Oh, how ready I am for a brand new year! Not that the old one was bad!! LOL . . . but I have had my fill of it and am definitely ready to move on! 🙂 I always love the beginning of every year, with all its many opportunities for new beginnings, fresh starts, freedoms and unforeseen possibilities! I have a feeling that 2017 will be an exciting year, with lots of fascinating experiences and growth-promoting adventures for me!
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I mentioned in my last blog that hubby and I would be vacationing in Spain for a month. I’ve hesitated to share much about our trip or my excitement over it on Facebook, because I am always a bit concerned about making anyone feel badly / depressed / envious . . . and besides, I am a fairly private person and don’t usually like sharing too many details of my private life on FB . . . but here on my blog (which so few people read! LOL ), I think it’s safe to admit . . . I am SO excited and cannot wait!! 😀
The Alhambra in Granada, Spain
I’ve never been to Europe and, other than our week at a cottage last year and the odd day or weekend getaway over the years, hubby and I haven’t traveled very much, so when this opportunity came up for us, we decided we could afford it and we well and truly deserve it . . . and so, we are heading off to sunny Andalucia for almost the entire month of February!! We will be meeting up with another couple and will be touring the country by rented car and staying in Cadiz, Seville, Cordoba and Marbella, with day trips to Jerez, Granada, Ronda, Malaga, Gibraltar and possibly even Portugal if our schedule allows.
Map of Andalucia
I am looking so forward to seeing the breathtaking landscapes and all the incredible architecture there and, because this is supposed to be an art blog post about my 2017 intentions, I intend to keep a sketchbook journal of every place we go. I really, really hope I will be able to keep up with it! My plan is to try to fill a two page spread with as many little sketches as I can while we’re out and about through the day, then to journal around the sketches once we’re settled in to relax at night . . . so I am keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t be too awe-struck during the day or too pooped in the evening to do so! I follow a lot of urban sketchers and so enjoy all their sketches of the places they visit, and would just love to have a similar chronicle for myself of my Spain adventure.
The Sketch Kit I put together for my trip. Includes graphite pencils, pens, watercolour paints, watercolour pencils, coloured pencils, and water brushes. I doubt very much that I will use it all, but would rather have it and not need it, than not have it and want it.
I don’t know how my internet access will be while there, but if it’s good, I also intend to post some of our trip photos to Instagram (which I will share to FB), and perhaps my sketch journal pages as I complete them as well.
I asked for (and received) for Christmas a new, big purse that fits my entire Sketch Kit as well as a 5×8 sketchbook, so I am able to keep everything with me on my travels. I only wish I could fit Flirt inside too! Thankfully, she will be well taken care of while we’re gone 🙂
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As for my other 2017 intentions, I have quite a few this year . . . many of them related to art! These past couple of years have been so very busy and artistically dry for me that I feel a real urge to make up for lost time and I intend to feed my drawing addiction with a vengeance this year! LOL
Graphite on gesso’d masonite board.
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My first love always has been and remains sketching. I hope to satisfy that itch by sketching in Spain, and though I won’t commit to another Daily Sketch Challenge, I plan to do a lot of sketching throughout the year. For Christmas, I asked for (and received) a membership to the Canadian Museum of Nature. I just love this museum (possibly because it is where I met hubby! hehe) . . . they have so many wonderful exhibits — dinosaurs, mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, etc. — and since I live only several blocks away, I intend to fill a sketchbook this year with many of the museum’s exhibits. I also intend to take part in a lot more Ottawa Urban Sketchers outings this year than I managed to get to last year.
A sketch I did at the Museum last year.
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Along with sketching, I really love doing serious drawings, mainly portraits. I’m also very interested in life drawing, and so, I intend to continue taking drawing classes with Sarah a little later this year to increase my confidence and my skill level. Hopefully I will be able to fit in a couple of the long pose life drawing practice sessions she offers as well.
Portrait of actress Gene Tierney, graphite and charcoal.
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Though I know my “drawing doldrums” over the past couple of years have stemmed primarily from lack of time and energy, I suspect that my lack of focused subject matter (aka a “niche”) has also played a role. Though I love drawing people, unfortunately, unless you do portrait commissions (which I dislike intensely!!), drawings of people just don’t sell very well. After all, would YOU want a grey-toned portrait of a stranger’s face hanging on your wall?? No, me neither! LOL And so, since most of my drawings are of faces (mainly my daughter’s), I haven’t sold many drawings over the years . . . and honestly, I’d really like to change that this year! And with this thought in mind, I am feeling excited to say that I think I may have finally found my “niche”!
Sketched study of crow in preparation for serious drawing.
I love animals, and over the last year I have become extremely interested in birds. So much so, that I asked for (and received) a pair of binoculars for Christmas (LOL . . . yes, it was a great Christmas! 😀 ) and I plan to join the Ottawa Field Naturalists Club when I get back from my trip. I’d really like to merge my new bird watching hobby with my art and I intend to do a series of bird drawings this year. I’m hoping to do a series of twelve — one for each month of the year! I already have my January bird ref, and hope I can get a good shot of a European bird while we’re in Spain for my February bird. I’ve decided to keep these drawings fairly small (under 16″ x 20″) with the hope that they can remain affordable and will perhaps make their way from my drawing board to their forever homes. I haven’t yet decided, so it’s not really an intention, but I am considering perhaps having a solo show next year if I can complete enough drawings. I’ve also been thinking very much about donating my time to the Wild Bird Care Centre after my return from Spain, which would not only allow me to contribute to a cause I care a lot about, but would give me access to some pretty great photo ops!! hehe
Playing Coy, graphite on paper.
