I am away at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Brazil for a few weeks!
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Thursday, June 30, 2011
A random flick through a new book(that arrived today) that I plan to read after my trip has satisfied a need to do some architectural research before having a few days in London. I have read many many books on English architecture in the past but I wanted to brush up a bit.
This is a fairly boring sketchbook page... BUT it contains a wonderful thought that will be the key to any visits to Hawksmoor churches in London (I plan to visit as many as I can - have done this before but pre-sketching days) Just to put this in context, when I went to Venice the first time I spent 3 months reading architectural history books and created my own architectural guide from the notes I took!
John Summerson was a legend - I LOVE his books. The classical Language of architecture was definitely the best book we were given to read at University. He has such a way of condensely dispersing gems left right and centre.
BTW one of the highlights of my flickr postings last year was S-ophie reading a Summerson comment on my sketch of Blenheim palace and posting the desired quote for me
Sophie wrote....the quote of Summerson you might have been looking for:
There is a double beat, then [the Doric Order] wheels round. Another double beat: it turns, enters the towers – it disappears. Then out it marches from the near side of each tower, marches forward till it is returned as a formal entry with steps inside and a flourish of arms above. (summerson, The classical Language of Architecture, 1991, pag. 71)
As I wrote at the time, you cant imagine how special it was that someone saw my note to myself, knew exactly what I meant and then via my iphone I was able to read it that evening!!! Wow!!
more trip prep total scribbles... got to regularly draw and paint people ... otherwise they have a tendency to be disasters like top right. Drawing people is ESSENTIAL at a Usk symposium... I felt so out of place last year that I couldn't confidently draw people (especially having dinner iwth other correspondents)
On the right... two architectural elements that I don't find easy to draw at balustrades and modillions. I did some review of Gerard Michels drawings and was so encouraged to discover how loose 'the legend' draws these elements. I personally am obsessed with getting the right number of modillions (more of this later if I get a chance)
Trip Prep 22 Sewing Project
I have been going on and on about my sewing project... here is a record that I did for myself of dress no. 3. The fabric is not really like this but I was experimenting with my white gel pen before and after paint. Surprise surprise... It is BROWN!!!
Btw I am testing posting to Flickr blog and Facebook in one iPhone email. So sorry about duplication if you follow more than one.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
ok... getting to some really fun stuff now... this was a useful page to do as it has forced me to find some of this stuff (my study/studio is in sewing room havoc mode at the moment..) I also filled my wonderful Visconti travelling ink pot and extra ink supply (really I do not need that much ink... the same quantity did me for 11 weeks last year... this trip is a mere 3 weeks!!! though the noodlers flexs is going through ink at an alarming rate!)
Haven't fully decided or rationalised this yet... but a few extra things have appeared from last year(such as the glycerine to keep paint moist and a palette knife to prevent drilling holes and ruining my paint brush)...but I plan to avoid having to top-up on art supplies this time.
Have fun trying to decipher my scribbles - please ask questions or compare with the complete listing last year here
2 weeks out ... Time to get the palette ready and time for the Daniel smith paints to dry.
The blank pan is the burnt sienna spot. Got to decide between quin burnt orange or quin sienna in the next few days.
If you haven't realised, I like to have a brand new kit for a trip... this year I am DETERMINED not to come home with quite so many art supplies...I guess most of you laugh at that resolution...
Crazily busy sewing some cool dresses for Lisbon. Dress no. 2 will not allow for any expansion caused by Portuguese tarts so better wear it on day 1 of the symposium!
My noodlers flex pen visits t2...
As you can see I have the blue one... would have loved a transparent one.
BTW. the ink is running out very quickly...has anyone else found that? Or am I using it too much...or both!
T2 Orange and green
Definitely haven't got the hang of the flex yet...so this was a little bit of experimentation... looks too outlined for my liking...but it is all part of the experimental process.
The toasty warm oolong was wonderful though!!!
OOPS... been slack posting to my blog... here is TP 15
A real doodle and talking to myself... I think I am trying to do too much at the moment and everything is somewhat ratty
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Trying out a few different layouts for my opening spread for each day. I want to include more collage this year... so I have an idea of adding a strip of patterned paper to mark the start of the day. (paper from a Portugal tile pattern book I got last week - want to play around with the colours and tones so I can draw over it)
My work is EXTREMELY scribbly at the moment as I am trying to do too much and yet still feel the obsession to record my daily adventures!
And if any is wondering... that is a map of Lisbon that I have superimposed my boring day over the top of. the Harris Tweed tag is from a tea cosy that I got on Lewis last year... why not?
I need a holiday to get over my trip prep!!!
ok... I am offically out of control trying to do way too much... or wanting to do everything. in the small gaps of time that I have between work during the day and evening sewing sessions I am trying to write emails, and sort some other things out that I like to do early.
