As I slowly get back into a drawing routine, I'm sticking to forgiving subjects. A friend sent me an article about fresh herbs they saw in The Guardian at the weekend. At the bottom of the article was a lovely little illustration of parsley over a simple watercolour background. That was enough to inspire me. I picked up my sketchpad and a pen and sat outside, enjoying the warm weather while I drew a section of parsley from our herb pot (a gift from the said friend). It will take a while before I'm happy with my sketches, so I'll just have to keep doing the physio exercises!
Four weeks without drawing - I don't know how I haven't gone insane. Well, maybe I have? And it's definitely hit my confidence - to think that four weeks ago, I was drawing mugs that looked like mugs. I'm almost afraid to try, now.
So, from that perspective, a broken foot is much better than a broken arm.
I would never have imagined that having a shoulder immobilised for a few weeks would have such dire consequences on basic mobility. And it's not like the exercises hurt hurt, but it's not pleasant, having to push to the point where it starts to hurt. Each time I feel like I'm making a little bit of progress, I have to push myself beyond that point, and then it hurts. I don't like pain. And I can't drive, I can't do yoga, I can't go to the gym. It will be a while before I have the strength in my arms and shoulders for chaturanga. And I will have to put my dream of playing the cello on hold for a few months.
OK - rant over. I'll just have to keep on pushing, with the physio, so I can get my mobility and strength back!
As I couldn't find any hot-press watercolour paper in town, I bought a pad of smooth bristol paper. I think it will be gorgeous for line work. Probably not for watercolours, though, as evidenced by these two sorry apples (the one on the right looks more like a kumquat, don't you think?). I must try it for an urban sketch maybe, with a very light wash.
These ladies are fitting right in. I think I will be using this silhouette again in my art journals. I've photocopied the original to a reduced size, which I think will work better on the page, less towering maybe. And you can see to the side of the first silhouette some of my handwriting with my new Calligraphy pen - well, I'm an artist in training!
May is the month of textures in Documented Life Project world. I skipped the last two weeks - using fabric, and sewing. Just not my thing. And I don't have a sewing machine - although they were on offer in Lidl and I was tempted. But where would I store it? And what would I actually do with it? I think I have enough arts & crafts projects on the go without introducing another medium. And I will be skipping the current week too - cheesecloth really does nothing for me.
So I was glad to see that Week 20 was about texture paste. Great excuse to try out the set I bought in Lidl last week (lovely boxes of acrylic media, and also canvases and paper)
I created a couple more Gelli Babies to complement the pages I had chosen for this challenge. (Who needs expensive stencils when you can cut your own from magazines!) But the pages were still a bit bare. Rubber stamps, letter stickers and tags came to the rescue! All set for journaling now! And by the way, did I mention the calligraphy set I got from Evans? It's called the Calligraphy Compendium, a fancy name for a few pens and ink cartridges, a booklet and paper. But it's amazing how good my handwriting looks when I use it! And it wasn't expensive at all. One of those small investments that actually can help make a page so much more polished! But you'll have to wait to see it - I crossed out the journaling part here!
You thought I had given up on the Mugged series, didn't you? But I've got plenty more mugs to present to you. And of course, I've been peppering them in my other drawings and watercolours without actually naming them as such!
You probably don't want to see another view of my little watercolours. But this shot includes the set I used. This tiny little travel set was a gift I got from two of my nieces, and I'm very fond of it. Two yellows, two reds, two blues, two greens, ochre, two browns, and a white (which I probably won't use much). This is as much as you'd ever need. Sometimes, I find that having so few colours is wonderfully liberating - no agonising over subtle colour mixing, and it's so transportable. I had it with me last year in London and earlier this year in the US, and I carried it with me everywhere and ended up using it quite a bit.
My mugs are getting better, don't you think? A little bit too square at the bottom, but the top and the handle are not bad at all, if I may say so myself. But the watercolour pad I was using was a bit on the small size, and I ran out of space. Something that happens to me a lot. I tend to jump in without thinking about the overall composition. Note to self - next time, buy a large watercolour sketchbook.
Or plan ahead - maybe a little thumbnail would be all I need. But it feels silly, doing a thumbnail sketch in preparation for a sketch. And when will I actually start painting an actual painting?
This is an idea I found on the Art4All website from the Sketchbook Skool group - if you run out of ideas about what to draw, go through old family photos. This lady here is my maternal grand-mother. As always, I struggle with faces. And then I struggle with bad drawings. A drawing like this can send me in a funk. And I might not touch a pencil for months again. But let's not overdramatise. Let's move on. And the rest of her isn't bad. That's what Picasa's crop tool is for!
I was clearly feeling inspired at the weekend. Actually, I had a good bit of time on my hands, and I used it productively, for a change.
Animals - a daunting subject, particularly if you're trying to draw from life (see unfinished drawing to the left - he got up and didn't settle back the same way again. Now of course, if I was organised, I would have that sketchbook downstairs near his bed, and I would patiently wait for the opportunity to complete my work.). But I had been looking at an artist's drawings and paintings of her dog, and I thought I would have a go. So I picked up my pen, waited for our big boy to settle on his favourite seat, and I did a contour drawing. It wasn't so scary, now was it? Encouraged by my drawing, I mixed my watercolours and covered the broad areas, trying to avoid going into too much detail, as that paper doesn't take water too well.
Talking about paper quality, I was looking for a watercolour sketchbook in town, but couldn't find what I wanted - went to two shops and neither had any sketchbooks with hot press paper. Normally I like rough watercolour paper, or cold press, as I prefer to work with the texture of the paper. But this time, I wanted smooth hot press paper for pen and watercolour work, for my pen to glide on the surface. Well, it will just have to wait for my next online order. I have plenty other art supplies to keep me amused in the meantime. And surely our big boy will go back to his bed and pose for me again!