Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What I could be wearing today

I had a quick look in Zara's at the weekend. I don't often try clothes on, unless I'm really in the mood for buying, which is rare. But I had seen this black dress with red roses in the window, and it's my kind of dress, I have to say. I picked up a few other things to try on, but bought nothing.

Quite a nice top actually, I might go back. 

Here is the dress. It is nice, an imitation of the Dolce & Gabana style of last year or the year before. But, 1: when would I be wearing a dress like that? 2: I thought it wasn't that well finished for the price (€60) - I get the feeling the long zip at the back is likely to catch as there is not enough room for it.

As you can see, it's very long - I would have to wear it with black tights and high heels. I was tempted, but it's still a no.

Airfield pond

My second sketch from the day - the pond. Which has matured nicely since it was created a few years  ago. Now you wouldn't know that that pond was actually excavated from the ground - it used to be the pigs' area, all mucky and happy!

The only thing I don't like about the pond is the banister that runs around the viewing bridge - it blocks the view and it looks, well, agricultural. But I left it out of my drawing.

Another item I left out were the ducks - two ducks appeared out of nowhere, bickered for a bit, then flew off in a flash. All too quick for me to capture them and incorporate them in the sketch. Which looks a bit empty. So I might go back and see if I can sketch the ducks and add them to  a painting. Alternatively, I could just go to St Stephen's Green and sketch the ducks there. The entrance fee to Airfield is €10, which is a bit steep just for two ducks, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Airfield sunflowers

I'm currently flip-flopping between feelings of inadequacy and feelings of elation. In other words, there are good days and bad days. Nothing wrong with my mood or my health! It's just about the painting. Some days, I feel like I will never be able to paint a good watercolour again, let alone sell it. Other days, I am happy that I am accumulating enough material in my sketchbooks (and camera) to last me a lifetime!

Go figure!

I painted this little watercolour sketch in Airfield last week. The weather was glorious when I set out, but it soon turned cooler and slightly overcast, so I didn't stay too long. But I managed a couple of sketches before I left.

Not the best composition, but I can work on that and pull it together for a proper painting.

So much to do! I can see why artists specialise in one type of painting - flowers, landscapes, people, sea, still life. My problem is that I want to do it all! So what? If that's what I want to do, why not? Even if I never sell another painting - the point of it is that I paint for my own enjoyment. If what I enjoy turns out to be good enough to sell, so be it, but thinking about selling is actually counterproductive for my confidence! These thoughts have been battling through my mind for the whole summer. Now that summer is  - nearly - over (I'm not wishing it away, I swear!), maybe I'll get back into a better routine. (End of pep talk to myself)

Monday, August 29, 2016

What I'm wearing today - 29 August 2016

Green t-shirt - can't remember where I got it, it's so long ago, but it's a nice green!
Levi's Outlet jeans
Boden platforms (again, bought many years ago, on impulse - they are actually quite cosy, but only really go with that teeshirt!)

Sketching and Painting with splashes

I came across an interesting little video recently, about painting splashes across the paper before starting your sketch.

As I'm still struggling with inspiration, this is a good way to banish the fear of the blank page!

So I picked up a photograph from an old holiday and a piece of watercolour paper. I splashed away, then did a careful drawing (I'm reading a book on Perspective right now!!)

I did two versions. The first one, with the splashes above, was too dark, and I wasn't happy with my muddy shadows.
So, I picked up another sheet of watercolour paper (it's great to have cheap watercolour paper for these trials and errors), splashed again, with less red this time, drew the same scene, trying to correct the mistakes I found from the first attempt, and then I added details and shadows with watercolour. It was a fun technique, and definitely useful for those days when you feel you will never be able to paint a decent watercolour again! A feeling I haven't been able to shake since June!!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

008 - Draw your art supplies

I extended the brief of this one to drawing a full corner of my art room.

And what is it shouting out at me? DE-CLUTTER ME! It will be another few days before I do that, as I need to keep access to the radiator clear for another few days. So that means more clutter than less for the moment. But I won't let that stop me. I am determined to keep making art, maybe not Art with a big A, but anything that entails pens and paint will do for now!

It was good fun, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.!

Friday, August 26, 2016


You can see I haven't done enough drawing through the summer! Or I've grown very old all of a sudden! With a double nose and a twisted mouth!

But that's ok, I'm getting back into it

Here are a few tips to get back into the creative flow again after the holidays.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sketches from People's Art

I brought my pocket-sized Moleskine sketchbook with me for the weekend, and a couple of pens. I didn't draw a huge amount, as there always was something to do and someone to talk to, but I did these few sketches on Sunday:

A view from my chair.

