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Monday, December 5, 2016

Musical CHICAGO @ Australian Institute of Music

I'll take you to a musical, “CHICAGO” performed by the final year students of Australian Institute of Music! The story is based on a real fact in 1920s. Satirically, it shows murder favoured by mass media, adultery, corruption, greed for money and fame, sexism, a contradicted or unfair justice system in society. Those are "old and new topics" and relevant to a post modern society. So, "CHICAGO" is great and classic. 
Greedy Mamma
The story goes like this....  
A chorus girl Roxie Hart shoots her lover. Roxie and a cell block rival Velma who shot both husband and a sister in bed compete to get a smooth talking and extremely expensive lawyer, Billy’s help. Otherwise, they would be hung like a Hungarian woman. Gulp!  
Cell Block Tango 
Con Lawyer Billy
Very interesting to see the musical. A stage show has many common factors with (picture book) illustration and movies. Picture book illustrators are compared to film directors. The show demonstrates how to handle character setting, colours, a space and light in a limited place, a stage. For example, the stage has two main colours : black and red. 
Puppet Roxie on Billy's lap surrounded by mass media
Black is the most dominant in the show. What does black mean? It implies something negative, unknown, secret, dishonest and dirty, whilst women in black represent strength, power, authority, seduction and so ons. Red symbolises female, sexiness and passion etc. What else? Only one person, "Mary Sunshine," a crime reporter, putting on a very thick "white" fur coat caught my attention. She was out of tune in black women. What's in her thick coat? Is she really pure and innocent, I wondered.  A great pity is Roxie's honest husband Amos who has been neglected in society.   
Mary Sunshine crime reporter
Pity Husband Amos
Like colours and costume, body language conveys lots of meanings. I admire a creative team led by a director, Barry Quin and their subtle options and creativity. The lawyer, Billy’s body language is full of confidence (* “over confident,” is the point!). Women dance with widely and shamelessly opened legs, as if they were challenging audience and social norms. If feminism examines this musical, it would be interesting. Here, this is "Mary Sunshine" at the end of the story, which comes up like a punch line. She is nothing different from other characters, a bitter and shocking ending. A finale was Velma and Roxie's singing. 
The stage show "CHICAGO" has many typical entertainment elements as well as serious messages. Billy is surrounded by women with white feather fans. Billy, Roxie and Verlma use red sticks for singing and dancing. The classic and popular techniques amuse audience. They overlap the familiar scenes in American popular culture. It is no surprise why this musical holds the longest running record on Broadway. I really enjoyed the show and learned a lot for illustration. 
Friends, do you know? The students study so hard for two years and perform an annual freebie show as their result. Look at each performer's great muscles and sweat! As I have knowledge from life drawing, well-developed muscles show how hard they have worked for ages! I really appreciate their enormous efforts and generosity. Fortunately, I sat next to ladies who had a close relative in the musical. “Since so little, he’s loved singing. Yes, we’re so proud of him,” they said and kindly introduced me to their grandson after the presentation. Through him, I made friends with actors, actresses, a director, back scene players and even, their families, friends.  

I’ve certainly felt the enthusiasm of people at Australian Institute of Music and their dedication for music. They love my sketches and await my blog post. One student remembered me, "You came last year!" Yes, I sketched, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Try."  Thank you for remembering me. I courteously said thank you for each of them, particularly, back scene workers. They are real heroes! Please put hands together for all the involved people.  
CHICAGO Opening 
I challenged a "mission impossible," sketching a musical in almost darkness! Yet, I sketched a lot. Friends, if you have time, come over this performance next year. You can see a wonderful show and will meet hard working students. They are shining! We chatted over our dreams together. I heartily hope we will make our dreams come true in a competitive industry!  

Btw, my picture book project "My dog Socks" is ongoing steadily. I worked on a commissioned portrait and delivered it to a client. The portrait made the client so happy and excited. Me, too, happy to see her smile. That's the artist's reward. I hope I will make others happy with my art work! 
Friends, Happy Painting and Singing!


Monday, November 28, 2016

Watercolour Workshop for Day of People with Disability

Wesley Mission and I will run a watercolour workshop for a community event to celebrate International Day of People with Disability at Kingsgrove Community Aid Centre on 30 Nov. 
11 am to 2 pm, 2 sessions (1 hour each). Free. Materials are provided. Simple designs and easy steps. Anyone can make cards! A watercolour artist Sadami Konchi and Wesley staff will assist you. All welcome, particularly, people with disability. Some of my former clients of Building Dreams project are coming. One client, who could hardly move his body, is coming. I gave him my watercolour painting of his dream, "riding a horse." Wesley staff said, "A client looks very happy to see you again." I look forward to seeing them! 
I'm very happy and grateful that Wesley has brought me this opportunity to contribute to society. Friends, see you there this Wed! 


