Saturday, June 10, 2006


The Wikipedia definition of compromise is this:

A compromise is an agreement (or proposed agreement) to accept a situation
in which the parties allow variations from what they originally sought, to
achieve a compatible outcome. Is also something that any involved parties have
to concede in something for the common better good to be achieved in an
appeasing manner.

Compromise is something that I seem to do all my life. I well understand that compromise needs to be acheived to get through life without war happening at every level, but to be honest, I'm pretty sick of it. Maybe its my age, but the side of me where my needs come first is becoming stronger and stronger lately. I don't believe that makes me a bad person, more like one who wants more out of life on a personal level. I want to be able to eat cornflakes in bed at 2am. To have martinis for supper. To go to bed at 6pm or 6am without question. To come and go as I want without being questioned. Is that selfish? Yes and no. Time to myself is precious and rare and becomes something that I crave which is likely what causes me to kick against the traces of compromise.

The mother goose brought her two goslings out into the yard yesterday to meet everyone. They were introduced to the other geese who crowded around like nosy relatives, admiring the offspring. Then the Muscovy ducks, B.D. and Buddy were shown the babies (at a distance). With their penchant for swallowing mice whole like slurping spagetti, I was wary of them around the goslings, but they kept their distance and Momma made sure they knew just where the line was they were to tow.

They next visited the horse in the field who ignored them entirely and probably didn't even see them, then it was off to the Embden geese to parade the tykes there. These little goslings sure do a lot of walking!

I did a sketch of the second pair of geese sitting under a tree trying to avoid babysitting duties this morning. Done in my Moleskine with pen and ink, graphitint and wash.


I took Friday off from work to do some things that I wanted to do instead of working around what others want. Guess what? It didn't work. I still ended up doing everything EXCEPT what I wanted to do.

Well, not entirely. I did manage to get in a few hours of sketching, starting at 6am when I woke and couldn't go back to sleep. Early mornings are good for me for drawing. I enjoy the silence of that time of day when the world is just waking up. Living in the country, the sounds of morning are natural, until humans get involved.

A friend visited yesterday, another artist who works in different ways than me and is in the learning phase - aren't we all? She had completed a drawing course that didn't give her what she wanted in terms of skills and 'tricks of the trade'. We talked for awhile and discussed opportunities to sell work and the concept of me starting a life class locally. There is nothing close by and the life class that exists is on weekdays so useless to me. I am considering the option of a small class for drawing from life. A simple clothed model and artists paying on a drop in basis, perhaps weekly for 2.5 or 3 hour sessions. On top of that the coordination of a sketchcrawl to explore various sections of St. John's or local areas. I will look into this and see what enthusiasm there is for these ideas. It seems if there isn't an opportunity, you have to create it for yourself.

Today I will try to recreate what was in my mind yesterday in terms of doing what I set out to do -some sketching in public. Wish me luck! For now, here is a sketch from yesterday morning - my computer bag sitting by the fireplace. The perspective of the slate floor horizontally is off and I have straightened it since. Its a sketch. They are never 100% what you want them to me, so I'm content. Completed on Strathmore sketchbook 5.5 8.5 with a Micron .005, derwent graphitint pencils and wash.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006


We live in a crazed, speed-driven world, forcefed information through endless emails and phone calls and an overload of internet and television. We expect instant results in everything from food, availability of services or websites. We are bombarding our senses and I feel as if I'm on overload.

I long for a time when life is slower and I don't have to compromise my drawing or my life to acheive results for someone else. I want a natural life that lets my body dictate sleeping and waking. I want to feel the seasons on my skin, not be artificially controlled in an airless building. I want to taste foods that still have earth clinging to them and the force of nature still pulsing through them as I hold them in my hand. I want time to spend with people I care about without interruption of techology or other people. I want time to live my life as it is intended to be lived. I want it to be natural.

Today a little piece of nature presented itself in the barn. One of the Chinese geese has been sitting on eggs and they hatched. Three small goslings who shelter under her wing to seek protection and warmth. There is no interference from humans to handle them or show them how to eat, except to simply provide food and water. Instinctive behaviour, natural reaction. It is how life should be for all of us.

