30 Jul 2010

My first figure drawing

This is my first ever figure drawing. I copied her from a photograph in a magazine. I can list a whole lot of things that are wrong with it but I'm not going to because it's my first and I'm not unhappy with it. If I really was unhappy I wouldn't post it!

I need lots of practice before I'll have the guts to try a living, breathing person I think because the trouble with people is they move! I need them to be absolutely static for now to give me time for all that erasing and re-doing. I did it in pencil first until I thought it looked OK and then I drew it in ink and put in a little watercolour. For some reason the scan seems to have put some dirty marks on it - I think this may be a shadow of what's painted on the other side of the page. Note to self - don't paint on the back of other paintings or the scanner will pick it up.

I'm still working on the background applied with a roller - I did a page yesterday and was really pleased with it. It had lots of texture from the roller as well as colour. I just applied small blobs of Viridian and White to the page and rollered over it. I had to put a little more white on top of the darker green because it was too dark but the overall effect was just what I wanted. I should have posted a picture of it as the first stage of a journal page, but I drew some letters on top of the background and painted them in acrylic ink, the idea being to decorate them on top of the ink. But two things went wrong - I picked complementary colours for the letters and it didn't work, particularly because the background colours showed through and made the letters look really muddy. And acrylic ink has a sheen to it which didn't look very nice.

So I've treated it as a learning experience and will do another background and go from there. I'm wondering whether the acrylic has enough texture in it to mark some patterns into it before the paint dries. I'll experiment and see...

28 Jul 2010

Baubles and Beads

This is my necklace tree. Actually, it's a mug tree but I use it for my necklaces.

To be honest with you it's not really red - it's cream. I painted it cream originally and then put in the messy background and the tree looked a bit overwhelmed, so I changed the colour to red. That was a disaster so I frantically wetted the paint and blotted it out so now it's a rather horrendous looking mixture.

I think this is a good lesson for me to know when to stop fiddling.

I put in the date at the top with my new Lamy Joy calligraphy pen. It has three sizes of nibs - 11, 1.5 and 1.9 and this is the latter. I ordered a converter with it so I could use any ink in it rather than just cartridges and I filled it with Noodler's grey which is supposed to be one of their bleed-proof inks but isn't really.

I'm thinking of experimenting with lettering a bit. I've seen a few people doing this and it can be great fun. But first I'm going to have a go at putting a background onto paper using acrylic paint and a brayer (aka a lino roller). I watched an interesting YouTube video recently which showed techniques such as winding rubber bands or bubble wrap or anything with texture around the roller. It looked fun! And messy ...

23 Jul 2010

Shoe Love (2 x EDM no. 1)

This is absolutely my favourite pair of shoes. I just love the zingy colours and the pink leather thongs that wrap round the ankles and tie with a delicious big bow.

Because I love them so, I really enjoyed doing this picture. I used pen and ink, then watercolours, and finished off with Pitt Artists Pens which gave a little more definition to the colours.

As is pretty obvious, I had a little trouble with the perspective on the shoe at the rear. I can't quite figure out why it's wrong but it definitely is. I think the back of the shoe is at one angle and the front of it is at another. I really wanted to show the stripes at the back of the heel and I think I should maybe have turned it away from me a bit more.

But generally I'm quite pleased with it. And now, whatever happens to them over the years, I'll never forget what fun they were.

19 Jul 2010

Thoughts from the Garden

I often go to sit in or wander around my garden when I want to think about things. Although we're near a busy road I automatically filter out the sounds of the traffic nowadays, and the sounds and smells of the garden come through in sharp focus. It must be this that helps me focus my thoughts.

I was thinking about something that one or two of us had mentioned on the EDM forum in the last couple of days which was about the fear of doing art. It seems I'm not the only one who spends a lot of time thinking about what I'm going to put onto paper, reading about the various methods available to me, deciding which medium would be best and generally prevaricating. I now know prevarication for its real name - fear.

