Monday, 5 November 2012

Michael Marra, RIP A true Scottish Creative and Legend

I have been neglecting my blog a bit, apologies. Before I write a proper update however, I thought it right to pay tribute to the talented musician, creative wordsmith and Scots hero, Michael Marra who I had the great privilege to meet and draw during the prestigious StAnza poetry festival back in 2007. It was indeed sad news to find out a few days ago of his passing, and it has taken me until now to find this picture of him. 

I have to sheepishly say I initially found him an acquired taste.  Would you believe it was actually when I was on the Janice Forsyth show back in the new year of 2007 to draw Camera Obscura live in session, when Janice suggested I must know of Michael Marra since I'd studied in Dundee.  I had to admit my ignorance as she then proceeded to open her show with Marra's 'Painters Painting Paint' and I cringed - more because of my own nerves at being referred to (I just thought I was on the show to draw, not to speak!), but also, his gravelly voice certainly wasn't a gentle introduction.  It would be nearly three months later when I would find myself actually drawing the man himself, and experiencing and drawing him live I was amazed at how his words, music and presence transported me to the places where his beautiful songs and stories came from. I was literally stunned and mightily humbled.

Taken far too young, he will be sadly missed
. RIP Michael Marra, a true Scottish creative legend. Here's the song 'Frida Kahlo's Visit to the Taybridge Bar' of which one of the lyrics are written into this picture, and if you don't know it, it's set in a pub in Dundee, where I also went to art school - in the city, not the pub :)

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Hej Hej Scotland!!

It's Wednesday Night and I've just been to see Karine Polwart, an impromptu attendance, as I hadn't figure it into my first week of Scotland, but was so very pleased to be there tonight, and I drew, because that's what I do. As a thank you to Jamie/Oran Mor, and also to send to the musician herself, whose regular trio consists of herself, her brother and the stunning vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Inge Thompson

Monday, 10 September 2012

Scotland Here I Come!!!

Well, I've been having a lot of fun in Scandinavia, but I sure can't wait to get back to the Scottish soil, damp and squelchy as it may be. As I write, the Stockholm sky is gloomy and foreboding so no love lost there. Still though, I always look forward to a trip with much trepidation - I've already started having my 'late for the flight' nightmares like when I'm in the wrong country as my flight is leaving somewhere else. The latest one was I was with my sister and I hadn't printed my ticket but I realised I was leaving 4 weeks later anyways, plus she was flying somewhere different, and then there was a murderer searching for us in the airport and I had to find her and save her, etc etc... Y'know how it goes.

I guess it's just feeling like one is split between two countries - I have my art studio and partner here, in a lovely country where I feel like an immigrant (only through my rubbish grasp of Swedish and their epically brilliant grasp of English - it's a humility lesson rather than a difficulty).  And then there's 'Home' - the place where I left lots of friends behind, family and beloved pets, familiar places, a better wage, my 'notoriety'...I have to say though, now my times back in Scotland are always jam-packed and super efficient in terms of work and quality time with friends.  I really am looking forward to probably the most exciting 4 weeks all packed together ever!!! (Settle down Jen).

Seriously though, my first week which starts on the 17th, will be mostly spent with Solar Bear where I will be using my iPad to draw participants creating their own theatre. What is particularly wonderful about this first project is the participants are sufferers from mental health issues and have a hard time just being outside in the general public spaces. I was fortunate enough to draw them last year - on paper, and they all seemed to get a kick out of my drawings which was nice.  I've got a video of them all pointing and laughing - WITH me right? Not at me??!!  Anyway, this year I'll be drawing on iPad, the results of which will be included in the final performance during the Scottish Mental Health Film and Music Festival along with all the other artwork that's being created by the participants and in partnership with Impact Arts.  A truly Multi-media event, but that's generally what I'm all about right? Right.

I must also mention that on Friday the 21st of September I will be drawing at the fantastic multi-indie-arts night 'Neu Reekie!' which for the first time ever will be heading over to Glasgow and gracing the new arts venue designed and founded by none other than Scotland's own Jim Lambie together with Mutley of SWG3.  This should be a very good night indeed!

