Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Interview with Brazilian artist Patrícia Brasil

2011 | PATRICIA BRASIL | foto de Jorge Grisi
Patrícia Brasil at her studio - © Jorge Grisi

Colorful and sensitive painter Patrícia Brasil talks about her life in Rio de Janeiro, her artistic work, her sources of inspiration and her link to JKPP group.


Zoraida de Torres: ¿Podrías presentarte brevemente para quienes aún no te conocen? Could you please introduce briefly yourself?

Patrícia Brasil: Sou brasileira, nascida em 1965 na cidade Rio de Janeiro. Sempre fui incentivada por minha família a olhar. Lembro que meu pai me levava para ver o Desfile de Escolas de Samba desde que tinha oito anos. Ficava acordada a noite toda vendo aquele espetáculo de cores. Percebi, desde cedo, que a arte liberta. - Soy brasileña, nacida en 1965 en Río de Janeiro. Mi familia siempre me alentó a mirar. Recuerdo que mi padre me llevaba a ver el Desfile de Escuelas de Samba desde que tenía ocho años. Estaba toda la noche despierta, viendo aquel espectáculo de colores. Desde muy pronto me di cuenta de que el arte libera. - I am Brazilian, born in 1965 in Rio de Janeiro city. I was always encouraged by my family to look. I remember my father taking me to see the Samba Schools Parade since I was eight years old. I stayed up all night watching that show of colors. I realized early that art liberates us.

Z: ¿Cuál es tu formación artística? Which is your artistic training?

P: Nos anos 80 estudei Belas Artes / Gravura na Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro e arquitetura em uma faculdade particular. Meu primeiro emprego foi como Pintora de Arte em uma emissora de televisão, reproduzindo quadros e painéis cenográficos. Nos anos 90 migrei para Artes Gráficas onde até hoje atuo como diretora de arte. - En los años 80 estudié Bellas Artes / Grabado en la Universidad Federal de Río de Janeiro y Arquitectura en una universidad privada. Mi primer empleo fue de pintora en una cadena de televisión, reproduciendo cuadros y paneles escénicos. En los años 90 me pasé a las artes gráficas, donde he trabajado hasta hoy como directora de arte. - In the eighties I studied Fine Arts / Printmaking at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and architecture at a private college. My first job was as a painter at a television station, reproducing paintings and scenic panels. In the nineties I migrate to Graphic Arts, where I've been working until now as an art director.

Z: ¿Qué estilos y qué artistas te gustan o te inspiran? Which are the artists and styles that you like or that inspire you?

P: Há pouco ouvia a cantora/compositora, Adriana Calcanhoto, na uma música, "Esquadros", que diz: "Eu ando pelo mundo / Prestando atenção em cores / Que eu não sei o nome / Cores de Almodóvar / Cores de Frida Kahlo / Cores! / Passeio pelo escuro / Eu presto muita atenção / No que meu irmão ouve..." Presto muito atenção em tudo. Faço questão de ser conectada para ter uma janela para o mundo. Mas olho principalmente para meu entorno, minha gente, minha cultura. Tenho Heitor dos Prazeres e Tarsila do Amaral como ícones. - Hace poco escuchaba a la cantante/compositora Adriana Calcanhoto, que en su canción "Esquadros" dice: "Me paseo por el mundo / Fijándome en colores / de los que ignoro el nombre / Colores de Almodóvar / Colores de Frida Kahlo / ¡Colores! / Viajo por lo oscuro / y presto mucha atención / a lo que oye mi hermano..." Presto mucha atención a todo. Intento estar conectada para tener una ventana al mundo. Pero miro principalmente a mi entorno, mi gente, mi cultura. Tengo como iconos a artistas como Heitor dos Prazeres y Tarsila do Amaral. - I was just listening the singer/songwriter Adriana Calcanhoto, who says in her song "Esquadros": "I walk through the world / Watching Colors / whose name I don't know / Almodóvar's colors / Frida Kahlo's colors / Colors! / I travel on the dark / I pay close attention / to what my brother listens..." I pay close attention at all. I must be connected to have a window to the world. But I look mainly for my surroundings, my people, my culture. I have artists as icons Heitor dos Prazeres and Tarsila do Amaral.

Z: ¿Cómo defines tu obra? ¿Qué técnicas utilizas? ¿Cuáles son tus temas? How would you define your work? Which are your techniques? And your subjects?

P: Acredito que meu diferencial é o uso a cor descolada da realidade formal. Minha paleta sempre tenta revelar que não é a cor de pele que determina minha realidade multiétnica. Minha temática é do dia-a-dia e me aproprio da linguagem e da cultura popular. Uso tinta acrílica e o suporte, que me sinto bem, é a madeira. - Creo que mi rasgo distintivo es el uso del color al margen de la realidad formal. Mi paleta siempre intenta demostrar que no es el color de la piel lo que determina mi realidad multiétnica. Mi temática es el día a día y me apropio del lenguaje y la cultura popular. Uso acrílicos y el soporte con el que me siento cómoda es la madera. - I think my differential is the use of color detached from formal reality. My palette always tries to prove that it is not skin color what determines my multiethnic reality. My subject is the daily life and I grab the popular language and culture. I use acrylic painting and the support with which I feel comfortable is wood.

Portuguesa da CADEG | The portuguese of CADEG Portuguesa da CADEG

Z: Tienes un estilo muy reconocible y también muy coherente. ¿Ha sido así desde un principio? ¿Qué evolución has seguido en tu pintura? You have a very recognizable and consistent style. Has it been like this from the beginning? Which has been the evolution of your painting?

P: Percebo que minha vida acadêmica e profissional me deixou um legado estético enorme. Meu olhar amadureceu me pedindo apenas o essencial. Tudo o que produzo é o resultado de uma vivência pessoal e inevitável. - Me doy cuenta de que mi vida académica y profesional me ha dejado un legado estético enorme. Mi mirada ha madurado, reclamándome sólo lo esencial. Todo lo que produzco es el resultado de una vivencia personal e inevitable. - I realize that my academic and professional life left me a great aesthetic legacy. My way to look has matured, asking me only the essentials. Everything I produce is the result of a personal and unavoidable experience.

Z: En tu obra tiene una presencia destacada el retrato. ¿Por qué esa preferencia? ¿A qué personas te gusta retratar? ¿Pintas a gente anónima, personas de tu entorno, personalidades célebres? ¿Qué buscas cuando haces el retrato de una persona concreta? Portrait is very present in your work. Why this choice? Which people do you like to portrait? Do you paint anonymous citizens, people from you circle, celebrities? What do you search when doing the portrait of somebody?

