29 January 2012

sunday sharing -- week 3

I was doing my own little celebration jig when I returned home from sketching at a cafe yesterday. After the first two weeks of this six week "one drawing a day" book course, I whipped myself into gear and drew EVERY day. I even did any extra drawing session just because I felt like it. I'm quite satisfied with my efforts this week.

Not only did I draw every day but I felt like I made some progress. I didn't always stop with one drawing. Sometimes I redrew a few times and happily saw improvements. I also sometimes saw none really but didn't let my mind make a failure out of it. I drew. That's what was important. My favourite of the week is this one.
The task was to make a quick, undetailed sketch of a local landmark with water soluable crayons, spray water over it and do a press with absorbant paper. I decided to give it a go with my inktense blocks. It was the best match I had for watersoluable crayons. They are basically a block of ink but mixed with some other stuff to make it slightly pastel like for sketching. You can add water like you do with waterpaints but being ink it's more final in result. I only have four basic colours from a sample pack.

The idea was to choose just two or so colours to work with and sketch a rough idea. I did my best with the water sprinkling/soaking and paper pressing/dabbing. I'm not sure inktense blocks work the same though. I tried two other sketches before this one of Tower Bridge but it was Big Ben that got me smiling. Just a few features that identify it in sketchy scribble design.

Another example of progression for this week is from this 'day'. An abstract reflecting lines and colours of the subject with a few features to sort of identify it. The above "Carousel" is the example from the book. My efforts are below on the subject of a clown ball game at a fair.

The first picture was my first attempt. After completing it I felt that it was still too detailed so I had another go. The bottom one I was satisfied with. More abstract; the one main clown to identify had less detail. I also added in some other elements that made me think of this clown game. Random circles for the balls, some cog shapes for the mechanics and the spray of colour at the top left for the spritz of a win. While I was satisfied with my effort in acheiving the idea, I'm not really a fan of such abstract art. I like it to look either like just a spread of colour or like an actual picture of something. Not that wierd inbetween state.

25 January 2012

irish soda bread

I tried a new recipe from the same recipe book that I made Curried Banana soup last week. (One of those 'too bizarre NOT to try' which was interesting but not fabulous though I've since discovered it works better as a cold dip.) While I was in Ireland I had some Irish Soda Bread and I thought it was really yummy. Heavier than the average bread you buy from the supermarket but I like that. I bought the necessary ingredients last week and so I've been looking forward to making it for a few days. Tonight I thought it would make a delicious tea alongside a bowl of soup.

So today while the boy ate his tea, I baked my first handmade loaf of bread.

The recipe explained at the beginning about where it came from and it said that the 'measurements' where rough estimations. Handfuls of this ingredient, dash of that... Made me smile. Sounds so homely. The lady kindly worked out the measurements to be able to put it in a book. However, the 'throw in' method is my kind of style. So while I did get the scales out I scooped out handfuls and blobs into my bowl. I also measured out the 450ml of buttermilk because I had two 278ml pots. Odd amount. (I figure it's about half a pint.) I added some extra flour too because I was pretty sure that 'mix into a dough' meant it shouldn't be sticking to the sides of the bowl and all over the spatula. I then shaped it and scored it and popped it in the oven.

Just over an hour later I sat down to some semi-cooled irish soda bread and tomato soup. Yummo! Though I do now think my tablespoon-of-sugar guess was a little on the side of exaggeration. ;) Still a success I say.

23 January 2012

sunday sharing -- week 2

Oo I'm such a slacker. Well, I've been more slack this week. Gotta watch myself. I missed two days this week. I've decided that if I miss a day I can't 'make it up' by doing two day pages in one day. It's not so much that I've been busy this week but instead distracted. There's been a few days this week I've spent hours on the internet researching holiday ideas for my March week off. Frustratingly I still haven't formed solid plans trying to figure out where to go within England and Wales and which trains to take. Anyhoo, for the drawings I did do...

I had a bit of a moment trying to decide between these two drawings. The watercolour won out as you can see though I still cheekily snuck in a snippet of the view out my bedroom window. Watercolour just has an endearing element to it. In the end, I couldn't not choose it. I like the way watercolour sits on the page; the texture it holds. Not the easiest medium to control but one of my favourites so far. I've been subconciously itching to open each of the little blocks of paints in my cute little watercolour set since I bought it and it was great to finally sit down and do so. I think it also won out because it's colour. I like colours.

For this painting itself, I'm really pleased with lady reading. People are not a strong point in my artistry skills (yet?) but I'm really happy with this one. In particular, with this one, how I was able to not 'go detailed'. That reading lady is splotches of colour and the feature that most resembles the idea I was suppose to follow; no presketching, blocks of colour with just a few details. It's like a wash of colour that resembles a specific shape. The rest is a bit more detailed. I'm still really pleased with how it turned out. The only "ba-baow" is the car. Mainly because it is clearly the wrong size for the position it holds. Either that or it's a supersized monster car. ;)

Ah, watercolour. Let's play again soon.

21 January 2012

through the woods

This is my next project which is actually well underway now. It's Through The Woods by Kalurah and I'm doing the crochet version. It should turn out something like this.There's also a knit version but when I found it and decided I needed to make it, I felt like crocheting. Hadn't done any in a while.

