I had not nearly finished my theatre studies back in the days in France, and I was already feeling that becoming a professional actor was probably not meant for me, even if I had not made yet the conscious decision to give up. I was still taking part in thrilling experiences on stages with a dynamic group of young actors, all studying the art of acting, for the better and the worst. Acting is a tough career choice and committing to such endeavour is madness, I still think nowadays. Nevertheless, even if I did not keep it up and went on a different path I took with me to remember many lessons on the fundamentals of art. Lessons on balance of space, rhythm of actions, synergy of forces, body awareness, focusing and concentration of the mind, psychosomatic and the structure of the self, to name only a few. All of which applies to life, all of which, I would discover later with the years and experience, applies to any art practice.
So my theatre studies where not nearly finished I said, and I already endeavoured to teach myself music and the concert flute. It became an addiction, a madness of its own kind, that pulled me completely off any other tracks. I played hours on, absolutely obsessed with my discoveries. Everywhere I went, whatever I did was to feel and play music, any kind of music, with anyone willing to share a moment of freedom. That is what got me hooked most deeply to music: the vessel it shapes for you to ride on and explore the depths of nature and the self and the world and time. I will be forever grateful to the utmost, humbled to the core that such gift was bestowed to me at that time, that I had the chance in my life to improvise with music and dance with liberty and beauty together. I played for many years and had high hope of making a career in music. I learnt other instruments, began composing and leading collective projects. I learnt this fantastic sign language made to direct a group improvisation in real time: Soundpainting. But my love was to severe, my exigence too high and I burnt myself out, not only destroying my sense of self-confidence but both my wrists with repetitive stress injuries. So again, all I was meant to harvest from this love for music was even more lessons on the arts fundamentals and life's intricacies. I took with me to remember lessons on harmony, on presence to the here and now, on the multi-layered nature of sound, on self-discipline, on transcendence and the universal goal of art, and so much more.
I wanted here to share with you some tunes I made that did survive the flood of years that went by since, so you can continue reading with a little musical atmosphere to keep you company while I tell you the rest of today's story.
(Just so you know this You Tube channel is not active anymore, so don't look for content from me in there. If I go and do You Tube content about illustration I'll let you guys know.)
My missing the target and my ambition at playing music for life led me to a profound and painful process. I had to reconsider again my game and decide of a new direction to take. I always had something going on with the arts and I wasn't going to break up this relationship. The first thing that came up, literally out of my survival instinct, was painting. The thought that I had nearly forgotten what got me hooked to reenacting the pain of creation stroke me so clearly: I can't do this, I can't do that, but I always knew how to do THIS! I used to draw a lot while I was a kid and a teenager. And the first college I failed but attempted to enter was the Beaux-Arts right after my leaving-cert in France.
So here I am now. Doing illustration and painting away. Filled and nurtured by all the side-tracking and the getting lost on the way. Beginning to understand where it all links together; realising the core principles below every art practice and consciously transferring now my knowledge to the visual arts. I am on for another crazy ride, trying to contain myself with humility and patience so not to get burn-out again by my own fire.
I went to art college in GMIT Galway and got a BA Honour Degree in Art and Design. Was it a waste of time I still don't know, but it's done.
One thing that sticked with me since my years in theatre, up and through music, into my painting practice is the use of scales. An actor practices scales as much as a musician does; he tries and repeats a set of mimics, or motions, to weave them in his mind and body so he can access them on command while acting on stage. No need to explain why a musician needs practising musical scales. Some do not practice them deliberately but they walk on them anyway. And a visual artist too as many scales he can base his practice upon and purposefully exercise for the sake of knowledge and observation (as opposed to directly experiencing them in making a piece of art).
So finally, onto the purpose of this blog post: my colour scale practice!
This is a series of colour scales I did to get my mind around the blues and ochres relationship. I studied the way the same acrylic Phthalo Blue and Phthalo Green react to different earth colours. With columns indicating value and rows indicating hue.
Now, I hope you enjoyed today's story about much more than I intended it to be but here you go.
Have a good and regenerative Sunday! And see you next week for another episode of Trail of Colour! Peace.
Hello all! I hope you are all having a Sunday just as you like it to be.
Here at home, Sunday is, for me and my partner Marta, our fasting day. No food or drink until next day mid-day. We decided to implement that as a resolution for the year 2019. We love it. This is not only a day of rest from work, but a physiological comma for the body to process what's there to be dealt with in the depths of the organism. A time for the organs to be free to restore their alchemy and tidy up their laboratory.
