Artwork in India (4) – Bikaner

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I only intended to stay in Bikaner for two days, just to visit the famous Karni Mata rat temple in nearby Deshnoke (weird I know, but I’m a rodent fan).

I painted the little pen and wash study below from a photo I took at the temple.

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Then I met a guy who offered me free bed and board in exchange for some painting work at the hostel he’s renovating so I stayed an extra three days, and had a lot of fun.

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I painted the frames around the doorways and windows behind my hostel buddies in the photo above, and below here’s me finishing off the stripes.

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That’s Auntie Gee in the background, she owns the place, directs the workers and delivers chai. 

Bikaner is beautiful in a dusty way and largely unspoilt by tourism. There are a number of guesthouses in huge hawelis in the old town which is where I stayed at the start of my visit. Then I moved downtown and took a lovely walk to the market most nights to eat street food near the stunning Bhandasar Jain Temple.

 

Artwork in India (1) – Udaipur

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I got to the train station in New Delhi early with the intention to draw. It was a little overwhelming but a kind man insisted that I sit on his blanket with him and his son which made drawing more comfortable. My train to Udaipur left bang on time at 7pm and I had a good 12 hour journey in a bunked sleeping compartment.

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This is the view across Lake Pichola from the roof of the Moustache Hostel in Udaipur. Rajasthanis have famously luxurious facial hair, hence the name of the hostel. 

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The hostel had lots of wallpaintings left by many guests so I offered them some cockerels…

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They then asked me to paint something in the space above the birds so I drew a design in my sketchbook inspired by a beautiful cow I’d seen on my first morning walk through the city.

holy, cow, sacred cow, holy cow, pen, watercolour, drawing, painting, watercolor, sketchbook, travel, India, rajasthan, udaipur, marigoldsAnd then transferred it to the wall (below) 

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Painting in the reception area was a great way to meet people, and the cow and cockerels got a very warm welcome.

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Here’s a pen and watercolour sketch I made at a little Hanuman temple in the street. The lady selling flowers next door kindly lent me a stool to sit on while I drew.

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This is Yogesh, one of the Moustache Hostel team. He asked me to draw his portrait so I worked in pencil from a photo.

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And here’s a quick pen sketch I made of a lady wearing a sari while she sat in a lakeside café. I’m sure she twigged that I was drawing her, she didn’t seem to mind but she did leave before I had a chance to add colour.

All in all a very enjoyable and creative first week here in India. I’m leaving the Moustache Hostel today to go and spend a few days with an Indian family here in Udaipur. 

Illustration Exhibition at the Presentation of the Play ‘Té Verde’

te verde, green tea, play, marcel snyders, arte vejer, exhibition, vejer de la frontera, castle, illustration, book cover, watercolour, pen and watercolour, art, drawing, painting, posterOn a rainy January afternoon my friend Marcel Snyders presented his play ‘Té Verde‘ (Green Tea in English) to an enthusiastic audience in the castle headquarters of Arte Vejer.

I designed the front cover for Té Verde back in October 2017 (you can read about the process here) so Marcel invited me to exhibit some of my art work during the event.

That’s Marcel (below) being interviewed by Paco Ariza Varo from Radio Vejer before Marcel interviewed me….

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I decided to keep the exhibition small and simple so I showed a selection of my sketchbooks with my painting materials (to demonstrate the process of illustration) alongside the finished illustrations for:

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I also displayed some of my fabric designs (my current favourite form of illustration!) and the dresses I made from them, as well as a selection of postcards and a computer slideshow of other artworks.

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abraham sevilla serrano, flamenco, musician, te verde, green tea, play, marcel snyders, arte vejer, exhibition, vejer de la frontera, castle,

 

 

The presentation was highly entertaining, Marcel served green tea (té verde) and cakes as people arrived, two actresses from Marcel’s theatre group read the first act of the play, the flamenco musician Abraham Sevilla Serrano improvised a song dedictated to Marcel and the play (right)…

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…then Marcel broke out the cava and presented me with my copy of the book

 

 

 

The Spanish version of the play Té Verde is now available to buy on the publisher’s website.

It’s a highly entertaining read…Good luck Marcel!

Cover Design – ‘Green Tea’

My lovely and very talented friend, the actor, playwright, voice over artist and photographer Marcel Snyders recently asked me to design the cover for his play ‘Té Verde’ (‘Green Tea’ in English) which will soon be published in Spain.

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Té Verde is a funny and chilling tale dealing with strained family relationships as a mother waits impatiently to die while being attended by her two daughters and two volunteer carers in a hospice.

Having read the play I laughed out loud and immediately agreed to take the project on.

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I roughly sketched out my initial idea of an aerial view of two tea cups a number of times (above) until I’d found the version which ‘clicked’.

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The rough full size layout of the chosen design is shown above.

The closeness of the cups represents the relationship between the two green tea drinking characters in the play; also, the angle between the cup handles and the intersection of the saucers at the edge of the image is intended to create a sense of tension. 

Marcel approved the layout at this stage and I drew the design out more carefully on watercolour paper, first in pencil, then in waterproof pen before adding layers of watercolour paint (below).

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Marcel was keen on an eye catching combination of green and red for the cover; they’re complementary colours which makes them ‘pop’ dramatically when they appear next to each other; an effect that further raises the tension of the composition.

Finally I scanned the painting into Photoshop, added the text and some ‘splatter’ effects to reinforce the violence suggested by the ‘bloody’ background  (below and top).