Monica de Ioanni, Jer Reid and Jenny Soep 'Three Lines'. Photo (c) Greg Neate 2012
Monica de Ioanni, Jer Reid and Jenny Soep 'Three Lines'. Photo (c) Greg Neate 2012

My next project will be a combination of a week's residency at Tramway in the Workroom, with Jer Reid and Monica de Ioanni as a further development of our work with Jer's initial Wintercycle duet project, that turned into our combined efforts in 'Three Lines'.  The previous two performances we gave as part of Sound/Thought at the Arches back in February and as part of the Multi-media arts night 'Media Lab' in Edinburgh were both very different but equally beautiful experiences.

Our latest performance will be in the Glue Factory on Sunday the 30th September. We will have a Facebook page for it, and I'll put some info on here too. Meanwhile, just above are a couple of beautiful pictures that Greg Neate took just to give you a taster. Incidentally he's got an exhibition on at the moment at the 13th Note, King Street Glasgow on a lot of the great and the good in music. I found him via a mutual love of Arab Strap, and I've come to find that he really is gifted, painterly and acerbic in his capturings of music and the people that make/listen/inspire it.

The third week, I'll be up near Oban giving a talk at Oban High School and later the Oban Art Society, but above all I'm looking forward to catching up with my parents and their amazing dog MacDuff.  I'll also be sorting a load of pictures for import.

Autumn Time at Roineabhal, RIP Conan the cat who's not around this year.

Heading up to Roineabhal is always a joy, it's the most beautiful place on earth as far as I'm concerned, and my Mum has a special nack for interior and exterior decoration/gardening, as well as being a world famous chef - no jokes - albeit for winning the Golden Spurtle at the World Porridge Championships, she's pretty fantastic at everything else she cooks. I've lived a very spoiled existence. (I also get fatter everytime I visit.)

Then it's my final week working with the marvellous playwright Lynda Radley on our third phase of the 360 Narratives projected funded by Playwrights' Studio and Creative Scotland.  We're writing a graphic novel together about Midwives, and for this third phase, we're going to have a couple of days of fun that are going to experiment with my 'live drawing' style. Then I'll have the rest of the week for development.  This will also be contributing to a flying visit to the Thought Bubble comic convention in Leeds later in November.

But that will be enough from me for now.  Here's an old drawing of a bike as I'm hoping to get some bike action while I'm back in Scotland - including the Harris Tweed Ride!!!
(This drawing is of a particular bike of mine that was nicked in Cornwall - after the drawing was made of course. You do know 99.99% of my drawings are done from life right?  See you soon!)

Monday, 30 July 2012

Lynda Radley, 360 Narratives, The Polar Music Prize

Good grief Penfold! Is it really such a long while since I last posted?!! I do apologise. But I'm not going to fill you in just yet.

Suffice to say I've been having a whale of a time in the second phase of the Playwright Studio/Creative Scotland funded project 360 Narratives with the marvellous Playwright Lynda Radley. We've been co-creating and expanding upon an idea about two midwives in a somewhat bleak though hopeful (perhaps) future.  Words and pictures abound, but it's been a hugely fascinating project and great to get the second kick up the Bahookie which feels like it's a good enough shunt to tide me over until October when we'll be working on the third phase.  Ooo, it all sounds so exciting :)  Lynda has left today, leaving me one night of solace before my wonderful other half comes back from his two weeks of fun in the Highlands.

Meanwhile, I've been drawing Paul Simon, R. Stevie Moore and Arrington De Dionyso regards concerts, as well as painting plant shadows, illustrating/painting wild flowers on some designer wooden benches, as well as getting my hands (and self!) proper dirty and learning 'on the job' with a carpenter/joiner/house builder.  (Same smart chap who's designed and made the benches from his own fine Swedish wood that he's put through his own sawmill. Hats off!) We've been renovating a beautiful little gatehouse to a large and beautiful old estate.  I really should put some pictures up, and will do tous de suite!  Suffice to say, I've been having a bit of fun in the last month :)  Roll on the excellent Polar Music Prize next month, and everything in between. Catch up soon!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Exhibition! Drawing In - Private View this Wednesday

Also Drawing Workshops - Places still available - To book, get more info, or get on the guest list for the Private View of 'Drawing In' this coming Wednesday 18:00-21:00 -

Experimental Drawing Workshops (In English) -
For Curious Beginners and Intermediate Drawers (Max. 8 in class)
Thurs 21st 18:00-20.30 Drawing with Technology - learning to use a variety of different digital drawing tools including iPhone, iPad, Computer and Wacom/Bamboo Tablet
Thurs 28th 18:00-20.30 Tactile Drawing - using the ‘drawing by touch technique’ leaving your eyes behind and responding to what you can see with your fingers
Fri 29th 18:00-20.30 The Journeying Line - using the blind contour drawing technique and unusual tools to map a visual journey
Sat 30th   10:00-16:00 Drawing Music -  To, From and With - All day workshop exploring the above techniques with the added elements of responding, utilising and drawing inspiration from music.