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Due in almost equal measure to lack of time and lack of desire, I’ve spent very little time on Facebook this past year. I don’t miss it and don’t see that changing for the foreseeable future, but I do intend to become more active on Instagram. I’ve said this before and it never really stuck, so hopefully this time will be the charm. Same thing for blogging. I plan to start blogging again more regularly.
Angry Bird, graphite on paper.
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On a more personal front, every year I choose a word to guide me through the coming year (or rather, during meditation, the word chooses me 🙂 ). This year, for the first time, two words chose me. The first word that whispered in my mind was “Healing”, which I thought was just soooo appropriate, as I am still having some stomach pain issues. But then a second word whispered insistently at me…”Release” . . . which I also felt was very appropriate. So, I have a feeling it’s going to be an extraordinary, healing year, full of release for me!! 😉
My White Stone, with Healing written on one side and Release on the other.
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Have you set any New Year Resolutions or Intentions for yourself, personal or creative? If so, I’d love to hear what they are and wish you all the best with them! 🙂
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Life has been full to overflowing for me these past many months, so much so that it’s left me almost breathless. But with the warmth of Christmas fading and the end of the year staring me hard in the face, I feel the need to make space to catch my breath and recap here some of what’s been going on in my world over the last little while.
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My last blog entry explained that I was taking a bit of a break from blogging to allow myself the time to get my entry completed for the PAS show in October. Happily, after some last minute change in plans and the ensuing panic that caused, I did manage to finish a drawing that I was pleased with. It wasn’t the drawing I’d intended to do, as I just couldn’t manage to get together with my model/daughter for the references I wanted, and so, instead, I used a ref I already had. I’m so very humbled and grateful that my work was accepted, and was exhibited alongside so many stunning pieces at the 2nd Pencil Art Society International Open Juried Exhibition!
Rapt – the one and only serious drawing I completed in 2016.
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Working behind the scenes for the PAS show really kept me hopping for much of the months of August, September and into October!! From creating guides for shipping instructions and for out of town visitors, to creating the exhibition website, to hiring a photographer and musician for the reception and awards ceremony, to selecting and purchasing trophies/medals, to contacting the media with press releases and distributing posters, to notifying award winners, to creating and emailing the meeting agenda, to providing security for the venue, to responding to exhibitors’ questions, to processing memberships, etc, etc, etc ….. well ….. let’s just say there was not a whole lot of time left over for me! LOL Though I was very pleased and proud of the work the PAS Board put in to ensure a spectacular show, admittedly, it was a lot of extremely time-consuming work and was quite stressful, and so I was really happy when it was finally all over! LOL
My Pencil Art Society Co-Founders, Erica, Alexandra and me, cutting the celebration cake to open the Artists’ Reception.
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Somehow, I managed to keep up with my daily sketches right through August! I am so proud of myself for sticking with them so diligently! Though I simply didn’t have the time (or energy) to keep up with photographing them, much less posting them on Instagram or Facebook, it’s now such a pleasure to flip through my fully completed sketchbook and see something on every single page! I completely filled my sketchbook on August 31, but then decided to give myself a break because of how busy I was getting ready for the PAS show, and so I discontinued my daily sketch challenge. Though I’d hoped and planned to do a full year of sketches, I am nevertheless very pleased and proud that I completed a full 8 months worth — a grand total of 247 sketches!! It was a really enjoyable and definitely a challenging project (time-wise) and I’m so glad I did it!
DSC 187 – from imagination – Colerase coloured pencil in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
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I might have been able to power through with my daily sketches until the end of September . . . except for the fact that we moved on September 1! It was a very unexpected, last minute (literally!) decision. We had just moved in September 2015 from a 3 story, 3 bedroom home with my own art studio + fireplace + garage + yard in the suburbs … to a teeny, tiny bachelor apartment right in the heart of downtown Ottawa! We’d always wanted to try the urban lifestyle, but not while we had kids at home, as we wanted to raise the kids in the suburbs . . . so the move was an experiment — not only in urban living, but also in a much more minimalist lifestyle, and was, admittedly, an experiment I wasn’t at all sure would be successful! LOL But, as it turned out, we absolutely loved (and still love) our new urban, minimalist lifestyle, enough so that we think we may never move to the country! LOL Anyway, almost exactly a year to the day that we’d moved into our tiny bachelor pad, we saw the guy moving out of the one bedroom end unit apartment literally right next door to ours . . . and right then and there we decided that it might be nice to have a slightly larger space (mostly because we really missed entertaining, which we love to do) . . . and so we moved into the vacated apartment the very next day! This was right during the time I had a lot of stuff going on for tha PAS show, so needless to say, my hands were pretty full in September and into the first half of October! LOL
Sooo nice to have the room in our new place to be able to have 12 of my Bookies (my Book Club ladies hehe) over for a Christmas Tea.
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Since I have never had a formal art education, and have only ever taken three drawing workshops in my life, I’ve been wanting to take formal drawing classes forEVER, but for one (usually fear-based) reason or another, I’ve just never followed through. All my life I’ve told myself, “I really wanna do this!” or “I’m really gonna do that!” . . . and I’ve almost always let fear hold me back! 🙁 “I’m not healthy enough!” . . . “I’m not wealthy enough!” . . . “I’m not talented enough!: . . . “I’m not smart enough!” . . . “I’m not old enough!” . . . “I’m not young enough!” It always came down to . . . . . . “I’m not enough!!!” But, over the course of these past couple of years I have come to realize . . . I AM enough!! Just as I am!! 🙂 And, a little less exciting realization has been that time is slowly but surely running out!!! LOL If I really want to do something, I need to do it NOW! I need to face my fears of not being enough, to believe in myself, to KNOW that I am, indeed, enough. It’s past time that I truly understand that Life wants me to participate, and not just sit on the sidelines in admiration of everyone else who has the courage to follow their dreams!!
