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Travel: Tokyo, post-trip thoughts

TOKYO SUBMARINE – Original oil painting by Ljubica (Luba) Todorovic.

Tokyo Submarine, original oil painting by Ljubica Todorovic 2018

An abstract representation of Tokyo nights. It is difficult to prepare one’s self for the brighter-than-daylight, otherworldly light which emanates from tightly packed towering buildings. I don’t travel a lot, and having grown up in a rather quiet place like Calgary, the “light pollution” of Shinjuku, Tokyo was quite a shock to me. I can see where Blade Runner took inspiration from. In my abstract interpretation of light-filled claustrophobia, angular structures have been softened and turned into round, sea-creature like shapes. 

Medium: Oil paint on 2″ profile deep MDF panel with plywood sides.
Year: 2018 | Size: 8 x 8″ x 2″ | Framed: No; wired & ready to hang.
Notes: Varnished with Gamblin Gamvar (gloss finish)

I visited Tokyo a year ago. I’ve made only two paintings about it so far, but the places lingers in my mind still and more will come.

Night time in Shinjuku was very, very bright. It seemed to be brighter than daylight, over in the Shinjuku and Shibuya area. We did manage to find pockets of quietness and dimness, crossing on foot from Shibuya to Ueno, but it was mostly Blade Runner-eseque the entire time. Interestingly enough, the city does quiet down after 11 pm.

Tokyo Study (Shinjuku), 5″x7″, oil on canvas board. SOLD

Daytime was a different world; people everywhere, walking to the trains. Suits rushing by, high heels clacking, tourists leisurely strolling around the working-hour streets. Best coffee and eggs I have ever tasted, and I can’t even write – or think – about the maguro (tuna nigiri) because it was so damn good. The cuts we get in Canada are pale, watery and metallic-tasting. “Red tuna” isn’t even a thing in Japan, because all tuna is red. Canadian sushi joints use the wording as if it were a different species altogether. What I didn’t know was that in Japan, tuna has different textures and fatness levels.

Daytime also smelled of really old wood, particularly in the shrines, gardens and forest areas. I am not sure what species of tree was used for all of those shrines. We were in Tokyo for barely two weeks and its like we only saw 1% of the city, maybe less. I would like to go back there someday.

Luba




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Studio: Make way for Elf Bunnies

Santa Claus has elves, sure. Sure he does. But what about the real bosses, eh? Yeah, yeah! That’s us, the Elf Bunnies! We tell the rest of ’em what to do, yes we do. If we don’t get our North Pole Carrots.. oh boy, you’ll be sorry! We’ll turn around and all you’ll see is our rumps. So, get back to work and give us our delicious carrots! We mean business!

Hand-painted original art with attached hanger, for all your Christmas tree decorating needs! 
Originals only. No reproductions to be made. Gouache, acrylic on 140lb Saunders rough watercolour paper, glued to 8 ply acid-free matboard. 
Hanger and pompom attached at back. Approx size is 1 1/2″ x 2″.


The story behind these buns is very simple. I was tasked with the challenge of creating a set of Christmas ornaments, and so this is what I came up with. Basic bunny drawings using gouache and acrylic on Saunders 140lb Rough watercolour paper, glued (using Lineco bookbinding PVA glue) to acid-free 8 ply matboard and finished with gold elastic and a pompom on the back. They were sprayed with Golden MSA Archival spray varnish in Satin. 

Ok, so! I start the bunny drawing out with a Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer watercolour/watersoluble/aquarelle pencil. They are my favorite pencils ever, and I used to sell them in my art supplies store, Sketch Art Supplies. I don’t have an art supplies store anymore, but I do still recommend them. Expect to pay upwards of $4 a pencil when they are not on sale, but you can sometimes find them for as low as $2. That is all in Canadian currency. I use them as underdrawing pencils for my oil paintings as well because turpentine will not thin them out. Be warned, however, that the Faber-Castell Polychromos WILL be dissolved with turpentine because they are oil-based pencils. Not so with the Albrecht Durer watersoluble pencils.

Finished just in time for the Calgary Expo Holiday Market which ran for two days at the BMO Centre, December 1st and 2nd, 2018. I displayed them on a miniature Christmas tree which was placed on a lazy Susan for interactive viewing. 
My Gouache palette is an old Corelle dish. I know, I know. It looks crazy messy! I do wash it from time to time so that I can actually see what I’m doing. Also, I prefer to use it wet but I will re-wet dry gouache if I am just starting a work, to get the base colors. 

I’ve tried many different watercolour papers over the years. Lately I am really into the Saunders Waterford papers because they accept wet media unlike any other that I have tried, including Arches. The Saunders I used for the Elf Bunnies is “Rough”, which has more tooth and grain than the Cold Pressed (NOT) or Hot Pressed (HOT). It is made in England by St Cuthberts Mill and features deckled edging. It can be difficult to source, but it is well worth the hunt in my opinion.

Construction of Bunny Elves. Hot glue, how glamorous! I don’t often use hot glue, but when I do… I stick pompoms to things! Mwahaha. For serious though, don’t use hot glue to affix artist quality paper to matboard! I use Lineco PVA Adhesive, which is acid-free and brushable.

Ljubica Todorovic
December 13th, 2018
Calgary, Alberta

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Studio: Bunnies everywhere!

Bunnies come in many forms around here; magnets, prints, original drawings, paintings.. the list goes on. Bunnies are red and black, pink and grey, mauve and even lime colored. They can be quick to anger but also quick to please if you have little treats for them. Some of them are snooty and some of them are cuddly. All bunnies enjoy being loved, so wander around and see if you can find a bunny to adopt!

Day of the Dead Bunny, Original Oil Painting by Ljubica Todorovic