Monday, 30 May 2011

Light Locked

Have a look at this beautiful new art blog!

words, for a change

Saint Death
This is how I like to picture her,
as they do in
Mexico; Santa Muerte,
who, with flowers as bright as fireworks
against the dark folds of her dress,
follows behind me
like Eurydice, just out of sight.
Although her naked skull is tongue-less,  
she speaks insistently as I walk;
See the shape of the air
in the movement of the water,
and the light that glows through grass.
See sky, the colours of its vastness.
Hear a bird’s wings beating,
feel your lips parting as you breathe.
before you slow
and I reach you.
I am, of course, alone – it’s just a game -
but now nothing else matters:
green blades are luminous in sunlight,
my tongue is wet against my lips,
and in the sky,
a buzzard,
its eyes earth-locked,
the pitiless, focused silence.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The genesis of a drawing...

I've been getting very interested in looking at graphic novelist blogs recently. I love the particular flavour of graphic novel art, yet all the artists have very distinct styles.

One of the things quite of few of the blogs showed, was the stages a drawing goes through before it ends up in a comic or graphic novel. I've decided to do the same, except that mine is a graphite drawing - no pen, no ink, no photoshop finishing - and so is rather less dramatic.
But interesting none the less I hope!

The idea for this drawing arrived in my mind after a visit to the Pitt Rivers museum (in the dark with little torches) which got me thinking about the various transformative magics and visions humans employ.

Here, the hands are supposed to look a little like antlers, the man imagining himself into the form of a stag.

Initially I was going to draw only the outlines of the hands, to create heightened visual confusion about what they were, i.e. hands or antlers.
However, when I tried this in my sketchbook using the reference photos I had taken, it didn't quite work. The outlines didn't look 'handy' enough or 'antlery' enough.

I didn't want to retake the photo - I wanted to stick to the model's (my beloved) initial physical expression after I described to him what I wanted him to do.

The next step was to start drawing. I chose to use an HB pencil for the initial outline, and some of the finer, lighter lines in the shading, and a 3B pencil for the main line work. I find softish pencils good for human flesh - it is easier to make marks which look dispersed, like shadow.

As I went along (I started with the hands as the face is my favourite thing to do - I do the same with food, eating the things I like the least on the plate and working up to my favourite) I decided I actually didn't want to add colour, which I had been considering in my sketchbook. I liked the simplicity of the graphite on the paper. I was unsure what further 'meaning' the colour would add, and was worried it might distract from my idea.

Colours, like everything else, come with meaning. If I used green, around the hands, on the beard etc, you would potentially think of 'nature'. If I used purple in the same way, you might quite possibly think of magic, wizards etc. Dark red reminds us of blood and in our culture has come to signify sexuality.
So, you see, I decided not to mess with the complex matter of colour here.

I never quite know how my hand will translate the vision in my mind onto the page, just as with some new moves on my rope, I'm not entirely sure how my body weight will move through space, if my hands will catch my weight...Obviously it would seem to matter less in a drawing than in a circus move, but I can assure you, the mental fall from not achieving that translation from imagination to paper is just as painful.

I am very happy with how this drawing and this character turned out.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Pegasus routine

Here is a video taken whilst I was trying to work out what to do routine-wise for the Pegasus gig. Riddled with errors but also with good moments which I'm happy with. Which I suppose is the nature of being a learner...

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


I had my second aerial gig, this time at the Pegasus Theatre in Oxford.

I performed alongside Matt Sage and his band again, but this time we had smoke, lighting, and I had my rope rigged at a more interesting height!
The tech guys were really lovely, I felt very looked after. 

It was an interesting experience, both emotionally and technically,  as I had my first taste of a dressing room and backstage area in which to feel nervous...Thankfully, nerves only lasted about 60 seconds into my routine (which manifested as my feet shaking, something my partner could unfortunately see from where he was sitting) and then I actually rather enjoyed myself.

The audience seemed to enjoy it, and I had lots of positive comments from people afterwards.

I really hope I can repeat the performing experience in new ways and places - outside from trees, at festivals, in theatres with shows and puppets and storytelling....(cue dream sequence...)

Tonight I am going to have my first silks lesson in ages, as a sign of my commitment to trying to train twice a week. It is, as always, money not enthusiasm which holds me back, but hopefully with a little more life modelling work I will be able to start regularly studying silks.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Whilst in Ireland

It has been a busy couple of weeks.
Before the buzz of May Day in Oxford, I went to Ireland to stay with my friend Nicola. Having been recently inspired to make some art using aerial, photography and video, Nicola was the obvious person to contact as a collaborator. Happily, she was equally eager which meant I packed up my (borrowed) rope and headed to Gatwick to fly out to Knock airport.

There was only one slight hitch getting through customs, which I was certain there would be, which meant I had to unpack my rope and explain to the bemused looked officer why I was travelling with it. Luckily for me he was a fan of circus and impressed by my hobby. He even helped me pack the rope away again - handy, as it can feel a bit like trying to get a python in a bag.

We only had three full days to work on the start of our project.

Day one was spent filming.
A friend of Nic's said we could use a tree on her farm. It wasn't massively high, but high enough to have a play about. The relatively lowness was probably a blessing, as I had to climb up thin blue twine to rig (after a hysterical ten minutes or so of us trying to get the twine over the branch by tying it to a stick and then chucking it)  - a very odd feeling experience having been used to thick corde lisse ropes!

Whilst she was filming Nic also took some beautiful photos. I've played about with the contrast and the colours in order to try and get images which stand alone, and to see the different moods and meaning which fall out of using black and white or overly saturated pictures.

Day two was spent cycling around the countryside of county Leitrim, seeing peoples amazing straw bale-built houses, making fudge and chocolate mousse and editing photos and reviewing the film we had got. All film editing is in Nic's capable hands - not one of my skill areas...

Day three was our day of ground-photography.
We were both really pleased with how these came out.
Now all we need to save up some framing money in the hope that we could exhibit some as prints...

It was hard to leave a sunny, blue skied Ireland. Waking up to quiet, chickens to feed, coffee, fresh juice, talking and laughing with Nicola and slow breakfasts together was very good indeed.
As was having even a short time to devote to making things...I look forward to a time when I could spend the majority of my hours that way...For now, the little rock-pools of art-making time are wonderful.

Arriving back in London on Thursday afternoon felt rather abrupt and alien - almost as if someone had drained all the colour out of everything.
My first Circus Space class of term was very enjoyable however, if not rather daunting. Just when you think you are finally getting strong, a new set of conditioning exercises is introduced and...dear me.

Luckily Beltane eve and May Day were bright, colourful and glorious.
But I will save that for later.