DSC 223 – from imagination – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
And so, for that reason, I screwed up my courage and took an Intro to Portraiture course with the very talented Sarah Marie Lacy in October. I had really wanted to take the Life Drawing course she was offering, but unfortunately, I was taking a Spanish class with Hubby (which also required a lot of courage! LOL) on the same night the Life Drawing class was offered. However, the portraiture class was extremely helpful and I’m very pleased that I took it. I’m planning to take the Life Drawing and other classes offered by Sarah next year and am still feeling beyond excited to finally be following this particular dream! 🙂
Graphite drawing, done from a live model over the course of six weeks (I didn’t have quite enough time to complete). Though the likeness isn’t perfect, I was very pleased with my results.
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Aside from the fact that my year was SO busy, it really was a wonderful year…but was marred somewhat by the fact that the stomach pain I thought I had finally “cured” with probiotics in late 2015, returned to plague me with a vengeance in March. After almost daily pain again for months, way too many trips to different doctors, all kinds of bloodwork, several ultrasounds, a stress test to rule out heart problems and two MRIs, it was FINALLY diagnosed as gallstones!!!!! I had originally TOLD them it was gallstones back in 2014 when the pain first started (because I have had them before so I recognized the pain!), but nothing was showing up on any of my tests (and doctors, being doctors, like to make you think you really don’t know your own body as well as you think you do and/or must be imagining things!) UGH! Anyway, I finally, thankfully, had the procedure to remove several gallstones from my biliary duct in October. (Yes, October was an extremely full month!! LOL) Needless to say, that was a relief!!
These two little 5″x7″ Mixed Media works both sold at my local art society’s Holiday Mix show earlier in December.
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Other than my daily sketches and the drawing I completed for the PAS show, the drawing I did in the portraiture class I took, and a few very small mixed media works I did over the past couple of months, 2016 was another extremely dry artistic year for me. I simply had too much else on my plate to find the time, energy or frankly, the inclination, to draw. I miss drawing though, very much, and am looking forward to spending a lot more time at my drawing board over the coming year.
I started this in October…and it’s still sitting incomplete on my drawing board. Hoping to finish it soon!
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Ohh!! And on top of all that . . . I have spent quite a bit of time since August arranging everything for Hubby and I to go to Spain for a whole month in 2017!! 😀 But more about that next time! 🙂
To close, I want to wish us all a new year that is blessed with perfect wholeness, health, security and safety, a great abundance of creativity, prosperity and success, much beauty, harmony and joy, and especially a wealth of love and a sense of deep, abiding peace. Happy New Year 🙂
The Christmas Hares – 5″ x 7″ Mixed Media
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I’ve been so busy these past couple of weeks, that the time has just flashed past . . . and once again I am falling behind in my posting here.
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DSC 140 – from imagination – graphite in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
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As the secretary for the Pencil Art Society, a lot of my time this month has been taken up by managing the membership, which comes up for renewal on June 1.
DSC 141 – from my own ref – graphite in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
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Usually once the membership drive is over every year, my time is pretty much my own again, but this year the 2016 PAS International Open Juried Exhibition closes on June 30 . . . and Yikes!! I haven’t even started a drawing to submit yet!!!
DSC 142 – from a stock ref – graphite in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
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I finally came up with an idea of what I want to draw to submit for the show, and was supposed to meet with my model/daughter last week to get my ref photos . . . but her schedule has been even crazier than mine and she had to cancel at the last minute. So we’re supposed to meet tonight instead. Am keeping everything I have that is crossable, crossed, that I get the shots I need, as she is going out of town very soon and won’t have time for a redo.
DSC 143 – from my own ref – watersoluble graphite in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
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Hubby and I decided to take advantage of the long holiday weekend here last week to steal some time for ourselves and get away to visit friends out of town, in London and Sarnia. We left early on the Friday evening, and because we didn’t want to do the almost 8 hour drive from Ottawa to London in one shot, we stopped overnight at the charming 1840s MacKechnie House Bed & Breakfast in Cobourg. We had stopped very briefly in Cobourg for an hour or so when on our way back from a trip to Toronto that we’d taken just before we got married, and it was such a lovely place that we’d always really wanted to go back . . . so some 35ish years later, we finally did! 😀
The sunset we witnessed before we arrived at the B&B was so spectacular that I just had to paint it before I went to sleep that night.
DSC 144 – from my own ref – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
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The owner of the B&B is an art lover and had a beautiful collection of eclectic pieces, but my favourite was in the dining room where we had breakfast. On the end wall, at the head of the table, were three huge graphite drawings, which had been mounted on wood panels. The owner told us that a man who’d lost both his sons in the (first or second? can’t remember now) world war had commissioned an artist to do the drawings as patterns for a stained glass window that he would have created to honour the memory of his sons — who are represented on each side by St. Michael and St. George, with the Christ in the centre, representing their sacrifice. It’s hard to tell from my crummy photo, but the drawings are highly detailed and just took my breath away! What an absolute treat it was to see them! Unfortunately they weren’t signed and the owner didn’t know who the artist was.
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After breakfast we checked out and drove down to the St. Lawrence, where we strolled along the rocky shore for a bit, before I sat for a while to sketch. I’d discovered this thin, pointed piece of charred wood that someone had obviously used for a beach fire, and couldn’t resist using it for an experimental sketch.
The piece of burnt wood / charcoal I found on the beach.
DSC 145 – from life – burnt wood/charcoal in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
I followed my not so successful experiment up with a watercolour sketch of the same scene.
