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Jean Paul Gaultier at the Montreal Beaux Arts

October 25, 2017

There is as was a show on at the MTL Beaux Arts, (closed Oct 22, sorry) featuring wedding dresses by fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier.

It’s just a one room exhibition, with, mmmm, I’ll say about 30 mannequins? Each dress has it’s own theme – many of them borrowing from history, but others based on abstract forms. Everything is in high key neutrals and draped in yards and yards of gauzy veils.

The faceless mannequins are blank masks that occasionally come to life with the projected faces of models. But, strangely they only talk back and forth in banalities. How they are jet lagged, or which expression is good for the camera.

The white-on-off-white theme got me thinking – what a great subject for #Inktober2017. An event I’ve largely ignored this year, but hey – y’all have probably been watching other people doing it?

What a challenge to draw all these white dresses with black ink :) But of course here I’ve cheated – using my usual Platinum Carbon Black sparingly, and relying on dilute Lexington Grey, (sometimes just dirty water), Rome Burning (a pale gold) and Liquitex acrylic ink in Titanium White.

Did you know they made white ink? It’s not really all that white. I can’t imagine what it’s really for. You could never use it properly on black paper for instance. It’s only about 25% opaque. And it settles instantly making it very hard to pick up on a pen nip. I only tried it with a brush. I wouldn’t recommend using these Liquitex acrylic inks in a fountain pen.

In any case, I really just used it for glazes, drips and spatters. Any sharp bright white retouches you do see here are ordinary white gouache.

That’s pretty much cheating in the world of #Inktober2017 right? By now it’s basically a black and white painting.

This one was my favorite dress. A kind of cable knit Irish sweater-dress, dissolving into a ragged net of ropes and fibers. It has a look of seaweed, or fishing nets, and reminds me of the myth of the Selkie. There were no titles on the work, but I’m sure that was the theme.

I know people will ask, so no, I didn’t ink-paint these in the museum. Splattering indelible black ink in the small room full of white dresses. That would have got me quickly ejected.

When I sketch in a museum I just get the most basic drawing inside the exhibit, then usually step out to the lobby or the cafeteria to paint. Or one memorable time, the washroom, as the building was deserted on a weekday morning so I figured I’d use the entire counter top.

This time, I just took them home and I inked over my very light 0.3mm pencil drawings done on 11×14″ plate bristol.

I wanted to use a wide range of tools including scroll writers, steel brushes, music nibs, some worn out synthetic brushes, some splatter, some dripping, even a little finger painting.

But my current favorite lines are coming from a new set of witch pens. I think I’m going to move exclusively to these, so I can have this conversation:

“What are the best pens to sketch with?”

“Witch Pens”

“Your dipping pens – the ones you sketch with…”

“yes, Witch Pens!”

“er, yes… but which one would be your favorite pen?”

“Exactly!”

“No, I mean – what KIND of pen do you like the best!”

“Witch Pens!!!!”

 

12 Comments leave one →
  1. dj_illustrates permalink
    October 25, 2017 11:56 AM

    Really enjoy the illustrations, especially the second image with the mix of fine details and broad strokes.

  2. October 25, 2017 12:07 PM

    you crack me up and inspire me with gorgeousness.

    On Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 11:41 AM, Citizen Sketcher wrote:

    > Marc Taro Holmes posted: ” There is as was a show on at the MTL Beaux > Arts, (closed Oct 22, sorry) featuring wedding dresses by fashion designer > Jean Paul Gaultier. It’s just a one room exhibition, with, mmmm, I’ll say > about 30 mannequins? Each dress has it’s own theme – man” >

  3. Ann B permalink
    October 25, 2017 12:12 PM

    Marc, These are fantastic!

  4. October 25, 2017 12:14 PM

    I love this kind of painting/drawing very transparent and smooth. You are on the way to abstraction. Fantastic.

  5. October 25, 2017 12:46 PM

    ha ha ha ha ha…. who’s on first?

  6. rhodadraws permalink
    October 25, 2017 12:51 PM

    Gorgeous paintings …and hilarious Abbott & Costello routine! Rhoda

    On Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 8:41 AM, Citizen Sketcher wrote:

    > Marc Taro Holmes posted: ” There is as was a show on at the MTL Beaux > Arts, (closed Oct 22, sorry) featuring wedding dresses by fashion designer > Jean Paul Gaultier. It’s just a one room exhibition, with, mmmm, I’ll say > about 30 mannequins? Each dress has it’s own theme – man” >

  7. Judy Sopher permalink
    October 25, 2017 1:46 PM

    Wonderful work. Really appreciate your explanations. The Witch pens–look scary to me. How do they differ from what you usually use? Why better?

    • October 25, 2017 2:07 PM

      Well, it’s just the range of marks they make. With the wide nib and the large capacity for ink (as far as a dipping nib goes) they make big bold marks with a lot of thick to thin. Twisting or using the edge all do different things. But they’re a little hard to control – which makes it more fun for me – more unpredictable. A far cry from the boring mono-weight line of a Micron or any of those technical pens. I should say – they’re not too different than the Parallel Pen, but I like the simplicity of the dip nib.

  8. Kathleen Wesson permalink
    October 25, 2017 7:32 PM

    Stunning! Jean Paul Gaultier meets Miss Haversham. Thank you, I can always rely on you to inspire me so that I can inspire others to push their art out of their comfort zone.

  9. joe van berkel permalink
    October 25, 2017 10:42 PM

    That “witch pen” discussion, obviously we are nearing Halloween.

    On Wednesday, October 25, 2017, Citizen Sketcher wrote:

    > Marc Taro Holmes posted: ” There is as was a show on at the MTL Beaux > Arts, (closed Oct 22, sorry) featuring wedding dresses by fashion designer > Jean Paul Gaultier. It’s just a one room exhibition, with, mmmm, I’ll say > about 30 mannequins? Each dress has it’s own theme – man” >

  10. October 26, 2017 10:52 AM

    I am speechless with all the dirty pretty sketches above. Thanks for sharing Marc. (I wish the next time you visit Brazil I can manage to participate and see you painting in person.

  11. October 26, 2017 7:26 PM

    Having watched you move the furniture in rooms (in Chicago) to set up a make shift easel I particularly enjoy and can imagine you staking your claim on a sink in a museum restroom! Love the way you’ve channeled more Halloween than Wedding in these sketches! Inktober as it should be.

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