Saturday, May 06, 2006


Airports and airplanes provide captive audiences for drawing adventures. I tentatively took out my Moleskine at 5:45am and began sketching people around me at the airport, waiting for a flight. The first,a group of people waiting for a flight; the second a rather round person dressed in what I can only describe as inappropriate clothing; the third, on a flight from Toronto to Regina.

I started work meetings tonight and will work tomorrow through Monday. After that its pleasure time with my daughters. A year is a while to catch up on.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006


Tomorrow I will go to Regina, Saskatchewan for business meetings. Once meetings are over, I'll spend the best part of a week with my daughters, one of whom lives in Moose Jaw. My other daughter will travel from Calgary to be there as well and I look forward to seeing them both as its been a year since I was last there.

In that time, I rediscovered drawing again and am anticipating some freedom to take my Moleskine out into the flat prairie landscape.

Blogging may be irratic over the next 10 days, but I will try to be consistant or at least will have a very long post when I return!

TOnight has been spent scurrying around getting packed, remembering what I have to take, what I msut take and squeezing in things I think I need but probably don't. Soon its off to bed as I must get up at 4am. It will be a very long day tomorrow with travel and meetings and waits in airports. Drawing will keep me busy during the wait times.

Pen and ink appeals to me lately. Its not something I have done a lot of and I find it more forgiving than I thought it would be. This is an image from the Weekly Drawing Thread at Wet Canvas. The image is from a reference photo taken in South Africa. It makes me think of dry heat and that wonderful turquoise sea that looks so inviting. It is done in my Moleskine sketchbook 8 x 5 with pen & ink and Prismacolor pencils.

In Moleskinerie, you can find a link to some amazing photos from the Maldives by Ahmed Zahid. The initial image that compells you to see more is aptly named "Propelling under iridescence of the influential weather." The photos are exquisite. You'll be packing your bag and heading there once you see them. I want to go now...

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Making it worthwhile

On days like today when my job feels like crap and I hate every moment of it; when I feel like my life is going nowhere and my art not far behind it; when I feel old and fat and tired and not in the mood to write or draw, I stumble across a comment from someone on my blog or in an email that tells me they enjoy what I'm doing and it makes the effort worthwhile.

Days like today are a challenge. People and demands pull at me from all sides and trying to fit a large load of work into a small space in preparation of some time away always brings a level of stress that always catches me offguard with its intensity and how it affects me. It leaves me drained and uncomfortable and wishing that everything tiresome in my life would disappear, leaving me to just get on with the things that I enjoy doing.

Unfortunately life is never that simplistic as an adult. I have to show all sides of myself, from worker to mother to daughter and so on. Sometimes I think I'll grab the wrong hat and provide the wrong response to the wrong person. Who will be more surprised then?

I haven't had a chance to draw anything today. Well, that's a lie, I did add more layers to a coloured pencil drawing around 5am this morning. If the computer and camera decide to cooperate I may even have an update tomorrow.

Meanwhile I will show you an image that I completed earlier this year as part of a CP class I participated in. It was a learning experience and provided its own set of challenges in what proved to be an interesting image. The result came out more like a watercolour, soft colours giving the patina of age to the Venetian scene. I secretly call it "Mother in law Door'. For those people in your life that you kindly open the door for - oops wrong door. I can think of a couple of people who would appreciate such a door about now.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Drawing from life

There are challenges associated with drawing from life, especially animals and children as they don't stay still for long enough to capture more than gestures or lines usually. So most portraits of either may be done with a combination of life and photographic aids.

As with all life drawing, it takes practice to become efficient at analysing and placing lines so that you quickly capture the movement and shape of the object. In life classes that I have participated in, we would start off with a number of very quick poses ranging from 10 seconds up to 30 seconds or a full minute, which seemed like forever after a 10 second pose! It really does teach you to see and commit to paper quickly even though there is some stress involved at the time.

The same technique works well with animals who are constantly moving. It is what I did with this drawing of my mother's cat. It was sitting on her deck in the late afternoon sun which came through the trees and slats of the railings. I started drawing the cat and had most of the basic shapes complete before she moved. I then finished the sketch from memory or imagination with the light shapes still remaining constant more or less.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Illustration Friday

Ok, I'm late. Its not Friday,it is early Monday morning, but sometimes life takes over.

I can also be forgiven for plying a little artistic license in 'under the sea' to morph to 'under the water' as these fish are Koi carp, not a saltwater fish.

A final confession, the painting was done in 1985! Older than dirt, but it still hanges in my home, having crossed an ocean since its conception. Aha! I HAVE got some sea in there!

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Rural life

There is a romantic view of rural life that is held mostly by people who don't live in the country. Its one of a bucolic setting, calm, quiet, with gentle animals from the film set of some Disney production.

Let me dispel a few myths. Yes, it can have elements of all of the above, but often it is laced with all the problems that go along with urban life, on a different scale.

Lets start with an essential - water. Simple, you just turn on a tap right? Well, yes, more or less. Our water is from a well. Beautiful, clean, sweet water. This is pumped electrically, so if there is a power interruption, there isn't any water. Then there is the fact that animals consume large amounts of water, especially horses and poultry, especially ducks and geese. In the late spring and summer its not a major problem as a hose can be run from the house to the barn, but winter brings a set of challenges - and builds muscle as you lug buckets of water from house to barn. Yes eventually a water source will be in the barn, for now - its summer ease or winter hauling.

Of course then there's the field. When there are crops in the field and its a dry spell in July or August, an irrigation system needs to be set up. In an acre field, you can't slip out with a watering or stand with a hose for hours. Also watering with a hose would severely put a strain on the house pump to the well. So its irrigation from the pond where water is fed from the pond at the edge of the property by a generator and pump through some 500 odd feet of pipeline to the fields and a form of sprinklers.

Perhaps rural life is one of the things that helped me decide on this sketch from the Weekend Drawing Event at Wet Canvas. Done in my Moleskine sketchbook 8 x 5 with with a Micron pen in black ink. Now, how much water would this bunch need....??

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