DSC 146 – from life – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
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Finally we said goodbye to Cobourg and arrived in London for a much too short, but sweet visit with my very dear artist friend and PAS Director, Darlene Jordan Pfaff. After a lovely supper and reluctant goodbyes, we completed our road trip up to Sarnia to visit with my other dear artist friend and PAS member, Manon Adams. We spent such a fun, relaxing couple of days together, and it was over far too soon.
DSC 147 – from my own ref – graphite in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
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On the way home to Ottawa, we stopped to stay overnight at a Comfort Inn in Gananoque. After dinner we strolled down to sit by the water and I managed to get in this little sketch as the sun was just starting to go down.
DSC 148 – from life – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
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Despite how busy I’ve been, and consequently, how difficult it is sometimes to fit my Daily Sketch Challenge in, I am admittedly so proud of myself for not having yet missed a day! I really doubted I would be able to stick with it . . . and soooo often I have been tempted to give it up, as it can really be hard to fit them in when I am busy. I contemplated stopping them now, because if I have any hope at all of finishing something for the upcoming PAS show deadline, I know I’m going to have to devote every spare moment I have to completing a “serious” drawing . . . but, I must confess, at this point I think I have become somewhat addicted to my daily sketches and I just don’t want to give them up! LOL
However, as a compromise, for the next little while, at least until I can HOPEFULLY finish something to submit to the PAS show, I think I won’t be blogging. Instead, I will try as much as possible (but no promises!) to post my sketches on Instagram (and will share them to Facebook). I have actually come to really look forward to my weekly-ish blog posts and have gotten fairly good at posting pretty regularly, so am not really pleased at the thought of getting out of that habit . . . but it’s just so time-consuming to photograph everything with a decent camera and then blog about it. So, with all I have on my plate right now, I am going to be cutting myself some slack and taking a little hiatus from blogging for the next month while I focus my time on “drawing seriously”! LOL See you back here in a month! 🙂
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Yesterday was my 35th wedding anniversary! 🙂 I guess in today’s world, Hubby and I are a bit of a rarity. My best girlfriend (who was also my maid of honour — and has been married as many years as me) teased me about my 35 years of wedded “bliss”! We had a pretty good
eye roll chuckle over that one! For those not yet married, just a heads up: marriage is anything BUT bliss! LOL At least, my marriage certainly has not been what I would ever have called “blissful”! It’s been one growth-inspiring challenge after another . . . challenges that have taken a fair share of serious hard work , teeth-gritting determination, indulgent blind-eye-turning, along with plenty of mutual tolerance, acceptance, patience, understanding, trust, forgiveness, respect, laughter and a deep, abiding love to overcome. No, I definitely would not call my marriage “blissful” . . . but I certainly do think of it as a joy and a blessing, and am so very grateful for the partner I share my life with 🙂
That was then . . . this is now.
Anyway . . . that’s my excuse for being a day late with my weekly sketch post . . . because I spent yesterday in wedded “bliss” with hubby (who is, thankfully, mostly recovered from his kidney infection)! 😀 So, on to my drawings from last week . . .
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No idea where this came from . . . but it was fun to draw, and coming up with a haiku to fit was also fun.
DSC 133 – from imagination – graphite in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
observe us curiously.
They find us so strange!
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I don’t know why I persist in trying to do roses from my imagination instead of using a reference! LOL
DSC 134 – from imagination – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
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A couple of weeks ago, Hubby discovered a beautiful patch of woodlands secreted in the heart of the city. Known as Mud Lake, the area is home to hundreds of species of wildlife and birds, and is a bird watcher’s paradise.
Sleepy little Screech Owl – photo © Vee Robillard, used with permission.
We went for a walk around Mud Lake one early morning and were lucky enough to see this sleepy little screech owl hidden up high in a tree. He was barely visible in his hidey-hole! We also saw a huge wild tom turkey! I’m sure he’ll end up in my sketchbook some day.
DSC 135 – from a photo by hubby – graphite in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
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On another day, we took the dog for a walk down by the nearby river and got to see so many fuzzy new goslings watched over by their very protective parents.
I was lucky enough to find a picnic table to settle myself down comfortably to sketch as the sun went down over the water.
We stayed long enough to see the spectacular sunset. My pale little watercolour doesn’t come close to capturing the stunning colours we witnessed that evening.
DSC 136 – from life – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
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This was a bit of an experiment using my Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground for the white areas in this sketch. It’s difficult to see in the photo, but the ground gives a lovely raised texture.
DSC 137 – from imagination – watercolour and white watercolour ground in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
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More watercolour experimentation.
DSC 138 – from imagination – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
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And my final sketch from the past week is probably my fave, a crow, from one of the photos I took while at Mud Lake.
DSC 139 – from my own ref – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
Crow sits in the sun
beautiful shades of night
in bright light of day
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I will very likely be late next week with my blog post, as Hubby and I are going out of town this coming weekend to visit friends and likely won’t be back til next Tuesday. It’s still been quite chilly here in Ottawa, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will be much warmer by the time we’re back. Have a wonderful, creative week! 🙂
It’s been another super busy week, but again somehow I’ve managed to keep up with my daily sketching, and am even on time with my Monday blog post for a change! Yay!
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As I mentioned in my last post, I was down to the last two pages of my Strathmore Visual Journal, so decided to finish it off with two little watercolour pieces done from photos I’d snapped on my visit to the cemetery last week. I like the paper in this little journal, but I really dislike the spiral binding, because it’s bulky and tends to get caught on things (or, since I carry it in my purse, maybe I should say that things get caught in it!). So, I’d decided long before I finished it, that I won’t buy any more spiral bound sketchbooks.
