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.While 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….…and I made this drawing to accompany their performance.
Then the orchestra began to play….…and I began a new drawing sequence. Below, Matija Solce in his golden suit plays his accordion on the raft in front of the orchestra… …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.Then , with Matija on the stage leading the orchestra, the concert continued with a spectacular fire show……followed by more great music from the orchestra…..., and of course the audience kept applauding and shouting for more!It 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!
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. 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…
Unlike 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.I 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.So – 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.
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.
After these figurative sequences I continued to work in full colour…..…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. I ended my night’s drawing with one last figurative sequence.
It 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!
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.