Sunday, February 27, 2011 fray on the wind like sycamore keys..

I wanted to go to the Dublin Sketchers meet up today but the bus took too long and it started raining so I made a deal with myself that if I did some drawing at home, I could have chocolate.. That galaxy was yummy.. 

So what I came up with was to draw some a sycamore key I have in my "fallen comrades" box (where I collect dried flowers and leaves) :D
Botanical study is something I'm trying to get into in between my linguistic studies, and the idea of plants having consciousness or a personality is something I love to explore, if even in a simplistic way..

I purposely picked a sycamore key that was frayed because it's in-keeping with a close theme of mine of "imperfection" being much more interesting, visually and figuratively.. 

To draw the sycamore key, I used chalk pastels to block in colour, smudged the colour to create some soft gradients, then used colouring pencil for the smaller details. I took some inspiration from a Roisin Lewis exhibition that I saw in the RHA last year:
I interpreted her work as the trefoils having spirits as they decayed, symbolised by the brown and blue, paler brothers and sisters of the green plants. I used this concept in the above drawing.  Even though the surrounding leaves and "curlies" are not part of the sycamore trees, I wanted to use them as symbolizing spirit...

Also, the leaves are derived from a necklace that I made from different parts of jewellery from second hand shops, and the key from the piano (Alfred - previous post). 


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tattoo Flower

 I started this drawing a while ago, and I want to modify and develop it to use as a tattoo design..

Friday, February 11, 2011


I just finished a line drawing of a section of a beautiful white rose I got for my birthday, white roses are my favourite flower.. Stunning. 

I wanted to include the ribbon and the vase to counter balance the leaves by drawing inorganic yet feminine shapes. I love doing sections of objects I find visually interesting instead of the entire object without the emphasis being on a certain contrasting part. 

Ribbon and neck of vase

Leaves and stem. The small details of even a single leaf's stem can be so mezmerizing. Tiny curls, gradients whispering spectrums of green through the belly of webbed veins. In my colourless interpretation I think I have managed to capture even a mote of that intricacy that so often gets overlooked when someone is possessed by the simultaneously paralysing and soothing gaze of a full bloom rose... 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Alfred.. ♥ (part 1)

Last year I found a piano that someone was giving away in a buy and sell ad. It was the best part of a century old and unwanted, a shelf of sorts to lamps, old pictures frames and toys. Though the owner was a pianist, this particular upright, rosewood piano had been replaced by a modern digital keyboard. My uncle, my brother, my father and I brought it by taxi-van to my house, where I stored it in the garden, and over the next couple of months let the snow, rain, wind and grass take over it. The top layer of cracked and peeled, the keys went even further out of tune as their wooden mechanisms swelled and warped. To me, watching nature slowly "take back" this old, unused thing was so beautiful, and that I felt I was almost immortalizing it (without being narcissistic). The great, resonating belly of it was home to dust, insects, spiders in the varieties: alive and aged corpse, as well as their wispy webs, and a deep, lulling hum that caught me in the chest and calmed.. Eventually the glue resin was dissolved by rain and the piano fell apart by itself, with a deafening crash. Wooden swan song. I used the insides for photos to base paintings on, played the exposed strings and though they were desperately out of tune, it was beautiful..

In the piano painting that is the first post on this blog, one of my favourite parts to paint was the key. Although not immediately noticeable, it is, to me, the most significant part..
The piece is part of a series I want to do (when college schedule permits it). Its a deeply personal project that feels ongoing everyday, in every moment. 

Here are some of my photos and drawings from the piano that I named Alfred after my favourite pianist, the late Alfred Brendel.

These are some of my notebook pages studying the piano keys mostly, working out some concepts.. 

For the top of this page, representing piano keys I used strips of lace fabric, pages from manga I love, black ribbon, black paper, and black charcoal, ink and pastel. The white strips are white ribbon, magazine text/pictures, sheet music (Berlioz I think), blank sheet music, white masking tape and some passages cut up from my copy of Sylvia Plath's 'The Bell Jar' that fell in the bath.

 This is part of the above page, the fingerprint was accidental, as the ribbon beside it is white ribbon dipped in black ink, and I got messy.. I think it makes an interesting picture.
A section of the "piano keys". I used an old top for the lace fabric section, and black paper/charcoal/pen for the other one. I also used sheet music and a section from a manga I like the drawing style from called 'Alichino' by Kouyu Shurei. I really enjoyed using these different mediums, even if its just on this small scale. I like to convey detail, but having the overall concept seem simple. The separate pieces are from works of literature or art or journalism etc, but then, they become part of something bigger and take on a different significance. 
I drew the keys on the left with pencil. The picture on the top of the left page is from a fairy calender which had some lovely paintings of fairies and plant life. The key on the right page is in ink, the middle photograph is from Alfred, when it had rained..

 I was exploring the idea of flowers growing from the piano and taking over. The idea of the piano as a habitat is fascinating to me. This was drawn with pencil, and the poppy was done in about 3 seconds with oil pastel (I think :P).

This page features a picture I took through the window of the old greenhouse in the Botanic Gardens, depicting overgrowth. The piano key was done in black ink and embellished with a floral design. The text beside this is part of a spoken word poem by Shane Koyzcan called 'Beethoven'. It's a really, really wonderfully written and delivered poem. Beethoven is one of my favourite composers and is one of the reasons I love piano so much..
Again, some keys I sketched in different mediums; chalk, white paint on black paper and pencil. The top of the left page has a print I did from an etching based on a photograph of the key that opens the hood of the piano. The right side has a black and white photo of the wood's top layer that had curled away from the body and frayed and rippled. It looked like it was trying to turn back into a tree. I thought the textures and the contrasts were lovely, so it became an area of focus for more print work and photography. Beside this is a painting I did on black paper of the top of the key. *I understand if at this point the word 'key' and it's meaning has become incomprehensible due to descriptive overuse*

This picture was taken when the rain was seeping into the skin.. It might seem like a waste to most people but I see it differently. I see it as using something that was forgotten.
I've used this picture in a previous blog post, as I used it as a subject for print. The platelet which was below the music stand reads "Lung". After I had brought the piano home and saw this, I thought it was the closest thing to what would be called "fate", since the whole project is about getting to the core of something, of myself really.. And it has deeper significance related to my love for music and its profound importance in my life..

 I printed this key etching (etching of the photo above it) on brown because I wanted an organic feel, along with printed directly onto dried flower petals. I find experimenting with things like this really satisfying.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011