Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Three Drawings at the Singapore Art '97

'Verdant Transcendence'. Pigment ink drawing. This piece took over forty hours to complete. The lines were careful and deliberate.

A closeup of 'Verdant Transcendence'

A somewhat more abstract and dramatic piece. Pigment ink sketch.

This last piece which was exhibited had featured a fairytale castle in the distance.
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  1. God! I'm not sh!tting you, you are the King of Ink! Especially the one with a flight of steps is just impressive. It's not just the artwork, I believe the enormous patience which is the gem in your work.

  2. Mitchell, coming from someone as accomplished and experienced as you, thanks! I am appreciative.

    That energy and that patience was that of a younger person, a person fifteen years younger, a different person to an extent too. And I had reasons for that focus then.

    A few artists I knew in the UK had suggested I turned pro then...

    But I didn't. I came back home, went into IT management and became an IT manager for many years before I left that profession. It had left me without a life then. No drawings, sketching...

  3. Well, when I look at the works of others, I look at the artists. I'll question if I were to do the same piece to realise his power and the beauty of his skill not alone that art piece. Trees are but trees, if a simple sketch of bewildering forest trails could immerse one in enthrallment, you are just as accomplished. Trust me as I haven't got that basic foundation due to impatience, laziness perhaps and confidence.

    We were all raging with energy. I wasn't quite the same back then, belligerent or simply for vanity that has brought me today, nothingness. I see the work of others in a different eye now, it's always interesting to me how one can fascinate me with his stuffs. Like a friendly match of fisticuffs and we shake hands, unlike in the past.

    Am an exhausted man as age is catching, however not blunted by time that old monster in me is still screaming with inspirations. I'd had suggested likewise like your friends in the UK. I almost got into IT as well but remained a lost soul in the field of illustration since the Asian Crisis and sold my soul to advertising.

    Thanks to you and other folks like Don, it's been inspiring that I had finally picked up that pencil again but not as good as before.

    I say, it's very good art of yours!

  4. ‎"Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time."

    Albert Camus

  5. When I view your work, the recent one of P40s and A6Ms, I will admit that I was almost driven to despair, as well as admiration. When I see that level of skill, I could sometimes wonder why I even draw actually. I had also seen work from the Imaginary Friends Studio in a volume which I bought from a local game shop and I was astounded by the technique, the level of ability and the imagination.

  6. I can relate to what you have said about looking at the work of other artists. A number of them have created such wonder especially with regard to technique and perspective that I can only but admire. Such viewpoints, such subjects. Don is prolific, skilful and incredibly fast. I like his renditions of the urbanscape a lot.

  7. You were an angry young man once upon a time? Aren't we all?

    I can't believe that you don't have the basic foundation and confidence. It seems hard to believe really...

    Did you used to draw aircraft then?

  8. August 16, 2010 2:16 PM

    You shouldn't feel that way. And you make me worry and feeling bad about it. We may be talented but our mind work differently. Just like I can never be a good water colourist as my mind is too complicated, excessive concern for details, unnecessarily that fails the water colour principles or techniques. I'm still studying your inks but sometimes, I would rather just look at it in amaze. Like I'm sitting in the park looking at the flowers, it's pointless to bring one home and have it for myself. It just don't belong to me no matter how hard I try nourishing it. Artists with different skills constitute a great universe for art. We are like different instruments of an orchestra.

  9. August 16, 2010 3:50 PM

    Don and Marvin. I will not only say "Ooh nice" .. "Sooo beautiful". They have good eyes for composition by capturing a good angle before they begin. The photographer eyes maybe. If we look at most of their stuffs, there is a good sense of balance or proportion like the trees and structures in a picture. Sounds easy but it's not. They are "weathered" outdoor artists, I'll probably pack up and head home to sleep as I'm the indoor coffee and cigarette artists *LOL*. Point about doing outdoor is "time" and the pressure of getting things right with only one silver bullet. Spare me!

    And they know where to inject the powerful colours that draw your attention. This is already their basics before I can even ponder deep into their techniques.

  10. August 16, 2010 4:09 PM

    My sketches are not accurate, indecisive as well. The bad habit of covering the lack of confidence in certain portion with messy cross-hatching and worry later with paint or invent something to bluff my way. As I paint, the structures changes or even the entire plane might just fly to another corner. That is what I also meant by, a blind mind. I'm not precise. Maybe I'm too strict with myself.

    Your kind of forest sketch will require me to first sketch and again, my trees will hop around when I start inking. And you'll telling me you need no pencil and ink on, God!

    Yes I used to draw aircrafts in sec school but more pencils. And they can be found in my text books for the obvious reason.