P: Os rostos contam muitas histórias e é muito bom poder pintar pessoas de verdade, acho assim me vejo melhor. - Los rostros cuentan muchas historias y es muy bueno poder pintar personas reales, creo que así me veo mejor. - Faces tell many stories and it is very good to paint real people, I think that I can see me better this way.

Z: Entre tus muchos retratos tienes una pequeña serie de mujeres brasileñas conocidas: actrices, escritoras, feministas. ¿Por qué elegiste a estas mujeres en particular? Among your portraits you have a series of famous Brazilian women - actresses, writers, feminists. Why did you choose these women?

P: Trabalhei alguns anos como capista de livros. Fiz algumas capas para Editora Rosa dos Tempos e conheci Rose Marie Muraro, editora e feminista brasileira de grande expressão. Foi então que conheci melhor nossa história e percebi a luta que é quebrar modelos de resignação feminina. Muitas mulheres me orgulham não só pelo gênero mas pelas pessoas que são. Na série "Mulheres Brasileiras", retratei algumas mulheres admiráveis. - Trabajé un tiempo diseñando cubiertas de libros. Hice algunas cubiertas para la editorial Rosa dos Tempos y conocí a Rose Marie Muraro, editora y feminista brasileña de gran elocuencia. Fue entonces cuando conocí mejor nuestra historia y entendí lo que costaba romper con los modelos de la resignación femenina. Muchas mujeres me enorgullecen no sólo por su sexo sino por las personas que son. En la serie "Mujeres brasileñas" he retratado a algunas mujeres admirables. - I worked some years as a book cover artist. I did some covers for "Editora Rosa dos Tempos" and met Rose Marie Muraro, Brazilian publisher and feminist of a great expression. It was then when I knew more about our history and realized the struggle required to break the patterns of female resignation. I am proud of many women not only because of their gender but for the people they are. In the series "Brazilian Women" I have portrayed some remarkable women.

Z: También hiciste un retrato de Amy Winehouse. ¿Qué sentiste al enterarte de su muerte prematura? You've also done a portrait of Amy Winehouse. How did you feel when you knew about her sudden death?

P: Nunca havia prestado atenção na cantora Amy, antes de sua estadia no Brasil. Na época a mídia bombardeou noticiários com o assunto Amy Whinehouse. O rosto e a voz da cantora realmente me hipnotizavam. Lamentei saber sobre sua morte. Observo que o acesso às drogas, no meio artístico, é entendido como normal para o cidadão comum. Mas essa realidade, que é epidêmica, mata pessoas no mundo inteiro. Há sempre um decréscimo de talento à medida que o algum vício invade a vida. - Nunca me había fijado en la cantante Amy hasta que estuvo en Brasil. Cuando vino, la cantante estaba en todos los noticiarios y su cara y su voz me hipnotizaban. Lamenté mucho su muerte. Me doy cuenta de que el ciudadano común ve el acceso a las drogas como algo normal en el medio artístico. Pero esta realidad, que es epidémica, mata a personas del mundo entero. Siempre hay una disminución del talento a medida que una adicción invade la vida. - I had never paid attention to Amy before her visit to Brazil. At that time she was in all the media and her face and her voice really mesmerized me. I was very sorry to hear about her death. I notice that the average citizen sees the access to drugs as a normal thing in the artistic circles. But this reality, which is epidemic, kills people worldwide. There is always a decrease of talent when an addiction invades a life.

AMY WINEHOUSE

Z: Me interesa especialmente tu serie "Etnografía singela carioca". ¿Puedes describir brevemente en qué consiste? ¿De dónde surgió la idea? I'm particulary interested in your "Etnografia singela carioca" series. Can you describe what it is? Where did the idea come from?

P: Minha temática é do dia-a-dia e me aproprio da linguagem popular para falar das pessoas que vejo no meu Rio de Janeiro. Tenho uma coleção de pessoas na minha cabeça porque passo muito tempo observando gente. A série "Etnografía Singela Carioca" é meu registro da multiplicidade etnica em que vivo. - Mi temática es el día a día y me apropio del lenguaje popular para hablar de la gente que veo en mi Río de Janeiro. Tengo una colección de personas en mi cabeza porque paso mucho tiempo observando a la gente. La serie "Etnografía Sencilla Carioca" es mi registro de la diversidad étnica en la que vivo. - My subject is the daily life and I grab the popular language to talk about people I see in my Rio de Janeiro. I have a collection of people in my head because I spend a lot of time observing people. The series "Simple Ethnography of Rio de Janeiro" is my record of the ethnic diversity where I live.

Z: Me gusta mucho la aureola en la que envuelves a los personajes. ¿Qué representa? ¿Por qué empezaste a usarla? I love the halo that surrounds the sitters. What does it mean? Why did you begin to use it?

P: Apesar de não ter nenhuma religião, os raios e os olhares vagos dos meus personagens são inspirados em imagens de santos católicos. Empresto esse simbolismo do homem santo para as pessoas que vejo indo para praia, trabalho, mulheres com seus filhos. Acredito mesmo que viver essas pequenas rotinas é que nos faz abençoados. - A pesar de no tener ninguna religión, los rayos y la mirada perdida de mis personajes están inspirados en imágenes de santos católicos. Tomo prestado este simbolismo del santo para las personas que veo yendo a la playa, al trabajo, las mujeres con sus hijos. Creo que vivir estas pequeñas rutinas es lo que nos bendice. - Despite having no religion, the radiant halo and the lost gaze of my characters are inspired by images of Catholic saints. I borrow this symbolism of the holy man for the people I see going to the beach or to the work, the women with their children. I believe that living these little routines is what makes us blessed.

Z: También me gusta mucho tu uso del color, muy potente y eficaz. ¿Cómo eliges la combinación de colores que usarás en una pieza concreta? ¿Es un proceso espontáneo o sigues unas pautas previas? ¿Por qué la piel de los personajes es azul, verde, violeta...? I also love your use of colors, which is very powerful. How do you choose the color combination for a given work? Is it an spontaneous process or do you follow a pattern? Why the skin of people is blue, green, purple...?

P: Nunca planejo ou faço esboços na aplicação da cor. Uma aplicação puxa a outra. As vezes fico imaginando como seriamos se cada pessoa tivesse uma cor, será que haveria menos diferenças? - Nunca planeo o hago esbozos para el color. Una aplicación lleva a la otra. A veces me pregunto cómo seríamos si cada persona tuviese un color. ¿Habría menos diferencias? - I never plan or make sketches for the color. An application leads to another. Sometimes I wonder how we would be if each person had a color. Would there be fewer differences?

