Initial concepts 

 At first I wanted to represent the idea that the bubbleverse was in fact all the particles of the body of the primordial creator god. I ended up drawing this guy thinking, I shouldn’t limit myself to a strictly human body shape, even if it’s massively simplified. if it’s an entity of unfathomable dimensions then I can just let my mind go crazy and see what comes out.

I was especially pleased with the watercolours I was using at the time because I was getting bright and vivid colours, even when diluted. I had the thought to add the heart as a transparency to the great emotion which drives this being, out on display like an emblem but also a core part of the being itself.

Unfortunately I drew this being for no reason – I had already decided to discard the rainbow creator and replace it with the mirror creator. The whole idea that god created us in his image, that we are god and god is us… and most importantly- the self-reflection in the context of the universal genesis.

Further on, if I decide to continue my work on the project, I will definitely find a use for this concept drawing. Not just yet though.

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rise and fall / micah lidberg

Tom Rolfe, fellow course mate, illustrator, and printmaker, showed me a concertina booklet by Nobrow Press he’d recently bought – Rise and Fall by Micah Lidberg. It hit me instantly – the bright colours, simple shapes and markmaking, layering of elements, juxtaposition… and most importantly, the continuous image showing the unfolding of a timeline. I immediately knew I wanted to do something of the sort, and I believe this is how the 3,3m piece came about (that and my friend reminding me about scrolls and such).

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NoBrow Technique Research

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After the presentation feedback and going through Rise and Fall again, I will be attempting a simplification of the narrative and visual language, as well as a scale expansion (moving towards a hanging installation rather than a handheld scroll).

Bristol Show / concepts

Even though most people in the upcoming show in Bristol have decided to exhibit work they’ve been doing on their final uni projects, I decided to do something different, which I’ve been looking an excuse to do for quite a while now.

After having an almost overwhelming number of mad vivid dreams, I thought it would be really interesting to see how they look on paper. What you see below are development images, which I won’t be displaying but which I still find quite captivating.

Trying to portray the magical side of the very action of dreaming was a bit of a mind twisting endeavour so I decided to step away from the dreamer and focus on the dream itself. The sketch below was inspired by the ending bits of a dream I had, where after a mad party everyone went down to the beach, some of us surfing while those who couldn’t were just swimming about and splashing each other. I remember the sea crystal clear, almost mirroring the sky, the sunrise on one side, and the massive planet on the other. I couldn’t tell if it was light or dark because the moment in my mind was in the exact middle between night and day.

inversion experiment

Wouldn’t it be interesting, I thought to myself, if dreams were just reality inverted.

I’ve been experimenting with inversion as a way to differentiate between drawings of ‘reality’ and drawings of ‘dreams’.

The piece below was a quick way to distract my overloaded mind so I could focus on my project better. Even though I was coming up with ideas around those two cityscapes, they are mainly an experiment, as this time I was directly drawing the inverted piece, rather than inverting it with photoshop.

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sity scape & epacs ytis

 

Orthodox Traditions / Easter

Easter in Bulgaria (or any other Orthodox Christian country) is like nothing you’ve seen or experienced before. It is probably the most important religious holiday we have (some may say more than Christmas, and they’d be right) and traditions are traditions.

Even though no one really takes Lent seriously (doing it right is giving up a lot of foods that the normal Bulgarian can’t cope without… mainly meat) there’s very specific rules around Easter. This year, by the Orthodox Church, Easter was on the 12th of April (last year it was on the 20th), Sunday. Before sunday there’s a few vital things that every self-respecting christian needs to do.

1. Sweetbread – either from the local bakery or homemade, it is a very important part of Easter morning and there’s always queues that go on for miles in front of the bakeries that whole week. People go crazy over that bread.

2. Eggs – That chocolate egg hunt… forget it. It’s a made up thing to feed chocolatiers after Valentine’s day. In reality what we do makes much more sense… (don’t be offended, friends, I’m just saying :D) Either on Thursday or Saturday before Easter Sunday (has to be specifically one of these days) we get a bunch of eggs, white-shelled, ideally, and we boil them. Easy as. White hard boiled eggs. What happens after, though, is the much more interesting and fun part. With little packs of dry paint (biological, so that we don’t get poisoning.. obviously) mixed with a bit of vinegar for stickiness and hot water, we put the eggs in to soak in the dye. What we get in just a few minutes are richly coloured eggs! They are perfectly good to eat after a day (Easter) or two or five…. or even…

3. The red egg of health and prosperity – it’s a very important tradition. The first red egg that is ready is taken by the oldest person and they put little dots on the youngest people’s faces – one on the forehead, one on the chin, one on the left cheek, one on the right, in the shape of a cross. That is to ensure the health and prosperity of the youth throughout the year.

4. Last year’s egg – somewhere on a high shelf in the house (for some reason with us it’s always in the kitchen) rests the first red egg from last year. Exactly right, from last year. As it has been hard boiled and dyed it doesn’t stink and it still looks nice and red (or at least it should, if it doesn’t you’ve done something wrong). The egg is then broken, to see what the inside of it looks like. The better it is, the better the house’s well being. Then it’s place is taken by the new egg, which will endure for the next year.

