Monday, January 30, 2012

Chinese New Year in South Africa

 Brightwater Commons had a Chinese New Year festival on Saturday, and some of our sketchers decided to join the throngs and see what there was to draw. There was plenty! I don't think I've ever done so many sketches in one session.. I started off quite slowly, with the beautifully serene Thai Massage tent - a great subject for an afternoon, all on its own.
But there was lots more to see, so I moved off to some of the stalls, selling parasols and fans, very popular in the baking sun.  I started adding colour to my sketches, but things were happening on the stage, so off to find a spot to sketch...

 The Dragon Dance first of course, being it's Year. My pen had to start flying across the page as the pace increased, and accuracy gave way to just trying to capture a feeling, a rhythm, a movement - or ten!
After mixing some muddy reds for the Lion Dance in my haste, I gave up on the colour, taking a few notes here and there so I could remember them later

An eclectic mixture of cultures started to emerge on stage - first came the Zulu dancers in sort of traditional dress, with some adaptations of bright pink and blue beads


and then a rather bizarre combination of Pedi men in Scottish kilts, with the women in a modernised version of the traditional Pedi dress

- after these thumping, , drumming exuberant local dancers it was the turn again of the Chinese, with the graceful, flowing Fan and Flower Dances




Then came the high-kicking karate students from the school in the shopping centre

- and lastly, before we went off for a break to see everyone else's sketches and looking forward to some Chinese food and a drink, the slow precise and meditative movements of the Archers.


Unfortunately most of the food was sold out and shortly afterwards the rain came belting down, so the Chinese acrobats carried sportingly on without us in the slippery wet - Just as well, I think I was sketched out!

13 comments:

Cathy said...

Oh wow!!! I can see you enjoyed yourself!! What a great sketching day!! So much strength, movement, colour and life!! Well done Cathy!

Ontheroad said...

What a marvelous, marvelous group of sketches. Just wonderful to see.

Zoe

dinahmow said...

I always love your sketches, because they are exactly that-sketches. One can "see" the possibilities of a larger work,yet they keep their fresh, lively feel.
And, more than simply sketches, they usually send me off a Googling trail to learn more.Today, the Pedi.
Thank you.

Shirley said...

These are fantastic - especially the women dancers!! I can't even imagine how you captured so much!!!

Robyn Sinclair said...

Awesome, Cathy. I feel as though I was there. You are a genius at capturing movement and realistic human beings. My favourite is the Chinese dancers in their dainty blue dresses but they are all a gorgeous example of the magic of sketching from life.

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks Cathy, I did enjoy myself - we missed you though!

Ontheroad, Dinah and Shirley - thanks so much. I had to keep reminding myself not to panic, and trust the eye-to-hand connection to get something of the action.

Hi Robyn, the Chinese dancers were so elegant and beautiful - something else I could draw all day!

http://carolking.wordpress.com said...

You really did do a lot of wonderful sketches. I love the dancers.

Pedro Loureiro said...

Brilliant sketchournalism Cathy! This is the kind of sequences that capture me. You must have been highly focused for to capture the whole movement so accurately (or so it seems).

Sue Pownall said...

omg how many fabulous sketches you achieved!!! I am hopeless at capturing dancers so am in awe of you.

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks Carol - and Pedro - Hi! nice to have you drop by here :) and Sue, I was surprised at how many emerged - as I said, my pen flew!

John Philip said...

Cathy, you really have an amazing skill to capturing moving people like that. Mine were disastrous!

Timon said...

I must say: very interesting post :)

FOLLOWING

Art with Liz said...

You have such a gift of bringing events like this to life. Absolutely fabulous.