Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Refined Weariness

Not at all the sort of imagery I am usually inclined to draw by myself, but I was asked to create a painting of a dark, composed, decided, serious angel. I squirmed when I received this request, as the subject matter isn't my particular cup of tea, especially when the film "Gabriel" was cited as inspiration for the angel's countenance. I decided to steer clear of wings and golden halo, veering the character more towards the idea of someone in human form who has been wandering (fighting demons?) for a very long time, and was etched with weariness.

At any rate I find it interesting that more and more boys are working their way into my drawings. I feel as if I am slowly getting a hang of their features, but still have far to go till I feel they are at the same level of refinement as my flowery girls.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Wild - A Vad

I decided to title this piece in Hungarian, "a vad"-  which is difficult to translate so simply into English, as it means something along the lines of the wild game, or the wild creature, and simply "the wild" doesn't have such a good ring to it in Englis., I'm open to it having a different name entirely in English, but haven't decided yet. So far "a vad" is the name I feel fits. People often give their work French titles, even when they are not French. I'm not opposed to my work being multilingual : )

I completed the highly limited print- run (only 5 in this edition), titled and signed the etchings today.
The Edition is printed on an A2 scale (50cm wide x 71 cm tall) on quality Fabriano Printmaking paper.

As well as the Edition of 5, I played around with inking the plate in different ways, and created a few Artist Proof's as a bleed-print (35cm wide by 50cm tall)

This is a part of printmaking that I really enjoy, getting to play around with how different colours change the mood of the piece. The photographs really don't do this any justice at all, I managed to mix a really nice apple green colour...

If anyone would be interested in supporting my arty travels by purchasing an original etching, let me know (monimano at hotmal dot com)

I don't think I'll be creating another etching for a while, the opportunity I was given to do so here in the graphics studio at Győr was a very rare and lucky chance for me to create this print run.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Etching and fiddling

Thought I'd add some little photographs and info about the etching process I used to create the image in my last blog post. Intaglio Etching was my major at the National Art School in Sydney where I completed my BFA, but I haven't had too many opportunities since finishing up my degree to spend a decent amount of time on this intricate medium.

Before you can start work there is always a lengthy preparation process involved of filing down the rough edges and sanding the surface of the copper, polishing, removing grease, then applying a smooth layer of hardground in which to draw.

The original method for sanding down the copper surface was with a little piece of charcoal...

Then come all the tiny little intricate interwoven details......

I don't have any photographs of the acid bathstages because they are always filthy, covered in brown and ochre stains and looking like the abandoned hospital or butcher scene from some gory horror film.
At any rate you say a little prayer and emerse your copper plate into a bath of ferric chloride, which eats into all the little areas that you have scratched away. Depending on the time you leave the plate in (and the strength of the chemicals) even the finest little hair-thin lines will show up with precise clarity.

I won't go into the printing process right now, as that is an essay in itself. A lot of artists I met recently said the fiddly and uncontrollable aspects of copper etching keep them from delving into it more than once, and as a bit of a contrl freak I admit to having my fair share of stressful moments when things didn't go absolutely according to plan... but perhaps that's exactly what I like in the process.... as if it were training me to patience....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Csoda Szarvas - the mystical stag

Finally... an etching!!

When I was invited to take part in the Győr International Art Symposium it was as a printmaker, to work in copper and create a series of etchings. Intaglio Printmaking is not so straightforward, and faced with delays, miscalculations and studio unfamiliarity, the pieces I did create I deemed unfit to be exhibited as they were in an unfinished state.

I was lucky enough for the Museum to extend their generosity and I was allowed to stay for another two weeks to come to some sort of etching conclusion, which I found in this piece, inspired by the Legend of the Mystical Stag (Csoda Szarvas Legendája)

Printed on heavyweight professional Fabriano paper, 50 x 71cm in white ink.... I am happy with her : )
Now I have to edition the print, but I'll be keeping it a very small print run, of only 5 copies.

 I wanted to retain a ghostly, barely there quality to the image, hence the white ink and minimal linework.

Three Winds - Details

Some closer shots of the little pin-pricks and facial features.....

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Three Winds

This was how my three little wind spirits looked once they were all finished. Even though they stand out from my usual portfolio of work, I was really glad I worked on them, using new techniques and an approach I hadn't attemtped before when creating two dimensional work.

I think they make quite an ephemeral trio....

Evening Nocturne

A piece painted in my "of lace and moss" sttyle. I ended up adding many more flowers and foliage in the background, so I am glad I took this progress shot when it was a little more quiet.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A week in Serbia

After finishing up my dyptych for the Graphics Biennale I packed my bags and caught the early morning train in the pouring rain down to Serbia, where I attended a traditional art and craft camp for a week as a guest tutor. The camp was in a part of Serbia that used to be Hungarian territory before the Trianon split the country up, so all the partakers were Hungarian, and I had no problem communicating fluently. Besides the occasional shower that halted work and had the participants fleeing to their tents in time to find their belongings soaked, the weather was nice, swimming in the river was a frequent activity, as were the late night shenanigans.

I was there to demonstrate certain watercolour techniques that I use in my work. None of my students had ever worked in watercolours before, so I kept the subject matter simple and limited it to Botanical Illustration. We wandered the fields and collected wild flowers as well as twigs and weeds to draw.