DSC 126 – from my own refs – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
I still get too excited by the simple pleasure of being able to close a sketchbook for the final time, label it with the date and stick it on my shelf with my few other completed sketchbooks. I’ve finished so few over my life that it’s really a thrill to have completely filled my third sketchbook in just four short months! 🙂
DSC 127 – from my own refs – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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Though I still have a few other sketchbooks to fill, I have none that are small enough to fit in my purse and that are also good for both pencil and watercolour, so I wanted to get something that would accommodate both needs. After a bit of research, I finally decided to try the Stillman and Birn Alpha series sketchbook. Designed primarily for pencil media and light washes, a lot of artists nevertheless use them for heavier applications of water media. Unfortunately, my local art supply store doesn’t carry them, so I had to order online from Curry’s. Imagine my delight to discover that Curry’s also carries the Strathmore Tan-Toned sketchbook I have come to like so much — in a size small enough to fit in my purse!!! LOL I ordered two of each sketchbook, so I should be set for a while! 🙂
New sketchbooks from Curry’s.
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An artist friend of mine has started a Haiku Project, in which she takes a daily photo and writes haiku to it. I have enough on my plate with my daily sketch challenge and don’t want to commit myself to anything else right now, but because I used to really enjoy writing haiku, I thought I might also write some to go with my sketches every now and again 🙂 I filled the first page of my new SB sketchbook with a drawing based on a photo taken by hubby of a little chickadee that was actually perched in his hand! It was fun trying to come up with the words to fit. I am definitely rusty when it comes to haiku!
DSC 128 – from a photo by hubby and imagination – graphite in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.
chickadee in tree
dangling starry lantern —
beacon or warning?
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Hubby got suddenly and unexpectedly sick with a very high fever this week, so I took him in to emergency on Thursday . . . where we spent 12 hours 🙁 I’m so very grateful for Canada’s free medical system . . . but could definitely do without the horrible wait times. Ah well. I’d brought my sketch stuff with me, knowing I would have plenty of time to sketch while we waited, but I ended up too worried and distracted to get anything done. At long last, after blood work, xrays, IV fluids and IV antibiotics, they sent us home with a tentative diagnosis of a kidney infection. I was too tired to do anything too fancy in my sketchbook that evening, so just did a little very wet watercolour experiment to test out my new sketchbook paper. I must say, I am VERY please with this paper! It works wonderfully for pencil and, though it does buckle a bit for watercolour, it’s very strong and doesn’t come close to tearing, not even when very wet!
DSC 129 – inspired by something I saw on Instagram, as well as from imagination – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series Sketchbook.
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Definitely enjoy how this paper works with pencil. It reminds me a lot of the paper in my old discontinued Deserres sketchbook, except it’s whiter and a bit smoother.
DSC 130 – from imagination – graphite in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series Sketchbook.
“Smell me,” Flower said.
Little mouse’s whiskers twitched —
Breath of sweet perfume.
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Over the past several months I’ve been watching 5 years worth of the old fantasy series, Merlin, on Netflix. I really enjoy the twist on the usual King Arthur story line. It’s been too long since I did any 5 minute movie/TV sketching, so decided to do a few scenes from Merlin while I watched it. I almost always do these scenes in pen, then add the watercolour (or not) at a later time.
DSC 131 – 5 minute sketches from paused TV series scenes – micron pen in 8.5″ x 11″ unknown brand sketchbook.
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More experimenting with watercolour — this time I used the watercolour over graphite to depict this little Nuthatch that hubby captured with his new camera while out exploring some nearby woods last weekend. Am very pleased with the results. (ooops!! Only noticed once I’d uploaded the photo that my count is off . . . this sketch should be 132-366 . . . I forgot I’d sketched the night before in a different sketchbook.)
DSC 132 – from a photo by hubby – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series Sketchbook.
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Despite the disruption and worry this week with hubby being so sick, I have so much to be thankful for. Instead of going out for Mother’s Day dinner with the family as had been planned, hubby didn’t feel good enough to make that effort, so my daughter had us and my son over for a delicious chicken dinner with sweet potatoes and salad and my son provided a decadent chocolate caramel cake. I’ve been (mostly) on a gluten-free menu for a while now, but allowed myself the sweet treat . . . after all, it was Mother’s Day! 😀 And the best Mother’s Day gift of all — though a day late — hubby’s fever seems to finally be under control and he’s feeling a bit better than he’s been since last week 🙂 It truly is a wonderful life! 🙂
Mother’s Day blessings from my kids — a dozen beautiful roses, a colouring book, a novel and the best personalized card EVAH from my son! LOL
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Hi again. To those of you who have been following my sketch posts and encouraging me with your comments, either here or on Facebook, thank you!! Knowing that even just a few people actually take the time to read what I write here and/or enjoy my sketches enough to comment is very encouraging to me, so really, my sincere thanks! 🙂
This past week has been a super busy, but a really fun and wonderful week! Between running errands, hosting my book club meeting, attending my local art society’s Open Studio and then closing the week with a 2 day personal growth workshop, I’m not sure how I managed to keep up with my daily sketching, but I did . . . and this post now catches me up to date, so hopefully I won’t fall behind in blogging again.
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In this sketch, I wanted to try and capture an elderly look . . . but I think it doesn’t work so well when you don’t use a reference photo! LOL
DSC 119 – from imagination – graphite and white charcoal in 7.75″ x 9.75″ Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook.
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In this sketch I was trying to get a translucent effect with the veil, but again, without a ref photo, it really didn’t work so well. And her eyes! UGH! LOL
DSC 120 – from imagination – graphite and white charcoal in 7.75″ x 9.75″ Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook.
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This was a little better, using a photo of my daughter as ref.
