Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Opening Night

The exhibition for the 43rd International Art Symposium hosted in Győr opened at 6o'clock on the 30th. My works are exhibited in a room alongside two incredible young female artists, Farkas Zsuzsi and Molnár Dóra.

Dressed in green with fellow artist Dora Molnár...

Zsuzsi is a fellow aspiring children's book illustrator and I found myself utterly charmed by her work.

Dori was my muse for both the "cerceruska" and "madárka madárka" illustrations I am exhibiting. Her tongue-in-cheek lino cuts are printed on handmade paper she made herself during the residency.

At the end of the night I was graced with the honour of placing third in the people's/critic's choice awards. For me this was a huge distinction as first and second place went to very distinguished and accomplished practicing artists. What a wonderful closure for three absolutely amazing weeks!!

Installing the Show

Installation began on the closing exhibition of the International Győr Art Symposium last night, continued early this morning and we are hurtling towards the six o'clock opening!!

A couple of nails in the wall and my works were up in no time.

We are exhibiting in the old Ispita, which was once a hospice for the disadvantaged. It's a charming old building, with a mossy interior courtyard and several airy rooms the Art Symposium residents will be exhibiting their work in.

Time to get dressed, I'll let you know how it went!! xx

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Little Bird, carry my letter home

Little Bird, little bird, carry my letter, carry my letter...

My third watercolour to complete the small illustration project for the Art Symposium was inspired by one of my favourite Hungarian Folksongs "Madárka madárka" (Little bird little bird) The singer asks a bird to carry their letter home to their beautiful (Hungarian) Country. The second stansa tells the bird that if the receiver should ask who the letter is from, to tell them it is from someone who's heart will break from woe and heart ache.

Let me share some of the progress shots I took whilst I was working . I try to remember to take these working shots now, as I like seeing the final image slowly emerge.

The three watercolours have since gone to be framed, and hopefully scanned - as "Madárka Madárka" is now part of the Permanent Collection of the Győr Art Museum!!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Symposium Article and Feature

I smiled when I received this tip-off in my inbox, that my illustration appears in this article regarding the Exhibition at the end of the Győri Art Museum Symposium and Residency (köszi Ákos!!)

The final touches being applied....

For anyone who can actually read Hungarian, here is the link:  Kisalföldi Hírek

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Progress on Cerceruska

The next illustration I decided to work on was the tale of "Cerceruska". Cursed by her stepmother, Cerceruska and her litte sister flee to the woods. Not heeding her sisters warning, the younger one gets thirsty and drinks from a little pond - where a deer had drunk before her. The curse takes place and she is transformed into a deer. Cerceruska protects her as best she can, and when a handsome young hunter (who also just happens to be a prince, lucky for her) happens upon them she begs him to spare the life of her little deer sister.

The beginning sketch...

I always block in the largest areas first, or the background if there is one...

With so many little details, it is good to get the most time consuming parts of the piece done first...

I lefther hair till very last - usually I leave the skin and eyes, but this time I wasn't decided whether I wanted to leave her hair snowy white, or colour it.....

At the end of a long day of drawing and painting, this is how far I got on my little Cerceruska...

Sketches of a warrior

Wanting to free up a bit I spent one of my afternoons on these two sketches, trying to keep my lines fresh.

With only two weeks left of the symposium, and the "serious" drawings taking me about three days to complete, and a small team of potential illustrations fighting for preference, I thought some quick compositional sketches would be a good way to help narrow my choices down.

I'm particularly happy this one, it is less of a static portrait and more of a nice little moment captured, when Martina was un-tangling her circle whip.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Progress on Devil Rose

One of the folk-stories I decided to illustrate during my residency at the Győri Art Symposium is the tale of Devil Rose, the devil's youngest daughter who takes a strong fancy to a prince who has been improsined in the underworld. To help him complete a set of three tasks for his freedom, she cracks her whip, and hoardes of demons come to her aid to do her bidding.

Here are some shots whilst I was working on the piece. It is on an A2 scale, so much MUCH larger than my usual work (A5 - A4). I decided to illustrate the "demons" as Australian Tasmanian Devils.

The girl that I asked to pose for this piece had an incredible expression, and I knew she would be perfect for the role. A certain nonchalant intenstity mixed with a pale beauty.

My hand cramped up by the time I finished her skirt. I took this as a sign to go and have a filling lunch and rest up a bit. There is a Turkish themed festival happening so I lay down on some cushions with a glass of Apple flavoured tea and enjoy the festivities happening in the city of Győr.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Baranta Portrait

The first few days of the residency were spent getting settled into the studio's and accommodation, and getting used to two free meals a day at a restaurant that serve up huge portions. The starving artist's barely know what to do with so much free food, but somehow, bravely and valliantly, we manage.

As a "warm up" I paint the above portrait on the first day of studio work... but it turned out so nicely I will exhibit it as one of the final pieces. The model was one of my Baranta friends, and I tried to capture something of that fierce warrior spirit that I see shining in her.

I'm a bit devastated about my pathetic excuse of a camera, I will try to suss out a scanner at some point.

The tale of the Iron Rooster

The members of the Art Symposium were asked to take part in one of Győr's festivals, revolving around the tale of the "Vas Kakas" (rooster weathervane). A Turkish style bazaar was set up in the Baroque Town Center, with cushions and tents and Tea Houses serving yummy Apple flavoured tea.

A long roll of paper was spread out and we were divided into 7 parts to each illustrate a scene from the tale, which is a modern version of the original story of when the Ottoman Turks had control over the city, and had proposed that the city of Győr would never fall under the rule of Hungarians again - not until the iron rooster crows. According to legend a daring youth climbed up one dawn and began to crow, which the superstitious Ottoman's took as a warning of their impeding doom and fled.