I always wish I was drawing and painting more. But this week was heavily focused on the writing of my business plan for the Irish Back to Work Enterprise Scheme I intend to apply for. Next month I will submit my proposal. With the research I have done I am confident I will receive financial support for my business for the next two years. I am spending only a quarter of my time, early morning, drawing, to keep the form. The rest of my day is all about market research, target market, brand identity, aim of the business, etc. I have to analyse my business, name and plan ahead things with the cold heart of a businessman.
I have to say this is good schooling. It gets me into deciding what I really want to commit for and in what way I am setting myself on up a path for reaching my goal. And this goal is simply to live a sustainable and healthy life as a freelance illustrator.
I did not only search the depths of the internet to fetch information about taxation, pricing, licence and copyright, market opportunities, registers and directories of artists, agents, publishers and studios. I ordered and am now reading four books on the topic: The illustrator's guide to law and business practice by Simon Stern, How to be an illustrator by Darrel Rees, Becoming a successful illustrator by Derek Brazell and Jo Davies, and finally The writers' and artists' yearbook 2019 (the one hundred and twelfth edition!)
Anyway! I still had a quarter of my time dedicated to drawing and this time studying skies for the story Meanwhile of my upcoming book Stories not to be told. I borrowed beautiful photographs from my partner Marta. I had been doing studies in black and while for a while then and needed colour to motivate me and start the work at 6am before sunrise. So I went for acrylics. My intend was to spend as less time as possible refining my brushstrokes and achieve a direct effect quickly without too much thinking. I am used to and inexorably drawn toward glazing and layering with paint (oil paint in particular) anytime I have the opportunity, so this was a refreshing direction to take.
I picked two simple pictures at first so to get familiar again with the acrylic medium and painted one every morning.
The sky and clouds always give something special to the atmosphere of a scene. And I want to include these voices in my graphic novel. So next I picked a cloud formation with a bit more complexity and character.
Ultimately I wanted to bring in more colours and get closer to the palette I envision for this story.
As other things took over by the end of the week I had time to paint only four studies. But nevertheless I was happy. One could spend a life time studying the moods of skies and the infinity of cloud formations. But I could already register and take on board few information here and there about clouds appearance and structure, their behaviour in relation to light and wind, stuff that I hope will sink deep somewhere in my inner visual library ready to be played again at the right opportunity.
Now, I hope that you have enjoyed this article about my process as much as I enjoyed recounting my activities to you all.
To keep track of the progression of my work on a daily basis feel free to follow @adriensourdotart on Instagram and AdrienSourdotArtist on Facebook. And of course SHARE if you want to support me.
Wishing you a perfect day. See you all next week for another episode of Trail of colour. Peace.
In one of the first drafts for the storyboard of Meanwhile there is this figure sitting by the beach, looking at the sea, watching this book lying on the sand being washed by the salty waves. While the other protagonists in the story are passing by, walking their own path, this observer is absorbed into contemplating the disintegration of a paper book trapped in the incessant rocking of the waves.
What this book symbolises I guess I'll leave it for you to decide. But I can't resist to think about our stories being washed away by time, our lives disappearing in the rocking motion of our survival.
In this passed blog post I explained my process while making this story come together. To get a better grasp at what I was dealing with, and gather more material so I could tackle a second version of my storyboard, I decided to take photographs of an actual book washed by waves on a sandy beach. I just didn't have the correct book to sacrifice for this. I generally like to keep only the essentials with me. So I don't keep many old books that I don't hold dearly in my heart.
I called my good friend Gosia Kamieniecka, who I have known practically since I arrived in Ireland twelve years ago. She was about to pay us a visit back here in our remote little Connemara cottage, so I asked her if she could bring with her old books that she wouldn't mind to get rid of and sacrifice for a good cause... She said her house in Galway was filled with ancient artefacts from former tenants and she could probably find what I was looking for.
Gosia is an artist. She has many talents. She sings jazz and folk songs. She has a great sense of humour and is a trusty person. But she also paints! She rents her own studio in Galway city where she can do what she wants. She uses oils, acrylics and mixed-media techniques to make delicate and poetical images.
I invite you to pay her a visit on her website at: https://www.gosiakart.com/ and follow her work on Instagram @gosiascolours .
Indeed Gosia brought over three books. One of them was of the appropriate shape and size. Me and my partner Marta (who is a artist too! More on that in a future post...), we took it to Silverstrand beach near Galway city.
It was a sunny day and the beach was busy with people enjoying themselves, playing ball, making sand castles, swimming and working on their Irish tan... And here I was taking picture of this book rocked by the calm waves. That of course intrigued people and kids in particular. I remember one saying: "Whoa that's so cool!" I was pleased to see someone else found this interesting and meaningful.
