Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Playing within the Play's The Thing

I went to a reading of a play the other night, a play that was being considered for production, so this was a kind of try-out with a feedback session between the audience and the director (Brian Scott), the playwright (William Bivins), and some of the actors. The SF Playhouse at 533 Sutter Street was the venue, and REMAKING PUSSYCAT was the title. Not only was it great fun--witty, laugh-out-loud funny, well-paced and intelligent--it was a great place to get in a couple of sketches (yes, this is the second week of my drawing class at the Free University of San Francisco). Only one was good enough to show here, basically some of the people who were sitting in front of me, and I had loads of fun being creative about it, post-event, using the simple little Paint program on my computer.

I wanted to add color, just a little, to see how it would change the sketch. I had done it the previous week, with my "Vera" portrait, only there I added the color myself, with felt-tip pens. I wanted to preserve the original sketch (above), so I scanned it in, and made a copy, and played with the copy. Here's the first color version:

And then I noticed a little tab on the Paint program that said "Inverse Color" and thought, wonder what that does?  Here's what it does: 

And the best thing is, I didn't bring my sketchbook or even a little pocket notebook with me to the theatre--the only piece of paper I had on me was a 4x6-inch receipt from the Post Office--so I used that! Sketched in black ink on the back of a receipt--and it worked!  I like this class, I feel freer already.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Illumination of the Ordinary

I have been struggling with writer's block, and have been seeking other ways to stir up, use, extend and try to satisfy my creative self's incessant demands (it's been giving me nightmares). I created and finished the third of four planned stained glass windows (the Four Seasons, I just did Summer). I have put renewed energy into my piano lessons, practicing every day and learning new pieces (Eric Satie's Gnossiennes). And finally, I started a drawing class last night at the Free University of San Francisco -- "Pocket Pad Art" taught by David Newman (we call him just "newman"). The idea is to sketch as you sit on the bus, walk down the street, linger at a cafe, lounge on the sofa with the TV on...anywhere, everywhere, no matter what the subject. 

We did some sketching of the room we were in last night, off a downtown, South of Market alley called Tehama St. (my sketch here was done the next day), where homeless people set up their tents and cardboard boxes, and the cold western wind from off the ocean blows hard against your forehead. There wasn't much in the room, but anything is available for sketching. I liked the one I did of a young woman sitting across from me--it started out as a contour drawing, then I elaborated later and filled it in with colored pens. It struck me that the "V" of her sweater made the picture look like an illuminated manuscript letter at the beginning of a sentence, so I decided to call her "Vera" (not the real woman's name) and begin a short story with her name:

VERA chose the purple eyeshadow that night exactly because it clashed with the green streaks in her hair, and also because green and purple were Easter colors, and even though she was Jewish, she didn't think that was any reason not to like Easter.