Saturday, July 29, 2006


There are a couple of things in life that piss me off.

One is going shopping with other people. The second is having my weekend newspaper handed back to me in a dozen different sections all mixed up.

Today both of thoss things happened. I am sure that both elements are simply me being used to a certain way of doing things - a habit. I am fiercely independent and the older I get, the more I enjoy my own company and dislike having others intrude on my space and on my limited time. I can manage a few hours at a time but then my patience wears thin and I want out. I try to retreat gracefully, but it is never that easy without seeming impolite or antisocial. So I grit my teeth and let others envelope me in their activities and constant chatter. On the surface I make the right noise, but inside I escape to another place.

Having my newspaper intact is another habit. A paper in many sections is still a newspaper. The same information is there, I just have to hunt for it a little harder. So why does it irritate me so much? Simply because I am a creature of habit .

The painting here is one I started many years ago but didn't complete it. Its near completion but for some reason I just didn't get around to it. I always liked the painting - done in acrylics on canvas board, about 16 x 20. The boy is holding a kit - a baby rabbit and it was his prize possession. I wonder if he remembers that moment?

Technorati tags: ,
, ,

Friday, July 28, 2006


There is something about drawing eyes that I can't resist. I haven't analysed why I enjoy drawing them so much. Creating that glassy, shiny orb that reflects light and shadow,with even changing colour and reflections attracts me continually.

When I draw a person or animal, the first thing that I start with are the eyes. If I can get them right, then the rest flows from there.

Today I came across a reference that I had of a lemur. They are wonderful, peculiar animals that to me look like a cross between a monkey and a dog. Delicate faces and the most amazing eyes.

The rest is history. I started the sketch in my Moleskine and wish now that I'd done it on some different paper as I liked the eyes. I think I will draw the lemur again and this time use colour. The animal itself is black and white with the most amazing golden eyes.

Technorati tags: , , ,

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Portrait update

I have transferred the drawing that I am doing in Al Jone's portrait class and redone it on Stonehenge paper. The process using derwent drawing pencils is so much quicker, as you lay down tone and colour so much more quickly than in graphite.

The sepia-like quality of the finished portraits is very appealing and provide a warm tone and unique finish.

I will do another portrait in this medium, hopefully of my daughter. Keep watching this space!

Technorati tags: , , ,

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Perceived difficulty

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

There are many things in life that we think are too difficult to tackle and as a result we don't try them. We have the argument in our head that always talks us out of trying something that looks difficult. And in doing so, we rob ourselves of an opportunity to grow and learn and enjoy.

Drawing glass is one of those perceived difficulties.

We see all those little slivers of light and shade and we think its too complex to even try. But it isn't. We simply believe that it is without trying to disprove our own self doubt.

With many things that initially look difficult, when we break them down into smaller, more manageable pieces they become easily acheivable. The mind is a wonderful thing to use. Push it to its limits, let creativity soar, let your mind and eyes see and translate that to paper and canvas.

There are Embden geese on the farm. These are the classic geese, the 'Mother Goose' geese of fairy tales and are beautiful birds with pale blue eyes, snowy white feathers and bright orange beaks and feet. They are housed in the meadow for the summer and love the grass and sun as well as keep the horse company even if they don't enjoy the company as much as Kit does.

Finally, part of dinner tonight. Fresh tomatoes. I love these tiny sweet ones in salads. I eat them like candy, they're irresistable.

Technorati tags: , , ,

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Drawing skills. Inherited or inspired?

Mark Meyer says,
A talent or skill for drawing is not really inherited or divinely inspired; it is acquired like most other skills (driving and typing) by learning, practice, and experience.No matter what you think of your overall artistic abilities, you can learn to draw what you see and improve your drawing skills throughout your life. Once you acquire the basic techniques for drawing accurately and properly, you can use those tools creatively to develop an individual artistic vision to express or represent your unique viewof things. In reality, most any art form you may employ (painting, sculpting, installation) ultimately is based on drawing and compositional skills.

Drawing has been with us at least since early humans drew pictograms on cave walls, and remains a vital mode of artistic expression today, constantly evolving.Although we usually think of drawing as a way of portraying what we see accurately and realistically, it can certainly also depict imaginary, abstract, and emotional realms that cannot be normally “seen”, and so can range widely between the objective and subjective levels of our world-views.By learning the basic techniques of drawing, and through hard work and persistence, we can become better able to artistically explore and express how we envision things in unique ways.

