Miscellaneousness

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A few quick sketchbook pages I’ve neglected to share!
The plum wine was a gift from Paul, a souvenir of his trip to Japan back in June. This was an idea for a larger painting which didn’t happen. The shape in the bottom right-hand corner is a packet of what I can only describe as squid jerky.


For M, he brought back a stuffed plush version of the ubiquitous “Hello Kitty”. She loves her, but for some reason was at first troubled, then intrigued and now amused by the fact that beneath her lovely satin dress, Kitty isn’t wearing any underpants.


EDM Challenge #75: Ingredients of a favourite recipe

Chicken paprikash deconstructed.

Pen & watercolour in Canson journal

Carpe minutum!

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I listened this weekend to a couple more back episodes of the Creative Mom Podcast, one of which spoke of ways to carve out small chunks of time for artmaking when you’ve convinced yourself there is no creative time available.

Desperate to pick up my neglected oil pastels, I’d been struggling to find extended drawing time during daylight hours, but the podcast removed that apparent obstacle from my path as if by magic: I went on to do this one-hour sketch over 3 short sessions.

The box itself is a souvenir from Victoria Peak in Hong Kong, but I won’t reveal its contents just yet; it might be fun at some point to make them the subject of a companion sketch!

8×8″ oil pastel on Daler-Rowney Murano paper. #12 in the 100 Pastel Sketches challenge.

Something from the weekend

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It was a weekend of unpredictable skies, toddlers’ birthday parties, fun summer purchases and not-so-fun goodbyes. This is how I’ll remember it, from the two pages I filled in my Canson watercolour journal.


EDM #155: Draw something with steps

I’ve been meaning to attempt a drawing our child-unfriendly, lumpy, bumpy, twisty staircase for ages – both to challenge my aversion to straight lines and to play with a triad of burnt sienna, ultramarine blue and cadmium yellow deep. It proved a tricky subject.


Pen & watercolour in Canson journal

EDM #4: Draw your mug or cup

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My wizardy dragon-handle mug was bought in 1994, in a favourite shop (long since closed down) on the Isle of Wight. Cider and mulled wine taste especially good out of this mug.

Pen & watercolour in Canson w/c sketchbook.

Canson d’amour … and 2 EDMs

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Thursdays are the day I try to put guilt and unfinished tasks aside for the purposes of making some sort of art, or at least feeding my creativity.

Today, eagerly clutching my new Canson watercolour sketchbook, I started out by sketching my panini (EDM Challenge #162: Draw your breakfast) – the first time I can recall being bold enough to use my watercolours in a coffee shop. I went on to draw one of the little yellow garden chairs I’d snapped up for my daughter for 50p apiece at a local playgroup, which I picked up on my way home (EDM #30: Draw a chair). A small drawing of two of the pencils I used for today’s instalment of Every Day in May completed the page.


The Canson is a sexy beast: beautiful red cover, black linen binder and corners, and two page markers. The watercolour surface is smooth, with a texture close to good-quality cartridge paper that also happily accepts fine pen, coloured pencil and gouache. I’m so happy to have it, I find myself hugging it at frequent intervals. Sketchbook nerdism. What can I say.

EDM #137 Something turn-off-and-onable

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A couple of indoor sketches from January. The first is in Profipen & Aquatone, the second in Profipen & coloured pencil, both in my small hand*book journal. Not much to say about these, except that the mp3 player sitting in its customary spaghetti of wires is a Creative Zen Vision:M – because i(don’t)Pod. Oh, and that I’ll be a happy bunny the day our scanner is back in action, because some media just refuse to make friends with my digital camera.

EDM #137: Draw something you can turn on and off.

EDM #15: a tree (or two)

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I wouldn’t call myself a tree hugger, but I am certainly a tree sketcher, photographer and fondler lately.