I am taking a day off work tomorrow to catch up with myself and do some things that I want. One is a search for a new book Art and Fear. This is a book about what it feels like to sit in your studio or classroom, at your wheel or keyboard, easel or camera, trying to do the work you need to do. It is about committing your future to your own hands, placing Free Will above predestination, choice above chance. It is about finding your own work.

An excerpt:

Today, more than it was however many years ago, art is hard because you have to keep after it so consistently. On so many different fronts. For so little external reward. Artists become veteran artists only by making peace not just with themselves, but with a huge range of issues. You have to find your work...

Finally, a sketch to end my day. I sat wondering what to draw then ended up with a 20 minute sketch of some shelves leading into the kitchen. The perspective isn't perfect, but neither am I. Note: Blogger doesn't want to upload my sketch so it will have to wait til tomorrow.

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Biker Bunny

Last night the rabbit I fondly call "Biker Bunny" came calling again. I call him that as he has a chunk missing from one ear, his turf wars perhaps. Anyway he turns up regularly but doesn't eat the flowers - yet. He stays still for ages eating or freezing in position if he hears something, making the perfect candidate for sketching.

Tonight I got my Derwent Graphitint pencils so I tried them on on the rabbit. They may take a little getting used to but I like the effect of them, even if they made the rabbit look a little bald at this point!

This took about 25 minutes and I finished up a few details after he'd scampered off.

I need to effectively render fur texture with this medium and am tempted to go over it with more pencil or touches of pen to indicate fur.

Blogger was down last night so I had to do without my 'fix'. It becomes a routine, writing here, writing to friends, but never a chore, always pure pleasure.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Captured moments

A quick sketch allows me to capture a moment in time, similar to the way a camera does, but with a longer exposure time. Sketching more quickly provides training in putting down lines economically and removes hesitation, allowing me to become more relaxed in how I draw.

This is the barn waking up. The horse was cranky as the ducks were in her way. I couldn't figure out if she was going to bite them or set them up for a drop kick. Neither happened and they resolved that early morning tetchiness without coming to blows.

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Monday, June 05, 2006


There is a new Drawing 102 class at Wet Canvas on sketching, led by Katherine Tyrell

I have admired Katherine's work for a long time and view her blog on a daily basis, gleaning information constantly. Katherine's blog is linked to mine on the right hand side of this page or through the link in this paragraph.

I will be reading the text of the sketching class and participating whenever I can during the next two weeks. Sketching comes more easily the more you practice and the skill of drawing under the scrutiny of the public grows also.

I did a couple of sketches tonight, but not live ones so they won't go into the new sketching class thread. These were more loosening up exercises, having been out of the loop for a few days due to work demands.

Animals and people always appeal to me, so are my first choice in drawings.

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I've spent the last 5 days in a whirlwind of activity related to work. It has been brutal at times in terms of workload and time consumed. It has eaten away at any semblance of private life and removed 99% of my drawing time and a similar amount of my time to write this blog.

I am a solitary person by nature and enjoy time to myself to think and draw and refocus my thoughts about life and work and people. The constant pace and unceasing numbers of people around me, demanding my attention, really wear me down. By yesterday, I could feel my mind and body reacting in a non positive way to the stress of constant demands. I found my ability to concentrate on people or conversations diminishing, along with my patience.

It didn't help that the weather has been miserable for a week and the one bright sunny day was the one that I was in 12 hour meetings so saw the sun only through a window and felt it briefly on my skin in a lunchtime quest for fresh air. Today, its the same dull grey sky. I can really see how being deprived of light depresses the mind and creates weight to the body. It will have to change eventually, just soon I hope!

I have dropped my friend at the airport at 6am this morning (it seems as if every day has started at 5am for the last week) and have come to work to make a start on the work coming out of these last few days while its quiet. I'll go home early and try to catch up on some drawing, some sleep and some solitude.

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