Some artists moved to my left and to my right around noon, as they were initially set up on the East side of the Green, but moved to the North side when these spots were found to be vacant.

I didn't complete this one, as a friend arrived, and the people I was sketching had moved by the time I got back to my sketchbook.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sketches in Bruges and Brussels

Life has been busy! Busy living and sketching, so no time for blogging. Hard to find the balance!

So, without further ado, here are my sketches from Bruges and Brussels in early August. All done in  a pocket-sized Moleskine book (with heavy paper, but a paper that doesn't take watercolour well, it's like it can't absorb it).

Some of the pages are coloured with Montana markers (I have four colours - I love the sky blue and the sunny yellow. The red and navy are not so easy to use in sketchbooks. I have a page painted navy and I need to dig out one of my white pens to draw something on it.). I like colouring pages first so it's not a blank page anymore, and you'd be amazed at how much of a difference it makes in terms of getting started with a drawing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Life after Life

Another great book this summer. Life after Life is a wonderful story, of life and death and life, again and again. Ursula ("Little Bear") is born in 1910, and then dies before she can even draw a breath. Then she is born again, and this time, she lives.
The strongest part of the story is set during the London blitz. And it's full of surprises.

I loved it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dublin Sketchers - Dublin Castle

Quite happy with my sketch last week at Dublin Castle with Dublin Sketchers. The Sennelier mini travel set (watercolours) gave me lovely rich colours!

And I did try to apply what I have learned from reading Understanding Perspective (The Urban Sketching Handbook)!

I also did a few quick sketches of the actors of Measure for Measure, a lesser-known Shakespeare play (well, I had never heard of it!)

People's Art

A good day yesterday at People's Art on the Green. I was happier with my setup this time, and the weather stayed dry. Plenty of chat with friends, neighbours and fellow artists!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dublin by night

Dublin looked so lovely when I got home from Belgium a couple of weeks ago!

People's Art

Yesterday morning was very wet. It wasn't looking good. But the forecast improved, and we decided to set up around 11:30. By 12, the sun was nearly shining. We only had one shower in the afternoon.
But it was a great day! While the anxiety of what the weather would do was stressful, once we got set up, it was very enjoyable. And it went in a flash.

I couldn't have done it on my own of course, so big thanks to BB, my award-winning Logistics Manager!

This morning, it was too wet to set up, and, although it is dry now, it's still very windy, and there's more rain forecast. So I think I'll stay home today, and hope that tomorrow stays dry!

Friday, August 19, 2016

People's Art

Rain Rain Rain
Wind Wind Wind
Please Please Please
Go Away

Looking South

Another drawing of a view out of the window, this time, looking South. I just used the Rotring ArtPen for this one, and created the shading by adding small amounts of water.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pour Sainte Claire!

007 - Draw a view out of a window

Mixing daily practise with exploring my materials.

I drew this with my new Rotring ArtPen - I paid about 20-25 euro for it, with two ink cartridges, so it's not an expensive pen, but there is a lovely feel to it. A bit scratchy, but I tried it on really basic paper, and it still feels lively and fun! I chose the medium nib. Maybe I should also get a fine nib?
I was told by the lady in the lovely art shop in Bruges that the ink was waterproof, but clearly something got lost in translation. That said, the colour of the black is so gorgeous that it adds something very rich when it mixes with water or watercolours.

The watercolours I added are from the mini set from Sennelier. A limited palette (eight colours, two of which are green), but as you can see here, I am not disappointed!! This was painted on Strathmore Sketch paper, not designed for water media, and the colours sing out brighter than I would have expected!

The other two pens I tried at the bottom of the page are:
  • my trusted Manuscript fountain pen - so smooth and easy to use - the ink is watersoluble as you can see. But the line glides so easily, and I like to use the ink itself for shading - just add a dab of water.
  • my lovely Sakura Pigma Micron pen - a very different feel of course, much more precise. This is not a fountain pen after all, but more a fine marker. The big advantage is that it's fully waterproof. And I used it on a flight recently and it didn't leak at all (unlike my Uniball pen), so probably would be my first choice for travelling.

Trying new watercolour paper

Memo to self: always test new paper before embarking on a project!

I didn't, of course, and ended up annoyed with myself and frustrated when masking fluid and masking tape lifted the fiber from this lovely Hahnemühle Veneto paper. Because it was 325 g/m2, I thought it would be able to take a pounding, but it is actually quite delicate.