I (with some minor vocal persuasion) managed to secure myself the scene where the Turks happen upon a group of fairies, and capturing the youngest cut off her magical hair.

From left to right, here is my contribution to the comic...

The faeries frolick in the woods, as is their custom....

The Turks charge, the faeries turn to wind and flee...

The youngest is captured, and her magical hair is cut off...

Humiliated and deprived of her magical powers, the youngest Faery Zselyke weeps alone in the woods.
A young magician comes to her rescue ...

At the end of the night I hung out and watched the performances and drank tea to warm myself up.
This is the second performance and community festival I have taken part in since arriving in Győr less than two months ago... I'm doing well :-D

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Week One at the International Art Symposium

During the week the artists taking part in the 43rd International Art Symposium and Residency slowly begin to trickle in. By the end of the week there is over 11 of us, working is a few different studio spaces scattered across the city of Győr.

There is a nice little group of us in the "Graphics Studio". With three etching presses and a Litho press, I am excited to get back into Printmaking.. but the copper won't arrive till next week, so I am given a set of watercolours and some beautiful paper to work with in the meantime instead.

I feel like I haven't had the luxury of sitting down and spending days on one single drawing for months now, so I relish in some very intricate details and curling patterns...

I have missed having a drawing desk with all my materials flung about in a wonderful mess... it feels good to be back at it....

Friday, July 15, 2011

International Art Residency and Symposium

To my immense joy, I have been invited to take part in the 43rd International Art Symposium and Residency hosted in the Győr Art Museum, starting on Monday July 11th. Eleven artists selected from across Hungary and overseas will be taking part, with three weeks to create a body of work reflecting our individual interpretations of the theme "Role Change". I will be using both watercolour paints and Copperplate Etching techniques to bring my visions to fruition.

Briefly, I decided to create a small series of illustrations inspired by the Hungarian Folktales and Ancient Legends that I grew up on. Born in Australia, but raised Hungarian, I feel similarly at home in both cultures, yet this also means I am not wholly a part of either. The folktales I listened to as a little girl, I had to envision in my own way, not having ever seen Hungarian soil till now. The characters and legends playing out in my childhood mind in a dreamlike mixture of what I knew - Australian flora and fauna, and what I could only imagine - the mythical plains and rich forests of central Europe.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sharing the Inspiration

Recently I was delighted when a wonderful young lady posted a little picture to my facebook page, sharing that this particular painting of mine inspired her to pull out the powder and rouge.... love it, so wonderful, thanks for sharing!!!

Thanks Sarah Elizabeth!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Break at BudaPest

Monika VS Hungary

After a dramatic bicycle tour-de-Hungary escapade, I crawled to the Tea House in Győr, curled up in a corner with my sketchbook, and sulked. For two days.
That won't do.... Chin up, packed my bags and fled to the capital, BudaPest, for a week.

On a recommendation I visited "The House of Terror" - a building with a very bloody past, that served as the headquarters for political parties during the Nazi and Communist regimes. Down in the Dungeon and Torture rooms, still exhausted from the bike tour I couldn't help crying. Stumbling out of their I meandered across the street, not knowing where I was going, suddenly found myself loitering in the lobby of the Budapest Puppet Theatre. A comedy was playing (thank heavens, all I needed was a tragedy) for adults, where the actors performed lots of short skits. The only times I didn't "get" it was where the meaning of a particular joke rested on one particular word - if I wasn't familiar with it, then I sat bemused in a crowd of people laughing and wiping tears from their eyes.
Afterwards the goofy stagehand led me through a maze of streets to an incredible arts bar, a decrepit building with paper maché sculptures of rabbits hanging from the ceiling in a great tumbling wave, foxes and woodland creatures frolicking in corners and above the bar, amazing black and white illustration murals on the walls, (keeping with the naughty woodland creatures theme), ivy and antlers draping the walls. One room was plastered floor to ceiling in music tableture, one was completely empty except all the furniture was glued to the ceiling hanging upside down. Stupidly I didn't have my camera with me - well, a perfect excuse to go back there later.

The next few days I spent out at SzentEndre, an artist "commune" village north of BudaPest, eating Lángos and icecream, wandering the medieval cobblestone streets, looking into little galleries, finding ancient little overgrown graveyards (napping), relaxing by the river (more napping), then Gypsy street musical festivals in the evenings (and more Lángos). On Pünkösd Sunday (Whit Sunday) I visited the Skanzen, where dancers from all over Hungary performed. I was a complete camera-stalker, trying to discreetly photograph the dancers (think of me slowly emerging from shrubbery, behind trees, etc, trying not to get caught photo-stalking the performers)
The houses were pretty wild - low roofs, tiny windows, everything crammed into one cramped little room. I found it really interesting to imagine what life would have been like (and is still like in a lot of the more remote areas) in those tiny little buildings. I thoroughly enjoyed the dancers though, in particular one that I thought was hilarious was where one of the cockier dancers had a row of girls lined up, all crouched over with embroidered blankets covering their heads and backs as they shuffle-danced around, then another dancer dressed as a "krampusz" came out (a shaggy black devil figure) and tried to kidnap the blanket-girls one by one. The main male dancer had to race after him and whack him with a stick, but since he was a cocky fellow he would usually be facing the crowd boasting about his blanket-women, and the krampusz had enough time to come and kidnap those girlies one by one. At the end when the krampusz has knicked all of the girls, the main dancers beats him to death with the stick.....


Self Portraits from Afar



You would hardly be able to believe that there was less than a month between the two portraits. Not used to the chilly European "Spring" I was constantly cold in April, especially in the mornings and evenings. As May turned to June, and now we are in July, the warm weather is much more to my liking : )