Z: Creo que trabajas en el mundo publicitario. ¿Cómo combinas tu trabajo exterior con tu actividad artística? ¿Cuántas horas puedes dedicarte a pintar? ¿Esperas incrementar la dedicación en el futuro? You work in the publicity business. How do you combine your day job with your artistic activity? How many hours can you employ to paint? Would you like to have more time for that in the future?

P: Trabalho como Diretora de Arte em uma House Organ o que me garante estabilidade financeira. A realidade econômica do Brasil hoje é bem mais favorável, vejo interesse crescente em arte como investimento mas, creio que todo artista plástico deva ter uma segunda profissão para não ficar a mercê do aplauso alheio. Dedico quase todo meu tempo disponível em arte, este é meu investimento em um futuro feliz. - Trabajo como directora de arte en una House Organ, lo que me ofrece estabilidad financiera. La realidad económica en Brasil es mucho más favorable hoy. Veo un interés creciente en el arte como inversión, pero creo que todo artista plástico debe tener una segunda profesión para no depender del aplauso ajeno. Dedico casi todo mi tiempo disponible al arte, esta es mi inversión para un futuro feliz. - I work as an Art Director in a House Organ, which guarantees me financial stability. The economic reality of Brazil is much more favorable today. I see a growing interest in art as an investment but I believe that every artist should have a second career for not being at the mercy of others applause. I spend almost all my free time in art, this is my investment for a happy future.

Z: Participas intensamente en la actividad cultural de tu ciudad. ¿Qué es Santa Teresa? ¿Qué tipo de actos organizas? You are very involved in your city's cultural activity. What is Santa Teresa? What kind of events do you organize?

P: Santa Teresa é um bairro na cidade do Rio de Janeiro. Santa Teresa tem tradição boêmia e sempre foi morada de artistas plásticos e músicos. Há uma democrática mistura sócio-econômica. As vezes tenho a sensação de que posso ver o mundo sem sair do portão porque é visitado por turístas o ano inteiro. Uma vez por ano acontece o evento “Santa Teresa de Portas Abertas”, onde artistas do bairro abrem seu atelier para visitação pública. Neste ano de 2011 participei e adorei esse contato aberto e receptivo. - Santa Teresa es un barrio de la ciudad de Río de Janeiro. Santa Teresa tiene una larga tradición bohemia y ha sido siempre el hogar de artistas y músicos. Hay una democrática mezcla socioeconómica. A veces tengo la sensación de que puedo ver el mundo sin salir de allí, ya que acuden turistas durante todo el año. Una vez al año se organiza la actividad "Santa Teresa Puertas Abiertas", en la que los artistas del barrio abren sus estudios al público. En este año 2011 participé y me encantó este contacto abierto y receptivo. - Santa Teresa is a neighborhood in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Santa Teresa has a long bohemian tradition and has always been home of artists and musicians. There is a democratic socio-economic mix. Sometimes I feel that I can see the world without leaving the gate because it is visited by tourists all year round. Once a year is the event "Santa Teresa Open Doors", where neighborhood artists open their studios to the public. In this year, 2011, I attended the event and loved that open contact.

Julia Kay for Julia Kay's Portrait Party Portrait of Julia Kay for JKPP group

Z: ¿Cómo conociste el grupo JKPP? ¿Qué ha supuesto para ti? ¿Qué te aporta Internet, en general? How did you knew about JKPP group? What has been it for you? What gives Internet to you?

P: JKPP é um grupo de trocas artísticas e foi idealizado pela também artista plástica Julia Kay. É uma espaço para quem tem como afinidade o retrato e como desafio o outro. Já fiz cerca de 15 retratos de participantes deste grupo e fui retratada por vários integrantes. É divertido e acolhedor: fazer parte desta confraria nos torna um artista do mundo. Passei a me interessar por diversas culturas que os rostos desses meus companheiros carregam. JKPP também foi muito importante para que me descobrisse uma retratista. Até então não encarava as pessoas enquanto pintava, apenas retratava a lembrança das pessoas que passavam por mim. - JKPP es un grupo de intercambio artístico, creado por la también artista Julia Kay. Es un espacio para quienes tienen afinidad por el retrato y con el desafío que supone el otro. He hecho cerca de 15 retratos de los participantes y he sido retratada por varios miembros. Es divertido y acogedor: formar parte de esta fraternidad nos convierte en artistas del mundo. He empezado a interesarme por las diferentes culturas que reflejan las caras de mis compañeros. JKPP también ha sido muy importante para descubrirme como retratista. Hasta entonces no encaraba a las personas mientras pintaba, solo retrataba el recuerdo de la gente que pasaba por mí. - JKPP is a group of artistic exchange, created by artist Julia Kay. It is a space for those who have an affinity to the portrait and the other as a challenge. I've done about 15 portraits of participants in this group and have been portrayed by several members. It's fun and friendly: to belong to this brotherhood makes us world artists. I've became interested in different cultures that the faces of my fellow artists bear. JKPP has also been very important to discover myself as a portraitist. Until then, I didn't face people when I painted, I only depicted the memory of people who passed through me.

Z: Y para terminar: ¿"Patricia Brasil" es un pseudónimo, o es tu nombre real? Me gusta mucho porque es eufónico, identificativo y difícil de olvidar. And a last question: "Patrícia Brasil" is an artistic name, or is it your real name? I like it because it is euphonious, recognizable and difficult to forget.

P: Meu nome civil é Patrícia Lima. Em 2004 comecei a deixar minha produção em uma loja que se chama La Vereda, aqui em Santa Teresa onde moro. O lugar é muito visitado por turistas por isso assinava apenas Patricia – Brasil. Com o tempo suprimí o traço que me separava do meu país e adotei como nome artístico Patricia Brasil. - Mi nombre oficial es Patrícia Lima. En 2004 empecé a dejar mi producción en una tienda llamada La Vereda, aquí donde vivo, en Santa Teresa. Es un lugar muy visitado por turistas, por lo que sólo firmaba "Patrícia - Brasil". Con el tiempo suprimí el guión que me separaba de mi país y adopté como nombre artístico "Patrícia Brasil". - My legal name is Patrícia Lima. In 2004 I started leaving my production at a store called La Vereda, here where I live, in Santa Teresa. The place is visited by many tourists so I just signed as "Patrícia - Brasil". Later I suppressed the dash that separated me from my country and adopted as a stage name "Patrícia Brasil".