So, better late than never - here is how this paper behaved with different techniques.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Summer Project 1 - Second attempt

I used good paper this time, but it didn't help much, as it was a new paper for me (Hahnemühle Veneto) and it didn't behave like I had expected. It is quite a heavy paper (325 g/m2) and I had expected it would be able to take quite a pummelling, but I found that it was actually quite a delicate paper - it tore when I tried to remove the masking fluid and masking tape.

On the other hand, paint lifted beautifully from it - the reeds in front of the trunk for instance were lifted with a magic eraser and the paper was not damaged at all.

I'm still not happy with the chunky feel of the paint - I am using Daniel Smith's Green Apatite Genuine Ultramarine, Quinacridone Gold and Phthalo blue. And some granulation is to be expected with those colours of course, but I "patted the cat", which is never good with watercolours. We'll have to have another go, third time lucky?

Sennelier mini watercolour set

I came across this beautiful little watercolour travel set when I was in Bruges recently. And I couldn't resist. The colours are fairly limited - only one yellow and one red, and two greens (give me Aureolin Yellow, Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna, and I can make lots of beautiful greens). But they are very vibrant - it's because of the honey, I guess (yes, they use honey in Sennelier watercolours).
I'm looking forward to trying it out on Dublin Sketchers outings!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

People's Art

Here are some of the paintings I will be showing at St Stephen's Green on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 
Wish me luck!

We'll Always Have Paris


Some will be medium size monoprints, like these:

Going Round in Circles


And some of the paintings will be quite small, like this one:

Spain for Ever

006 - Draw a stack of books - watercolour

I had enjoyed that little drawing so much that I decided to try it in watercolours. I used cheap watercolour paper (a block of 100 pages, Goldline, Watercolour Studio Pad, 200g/m2, cold pressed, about A4), but it worked out beautifully, with a Rotring ArtPen (not waterproof) and a new Sennelier travel set (isn't it so dinky?).
I used very little water, as I didn't want the pen ink to bleed all over the lovely colours. I'm delighted with the shading and the little darts of colour.

006 - Draw a stack of books

I am sticking at it - I get the feeling that this week won't be so good, but I've done quite well through the month of August so far.

I'm intent on getting to the end of this sketchbook - it's a nice size - about A4. But the paper is not very strong, so not ideal for mixed media and definitely not suitable for wet media. I used it with gouache and it was lovely for that, though.

Here I had drawn a square with a yellow Montana acrylic marker and I drew my stack of books - more or less - within that frame.

Monday, August 15, 2016

People's Art

Pray for dry weather. Or get me a Child of Prague. No rain for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, please please please.

I will be at the People's Art Exhibition on St Stephen's Green this coming weekend, and religion seems like a good bet, as the weather forecast is looking worse and worse.

And this time, I will be on my own - no classmates to chat with, no roster. Just me. And a very supportive husband, who has been promoted to Logistics Director!

This time, I will show abstract acrylics, so quite different from the watercolours I showed in May.

Wish me luck!

005 - draw a scene in a restaurant

Is it OK to cheat? Not a big cheat. Just a little one. What I have in mind is using a drawing that I did while in Bruges two weeks ago for the 101 sketches series. It wasn't intended for that purpose. But I drew it. Let's face it, I don't often draw in a restaurant here. But while on our mini-break (it sounds so Bridget Jones!), I did take my little sketchbook out of my handbag and I drew a few items on the table in front of me while waiting for our food. Service was slow. But the sushi was nice.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Summer Project 1 - first full size exploration

On cheap paper - the paint doesn't flow so well. I like how the tree worked out, but the foliage behind is too blotchy 

Bake-a-yarn: WaVeS

Bake-a-yarn: WaVeS:

It's not often I have a poem dedicated to me!
Do check out Cathy Leonard's blog Bake-a-yarn - she has some wonderful pieces there. And I'm not saying that because she is a friend!

Hope 9 & 10

And finally, a more pastoral Hope, perhaps? Where fields are green, and the wheat is growing thick.


It's a few weeks since I was at a Dublin Sketchers outing - 24 July was at the Irish Museum of Modern Art - IMMA.

It was a lovely day, with one very heavy shower that forced me to retreat from the gardens. But I managed to stay dry, and so did my watercolour paper - one of the difficulties of urban sketching in Ireland! But then again, if Shari Blaukopf can draw in Montreal in the winter, I should be able to draw in Ireland any day of the year! But I do envy Liz Steel, who lives in Sydney!

Rather than draw the beautiful building of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham that the museum is housed in, I decided to draw some modern blocks in the middle distance. Far less intimidating!

I measured the angles and spaces the best I could to draw in pencil first, then I used my Japanese watercolours to give a sense of the light in the windows.

I also drew a couple of sketches of people walking by, which is something I enjoy a lot.