Transcendent Art – Hokusai

I re-watched a BBC documentary about Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai last night, via the iPlayer app, and was struck by the power that his art (particularly the painting) possesses to send me into something of a transcendental state. I gasped aloud when this particular painting appeared:

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Painting of ducks by Katsushika Hokusai copyright the British Museum.

Despite my love of visual art, particularly painting, illustration and Japanese woodcut printing, it has always been music and narrative that has ‘moved’ me to tears or joy. I’m not going to try to fathom out why I feel the way I do when I see these works as, for me, this would spoil the experience but, by cracky (as the late, great John Noakes would have said) there is something here that addresses what it is to be human and to experience existence in this world.

Doesn’t Hokusai capture the very essence of duck in the main figure? It is almost alive.

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iBook Project Costumes

I’m currently working on the costumes for the figures in the iBook project. I don’t have the intellectual wherewithal to model in 3D though I do have suitable apps. Acquiring knowledge of anything with a steep learning at the moment will just delay progress so I’m using what I already know to modify models I’m already licensed to use. My first 30 page A3 sketch book seems to be filling up rapidly.

Dwi’n wrth fy modd.

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Initial costumes and possible procedural texturing for iBook project.

iBook project update 2

I’m continuing with my experiments using Tumult’s app Hype. The app is designed for web work but I’ve exported files to video as I currently don’t have a web host account. The intention is to get to know  Hype’s work flow and capabilities before beginning actual iBook widget work.

 

What next

I’ve retired from teaching again – this time from supply work rather than a permanent post. It was all just too “Groundhog Day” for my liking (been there, done that, have the tee-shirt). Hopefully, while job hunting, I’ll be able to begin regular posting again and reboot the music and iBook work.

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Terry Pratchett

Crivens! It was “Wintersmith” what done it!

Wintersmith
Photograph of the cover of Terry Pratchett’s “Wintersmith”. Illustration by Paul Kidby copyright 2006.

As I’ve stated elsewhere, I’m late to the joyous party that is the writings of Terry Pratchett. I’ve just completed reading his third Tiffany Aching novel and he has leapt into  the distinguished company that is my favourite authors. Notably, he is the first male author I have included. He sits with Rosemary Sutcliff, Philipa Pearce, Joan Aiken and Ursula K Le Guin (as I said – ‘distinguished company‘).

Like Le Guin, Pratchett is able to stage epic battles that are fought and won without bloodshed or with very little bloodshed (the way that Tiffany Aching deals with the Wintersmith is a fine example) and he writes about the finiteness of human existence with rare beauty and a certain kind of poetry (the passing of Granny Weatherwax in “The Shepherd’s Crown” is beyond simply moving). And he loves people but hates injustice, that is crystal clear.

Tiffany Aching is a heroine very much in the mould of Joan Aiken’s Dido Twite though far more introspective with her first, second and third thoughts to guide how she acts and reacts. As a Pratchett witch, she constantly puts the welfare of others before her own and strives to learn from each action she takes, often putting aside a response until she has considered alternatives . My kind of protagonist!

Of course, TP spins the narrative with many puns asides and much social commentary. I love the way has footnotes augment the main text.- my particular favourite is *’Werk’… (page 340 of my edition). He has the uncommon ability to create characters that are engaging and complex and this is true equally of ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

I’m continually struck by the cinematic and visual quality of Pratchett’s storytelling. He must have imagined these novels as moving pictures, surely!

I have two more Tiffany Aching novels to read – the second and the fourth and then it’s back to the main Discworld novels for me!

But first… I shall treat myself to a reread of “Wee free Men” and “Wintersmith”… you can’t have too much of a good thing.