I am away at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Brazil for a few weeks!
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Saturday, March 31, 2012
Something completely different... inspired by Kate Johnson's use of a large flat brush in her Strathmore class. This was a LOT of fun! (A great glen way way up north in Scotland... from a photo- obviously- a wonderful reminder of an amazing day with my sister and brother in law)
120331 Alishan Oolong instead of the Kokoda Trail to Rivendell, a photo by borromini bear on Flickr.
A headache this morning prevented me from going to our annual church picnic at Brays Bay - I was planning to walk the Kokoda Memorial Trail to visit and sketch Rivendell - doesn't that sound exotic!? Instead I enjoyed my special high mountain tea from Taiwan - Alishan light roast oolong. It still amazes me every time I drink it that those small hand rolled balls of tea expand to half a tea bush (my sketch of the tea is life size)
if I used the time I spend thinking about sewing, in actually sewing I might achieve something... as for sketching what I am thinking about! Crazy!
Scribbles from my 500 London Building book (which shamefully crops the tops of buildings!) - colour added Saturday morning.
As you can see I am doing things I don't feel as comfortable with in these exercises...yes, I stress about perfect perspective too!
Thursday, March 29, 2012
My second attempt to sketch this buidling might be wonky and out of proportion BUT I did get the overall configuration and that syncopation right this time!
Hopefully you can read my notes
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
best way to test your paints is to find some objects and go for it- this is exactly what I did tonight.
Need to do some more testing as I was experimenting various mixes on this page.
As you can see I rounded up some usual suspects to draw (but no tea cup?! what restraint!)
Monday, March 26, 2012
120320 Radcliffe Camera-12 years later and still wrong, a photo by borromini bear on Flickr.
On the right a sketch I did last week ( hardly concentrating on it) which I realised was incorrect later in the week. I did some research on the building (including my own photo album with extensive sketches and notes and quotes from my visit to Oxford in 2000) and realised that the last time I drew it I got it wrong as well.
Stay tuned for how and why it was wrong.... (if you are interested that is... Of course ‘crazy Liz’ gets very excited about things like this and raided my library to look up every reference I could find on this building – about 8 books!)
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Guess where? But I am NOT going to sketch that building again!!! (rash statement!)
Sometimes a little sketch is the perfect thing to do on a Friday evening before going home after a long hard week of work .
There are numerous things that I would like to change about this sketch but the process of sketching it is the most important thing... a much needed winding down!
Pity that the paper in my sketchbook (150gsm cartridge) makes a wash near impossible - the sky was cloudless blue this evening!
Once again, it seems impossible for me to visit Milsons Point without sneaking an opera house sketch in... this was the view I had in my side mirror when I was about to drive off...of course I stopped the car and sketched it!
Sketches from a quiet Saturday...
Real stuff and imagination
A very quick and distracted sketch of a real construction in the shed by a 4 year old boy this morning. He certainly doesn't need expensive plastic toys - a few timber pieces and a hammer and a HUGE imagination keeps him happy for hours!
Art supplies and detour on the way home
Really would prefer to use full pans and mix more colours (rather than convenience colours) so I am reducing number of paints from 20 to 12... lets see how I go. I go through half pans too quickly and thinking that drilling holes in the paint is ruining my brushes - it is easier to pick up paint from the side of the brush with full pans (hope that makes sense)
tried to add silly notes to make this a little more interesting for you all...plus I like recording all the trivia that one is so much more aware of when one is solo sketching! Please read if you are interested....
the tearoom has been uncharacteristically empty the last few times now that I want to focus on people.
Oh! so much scope for improvement doing these!
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Went to see a friends wonderful exhibition
I arrived early (as it turned out the others did too) so I did a few sketches to fill in time. It was incredibly windy and Bathers Pavilion is a very challenging building to sketch...
A great dineer chatting about art, sketching and travel and we didn't have our sketchbooks out!
...so we shared dessert so we could all sketch it!!!