I was like a kid myself, taking pictures as the waves went over the book again and again. I saw the grasp of time playing with the form of this human artefact, rocking it in and out of the sea, I watched the story I wanted to illustrate in real time. It didn't take long for the book the be completely soaked to the bones...
Once finished with taking the pictures we went back home and I took the wet book back with me. It lay in the garden since then. It is now beginning to decay properly, this old Polish book about gangsters and East-European mafia...
Once home with my reference photos, I began drawing them to get a better feel of such an image.
There is nothing in life like drawing something you have a curiosity for. Something that triggers your imagination. My passion renewed by this whole experience I could take this project further and to its next step. I was making progress and felt grateful for it.
Thank you Gosia for giving me this book. And thank you all for reading this little story of mine. I hope you get something out of it. And don't hesitate to ask me anything, or suggest a theme or a specific subject you would like me to tackle in a future blog post.
Till then, see you Sunday for the next episode of Trail of Colour! Peace.
WARNING: AUTOMATIC WRITING AHEAD
Life is too short and I haven't got enough time yet to do all I wanted to do, that I have forgotten about, but still feel like I have missed out until now, and why would I even bother when I am already two generations behind and can't even type without looking at my keyboard and I still draw with regular pencils, I am better off making ready for the real me for when it comes the world will shake, so I should really be careful to have everything set up and not miss my momentum when it comes, and make sure I am on point and to the point, so I feel justified and less horrified at my vision in the mirror, so in fact I would rather wait a bit more and do nothing for now for it was a mistake in the first place to even consider myself worthy of the gift I wasted, I am surely better off without me, I should stay still for a while more, I am sure there was a wall at my back I should be able to reach at last and feel compelled and forced to act upon my proximus-comicus-cosmos.
What can you not do to procrastinate again? I mean, I don't know about you, I can't see your tricks from here, but I bet you have a few, like me.
I have got to understand, for instance, that this perfectionist of mine I have got inside is not in fact the creative in me, he is the procrastinator and beyond, the destroyer, the hidden glove of death, the fake dreamer , the cream that kills the dream. Like mass censorship in a fake democracy operating with the glitter hand of stardom brushing your hair to one side only.
My perfectionist is like a lion of marble, a giant knee of iron clutched to my spin and holding me chin down to the gravels of detail and asphyxia. I, marooned without a master, made one out but out of tales and sacks of hear-shots. I serve a puppet of quick drying plaster poured in a robe of crooked beauty.
And I walked every corridors in this lonely palace, I know now every corner of it, every impasse, all its traps and I have dwelt in every oubliette I could ever imagine. I have made a nightmare of my own self and body and mind, I have played the game so many many times. Could it be time now to shake the board and make a big fire with it? Again? Yes, again. For a battle is never won once, but all over again at every moment until the sun expires and one becomes a butterfly.
All I want to say is live your life, your real one, not the one you think is worth living. What you think worthy is already a rotten corpse, the breath we took a while ago means nothing for the lungs, for what if the lungs decided to hold onto this breath because it was worthwhile. Good luck with that. Just don't try and hold on to anything, may things grow, bloom and die and fade away like a magnificent day on a yet undiscovered planet.
So here I am. I have postponed the writing of my business plan for the Back to Work scheme for far too long. But, enough is enough, life said to me, in its own way. Now I take on the putting together of this machiavelic scheme to a properly nerdy level. I think I can even feel what I am doing. Soon, when my project is accepted, I will be officially registered as self-employed freelance illustrator with the back-up of social welfare for another two years. Wish me luck!
To fill a form, to apply for support, to contact the man, to approach the woman, in other words to kill a dragon at the press of a button, can seem like a daunting task. But think about it: is this pity I have on myself enough to make me cherish my regrets to the end of me? Or am I just going to miss the wrong bus that would have taken me to a ravine? Just pick a door, any door, you have the key to all doors, but the key works only once. Once that door is passed find the other key for another couple of doors awaits you. You can never go back, but you can always go forward. You have got all the time you want to go from one door to the next. But other people are waiting for you on the other side: don't let them think their are alone, they need you. Maybe they will be pushing the door your way. That's called providence, or logarithms (I'll have to check again...).
Anyway, simply remember: You can never go back, but you can always go forward.
Thank you so much to anyone who took the time and liberty to follow along on this improvised ramble. And remember: all your comments are always very welcome. Let's start a conversation if you like.
I promise next week Trail of Colour will look more like a traditional blog post... Teaser: wet books on the way!