DSC 121 – from my own ref – graphite and white charcoal in 7.75″ x 9.75″ Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook.
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I happened to be in the area that day, so decided to take a little detour to the old Notre Dame cemetery, which is where most of my relatives are buried. Being old and Catholic, the cemetery has a lot of religious statuary. It’s also got a lot of squirrels and crows and very quiet lanes lined with really beautiful old trees.
A tree-lined lane in one of the less lonely parts of the cemetery.
I really don’t know why, but despite the somewhat neglected and desolate feel to it, I never get a sense of creepiness from this cemetery, and it has long been one of my very favourite places to visit and just spend quiet time sketching. After a quick “hello” to my Mom and Dad, I parked myself in front of this statue (I literally parked the car in front of it, as it was a bit too chilly to sketch outside that day), and played with my watercolours. It was hard to resist the urge to overwork her, but I think I managed . . . and I ended up very pleased with my results. 🙂
DSC 122 – from life – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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I used one of the photos I snapped of one of the tree-lined lanes as a ref for my sketch the following day. I went a bit crazy snapping photos of the statuary, so I’m sure lots of stone angels will be popping up in my future sketches. 😀
DSC 123 – from my own ref – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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It was an absolutely gorgeous, sunny and fairly warm day on Saturday, but I was inside most of the day attending a workshop hosted by Unity Spiritual Centre Ottawa and given by Martha Creek, called “Loving What Is”, based on The Work, by Byron Katie. In a nutshell, the workshop teaches that “Pain is inevitable . . . but suffering is optional!” Such a simple truth! It was really an amazing, fun, and thought-provoking workshop that I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend!! Definitely worth spending the beautiful day inside for!
Me and my sweet little joy angel, Flirt.
That same day, after supper, it was still so beautiful out that hubby and I took Flirt for a walk down by the river, where I sat for a little bit to sketch a man who was fishing from the shore.
DSC 124 – from life – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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On Sunday, the local Ottawa Urban Sketchers group that I belong to attended the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra Open Dress Rehearsal, where they had the opportunity to sketch the conductor and musicians as they rehearsed. I’d really hoped to make it, but as it turned out, part 2 of my workshop was continued on Sunday, so I wasn’t able to go. I look very forward though to attending the next time! So, instead of the musicians I’d hoped to sketch live yesterday, I used the photos I’d taken of the crows I saw at the cemetery for these little watercolour sketches. They were very fun and relaxing to do and I was super pleased with how they turned out.
DSC 125 – from my own refs – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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I’m almost done my Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal — only two more pages to fill! So I will be talking about my new sketchbooks in my next blog post, (hopefully) next Monday. Have a beautiful week! 🙂
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Wow! I really don’t know how time slips away from me like it does! It seems like I just posted yesterday . . . yet here it is, over a week later! So, without any further time wasting, here are my sketches up til last weekend!
I’ve really been in the mood to do faces lately, so there are a few of them in this latest batch of sketches. I am still determined to get a sketch in every single day, but my time (or energy) is sometimes scarce, so I often find myself just doing something from my imagination so that I don’t have to spend time looking through references. This is also why many of the sketches end up being incomplete.
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This first sketch is a perfect example of one that ended up incomplete. Spent a little bit of time working the shadows on one side of her face, but was tired that evening so decided to leave the other side of her face rather ghostly LOL
DSC 109 – from imagination – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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LOL I’m not exactly sure where this one came from, but she was a lot of fun to work on! 🙂
DSC 110 – from imagination – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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Here’s another one that was a lot of fun to work on . . . and that has left some ideas dancing in my head.
DSC 111 – from imagination – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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It was a gorgeous, sunny and warmish day that Tuesday, so I decided to take the dog for a walk and then meet hubby after he got off work. I waited in a local park for him, and while Flirt soaked up the sun and watched the people passing by, I dug my sketchbook and paints out of my purse and got in a very rough sketch of the beautiful cathedral across from the park. As you can see, architecture is NOT exactly my forté! 🙁
DSC 112 – from life – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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At long last, after using it off and on since 2011, I closed my little Moleskine sketchbook on this final sketch. Felt so good to finally lay this sketchbook to rest! LOL
DSC 113 – from imagination – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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I have no idea what this is, so don’t ask! LOL Was just in the mood to play with my spirograph set and ended up with this bizarro face.
DSC 114 – from imagination – graphite and white charcoal in 7.75″ x 9.75″ Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook.
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I still really enjoy working on this tan-toned paper. If only this sketchbook was small enough to carry with me! So sad that it doesn’t fit inside my purse. 🙁
DSC 115 – from imagination – graphite and white charcoal in 7.75″ x 9.75″ Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook
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Since I started this sketch challenge in January, I’ve developed the habit of always carrying one of my sketchbooks with me in my purse . . . but now that my little Moleskine is finished, I have only one sketchbook left that is small enough to carry with me — my little Strathmore watercolour jounal.
DSC 116 – from life – watersoluble graphite in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
The 51st World Wide Sketchcrawl was held on Saturday, April 23 and Ottawa Sketchers turned out to sketch the beautiful Westboro area of the city. I had a lot going on that day so could only get out for a little over an hour in the afternoon, but my artist friend, Kathy, also came out to sketch, and hubby amused himself snapping pics with his new camera. I only managed to get two small sketches done, the one above, of an old woman relaxing in the bright sun under the spreading branches of a bare crab apple tree, and the little statue below.
Enjoying the 51st World Wide Sketchcrawl with my best friend and my hubby.
DSC 117 – from life – watersoluble graphite in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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This was a very fast scribble. Spent just enough time to be able to say I sketched something that day!
DSC 118 – from imagination – white charcoal in 7.75″ x 9.75″ Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook.
