The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross : Illustrated (part 2)
I figured the “birth of the mushroom” would be a good start, especially considering the fact that it would correspond to Christmas, the most celebrated holiday. What’s interesting is that this time of the year is also celebrated by just about every religion and belief systems. The similarities are somewhat intriguing. After assembling various theories on the subject from Christianity, Ancient Egypt mythology and well as astrology, I came up with this rendition of the nativity scene with respect to the mushroom theory.
Here are a couple more sketches of people I did in the subway the other day. I used a pen to work on shading. I started to focus on details without the expectation of “completing” the person because it adds an extra unwanted stress to finish in time. By doing this, I can really concentrate on making the part that I was able to capture better. It makes for a nice study of human gestures and how clothing fit various people. For some reason that day, I kept getting my view obstructed, so there are a lot of “unfinished” drawing, but I still managed to complete the guy reading his ipad on the right and I’m rather happy with the result. Mind you, I think I’m starting to draw a little faster :)
The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross : Illustrated
I came across an interesting concept that really got my mind going: John M. Allegro
, an archeologist and scholar is known for linking the psychoactive Amanita muscaria mushroom to birth of Christianity. The parallels between the mushroom and the religion are fascinating and intriguing, so I decided to learn a little more about it by illustrating my findings in one of my sketchbooks. It’s also a good excuse to keep practicing with my watercolors.
The main interesting and controversial bit of information is that, according to his findings, Jesus is a code word for the Amanita muscaria mushroom and that Christianity is the product of an ancient fertility cult with visible clues and hints in the churches, the bibles, the rituals, and more. Obviously, most didn’t take Allegro’s discoveries very well, but there are so many interesting parallels, that I feel compelled to dig a little deeper and illustrate my own findings.
First thing I found out about is the importance of the various stages of the life cycle of the mushroom, illustrated above. It’s interesting to see the various shapes and form it takes over the course of its life. Apparently, each stages of the cycle of the life of the mushroom is represented in the stories in Bible. For example, the immaculate conception, the cross and the holy grail are representation of various stages of growth of the mushroom. Furthermore, certain religious rituals that still take place today, like eating the flesh and blood of the Son of God, are said to have everything to do with the eating the mushroom and drinking from it. (It sounds better then “cannibalistic” concept). Also, certain religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter are also said to be linked to the mushroom. It will be interesting to see where this goes.
TOUSK Meetup #3 : Toronto Reference Library
For our third sketching meeting, we went to the Toronto Reference Library. The place is huge. It is currently undergoing some renovations in various portions of the building, so there is an interesting mix of old and new. The interior structure of the building is fascinating. It has a large atrium in the centre, giving a beautiful view of the space from various locations. At one end, there are two round exposed elevators, reminiscent futuristic style of The Jetson.
The reference library seems to have many functionalities. There are various types of furniture arrangement to accommodate all kinds of need. There is event a stage where some people can sit on the floor to read a book or use their laptop, while the stage is not being used. We used it as our starting point to do some sketches.
I noticed an interesting space with several television screens showing various programs. There were two men sitting right in front of them and not moving for several minutes, as if they were in a trance. I felt compelled to draw them. The large translucent pendant lights above them were really interesting as well.
From the third floor looking down, I noticed that some of the new furniture weren’t even completely unwrapped, like the short wall on one of these custom circular desks. I assume they were created for people working in group. The way they were arranged looked like a nice giant piece of abstract art.
I did a little bit of urban sketching on the subway on the way to Wellesley Station on Halloween night. There was a lady with a therapy dog laying on the floor and who looked really tired. He just dropped on the floor and stayed there. His handler was struggling to keep him out of the way by getting him to move closer to the benches, but he was limp. It was kind of funny to see.
I also had a time to sketch the booth as Wellesley station and part of a news stand. It’s fascinating how busy the news stand can be. You could barely see the vendor behind the pile of snack and magazines.
jar challenge update 8
My first jar is pretty much full. Time to start a new one with two months left before the end of the year. I realized that as time passes by, it seems like the shavings at the bottom get crushed and it takes longer to fill up, but I know I’ve been drawing more lately so it’s all good.
I couldn’t pass the opportunity to go sketch some amazing halloween costumes at the Village Halloween Block Party. It was my first time attending this party and it was very inspiring to see all kinds of characters walking down the closed street. We lucked out with the weather. Despite the bits of rain here and there, it was fairly warm and we managed to get a great spot with a table and chairs outside under a little roof at a Starbucks.
We had a bit of time before the street were closed, so I drew the store right in front of us. It had a cute little halloween window display. Soon after that all kinds of characters started to walk up and down Church streets, to the beat of the music playing from the next door commerce by a DJ disguised as Superman.