I always listen to specific (new) music for each trip. This year I have some wonderful Portuguese guitar music. I also have associations from previous trips (eg. I have to listen to the Lark Ascending when I am in Edinburgh - I listened to it along with other English string music when I was reading Elizabeth Gaskells North and South a number of years ago... then in 2009 when in Edinburgh I recognised scenes and buildings from the movie so in the evenings I listened to the lark... now every visit I have to listen to it when in Edinburgh) I also listen to audio books in the plane- a Jane Austen that I can happily miss bit as I dose off is good- but which one...
Anyway, a sort of my iphone is essential and I normally leave it too late.
Trip Prep 17 - despair that I am not going to even touch the pile of 20 odd books on English architecture that I wanted to brush up on.
YES.... I know I am MAD!!!!
Friday, June 24, 2011
there is something nice and comfy about sketching the smae view over and over again... also NICE was sitting in the sun today! The middle of winter and it was 19C in the sun today at 130pm! BEAUTIFUL!!
St Thomas rest Park, Crows Nest. Sydney,
Ok... Time to spill the beans (or should that be tea?) about my destinations... So....
if anyone has any suggestions of a good tearoom at any one of these cities I would be very very happy.
I am really after a trendy (but not too bohemian or hippy) tearoom rather than a over priced snobby hotel afternoon place... Particularly interested in some good London options... Haven’t really started looking yet. Lisbon options sound good, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Cardiff are places I enjoyed on previous visits....
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Just realised that I missed posting Trip Prep 12 on my blog..... more colour playing....
Well my addiction to W&N french ultramarine and Burnt Sienna is well and truly over....
However, I can't decide on what are the best two colours to replace them - lots of options.
At the moment I am using W&N Cobalt deep blue instead of DS French Ultramarine...but I really should have tested these burnt sienna options with FUB as well...
So what colour am I taking...still not sure...
Ok... I know I am a hopeless case...not only because I am up late sketching after my mega 3 day adventure to Melbourne (very loose sketch this one!) but also because after making the decision as to which bag I was going to take...I happen to randomly stumble on another bag..and buy it. In the rating system of last week it does very well... But it is not perfect. Should I have bought it...or should I just wait.
After 3 days testing it...I thought it important to record my initial thoughts.
In general it works fairly well and I think that it will be a great work and sketching bag but I do need to test it on a all day sketching outing to properly access.
Biggest issues are the thin strap (amazing how much better a wide strap is), the fact that I have to open the main flap to access sketchbook and any pen and the fact that it is a satchel-type. I want a dressier handbag look (which can be smart casual or dressy enough for evening)
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I have just returned home a day later from a work trip to Melbourne...I now have an volcanic ash cloud tale to tell like many others. We had to drive home (10 hours in an outrageously priced uncomfortable rental car) ...Tuesday night 7pm - 12.30am and this morning 8am - 1.30pm ... and then a productive afternoon in the office!
Naturally I wanted to sketch a bit but it was a real PUSH - I was fighting off a number of headaches, generally exhausted due to not enough sleep and a touch of anxiety in anticipation of the big presentation...but most challenging(!?) was the fact that the purpose for the trip was WORK not a Liz-sketching holiday (so I couldn't just stop whenever I wanted for a few minutes to do a wee sketch!!!)
However... I got a few extremely loose scribbled lines and then tried to get the colour on later... so although not really pleased with the sketches, I am pleased that I did manage to sketch at all!
Good trip training no doubt...though I expect my up-coming trip will be a touch more relaxed! Honestly!!!! I am not planning to drive all over the countryside like I normally do!
Just for the record - I LOVE Melbourne and would be very happy if this project came off and I got to work there for a bit (guess who would spend every Saturday on the streets sketching the architecture and looking for good tearooms.... I know it is a coffee place but I am sure they would do good tea too!)
Sketching my food over the last 3-4 weeks HAS been a chore but tonight I was REALLY in the mood! Firstly, I had a NEW pen to try out. Thanks to Nina, who got us all interested in the Noodlers Flex Pen) and numerous online friends who were keeping us all informed where one could be had... I couldn't resist! Just in testing mode.
But, more importantly than yet another new art supply... I have achieved my goal of the sketching food diary. Not sure about the kg lost but I can now fit into my skinny skirts! This is VERY exciting! Now... I have to monitor the weight carefully over the next 3 weeks (oh! less than 3 weeks till I fly out ie. 3 weeks today I will be in the air, God willing) and start introducing a few carbs back into my system so I can cope with standard fare in the UK and Lisbon!
So anyway- I whole heartedly recommend you try a sketching diet yourself!!!
Friday, June 17, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
If my scribble notes don't make sense I will post a photo once the covers are completed (sadly, I got a smudge on the first cover so will have to re-print tomorrow)
Meanwhile the sewing continues on Dress 2 in anticipation of the special zip foot.
