Wednesday, May 13, 2009

the bee-eaters, cake and otis.

Around six o'clock this evening, I heard the sound of whistling outside— not high-pitched, but like those plastic whistles I had as a kid. I ran to the window immediately, knowing I was about to see something spectacular, but I wasn't sure what. There in the air, between the large budding green trees and my window, were the most beautiful aerial acrobats I have seen in my life— European Bee-eaters. Just this week I saw my first bee of the year and wondered if the flamboyant birds came this way. I was over the moon— I never knew bee-eaters existed until I got my October 2008 issue of National Geographic, and I recognised them immediately. I felt like I was seeing some mythological creature— it might as well have been a unicorn out there.

When I was a little girl, I had this illustrated encyclopedia of animals (bee-eaters were not included), and I fell in love with a drawing of a handsome bird called a Starling. It was drawn so exquisitely, with all sorts of speckles and violets, greens and blacks for iridescence, I thought, truly this must be a magnificent and rare bird. Years later, when I saw my first starling, I was completely blown away. My friend that was with me at the time thought I was nuts, then explained that they're so common, they're considered pests. It felt odd to discover that something you considered so special and beautiful was nothing more than a common pest, but I didn't care. I still get excited when I see a starling.

If you'd like to learn more about bee-eaters, the National Geographic article Painting the Sky, is available to read online.

* * *

One of the more interesting symptoms of my migraines is that I get this manic surge of creativity before one hits. I had a feeling I was going to be smacked with one today when I got up this morning, so I took something and hoped for the best.

With the aid of a nasty yellow and green pill, I felt well enough to take a painting break to socialise with my mom and her friends for lunch and cake. I don't normally like cake and I hate icing, but my goodness. This cake was divine. It was brought from Pelit Patisserie and it was the fluffiest, lightest cake with the freshest raspberries. It was like eating a berry-flavoured cloud. I've had three slices today.

After my rediscovery of the wonders of cake, I went back to the studio to paint some more. I've had some canvases awaiting paint for a while now, but have neglected them in favour of other work. It felt so good to throw on some music and get the paints out. I was feeling so good that I spilled a jar of linseed oil all over the table and floor and frantically tried to scoop up what I could to put back in the jar. Now my studio smells like a studio.

This is a 100cm x 120cm oil painting that I started working on today. I've been wanting to do massive oils for a while, but so far the largest canvas I was able to find was this size. The sizes I dream of will have to be custom made, and while I used to stretch my own canvases, I'd like to have a professional build them. For now, I'll be working on the 100 x 120 ones. I want to translate the style of my pen sketches into oils, but with more colour and texture. This is an image I've had in my head for a while, a man fishing on the Bosphorus. I want the paintings that follow this one to be captured memories, in the sense that they are moments in time that I have either lived or seen, not necessarily an illustration of a specific event. If that makes sense.

I also began working on Ramires' book for Moly-X34. It's an image I've had in my head for a long time and never got around to drawing, inspired by an Otis Taylor song. Every now and again, I go through an indescribable phase and hit shuffle on all my Otis Taylor songs. His music is so pictorial; I don't know how else to put it— "Trance Blues" is what he calls it, but it's more than that. I feel, see and smell when I listen to his music. The images created by his words, percussive banjo playing and the occasional cello are so vivid, they're like dreams.

There's a good article about him on the Boulder Weekly website, if you are interested in reading more about this fascinating man.
Please click on the images to see them larger.


EscapeHatch said...

Great post Samantha! Love that painting of the Bee-eater. Did you take photos to work from or just sketch him in action? Not familiar with Taylor's music but I'll have to check him out.

Also, you might enjoy this post I found on Suzanne Cabrera's blog.

BTW, I just received Lisa's moly from the first portrait exchange (with your amazingly detailed contribution and it will shown in the "Small" show at the High Falls Art Gallery here in Rochester, NY. Just thought you'd like to know!

ksklein said...

The bird is phantastic. What I specuially love about it, are the colors and that you left the surroundings without color.
That cake does look delicious and those buns look very similar to some buns I used to eat and love in India.

I would like to get a CD with Tyalor´s music. Whcih can you recommend? There are so many.

szaza said...

Thank you Tim!
I did it from memory mostly, but used reference photos online to make sure everything was in the right place. I tried looking at Susan's blog, but the video would not show. How exciting that her Moly will be in a show! I was very proud of that entry, so I'm happy to hear that!

Thank you Kerstin!
I started with Truth is not Fiction, it's a good entry into his work. The first song about Rosa Parks is so beautiful, and House of the Crosses is haunting. One of my favourites. I hope you like it :)

dominique eichi said...

wow, the bird is beautifully done and the cake does look delicious . I will have ti ck out this music band.
You have a very nice style and in the description of it also thank you.I spent a few days years ago in Istanbul such a great city.