I remember drawing and colouring as a favourite activity as a child. Crayons, pencils, paints were hoarded in my room and paper a prized possesion. No one in my immediate family was an artist, though my father did have some artistic talent and interest but never pursued it directly. A great aunt I am told used to draw well, but none of her drawings are still in existance that I know of and she is dead now,with family living in the USA, who I don't know very well.

Does technology weaken drawing skills?
Students are more comfortable manipulating computer graphics than doodling, drafting and drawing with pen on paper, and this has created a sharp decline in drawing skills in recent years, teachers say.

Additionally, tech-savvy students simply lack the initiative and persistence developed by drawing, resulting in uninspired work--at least work on paper.

"I see an increasing passivity on the part of students," says Marc Treib, a University of California, Berkeley architecture professor who hosted a recent conference on the state of drawing in an electronic age.

The Mechanics of Drawing looks at the technical aspect of drawing through art instruction.
A certain amount of drawing is mechanical in nature; that is, it is done more on the conscious level, and even in the left, or analytical, side of the brain. Therefore, this part is a little easier and faster to learn, because it consists of practical, more easily comprehended steps. And it involves manual dexterity, eye/hand coordination, and simple practice; and is more objective, less subjective. It comes in handy for those who are interested mainly in accurate depictions of people and objects - likeness, correct proportions, and other quantitative measurements.

The drawing here is a draft of a portrait to be completed for a class. The draft gives me a chance to experiment on inexpensive paper and get a feel for how the pencils handle and to correct mistakes and recognize the plan I need for the main drawing that I will complete on Stonehenge paper. I strongly believe that drawing skills are latent in everyone. They just need to be brought to the surface, encouraged and used constantly to be effective.

Technorat tags: , , ,

Monday, July 24, 2006


I have been doing some practice pieces with a fairly new medium - to me at least. I have used Derwent Drawing pencils previously, and have created a self portrait with them last month, but I am no master with them, that's for sure.

So when Al Jones was going to provide some help in a portrait class using Derwents, I had to join in. Over the next couple of weeks a portrait or two will evolve I hope. Meanwhile, I'll keep practicing.

Meanwhile, down on the humid days continue to sap energy and make for cranky animals. Everyone seems to be snapping at each other this evening or at other animals. Kit is pacing the fence of the field, waiting to come in for sweet feed and Angelo is vying for leadership of the geese. That bird is sooooooo vocal. He just keeps on making the same noise over and over while strutting around trying to show oneupmanship over the other male goose.

Sometimes it comes to blows, but they are shortlived and finish with Angelo running back to the female, flapping his wings and shouting about how brave he was and how he really showed the other guy who was boss. Sigh. I think Lucy, the female sighs too at this little ritual and says 'don't pay attention to your father' to the goslings.

There are a lot of birds around this summer and this morning a young woodpecker posed on the old bird feeder. It is a Northern Flicker and has just gorgeous colours. I hear them more than see them usually, drumming on trees or metal electricity transformers sometimes which I guess provide a much louder noise. One morning I was woken to one drumming on the side of the house!

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A week later

On Sundays I have been taking photos of the goslings as a record of their growth. This week is no exception and they are now 7 weeks old. Their are several differences in just a week. The stripe on their heads and down their neck has suddenly appeared as well as the growth of feathers, giving them a scruffy, ruffled appearance. Its amazing just how much they have grown in such a short time. They are rapidly catching up on the adults in size. And all on grass and weeds...well I guess I have to count the stolen strawberries, peas and green beans too that they stuff down in the field when no one is looking.

I have made a start on a coloured pencil drawing - the daunting 'multicoloured white' piece. I've put about 3 hours into it so far and its approaching the ugly stage. Its that point where minimal layers are on the paper and the true blending of colours hasn't yet occured. Its at this point that it becomes very discouraging and I have to work hard to get past that and visualize the finished product.

The other project this weekend are cat images. One in watercolour, a black cat. Black is notorious difficult to capture as the highlights are really all that you see in the animal. The other is a sketch with Derwent Drawing pencils of a grey tabby. I will redo the last one as a larger drawing as the sketch isn't quite as I want it and the measurements of the head are off a bit.

Technorati tags: , , , , ,