tar (تار) and 21 Guitars, A Benefit Auction for the Merced Symphony

tār (تار)
The tār is a traditional Persian stringed instrument. As a matter of fact, the word tār means “string” in Persian and is also related to dotar, sitar, setar, and guitar. It was my dear friend, Sirous, who introduced me to the tār and other traditional Persian instruments, when we were both graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh in 1982. Sirous beautifully plays the tār, setar, daf, kamanche, tonbak, and probably others. Over the years, I’ve met a few of Sirous’ musician friends and had the pleasure of seeing them perform in both informal and formal settings. Many of these performances included the rendering aloud in Persian of the poetry of Hafiz, Rumi, and others. One of Sirous’ musician friends, who stood out not only because of his natural height, but also because of his prominent role in the revitalization of traditional Persian music, was Mohammad-Rezā Lotfi, about whom I’ve already illustroblogged. Take a look at this short, homemade video of Lotfi sitting on the floor playing tar among friends in a cozy setting. I just love the structure and shape of the Persian Tār, especially the tuning pegs!
Mohammad-Rezā Lotfi

21 Guitars, A Benefit Auction for the Merced Symphony
I’m one of 21 contributing visual and performing artists in one of this year’s fundraisers for the Merced Symphony, and my entry is the above image, which I did on an iPad Pro using an
Apple Pencil and the Sketch Club and iColorama apps. I had it printed on 24″ X 24″ canvas, 1.5″ bordered, solid color wrap through Bay Photo.

Princess Pencil Passion No. 2

This Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, is the Artists’ Reception for Passion, an exhibition of the Contemporary Humanistic Artists Association (CHAA) of Merced, CA. In the previous post on this illustroblog I described the show and presented the two pieces I entered. In this post I’m adding the following short video, a compilation of the Princess No. 2 School Pencil related pieces I’ve done over the last three and a half decades:

 

Princess Pencil Passion

I belong to the Contemporary Humanitarian Artists Association (CHAA), and we’ll be exhibiting Passion at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center from Jan. 8 to Feb. 16, 2019, so to speak.

From my Artist Statement:
The Princess No. 2 School Pencil by Eberhard Faber has enchanted me for several decades; and I’ve tried to express this enchantment over time in traditional and digital ways. I love the shape, colors, and feel of this simple and elegant artifact, which has been instrumental in the expression of so many ideas, simple and complex. I’m moved by the unmistakable ways in which pencils sacrifice themselves physically in fulfillment of their instrumental, expressive mission; their erasers are often the first to go! Pencilitis and Milonga No. 2, both rendered freehand on an iPad, highlight in different ways the ordinary and extraordinary nature of this useful artifact.

Visit the show, and join us on January 19, 2019 5-7:30 pm at the Artists’ Reception (also ArtHop Merced night)! See short video on my “Pencil Passion” by clicking here.

See other pencils on this illustroblog by clicking here or browsing round; they’re all over the place!

Rigoberta Menchú Tum

On Monday, November 5, 2018 Rigoberta Menchú Tum was awarded the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance at the Art Kamangar Center at Merced Theater in downtown Merced. The 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner was the 12th recipient of this UC Merced Prize.

Rigoberta’s presentation was informal, touching, and profound.

 

She sat for a book signing, and I photographed her with the intention of drawing her freehand in my iPad Pro in the Sketch Club app.

Rigoberta Menchú (click on image to enlarge)

Sketch Club has a cool technical feature that summarizes the drawing/painting statistics:

Little Visiting Artists at Merced Art Hop (Oct. 20, 2018)

I’ve added a few posts about Merced Art Hop in the last few years; check out the PHOTO GALLERY for sure to get a feel for this quarterly, downtown Merced, CA event. Saturday, October 20, 2018 was Art Hop’s 10 Anniversary. The October Art Hop is always fun. It’s cool enough for kids to show up in costumes, get their faces painted, and engage in some hands-on activities.

I brought my iPad and a projector and invited a few local artists to share their talents with everyone at Bob Hart Square that evening.

Studying the G Street Revolution

Lately, I’ve been enjoying the sounds of G Street Revolution whenever I have a chance. A few of the musicians are colleagues of my wife at UC Merced. Check’em Out on Facebook or here.

At the Merced County Fairgrounds:

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At Vista Ranch and Cellars:

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Just a snippet at Five Ten Bistro:

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Pretty sure all these were done in Sketch Club and iColorama.

Last Saturday’s Art Hop at Aces & Kings Cheesesteak

I was stationed at Aces & Kings Cheesesteak last Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. While I was there, I was playing around demo-ing in Sketch Club on my iPad Pro with my Apple Pencil.

Water Tower Down There Again

Several times a day I see that Water Tower Down There Again and again. It’s the same water tower I’ve rendered over and over, please click here to see the other renderings. I usually see it while I’m walking Cowboy, and since it’s located between us and the sunrise to the east, the views are generally more dramatic on our morning walks. I cherish that water tower in ways that encapsulate and set me free.

click on image to enlarge

iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, Sketch Club, iColorama, and Procreate

The CHAA Sketch

CHAA stands for the Contemporary Humanitarian Artists Association. It was formed in 1985 “in an effort to build creativity and community for artists living and working in the region around Merced, CA. While the members have changed over the years, the goals of the collective remain constant. We come together with a shared philosophy – that creativity, contemplation, and exploration are key to the human spirit.” I’ve only been associated with these fine people for the past 6 months, but I can already feel the philosophy in my bones. Visit CHAA’s FB page to keep up with the forthcoming shows.

So what does this have to do with illustroblogging at portfoliolongo.com? Here’s the story of this group caricature of CHAA:

Several months ago CHAA met at its regular monthly time on a Tuesday evening, and we posed for a group photo:

I thought it would be fun to do a cartoon-like caricature of the group. So I cranked this out in Sketch Club, an iPad drawing app:

Sketch Club provides a variety of backgrounds and frames, and I thought it would be fun to use the Etchasketch frame, since it’s digital art and all that; plus, there may even be a few people still alive who remember what an Etchasketch is.

On the night of the group photo, of course, we realized three people were missing. So I worked with Cheryl Barnett, who administers CHAA’s Facebook page to find photos of the three missing CHAA members and to add them to the group caricature. It was an iterative process to say the least, but a fun one. I could easily show a dozen iterations. If you look closely, you’ll see some changes here and there in addition to the three additional artists. I’ll skip to one of the final drafts before I dropped it into the Etchasketch frame:

This kept me out of trouble for a while, and as you can imagine, the effort allowed me to ponder and appreciate each and every person and the group as a whole.

Technically speaking, as I mentioned, I mainly used Sketch Club on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil on this free-hand drawing. I did some occasional tweaking in iColorama and a desktop application called ON1 Photo. Sketch Club, by the way, is a lot of fun, and it was a pleasure learning about and working in it rather than Procreate, my “go to” iPad drawing app.

As usual, let me know what you think.