If you are interested I found a youtube of a TV ad for the Make it Easy series (from the 80s!!!) which was very important to my sewing 'career'. Seeing this ad and the pages of Volume 1 bring back SO many memories
In my formative early teenage years I started sewing. I only got $2 pocket money so I sacrificed the whole of it to purchase this series. Sadly I threw out the patterns (maybe some of the styles MIGHT come back in fashion!) but still have the index cards. The love of drawing flats and making up wardrobes from these patterns was a favourite pastime...didn't have any money left to buy any fabric!
Later in my early 20s I progressed to Burda magazines and making my own patterns. My skills are not as good as they once were (amazing the things you forget and strangley how it does start coming back to you)
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
ok... I am having fun and being a little over analytical ...but it was a very interesting exercise....
The big challenge for me is to find a bag that is LIGHTweight, practical(good pockets), neutral colour to go with everything, robust AND 'smart' - adjust the cross-body strap to over the shoulder and look nice in the evening or going to church etc. And ultimately when not travelling, I would use this bag during the week for work as well as weekend...ALL the time! And until I find the perfect bag I will continue to have fun sketching and analysing the imperfect ones that I have purchased.
Finally getting around to posting my 'working' pages containing doodles about what clothes to take. I am NOT a light packer (especially when it comes to extras like kettles, tea, hot water bottles etc) so I need some strategies for rationalising my load. These are very rough pages (and somewhat abstract in terms of the actual items of clothing I am thinking of taking), if I had a bit more time it would have been fun to do these neatly... but it is all about process not product.
I am currently sewing 2 dresses (would love to make a third as well) Now I don't need to do this BUT the summer just past I bought 5 lots of material to make dresses and didn't touch my sewing machine - so although it is now winter here in Sydney, I am catching up on my chores for summer.
The broken plastic invisible zipper foot I hope will turn out to be a blessing in disguise as I have ordered a proper Bernina foot and in the meantime have started dress no. 2.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
It is very exciting to see ones sketches in print... and MOO does such a great job! I find it hard to believe that I have given out nearly all of my original order of 50 cards. This time I ordered 250 of the GREEN 100% recycled matt cards. They are great - not as thick as the standard card but more practical for me as I do not include my mobile on my card- but hard write it on if giving it to a friend (also which mobile - if I am travelling it might be my UK number)
Anyway... very happy!
By the way- this is offically trip Prep #9. Very important to have enough cards when one travels...but how many will be enough for this years trip?
(these are a scan of the cards - shrunk to fit...I can't afford to waste 10 cards putting in my book. I intend to do a new batch of images every year or so.... so it is important to record in my sketchbook what I choose (hurriedly) to go on the back this order.)
Monday, June 13, 2011
A bit of shopping and a quick visit to T2- sitting in the dark corner and rushing the sketching. Not been at all happy with my recent T2 sketching...what is going on??? But at least I am working my way through their list of teas - probably only about 80 odd to go now!
A busy afternoon with a visit from my nephews and when they left I felt like sketching some Shelley china...but not sure why my trench is such a strange shape...
Dinner - back to sketching my food and then a disaster just when I start to really get into the groove... my plastic invisible zipper foot in pieces - maybe I should get the special Bernina foot...
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
You know, I LOVE Sydney... Hey, I think that you do indeed know that.
For the third winter in a row, there has been a light festival called Vivid where the Opera House and other buildings are lit up and all kind of interesting light sculptures are installed around the city.
The last two years I have been disappointed with what was done with the Opera House – just abstract static images that didn’t relate to the shells ....but this year.... Constantly animated sequences mapped to the structure of the shells and the tiling patterns. Very very clever. I sat and watched for an hour as I wanted to sketch a sequence that I saw in the first 3 minutes (ie. 6:03pm) – it wasn’t repeated till 6.55pm. After half hour of waiting I started sketching and then got a bit flustered/frustrated in waiting/sketching/worrying that I would miss it etc. Night sketching is a challenge - especially in winter - ok... Sydney winter is not that cold !!
Still... It was lots of fun – and by watching for so long I really appreciated the patterns I suspect most people didn’t realise that most of the patterns were generated from the geometry of the building – as I said – VERY clever!)
I am going to do a few more pages in my book...but this is hot off the press. More tomorrow....
I made the decision last night to move my food diary to my daily sketchbook and incorporate it in with other things in my life. So today at lunchtime I tried Murano again...(obviously a different photo reference – I think that I am a lot better with individual buildings rather than scenes...) Hoping to do some adventurous sketching tonight- stay tuned.....
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Here is a quick sketch of a view in Murano that I really struggled with at the time. I was sitting in the hot sun and looking into it. I was SO unhappy with the painting of my sketch that I wanted to try again. Fell into the same trap tonight but it was SO good to do a complex scene - something I haven't done for a while. Yes, I feel the need of somehow trying to get into the mood for a sketching trip...