That catches me up to last weekend. I will post another blog post on Monday for this past week’s sketches, which will catch me up again completely. I think I may start to post more on Instagram (with a share to Facebook), just to prove that I really am sketching every day, but just don’t have the time to blog about it every week! LOL Have a wonderful weekend . . . and see you again in a few days! 🙂
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At long last Spring has crawled sleepily from hibernation, donned her sunniest frock, smiled with warmth and shone radiantly upon us! Hopefully, she’ll get braver over the next couple of weeks and bless us with more beautifully warm days. 🙂
It’s been so nice outside this past week, that I’ve not been able to force myself to spend much time fiddling on the computer, so once again I am behind on posting my sketches 🙁 I have a feeling it will only get worse as the weather gets warmer. Ah well.
Finally warm enough to eat out on our balcony again! YAY!
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Just before the weather suddenly changed for the better, I was starting to feel that winter might never loosen her grip, and this little watercolour was an attempt to capture something positive about the lingering cold.
DSC 102 – from imagination – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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I’ve been enjoying spending more time with my pencils for much of the past little while and have been practicing faces. I am so very fortunate to have so many photos of my family, and especially of my daughter, to use as references. For sketching, I use these photos for very basic poses and ideas, but almost always use my imagination to change the features — unless I am trying to actually get a likeness, which I don’t usually bother with for sketches.
This was from a photo snapped on my phone of my 4 year old granddaughter with her mouth WIDE open to show me she had nothing in it! LOL I couldn’t resist demonizing her just a bit! 😛
DSC 103 – from my own ref and imagination – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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From a photo of my beautiful daughter. I turned her into a dryad.
DSC 104 – from my own ref and imagination – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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More faces . . .
DSC 105 – from my own ref and imagination – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
DSC 106 – from my own ref and imagination – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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This is watercolour with ink done on a little square of canvas board! I first “painted” the canvas with white Daniel Smith watercolour ground. The WC ground makes any surface accept watercolour! It’s very cool! I am currently awaiting some transparent ground, which is on back order at my art supply store. I really want to try watercolour on a beautifully grained unstained/unpainted wood panel.
DSC 107 – copy of an old ink drawing of mine – watercolour and micron pen on white Daniel Smith watercolor ground on a 4″ x 4″ canvas board.
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Another tiny watercolour, this one without any ink.
DSC 108 – from imagination – watercolour on white Daniel Smith watercolor ground on a 4″ x 4″ canvas board.
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And finally I decided to work on a drawing that I had barely started some time back. Many, many years ago, hubby managed to capture (on a film camera, not digital) this wonderful underwater shot (through a clear-sided pool) of a polar bear diving into the water at the Toronto zoo. I’ve wanted to draw it for years, but that white fur has been intimidating me and every time I start to work on it I chicken out and put it away again. Maybe this time, I will complete it. 🙂
From my own/hubby’s ref – graphite on 5″ x 7″ Strathmore Bristol Smooth paper.
Will try to have my sketches from the last week up in the next few days. 🙂
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During each of the past two years, I managed to complete 80 some sketches each year … but this year, we’re barely a quarter of the way through 2016 and I’ve already completed 100 sketches!! Wow! I must admit, I am pretty happy that I’ve been able to stick with this challenge so far! At the same time, I am not so pleased about the fact that we are already in April and I’ve not worked on a single serious drawing yet this year! Yikes! I am so tired of this slump I’m in! 🙁 Still, I am very happy that my sketching habit is helping to prod my imagination a bit and some ideas are starting to percolate. I’ve got something sort of vague in mind that I might try to develop and start (and hopefully) finish in time for the upcoming PAS show deadline. The clock is ticking and I am definitely starting to feel the pressure!
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Here are my sketches from last week 🙂
I really enjoyed doing this one of my daughter drinking from a bottle of beer. The perspective was a huge challenge. I am considering doing this one as a serious drawing.
DSC 94 – from my own ref – graphite and white charcoal in 7.75″ x 9.75″ Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook.
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This little wooden mannikin sits on my drawing lamp above my drawing table. I snapped a quick photo of him on my phone, then drew him using the photo for the line drawing. I did the shading from life.
DSC 95 – from ref & life – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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Referenced this from a bad phone photo of my son, in which the lower half of his face was blocked by my granddaughter’s head … LOL Despite part of his face missing, I managed a decent likeness, so was quite pleased with this one.
DSC 96 – from my own ref – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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Playing with watercolour and trying out 300 lb paper! Love it! (oops, just noticed I uploaded the image before I rotated it! LOL)
DSC 97 – from imagination – watercolour on 5″ x 5″ scrap 300 lb cold press wc paper.
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I’ve not had nearly as many watercolour lessons as I would have liked this winter due to the poor weather/driving conditions, but finally managed to get there last week and we did a realistic rose. I think I need a lot more practice to achieve the realism I am after!
DSC 98 – from my own ref – watercolour on scrap 140 lb cold press wc paper.
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Very quick sketch referenced from a photo of hubby relaxing in the shade during our vacation last fall.
DSC 99 – from my own ref – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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I was very happy with the way the sky turned out in this little sketch.
DSC 100 – from imagination – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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Loosely referenced from another bad phone photo, this one of my granddaughter.