Sunday, November 20, 2016

A moody portrait, Helen Chamberlin

I've been enjoying creating Helen Chamberlin's portrait, whilst working on other projects : the illustration for "My Dog Socks," a commissioned portrait and a watercolour painting workshop for people with disability and the public run by Wesley Mission. Busy, but fun. Helen is so kind. She lets me draw as I like. 
In this Helen, I felt like making a moody background. I darkened her clothes and made a background. When I study portraits and research them, modern portraits often do not have backgrounds or blank. I prefer a blank or a simple background until I have an inspiration of a background. 
These days, I feel like creating "my own say" in portraits. I want to go one step beyond. I want to show a model's inner world, not a simple resemblance. I just keep drawing and exploring what I'm wanting to do. I'm sure I'll make "tons" of messes. I fell down and sometimes it's painful. It's a journey. But it is much like an exciting adventure for me and a great fun, eventually. Or optimism is my compass?!    
How is your drawing journey going? Take care, Friends. I hope you, too, enjoy your journey.
Happy Painting!   


Monday, November 7, 2016

Big Waves at Narrabeen

The picture book illustration of "My Dog Socks" is ongoing steadily! In a break, I love capturing waves by watercolour. Waves never bore me. So beautiful, magical, energetic, emotional and full of life. Hard winds swirled up waves at Narrabeen beach. Waves changed into white with bright colours that picked up sands. Colours were different from a usual ocean around at 4 pm, which fascinated me. (*Usually, waves begin to turn to dark blue.) Many people were looking at waves with awe. Too big waves and we could not swim. Instead of a swim, I enjoyed sketching.  
Capturing waves by watercolour painting is not easy, at first. 
But perseverance is my assets. Where there is a will, there's a way. I really, really wanted to GRAB waves on papers. I wanted to depict lively waves, their movements and a drama. When I look up my old sketches, improvement is found. 

These are my solutions.  Friends, bring a good paper to a beach! My starting point was this sketch on a thin sketch book paper. It was a stormy sea that excited me. Unfortunately, a sketch book paper was too thin to hold washes! I could not depict a rough sea enough. Yet, I found the technical solution. White crayon/wax and colours are helpful. A bitter experience taught me the importance of a good/thick paper. Ever since, I bring my favourite 300 gsm which holds washes well.  
Another, a physical issue was, hey, it was impossible to stand on a windy beach. I sketched a rough sea from the inside of my car, aw, cosy and snug! This is the work.  
These days, we haven't had much rain. A dry weather helps my watercolour painting at a beach. (*Sometimes, humidity makes me wait until washes get dry enough to move on to another brush strokes on a beach.) I love looking at waves after swimming at a beach as well as others. Waves wash away all the heavy stuff from our chests. Waves are born, come closer, go away...and perish. They look like us, humans. 
Friends, Happy Painting! 


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Willoughby Symphony Sketched by Water Brush

I was courteously invited to sketch Willoughby Symphony as a Sydney Sketch Club member. I enjoyed capturing a violinist in a high tension just before playing, a relaxed bass player in a break, a pianist in nirvana, etc. A mood of each musician interested me most. The rehearsal of Beethoven #9 was from 7 pm to 11 pm. I tried a "water brush" for the first time, because water was not allowed in the concert hall. Later I'll chat over the a pen. 

A violinist was just about to play music. When I looked at her concentration, it was so favourable and beautiful. She paid attention to a conductor. Her sharp eye contact with him captured my heart. It made me smile. So, I got on a job! I feel the beauty in anyone who is absorbed in work. It's lovely. 
After painting the violinist in high tension, I felt like capturing totally an opposite mood, "being relaxed." I found a young bass player in a very short break. He enjoyed a chat with a next bass player and waited for a conductor. Nice! 
A pianist often closed eyes and she was in a heaven. Her body swung very big like elegant dancing, meanwhile the muscles in her arms told her years long experiences. I depicted her muscles as well as her face expression. I felt every musician really love music. Their enthusiasm for playing is great. Me, too, in ecstasy. I began to smile and moved a body along music. The orchestra took me to a heaven. Yes, I love sketching musicians!!  
Btw, has anyone tried a water brush?  It would be handy, if water use is not acceptable in a place. I need more practises though, not bad to play with it! When I looked at the used amount of water, surprisingly, it was only a little bit in a water brush. I need to get used to it though, it seems fine and useful. The water brush is worth trying.
After three watercolour paintings, in order to relax myself, I enjoyed black and white by a graphite. A conductor's body language and arms fascinated me. Aw, I wish I could have seen his face expression! That was the only regret I had. Next time, I want to see him from the front.  
Then, I chose another young violinist for a close up. She tried hard to follow the conductor, while she did her best to create sounds required by him. Lovely. I like it.  
"Society is an orchestra," we say. Everyone is different and all of us are precious. Then, we can create a wonderful music. The individual difference is so important in identity, yet we're same human beings. Without the difference, we cannot be us. An orchestra is a positive metaphor of identity in society, I love. I want to sing a song of joy in art. 
I deeply thank for our Sketch Club leader, Jennifer, Kathie at Willoughby Council and all the members of the orchestra. They gave me the opportunity to enjoy sketching Willoughby orchestra and a wonderful music. I hope to see you again, soon! 
Friends, you, too, happy painting and enjoy music! 
PS. "Happy Halloween!" 


