So, 20-27th October, stop everything else, it’s time for the annual Improv Festival in Wellington. This year I was one of the volunteer photographers, and also ran a workshop and co-directed a show based on that workshop, took a bunch of other workshops, got on stage, and had a most excellent time catching up with improv friends old and new. I saw some of my photos from festivals past blown up super large on walls about the town, which is an oddish thing. Here’s just a sample of some pictures from a wild week.
More digital painting on the Surface Pro, working from a live model over 2 hours or so, and using Autodesk Sketch.
Most of the work (and what really decides if a portrait works or not) is the first 10 minutes, drawing as quick and as fast as I can to get the features in place, before I get distracted by details. And if I’d been working for longer, I might have tried to capture the model’s amazing multi-coloured dreads
Such a silly, simple camera toy – a small glass ball, costing about $8. But, great fun to take a photograph or ten through, until the novelty wears off, just as the technique is mastered. These came out a little differently using the infrared modifed camera as the light doesn’t reflect on surfaces in quite the usual way. Done with it for now, but I might revisit a few monuments with it, it functions as an extremely wide angle lens, so quite good for the kind of places that you usually can’t quite fit in due to other buildings and such.
Well, I won a part of a bigger thing, the macro segment of The 2018 Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year. I’ve not won anything like this before, possibly because I’ve timidly not entered any infrared macro photos in any competitions. There’s even a nice prize lens coming my way.
So check this months D-Photo magazine, turn to page 42 and, look, it’s my butterfly, among some other darn fine photos all plucked from the 13,000+ entries in the competition overall this year.
When I bought a Surface Pro I romantically imagined drawing directly to the screen as I traveled; drinking in cafes by the Seine, jet-setting through airports and all that. And, this will be feasible eventually, digital sketching turns out to be just as much hard work as any other way of drawing. Just a little less messy.
Working in a new medium is always a mix of lovely and awful. I’ve been taking the tablet to a weekly drawing portrait group I attend for a couple of months now. While still mild torture (I miss you charcoal) the processing is slowly becoming fun-ish.
After much practicing with different programmes, I settled on Autodesk’s Sketchbook as having the best interface for drawing live. Photoshop is just too fiddly for quick brush changes and such with out a keyboard, and Sketchbook lets you work in layers (so an under sketch to paint over is possible), as well as having a interface easy to manage with just a pen, a nice selection of so-called natural media brushes available anda fair amount of control over how they perform.
Here’s a couple of examples, each about 1 1/2 hours drawing time, from live models.
Another week, another puppet finished – in a little over a week Late Night Puppets will be opening in Wellington, part of the 2018 Fringe Festival. It’s a playful improvised show, with as the title suggests, a few puppets in it, as well as a bunch of human friends. Most of the puppets found me through ebay, but a few, five or six if I keep sewing, will be puppets I’ve made.
Here’s Cinnamon or Caramel or Ginger (he/she goes by various names), whose arms were stitched on just in time for today’s training session.
The eyes are from a $1 toy found in a charity shop, with added doll eyes replacing the original black spots. I felt vaguely guilty about cutting up a creature just for the eyes, so also reused the fabric horns, and made a blue and pink tongue out of one of the original legs.
In pieces on Friday
This little bee’s grooming routine on my hotel balcony was like some kind of impressively athletic workout.
35mm macro lens, IR modified camera, f/9 1/250 iso 320
And here, a much less elegant pose