Sunday, January 20, 2008

What I did on my holidays

After two weeks in Byron Bay, I am thoroughly relaxed, revived, and ready to bite into 2008. It looks to be a very busy year!

Our holiday was not all play, though. I took an extra little suitcase just for art materials, and spent a good two hours most days working away at the minute details of this painting, which is the first of my Hamlet backgrounds. If you look at it up close, you will see thousands of minute circles in the sky, and thousands of tiny "broken" tiles. As you can imagine, it was extremely laborious, time-consuming work, but I am very pleased with the result. Here it is, complete:

The "tiles" are inspired by the trencadis mosaic work of Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi's work is an endless source of delight for me, as well as giving me little pangs of nostalgia for the year I spent in Barcelona. The colour scheme was inspired by a beautiful new year card sent to me in December by my frield Will D. The card shows a detail of an oil painting called Thousand and One Nights by Vittorio Zecchin. It was painted between 1900 and 1912 - and for some reason Blogger insists on inserting the photo of it sideways! I love the profusion of detail in this style of painting. Here it is:


My picture is on an A3 sheet of cartridge paper, and both the background colour and all those tiny patterns are painted using a mindblowingly fabulous product: Magic Color acrylic inks. Super-opaque, super-fluid, and vivid enough to make your eyeballs quiver - I think this might be the perfect colour medium! Here are the little bottles of joy:
Well, better get back to it - I have thousands of tiny white dots to go on with this afternoon, and Big Squid is invading my drawing room and berating me about my truly atrocious "filing" system for all our paperwork. Sigh. Filing! Can't I just draw my dots??

8 comments:

Greg G said...

This is like the ultimate extension of the patented Greenberg/Blumentstein hatchy shading...

Good work!!

Astor is showing the Branagh Hamlet in March... I think they're the only 70mm theatre around these days so should be good to see in all it's glory...

Blair said...

Gorgeous work Nikki.

We saw an exhibition with all twelve of Zecchin's 1001 Nights paintings in Venice several years ago. I think it was the only time they had all been brought together as they're all owned separately and spread around the world. Completely mind blowing in real life (and big - about 30 metres long if you put them end to end). One of the best art exhibitions I've ever seen.

spacedlaw said...

What do you mean filing? Sticking them in one drawer or in one pile isn't enough?

That is some painstaking work but I think it will well be worth it in the end. Have fun with the doting.

Nicki Greenberg said...

Thanks all!

Blair - this was the first time I had heard of Zecchin. I am captivated, and look at the image constantly. The exhibition sounds amazing. Think I will scour the Book Depository for a volume of his work.

Filing... Nathalie, you and I clearly have the same philosophy. Filing is my job at home, and I am spectacularly bad at it. Stu makes sure our bills are paid on time (I'd just leave them to ripen and turn red)and I am then meant to file the paperwork. Result: the filing pile is usually almost as tall as me. Once a year I fly into a tax-induced rage and "sort" it. This sorting (read: shuffling into ambiguously named folders) then leads to confusion of epic proportions.

It is almost enough to put a girl off paper full stop... but not quite!

fabulous heretic said...

I love gaudi and micromosaics. Your backgrounds are looking fantastico.

Anonymous said...

don't you mean those colours make your eyes want to bleed? The photo takes the edge off, I'm just wondering how damaging to my cortex it'll be if it's ever shown directly to the public.

andrew said...

um, when you say "the first of my Hamlet backgrounds" that doesn't mean something crazy like there's one of these for each panel, does it?

Nicki Greenberg said...

Hey Andrew - lovely website! No, no - I may be crazy, but I'm not *that* crazy. Each background will be used for many panels, like a theatre set. I've now finished a second one, and am gearing up for the third. There will probably be about 10 of them all up, which is more than enough work as it is!