Monday, October 24, 2016

Blackbird, Fly!

I found a fledgling, while I was taking photos of butterflies in a cemetery. It looked like a common blackbird juvenile (*Anyone, idea?). That little bird banged badly against a tree and a wall of a little chapel. Oh, no! ​I put it on a tombstone. Pity..., but it was really cute. I saw another, probably its sibling that could fly better than this. I left the babybird there.
One day after, I saw the fledgling sitting on a bench on a paved way along the cemetery nearly at noon. "What are you doing here?" I cried out! I assumed it did not have food. While I was wondering a rescue or not, it flew away in a very clumsy way and anyhow clang to a tree trunk. Noisy miners began to attack that fledgling. Oh, no. When the juvenile chirped to call its mum, others attacked it again. It could not cry for help. Pity. I wondered where its mum was. Or Mum kept distance and wanted to make her children live on themselves. 
After quick lunch, I went there. The blackbird was found in nowhere. I looked for it for three times. I did not find it run over a road, in near trees or anywhere. I hope it is alive and safe and will survive in somewhere.  
When I did research about baby blackbirds on net, I found rescue was not good. Juvenile blackbirds leave nests before they can fly well, but rescue is inappropriate. Thank goodness, I'm so relieved. 
The fledgling reminded me of the song, "Blackbird," by the Beatles. See its very short tail! Oh, young and cute. Also, I think of a lovely blogger friend, Rhonda who loves birds. I heartily hope migraines will be gone asap. Rhonda, I hope these watercolour paintings will give you a coffee break.  
Regarding watercolour painting, I enjoyed creating the colour of feathers and a fluffy texture. Birds and any creatures are fun to draw and beautiful. I feel like taking pictures of them and keep enjoying watercolour, although I'm hopeless of taking photos! Below is the cemetery where I explore bushes.  
Btw, my picture book illustration is having a steady onward march of progress. It's a great joy. 
Friends, Happy Painting! I hope life treats you kind, especially, anyone with health issues. 


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Australian Painted Lady, 4 footed butterfly

I'm enjoying taking photos of butterflies to paint them. Not easy to capture them by a camera. I walk/run around in an open field! When I was sneak peaking after butterflies in a public cemetry, council cleaning ladies were looking after grasses on a ground. They smiled at my hard work with pity, "Oh, finally you made it after 1.5 hour running." Yep. A very good leg exercise under sunshine. Btw, did you know "four legs butterflies"? When I closed up photos, I noticed ALL the butterflies I took photos were four footed. "Whaaaat? Where were their third feet gone?" "Why?" Then, I came to know that, in fact, they have six legs, BUT their "front feet" are very small and useless. Two brushed foot are tucked in. So, all Nymphalidaes stand on four feet. Sadami has learned the facts from primary shcool kids's website. Aw, I get a little bit smart like a primary school kid!
This is an Australian Painted Lady. Wow, I did not know this little butterfly migrates! I knew some butterflies do migrate and always wanted to see it. I did not know this beautiful painted lady, just a next door to me, does it! (*NOTE : I do not know a gender of the sketched one). My sketched painted lady could be a travelling woman on the way to north? Or where are her friends? I can imagine lot of her stories.
Australian Painted Lady stands on four legs!
In behaviour, obviously, Painted ladies try to defend territories and chase after others and another Nymphalidae, Meadow Argus. (*I could take a good photo of Meadow Argus. Later, I'll make a watercolour painting.) Their chasing is quite elegant and quick, as if it were dancing tango high in the air. It is very eye pleasant. The panted lady comes back to its favourite spot again. They seem to like rest on a ground rather than flowers. I tried to capture it though, it only for a seconds stayed there. Good photos are results of a great patience, guts and energy. Or I might be too poor at taking photos. I have to confess that sketching is much quicker and more accurate than taking photos. That's why I do not use a camera. But small butterflies fly away from me before I come close enough to them. I have to use a camera.  
Technically, painting a butterfly was very tricky. It needs lots of washes and good skills to depict delicate patterns. The most I wanted to paint is her colourful orange areas in an upper wing. As I did not want to change my loose style, I tried to find a compromised ground between accuracy and blur brush strokes. 

We may have overlooked lots of beauties around us, I've felt. Such a relatively small butterfly has a brave story of migration and lovely colours. I should open up eyes wide and look around! 
Friends, Happy Painting!