Thursday, January 31, 2013

Interpreting Dance Steps - Part II

The other thing I really really wanted to do today, was to make a puppet (a doll?) from one of the sketches. It just really spoke to me and that's what it wanted to be. So I made it. Tracing paper cut in strips, taped together, some string (thread wasn't bold enough) and a few well placed knots. I also discovered I needed something to stabilize the structure, so I added a stick to the "shoulder" area. Ta-da! Puppet!

Interpreting the dance steps

Today's exploration was reexamining my "drawings" from last night, to see what I could see. Actually looking at the thumbnails of the drawings in iPhoto is what jump started my actions. Seeing them smaller helped to eliminate some of the extraneous details and helped me to see new shapes and forms within the scribbles and squiggles. So I played with them and tried to pull some figures and outfits out of them. I like what I discovered and I also liked the line quality I was able to use in recreating them. It is something I would like to use in my "regular" work somehow.
       For my process, I looked at a sketch in iPhoto, defined some identifiable shapes, dug out the original sketch and placed a clean sheet over it. Then I started to re-draw the piece with the new forms in mind. I stuck to the scale of what I originally draw and tried to trace the original lines (with a free hand, not a slow moving one trying to recreate, more like recreate the feel of the lines). I added things where I thought they would help to define the shape more and eliminated things that I didn't want etc. As I said, I like them a lot! Once again, not sure what happens next, but that is not the point. I am thinking about maybe transferring them to watercolor paper to play with that as an element. I am worried about how to transfer the images though and maintain the line quality and play. I remind myself to just play and try things, and to make mistakes. So perhaps tomorrow will be watercolor. I also was just gifted a massive box of markers, so maybe we just stick with markers on marker paper, since that is what we already have going on!

I can take or leave this one. It is from the City Theme song. So...I think I have run my course on that song.

These are some of my favorites from the day's play with the one in the center being my MOST favorite.

Interesting hair shapes.

Another one of my faves. Foxy lady maybe? Love her face and the line quality around it.

And the final one, which was actually the first one I drew today. I think he looks like something out of Shel Silverstein.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dancing baby steps

I was lucky enough to get to play with music and markers this evening. (Much to my relief, I really really wanted to be able to play!) Eilir assisted with a few of the drawings, interfered with one or two, but I tried to just roll with things and to remember that I was playing, not plotting for world peace. The stakes were not so high. And I drew, and scribbled, and criss crossed. I played with colors, with the thickness and thinness of the markers, tried the brush marker and the calligraphy marker. I will admit that these drawings did not turn out as I had imagined in my head. I expect that that is a good thing. I am not sure how I will use these. I am also not sure that it is important that I know that. I will look at them with new eyes in the morning and see what I can see.  The drawings are posted below, unedited from the last in the series to the first. These were once again done to The Violin Player by Vanessa Mae. I wanted to see what the markers would do vs. what I had done earlier in the day.

Baby baby steps

Today I made something. This is important because up until today, my residency as the Emerging Artist in Theatrical Design at Penn State Altoona was a lot of me sitting around reading books. Lots of books. Good books mind you. But reading books doesn't really MAKE things. It makes you think. It makes you want to try things, do things, create things. However, I have been stuck on what things to create, or how to go about creating them. Alas, my own advice has come to knock on my door and remind me to just DO something. Anything. Get off the couch, put down the book and do something. Make a mistake. Maybe not make a mistake. Try something. So I did. 

I hesitate to share what I did with you because it is ugly and half formed and messy. I made several mistakes before I even got to this piece. But I want to prove that I did something. So I shall share it.
I turned on Vanessa Mae the album The Violin Player and chose one of the songs that had been pinging around in my brain for a few days asking to be played with. It was called City Theme.

At first, I tried to sew with the music. That proved too slow and dragging. Then I tried throwing buttons onto the fabric in response to the music, but that proved messy, indistinct and again, too slow. So I changed to a different piece of fabric and I wanted something that could make marks fast and move quickly with the music. Yes, I could have used paint, and maybe next time I will, but I wanted to create a topographical map to build from, not a textile design. So I grabbed a simple marker and went at it. 

Here is an image of what the fabric looked like right after the song finished (or I ran out of fabric, which is what really happened). I am not sure if you will be able to see the specks and flows of line work on the muslin.
 Image number two is at the top of the fabric. The song starts with plucked strings criss-crossing over themselves before being interrupted by long and short bursts. I plucked the fabric up with a yarn needle and tied it off so it would be textured, but that did not give the criss-crossing feel, so the next section I did not cut after I plucked it up. Next I wanted the longer bursts to feel like throws of scarves in the air so I tacked some chiffon onto the drawn lines.

The next sections are this flowing arching melody that reaches back and folds on top of itself. I wanted something dimensional that would stand up against the fabric but yet was still ethereal. I also wanted it to be something in my house do I didn't have to stop now and spend money. I grabbed some dollar store tissue paper I had nearby and ripped it into strips. I then started stitching them to the lines. It looked as expected, however I am not sure it is expressing the music. And it is way fussy and time consuming. Not at all the effect of the music. But I tried something. 
And here is the entire piece so far. I am not sure I will do any more work on it as it is not doing what I feel is right or what I want. It has inspired me to do some more rough random sketches of the lines the music inspires and to see if maybe those can be translated into more literal costumes/clothing. If Eilir lets me, maybe I can do that later this evening. Of course I will share.