What is this?

Hi, this is Ocean.

A new identity. A new version myself.

Perhaps you may know me from my pseudonym “Gappiya” or if I am lucky (or unlucky depending on how you describe your luck), you might know me personally as “Tharindu”. Regardless of how we met, I am sure you must be confused right now. Why a new name? What is it all about?

My parents named me “Tharindu”. It means “Moon”. I don’t think I ever liked the name my parents gave me. I was born in Sri Lanka and “Tharindu” is a very common name over there. I never wanted to be “common”. I never will be anyway. For reasons, you will see shortly.

I grew up poor in a disturbed household. I got bullied in school. I was malnourished and suffered from chronic illness for most of my childhood years. Physically I was weak. However, I remember having a vibrant inner world. I’ve spent most of my time getting lost in conversations with my self. I don’t think I had any close friends. Surprisingly I was okay with it too. After years of soul searching and reasoning now, I know why.

I was unlucky most of my childhood but that changed when I immigrated to Australia. I met a very generous man who would help me to settle in Australia. A guy – unknown, who I met in a chat room when the internet just launched. I got lucky.

After many years of hardship as a young immigrant, Australia taught me many lessons. Then, I met a white girl who would open up a whole new world for me. I got lucky again. A new digital identity called “Gappiya” was born. Slowly I started to connect with my inner world. That lasted for a few years and, then I got unlucky.

A long-lasted relationship ended. I had to think of ways to survive on my own. Slowly my thoughts, values and purpose started to swift in a new direction.

I am calling this unknown entity the “Ocean Knighter”. My old self is dead. A new demon has claimed my soul. In this journal, I am letting him speak.

If are interested in this journey, you can be a part of the gang here.

A new (old) hobby

I picked up a new hobby.

Well, it’s not new. it’s an old hobby that I always was passionate about but I don’t think I ever explored it deep enough.

If you know me long enough, you know that I like to draw. I loved drawing and painting since I was a kid. I studied “art” in high school and even went to a paid class after school, in town. Which was the only class I was looking forward to attending.

My art teacher was an old retired man. He had a deep voice. His face looked unusual with his long pointy nose and flat hair. He had strange ways of teaching. He turned his garage into a classroom and this where he did most of the teaching. One day he asked us to pick a leaf from his backyard and make a sketch. Another time he made one of the students sit on a bench and asked the rest to draw. He had a massive backyard filled with all sorts of trees and plants. His house was next to the railway and we would always see trains go past. Unlike in school or other classes we were permitted to stare at the train. As you can imagine I purposely sat at the last raw and thoroughly enjoyed looking at his beautiful garden and passing trains. I can’t remember him being a very strict teacher but he was pretty straight when it came to tuition fees.

My art starting to look good after a few months. I remember some of my schoolmates commenting on my new painting style. This is the only thing I was good at in school and I must say I was pretty happy with my progress.

Then one day I stopped going to the art class. I can’t remember what happened but I must have decided – that’s enough.

Years went passed. I left my country. Got myself a job in a kitchen. More than a decade passed and now I work as a marketing manager working 9 to 5. I somehow forgot about my art teacher, his beautiful garden and passing trains until recently. I thought about my early childhood years and my deep love for drawing. I thought I should explore my old hobby again. So as one would do, I bought myself a new iPad (Yes, the one with the Apple pencil!), a skillshare subscription so I can learn “How to draw”.

As I go through lessons, what occurred to me is – how systematic drawing is. How everything can be distilled into basic shapes and forms. I thought about my life in general. I looked at everything I am made of. My job, my workout routine, my relationships and my thoughts about the world. How everything looks complex on the surface but deep inside how it is made out of basic human needs.

Such as the innocent desire to be heard, understood and loved for who I am! Everything else is just a cherry on the cake. As long as I don’t honour my inner voice and identify my basic shapes I don’t think I can ever become the beautiful painting I dreamt of becoming when I was a kid.

So I decided to take a step back and explore myself!

