The End of An Era

An era is defined at Dictionary.com as:

1. a period of time marked by distinctive character, events, etc.: The use of steam for power marked the beginning of an era.
2. the period of time to which anything belongs or is to be assigned: She was born in the era of hansoms and gaslight.
3. a system of chronologic notation reckoned from a given date: The era of the Romans was based upon the time the city of Rome was founded.

… and so, according to these brief definitions, I feel I have come to the end of an era. I started working as an Artist Instructor for Paint Nite in September 2014 and have finally decided to “retire”. I’ve been thinking about quitting since last fall, as it’s a very “high energy” type of job, and I’ve been finding it more and more challenging to meet the energy requirement. And with the Pencil Art Society’s membership renewal time just around the corner, as well as the International Open Exhibition coming up this summer, I know I will be extremely busy with PAS stuff over the coming months, and so, regretfully (because I do enjoy it), I made the firm decision to retire and have officially resigned from Paint Nite. My last event was this past Sunday, and was an absolute blast! Several friends from my Book Club came out to paint and help me celebrate my retirement with a night to remember! πŸ™‚ I will miss it and it definitely feels a bit weird now, knowing that I don’t have to prepare for a PN every weekend, but I am so looking forward to having three full day weekends with hubby (who works a compressed work week), and am very happy about all the extra free time to enjoy my own pursuits! Freedom 55, here I come! πŸ˜€

Me and my "Bookies" at my last Paint Nite.

Me and my “Bookies” at my last Paint Nite. I’m the short one under the “spotlight” that turned my hair to flaming red! LOL

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Due to being too busy, as well as undriveable weather, I’ve had to skip my watercolour lessons in February. I’ll be starting up again next week and want to learn how to paint roses, as I am not very happy with my efforts.

DSC 58 -

DSC 59 – from my own assorted ref photos – watercolour in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

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I also want to start painting faces / people, so decided to experiment with this sketch but, while the pages in this sketchbook do take a decent amount of water without falling apart, it’s not actually meant for wet media and the paper instantly absorbs the colour and doesn’t allow for much manipulation afterward, so it’s difficult to get the effects I am after. Still, I want to keep using this book for now because, after using it off and on as one of my main sketchbooks for the past five years, I have very few pages left to fill before I can finally close it permanently and treat myself to something designed specifically for watercolour. πŸ™‚

DSC 59 - from imagination and my own assorted ref photos – watercolour in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

DSC 60- from imaginationΒ  – watercolour in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

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More unsatisfactory experimenting with roses.

DSC 60 - from imagination and my own assorted ref photos – watercolour in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

DSC 61 – from imagination – watercolour in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

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I was getting more than a bit fed up with the way the watercolour was behaving in this sketchbook … and was also missing my pencils … so decided to do something a bit different.

Besides taking the time to photograph my sketches and writing regular weekly blog posts about them πŸ˜€ , the hardest thing about this Daily Sketch Challenge for me has been finding things to sketch. I’ve got hundreds and hundreds of my own reference photos, but since our move last fall, it’s very uncomfortable for me to sit for any length of time at my (desktop) computer to look at them (don’t ask … it’s a very cramped space! LOL Going to be getting a laptop very soon! … but in the meantime, making do with what I have πŸ™‚Β  ). Anyway, finally I got the bright idea to put some of my photos on a flash drive … which I can stick in our DVD player so that my photos show up on the TV! Genius!! I wonder what took me so long to figure that out!! LOL It’s sheer Heaven to be able to sit comfortably on the couch and sketch from a large image, instead of perching on a very uncomfortable hard chair, while balancing my sketchbook on my knee and peering at my monitor … or putting the images on my too-small-for-old-eyes phone! So, sitting comfortably with the large reference (of my daughter) right in front of me, I enjoyed the time I spent playing with this.

“The Egg Sitter emerged from the warm darkness with a quiet smile. ‘It’s time’, she whispered.”

DSC 60 - from imagination and my own assorted ref photos – watercolour in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

DSC 62 – from imagination and my own ref photo – graphite in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

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Hubby and I visited the Granby Zoo a couple of years ago, where I took literally hundreds of photos. I must have spent at least a half hour outside the meerkat compound just watching these little guys — they’re such adorable, fascinating little creatures.

DSC 60 - from imagination and my own assorted ref photos – watercolour in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

DSC 63 – from my own assorted ref photos – graphite withΒ  watercolour in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

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A Crowned Crane with incredible plumage. My quick sketch does not do its beauty justice.

DSC 60 - from imagination and my own assorted ref photos – watercolour in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

DSC 64 – from my own assorted ref photos – graphite with watercolour in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

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Sadly, White Rhinos are a designated “Near Threatened” species, with only about 20,000 of them left in the wild. Poachers hunt them relentlessly for their horns, which sell for tens of thousands of dollars per kilogram on the black market in Asia. πŸ™

DSC 60 - from imagination and my own assorted ref photos – watercolour in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

DSC 65 – from my own assorted ref photo – graphite with watercolour in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

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This Gorilla just broke our hearts. The expression on his face was so deeply forlorn. He had his back to the glass window of his enclosure, where a bunch of kids were knocking the glass and yelling at him, trying to get him to turn and look at them. He chose to ignore them. I’m glad that he at least had that choice.

As an artist, I appreciate zoos for the opportunity they afford me to get close enough to these beautiful animals to get my own reference material … but as an animal lover … as a humanE being, it’s just so tragic to see these magnificent animals confined in such artificial surroundings like this.

DSC 60 - from imagination and my own assorted ref photos – watercolour in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

DSC 66 – from my own ref photo – graphite with watercolour in 5.5β€³ x 8β€³ discontinued Desseres brand sketchbook.

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I almost can’t believe that I have stuck with this challenge for so long and have already completed almost 70 sketches. Another month and I will have surpassed the number of sketches that I usually manage to do during an entire year! It’s admittedly difficult to fit the sketches in every single day … and often they don’t get done until just before bed … but they ARE getting done and the more I do, the more I am determined to keep the commitment I made to myself, to end up with 366 daily sketches by the end of the year!

I’ve been itching to draw more seriously lately, so was thinking that I might excuse myself from doing a sketch on the days I draw … but … every time I think of doing that, I cringe. I think, somehow, I will try to find the time for both πŸ™‚

Here’s an interesting article that’s been making the rounds on Facebook, about the benefits of sketching, whether you’re an artist or not! If you’re intrigued by the thought, why not get yourself a little sketchbook (something small enough to fit in your pocket or purse, a pencil and eraser (or just a pen if you feel brave!) and try it out for yourself! Who knows … maybe you have an artist lurking deep inside yourself just waiting for the permission to come out and play! πŸ™‚Β  9 Things That Happen When You Carry A Sketchbook With You Nonstop

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