I think that the over saturation in this sketch sums up my life at the moment... way too much happening!
Sorry for the big dump tonight... I feel like I haven't been doing much sketching lately - what??? It is just that I am doing too many different things.
BTW Trip Prep 5... has 3 parts to it and part 3 is still wip.
I remember Wil Freeborn saying he used Cobalt Blue for the sky in Scotland. I thought that a little strange as 'the sky' is more Cerulean - little realsing how differnt the colour is in Australia. So I only really use Coblat when I am overseas....
so big question can cobalt DEEP blue (which I am totally in love with!!!) do just as well...it is a very different colour - much cooler than Cobalt Blue.
Can you tell I LOVE doing pages like this one???
So the only question mark is Quin Burnt Scarlet...
SO my question for you is...
What special colour of yours am I mising??
I do realise that I am asking for trouble - I might not be quite strong enough in resisting the temptation of trying another new paint colour!! But then again maybe I am.....
I have been VERY busy this week doing all kinds of things including (most of the time) sketching everything I eat as part of the Liz Steel special sketching diet... there is no doubt that as tedious as I am finding it, IT DOES WORK!!! I have lost close to 2kg in 2 weeks.
I might start sketching my food in my daily sketchbook as it is feeling somewhat neglected lately.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
If you haven't already realized I hope to attend the 2nd International Urban Sketchers symposium in Lisbon in July. As such I am testing out the colours in my palette over the next few weeks to see if there are any adjustments. Thanks to Robyn, I have an unexpected colour begging to be included (Cobalt Deep Blue) but I think that I can accommodate it.See previous tests here
The other important factor is to do a bit of research as to the colours expected at my destinations and preempt how I might mix them - I know many of you do this too. So the Red roofs of Lisbon are a major consideration. Although the light and colour on location will be different from a photo that I have printed out, it is good to know that there are a range of colours that I can mix from what I plan to have in my palette. I rarely use Daniel Smith Quin Burnt Scarlet...but I think it wise to retain it for this trip.
For those of you who are not following the Symposium blog... this is what I recently wrote concerning my general trip preparation....
Right at the moment I am in the middle of some serious research as I know nothing about Portugal and Lisbon and it is important for me to have a foundation before I go. This includes:
- reading a history of the city,
- listening to some Portuguese music to get in the mood... enjoying some Portuguese guitar at the moment
- sampling the best Portuguese tarts that Sydney can make so that I can compare with the real thing
- possibly looking at a phrase book - I have absolutely no language skills so the fact that I have a book at all is an achievement!
- trying to find an architectural history of Portugal (doesn’t seem to be a book in existence written in English)
- searching the net for the all important reviews of good tearooms - apparently the English custom of afternoon tea is supposedly linked back to Catherine of Braganza from Lisbon who became Queen of England!!
Friday, June 3, 2011
I can't help it... I seem to have the urge for late night sketching on Friday night. SO even though I really NEED to do something about at least 6 of the pans in my tin that I have hit the bottom... I decide to sketch them instead. I will need to start the new book next week.
Interesting that this book that will probably take me up to mid July is no. 40!
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
I ordered the first copies for myself last night... if they are all ok I will go public with the book.
The book contains a summary of our adventures with my sketchbook -- both random things of everyday life and a very brief summary of my big trip.
All in all I CAN'T believe all that I got up to last year!!!
Ok - now that my blurb book is ALMOST finished - I am going to get back to a disciplined life and food diary is going into serious mode.
I have just thought of a art-goal as well for this exercise.....
to see if I can get vivid colour with a waterbrush. I got a new large size pentel bruch on Saturday. I know most of you all prefer niji or kuretake but kuretake are so hard to get water flowing through them. The pentel one are very wet but I think the trick is to make sure they are loaded with enough pigment - juicy washes are needed.
Also, I really want to exercise FAST (ie ultra fast) sketching.
My eating habits on this diet will be extremely boring and repetitive...so I might not post every day...or maybe it is a challenge for me to make my sketches interesting and full of variety.
Not exactly sure what form this food diary is going to take...but I do want it to be the focus of my sketching for a week or so.
The goal 3kg weight loss in 6 weeks.
Aagh! It is a bit scary to put that in writing for all the world to see!!!
I plan to have a little break from my daily sketchbook (will still use it if I am out and about etc) so that I add a little more than just food to this one.
So far today, I have been more happy with the use of a waterbrush than I have been in a while....this is good because they are handy...
Also, I am not going to be at all precious about how lose or messy or scrappy these sketches are... so will just see where I end up.
What a fun journey - who cares if I am a bit hungry when I go to bed at night?
Another day... not quite in the swing of the drawing part of this diet but so far the sketching in order to do the right thing foodwise is working.
My food is very plain and boring....