Here is my sketch of the dessert last night. I always like having more than one object on a spread so I added my cup of tea (how surprising) but as the dessert is the main focus scribbled text on the right hand page.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Due to popular demand... Here is my collection of current fountain pens. Last nights photo (of felt pens) was fairly boring to me – I would be happy to give all those pens away but this collection ...no way! These are my babies! I am not a fountain pen junkie – ie. I am not rushing out trying EVERY brand.... a lamy junkie would be more accurate. I do love lamy pens!!
But most importantly I would ALWAYS choose to draw and write in ink if I could. I love the flow of ink across the page and I love the way that it makes my handwriting look neater!
Ok... From L to R
My new and my old Lamy Joy (old style) pen with EF nib (Noodlers black ink) This old style is not longer available in Australia so I was very excited in July 2011 to find an old style pen for sale in Newcastle upon Tyne in UK. The reason I bought a NEW (old style) pen was because I had worn the old pen out and the lid would not stay on. I have since fixed this (in true Liz-hack-style) by- putting a little bit of superglue around the insde of the lid – just enough to create adequate friction.
-Yellow Lamy safari containing my noodlers polar brown ink (hmm... They don’t do a brown safari!)
-Red Lamy Safari with Noodlers Widow Maker ink (this was a moment of weakness at Xmas time... I didn’t need this but wanted at souvenir from a wonderful stationery shop in Leura)
-Lamy Vista (clear safari) with Noodlers Polar Blue ink (love this!)
-New style Lamy joy pen with a GOLD ef nib. The new style joy is a fraction heavier than the old style... I prefer the old black and red to have in my hand. This nib is lovely but I am afraid to take it out on location (the nib cost 2 x the price of the pen)
-Pilot Parallel Pen in 1.8mm (I also have the 3,5mm size!) Thanks to Josu for this extravagent purchase (It was cheap though!)
-Noodlers Flex Pen with Lexington Grey ink... Never really warmed to this and it leaked on the plane once.
-Rotring Art Pen – I use this at work. It is even lighter than the Lamy Joy (old style) but for some reason I don’t like writing with it...
-Fancy Lamy pen that I bought in the early days to hold my gold nib... But it is too heavy so has a calligraphy nib now.
Here are some old fountain pens... Me and ink pens go back a long way (thanks to my dad who has lovely handwriting – impossible to read though... “Yes I know Dad, you find my handwriting hard to read too!!!”)
From Lto R (a very humble collection)
(Sadly the old blue parker pen that dad gave me and I used as a teenager must have been thrown out!)
-A cheap sheaffer pen that I bought when I was 17 – lovely flow. I used it duirng my first 2 years at uni. My tutor used to use it when he was reviewing my work and then keep it all day because he loved it so much. (I also had a calligraphy epn ... Iwas into that in my late teens as well)
-(3-5th years I used a rotring art pen – that is now more but I now have a new one (see my current pen photo))
-A parker pen that I bought with Xmas money from work in the mid 90s. I used a fountain pen at work for years and the secretary used to fill up my cartridges with a syringe! (last night I put noodlers in it and am giving it another go)
-Another sheaffer (branded Colorbond) We were given these at an architecture conference in 2000 in the sample bag – every pen had a tiny crack in the barrel near the nib so we all got ink on our fingers. 2 months later we were all sent a replacement pen and an apology.
-One of the original rapidograph set I bought (it is a staedtler brand as I liked the cute case that the set came in)
-I soon realised that Rotring were better so this is the trusty .25 I bought back 3rd or 4th year uni.
Not sure if any one is interested in these details (I did this mainly for my own amusement)
But I do have a question... Why do we all rave about Lamy pens??? I used to LOVE the cheap sheaffer nibs and they gave me such a consistent flow of ink.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Ok... Time to get back to my ‘fill-in’ project. I actually started this page over a week ago – drew the first 3 strings of beads and then didn’t know how to finish the page compositionally. Tonight I just went for it and just when I was finished suddenly realised what ‘b’ object I should have paired with Borromini. Oh well – looks like Borromini is going to have a second page!