Some links:

emaildapatriciabrasil@gmail.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/patricia_brasil/
http://www.facebook.com/patricia.brasil.art
http://www.behance.net/gallery/Etnografia-Singela-Carioca-Rio-Natural-Ethnography/1253883
http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2048252
http://patriciabrasil.tumblr.com/

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The JKPP meetup in Barcelona

Some JKPP members and friends had a great time in Barcelona on the first weekend of July. It was at the third European meet of Julia Kay's Portrait Party group, after the one that took place in London in November 2010 and the second one in Oxford, in March 2011.

This time the gathering was at La Central, a bookshop located in the center of the city, with a beautiful café and a peaceful terrace.

"lasagna" is cooling off.
The group at the bookshop terrace, photo by Joan Ramon Farré Barzuri

The portrait party was held on Saturday the 2nd July, but as some of the visitors were already in Barcelona, on Friday evening there was a dinner by the sea.

On the big day, we were a nice bunch. From Barcelona: Magí Batet, Arturo Espinosa, Joan Ramon Farré Burzuri, Arsaytoma (Zoraida de Torres), Swasky (Víctor Martínez Escámez), and some of Swasky's students at a local art school: Míriam, Pedro, Trini (Tinitru), Isaac and Daniel. From other Spanish cities: Miguel RGL and Félix Tamayo, and from other countries: Kai, who came from Germany, Barbara Luel from Belgium, Erica Smith and Susanne du Toit from UK, and Judy Repke who arrived from the US after having attended a watercolor workshop in Costa Brava. At the party we had a few visitors who had learnt about it on USk-Spain blog, and they did some portraits too. At least one of them has recently became a new member of JKPP (Javier Luengo).

It was a happy and busy day. We spent all the morning making portraits from life, some of us discovering that it is much more difficult than from photos. Swasky, who was there as a teacher, knew how to organize the posing sessions in a way that everyone could be portraited and attempt fast and less fast portraits. It was really interesting to see that some people preferred to draw from 5 minute poses, others felt more confortable with 10 minute poses, and others asked for more time to finish their work. Each one was using their preferred media: watercolors, pastels, pen and ink, graphite, digital painting... and the results make an amazingly diverse and lively collection. We were inside a classroom, a slideshow of JKPP portraits and photos was projected on a wall, and everybody was focused and silent, so there was a special atmosphere that surprised the people who came to see us.

JKKP Barcelona - the painted wall
The painted wall, photo by Arsaytoma

Also, one of the bookshop owners offered us to paint whatever we wanted on one of the classroom walls. As Judy had big brushes and plenty of watercolor, a few began to paint and now there is a nice mural inside La Central, with the portraits of some of the attendees, plus Julia Kay who was there in spirit and image (with the balloon hat), and Franz Kafka who was there in image (among the posters decorating the classroom) and maybe in spirit too.

Most of us didn't leave the bookshop on the entire day. We had lunch there, and on the afternoon we had coffee at the terrace and made more portraits of each other.

It was planned to add an urban sketching session on Sunday. There was an USk Spain event in Teruel the same weekend, so not much people could come, but we managed to have a good morning anyway with Swasky, Kai, Erica, Barbara, Arsaytoma, Joan Ramon, his brother and his nephew. We went to the port, and once more it was shown that just a few people watching the same thing can produce interestingly diverse works - and have the same fun!

Some of the foreign visitors left Barcelona on Sunday, others stayed a couple of days more... for all of them, and for the people from Barcelona too, the JKPP gathering was a nice short vacation and a good opportunity to practice portraiting from life and make lots of drawings, and of course, to meet each other and talk in a real way, not only through the Internet.

Hope there can be more JKPP meets soon. Maybe in Brussels, as Barbara suggested?


There is a Flickr group about the Barcelona JKPP meetup. You can find here photos, videos, the portraits and sketches made during the wekend, and also the artworks made by other JKPP members who did not attend the meetup.

Interview with artist Tim Clary




Tim Clary, who enriches Julia Kay's Portrait Party with his impressive ink drawings, is going to teach his first portrait class this summer...


Kai: Would you tell me a little about yourself, your education, your profession?

Tim: I studied graphic design at the School of Art & Design at Alfred University. The first year there consisted of a fairly rigorous Foundation program that exposed me to many different mediums and approaches to art from traditional drawing, painting and sculpture to some pretty out there conceptual work. It was kind of an artistic bootcamp which I was more or less totally unprepared for! I did a few more drawing courses my sophmore year before focusing on graphic design.

A few years ago I got the bug to get back to the traditional drawing that originally drove my interest in art and I've been at it ever since.

Kai: I've read that you are a ski instructor and a race coach. What's the difference between these jobs?

Tim: Instructing is teaching casual skiers usually in single lessons, whereas coaching is training a team of competitive athletes over the course of an entire season. I grew up ski racing in high school and college (Slalom and Giant Slalom) so once I started instructing I had always hoped I'd be able to coach a team. I got that opportunity at Hunter Mountain, working first with the 7-10 year old kids for two seasons before moving up to the J1-2 division (15-19 year olds).

Kai: What are you doing in the summer season?

Tim: I try to keep myself busy. I do freelance design and illustration work and I'll be teaching my very first art class later this summer.

Kai: What will you teach your students? Are there any “main skills” one should learn?

Tim: I’m going to try and give my students a solid foundation of skills to be able to capture an accurate, realistic portrait, achieving a likeness and a sense of life and spirit. I’ll be covering things like proportion, understanding the planes of the head, measuring and sighting techniques, rendering tone and value, as well as color theory and basic painting techniques.

Kai: What have you learned from your art teachers?

Tim: I don’t think I had any idea of the breadth and scope of ‘Art’ until I went to college. I was exposed to so much that I never would have discovered on my own. In addition my best teachers always challenged me to push myself further and to work through difficulties.

Kai: Are there any parallels in teaching drawing and skiing?

Tim: I think so. For many people who see a beautiful painting or a great athlete it looks like magic, that they have some great ‘natural ability’. I think that’s a bit of a myth. Both drawing and athletics require disciplined study of fundamental skills and dedicated work at building on those skills. I think anyone can draw and anyone can ski...it’s a question of whether or not you are willing to put the work in.

Kai: What is your main interest in drawing portraits?

Tim: Portraits are fascinating! No two faces are alike and it's a real challenge to try to capture the essence of a person.

Kai: On your flickr photostream you also show figure drawings, mandalas, giraffes, urban landscapes, abstract comics, collages. Where do you get your ideas from?

