Suzanne Forbes, an expat New Yorker in Berlin. Made possible by the generous support of her Patrons. https://www.patreon.com/SuzanneForbes. Former DC Penciller for Star Trek, former courtroom artist, painting portraits and teaching drawing.
I returned to the delightful Art Stalker Berlin to see the first Donut Heart reunion.
Alfred Ladylike and Rah Hell were performing with blues band Vintage & Used. Rah says I am getting better at drawing the drums! It was interesting to draw her arm and wrist movements playing the blues vs. playing punk with Baron and The Erinyes. Her axis of movement was much lower. You can see what I mean by that, with the sharper angle of her forearms, in these drawings from the Sekrit Rehearsal Space. You can see my previous visit to Art Stalkerhere!
Vintage & Used is the other band Baron Anastis is in and they were great. Greek guys can totally play the blues!
You can see dozens more musician drawings here on flickr.
As always, I am so grateful to my beautiful Patrons on Patreon for providing the monthly sponsorship that allows me to document the Berlin music scene!
Her partner Wynton Kelly Stevenson is an amazing one-man band.
Wynton Kelly Stevenson by Suzanne Forbes Dec 31 2017
We were blown away by his sounds, created with harmonica, beatbox and Loopstation. And his sound is super danceable. Hubbin got up and danced a bit along with the folks of all ages who enjoy the chill Lagari scene!
Here you can see Alfred Ladylike serenely conserving her energies for…
The band is called Baron Anastis and the Erinyes and consists of Baron, Joe Dochtermann and Rah. They are a sexy-punk glam-punk triad! They rehearse at an undisclosed (and remarkable) location, in a space called (with reason) The Catacombs.
Baron Anastis and the Erinyes by Kim Hven of Kimera Photography
The band came and had a photo shoot in my studio last month, it was lovely to help them get all funky and be photographed! I was flinging props and wardrobe at them like a maniac, my secret fantasy career has always been set dresser or costume designer.
Here’s frontman Baron at The Catacombs, growling and crooning over his handsome polished wood bass.
Drawing Joe, below, is such fun. He is a classic rocker.
The guys were coming in on one of the songs a little Hendrix-y, as I drew these, and arguing about a pedal. I was loving being in a rehearsal space for the first time in a long time, really enjoying the way you can hear the music when you are an audience of one. It sounds different when there’s only a couple meatsuits for it to bounce through. The band already has a real sound, too.
I did four drawings of Rah behind the drum kit, in front of the space mural with its flaming asteroid.
I think you can see the progress in them. I did a pencil sketch of the drum kit for the first, to get a handle on how it takes up space in the space. You can see the ghosts of innumerable corrections for scale and perspective. With the second I opted to use just a stick of compressed charcoal on the smooth paper, for crude power and speed.
I am getting used to drawing the physicality of a drum kit, and the struggle to find an angle where you can actually see the drummer’s movements.
On the third drawing I sketched in a rough outline with charcoal, wiped it out and drew over it with my PITT “B” pen. And the fourth was pure charcoal again.
Next time I go to the secret space I’m gonna take my Windsor and Newton Series 7 Sable, some Sumi Ink and a big newsprint pad.
Gonna get SERIOUSLY loose and kick out the jams!
You can see dozens more musician drawings here on flickr. As always, I am so grateful to my beautiful Patrons on Patreon for providing the monthly sponsorship that allows me to document Queer, Indy, Punk as Fuck Berlin!
It is the first big personal project portrait I’ve done in Berlin.
I see it as a companion piece, à pendant, to this big portrait I did of friend/muse/Patron Khris Brown in 2005, when I had just returned to painting after a thirteen-year hiatus. This portrait, one of many I did of Khris, is probably my favorite thing I’ve done to date. And this picture of Rah is right up there.
I painted Rah on a pink ground.
That means before she arrived, I painted the primed canvas an allover bright pink. I used to do this occasionally in college, but had forgotten about it until I saw the work of Natalia Fabia. She is one of the wonderful modern figurative artists I’ve discovered on Instagram. She very often paints on a pink ground.
It adds so much warmth, plus serving as a light mid-tone. Not entirely unlike the many drawings I’ve done on Kraft paper in the last few months! Since I paint alla prima and leave a few areas of bare canvas on every painting I make, you can see the pink peeking through at the edges.
Modern technology makes it so easy to photograph your work, even if you are as bad a photographer as I am.
I’m amazed at how easy it to record and share my new pieces. You can see the details of how I paint easily, the scumbling and bits of impasto. I used quite a bit of gel medium in this work, to get translucent layers that would capture Rah’s luminous youth. Young people’s skin has so much subsurface specularity!
This time at the Lesbian and Trans* stage at the Berlin Lesbian and Gay Festival. The festival is one part of the Berlin Pride Month activities, which culminate the following weekend in Christopher Street Day.