This is a London Plane tree, or platanus × hispanica (I assert with confidence, having practically devoured Collins Complete British Trees cover to cover on realising my shameful ignorance of things arboreal). It sits in Dean’s Meadow near the Cathedral, and I love walking past it every day on our strolls around Ely, because it is so twisty and full of character. Did this 30-min sketch in my small hand*book journal with a new Rapidograph pen while my daughter slept in her pushchair.

Next up is a weeping willow or salix × sepulcralis on the charmingly-named Quai d’Orsay down by the river. This was another pen sketch snatched during nap time, with black and white gouache added later. The grey Canford paper I’d pasted into my hand*book allowed me to have a bit of fun with a medium I wouldn’t usually include in there.

Old Year, New Year

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I hadn’t sketched for a while, but Melody was given a xylophone for Christmas, and the areas of bright, solid colour seemed to invite a little playtime with my new set of Aquatone watercolour sticks. This is across 2 pages of my small hand*book journal. EDM Challenge #17: Draw a musical instrument.

Back in February/March 2007, I’d only just joined the EDM group, and I didn’t post the following sketches because I was trying out a Danny Gregoryesque mix of drawing and journalling, and felt uncomfortable exposing my clumsy, rambling thoughts to public view. I was also tentative with the no-pencil-first approach to drawing in ink.

My very first EDM sketch was of M’s Bumbo® seat (she couldn’t sit unaided back then); the second was a toy we knew as Adam Butterfly, sadly long since lost, who played a high-pitched version of “You Are My Sunshine” when you squeezed his bottom. The third in the montage came a little later: it’s a gum soother we used to chill in the fridge, and illustrates EDM #77: Draw something cold or cool

I’m fond of these pages now, as they conjure up a life dominated by a 6-month-old baby; and while life continues to be just as dominated by her as she toddles her way at high speed towards a year and a half, it’s odd to be reminded that the paraphernalia so familiar to one phase of a little one’s development has no place whatsoever in the next.

EDM #54: Not so much a sketch …

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… as a three-and-a-half-hour experiment. I had never attempted a portrait in oil pastels, and wanted to try one using a limited palette of four shades, similar to those which have worked well for me in several soft-pastel portraits.

I built up the image on warm-tinted Ingres paper in Neocolor II (wax pastels) and Neopastel (oil pastels), blending with fingers and kitchen towels. It’s about 8×5″. The highlights have scanned rather harshly, and I can see a couple of details I may be tempted to tweak; but I can’t help but be happy to see that little face on the page.

This is EDM Challenge #54: Draw someone you love.

My little girl.

Bricking it

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Yesterday’s sketchcrawl got me thinking about the fact that I do not enjoy sketching buildings.

This is the Old Fire Engine House (these days, a pleasant restaurant, art gallery and tea-room with garden) in Ely. I drew it a couple of months ago, having stopped to sketch when my daughter fell asleep in her pushchair. I’m quite pleased with the drawing, even though I made the garage door too narrow, which irritated me at the time.


Pitt Artist pen, two-page spread in my 6×4″ Daler-Rowney sketchbook.

The next sketch is a 10-minute quickie done one evening in April, as I waited for the tutor and other students to arrive for our weekly College class. I was glad that I’d dared to do it in the short time I had available, even though the lines are wobbly, I miscounted the windows and didn’t manage to indicate how the structure (it’s our classroom) is connected to the rest of the college building.


Profipen in small hand*book journal.

This morning I sketched a willow on the banks of the River Great Ouse, as my daughter slept and Paul read his magazine. Tired as I was, I failed to notice until the moment I put my pen to the paper that the willow had sealed the wound of its missing limb in the obvious and delightful shape of a loveheart. What a joy it is, I thought, to draw natural structures with their organic, flowing, assymetrical forms and unstraight lines; why would anyone prefer to draw architecture? It’s probably because I’m simply not (yet) skilled enough to capture the perspective and detail that gives buildings their character. I would love to hear how others feel about them as a subject.

This is EDM Challenge #15: Draw a tree.


Profipen in small hand*book journal.

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