Tim: Ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere. Things I read, things I see, music I hear, etc. The best advice I can give to any artist is to keep a sketchbook handy and keep an eye out for inspiration. I mostly draw from life or from photographs. Some of the more abstract work are experiments to get me out of my comfort zone and are usually reactions to seeing another artist's work.

Kai: What artists do you think have influenced you most in your way of drawing portraits?

Tim: My initial entry into art was through comics and I still love many of the artists who work in that medium. Artists like Paul Pope and Charles Burns (his portraits for the Believer magazine, in particular) who work in ink are very influential. From the Portrait Party I particularly enjoy the work of N.C. Mallory, Wally Torta, Marty Harris and Nicole Little among many others.

Kai: You got your motto from Ibn Arabi, an andalusian sufi mystic and philosopher, who lived 800 years ago. He said "If you engage in travel, you will arrive." What does this slogan mean to you?

Tim: I think ‘engage’ is the key word in that line. We are all on a journey in this life. But I think only those who truly work to engage in that journey, to see and understand the world and to work towards their objectives will ever get there.

Kai: How does drawing (e.g. portraits) help to see and understand the world?

Tim: I think really studying another person's face will hopefully give you some insight into who they are. More specifically, doing portraits for Julia Kay’s group has brought me into contact (at least virtually) with a vast community of artists from all over the world. The feedback and encouragement I’ve received from you all has been invaluable.

Kai: Did you already “arrive”?

Tim: No, and I don’t know whether I will be able to say if I have or not until after I’m dead and gone! I like to think that on my best days I’m getting a little closer though.

Kai: Is it just a coincidence that your motto originates from the middle ages, or does your interest in the middle ages go deeper?


Tim: That quote is the epigraph to the video artist, Bill Viola's retrospective book, Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House: Writings 1973-1994 and while my copy of that book is long since lost...the quote has hung with me. Most of my sketchbooks have it written on the inside cover...kind of an inspirational (aspirational?) motto, I suppose.


I've never looked into Arabi beyond that quote, although I do wonder about him sometimes...




Link to Tim's portrait class

Link to Tim's ink portraits on flickr

Link to Tim's blog Escape Hatch


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

JKPP on display at Future Canvas show in San Francisco



On June 6th, the Future Canvas show opened in downtown San Francisco. It will be up until June 23rd. The show is focused on iPad art and features iPad works by several Portrait Party artists. In addition, one iPad on an easel displays a continuous slide show of the entire Portrait Party. JKPP was included to show a community where digital and non-digital artists are working together and being influenced by each other - and not making too big a deal over what media any particular artist uses for any particular piece.

Opening atmosphere:



Here is the description of the Party posted at the show:

Julia Kay's Portrait Party (JKPP) is an international collaborative project in which more than 500 artists from more than 40 countries have so far made made more than 13,000 portraits of each other, with no end in sight. Along the way oil painters and iPad artists, professional exhibiting artists and beginners, bus drivers and lawyers, all rubbed elbows online, learned from and influenced each other, became friends, and started meeting up in person all over the world. And while the community thrived, so did the portraits.


There were some funny conversations at the beginning, for instance when an iPhone artist asked a watercolorist what App they had used - and the watercolorist had no idea what they were talking about. But over time, we've gotten used to each other's terminology and have been very happy to learn from and be influenced by each other. Artists who had stopped making art when adult life got too busy, started up again on iDevices, then became interested enough in what the traditional artists were doing to dig their charcoals out of the closet. And lots of traditional artists watching the developing body of work of the mobile digital artists started borrowing friends' iDevices or downloading art Apps to their own, and mixing it up. Many artists at JKPP go back and forth between traditional and mobile digital media, others combine both techniques in single portraits, and of course some work exclusively in digital or exclusively in traditional media.


Each portrait is of a specific person, and was made in a specific way. But the body of work as a whole - multiple interpretations of each posted photo in multiple media - each made individually but influenced by all the other interpretations - is far more than the sum of its parts. Dip into the pool on flickr (http://www.flickr.com/groups/portraitparty/) or watch a section of the slideshow to see the party unfold.



The show is open to the public Tuesdays and Thursdays through June 23rd from 4:00PM-7:00PM. Hmmm... those are somewhat unsual hours. If you want to call before heading over, the number is (415) 843-1GAF.

There are also two more events this week:

Tuesday, June 7th
Theo Watson & Robert Hodgin Discuss their Work
- Open 6:30PM / Talk 7:00PM

Wednesday, June 8th
An Evening with Douglas Rushkoff
- Open 6:30PM / Talk 7:30PM

Here's the website for more info: futurecanvas.net/

The location is the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts which is in the 'historic' grotto of the 'historic' Warfield Building which contains the 'historic' Warfield Theatre at 998 Market Street, San Francisco, CA. It's between Powell and Civic Center BART stations - two blocks in the grungy direction from the Westfield Mall. I suggest walking from Powell for less grunge :)

I thought they did a beautiful job laying out the show, all the more so since the walls were concrete - you know what that means for hanging shows! Some of the iPad work was printed and framed, some printed on stretched canvas. Interactive art and art apps were on iPads on metal easels, as is the Portrait Party display.

The space is rather large. You can find the Portrait Party on the middle easel of three in a nook on the far side of the room from the entrance, next to my three portraits made with the Hansol Huh's Typedrawing App (in other words, drawn with letters). On the left easel, is an iPad allowing everyone to play with Typedrawing.

Three more of my portraits are to the right as you come down the stairs into the space, next to non-portrait pieces by JKPP member Matthew Watkins, and there are more non-portrait pieces by JKPP artists Nini Teves Lapuz (nini_nini), Greg Durrett (gdurrett), Helene Goldberg (HGBerk), Benjamin Rabe & Susan Murtaugh (suzi54241) in the furthest nook.






A very special thanks to Josh Michaels, the organizer who invited us, and who went out of his way to make it happen in the eleventh hour, when it looked like including the Portrait Party was going to fall through.
















Work by JKPP artist Matthew WatkinsWork by JKPP artists Susan Murtaugh and Nini Teves LapuzWork by JKPP artists Helene Goldberg and Greg Durrett

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Conversation with Catalan architect Joan Ramon Farré Burzuri

I had the pleasure to have a virtual conversation on architecture and art with Catalan architect Joan Ramon Farré Burzuri. I met Joan Ramon via Julia Kay's Portrait Party and he was very kind to answer me patiently. For the readers, I would like to say that my mother tongue being French, I do think in French and therefore my English has a different flavor and many mistakes...