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La Pinturera – Group Exhibition

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Yolanda, the delightful proprietor of Vejer’s ‘La Pinturera‘ generously invited me and three other local artists to set up a group exhibition in her hair and beauty salon since she had a great deal of white wall space and the opportunities for sales would be high in the run up to Christmas.

Pinturera means swanky, so it’s quite apt!

We started in the window (left) with a mixture of all the participating artists’ work (below)….

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…then each selected a space inside the salon to show our work individually:

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My wall – above, me in the mirror

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Chio adds the finishing touches to her wall of Vejer themed drawings.

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Bryony’s ceramics in the foreground as she studies Laura’s paintings in the background.

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Laura designed the poster, left and we set a date for the official opening…

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art exhibition, group show, la pinturera, hairdressing salon, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, vejer, vejer de la frontera

art exhibition, group show, la pinturera, hairdressing salon, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, vejer, vejer de la frontera

 

Laura shows one of her beautiful sketchbooks, left…

…and below, Chio’s jewelry and sketches and my postcards…

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I’m feeling very grateful to Yolanda for this wonderful opportunity to exhibit in such a lovely space alongside Chio, Laura and Bryony whose work I truly admire; they’re a great group of people. 

Vejer Inspira

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They say good things come in small packages and the tiny exhibition space ‘Vejer Inspira‘ is certainly a case in point…

The gallery first opened to the public on Friday 1st July and has the following opening times:

Tuesday to Sunday 11am -1pm and 7pm – 9pm

 

 

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Vejer Inspira on opening night (above)

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My wall (above)…decked out with my signature stenciled cockerels, some collages, a limited edition print of my cow skull drawing, original pen and watercolour drawings of Vejer and various prints of illustrations including the Chicken Buses, Gas Bottle, Discord Nancy and the CD cover for the album Jauja by Mr Groovy and the Blue Heads.

 

vejer, art, gallery, shared, exhibition, space, inspira, sabine friedrich

Vejer Inspira was conceived and set up by Sabine Friedrich (left), an accomplished painter from Germany, who generously invited me and three other Vejer based artists to share the walls and shelves with her.

 

 

 

The other artists who are exhibiting in the Vejer Inspira space are:

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Blanca Gortari – who paints gorgeously colourful swirls and dots on pretty much anything that stays still long enough (right)….I am the proud owner of a Renata keyring and have a pair of reading glasses on my wish list…

 

 

Gustavo Paradisovejer, art, gallery, shared, exhibition, space, inspira, gustavo paradiso – originally from Argentina, who designs fabulous contemporary jewelry (left)

 

 

 

 

and

vejer, art, gallery, shared, exhibition, space, inspira, debra berger, ceramics

Debra Berger – whose fairy tale ceramic concoctions are displayed on a small scale here but feature as grand installations in various locations including her delightfully restored Vejer town house.

Concentrarte Vejer 2016

Yesterday, Sunday April 24th 2016, was Concentrarte Vejer‘s annual celebration of all things arty and crafty.

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Arte Vejer encouraged children to let loose their creative spirits by painting in La Plaza de España and a few adult sketchers, me included, joined the throng.

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I concentrated on sketching a tiny bit of the fountain in La Plaza with pen and watercolour before the sun came round and burnt the back of my neck.

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‘El Carnaval’ Group Exhibition

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Cádiz Carnaval is one of the best know carnivals in Spain. For two weeks every February the whole city is crazily vibrant with elaborately costumed groups, the most famous of which are the chirigotas, singing satirical and humurous songs they have taken all year to prepare.

Vejer Carnaval is a scaled down version and to celebrate it Arte Vejer are hosting a ‘Carnaval’ themed group art exhibition which opens today in their castle headquarters.

 

The exhibition space will be open on Saturdays and Sundays 12-2pm from 13th to 28th February 2016.

Click here to see photos of the event.

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Carnaval is traditionally an opportunity to indulge in alcohol fueled mass revelry before the more austere Easter celebrations begin.

Masks and cross-dressing are typical so I went with a drag-queen inspired cartoon style character who is wearing a ‘Nuestra Señora‘ virgin inspired headdress (right).

 

 

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I decided to crack open my new pastel set and experiment with bright colours and blending techniques. I used charcoal for the background and crumbled pastel dust over it to achieve a glittery effect.

 

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All in all quite a messy, dusty process, but fun nevertheless.

Sketch Workshop

arte vejer, sketch, workshop, drawing, castle, vejer de la frontera, artSome time ago Arte Vejer invited me to run an art workshop in their castle headquarters.

With no previous teaching experience I wasn’t sure what I could offer, then I remembered all the people who’d told me that they’d like to come out and draw with the Vejer Sketchers but are out of practice or lack confidence or find drawing stressful…or all of the above.

It then occurred to me that as a regular sketcher I do have some tips and tricks to share that could make the whole experience more fun and relaxed.

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So having listed my tips and tricks in English and translated them into Spanish I had my workshop plan, and here we are discussing them.

 

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The group then dispersed to sketch whatever caught their imagination and put some of the ideas into practice.

 

 

Feedback was very positive and I might very well run another workshop in the not too distant future.

I do truly believe that anyone can draw; it’s a matter of confidence, regular practice and being relaxed enough to shelve your expectations, to revel in the experiments your materials offer and to willingly ‘ruin’ those pristine paper sheets.

Exposición Andante – Mobile Art Exhibition

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Click here to see photos and read more about Arte Vejer’s extraordinary mobile art exhibition.

Procession – Sunday 13th December

Static 13th Dec 2015 – 10th Jan 2016                Hotel Convento San Francisco