26 February 2009

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More of an image dump than a blog post today: a few sketchbook pages from my Canson watercolour book and my February Moleskine.

On the fly

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Found on a path by Palace Green.

Pen, Inktense & coloured pencil in Canson w/c journal.

I blame Nitsa!!

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COSTA COFFEE. Thursday 24.4.08 … How to justify a cappuccino & triple choc muffin at 8.20 on a Thursday morning? Make them your sketching subject. I seem to be channelling Anita today, so I can always blame her! She has influenced more or less every element of this sketch …


… from the use of sepia pigment liner to the cup of coffee I hadn’t planned to order to the desire to make more use of watercolour paper to the irrational urge to sketch my food to the purchase and use of a set of Inktense pencils to the postcard format to the gluing of a scrap of the brown muffin wrapper onto the page, the inspiring Nitsa has infiltrated my artist’s brain.

6×4″, sepia pen & white marker with Inktense pencils on watercolour paper.

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.

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 Challenges #22 & #63

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Having done EDM Challenge #22: Draw a piece of clothing (Paul’s work shirt hanging from the wardrobe door – a sign, sadly, of tomorrow’s return to the office), I didn’t expect to fit in any more sketching today; dull grey skies made the “Ely Gardens” charity event, where private gardens are opened to the public, an unlikely proposition. In the face of some classic changeable English weather, however, I managed a two-page spread. In my previous life, given a cloudy sky and only a couple of minutes in which to do a sketch, I wouldn’t have bothered: I’d have made the excuse that there wasn’t enough time. One day I realised that there was time – if only I didn’t waste it on excuses!

I’m no botanist, and have no names for the plants and flowers I drew, with the exception of a fig tree in the Bishop’s garden. From there, we made our way to Hazeldene, and after a downpour (when we hastened wetly to Costa Coffee), wound up at The Old Fire Engine House. I’m calling this Challenge #63: Nature walk, and my afternoon goes clockwise on the page.

No plants were harmed in the making of these sketches.

(Edited with a slightly better scan of the second pic.)

Gridmania!

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I wish to thank whoever came up with the concept of sketching grids, for s/he is truly a genius. Not only does it allow me to fit drawing into my limited time, having the satisfaction of completing something after just 5-10 mins and, eventually, of covering a page with variations on a theme, but I’m also finding that drawing out boxes of random size and shape and seeking subjects to fit them, cropping where helpful, means that even with a tiny drawing of one inch2 I am forced to consider composition.

Recent scans of my hand*book journal have made my watercolour sketches look so washed out that I hesitate to share them. But here’s a spread representing our “holiday at home” these past nine days, much of it spent outdoors in the sunshine with our 8-month-old daughter.

In a spiral, starting from the top left-hand corner and ending in the middle: Melody’s foot; a soft toy known as “Starman”; the smily octopus from M’s new playnest; baby sunscreen, SPF 50; a jingly toy we’ve imaginatively nicknamed “Ladybird”; Bonjela (tooth #5 appeared this week); a cloud of unidentified genus; peach-flavour Alpro soya yogurt; and pushchair wheels.

This is an earlier grid on a foodie theme. The colour is way off; those are blueberries, not marbles.

Pen & watercolour pencil in small hand*book journal.

Weekend sketches

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I haven’t fitted in much sketching since my last post. These two modest offerings were done in my small hand*book journal.

EDM Challenge #104: Draw salt and pepper shakers

Easter weekend. As we enjoyed tea and cake on the patio of our favourite local tea room, these yin/yang shakers caught my eye. Profipen & watercolour pencil.

The weekend just past was spent at my parents’ house in Kent – “The Garden of England”. I snatched a few brief minutes with my sketchbook in their garden, where the magnolia was still in flower – just! The petals were dropping as I sketched. Profipen & watercolour.

Unpacking my bag on our return, I realised I’d mislaid my watercolours at some point during our trip. It’s going to cost me a depressing amount to replace those 12 half-pan Winsor & Newton Artist’s colours and the bijou box I kept them in. I was cheered, though, to see my painting “Against a Dark Background” (15×9.5″, 2005 – see below) featured in The Oil Spiel, the online newsletter of the Oil Pastel Society. I think life may be trying to tell me I’ve been neglecting my oil pastels lately …

Challenges #7 & #14

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Going almost monochrome for this entry. These are both in my 3.5 x 5.5″ hand*book journal.

EDM Challenge #7: Draw a bottle, jar or tin from the kitchen

Marmite, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a savoury spread made from yeast extract which looks like tar and tastes indescribable. This sketch was done in Profipen & watercolour pencils with black paper & white pen.

EDM Challenge #14: Draw what you see in the morning when you get up

Technically, this is what I see before I get up, while I’m still on the pillow: my bedside table, sideways on. I’ve noted “THIS WAY UP!” to remind me not to turn the sketchbook clockwise 90°, which is what I do without thinking every time I glance at the page.

The stuff you can see is, from left to right (I mean, bottom to top): Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides; a failed bit of crochet I use as a coaster; alarm clock; lamp; aluminium photo frame. Every night before I sleep, I turn the frame so that I can see the photo. Every morning when I awake, it is facing south west, away from me, and has slid an inch or so forward.

Profipen 0.1 and a Derwent Inktense pencil.

Chatteris Museum sketches

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The good news is that our scanner is now up and running, so I can now post my Chatteris Museum sketches. The bad news is: they’re not pastels! I say this only because of the rapturous reception my pastel sketches received from artists in the EveryDay Matters group who were kind enough to leave me a comment. I kept my materials for the SketchCrawl simple and light: these are all Edding Profipen .01 with watercolour (or watercolour pencils), 3.5″ x 5.5″.

We have a carpet beater made of cane, an earthenware pitcher, some tea paraphernalia, a hardware store bell (EDM Challenge #21: Draw something old, antique or vintage – we were spoilt for choice, really), Keys (#37) and police whistles.

 

Cunningly, I also managed to cover challenges #38: Draw at a museum and #72: Draw somewhere new with this trip!

The paper in the hand*book journal is rougher than the Daler-Rowney sketchbooks I’m used to and seems more absorbent to watercolour, but it’s pleasant to use. Since joining EDM I’ve noticed worrying symptoms of a serious sketchbook fetish I don’t recall having before …