During the week when I held a portraiture demonstration, and my stand quickly altered from watercolour techniques to a long list of people wanting their portraits drawn. I didn't mind, as it meant good practice for me.

Attila held lessons in fire twirling. I attended one of the lessons and quickly learnt that I have terrible co-ordination, thank goodness we were practicing with socks filled with rice instead of real fire.....

I thought it was funny that I ended up drawing more boys than girls during my stay. This particular portrait was done from a tiny little photograph one of the ladies had of her son (just to clarify that one of the campers didn't actually rock up to my stand in a suit and tie.....)
Some close-ups of Lili....  As I gifted these portraits to the participants I tried to get some decent photographs of them as there was no chance at scanning them.

Lili's portrait probably worked the least as a "portrait" as I didn't manage to get a good likeness of her, but it was the "drawing" that I liked the most, as I think it was successful both in facial expressiveness and colour combinations.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Prey

Here is my little white deer....

After three days of working on "The Hunters" till 2am each night, I managed to whip up this little pale thing in a mere 6 hours.... I was dead tired by this stage. I think it shows in her face, she took on my exhaustion.....

Which actually fits quite well with the original Legend, where the brothers Hunor and Magor relentlessly pursue the evasive white stag for days and weeks, but never quite manage to catch it, as it always fades into nothingness just as they are close to success.... Will the brothers be lucky tonight?

And some details of her patterned golden skirt....

The Hunters and The Prey

After the most intensive few days of non-stop drawing I finished my entry for the 2011 Biennale of Drawing and Graphic Arts. I really hope they accept my work, otherwise.... I might cry, heehee.
The Hunters and The Prey, or, The Legend of the Mystical Stag....

I think that, even without knowing the Hungarian Legend of the "Csoda Szarvas" (mystical white stag) a pretty appropriate idea of the story can be garnered from these two illustrations... well, I hope!!

Some detail shots of "The Hunters"
Eyeing off their prey....

Out of interest, daunted and with waning hours before me, I set about completing "The Hunters" in a completely different way from my usual method. I usually work on each individual part of the drawing separately, but here I decided to block in the colours individually. I work on the skin very  last, always, as a rule....

At this stage it all still seems so daunting... I am so happy to have them done, phew!!

Wind Spirits - Iron Rooster Exhibition

Remember the Iron Rooster performance I took part in?

The City of Győr is hosting an art exhibition based around this same legend, and an invitation was extended to me to take part and submit some work for it. With less than a week to produce both these artworks as well as the illustrations for the Biennale, I had an incredibly intensive few days of non-stop drawing.

As usual I was drawn to the more whimsical aspects of the tale, and decided to depict Zselyke, a wind spirit who is wronged by the Turkish troops who occupied Győr during Ottoman rule.

During the residency I was able to try my hand at paper making, and created three textural circular sheets. I wanted to keep a very ephemeral, whimsical feel for these illustrations, so besides very pale washes of watercolour, I also used a pin to prick lace patterns through the paper.

Cutting silhouettes from thick card I ran this through an etching press under high pressure, which embedded these shapes into the thick textural paper. Heavy colours and lots of paint would have detracted from the subtle textural details of the pin marks and dimensional

I tried desperately to get some good shots of the texture and detail, but I am missing my nice Nikon D90 something terrible... this little digital joke is not comparing in the least!!! But anyway, I hope these give a feel for the piece at any rate....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Video Interview

This is a link to a video interview conducted at the beginning of the Art Symposium in Győr.
Museum Director Bernadette Grászl speaks about the symposium.... and I am interviewed too!

Apologies for everyone who doesn't speak Hungarian, but it's a good look at the place where we made paper by hand, a really interesting technique I got to try out as well.

The Brothers

I was asked the other day why I don't draw boys.

Good question.... my stammered answer? I don't know if I know how? I'm sure I could, if I tried... but as a girl interested in lace and silk chiffon and bows and frills and roses and romance I'm not quite sure how my style would translate with a more masculine subject matter.

Imagine that scene out of Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette where she is day-dreaming of her soldier.... That's kind-of what I was envisioning. (Okay I am joking.)

My real answer is that I draw what I happen to be most inspired by. When I started my "of lace and moss" series I was working in a flirty designer boutique surrounded by pretty little coquettes, and I was inspired to capture that ephemeral world in my paintings.

This reasoning no longer stands up as I currently train twice a week with a group of rough and ready boys who practice combat fighting and archery. (Right about here please reference the aforementioned imagery of gallant swashbuckling knight.) Not wanting to slip too far into the ditch of cheesy romanticism I hesitate here, as somehow, I draw the line a lot sooner when it comes to overly romanticized portraits of males, than of females.

One of the Hun tales I wanted to illustrate during my stay in the Győr Artist Residency was the Legend of the "Csoda Szarvas" - the mythical spirit stag that led the brothers Hunor and Magor to the land the Hungarians now call home. I planned to symbolize this "Hunt" with the two brothers noticing their "prey" in a modern environment. During the last four days of the residency a fellow artist arrived as a guest from the Budapest Fine Art University, and I was entranced by his work. It seemed fitting for him to be the muse for my Hun brothers as his diploma project was titled "Hunting Prayer" and depicted small vignettes of prey and game shooting.

Here are the beginning sketches of one of two pieces I am creating for the upcoming International Biennale I mentioned in the previous post.

Ps - Let me know what you think, this is after all, the first pair of boys to grace my art-blog since I began it!