Evening Workshops 70 SEK
Saturday All Day Workshop 120 SEK
Includes basic drawing materials/tea/coffee
Booking required as limited spaces - Email:

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Varoom Magazine! Featured as 'Best in Reportage Illustration'

Pretty pleased to be featured in the latest issue of the rather illustrious Varoom Magazine.  A quarterly broadsheet brought out by the esteemed Association of Illustrators, this issue's theme is Entertainment and I was selected for inclusion as one of the best reportage illustrators.  Which is pretty sweet.
Best of Reportage Illustration - Jenny Soep

Varoom Magazine #18 'This is Entertainment'

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Polar Music Prize and Beyond

Hello there!

Well I have indeed been neglecting you!!  Apologies.  I have been drawing alternately in alternative drawing approaches. I have been performer, workshop host, illustrator, archivist, designer, storyteller, photographer, resident artist and documentor.

Went for a walk on my birthday at Roineabhal and made
this photo collage for them from the flowers and bugs I found.
Amazing sunny day, accompanied by MacDuff the family hound.

I spent two and a half months in Scotland, and now I have returned to Stockholm, with news that I will indeed be drawing for the 3rd consecutive year as 'official drawer' of the Polar Music Prize.  Last year it was Patti Smith and the Kronos Quartet. The year before it was Bj√∂rk (Idol!) and Ennio Morricone. An amazing couple of years, and now the prize will be awarded to laureates Yo-Yo Ma and Paul Simon. What a privilege to draw!

Tomorrow night I will be drawing Extra Life at Debaser Slussen, a gig put on by the notoriously experimental batshit ballsy and brilliant promoter 'Mother'.  Some of the most exciting and off the wall gigs I've drawn in Stockholm have been courtesy of 'Mother' and I don't anticipate that the line up of future gigs will diminish in mindbending mastery.

The playwright Lynda Radley will be flying out here late July so we can develop our collective project courtesy of the 360 Narratives initiative and funded by the Playwright Studio and Creative Scotland. Looking very much forward to it. Lips sealed for now. You'll just have to be patient for news.

Drawing Smoked Char up in Matsdal, Lapland
I've also just come back from 3 days in Lapland. Lapland I ask you! A twelve hour drive from Stockholm, through the night, arriving at 4am. But we saw a Moose!!  And a male Capercaillie strutting his stuff in the middle of the road, as well as a plethora of lovely looking females hanging around the sides of the road. Loads of hares and foxes with their diminishing winter coats, cranes, grouse and a big bunch of other equally stunning and beautiful wildlife.  18 inches of snow, lots of daylight and that was just the surrounding nature.  We stayed in Mattias's folk's little wooden cabin in the forest and it really was like a childhood fantasy come true.  Suffice to say I was drawing throughout the few days up there, so they'll appear in some shape or form at some time or another.  Have been maxing out the hardrives so need to clear some space for scanning first.

I also created illustrations for the first Electric String Orchestra in Scotland. They'll be opening the West End Festival in Glasgow on Thursday 31st of May, playing the likes of Radiohead, Lady Gaga, Bowie and more.  You can see the link here. 

Their brief was quite open, but they wanted illustrations that they could use on posters/t-shirts/album covers that could be used over and over again, that had an aspect of 'electric' without being cheesy.   The logo of their name was created by someone else, but everything else is mine. A new foray into Photoshop with hand drawn instruments - Cello, Violin and Violas - drawn in my style, then put into photoshop, coloured and then placed in a circular pattern that mimicked a kind of snowflake/fractal type image. I'm pretty pleased with the final result, although I did do quite a few different examples.

Illustration design for Poster Format
From the ESO themselves on how they found me and their response to the poster -
'We love it thank you so much!  We're picking up posters today for our Oran mor gig.
We heard about you from a born to be wide session I think but you're well known from the general band circuit in Glasgow and I'd seen some of your artwork before'

Until we meet again. Jenny S xx