Wednesday, June 29, 2005

At the Globe

At the Globe

She was standing opposite to me at the Globe Theatre. Like the plebes at the time of Shakespeare we were watching the play standing up upon the yard, elbows on stage, with the actors flying over our heads dangerously during the storm scenes or striking casual conversation at a (well-rehearsed) whim. The play was Pericles, Prince of Tyre, and I wish I could remember the scene that made her raise her hands to her mouth in shock, amazement, and delight. She had the beauty and sweetness of a child, big honest eyes shining with a wonder that those actor demi-gods at the Globe did deserve that night but few could express so eloquently without words. It is certain that throughout her life many men will strive, and fail, to arouse such glee and wonder from such a pair of incomparable eyes...

Gomenasai! (2)

Falling asleep...

Gomenasai! (1)

Sound asleep...


My very timid japanese friend would not allow me to draw her. But I caught her asleep on the long trip from Liverpool to London and rudely did it anyway. Gomenasai, Sa**mi-Chan! :)

Monday, June 27, 2005

On the Bus, Today

On the bus, today

Sitting too far away for my feeble eyes (when will I admit that I need glasses) this was the best I could do. So very tall and so very thin, she was pure elegance. She needed a better artist. I needed more time. I wish I had a camera implanted into my third eye. I don't need a chakra, I need a polaroid!
(Hey, if you see this, say "Hi!" and send me a photo so that I can finish it, will you? :))

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Self-Portrait of a sunny day

It was a sunny day in Coimbra. The pretty young girls from art school, young in so many ways that I shall never be again, were carrying their huge sheets of drawing paper and dutifully preparing to do their thing. "Why so big?" thougt I, my sheet of paper was thin, cheap, and small, just as unimportant as myself, just as unassuming as the strap on the sandal on my foot, which seemed a fitting subject, on such a gentle sunny day, instead of the big statue or the imposing buildings of the University, or the long stairway at its base, called the "monumental" by the locals, which I accidentaly insulted once by running to the top of it with my luggage on my back and asking a student where were the big stairs everybody talked about. These are them, he growled. Not so monumental now, littered with broken glass from last night's drunken students idea of forgetting frustration and examinations gone bad. Why, indeed, so big? Oh, on another day I'd wish them even bigger, perhaps. But on that sunny morning I'd be happy to sit under the shade of a single blade of grass.

Time passed. Spanish tourists arrived on tour buses, the girls eventually left unnoticed. Silence returned, and was replaced by the growling of my stomach. Such a beautiful sunny day. Such a pretty world. I realized my foot had got a tan.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Have I become a miserable public servant?

Just a single subway station. Too short. Far too short. It was not the whiteness of her skin, the blackness of her hair, the pursed lips, the angle of her right leg with the floor, the way her two small feet touched each other awkwardly. It was her downward look, the casual saddness of it. I knew I had no time. I accepted defeat. I became samurai. I went for the the useless cavalry charge. I tried to shut out my ears, my sense of smell, of taste, my analytical brain, I tried to become an Eye and a Hand. My heart grew still, my breath paused, I tried extending time, I tried to cheat the clock. I drew without looking at the paper, I knew I had no chance, there was no time, still I drew...I was ready to make a deal with the Spirits. I want, oh God, oh Devil, to make this work. I want, for once, to really learn how to draw, to be able to capture in a second the essence of a smile, the perfect curve of a shoulder. I want to freeze this moment. She will never again be as beautiful as this. I want to freeze this second so that archeologists in future Eras may pause and wonder and weep that they were born at the wrong time. Grant me this. Grant me this now. Should I beg? Should I curse? Should I draw a perfect pentagram on this dirty floor?

The moment came, the clock struck, I gave in, she glanced up, the door opened, I left, the moment was gone...

Dear God, you are cruel...

Only as I left did the thought hit me. Why did I leave? I was late for my job. Since when does art play second fiddle to a job? Would 15 minutes kill me? I traded a perfect drawing for a clean sheet? Have I become that old? Too late to turn back. Doors closed, the train plunged into darkness, bearing the moment with it...Dear God, forgive me, I squander your gifts.

What have I become? I cannot live with the shame. I shall commit seppuku with my useless mechanical pencil.

