I was invited to draw to accompany Awali (the project of Prague based musician, Tamara Shmidt) at the opening performance on Friday 4 October on the Club Stage at this annual international festival of advanced electronic music and new media art organised by the Lunchmeat Label at Studio Hrdinů in Prague.Dima was on hand to take lots of photos for me, including this ghostly shot, which I rather like, of some of the audience standing close up to watch Awali’s performance.Unfortunately in all of the photos, because there was no lighting on the stage itself, if she can be seen at all, Tamara only appears as a silhouette, which sometimes I tried as in the photos below to incorporate into my drawing. I had been able to familiarise myself beforehand with most of the music that she was going to perform, but because both Tamara and I had had terrible colds, we were only able to have one rehearsal together on the day before our performance – which made me very nervous indeed! I had decided to use a lot of transparent colour and semi-abstract images to accompany several of the songs – which was quite a departure from my usual imagery, but seemed to me to fit best with the mood of Awali’s music. Although we had so little time beforehand to work together I really enjoyed making these visuals and after the performance we decided that if an opportunity arose we would be very happy to work together again. I will end this post with another two of Dima’s photos.
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Catch up time for the blog – long overdue! This Czech/German festival was held in the district of Jesenik (which in former times was part of Silesia) and on Saturday 29 September I was drawing on the exterior of an historic building in the picturesque village of Bukova. Although it was beautiful sunny weather by day, in the evening it was extremely cold, making it difficult both for my Tagtool drawing and also for Cyril, Martin and Dima who were providing the live music for the event. For the first half of the concert I draw on the building, then Dima turned the projector and Tagtool to project on the surrounding trees. Unfortunately I have no images of any of these drawings. There was a good sized audience for this event and lots of people were taking pictures on their phones but I had a sore throat and by the time the performance ended I was so cold and unwell that I didn’t ask anyone to send me photos.
On 7 and 8 September at Karlovy Vary’s festival of light, ‘Shining Vary’, I had two very intensive evenings of Tagtool drawing. The location was the St Maria Magdalena Church in the town centre… ….and to cover the whole of the front of the church, Borovka, the festival organisers, set up four powerful 12000 lumen projectors – which was really wonderful!With the street lighting and floodlights in front of the church turned off, the colours from the projectors were beautiful and super-bright and in the darkness my drawings could clearly be seen from a distance as well as near to.We arrived two days before the festival so that I could test the equipment and make drawings to be projected between my live sessions on the Friday and Saturday nights.The festival nights were a real drawing marathon for me – the show was scheduled each evening from 9 pm till midnight. I did three live drawings each night, so having the pre-prepared sessions in between gave me some welcome pauses. The theme chosen was ‘Happiness’ and I decided to do some abstract work as well as figurative drawing to provide variety for the audience. Kuba and Dima took lots of photos for me, which was great! Below is a selection of Kuba’s photos from Friday night.Below are photos that Dima took on his mobile phone on Saturday. The two collages below are from my first drawing sequence of the evening……and here are some more images from the later sessions.
It was a great opportunity for me to be able to draw at this wonderful location with such powerful projectors. I must end this post with a big thank you to the organisers for inviting me and also to Cyril Kaplan (pictured below) who provided the live music to accompany my drawing.
On Wednesday 29 August we hosted a Tagtool workshop at Kulturni Dom, Cerknica followed by an evening of drawing to accompany the Cerknica Big Band Concert which was held in the square outside the building. For the workshop we used the very bright projector in the hall as well as our two projectors. I made the introductory drawing below using my big All-in-one machine plus our other Wacom drawing tablet and Tagtool mini, the two images covering both the screen on the stage and the wall of the auditorium.The two young boys who came for the workshop drew happily all afternoon – and the adults were able to ‘have a go’ as well! We had also brought along our two iPads to show off the latest version of the Tagtool for iPad app. and I was amazed how the boys instantly discovered for themselves and were able to use all the various drawing and animation functions. I realise that I will never achieve the speed and confidence of these ‘digital natives’ so I was very happy to end the afternoon session with this demonstration of ‘old-school’ drawing! In the evening, before the concert began, we set up the Tagtool outside and once it was dark we tested the projector and I did this drawing…..The concert began with vocal numbers from soloists from Studio Voice up! It was great to draw for these vocalists, and something a bit different for me, as mostly when I am drawing the accompaniment is either electronic or instrumental.Because some of the songs were quite short I wasn’t able to make just one image for each but instead I developed a visual theme that I thought would fit in with the music.For the spectacular operatic finale of the first part of the concert I made this one abstract visual. (Unfortunately this one photo that I have is rather dark). Then there was a complete change of tempo with the arrival of the Cerknica Big Band…..…and again I developed my drawings during more than one piece of music, beginning with a fairly abstract background that I could draw into and add figurative elements.This was a great opportunity for me to draw with such an exciting and accomplished musical accompaniment!All too soon the concert came to an end and I only had time to do one last quick black and white drawing while the band played an encore.I had had a most enjoyable evening of drawing – the weather was perfect for an outdoor concert, the music was great and the audience very appreciative – so here is a very big ‘thank you’ from me to everyone involved!
