Tagtool Holiday!

Last week Danil Gertman and his family came to stay with us – so of course the first stop was the studio where Danil got out his iPad pro, hooked up to the projector and immediately did some drawing on the wall. Unfortunately I hadn’t charged my camera so I  only could take a few shots of his session on my phone.

Then Dima set up my ‘old-school’ Tagtool next to Danil’s workstation and brought out our old Edirol mixer so we all could work together. We haven’t done this for ages and it was great fun, with Danil and I drawing and Dima manipulating the colour and opacity of the drawing via the mixer. As there was no time to set up the camera to document this impromptu session, below is a photo from my phone of our final image.1-20170415_125903The following day Grundik Kasyansky arrived with his family and we were able to add his live music to the mix. Perfect! With the big screen set up in the music studio, now we could have both video and sound recording – and also properly document the sessions. Grundik will edit the video of our sessions but meantime here are a lot of screenshots from the sessions where me,  Danil, Grundik and Dima were working together.






13-All064114-All066415-All075316-All0863And here are some screenshots from our second session…..


10-All138211-All147914-All157515-All1664Because our drawing went through so many changes in these sessions and Dima’s manipulation with the mixer added further transformations of the images, I have posted lots of screenshots to try to recreate the development of our drawing as ‘performance art’.


As well as these studio sessions, I had had hopes of putting our generator and all the equipment into the van and doing some projector bombing but the weather was far too cold even to light a fire outside and draw in the garden. But on the plus side, the bad weather meant that Danil and Grundik had more opportunities to work together in the studio – and I had a chance to sit back and enjoy their performances!1-20170419_115400 Danil also encouraged me to try out his iPad pro and pencil.  Although it didn’t take me long to get used to the ‘feel’ of the pencil, I quickly realised that I would have to do quite a lot of  practicing before I would become fluent in changing the scale and position of the imagery.


I was so happy to have this opportunity to try out Danil’s iPad pro – the larger drawing area really makes a difference – and after this experience I know that I will certainly buy one for myself when Apple release the new edition. Meantime, I will stick with my beloved old-school Tagtool!

This was a very intensive but most enjoyable few days of drawing! The studio felt quite empty when everyone went home – it’s sad that we all live so very far apart…..

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Drawing in Slany, Czech Republic

1-P1070946Our first outdoor drawing session this year was at the Gymnasium in Slany on Friday 17 March. It was the last of a week-long programme of lectures and events held at the school which was organised by the town’s Regional Museum.  On the Thursday evening we went to the location to check the projector etc and I did some test drawings. The tarpaulin that had been put up to cover the windows of the central stairway was dark green and unfortunately this muted the colours of the drawing and made all white and light tones turn to grey.  2-P1070948The weather all week had been quite spring-like and it was nice to be able to draw outside again but as rain was forecast for Friday evening we took our gazebo – which turned out to be a wise decision as the weather turned wet, cold and very windy. While we were setting up the equipment I thought that our gazebo might take off in the wind, so I drove our van alongside it on the pavement which gave both the gazebo, and me, some much-needed shelter from the elements! But despite the bad weather people started to gather early so I did this quick drawing before our programme was due to begin.01-P1070954The theme of the event was ‘Slany then and now’. From the photographic archives of the museum we had prepared three sequences of black and white images showing various aspects of the town’s history, and these we planned to project, in the intervals between my drawings, on to the central panel of the school building. I found this archive material extremely interesting – photos of the town’s historic buildings, people working in the fields, and festivals and parades from bygone days, but because of the dark colour of the tarpaulin, at a distance a lot of the photos were not easy to see and I don’t have any photos for the blog. To counter the effects of the tarpaulin and the many windows of the Gymnasium building I made my drawings quite big and bold, beginning by using only black and white.02-P107095803-P107095904-P1070963Then, after the second sequence of archive photos I started to draw in colour…05-P107096406-P1070973…and after the third sequence of black and white photos I did another coloured drawing, beginning with a background landscape and using the tarpaulin to ‘frame’ the figures. (As the photos below show, the strong wind blowing the tarpaulin back and forth against the building distorted everything – making it very difficult to draw!) 07-P107097508-P107098009-P1070984 By the time that I finished this drawing the rain had stopped and although it was very windy and cold quite a few people were still on the street waiting and watching so I did a quick ‘encore’ before we turned off the projector, packed up everything and drove home.10-P1070989

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Two videos

Here are two videos from last year that I didn’tget round to posting on the blog – the first is from my open air performance at the 48 Stunden Neukölln Festival , Berlin (a big thank you to Marcelo Kzm for making this video – which I saw for the first time only a few weeks ago!)