Monday, June 20, 2005

T.'s second drawing Posted by Hello


This very pretty young girl was having lunch not very far away from me. I couldn't resist a quick sketch over the lunch table. She was a very shy, very sweet girl, who, I think, would never have asked me to see the drawing, even though it was clear she had noticed me doing it. But, as I was about to leave, a very bold friend of her came over and asked to see it. She made this very funny remark: "You know, she has a twin sister, and this looks EXACTLY like her!". I didn't know exactly what to think of that strange remark, but I guess I must not be doing so bad if it looks like her twin! Unless they aren't identical twins, in which case I can at least brag of a perfect telepatic drawing! :)
Anyway, T., it was long ago and I know I promised to send you the drawing. Took a bit longer than I hoped, but here it is... Posted by Hello

Cloud Dipping

I remember fondly my first cloud dipping. I thought it would feel a bit wet...I aimed at a small cloud and stared at it. For a long while it seemed to stay very very quiet, barely approaching at all. Then a small noticeable movement, and suddenly a crazy rush towards me, filling my whole field of vision in a fraction of a second. A flash of white, no tactile sensation at all, and it was gone, leaving only a huge smile on my face, that still sometimes resurfaces at the oddest moments. Next time I must find a bigger one!... Posted by Hello

Memories from skydiving

With only a few jumps in my logbook, I am still a newbie at skydiving, still far from losing the dazzle and the fear and the whole incredulity of it. It has been a long while since my 16th and last (for now) jump and sometimes I wonder when or if I'll ever jump again. But the memories are all still very fresh. The strange ethereal quality of the air at 16 thousand feet, the biting cold when the air rushed in as the door was thrown ajar and the pilot cried "Exit! Exit! Exit!" (for a while I associated the cold and the fear) and all the pros rushed out the door, making the plane oscilate around its axis for a second, leaving us newbies to make our way ponderously towards the door, for the ok signal and the mad plunge into the blue abyss, beautiful and harsh and void as death itself. Such beautiful pictures in my retina, and yet I have been unable to draw any that don't seem trivial and bogus and kitsch and useless. Yet here they are, with the hope that my own shame will lead me soon to do better.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Zen Mind, Begginer's Mind

Without the benefit of a proper education in Art, I believe I have made every conceivable mistake in my learning. I have so many bad habits.

Can one ever start again? Can one ever say "now I will do it right, I will do it afresh, I will change"?

Can one ever recover the Begginer's Mind?

I will look at this face as if I don't know what a face is. I will look at this shadow just as shadow, this highlight just as light, I do not know this is a nose, I do not know what a nose is.

Can I do it? And can I do it every time?

Going for an honest rendering of curly hair, as it cascades and turns and twirls imaginatively down towards the Earth leads to a sort of sick desperation. Try to isolate each strand and follow it honestly down. You need a map of a type that is yet to be invented. The only redeeming feature of the exercise is that this frustration is extremely pleasurable to the eye and the drawing hand. Posted by Hello

Friday, June 17, 2005

There is a certain type of soft, gentle English beauty that motivated the obsessive drawings of the Pre-Raphaelite school. I think she is a striking example of it. She actually noticed I was drawing her, but was very considerate and kept the pose (if you ever see this - Thank you!). Except the hand, which she kept moving and thus came out wrong :) Posted by Hello

This quick sketch could not capture the delicious intricacy of her hair, or the deep beautiful darkness of her skin. Posted by Hello

Carved out of wood. Chiseled out of stone. A particular sort of beauty, striking and hard like marble. I was told she came from some Eastern European country that now evades my memory. It fits her.  Posted by Hello

Memories from Liverpool (1)

There is so much variation in the world. So many different kinds of beauty. What accident of History made me Portuguese, you English, him German? Where did our ancestors find themselves in search of survival and happiness and love, how many times have they crossed paths, how is that apparent in the lines of our faces, the structure of our bones, our infinite types of beauty? Does that wrinkle in her face mimick the exact path of some long deambulation through African deserts and lush European woodlands?

The scientific lifestyle affoards the would-be artist a unique opportunity. An international conference is a haven for any who would seek to draw the whole world. People from the whole human universe will just automatically sit for you, patiently, for a whole hour, without even noticing. Many will even fall asleep in a perfect pose...

 Posted by Hello

Nobody is safe

Not even your grey hair will protect you. While you doze off on the bus, the (benevolent) predator with the plastic mechanical pencil is eating your soul away...
This old lady, with beautiful hair, hipnotized me the whole trip. The sun shone on her lovely gray hair and wooden (or plastic?) barette and reflected the back of the bus and on it the whole city seemed to dance as we drove through it. Her hair held enough detail to interest me for weeks, but alas I had only a few minutes...

The Perfect Drawing. From here you can only go down. Posted by Hello


Tudo tem inicio neste postulado:

Desenhar está apenas acidentalmente relacionado com o acto de conspurcar papel.

Consequentemente é adequado dar inicio às festividades com este magnifico desenho.

Everything starts from this postulate:

Drawing is only accidentaly related to the action of sullying paper.

Therefore it is appropriate to begin the festivities with this magnificent picture.