Sunday, August 17, 2014

seaside dancers


Here she is, my whirling sea dancer in a painting that was finished a few days ago. It was fun to do, but I seem to have a better time these days doing illustrations for stories written and unwritten. There will be more of those as time goes by.

Meanwhile I was reminded a few days ago about an artist who lives near the sea in Holland. I am awed and inspired by the work of Dutch artist Theo Jansen, who creates "sand beasts," kinetic sculptures that roam on the coast near his house in the Netherlands. He has been creating wind-walking examples of artificial life since 1990.

Constructed as intricate assemblages of piping, wood, and wing-like sails, Jansen’s creatures are constantly evolving and have become excellently adapted to their sandy beach environment. They sport legs, which “prove to be more efficient on sand than wheels . . . they don’t need to touch every inch of the ground along the way, as a wheel has to”.

You can always read more about him here or here, but the neatest thing of all is to spend a little time watching Theo Jansen's Sandbeesten cross a flat windswept beach. They would be an amazing sight to see in real life.

Compilation from Strandbeest on Vimeo.

Some of them, sensing when they're too close to the sea, back away while others can fasten themselves to the sand when the winds grow too strong.
Tell me that didn't make you smile.


24 comments:

marja-leena said...

Ooh, such a beautiful dancer that she makes a viewer happy! Fantastic work, Susan.

I'm delighted to revisit the amazing Strandbeest after many years, thank you! (It visited my pages quite a long time ago so almost forgotten.)

Andrew MacLaren-Scott said...

Dancer great

Strandbeest astonishing

Thankyou

Sean Jeating said...

Now let us imagine your sea dancer and the Strandbeesten enjoying a pas de deux on Theo Jansen's beach. :)

Sean Jeating said...

. . . and here the missing 'one of' [the Strandbeesten].

Gina Duarte said...

Hmmmm...all those legs are well suited to a type of play that I am not sure I could handle. I think I would want to dance with the girl! ;-)

Rob-bear said...

Oh, yes; that would be wonderful! It might take a bit of particular choreographing, but with artists, almost anything is possible!

Blessing and Bear hugs!

susan said...

I'm glad you like her, Marja-Leena. If you hadn't posted those festival pictures she may never have appeared.

I first saw the Strandbeest a while ago too, but never found an appropriate time to mention them until now.

susan said...

Thanks, Andrew.

and yes, they really, truly are.

susan said...

That would be a wonderful sight too, Sean :)
Better her than me.

susan said...

What one is missing?

susan said...

They really are incredibly multi-legged, aren't they? I don't think I'd be inclined to dance with them either Gina, but they'd be very exciting to watch go by. The beaches here are too rocky though. Glad you made it back to see the dancer :)

susan said...

Yes, seeing the dancer and a Strandbeest tripping the light fantastic together would be wonderful, Rob. I can almost hear the music.

Should Fish More said...

Lovely, really lovely. The colors blend, and are just great. The wave reminds me of Hokusai, the Japanese artist.

susan said...

Thank you, Mike. Layering watercolors does make for a fine and subtle effect - when it works :) You're correct in noting I have a great fondness for the Japanese woodblock artists.

Sean Jeating said...

Ah, I should have made the correction in a whole sentence.
As with all / several / more than one Strandbeest a pas de deux is not possible the sentence should read:
Now let us imagine your sea dancer and one of the Strandbeesten enjoying a pas de deux on Theo Jansen's beach. :)

susan said...

Now I understand it was semantics and not a picture I'd missed :)

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan
Your exquisite dancer would look great alongside those sculptures that seem to glide effortlessly over the sand and waves in adaptive artificial artistry- simply amazing.
Best wishes

susan said...

Those moving artworks really are amazing to watch, aren't they, Lindsay? I'm happy to know you think my dancer would enhance their promenade :)

Geezers said...

Good grief, you have talent. I can barely sign my name in a manner that's legible.

Steve Emery said...

Beautiful addition to your long running series. I particularly love the ankle garments, covered with what I took to be seashells (like cowries) and which I imagine making sounds when she dances. And the Strandbeests are amazing - wonderful to watch. One of the other films discusses what he's tried to prevent them falling over - and I was delighted to hear that animals holding each other and moving together may be the answer. Even machine creatures can benefit from cooperation!

susan said...

Well, just like signing one's name, it does take practice :)
Glad to know you like the result!

susan said...

I'm not sure there will be many more of these, Steve, as I seem to be getting more enjoyment from the story type of illustrations these days. Once begun, though, she had to be finished.

I'm delighted to know you enjoyed the Strandbeests. That they are multiples of one really is remarkable.

Should Fish More said...

Comment redux:
I've come back a few times and looked at the picture....I even saved it and enlarged, but I'd never post it other places with out permission, goes with out saying.
Her hands....is there an intentional interplay with the waves, implied or explicit? It has suggested several possibilites to me, but I would be interested in the artist's intent, if any.
Cheers,
Mike

susan said...

Hi Mike, I'm flattered you like the picture enough to have saved a copy for yourself. Yes, it was my intention when designing the image that my dancer would appear to be interacting with the waves. As we are largely made of water, so in a sense water dancing suggested to me harmony with all life.
Best wishes :)