B: Hola Joan Ramon, you are an architect and you are an artist. Your drawings of houses and buildings are, not surprisingly, very good and accurate, the architect background, but you do portraits, very precise and also very loose when applying colours, the artist side. Did you always draw, made art?

JR: First was the love for drawing,... then came the dissatisfaction with the job done.
But the flame was already lit and never faded, and this was the beginning of my passion for art.




B: Did you do a lot of portraits before joining JKPP, or first time?

JR: I was always terrified of drawing portraits. I never draw any portrait before my accession to JK'sPP.

I always considered it is the more difficult job in the world.

In a year that I belong to this group, I learned a lot from my colleagues and I discovered a new way to expression.


B: Is it common among architects to do art, portraits etc...?

JR: Within the guild of architects you can find scientists, writers, musicians, painters, sellers, sportive, bon vivants, and all the possibilities between all concepts .
Some of them have a passion for drawing, but I've never met one architect drawing portraits.


B: Does painting, drawing, make you see buildings, structures, differently?

JR: To me is not very different if I'm drawing a building, a rural landscape or the face of a beautiful woman or a child. Really, the important thing for me is to express the emotion that makes in my inside the contemplation of the objective.
In this sense, the culmination of this idea will be the abstraction.
(still so far of my usual work...)


B:. When I look at modern architecture I see a lot of square boxes with symmetry, aligned windows, no colors, blend etc.... I am not thinking just of skyscrapers but also at all the smaller buildings that make a city.

With modern technologies,being so much sophisticated than before, it seems that style is less exuberant, very severe, like always designed by engineers.
Wouldn't it be possible to have different shapes, to have curves, to break these straight lines, to have other angles than 90 degrees? Gaudi does come to my mind but also Gothic cathedrals, roman arches ...
Are curves a big no no for architects?
Are colors a big no no?

JR: When I read the first part of the question, one word appears in my mind: “minimalism”...

But in the global actual culture, the things aren’t so simples.

Technology has always influenced both process, design and constructive.

The incorporation of reinforced concrete "liberated" the tyranny of cubic shapes recommended by the prismatic form of the brick and allowed the construction of volumes with more freedom.
There are plenty of beautiful examples. For respect to a master of modern architecture, the first of them can be Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier.

http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Notre_Dame_du_Haut.html

At the same time, the incorporation of computer as a tool for project, gave wings to the creation of new shapes and also to the way of representation of these projects.

The first example that comes to mind is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, designed by Frank O. Gehry.

But this is not the only one, going to let me recommend you a stroll through various examples of how imagination, art and architecture meet and we "give away" beautiful buildings.

I suggest the links below, there are for teams of architects that I think can illustrate the idea of this happy meeting.

Frank O. Ghery: http://www.gehrytechnologies.com/
Enric Miralles/Benedetta Tagliabue: http://www.mirallestagliabue.com/
Morphosis: http://www.morphosis.com/
Coop Himmelblau: http://www.coop-himmelblau.at/
Zaha Hadid: http://www.zaha-hadid.com/home

As you can see, the curves are more a problem for the builder than for the architect.

Referring to your question about the colors, thinking as a creator of forms, I would reply that if a volume is beautiful in itself, it no need to apply color, light will highlights her beauty.

I recognize that maybe it is more an argument from a sculptor than from an architect.


B: After looking at the links you gave me,I agree with you,it is art, imagination and architecture. I see a lot of new shapes, curves and different angles.
Some are so amazing, considering the long way with constraints and compromises from drawing to building.











Back to colour, reading your comment, I have the impression that architects have and develop an eye for volumes, shapes, and space.

Colour, for me, should not be a a decoration, it is part of the object, building, and with a function, like in this example:

http://www.claudecormier.com/project/benny-farm

Green was a perfect choice for these balconies, it was chosen because here in winter we are in need of green.

Thank you very much Joan Ramon.

Joan Ramon's photostream in Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/42114709@N05
Benedicte's photostream in Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/bendelachanal/

Monday, 23 May 2011






This week marks Oxford City Artweeks, and for two JKPP members in particular a chance to show some recent JKPP portraits and raise the profile of our exciting internet community to a real show! Jane Sherwood is exhibiting a number of her recent portraits, they are hung in a novel way on a wire line "like washing." These will be on display at a large Victorian church building called St Matthews, Marlborough Road, Oxford and will be shown until 29th May, the exhibition is open every afternoon, tea and coffee provided. Martin Beek is also showing JKPP work with seven recent pastel drawings based on the highly successful JKPP meeting in March at nearby St Luke's church. Along with these he has strung about 83 photographs of recent portraits on a wire alongside. They have printed out and displayed the JKPP concept too.

Martin is also showing (non JKPP work) at South Oxford Community Center, with a focus on some recent drawings, mainly of landscape and also the University Museum of Natural History. Artweeks is a chance to link art in with the local community, in a small way really what we aim for in our internet community of JKPP. Martin is a firm believer that art should not be hidden away, in one sense it is only half done if there is no audience for it, it is like an echo returning when one puts work up. Good or bad, comments are always valued and welcome, and Artweeks attracts an audience that possibly would not go to regular shows of modern art.

Both Jane and Martin were able to talk a little about their work at the church where they are showing during Sunday morning, and this too was a worthwhile venture. Martin says "It was interesting as I sat down there I could see all the many now familiar faces of our group members from our portraits displayed on the walls, it felt very much as if although absent they were a part of a great community, which really is very moving, and in my experience as an artist a unique one."

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Maureen's JKPP portrait of Mariah on show in London


Maureen Nathan's JKPP portrait of Mariah O'Neill is currently on show at the Rootstein Hopkins Foundation Drawing Exhibition in London until 11 June.

Maureen's drawing was selected to feature in both the catalogue and posters of the exhibition which is at The Morley Gallery (closest tube Lambeth North). Entrance is free.

http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/gallery/rootstein-hopkins-foundation-drawing-exhibition/



Saturday, 30 April 2011

A Good Plan Goes Gold

JKPP member Kristijan Kozic (Kris Kozi) recently published an essay in his native Croatian on the benefits of a daily practice, learning to draw, and the role of JKPP in his undertaking. I enjoyed Kris' essay and commend his process, which he continues to this day. I'm also a big fan of daily practice - I think the best thing I ever did for myself as an artist was commit to drawing every day more than 4 years ago.

Kris' original essay can be found here:
Front page of the magazine
Kris' essay

After it was published, we tracked a surge of 80+ visits to the JKPP pool from Croatia.

