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.
SUCH a beautiful party for the official release of the gorgeous coffee table book of photographs by Jo Pollux and text by Sadie Lune.
It was held at cherished all-inclusive queer art gallery/bar/clubhouse Ludwig Berlin in Neukölln, and featured the artist and her muses! The book showcases Jo’s Film Noir aesthetic and Sadie’s dark prose. In attendance were models from the book, including Sadie,Bishop Black, Manon, Finn Peaks, and more.
There was a wonderful crowd of queer Berliners, plus visitors from all over.
There were performances, including this one by Finn Peaks.
Finn had pink eye makeup on making him look even more like Anne Carlisle in Liquid Sky!
And afterwards the crowd retired to the back room to witness à la carte acts of dominant play by Sadie, always a huge hit.
My live-drawing of queer Berlin’s art scene is courtesy of my Patrons on Patreon whose monthly financial support allows me to make this free art available! You can help for as little as a dollar/euro a month.
I’m working on some more drawings from the back room, but since they are sensual and involve passionate interactive I am not creating them for my Patreon. You will be able to find them on my other website, the one with my name, soon 🙂
And amazing multi-talented singer-domina–bondage artistKristina Marlen, who was there with her lovely mom. Ms. Marlen knocked the room out with a classic Berliner cabaret tune.
Her mom bought the drawing in the fundraiser auction, which delighted me!
It is my goal to always make myself available for LGBTQIA, sex-positive, kinky, and alternative community benefits if my spoons/health allow. In the Bay Area I did a ton of benefits and fundraisers, and I am slowly ramping up here!
I can do this work because of my wonderful Patrons on Patreon, who provide the monthly financial support that makes it possible for me to document queer life in Berlin!!
If you want an art donation for a benefit or want me to draw at an event, just let me know 🙂 I’m on Instagram here.
On February 14, a small group of female-identifying people gathered at Ludwig Berlin to make art out of a pile of magazines, glue and scissors.
With the help and support of Suzanne Wegh, I tried paper collage for the first time. What a startling process!
It was not at all like I thought it would be! It was confusing, and mysterious! I thought it would be challenging, but it was in fact quite a bit harder than it looks.
First of all, it never occurred to me that you could move the pieces of the picture around before you glued them down.
Until Suzanne explained that’s what she does! I was as startled as I was the first time someone showed me windows being minimized and moved around on a computer, in 1996. With my bricolage shadowbox projects, I glue each thing down as I go.
This idea of fluid composition broke my brain!
Then, it didn’t go the way I planned. I had some ideas, and a color scheme, and the first collage I did was actually the complete opposite of them.
I saw this greyed out pastel flower paper and wound up choosing a palette of images and materials related to it, and then making this rococo chicken being ridden by a chicken princess.
I wanted to make a Baba Yaga! What the heck??
So I decided to just go with the process, even though for someone as afraid of artistic failure as me that was pretty scary. I’m learning things I never expected to about composition, pattern and color from my bricolage and mixed media work. I can see how those things could be put to work in making collage art, but I’m a long way from being able to do it.
photo by Suzanne Wegh from Galentines Collage night Feb 14 2018
I was really amazed at how the other women could make their collages look like something so easily. I mean, make them look like resolved images. The one below, which Suzanne made, is just beautiful. You can read about her experience of our collage adventure on her Patreon here.
Collage by Suzanne Wegh Feb 14 2018
The Medusa with butterflies at the top was actually the third I made, and the only one I felt sort of resolved into an actual picture. And that expresses my style, with its beetles and jewel colors! Why is Megan Markle’s head on fire? I have no idea! It just happened!
I don’t know if I’ll try collaging again right away; it was pretty disorienting for me. But I’m so glad and proud we created a safe space for me to try it.
Both Kelsey and Alexandra, who is known around Berlin as artist’s meetup organizer BarSketcher, were using iPad Pro tablets and Procreate software.
drawing by Suzanne Wegh Dec 17 2017
Daria got one of them early this year, and seeing her experiment with it has made me feel like digital drawing technology is finally at a place where I want to try it.
Now I just need a Patron to gift me one!
Alexandra has a cool time-lapse of her drawing on her insta. Meanwhile Suzanne went in the opposite direction, using white pencil on black paper for this lovely drawing of MNE’s hands.
It was very cozy in the middle room at Ludwig, with our group of woman-identifying artists gathered close.
Miss Natasha Enquist posing at Ludwig; photo by Suz Wegh Dec 17 2017
I made vegan peanut butter chocolate bars and flourless chocolate cake with pistachio icing to keep our strength up. Turns out it is quite easy to make vegan chocolate with cocoa butter and cocoa powder.
I had to request a drastic music change; Maurus was playing some kind of classical stuff I am not sophisticated enough to appreciate.
So we switched to Parliament which always makes everyone feel good!
There’s something physical about the way they have to lean into the instrument, its spinelike flexibility, that just blows my mind. It’s like they have a person in their lap and they are squeezing music out of them!
So when Dirk Rave came onstage at Ludwig the other night with his accordion i was delighted to draw him. Amazingly, after I wrote the above, I went to his website to add the link, and guess what I read???!
“The proportion of the instrument can not be underestimated: the accordion breathes. This makes it the ideal partner of a singing man, whether it is a baroque, a pop song or a classic French chanson.”
So I was right! It is about the physicality and proportions of the accordion, it adds a unique dimension to a performance! Isn’t that cool, that Dirk and I share this notion and didn’t even know it?
Dirk performed several of his original compositions, then was joined by Danish tenor Mads Elung-Jensen.
They were GREAT! You can see them perform together yourself here. It was a performance way the hell out of the league of a quiet Thursday night in Neukölln, exactly the kind of unexpected miracle Berlin specializes in.
I wanted to use only grey tones, because I worry that I’m in danger of developing laziness around values from using pink and umber. I knew I had to be careful to leave the open space of the kraft paper as a value and that I needed deep darks to convey the night-time feel of the bar. I could just barely wrangle it all together, and it devolved for a bit.
Sargent said that if you control the midtones you control the painting.
I am working on midtones, trying to use them more effectively. Since I developed my entire style of drawing to be reproducible black and white linework for comics, that’s challenging to me. I still find spotting hard blacks is helpful when the drawing isn’t reading clearly.
Having a true peer that you see and work with often is so crucial to artists.
Dariais such an important part of my growth as an artist here in Berlin. It’s her voice I hear in my head when I want to overwork a drawing, and her voice I heard tonight saying, “When in doubt, add more black!”.
For the second drawing I kept it simpler, leaving more of the paper surface open. While pattern and value ensure it reads easily, it doesn’t have the same night-time feel. My next sketchbook is going to be a Canson grey tone pad. Sargent painted on canvases toned with a cool grey midtone, and I am excited to try using pastels to work on that kind of base! Wow, the 50th-birthday gift of greyscalemarkers from my beloved friend-muse-PatronClear really opened the drawing door for me!
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!