Thursday, 24 April 2014

Sketchbook Skool 2

My second lesson in Sketchbook Skool challenged us to draw outdoors in public. Well, I did sketch outdoors when the weather was a bit warmer but it was in my side yard. I'm taking baby steps. I'm very self-conscious when I draw in public. I have done it several times in the past but I have to do it more in order to get over my fear. I have no problem drawing in public while I'm on vacation and I think that's because I know I'll never meet any of the people there ever again so I don't care what they think. But here at home where I know lots of people, I'm terrified that I won't deliver a fantastic drawing. I put way too much pressure on myself. Since the weather has become colder again, I have remained inside but I hope to get out there and be vulnerable. Here's my drawing of the side of my house.

The second thing we were taught was to draw with coloured pencils. I used to use coloured pencils a lot when I was younger and so I thought I could handle this one. I didn't do too bad. However, sometimes I think the subject matter has a lot to do with the outcome of the drawing. If I'm working on something I enjoy, the drawing will be better. Below is my sketch.

We had some really nice Spring days and then snow. So I sketched the flowers in my house and a snow laden tree that I could see from my kitchen window.

Our third lesson introduced watercolour and challenged us to use watercolour washes on our drawings. I took a walk on a nice day this week and sketched by the Humber River near my home(there was no one around). Then I took it home and painted it.

Below is my attempt to draw in public again but I cheated and sat in my car in the parking lot. Like I said, small steps. :)

Thursday, 17 April 2014


Graffito- an inscription or drawing made on a public surface (as a wall) --The Merriam Webster Dictionary

Graffiti is writing or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface, often in a public place.[1] Graffiti ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and it has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire.[2] -- Wikipedia

Graffiti is controversial. Many people have a negative attitude toward graffiti due to the illegal nature of defacing public or private spaces. Graffiti gives the feeling that the area it is in, is a poor area of a city. Gangs use graffiti to mark territory or to serve to indicate some gang related activity. Some graffiti are simply "tags" which are the most common type of graffiti. It is basically the artist's signature. Some graffiti is vulgar, some is ugly, but some is very creative and beautiful. Today graffiti is a rapidly developing art form.
I don't condone vandalism or gangs but graffiti interests me as an art form. There are many talented graffiti artists around the world. I have tried to draw letters in a graffiti style and I find it difficult. I really like the colours that are used and the shapes. Graffiti has a lot of energy and pizzazz! You can't miss it when you see it.

Above are a couple of examples of "Tags" that I photographed on a walk along the Humber River. These were done on the underside of the bridges.

This is graffiti on Plexi-glass highway barriers in The Netherlands.

This is graffiti found in different areas of Toronto. There are places in Toronto where graffiti has been commissioned and allowed. If you have ever watched Rick Mercer, he does his rant while walking through back allies plastered with graffiti.

What is your opinion of graffiti? Post your comment.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sketchbook Skool

I had my first Sketchbook Skool klass last Friday. We were challenged to do sketches without using a pencil and eraser--just a pen or marker or dip pen. Well, I knew it wasn't going to go well. I always use a pencil first to sketch and then I go in with a felt tipped pen. We were encouraged not to worry about what it looked like; whether it was good or bad, in perspective, or not. Just draw what you see, we were told and love what you draw, mistakes and all.

In my first sketch I used the wrong pens. They weren't waterproof so when I added watercolour paint later, the ink ran. However, I don't mind the look of runny ink. The objects in the sketch are a bit wonky but that too gives it a bit of character. Since it was my first sketch, I didn't worry too much about it. I hope to improve as I go.

My second sketch was done just with a micron pen and line. There is basically no shading, although I did do some cross hatching to give some depth.

The third sketch was done with a dip pen which is a pen nib placed in a holder and dipped into permanent ink. I really liked using the dip pen because I could get very thin lines and also thick lines with it.

Second lesson tomorrow, check back next week for new sketches.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my small art quilt, Algonquin, was not chosen for the Parks Challenge. Disappointment again. Oh, well, I will keep doing what I love despite the rejection.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Online Inspiration

I've blogged before about Danny Gregory and Every Day Matters and some of the books he's put out about journaling and sketching. Well, now he has collaborated with a Dutch sketcher named Koosje Koene to develop an online sketching course. The first semester is a 6 week course taught by 6 different artists and will give us 6 different perspectives on sketching. We will learn how they sketch, where they sketch, what materials they use and we'll get assignments to do and be able to post our assignments online to receive critiques on them by teachers and students alike. They just started a Facebook page and its amazing to see how many people are interested in sketching and they are from all over the world! It is a great way to get in touch with others who like to sketch and exchange experiences and notes on sketching.

The course starts on Friday, April 4,14 and I joined with the hopes of connecting with other artists but also to help me become more relaxed about sketching in public and also building up my sketching skills. The fact that I will be getting feedback on my work is also a draw (no pun intended). It is open to everyone so if you are interested check out I'll be posting some of my sketches here in my blog so check back in a week.

I've also submitted my entry to Quilting Arts Magazine for another of their challenges. The theme is Art in the Park and as you might remember, I made an 8``X 8`` quilt about an Algonquin Canoe Trip. I will know on April 9th if it was accepted.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Artful Dutch Things

I haven't accomplished much art this week but I thought I'd share some photos of some Dutch artful things that I came across while in the Netherlands.

                     In Holland they have painted cows just like we have painted moose here in Canada.

We visited the large flower exhibit at the Keukenhof near Amsterdam and saw wonderful blooms. These are amaryllis blooms.

These are old smashed up bikes painted red and hung from the ceiling. I really don't know why they call this art.

This is a small watercolour painting I did of the landscape in Holland.

Some more Keukenhof displays above and below are some wonderful textured walls we found in the old city of Elburg.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Inspiration found in Gelderland, the Netherlands

I'm blogging from the Netherlands this week and am enjoying wonderful Spring weather here. What makes it even more wonderful is that I've heard they're expecting 10 cm of snow tonight back home!
While I'm here I'm always looking for inspiration. My daughter and I were out walking one evening and the sunset was just beautiful. The sky silhouetted the trees. I tried to sketch the scene when we returned to our room with my limited art supplies.

The top is a sketch I did while sitting in front of our bed and breakfast lodging. The lower photo is of my meagre art materials and the small painting I did of the sunset.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Rethinking and Revising

Do you remember my post about the Travel Journal I was making of my trip to Paris with my sister? That trip happened almost a year ago and I'm still not finished the journal.

I had bought a French hardcover book at a second hand book store in Paris to use for this journal. I brought it home and ripped some pages out of it to make room for the things I would add to the book. I gessoed the remaining pages so I could draw and paint on them and started to glue things onto the pages.

Well, the further I got, and because I was handling the book a lot, it began to fall apart. I didn't like the look of it at all. So I ripped all the remaining pages out of it, including my finished pages so that I was left with only the cover.

I decided to use the original cover because I like the look of it and I made new pages out of card stock (which will be sturdier than the book pages) and I gessoed and painted them for backgrounds to my journal items. I rescued some of my drawings and parts of the pages I had already completed and started over on my new pages.

I painted the new pages with acrylic paints by dropping dots
of paint in various spots on the page and then ran an old
plastic gift card across the page mixing the paint and creating
these marbled designs..

The Eiffel Tower was drawn on one of the old pages of the
original book so the words typed in the background are all
in French. I think it's an interesting touch.
I'm putting in all the pictures and paraphernalia first and then going in later to add some details of what we did, how we felt, things I want to remember.
When all the pages are done, I'll sew them into the cover and finally be done the journal.