Monday, June 29, 2015

Day Twenty-Nine – The Dead Tell Tales

I love anything to do with fairy tales, Latino folk art and Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and look to these for design inspirations. As part of my 3-day film fest, I watched The Book of Life, a highly imaginative and colorful CGI animation with a fantasy folk tale story. I honestly have mixed feelings about the movie. According to the Director, Jorge Gutierrez, they had a low budget to make the film so I guess with unlimited funds and time it could have been done better. I really did appreciate the heart and soul that went into it. There was just something about some of the character designs that were strange like floppy pig noses on humans and blocky shapes that weren't quite three-dimensional looking. I wasn't sure if they were going for an abstract Picasso style, who is Spanish not Mexican, or not. And some of the musical choices were really odd. I would have liked to have heard more original songs rather than a few pop songs thrown in to "sound cool" that were just too far out of context to work. I also watched some of the DVD extras to better understand the design choices that were made. I could see that the artists were passionate about their work and deliberate in their execution so don't want to be too critical. So I'm thinking the movie will grow on me over time. But it definitely was a visual feast for the eyes.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Day Twenty-Eight – Forests and Firebirds

"The stimulus for any individual listening to music, fully engaged, with their imagination working, is really what this is all about." —James Levine on Fantasia 2000

There is no other singular form of the arts that can bring such a strong emotional response as music. But combine music with another such as animation, dance or film and Kapow! I finished watching Fantasia 2000 that I started yesterday ending with Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite animated to The Birth, Death and Renewal of the Forest. This is such a powerful piece of music by itself anyway. The visualization of the forest nymph spirit fatally weakened by the thunderous explosion of a firebird volcano was inspired by the eruption of Mount. St. Helens in 1980. And then as the legendary phoenix, nature finds her way to be reborn.

All of the segments are fantastic but these two are the ones that really stood out for me.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Day Twenty-Seven - Rhythm and Hues

Top left drawing of Gershwin by Al Hirschfeld.
Top right cell from Fantasia 2000 by Eric Goldberg.
All others are from film also. 
The last few days have been a combo mini-getaway and film fest so I'm separating into a few days' posts. First I started watching Fantasia 2000 which this is only the second time I've seen this film. There is so much to be inspired from! George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is a pure delight. The art was inspired by the style of Al Hirschfeld who was also a consultant with Eric Goldberg to create. This is one of my favorite pieces of music and setting its rhythms and hues to animation captured all the spirit perfectly.
"Fantasia was an Harmonic Convergence of Idea, Music and Artist."
This interesting quote came from the DVD extras, concerning The Steadfast Soldier but I think it applies to the entire film.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Day Twenty-Six – All Tangled Up

I was playing around with my zen chalk drawings and an app called Tangled and got some interesting effects.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Day Twenty-Five – Tiny Dancers

According to Kandinsky, "Blue is the colour of spirituality: the darker the blue, the more it awakens human desire for the eternal."

I created another zen chalk mandela drawing in the morning to add to yesterday's seven. Then went through some stamps I've been wanting to use but didn't have time for. I settled on a pair of ballet dancers, an architectural feature and a postal. Then for paper, I chose some shimmer cardstock in eggshell and coral, and some flecked vellum. The dancers were stamped with a blend of distress ink pads in chipped sapphire, dusty concord and tumbled glass. I also spritzed with water on some. Then I stamped the building on old book papers. I wasn't happy with it not showing up well on the black type so got some stencils out and applied some contrasting colors with iced spruce, peeled paint and wild honey. I also misted with some water to soften and dabbed some white picket stain. I'm not sure if I'll use the vellum but at least the images stamped with distress ink did dry as some vellum does not take ink well. Eventually these will be used for ATCs.

Chalk Mandela

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Day Twenty-Four – Taking It To The Streets

"All means are sacred which are called for by the inner need." 
—Wassily Kandinsky
I took my zen art to the sidewalks today, literally, with chalk. I created seven drawings, one on each segment with up to three colors each. I really enjoyed the spontaneity, while listening to music and letting the rhythms and inner spirit take over. I'm not sure if I'll continue to fill up the sidewalk or not. They are only temporary, giving them over to nature and foot traffic, and that's okay. Nothing lasts forever.

Speaking of music, I found it was difficult not to feel energy listening to Paul Simon's Graceland which is why I included it in yesterday's post title. The text was already getting long so I'm mentioning it today instead. There is just something joyful about South African rhythms. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Day Twenty-Three – Going To Graceland

"That is beautiful which is produced by the inner need, which springs from the soul." —Wassily Kandinsky

After finishing reading "Concerning the Spiritual in Art" that I started yesterday, I felt ready to create some art again. No, make that I felt the need to make art. Kandinsky's theories on the importance and spiritual nature of art helped me identify certain barriers. It was time to intentionally give it a go to connect with my inner spirit with no preconception. So I started a black and white "zen drawing." My drawing pens are fine and extra fine black Sharpies, and Sakura archival gel pen on watercolor paper as I may want to color it later.

While it may bear a striking resemblance to another current popular B&W style, this is actually a type of drawing I've been doing for many years since I was a teen before there was a clever name, how-to courses and branded art media. I have my original sketchbooks to prove it. At the time, I was inspired to learn how to draw the ornate paisley fabric patterns many of my dresses were made of. I also was attracted to lacy crochet patterns. Later, the activity was relegated to helping me stay awake during staff meetings and phone calls. The kinetic activity also helped map my memory to the meeting information. I never took it seriously but it was always very therapeutic. Without a fancy name, it was little more than an excercise in line and repetition, otherwise called "doodling." My art teachers didn't encourage it however many of my art classmates like me just intuitively drew them but with their own personal style. It was more a spontaneous art style of the psychedelia hippie era.

I suppose like the genre of steampunk existed before it had a label, it was only a matter of time before this drawing style would be blessed with a name too. I just wish I had thought of it! But I also never thought that there would be mass interest in it or that it could be "taught" at all. It always felt like it was my personal style and mine alone. So Kudos to those with the vision to do so!