On Saturday 9 September we were at the festival Cool v Plote which features solo performers both from the Czech Republic and abroad. I was drawing to accompany German drummer and percussionist, Christian Prommer who was performing in the courtyard of the Sladovna, the former town brewery which has now been beautifully converted into an exhibition and events venue. As can be seen in the photo above, this was a great venue for an outdoor drawing performance but unfortunately the day was dull and cloudy and the weather forecast was not good. For the evening performances there was a covered stage adjacent to the sladovna building, the fountain was turned off and the organisers had erected a covered housing for the projector (in the photo below) – but there was not enough space under the gazebo to completely cover both the sound equipment and my Tagtool. These photos are from Dima’s phone (hence the rather grainy images). Because of the bad weather forecast he didn’t set up the camera – which proved to be a wise decision, as half way through the performance it began to rain quite hard. This was really sad as the music was great and people were dancing in front of the stage. When the rain started most of the audience took cover under the big umbrellas outside the bar but some brave souls did remain standing in the rain or sitting on the benches in front of the stage. I began by drawing this urban scene incorporating some of the real windows of the sladovna building into the drawing of the houses. I continued to draw but my Wacom tablet began to get quite wet and I was concerned that the rain would get inside and damage the computer so I had to put the top on the box and leave the unfinished image before the end of the performance. The photo below shows the final drawing before the rain put paid to my work!Fortunately when it was time to pack up all the equipment the rain had nearly stopped. However, all our cables were soaking wet so the organisers helpfully arranged for us to layout everything in a room of the sladovna and I’m glad to say that when we collected our equipment the next morning everything was dry and OK.
We spent two days in Linz, arriving on Thursday 7 September in time for the official presentation of the New Tagtool for iPad app. It was great to meet up with the OMAi crew as it’s been a while since we were all together. Then YaguArt and I had a chance to draw with the new app on the balcony of the auditorium, which was nice (but unfortunately I don’t have any photos of this). Later that evening we all went off to the PostCity Ars Electronica venue with our Tagtools, projectors and the generator and did some collective projector bombing on the huge poster that was on the facade of a building at the entrance. This was fun – and attracted a lot of interest from passers by! On Friday OMAi’s all day Tagtool Animation Lab opened at the Ars Electronica exhibition at PostCity. This ‘playground’ for visitors occupied a long section of wall on the first floor of this extraordinary cavernous multi-storey former mail sorting office. There were two iPad workstations for multiplayer sessions and I joined in with a third projector and ‘old-school’ Tagtool. The photo below shows Maki, Seppi and Itzi’s animation (left and centre) with my ‘old-school’ drawing on the left. As well as this long wall there was a micromapping station constructed from white Lego bricks and in the photo below YaguArt is at the Tagtool controls.The lab was open from 10 am till 7 pm and all day long there were lots of visitors. In the morning Seppi showed me some of the animation possibilities of the New Tagtool then I spent the rest of the day drawing, first practising some animation on my new iPad Pro then joining in the playground mural with my ‘old-school’ Tagtool.My projector was sitting on the table next to my Wacom drawing tablet and Tagtool mini (a totally old-school set up!) while the other two projectors for iPad drawing were ceiling mounted, but this produced some interesting extra effects when people passed by….In the two photos above Seppi and Maki are showing some children how to animate using the iPad – and as usual they all loved drawing and making the images move!It was fun trying to ‘match’ the old-school Tagtool drawing with the New Tagtool for iPad – as in this photo above where Maki is ‘wearing’ some of my Tagtool drawing on his sweatshirt, here is a different kind of animation!
It was a very long and intensive day of drawing and we were all quite tired by 7 pm when we had to pack up the equipment and shut down the projectors. But it had been great fun and so nice to see so many people enjoying ‘having a go’ with the New Tagtool app. I was also happy to have this opportunity to draw with the Tagtool crew (it’s been a long time since we had a session like this together) – and also YaguArt, whose work I had seen and liked on the Tagtool facebook site but only met in person for the first time. The Tagtool Animation Lab was open for the whole of the festival but sadly we had to leave to go to draw at another festival in the Czech Republic the following day.
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!
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.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. 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.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!
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.
On Saturday we were invited to draw at the launch party of this new Prague-based audio visual collective.In 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.As 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.At 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.Both 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….One 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!