I was alos surprised that I couldn’t find more of my collection of beads – I used to wear them a LOT in the 90s.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
It is a while since I did a big dump (upload) but it is a while since I had a sketching day out. Went into town today and did the usual stuff!
Friday, March 9, 2012
Yesterday I gave my first talk on sketching - to one of John Haycraft’s art classes. John is a wonderful wonderful artist and architectural renderer who is so generous with his time and always inspires me! So it was a great privilege to be asked to come and talk about how, what and why I sketch. For the last few weeks I haven’t been sketching much as I have been going through my five years of sketching and trying to find the most important aspects of my approach to sketching and then attempt to structure it in a coherent way. I enjoyed doing this immensely.
Not only do I love sketching and love talking about sketching BUT I also love thinking about sketching.
In the last 12 months I have been doing quite a lot of thinking ... I think it started with Laura Frankstone’s post about process vs product. My response to that is below (with a link to her original post)
I have been doing a number of interviews lately which always make me think and late last year I wrote an essay (for an exciting project) about travel sketching - to do that I did a lot of thinking about why I love travel sketching so much. Also, the last time I sketched with John Haycraft he asked me whether I was a ‘recorder’ or an ‘imagemaker’. At the time I was too afraid to admit that I was not an ‘imagemaker’ but I now am totally convinced that I am a recorder!!!
Many of you that have meet me will know that I am a good talker (once I get started I am hard to stop) but.... I am not a naturally good speaker..So last night I was very conscious that I ought to speak slowly and clearly and keep my hands on my lap. Sadly... It didn’t take me long till I got excited about talking about love of sketching... And well ...you can guess what I was like! I just can’t help it...sketching just gets me excited! I had an absolute ball sharing my adventures with John and his class.
Anyway, I thought that many of my readers might be interested in some of the things I have been thinking about to explain why I have become addicted to sketching and how I have managed to fill over 80 sketchbooks in 5 years.
1. I just love sketching (and on location in particular!)
- I get such an internal buzz when I sketch. I love looking and observing things and get a wonderful feeling of discovery which I want to record. My hand loves to draw and respond to this discovery and I love splashing watercolour around and living dangerously with its unpredictable nature.
- I love the external interaction that happens nearly every time I sketch. Nearly always someone talks to me (99% of the time it is positive!) But always as I am sitting still observing things/life, something happens around me...people come and go, what I am sketching changes etc
- I love the risk taking and out of control factors when sketching on location. There is always an excuse why your sketch is not perfect – wind, rain, glare, a truck blocked your view, you were hungry, the ground was getting hard, ants were biting you etc etc
2. I have an enormous sense of freedom in my sketchbooks
I think a major factor in this is because I am an architect. Every line has a meaning on an architectural plan – one line could mean an extra step, change in floor finish, edge of a balcony etc etc. We have to be careful with every line we draw... But in my sketchbook I can do what I want...and my lines can become free and have fun!!!
Three emphases that give me this freedom:
- I am process orientated – as an architect I sketch to design, or sketch to describe my designs. The drawing is just the tool. So I am less focussed on the end product that perhaps people who have studied art. I LOVE the process of learning!
- I am more concerned with filling a sketchbook and telling a story from one page to the next rather than achieving perfect individual masterpieces. I also know how to convert a sketch I am not too happy with into a spread that I lke by text, more sketching, borders, colours etc.
- I am a recorder more than an imagemaker – I rarely ‘do a sketch’ but rather try to sketch and record whatever I am experiencing.
I had more things that I wanted to say but this is enough for tonight!
(BTW - photos by Laurel Holmes, Shirley Levine and various other friends)
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
... I am extremely honoured to be included in the amazing group of instructors at this years Urban Sketchers Symposium in Santo Domingo. I can’t tell you how excited I am not only to be visiting this beautiful part of the world but also to be given an opportunity to share my love of sketching with others as an instructor.
Please visit the website for more details.... Workshop descriptions will be coming soon.
Hope to see you there!!!