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. 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.Here (on the courtyard wall) is my drawing of townspeople fleeing from the fire and below, the church tower engulfed in flames.This 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! 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….…with more flames and smoke gradually obliterating the town….….so that the figures were completely surrounded by smoke and fire.Some 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. It 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.