It was a real joy to return again this year to make Tagtool drawings at the Floating Castle Festival at beautiful Grad Sneznik . On Thursday 26 July, the first evening of the festival, the Israeli band Heylala that I made drawings for last year were performing. This concert was to be broadcast on Slovenian TV and I made several different drawings on the castle to accompany the songs in their programme.
Friday 27 July was the night of the lunar eclipse and in the dark night sky at the castle it was a most impressive sight. No less impressive was the music at the Etno Histeria orchestra concert and moon party held in the big cupola tent that followed. I started to draw this underwater fantasy scene while the tent was closed and the audience was gathering outside waiting for the party to begin……then the circus ‘divers’ climbed up and drew back the canvas so that these beautiful giant puppets could make a ceremonial entrance and the orchestra started to play.There were so many people that the audience quickly filled the cupola and spilled out into the darkness of the field outside. I didn’t realise that somehow in the crush the red button on my Tagtool had been pushed…..with the inevitable result that the underwater fantasy that I had drawn so carefully disappeared completely just as the orchestra started to play. I was very upset and had to make another watery image very, very quickly – but I needn’t have worried, as afterwards someone said that the people who were standing outside watching the scene shining through the canvas thought this was a planned part of the performance!Below are some of the other images that I drew to accompany the eclipse party concert.
Saturday night was the Floating Castle ‘grand finale’ with the concert at the lake and, as last year, a huge audience gathered expectantly in the darkness.In my drawings I tried to reflect the ‘watery’ theme of this year’s festival, with divers, fish and other deep sea creatures. Adding to the atmosphere on the left of the photo above you can see a deep sea creature climbing out of the water. This eye-catching installation was made by a group of festival volunteers (with a little help from Dima and Barry, who miraculously managed to assemble it all on the tiny island of stones in the lake – without falling into the water!).
Below here is a daytime view of the completed installation…To end the evening concert I drew these jellyfish and also a Loch Ness monster.In the daytime when I wasn’t drawing I was able to enjoy the inspiring music and puppetry that makes this festival such a special event – and a most memorable summer holiday!
On Monday 9 April I made drawings to accompany the Czech premiere of the orchestral work ‘Graffiti” by Unsuk Chin which was performed by the Berg Orchestra as part of their concert entitled, ARCHEOLOGY OF THE 20th CENTURY. The concert was held in the cavernous basement cinema of the Veletrizni palac – and featured, as announced in the programme, ‘…..graffiti, intonarumori and old radios!’. I took photos of the Tagtool drawings (below) that I made in my studio as preparation for the concert so that I would have some images to refer to when I began to draw at the venue.
We arrived at 8.30 am on the day of the concert and Dima set up my big ‘oldschool’ Tagtool all-in-one so that I could start drawing my ‘temporary graffiti’ on the long wall on one side of the auditorium before the orchestra started their rehearsal. For this image I used our own lovely bright 6000 lumen Panasonic projector, but for the other walls I had to use Studio Hrdinů’s less powerful projectors. Using their smaller projector I drew with my Tagtool for iPad a white background to cover the grey wall opposite which was bisected by a railing and technical storage area. Using this as a background I made some bolder images drawing mostly in black with minimal colour so that having a weaker projector did not matter too much. Then I began to draw on the wall behind the stage, using my ‘oldschool’ Tagtool mini and Wacom tablet with the brighter of Studio Hrdinů’s two projectors.This was a real drawing marathon – three walls, three projectors and drawing all day, using my iPad and my two ‘oldschool’ Tagtools – then capturing the final images ready for projection at the concert in the evening. Dima took the photos below with his mobile phone during the performance and they show clearly that Studio Hrdinů’s stronger projector (which was supposed to be 5000 lumens) was not able to cope so well with the ambient light as our Panasonic – which was a pity.As one side and the back wall of the auditorium were flat surfaces, the screen captures of the final drawings (below) show very clearly and in more detail the images that I drew.I really enjoyed making these ‘temporary graffiti’ – but after all this hard preparation work it was great just to be able to sit back and enjoy the concert!
To end this post here is a very nice image by photographer Karel Šuster showing the audience and the whole of the auditorium.
This charity fundraising event held by Letní dům on Thursday 23 November took place at the same riverside location as last year. I began with a drawing including the charity logo to advertise the event and guide people to the location where they could buy lanterns to float on the river – the money raised from this being used to help make the children’s dreams at Christmastime come true. After a speech by the mayor, people floated their lanterns on the river. The programme for the event followed the same pattern as last year with a puppet show for the children followed by a jazz band and a spectacular fireshow to end the evening. This year there were outdoor heaters beside the refreshment stall and the event started earlier in the evening – but fortunately the weather was not so cold. A big audience had gathered and all the lanterns were sold very quickly – which was great! Then I began to draw a romantic landscape with a castle but before I could get it finished the generator supplied by the organisers stopped working and we were all plunged into darkness. I think it must have been a power overload as the lights started working again in a couple of minutes – but of course my drawing was gone! So I decided to wait until the jazz band started to play to begin the drawing below….…and fortunately this time I managed to take a photo before the power failed again (not very good for the projector bulb!). Once power was restored I made the two quick drawings below, then AV Media, who supplied the beautiful big projector for the event, switched it off and it was the fireshow that illuminated the grand finale of the evening.