5. Good Friday – The Orthodox Bulgarians call it ‘Razpeti Petuk’ (Разпети петък) which comes from the word ‘razpyatie’ (разпятие) – crucible, so it’s not really Good Friday but more like Crucified Friday. As the story goes, Christ is taken down from the crucible and on the third day (Sunday) he would resurrect. On this day, Friday, people go into churches for a special service where they are blessed, they eat something given by the priest and then they go underneath a table and cross on the other side. I’ll be honest, I don’t completely understand that tradition but it is really funny to watch the people struggle (and I know how bad that sounds, but everyone’s having fun with it anyway).

6. Saturday night, midnight – The beginning of easter. Churches are filled with countless people and exactly at midnight the great service starts where everyone starts circling the church or chapel or whatever temple they’ve gathered in singing a specific traditional song, holding candles and some eggs to start the big egg battle royale.

7. The Greeting – From archaic Bulgarian, the phrase would literally be translated as ‘Christ resurrected!‘ To which whomever you said it to (which is everyone) answers ‘Indeed [he] resurrected!‘ For about a week from Easter, anyone you see you need to greet in this way according to custom. This year it wasn’t as bad as previous years, where everyone got about a thousand calls and texts and messages all saying that exact phrase.

8. The Battle – Easter morning, you wake up for some delicious warm sweetbread and then you get to choose your chapion, the egg you will fight with against everyone else, while you try to find the hardest, strongest egg out of all. the rules are simple. Every egg has a top and bottom – cupping the egg and leaving the top bit clear, you or your opponent tap one egg with the other. Obviously, the one that breaks loses. But all is not lost! Then the same thing is done on the other side. If the result is tied sometimes you can play top with bottom for the final score. By the end there’s about 10-20 broken eggs, ready to be eaten with breakfast or sliced up and put into the green salad for lunch. Which brings me to the final, most delicious part of Easter…

9. The Lamb Roast…. – it speaks for itself. Everyone that day no matter where or how, eats lamb for lunch and/or dinner. Traditionally it’s garnished with potatoes and there’s the green salad (salad, lettuce, radishes, sliced hard boiled eggs, cucumber and spring onions… or whatever but that’s the general idea). It is utterly incredible.

And that is how you get yourself a nice, proper, Orthodox, Bulgarian Easter. Something I believe any foreigner has to experience at least once, and I’ve got a few to to back me up on that. ;) Now, as we are artists, let’s see the most interesting and creative and artistic bit of the entire story.. the egg painting.

My nan has always had us over to dye eggs at hers (she lives in a nice remote house up the mountain) so it’s always a very pleasant experience being in their home. Usually they let me paint over the eggs, being artistic, but I never had enough time to do as many eggs as I wished. This time I had so much help I was worried we were going to run out of plain non-painted eggs. We had to use gouache (or tempera paint as they call it around here) and markers which I supplied. It was such an incredible experience having two of my closest friends there during this pure family experience… It made it seem more of a family! And getting to teach someone about how all this works really did help me see it all with new eyes.

So let’s hope next year it would be the same people there to break the house egg! :D

sister team, we’ve got the skills and we need to show the newcomers how it’s done
we paint eggs in different colours – blue, purple, orange, green, yellow, and red – the most important colour…
Carys and Ryan are really getting into the hand-painting idea :))
the whole youth painting crew of the house. the twins, the sisters and the foreigners :))
the space egg, by Carys
GRANDMA №1 (and the extent of some artistic skills) <3
always gotta be having fun… and a photoBOB :D
it’s actually a very touchy business, painting on eggs…
… but the results can be very pretty
A beauty at work ^^
‘Creation in Blue, Red and a bit of Purple’ … cotton dyeing is so much fun as it’s always unexpected
Ryan’s cotton-dyed egg, mystical, like a nebula
and Carys’s one, with beautiful speckles of colour
the twins made minion eggs after a model they found online which turned out surprisingly successful :) so proud (well, that crack was probably unintended)
the final arrangement always resembles a nest. and it always looks lovely and colourful. this particular one is from my nan’s house.
all the special hand-painted eggs drying up on the side

Showers

Something interesting happened when two girls went into the showers after painting performance. I was waiting for them outside the cubicles we were laughing about some things or other, and then I noticed something happening on the floor of the last, empty shower…

This is an edited detail from the photo I took then. The colours blend in a really fascinating manner, being pushed around by the slow advancements of the water and the fast drips and little waves coming from underneath the showering girls’ feet.

It is also interesting to look at the 3D image (or detail of it) as a 2D image or surface.

 

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Pretty Houses II

For the hidden city project I decided to do a series of paintings that capture colour in the city. I found some pictures on Tumblr.com of Notting Hill in London, Bristol and more, and I turned them into oil paintings.
Here’s my Pretty Houses Oil series…

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Tracing Maps

Part of the personal project explorations includes tracing maps and layering them one over another.

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Presentations

The Study Skill Session on 21 Nov was with Dr. Stephen Thompson and boy, did we have a laugh! It was a strongly interactive Session that could only be better if it was a peula (an activity in Hebrew) in Hashomer Hatzair (a youth movement in which I used to be an educator before I moved here, but more about that another time and if anyone’s interested).

He played lots of videos, he added good advice and showed great presentation skills. And the best part – he divided us into groups of three and had each group do a 1-minute presentation on Picasso’s Guernica. Honestly, this was one of the best Study Skill Sessions I’ve had for the whole two months I’ve been here. (((:

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And here are my personal notes from the Session… (I decided to show this because it’s one of the more colorful ones)

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