DSC 101 – from my own ref – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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That catches me up to the end of last week. I’m still having trouble adjusting the colours on this laptop, which is bugging me. Will have to try and spend some time to figure it out. Be back in a few days with this week’s sketches! 🙂
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Believe it or not, I am STILL finding / making / stealing the time to sketch every single day….but, as you can see, I have gotten a little behind on posting them here to my blog. Life does tend to happen and often interferes with even my best intentions, so I fell behind. It was inevitable that I would fall behind sooner or later. This isn’t likely the last time it will happen, I’m sure 🙂
It’s been a super busy few weeks for me. As the Secretary (aka membership manager) for the Pencil Art Society, I have been hyper aware that the clock is ticking and membership renewals are due in June. Since 2013, I have been keeping track of the memberships manually — which means that every time someone joins PAS or renews their membership, I enter or update their information by hand into our Member Register spreadsheet. However, we’ve really grown over the past couple of years, and at over 250 names to keep track of now, we (the Board) feel it has finally become necessary to use a membership software program to help us manage things more efficiently and effectively.
As it turns out, implementing this new software is a bit easier said than done! LOL Long story short, a lot of my time this past month has been spent
gnashing my teeth and yanking out my hair trying to get our chosen platform to work the way I want and need it to, all the while battling an ornery, obstinate and cranky computer that chugs along in its own sweet time. Finally I hubby decided that I would be much more pleasant to live with would get a lot more accomplished in a lot less time if we replaced our sluggish 10 year old desktop with a shiny new laptop. And so, we finally did … and after an entire week of backing everything up, installing programs, transferring files, setting up multiple emails, and familiarizing myself with windows 10, I am finally back to my usual non-teeth-gnashing, non-hair-yanking, joy-to-live-with self (just ask hubby!)! 😛
And so, with tardiness excuses out of the way, here are the last two weeks of March’s sketches.
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Because I have been so busy, most of the sketches during this time period were done pretty quickly, without a lot of attention to detail.
DSC 78 – from my own ref and imagination – coloured pencil and white charcoal in 7.75″ x 9.75″ Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook.
DSC 79 – from imagination – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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I spent a bit more time on this one, just exploring some thoughts about “connection”. This is a theme I feel very drawn to explore more seriously in future.
DSC 80 – from imagination – graphite 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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Next to no time was spent on this, perhaps 4 minutes. Just enough time to say I got my sketch in that day! Though I’d say this is more a doodle than a sketch! LOL
DSC 81 – from imagination – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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Finally a day with enough time to enjoy the creative process a bit more. Don’t really know where I was going with this, just playing really … and curious to see what incorporating Spirograph designs into a face would turn out like. I just love the idea and plan to explore it more.
DSC 82 – from imagination – graphite and white charcoal in 7.75″ x 9.75″ Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook.
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Watercolour poppies … a very relaxing sketch and so much fun!
DSC 83 – from imagination – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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LOL I don’t know fox anatomy very well, so probably should have used a ref for this, but was too lazy to look for one.
DSC 84 – from imagination – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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Another quick little watercolour experiment.
DSC 85 – from imagination – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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Spent considerably more time on this and really enjoyed it.
DSC 86 – from imagination – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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Another one that I spent more time on. I am really in love with this paper. Want to see if I can get it in a larger format, or possibly try some other tan toned papers.
DSC 87 – from my own ref and imagination – graphite and white charcoal in 7.75″ x 9.75″ Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook.
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Another very fast little 3 or 4 minute doodle.
DSC 88 – from imagination – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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I am very close to finishing my little Moleskine sketchbook … yay! I love completing sketchbooks! There’s just such a sense of accomplishment when I am able to close the binding for a final time on the very last sketch on the very last page! I have a couple of other Moleskines, but in the larger size, which is a bit inconvenient to carry around. And, to be perfectly honest, I am not fussy about this paper. It’s wonderful for ink … and is very nice for CP too … but it’s just a bit too slick for my liking for graphite. I like smooth paper for graphite, but this is almost a plate finish (well, not really, but it’s verrrrry smooth!) and I just don’t much like the way the graphite works on it. I’ve also been getting an urge to experiment with less smooth paper for graphite, perhaps even cold-pressed watercolour paper, and might explore this more in future.
DSC 89 – from imagination – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
DSC 90 – from imagination – graphite in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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I’ve drawn something similar to this little watercolour sketch a few other times, once as a serious coloured pencil drawing and a couple of times in graphite, but I have never been happy with the drawings . They’ve never turned out like I envision the image in my mind. I guess that’s why I keep attempting this little scene. It still isn’t what I am visioning in my head … and the colours are not at all what I was after … though they’re not so vivid in real life.
I am having quite some trouble adjusting colour in my images with this new laptop. I had a seriously good (and relatively new) monitor for my desktop that showed colours pretty much exactly as they are in life, but I am finding colours on this laptop a bit washed out, so I adjust them, but then they end up too vivid. Arrgghh! It’s driving me crazy! (yes, I keep telling myself to “Breeeeeeeeeathe!” Sometimes it works…other times, not so much! LOL) Anyway, I’m sure it will take some time getting used to … and in the meantime, please excuse if my images look a bit too contrasty or not contrasty enough. Will hopefully figure it all out soon! 🙂
DSC 91 – from imagination – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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Ugh! Don’t even ask what this was supposed to be! LOL
DSC 92 – from imagination – watersoluble graphite and coloured pencil in 5″ x 8″ Moleskine sketchbook.
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This one was really kind of cool to work on and I spent quite a bit of time on it. The whole thing was very experimental. Wanted to play with smoke/fog, which didn’t turn out quite as smokey as I was going for, but I’m still happy with it. I wanted a very kind of grungy appearance for the smoke stacks, so worked graphite over a glaze of greyish green watercolour. I was very pleased with how they ended up.
DSC 93 – from imagination – watercolour and in 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Visual Journal.
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That’s it for now. I have another bunch of sketches from this first week of April that I haven’t had the time to photograph yet, but will try to catch up and get them posted by the end of the weekend … before I sink myself back into figuring out the PAS membership stuff again next week 🙂