There were a lot of stages, so I wasn’t sure how to find the Lesbian and Trans stage – until suddenly I walked into a crowd where I felt completely at home. Everyone had tattoos and brightly colored hair and they welcomed me with warm smiles.
I dressed up fancy! Photo by Dan Schick from when we went to see Spider-Man Homecoming earlier that afternoon – a charming must-see!
This is by far the most complicated color drawing I’ve done since college and my days as a courtroom artist.
I wanted to capture the details and vividness of the scene as much as possible. (DJ Chroma wasn’t actually performing at the same time as Donut Heart of course, I just added her cause she is so great looking!)
Detail before adding pastels on top of marker, pencil, colored pencil and ink.
I keep pushing the limits with the mixed media experiments on Canson kraft paper and it keeps going mostly ok.
Portrait of Tess and Colin Jan 2017 by Suzanne Forbes photo by Colin Fahrion
I’m very confident with color when I’m using opaque paints, as in this portrait commission of loved ones from January.
You can see the first drawing I did at the Lesben-Schwule Fest here; it has some colors added.
I grabbed a few Sharpies from my deskside drawer and spotted in a bit of pink and green.
I used color in my courtroomdrawings of course, and those were on beige and buff illustration board.
Courtroom drawing by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum for WCCO-TV, 1992
I think the midtone beige of the kraft paper helps to mediate my limited color skills.
Suzanne Forbes drawing Donut Heart July 15 2017 by Dara
Alfred Ladylike was wearing her silver dress from Loving the Alien, and the additive/subtractive nature of pastels worked pretty well for it. Not as much success capturing Rah Hell‘s gold sequin fedora!
I’m using two shades of grey and two shades of umber in regular pastels, white conte crayon, a black oil pastel and alcohol based DeSerres markers in shades of warm and cold grey, and a red-brown Caran d’Ache colored pencil.
All this goes over the PITT brush pens and .05 HB mechanical pencils I normally use, on Canson kraft paper. It has some tooth and a texture, like a cotton paper.
Most significantly maybe I am using the clear-ish “blender” shade of the DeSerres markers OVER the pastels. I run it over the black oil pastel and the solvent in it dissolves some of the pastel base, creating a wash.
I also use a blender marker or 10% grey over the chalk pastels, to help blend and incorporate. For this Donut Heart drawing I bought a pack of colored markers at the Euro-Store for one euro, and added those in.
It was scary experimenting like this, and it took me ten days to finish the drawing once I started adding color. I was nervous about making an ugly, muddy mess or a primary-colored cartoon. I’m pleased with the result though, and now I have colored markers….’cause-
I needed all the colors for the full rainbow of the Pride flag!
I am so excited and happy to be working on this portrait of amazing Berlin rockstar Rah Hell.
I met Rah IRL for the first time when she came to my art show at Tremuschi Ink.
Then I drew her performing in Donut Heart for their video release party and at Uke Boogie. We were talking about a plan to make a painting but had not sorted the details.
When I went to see Donut Heart again at the Lesbian and Trans stage at the Berlin Lesbian and Gay Festival last weekend, Rah was wearing the perfect outfit.
You all know how I like style and how a great outfit truly inspires me! I was like, would you please wear this awesome outfit to be painted and she said yes! She is wearing a sequined fedora, you will be able to see it better as I work on the details. We’re working again tomorrow, so there will be an update with the progress of this piece soon 🙂
yay I love painting portraits I love my life I love my Patreon Patrons who make it all possible so much!!
I love to draw musicians. They are among my most favorite subjects.
As a non-musical person, being able to create music is like some kind of sorcery to me. So when I was invited to draw live at the party for the release of Donut Heart‘s new video I was very excited. Look at Alfred Ladylike and Rah Hell tearing it up!! The songs are hilarious, “Dude Band” is possibly my favorite. Rah used a heavy piece of chain for percussion at one point, which is not a thing I had ever seen. Although I dated a drummer for two years in my teens!
What a great time I had! Such a wonderful circle of people, and such delightful performances.
I helped Rah glaze the vegan donuts because if there is one thing I know, it’s getting sweet treats ready for a party. There were many highly drawable attractions at the Donut Heart event, as you can see.
Kay was a boylesque Jesus, and kindly expiated one of my many sins.
Natascha did body painting like this cupcake on my bosom!
You can see her here body painting live on stage. She is an artist on non-human canvases as well.
David sang “Chocolate Jesus” from the Holy Book of Tom Waits.
It was grand!
Ludwig is a wonderfully cozy clubhouse of a bar/gallery, staffed by barefoot punks in skirts!
It feels like your friend’s living room. Look how chill the altar boys are, enjoying their beers.