday 12 May we were in Kozarišče, Slovenia, at Grad Snežnik. I was Tagtool drawing outdoors, not on the castle itself (as at the Floating Castle Festival) but at an evening concert that was held in front of an adjacent building where refreshments are served for visitors at the weekend.1-P1080266It was great to be back at this lovely location, even for just a day!

Then on Sunday 14 May we were in Hungary….1-P1080371Here I was drawing at a performance by the music group Grad Gori as part of the Five Churches Festival, GyőrÚjváros in the beautiful Synagogue of Győr.

So – one weekend but two very different locations and also very different types of music! In Slovenia my drawing was to accompany instrumental jazz improvisations, while the songs in Grad Gori’s concert, entitled ‘Under God’s Sky’, took their inspiration from old Slovenian and Swedish tales. Here are some more images to end this posting. The first four are from the concert in Slovenia….1-P10803233-P10803354-P10803405-P1080353…and below, three images from the concert in the Synagogue of Győr.3-P10803814-P10803925-P1080393

 

 

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Tagtool and Dance Performance

For some time I have been looking for an opportunity to combine Tagtool drawing with a dance performance so I was really happy to be able to work with Kateřina Eva Lanči at her dance studio in Drozdov. We had two intensive practice sessions at Drozdov, in the first she danced alone and for the second her partner was Václav Kovář.  Here are two photos from our first session… 1-P10800312-P1080057Kateřina chose the playlist for this session and it was interesting for me to have some different music to accompany my drawing.  For the second session we had live music by Turkish musicians, Fezayafirar, with whom I have worked on previous occasions but unfortunately I don’t have any photos for the blog. Then on 5 May we had a performance all together in Prague at the interesting old theatre, Venuše ve Švehlovce. For this public performance the musicians were located on the stage behind the seating for the audience….1-P1080172….while the dancers occupied the auditorium with the drawing covering the whole of this space, floor, walls and balcony, sometimes illuminating or sometimes obscuring the dancers.5-P10801684-P10801663-P1080170Venuše is  an ideal venue for this kind of collaborative performance and we spent one whole day working together in the space while Dima and Lukas took a lot of video. Dima will edit this video later but meantime here are some more photos to end this posting.7-venuse_012766-P10801561-venuse_002722-venuse_004063-venuse_005185-venuse_006266-venuse_011232-P10801841-P1080186.JPG

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