The types characters parading on Church street were very diverse. The sketches I managed to complete are a very little portion of the range costumes I saw while we were there. This is a collection of the most completed sketches for the night. There was a pregnant Kim Kardashian in a catsuit version of her famous flower dress, a giant lego character, a fun lady in a mask dancing to the beat of “DJ Superman”, a really well put together Robin, Batman’ sidekick, some sort of Sasquatch angel, and a cute little boy in a spiderweb cape, also dancing to the DJ’s tunes. There were very simple costumes and very elaborate costumes. The attention to details of some of these costume was unreal. At one point, a guy in a very believable zombie costume, came to our table to fix his contact lens and complete his outfit with fake blood oozing out of his mouth with fake maggots. It was very creepy. Some of the fake blood he used to complete his character feel on the ground and most people passing by it after were freaking out and wondering if it was real before it slowly got washed away by the rain.
The overall ambiance was great. Many people were there to have fun and embody their character. We had zombie Captain America growling at us a couple times while passing by our table and met a team of volleyball guys in tight white t-shirts and short red shorts inviting us to take pictures of themselves because they were awesome. Hilarious. Lot of people were also taking pictures of themselves with various characters (creepy zombies, sexy nurses, sexy cops, ghosts, beautiful drag queens, cartoon characters, etc). I wish I would have been able to stay longer as more and more new characters kept showing up, but it was getting a little too cold for me.
Our next sketching event will take place at the Toronto Reference Library. If you would like to participate join our group on Facebook (Toronto Urban Sketchers) to get the latest updates.
getting familiar with watercolors (part 7)
I’m really happy with this latest watercolor sketch of a Vivienne Westwood outfit from her 1989 collection. It’s interesting how style come in and out of fashion. I think with a couple color variations and updated accessories and maybe a different hairstyle, this would still be relevant today. Maybe not on the streets, but perhaps in a music video on a cool movie.
getting familiar with watercolors (part 6)
Here are the tree latest watercolor sketches I did over the past couple days. For the details I used a black pen for the two first drawings and a pencil for the one on the right. The pen is a little more harsh so I realize I have to be careful how I use it. It gave a “cartoony” effect to the drawing on the left and center while the pencil is more subtle and gave a more realistic effect to the drawing. The pen and pencil were very helpful for details such as the eyes and the texture of the guy’s shirt, the girls hair, etc. I’m happy with how they turned out.
Candies and pumpkins
I had a bit of time while waiting for our food at the local butcher shop to sketch the little display they had for halloween on their display tables. It was very simple but cute : a couple small pumpkins, dried corns and candies in an aluminum tray. It’s interesting to see the color variation of pumpkins. I particularly like the one on the far left. It reminds me of the changing colors of tree leaves in the fall : from green to orange.
bits and pieces from the Toronto subway
I often don’t have time to sketch people while in the subway as they move around and don’t necessarily stay put or stay visible long enough to do a proper sketch. It was a little frustrating at first, then I started to do little vignettes of details, not really worrying about being able to draw everything. As long as I get to draw a piece of something : a shoe, a hat, a pair of glasses, a cup of coffee, etc. Put together, they strangely tell a story about the people who regularly take the subway and perhaps their fashion sense.
It’s interesting how some sketches still tell a story, or at least a hint of a story, like the guy on the top left who was reading with his sunglasses on. Was he really reading? Could he really see the words on the page or was he just faking it?
getting familiar with watercolors (part 5)
More watercolor sketches. I’m almost done filling up my little sketchbook. Still figuring out details in watercolors. I like the nuance on the sunglasses from the model on the left and the reflection of the boots on the wet floor on the right. Little progress here and there are encouraging and makes me want to keep at it, despite the flaws I can also see …. I guess I’m fighting resistance. I won’t become better if I don’t practice and like Lil Wayne said “Repetition if the father of learning”. So I’ll keep repeating until I learn to do it right
getting familiar with watercolors (part 4)
Two more watercolor sketches done. I can see the benefit of using finer brushes for the details, as well as pens and pencils. Shading fabric is something I need to work on but I can see a bit of a difference from the first few sketches and the last one. I’m starting to like the subtle changes in color when using watercolor as it creates a more realistic representation. The leg of the model is a good example.
This weekend, a couple sketchers met at High Park to do a little bit of sketching. Luckily, the weather was nice and comfortable enough to draw and paint outside. It’s was my first time visiting High Park, which is located on the west side of the city and walking distance from the subway. Toronto never ceases to amaze me with the amount of green spaces you can find right in the city. This park is huge! There were so many great scenes to sketch, I barely scratched the surface that day. I spent most of my time near the giant Grenadier Pond, watching people walking by with their family and friends. It was a very relaxing area. I will have to come back again at some point to explore the park a little more.
Getting familiar with watercolors (part 4)
Here are a couple more watercolor sketches I did a couple days ago from photo references. I’d like to get to that level of detail while urban sketching. I wonder if it’s possible as I usually don’t get a lot of time to sketch people in action, but it’s a nice goal. Only time (with a lot of practice) will tell :)