I am continuing, in fits and starts, with the journey of producing my “Get Drawing” book. In the process I am also filming myself drawing the sketches that may eventually appear in the book. So the journey is one of broadening discovery as well. Discovering how to set the camera up in the best possible way; how to edit the resulting video; how to make it interesting;how to add a narration (still to come) etc.
On one of our recent hot nights (27 degrees Celsius at 11.30pm!) my thoughts found their way to ideas for the book and I remembered that I thought my new camera (purchased for my trip overseas last year) had some sort of way of connecting to my smart phone. So the very next day I experimented and discovered that the camera could, indeed, connect via wifi to my smartphone so that I could remotely see what the camera could see, zoom in or out, and then take a picture or start recording a video. Woohoo!
So, I’d love you to take a look at my first try and leave any comments. Just in case you think I’m working very fast, I have sped the video up. Future videos will hopefully have tighter editing etc. but I was excited to get this out there. The beautiful music accompanying the video is my talented brother, Ilan Zagoria.
A few days ago I visited Tate Britain. This is where Turners bequest is housed and, happily, where a new exhibition of later works has just opened. I followed the signs to the Turner wing, not realising that I was completely missing the main entrance with maps and information. It was like creeping into the secret back entrance. There was no grand reception just some well placed signs to point me in the right direction.
I found them.
I hadn’t realised how large the works in oil are. Enormous canvases depicting great battles, mythical stories, storms and historical events – sometimes all in the same painting. His colours, brushstrokes and techniques were/are wondrous. However the wonder, for me, is in his brilliant watercolours. No wishy washy feint marks. (How did watercolour ever get its bad reputation for insipid colours with Turner setting the benchmark?). I was also excited to see his use of mixed media. Whatever gave him the effect he wanted he used. Chalk, graphite, watercolour and body colour (guache).
Although photos were allowed in the main section (not in the new exhibition) it is obviously difficult to take decent photos of work under glass so do yourself a favour and explore google images (or printed books) of Turner’s work.
I made some purchases including a book partly written by wonderful Australian artist Tony Smibert who works with the Tate as a Turner specialist. Inspiration to bring to my studio when I get home.
I’m in London for the first time in 33 years! My knowledge and interest in art was only vague then, and now, I am revelling in the opportunities that abound. I’ve also made a pact with myself that I will draw/sketch every day if possible. I’d like to share them with you too.
I visited the National Gallery on Wednesday afternoon after spending the morning in Covent Garden with my nephew who works near there.
My main interest lies in the 18th to early 20th century work so I headed there. Turner! There was a tour guide talking about the painting and I caught the tail end of his passion for the subject. I moved to the next room and Monet’s Water Lillies beckoned. How amazing to be in the presence of such wonderful art. To see the brush strokes, to see colours I had not imagined were there. Mauves, oranges and phthalo. I was bursting with the immensity of it all. Free to experience and photograph. It was almost overwhelming. I then did something I have never done before, had never had the opportunity or urge to do before. I sat on the broad wooden bench and took out my sketch book.
With 4 watercolour pencils (scarlet red, cadmium yellow, warm blue and indigo) and my trusty waterbrush I worked in my watercolour sketchbook. (300gsm paper). My waterbrush soon ran dry as I had used it for a previous sketch and had not thought to fill it up. So… I used the next best supply of liquid – my mouth! It wasn’t particularly successful but I was reluctant to break the inspired energy. Finally I decided that I did need proper water and sought out the cloak rooms. On may way there I passed through the next two rooms awaiting me – Cezanne, Van Gogh and more! They would have to wait. Indeed, I was too awed to continue once I’d completed the sketch and will definitely return to spend some more time with my new mentors.