Wherever you are I hope you are doing well and maybe take a moment or two to re-discover yourself and think about your purpose in this world.

How to draw a human face. Ocean Knighter artwork
The human head can be divided into 3 parts. The first part is the forehead. The second part fits inside the brow line and tip of the nose. Thrid part fits between nose and chin.

PS:
I am currently moving so haven’t done any filming for Lakstralia in a while. I will give you an update as soon as I am settled in my new place.

Lockdown and soul searching

Melbourne is going through its 4th lockdown. I had my first holiday planned for this year only to see it cancelled. No more bike rides and no more beers at the pub. To make things even worse – we are going to approach the worse part of winter. Why Melbourne? The rest of Australia is pretty much returning to its “normal” lifestyle and while Melbournians are stuck at home. Anyway, I don’t have much to complain about. Nothing of my life has been affected – really. I work from home. I don’t like talking to people so I should be glad. However, I must say, I am annoyed. Not sure if it’s the lockdown, the cold weather outside or a combination of both.

I had to postpone some of the shooting due to lockdown, as you can imagine which I am not happy about. Anyway, I took on one of my old habits just to keep myself busy which is starting to profoundly help to explore my inner self.

From a young age, I have been always fascinated with drawing, painting and storytelling. I’ve experimented with various mediums and watercolour thus far is the most amusing medium to work with. I thought about this for months, trying to understand why I like it. After more than a year in lockdown and close to a hundred paintings, I am beginning to realise that I like watercolour for the same reasons I hate it. “It’s unpredictability”.

In almost all traditional art media, you can cover your mistakes. You can wipe and start over. Not with watercolours. Once you put a layer down, it can not be changed. Every layer you put on top is transparent and therefore the result is a combination of all your “mistakes”. You can be frustrated about it or you can accept for what it is and move on. Sounds a bit familiar, isn’t it? Aren’t we all working on this artwork called “life” with various decisions, plans and goals only to realise what is done can not be changed? Each of these decisions made who we are and each action, struggle, failure and pain made who we are today.

If you haven’t painted with watercolour I encourage you to take up a brush and experiment. You don’t have to be an artist. You are already a one.

Ocean Knighter, water colour painting - Reflection
Refection – Watercolour on Paper

Wherever you are, I hope you are well. Don’t let the rain outside wet your positivity. Find something you love. Spend time with people you admire. One day, not too long from now the sun will rise back.

Learning storyboards

It’s bloody freezing!

Days are getting shorter and darker. Winter is already here. If you are in Melbourne, you must have felt it this week. Apparently, it’s going to get worse next week. Anyway, I hope you rugged up and have a nice warm bed to sleep in.

So you must be wondering what’s new.

Well, I’ve been working on storyboards for Lakstralia. It occurred to me I should have all shots figured before shooting otherwise, I will be wasting too much time when I am filming with other people. Currently, Lakstralia has 7 other actors, a music dude and an animation dude. Massive crew! I know. This is the first episode based series I am making of this magnitude. So I need to get some organisation happening. Anyway, I’ve already done 10 storyboards. Just need to do 3 more. Then I can start filming. Pretty exciting stuff. Storyboarding is a fun step in the production process but I have to say – I am not a fan.

I have to figure out what direction a certain character is facing and therefore the 3d layout of the whole scene. This is especially challenging in this series because everything gets filmed in front of a green screen. A lot of flipping, mirror effects and neck bending. After 10 storyboards I think I sort of figured out my system now. With a bit of help from photoshop, I can draw a map which I can then use to draw slides. This is extremely helpful when filming. I don’t have anyone helping me in the filming stage so having a map makes everything a little easy.

Lakstralia storyboard - Ocean Knighter
Episode 2 – Storyboard

So far everything is going well. It is a little slow. Well very slow! I am working full time and I work on this project at nights and at weekends. So forgive me if I am a little late. I will try and send these updates every 3 weeks or so you know what’s going on.

Like always thanks for the support!

Lakstralia - Scripts done. Ocean Knighter
All scripts are done 🙂