Kris and I worked together to translate his essay to English.
Julia
--------------------------------------
December's mediapositiva.hr essay by Irena Čorko Meštrović was devoted to the process of writing novels, and in this issue you can read something about how to dedicate time to painting. This model can be used to develop any skill.

The idea of daily time for yourself, which would also include time for creativity, was put in my mind by another Irena (Krčelić this time). She recommended the book ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron.

One of the fundamental ideas of this book is to write a page every day in the morning. One writes a stream of consciousness, without any barriers or self-criticism, in order to free the roads of creative expression.

I failed. I am not a morning guy, so I switched to evenings. The time of day didn't seem important when the main thing was to write. But then my handwriting started to bother me because it is very messy.

I tried using the computer but I am not the only user of our home computer. Therefore I couldn’t just use it whenever I wanted, so it only created anxiety, which is the reverse of the essential point of this method.

Morning or evening pages, handwritten or typed pages, it did not matter, there were no pages.

In addition, I have an affinity for writing, or, in fact, the ambition to write, so there was always a certain dose of self-criticism. I did not pass this stage, and I stopped trying to write ‘morning pages’.

But I continued to look for a model that would fit.


Coaching - a good plan goes gold

JKPP Vin Ganapathy/somannabopannaAt a coaching training I accidentally blurted out that I would like to know how to draw. The idea rolled and in early October 2010 I made a plan with the coach.


The plan was this:

Objective: By the end of March 2011. improve my ability to draw people and animals, using pens or pencils, from the current self-assessment of 3 (on a scale of 1 to 10) to 9.


Plan of action:

1) Collect 15-20 photo / drawing templates from various magazines.
2) At least 5 times a week, practice drawing for a period of 15 to 20 minutes at the end of the day and without the presence of distractions such as music, TV, or other people.
3) Through the next month explore deeper and more detailed 'how-to' web pages that I have already visited, which can help me develop my drawing skills.
4) About once a month seek reviews on the progress of my drawing from my wife and a friend who is a painter
5) By the end of the year, try to reach the level of successfully drawing the composition and / or a recognizable subject.
6) Then continue with intensive practice.

The plan was there and I just had to go on the path to mastery.

Customizing the plan and the elimination of all “distractions”.

The original plan was altered in some detail. I gave up on pictures from magazines because I was not interested in the images that were available. The idea was to draw only what I like. Politicians, and other models that appear in magazines do not fall into that category, so I found a good website with photos that I could use.

I used A4 size paper and printed the source picture on one half so that the other half remained empty for drawing.

One of the important things in the beginning was to make it very easy to do my practice. The things I needed for drawing - the marker and the template - were always in the same place, and I could start as soon as I wanted. I tried to completely eliminate the possibility of something distracting me.

I stayed with this plan and gradually got caught up in drawing. The daily 15-minute time was negligible, and the results were quickly visible.


Julia Kay's Portrait Party

JKPP Michael SchollAfter three months, it crossed my mind that I could begin to draw portraits.

Searching the Internet instructions and guides, I accidentally ran into a group on Flickr under the name Julia Kay's Portrait Party.

As politicians, models, actors and such did not suit me as models (such faces are seen the most everywhere you look), a group of people who portrait each other was exactly what I wanted.

The Portrait Party has nearly 500 members and it is a great, fun support group where people portray each other. The energy is only positive. There are no negative comments and criticism - it is an unwritten rule. Membership of the group is colorful in all directions - national, racial, professional, and anything you can think of – you can portray a bus driver from New York, a missionary from South Korea, or perhaps a professional painter from Barcelona ...

The rules are simple: portray only those persons who are in the group, no self-portraits, and the group is not for photographic portraits.

If you are interested to participate, first read the simple rules. Before applying, put some of your drawings on your Flickr profile - the group is for those who draw or paint. Then go to this page, click on "Join" button, and follow the instructions. If you are not good with English, let them know that, they will find a way to help you. Feel free to contact me and if you get stuck.

To join a group requires approval by Julia Kay – in general, for acceptance and clarification of the rules and instructions on how to post photos of yourself, your portraits of others... the usual technicalities ... Julia is a very pleasant lady.

For those who already know and for those who might want to know, if you draw or paint, I recommend this excellent group. If you do have a desire to draw, just 15 minutes a day can change it.

PS: Perhaps it should be noted that last summer when I drew a dog, my daughter (then two years old) was the only one who thought it was a dog. In fact, she said: "How ugly doggy." Everyone else thought that this was a calf, a horse or an unidentified animal. Today it's a different story - anyone can learn to draw!

See you at the party!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Interview with marker artist Nicole Little (littleoutrageous)

I asked Nicole for this interview simply because i love her marker portraits, that consistently caught my eyes while browsing through the JKPP pool and made me curious about her.

Kai: Would you tell a little about yourself?

Nicole: Okay! My favourite type of books are children's books. I like jumping and climbing on things and I believe that skipping is one of the most efficient ways to travel. Also, I am absolutely terrible with responsibility, unemployed, and almost always in love.

Kai: You say you live for two things. One of them is art. What's the other one you live for?

Nicole: That was left vague for a very p.g reason. The other thing I live for is orgasms.

Kai: You work in an unusual medium. What do you like about markers?

Nicole: I don't just like working with markers, I am a marker artist. I'm not just saying that to be snotty either, I really do think of myself that way. It took me years to get to the point where I can be comfortable calling myself an artist. I thought I had arrived when I figured out how to apply what I had learned over my decades long love affair with ink doodles, and make something roughly resembling a likeness. I look at your work, Kai, and I know that I still have a long path ahead of me with pen. But marker is unique. I use a ton of different types, mix them pretty freely with india ink, pencil, pencil crayon, and oils, and what I end up with, simply because the medium is so damn new, is a fresh thing. There are other artists out there working with markers - Pierre Willemin is doing what I'm doing with a lot less product - but right now we marker artists are forging our own path. I like being an innovator and markers gives me that. Also, the colours are pretty.


Kai: You've done a lot of double and triple portraits, even five and sevenfold portraits by combining different people or different views of the same person in one picture. What's the idea behind your preference for multiple portraits?

Nicole: Ha ha. Ya. I guess I want to make sure I get in an image that actually shows off the subject. There are so many decisions that we all make in a portrait, and sometimes you can take someone in a flattering direction or to a really an insane place. One is not necessarily more accurate than the other. You know? It's about getting aspects and adding them up to recreate the person. Like Frankenstein without the corpses.

Kai: How do you choose the couples for your double portraits?

Nicole: I fall in love with them both in the same way.

