End of!


End of a year. End of a sketchbook. End of a blog.

As a new year begins to make its own unique personality and intentions known, it is time for me to say thank you and goodbye (insofar as it will now retire to a drawer of my art desk to live a quieter existence) to the red linen-bound Canson sketchbook that has accompanied me all over for the past 20 months. Through Ely, London, Paris, Zákynthos, Kent and the Isle of Wight, it has been a faithful friend, and though I have also filled a fair few pages of other sketchbooks in that time, it’s the Canson which tells the greatest part of my story, in a mostly chronological way. I’ve put together a mosaic of some of its pages …

… and you can view the rest of them on my Flickr account, at http://www.flickr.com/photos/rose_anglaise/sets/72157623159296678/

This little book, whose beautifully smooth watercolour paper will happily accept any and all media I care to throw at it, has been a revelation to me. Its patient pages have taught me to consider composition in my sketches, to mix all kinds of media and approach (pen, gouache, pasted paper, cut pages, graphite, coloured pencil, watercolour, wax pastel, acrylic and even gold leaf), to keep painting over my mistakes until I come up with something I like – and not to fret about it if I never reach the point of liking it at all, but simply to turn the page and not worry about what is incomplete or imperfect. It has also taught me to write in and among and alongside the drawings, however critical and self-conscious that makes me feel, and though it isn’t the first sketchbook I’ve kept, it is the first real sketchjournal. I bid it farewell with the following spread.

I’m telling myself that after this entry, I may well cease to post on this blog. I am trying to focus on the act and process of creating, this year, and the mental energy for reporting coherently and interestingly here on what I’m up to is simply not something I have in sufficient amounts. I have a lot of interests: I cannot really do justice to this blog space, and that bothers me, so it is one thing amongst several that I find I must strip away. Having struggled to participate fully these past couple of years as a member of the art and craft blogging community, I feel I may be better able to communicate by limiting myself to Flickr, Ravelry, Twitter, Facebook and a handful of online art forums – and of course, by commenting on others’ blogs when I can.

Thank you to everyone who has read me, especially if you’ve ever left a comment on something I’ve posted. I will continue to contemplate my navel, and, on occasion, sketch it; I just won’t beat myself up so much about not sending everyone regular newsletters to inform them just how much fluff is in there. 😉

Love, E-J Xx

Journal 17.12.09 and some crochet


Omphaloskepsis, the name of this blog, means gazing at one’s navel. What, then, would be the appropriate term for the contemplation of one’s feet? “Podiaskepsis”, perhaps?

This sketch was done to test the restricted watercolour selection I intend to stick with for the first half of 2010. The text creeping around the edges of the page is a personal joke: its brief reference to events of the past couple of days is a dig at my feeling that the written part of my journal tends to be banal, random and jumbled. You really have to be me to find it amusing, though.

And these are the Ladylike Lace Gloves (from Stitch ‘n Bitch: the Happy Hooker) that I’ve crocheted for a friend. This is my only handmade Christmas gift this year. Must try harder.

If a picture paints a thousand words …


… then this blog post is more than 2,000 words long. Go figure!

Sketchjournal page
Gouache & white gel pen in my Canson watercolour book
“I’ll Keep It With Mine”
Neocolor wax pastel on Daler Murano paper

Five-year itch

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October has rolled round again (how on earth did that happen?), bringing blue sky, warm autumnal light and a distinct chill to the air. The realisation shamed me this morning into digging out a pastel that I began precisely five years ago, but left unfinished: a scene depicting Ely in the mist. I intend to finish it this weekend.

I snapped my setup in response to the first task in today’s #ebethchallenge, hosted on Twitter by the estimable @eBeth, which was to “pick one thing that you’re really good at” and share it via a picture. I’m not entirely sure whether my “one thing” is pastel painting or plain old procrastination. Take your pick!



My painting “Portrait of M” has earned an Honorable Mention in the Associate Category of the Oil Pastel Society’s 2009 members’ show, entitled Transformation. I only found out a few minutes ago, and am bouncing round like a mad thing!

To the judge, Wendell Dennis, and to the Oil Pastel Society: THANK YOU.

Note to self: Insert witty title later

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I’m channelling the delightful Michael Nobbs (http://michaelnobbs.com/) this week.

Tuning in to Michael’s micro-podcasts about creative inspiration with a cup of tea in hand is becoming a brief but welcome daily ritual for me, and, inspired by the immediacy and unfussiness of Michael’s line drawings of everyday stuff, I’m rediscovering my sketching mojo. Turns out it was hiding in the pages of my Canson book; like one of those magic wax-resist paintings, I just had to lay a few brushstrokes down to coax it out. The moral of this story is that in order to produce something resembling art, you have to actually make the effort to put a few marks on paper. Who knew?

This is my previous journal entry, unblogged ’til now. And yes, I’ve still got that damn song bouncing around in my head.

Pox, sox & daffodils


This photo’s already been posted to Sitting on the Fens, the blog I share with a friend, but I like it for the glimmer of hope it seems to offer.

The past 10 days have been dominated by Melody’s chickenpox, and by my attempted knitting of lace-pattern socks … Hoping we’ll emerge from both these trials before long!!

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