Online class coming soon

Thursday, October 30, 2014

How to cure my gourd?

I have had a few days without sketching in my sketchbook (yes! It does happen sometimes) and so last night I had to fix that situation….very quick rough sketch!

It is amazing that I have been back from Brazil for 6 or 7 weeks and have not opened chimarrao (mate) tea or used the gourd that was a lovely gift from Paulo on the last day of the symposium. The full story about how and why is here.


Anyway - I am not sure that my gourd is quite ready to use - does it need to be cured? The water is fizzing when I pour it into the gourd. Can someone help me?

It is rather shameful that my first cup was in a white china mug - just not right at all!

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I hope you can join me SketchingNow from November 12
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sketching Adventure: Lambton


My 'other' sketching from my 2 days in Lambton (ie. not related to my architecture sketching workshop)

Continuing on the shed theme - I sketched this delightful garage. It wasn't really turquoise more a pale green…but you know me… anything slightly near turquoise in colour is a good excuse for using Cobalt Turq Light! I like the limited palette I used here and how it is quite different from my usable blue-orange(earth orange) colour choices.


Lambton has lots of quaint cottages like these (love the car too!). It was a very hot afternoon and no shade so I couldn't find a spot which suitable to sit and sketch from. I afterwards thought that I should have attempted my super quick watercolour pencil approach standing up… but it just didn't occur to me at the time!

And of course it wouldn't be a proper sketching afternoon without a cafe visit....


Friday night I stayed at the wonderful Newcastle's B&B.


Sue brought out her teacup collection for me ....

and I enjoyed sketching the breakfast - though it was a little rushed getting to the workshop on time!

Last visit I sketched one of her everyday teacups and not sure I ever shared it here.
It is an example of watercolour wetness getting out of control. When that happens I normally just leave it to dry and let the pigment work out what it wants to do all by itself…

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I hope you can join me SketchingNow from November 12
Foundations - 12 week course. Essential Concepts for Spontaneous Sketching

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sketching Architecture Workshop in Lambton

I was away up at Newcastle over the weekend for my second workshop with Newcastle Art Society. This time it was Architecture Sketching.

There are quite a number of important principles to grasp before heading out into the complex world around us - so the morning was spent inside doing exercises from photos. It is not ideal - I always prefer sketching on location -  but it is very hard to find the suitable subjects for each exercise with space for a group to sit in the shade opposite.

Last month when I was in Lambton for my travel sketching workshop I was very pleased to find a perfect building for the main morning exercise. The MG Club building. I thought you might find it interesting to compare three versions I did of it and why I believe something special happens when you are sketching on location.

So the first one (above) is the sketch I did on location on Friday - I sketched it from the comfort of my car just because I was parked directly opposite and there was a swarm of flies in the vicinity which I didn't feel like getting in the midst of! Not only is it much more satisfying drawing from life being able to see all the details and 'feel the edges' (a reference to one of my important goals when I sketch a building) but there is a certain liveliness to the work which the other two don't have. Whilst this is a 'building portrait' I instinctively included the context - something I didn't bother with for the other workshop ones.

Second: This is a sketch that I did from a photo in preparation for the workshop - I scanned the various stages of this sketch to use as a handout. While still loose and lively it is a lot more restrained than the first one. Please note the point of this exercise is to explain ways to draw to proportion and all the features of a building accurately. It is therefore a 'front-on' elevational view.


Third: The demo I did for the class - explaining my steps. I have no qualms about admitting that doing demos during a workshop is a challenge. The talking non stop while explaining the process can interfere with your concentration on the work itself. I am also trying to do my demo as quickly as possible so that the class can start sketching. Hmm... what am I talking about? - how is that different from most other sketching outings? (ie. talking while sketching fast!)
I don't know about you, but I am often inspired to start  about 10 minutes into watching a demo… if the demo goes over 30 minutes though, I find I loose that urge - I become content just to watch and find it hard to start my own. So... I try to aim for about 15-20 minutes max.
They are never fully finished… and never perfect!


And here are the 3 versions side by side. All are very much "liz-style" but they are different aren't' they?


And here are the class efforts...aren't they great?


In the afternoon I explained perspective which we then applied by sketching a park shed. I couldn't find a more 'exciting' building that was not too complex, that was on flat ground, that had shady area opposite for 12 people. As it turned this building was just right to explain the basics and there were enough quirks to make it interesting.

Last time I taught perspective (believe it or not - November last year!) I used a gabled ended building - the hip roof needed a different approach…and has got me thinking about a new idea which I want to develop and flesh out. My approach to perspective is to understand the technical side but then find a non-technical "hands-on" way of applying it on location sketching. Rather than stressing about locating VPs - I think a VIP is more important.  I have got some new ideas to make the VIP even more useful and can't wait for a quiet moment so I can flesh it out so it is in a more teachable format (follow this link for more details of my general perspective approach).
I might not be interested to set up accurate perspective in my own sketches but I sure love teaching it and researching it.


Very impressed by the results!(sadly many people had left before we took this photo)

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I hope you can join me SketchingNow from November 12
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Sketchbook update

The other day I was doing some scanning for a few publications.  It is a lot of fun to try to work out which sketchbook a particular sketch is in (not too hard with the way I name my files on flickr and number my sketchbook).
I just had to take a photo of my overflowing shelves - I was struck with the fact that I need to make more room...but how?


Close up of my numbering system on top edge of books.
- Daily sketchbooks are numbered - up to #77(my current one)
- Trip books are separate. 50 of those I think.
BTW the first sketchbook was Jan 2007.

I didn't notice at the time but this photo includes quite a  collection of locations - Scotland(highlands), Wales, Cardiff, London, Lisbon, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Santo Domingo, Melbourne, Barcelona, UK, Penang, Singapore, Tasmania, Brazil and a Summer 'staycation' in Sydney.


What wasn't so fun about my re-visiting my sketchbooks was the 'acid free' permanent double sided tape that I used for years. Not good… (this is my Venice sketchbook from 2010)
So what do other people use to glue in collage? Either at home and a portable option since I like sticking in early and then sketching around.
Fantastic blogpost by Roz Stendhal about glue.


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I hope you can join me SketchingNow from November 12
Foundations - 12 week course. Essential Concepts for Spontaneous Sketching

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Brown Ink


I was wondering if anyone noticed my use of brown in a few days ago...
Anyway I am VERY excited that I have finally got in my hand some permanent /waterproof brown ink in a lovely shade.


I have been in touch with De Atramentis Inks in recent months, telling them how much the sketching world love permanent inks and how many of us have wanted a nice brown that was readily availability. You can read a little more about it here 


Someone of you will know that I am a bit of a brown person. I wear dark brown instead of black (though in recent years have been wearing more blue dresses due to the difficulty in finding any brown material!) Writing in brown fountain pen is something that I did a LOT late teenage/ early 20s. It was one of my distinctives at uni (I have always been a little odd).
Having a beautiful brown in my pen has special significance for me.


Anyway...more later but here are the first few spreads with the Document Brown.

Please note: It has to be Document Brown.
The archive ink- now re-names Permanent Ink is also suitable for watercolour over the top. But colours in their other ranges are not.
I am not sure of the stock in Australia - this was ordered from Goulet Pens in the States.

You might be also in Jane Blundell's review of brown inks.
And ironcially just recently another one of my local friends Wendy Shortland was raving about a nice brown ink from Noodlers Brown #41.
BTW Noodlers Polar Brown never quite hit the spot for me.


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I hope you can join me SketchingNow from November 12
Foundations - 12 week course. Essential Concepts for Spontaneous Sketching

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