Once I've decided what I'm going to sketch or paint, I spend a lot of time visualizing it in my mind's eye. I can see every nuance of every hue I'll use, each mark I'll place on the paper to form the composition, and exactly what the finished piece will look like. Naturally, it's beautiful, colourful, perfect in every way. And all the time I know that it will never look as good as my imagination has painted it. So I put off starting, think of something else I should be doing; clean the cooker, tidy up my painting materials and put all my drawing pads in a neat pile, take Misty for a walk. Anything that will put off having to put that first mark on the paper. Because if that first mark isn't absolutely perfect the whole thing will be a disappointment; no good, rubbish, fit only for the recycling bag.

And that is what my fear is. I recognize it for what it is and I know, without a doubt, that if I get rid of all that angst and just get out a pen, pencil, paintbrush, marker pen - whatever - and go for it without thinking about it, then even if I do consider it to be rubbish at the end it will have been a step towards being able to produce something worthwhile one day.

But how to get rid of the fear? The answer lies in the garden somewhere, I just know it.

14 Jul 2010

Writing Daily Pages

I'm trying to write daily pages because it's supposed to be a way to find out who you are, and why you're here, and all of those deep questions that only have answers deep inside of us all.

Being somebody who loves to procrastinate I've spent many happy hours trying to find the best way of doing these daily pages. Should I be a purist and write them out in a brand new Moleskine with a fine fountain pen filled with a wonderful shade of forest green ink? Or should I tackle it on the keyboard which, to be frank is the best way I can keep up with my thoughts once I get into the groove. If I try to write fast it ends up illegible and you never know - I may want to read them again one day.

So I considered Evernote (on the internet), OneNote (on my PC), MacJournal (on my Mac), LiveJournal on the internet (didn't like this - too much like a social networking thing) and all sorts of other methods of recording my innermost thoughts. Both OneNote and MacJournal are great apps but I really wanted something I could access from anything. And then I stumbled on a site called 750words.com. The idea is, obviously, to write 750 words each day. It keeps an ongoing word count for you and lets you know when you've passed the 750 words and it keeps a record of what you've done each day. You can lock your words so no-one else can get at them (great if you write the sort of drivel I do!). I'm really trying to keep it up and am failing miserably so far, but at least I know it's there and I need to do it! And no-one can smack my hand for forgetting a day (or three).

I wonder if it will have the desired effect and give me the answers to those deep questions. Probably not...

12 Jul 2010

Pine Tree

I did this quick ink and watercolour sketch of some pine trees in my garden after reading a chapter of The Zen of Seeing by Frederick Franck. He was writing that the only way to get the hang of drawing anything is close and prolonged observation to the extent where you almost become the object you're drawing.

It's a lovely book and tells me I have a long way to go. But I've started on the journey which is good. And I'm enjoying the way closely observing things slows my thought processes down and leads me nearer to experiencing 'now'.

7 Jul 2010

Macrobiotic Chaffinch

The other day I decided I need to sort out my diet (as in nutrition rather than slimming, although that would be a nice bi-product!). I got hold of Macrobiotics for Dummies and stocked the larder up with GRAINS. Grains seem to be the foundation of macrobiotic eating!

Before starting out with the cooking (see utensils at the ready) I decided to paint the packets as they're all so colourful. It was another way of procrastinating on the healthy eating, but the espressos and chocolates consumed during the art process helped soothe my guilt. (Are espressos and chocolates yin and yang? I'm sure they must be).

I did make a Quinoa Salad afterwards though. It was the first time I'd cooked the stuff and I have to confess I was completely unprepared for the way it bulked up when cooked. What started out easily fitting into the saucepan finished up barely fitting into the kitchen. I'm gonna be eating it for the next month! Wonder if my husband will help me out with that. Hmm.

Oh for a chocolate bar...

1 Jul 2010

Kitchen Stuff

These are my lovely, colourful silicone kitchen spatulas and spoons. They live in my chicken pot which is my favourite utensil pot. I wonder what they're going to cook tonight!