  11. Wow. I will address each message and point bit by bit.

    Yes, you are right. One shouldn't feel that way. I know. That is why I continue drawing. As you said, everyone has their strengths. Like you were saying, it is different parts of an orchestra. With regard to despair, I had once tried analysing the pencil work of one of da Vinci's sketches and the scheer impossibility of even approaching that level of one of his pencil sketch was sobering.

    I have recently bought some art books from Basheer and was very impressed by the conceptual art in games and films.

  12. Don can certainly compose. His urbanscapes illustrate that perfectly. I haven't seen enough of Marvin's works but his coloured ink sketches are great, minimalistic with good blends of shades and lighting.

    As with regards to composing, I know of many people who are into photography who are incapable of composing the most basic of pictures even after reading much volumes on photography and learning the technical aspects. They have no eye and they focus too much on the gadgets and its features than understanding what constituted a good photo. I admire their perseverence though.

    Your composition of in the P40 and A6M2 piece illustrated your ability in that. You are a natural.

    As for watercolours, I think that requires a certain mindset and eye? One has to be prepared to abandoned long-cherished concepts, habits, methods and more.

  13. Don does certainly know how to inject colours in his urbanscapes. I was impressed. His ability from what I see was that of being able to reduce a complex scenes into essentials, thus capturing the essence, the impressions of the locale. Now, that is an artform and a skill in itself. From a person who overdraws such as myself, I admire that skill to the utmost.

    He has also used the 'splash method' as they call it with botches everywhere to give a nice rough, textured feel, the feel of reinforced concrete and stone. It is a wonder to see him and others place the colours.

  14. Outdoors. Now, that is challenging, braving the elements. When I was in England, I carried a huge bunch of paper everywhere, large 0.5m x 0.5m things. When I tried drawing outdoors, my fingers would be freezing. Besides, the place and the need for a seat is another matter as is the failing light in autumn and winter. Over here, the humidity and the sun can be a killer. Marvin and Don have my admiration for their experience outdoors, their perseverence, their ability to be unfazed by the elements, best of all, the ability to site themselves at a good spot and sit! Haha!

    I can relate to drawing in cafés, food courts and kopitiams. I prefer the former because the tables are clean! My regular spot for the last fourteen years was the Spinelli's at the Heeren on weekends. I have taken to switching spots recently.

  15. May I know what you mean by not accurate and indecisive? Care to elaborate on that?

    Regarding invention, I invent along the way with ink when it came to drawing forests. That was easily for ten to fifteen years. However, for more elaborate compostions and arrangements, I do want to plan because for ink, once a large bit is commited, it is commited. It would be sad to waste, say a drawn magnificent tree after commiting many hours... My weekend is only so short and I want to read. I usually don't use pencil until this year. The pencil is an item that I normally don't carry either. This year, I plan. I use pencils extensively to sketch out the different areas for light, for focus, for lines of focus, for the horizon, for the spatial arrangement. Yes, it is usually done in the head. Sketching out the lines do allow for greater complexity and I am getting ambitious and I want to return to larger and more complex pieces.

    You may have seen the photos of a series of progressions that I posted. Pencils, ink, watercolour, washes, etc. That was me being more systematic instead of just feeling my way and inventing along like the past decade. I had relied on pure feeling for far too long. Ink on paper straight, starting from a single point in a train or bus. This would continue for the next few months as I added bit by bit on journeys. Mood-driven mindscapes more than anything else.

    How are you too strict with yourself? Isn't bluffing that of allowing one to be less strict?

  16. I don't know, I don't think cross-hatching is a sin. Neither is it bad art. Used in the right circumstances, for instance, the uniform metal skin of an aircraft, it is appropriate. For fabric-covered fuslages, I prefer single lines. I don't utilise it that much because I draw old trees and I tend to value irregularity far more than most people. I don't utilise it much because of my habits and technique, I utilise dots, hatching (uncrossed) and haphazard wiggles. I do utilise it when it comes to aircraft and tanks at times.

    Sorry about posting bit by bit. I prefer to reply point by point and when the thought comes to mind. Aircraft in secondary school! I did that too. On textbooks, great battlefields raged with the violence of men and their war machines. Ballpoints were my forté then. Countless hours were spent fighting these battles.

  17. August 17, 2010 3:08 PM

    Strict with myself. Due to childhood perhaps.

  18. Nah not that. Long story, very unhealthy thing. I'll probably blog about it someday.

  19. Ahh.. Will go back to reading.

    Looking at the Mitsubishi B5M and the Nakajima B5N bombers now.