Kai: You say „Marker + Moleskine = Happiness“. What makes the magic of this combination?

Nicole: Small moleskines take marker extremely well although the larger ($$$!!!) moleskines have a different texture, which doesn't. I just fell for markers and colour in a big way and decided to invest in moleskines so that I'd value each page and put real time and effort into it. So I guess the happiness is that feeling of personal accomplishment. I must have said that a while ago though... I'm not satisfied with my work right now.

Kai: Will you be satisfied with your work one day? Is it a question of time or quality or mental attitude? What do you miss about your work?

Nicole: One day I will be dead. That will be similar to being satisfied with my work in that I will not be dissatisfied with it. I find relatively successful works to be very temporary highs - like crack cocaine.

Kai: Who inspires you?

Nicole: The flickr community inspires me massively because it inspires me to work hard. There is so much talent out there and I want so badly to be as good as the best. The Collective, an amazing art group here in Toronto, inspires me for exactly the same reason. It's friendly competition and it makes us all better. Models inspire me when they're muses and even when they're not because in the end, finding something unique in someone who seemed plain means that I get to play and spotlight and become inventive.
Mostly though, I'm inspired by challenges. As an artist, I think it's crucial that we put ourselves in tiny, tight boxes (heh heh) and then imagine and invent our way out.

Kai: What's outrageous about you / your art?

Nicole: Just a little outrageous. I'm usually kind of indignant, so the name is a reference to a personality trait, in one sense. It's a reference to little death as well, and I think that shows in my better work.

Kai: What does flickr mean to you?

Nicole: Flickr means a community, a support system, and a method of spying on other artists as a means of motivation. It's also the best place I know to spend an hour or two and actually get to see real, original art.

Kai: What does JKPP mean to you?

Nicole: JKPP is so tied into flickr for me. I love the idea of it. I love seeing different takes on the same images and people, different styles at play. I love the sense of community and acceptance that I find with JKPP members I've had the privilege of being personally connected to, and I love that I get to see that same spirit in the wider community.
JKPP is a massive talent pool that really revolves around Julia's innovation and dedication. I think it takes a true artist to set the parameters for an group like this, and the success of the group belongs first to its innovator and then to it's members.
I get so much community, so much support, so much competition, and exposure to so many talented artists.
This group has made me a better artist.

Kai: Thank you Nicole!

Nicole: Thanks for asking Kai!

View Nicole's art at her Flickr photostream here - littleoutrageous

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Interview with Stella Tooth (Stellartist)

Having worked as a print journalist and TV news pr, Stella Tooth has recently undertaken a major change of career and she is attending a two year Portraiture Diploma at the same school where the pre-Raphaelites studied. In this interview, Stella, who describes herself as "a tonal painter who is falling in love with colour", talks about her painting technique and her sources of inspiration and she explains her interest in conveying feeling and reflecting the way our faces and bodies record the lives we lead. Stella has found friendship and support of like-minded artists in Flickr groups as Lots of Landscapes and Julia Kay's Portrait Party. As she says, "Julia's movement has helped atomised artists around the world to realise we are part of a shared endeavour".
(In the photo, Stella Tooth is accompanied by Martin Beek and shows the portrait he made of her.)
 
Zoraida de Torres: Tell us a little about yourself
Stella Toth: I am currently a student on the two year Portraiture Diploma course at Heatherley's School of Fine Art in Chelsea, where the pre-Raphaelites studied. I began the diploma in September last year, having completed a part time portfolio course at the same institution. Having worked as a print journalist, and then news pr at both the BBC and Sky News, the hope of a new career in art represents a major change of direction mid way through my life. Although it sometimes feels like a great leap into the dark, I have to admit I'm having fun seeking the light! At Heatherley's I draw and paint from life and examples of my work can be found on www.stellatooth.co.uk 

Z: Tell us about your art
S: The human form is my inspiration - particularly the face. I enjoy the way light reveals its colour and shape and how our faces and bodies record the lives we lead. Beauty is something that cannot fail to please the eye, but I am more interested in truth and conveying feeling.
I mainly draw in charcoal and graphite and paint in oils. And my hope, at the moment, is simply to increase in competence, try out different techniques and perhaps, in time, to find my voice. At that stage I hope my work will appeal to others.

Z: Tell us about your technique
S: At the moment I am trying something new - instead of creating an underpainting, I am drawing with charcoal and fixing it prior to painting. I find it quite liberating knowing that the lines of my careful drawing will be visible as I paint so I can concentrate on how I apply it.
I would say I am a tonal painter who is falling in love with colour. My technique is smooth but I am drawn, more and more, to try a more energetic, expressive technique a la Lucien Freud.

Z: Tell us about the reaction you have had to your work
S: I started putting my work online in September via Flickr, Facebook and my website. It's mostly viewed by friends, including ex colleagues, and JKPP artists who are unfailingly encouraging, supportive and offer much valued constructive criticism. One or two have kindly asked if my work's for sale, which has definitely sent my spirits soaring!

Z: Tell us about who inspired/inspires you
S: Since September I have been studying art history and learning more about the British milieu in which I am working. Focusing on those artists that I most admire in terms of having relevance to my art, I would once have said Robert Bevan (his portraits) and Harold Gilman were those who most inspired me but, more and more, I am looking for inspiration to Euan Uglow, Lucien Freud and Tai Shen Shierenberg.
I have read many wonderfully practical art books of late, including Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and Colour, Harold Speed's Oil Painting Techniques and Materials and my former teacher Ian Rowlands' Life Drawing. My favourite art website on the moment is Google Art Project, where you can examine great art around the world close up, and Stumble Upon, which helps you discover the best of the web in the areas you have an interest. I also enjoy the Ancient Artist blog about developing an art career after 50. In addition, I watch a lot of arts programming on Sky Arts and enjoyed most a recent series called Art in Progress which captured a specific moment in an artist's creative life.

Z: Tell us (briefly) about you and JKPP
S: My fellow student at Heatherley's, Maureen Nathan, recommended I join JKPP as a way of being able to draw at home when there is no access to the life model. I had no idea back then what a gift she had given me in membership of a worldwide community of like-minded artists who offer each other encouragement, support, inspiration - and friendship. I have very much enjoyed meeting familiar faces in London and Oxford that I had only previously met online. Julia's movement has helped atomised artists around the world to realise we are part of a shared endeavour. I am now looking forward to trying something entirely new, becoming an active member and occasional contributor to Maureen's Lots of Landscapes group.

To find more about Stella Tooth and see her work, visit:
Stella Tooth on Flickr
Stella Tooth - her website
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