And some fun drawing (which had to be recorded in one take!) that I did to accompany this music video by the Czech band, Mutanti hledaj východisko.



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At Hackathon 2016, Prague

1-img_3139Unfortunately this is the only image that I have from the short Tagtool drawing performance that I did at the evening awards party for the ‘Hack the Brain’ hackathon that took place on 4 December at Venuše ve Švehlovce,  a small theatre hidden behind the flats in the Zizkov area of Prague. The electronic music for the performance was given by Sergey Khanukaev aka Dirigent who I met in Berlin earlier this year.It was great to have this opportunity to draw with him again and I had a lot of fun playing with the ‘hall of mirrors’ distortions that resulted from the curved surfaces of the theatre balcony –  an ideal location for this short unrehearsed jam session!

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River of Dreams charity event

1-letni-dum-na-male-straneTagtool drawing on 23 November at Letní dům‘s fund raising event in Prague. As happened last year, as well as the sale of paper lanterns to float on the river there was a puppet show for the children, jazz band, fire show and a stall selling hot drinks and snacks. The weather, although quite cold, was dry and clear – quite a relief as earlier in the week it had been very wet and misty (which would not have been good conditions for sailing paper lanterns or Tagtooling!)1-p11408392-p1140851Before the event began,  in order to provide a suitable background for a local television crew to interview the organisers of the event, I made my drawings only on this wall and the logo of the children’s charity was projected on the building above. But as people began to gather for the puppet show I made this sequence of  monochrome drawings on the building itself.3-p1070887It was great to be able to draw on this enormous scale!4-p11408595-p11408626-p11408667-p11408738-p1140876When the Tango Jazz Band started to play it was time to begin a new sequence of drawings, this time in colour.1-p1070894The projector provided for me to use was a beautiful strong 21000 lumens Panasonic which gave super bright colours – this was a real joy (thank you AV Media!). Here are some more photos of this drawing sequence.2-p11408783-p11408824-p1140890I left my drawing on the Containall building, erased the colour on the wall below and joined the audience to enjoy the spectacular Ohnivá fire show which ended the evening’s events.5-p1140911

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Science Week in Kladno

On 10 November the Biomedical Faculty of the Czech Technical University held an open evening for people interested in pursuing a scientific career.  There were various lectures and demonstrations for both children and adults – and then some Tagtool drawing to close the evening’s events.1-img_2012Not my usual subject matter! However the audience seemed to quite like my representation of ‘scientists at work in the lab making exciting discoveries’….1-img_20131-img_2021

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At Music Forum Hradec Králové 2016

3-p1140252On Thursday 3 November I had the privilege of drawing at this concert given by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra. The programme consisted of three pieces by contemporary American composers and my drawing was to accompany one of the works –  City Noir by John Adams. Adams wrote that this three movement orchestral work was inspired by, ‘the tenor and milieu of the late Forties and early Fifties as it was expressed in the sensational journalism of the era and in the dark, eerie chiaroscuro of the Hollywood films that have come to define the period’. To prepare for the concert  I made a number of practice drawings at home while listening to a recording of the work…

…but before the rehearsal with the orchestra when we set up the Tagtool in the concert hall  I immediately realised that I needed to make some changes and simplify the drawing.1-p1070819Dima took the photo below of my final image at the orchestra’s dress rehearsal. I replaced the palm tree in my initial sketches  with a lamp post to give more prominence to the people in the diner and added the large foreground figure in the hat to change the perspective of the image behind the orchestra.2-p1070835City Noir is about 35 minutes long – not a lot of time to develop such a big drawing! I was so glad that I was able to draw at the dress rehearsal before the performance but I found that trying to replicate this image twice in the space of a few hours was no easy matter. It was one of those occasions where ‘practice didn’t make perfect’  –  and although I managed to avoid some of the ‘mistakes’ that I made in the earlier drawing, other parts I felt worked better at the rehearsal. But the audience couldn’t know this of course, and I got a beautiful bouquet of flowers at the end of the performance…4-p1140258…definitely a night to remember!

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