I've been working on getting various presents finished that it's super nice to sit and work on something for me again. I'm hoping to finish it and take it to Iceland with me but my Iceland trip isn't so far away now. Hopefully it will be done in time. Then I should actually get to finishing some mittens for myself in case London actually gets cold before winter is over.

Anyway, my near to current photo looks like this one. I've done a few more rows now and when I counted them this evening I realised I've only got five more to do until I start work on the edging rib look. Maybe I will get it done in three more weeks.
Yes, mine is red too. When shopping for some yarn for a friend I came across some Berroco Ultra Alpaca in this lovely shade. I went back and bought enough to make the hood. I've been wanting to make an alpaca project for quite a while now and I'm excited about this one. The knitted version is, of course, closer stitches. Crochet always has a chunkier look but I'm surprised you can actually crochet cable. I did get a bit disappointed at the start as it wasn't looking right and I was putting it aside wondering whether to go on. Then I looked over the pattern again and realised I wasn't doing the raised stitches like it said. So one night I unpulled it back to the second row and then re-crocheted back to where I was up to but doing it right this time. It made such a different and the pattern is sitting properly now. Sometimes it's froggin' worth it. :P I'm looking forward to wearing it and it keeping me warm.

16 January 2012

sunday sharing--week 1

So I've finished my first week of my "One Drawing a Day" book/course. I did alright I think. I managed to draw for six days out of seven. Friday I just didn't get time because, honestly, the day was full of more important things. Saturday I had to force myself to sit down and draw. The most difficult aspect of drawing this week was trying to find some abstract and interpretation while trying to draw. Some of the examples were whispy or the artist's interpretation of what they saw and when I tried to do something similar I kept finding myself putting in more and more detail. My other challenge is to slow down and take my time. I've noticed myself getting impatient in my drawings and start to get a bit wild in my strokes. But when I concentrate and try I can get a result like this.
My favourite of the week is : Mike in charcoal

I like drawing with charcoal and this day asked me to draw a portrait using the tv. When I finished reading the page I looked up and there was a picture of one of my friends on my computer so I decided to draw him. Of course, the example was a lot more basic than what I've drawn but I like very much how it turned out. The eye on the left is a little odd. I think it either needed to be thinner or a little less dark. I'm not too sure but that's the only displeasure really in my work. I am particularly happy with my efforts drawing the teeth and his hair was particularly fun to draw.

I've done mostly ink and charcoal this week with some graphite pencil as well. I've done a few portraits and am seeing a pattern of making their heads too short in length. I've also learnt that if I need to spray my work to hold it so it doesn't rub off, I need to make sure I do it on a page that doesn't have anything on the back. This one had an ink dragon on the other side and when I sprayed it, it brought parts of it through to the Mike side. It has sadly permanently disturbed the Mike-drawing. I did some editing so you could see it more like it was in its pre-sprayed state.

Week 2 should be interesting as colour comes in to play.

08 January 2012

a sketchy dream

I've never known what to do career-wise. Never known what I'd like enough to choose to do long term. Truthfully, I never really planned on having a 'career'. But for quite a number of years now I've had this idea floating around the back of my head of writing, maybe even illustrating, children's stories. During the last year or so I've been thinking more about drawing and have even done a bit more but I still seriously need to develop my skills. Not just in drawing but in being disciplined and persisting. I do tend to have a play at something and then drift away from the idea but I'd like to give drawing--being an artist--a proper try and see if I can be any good and if I might enjoy it long term. Test my potential.

I bought this book a while back called "One drawing a day". I thought this would be a good starter. They call it a six week course in drawing and the basic idea is to simply draw and get into the habit of doing so and explore different art mediums. After reading the introduction I decided to get some more supplies to work with.

Today I went for a jog and purposefully ended up near an art shop. The art store has a sale on so there were lots of good prices. I think I spent more than an hour in there trying to decide what to get. I didn't want to spend too much but there were so many interesting tools and supplies in there. It wasn't till I got home that I realised how much of a bargain I got. Some of the things I bought were 65% off.
I happily have a whole assortment of art toys to play with. A lovely new blank sketch book full of potential. I'm excited about trying the bamboo brush/pen. It has a nib shaped end and a brush end. I wanted a bamboo nib but I was summoned by the bamboo brushes too. I borrowed a book on Chinese Brush Art from the library last year that was wonderfully inspiring. I also bought a gold/bronze ink and black ink to go with it. And I have red already. I also got--some of the huge bargains I scored--a 24 oil pastels set to experiment with and a little watercolour kit that has 12 half size blocks in a practical carry case. I bought myself a good watercolour paintbrush too because it's much nicer using quality. I also got some graphite pencils, some pens (one has a brush end) and a kneadable eraser. That should get me started quite well.

And to help keep me persisting, I aim to share my favourite drawing from the week each Sunday.

01 January 2012

squeezing the deadline

I promised a friend I'd make her something back in February. It was part of a Pay It Forward thing on facebook to be handmade this year. As I was arranging to move to England at the time I said I probably wouldn't make it until I got to the UK.

I remembered all this last month. :S He he.

So I grabbed some Fibreworks yarn my sister sent over; a mix of possum, sheep and alpaca fibre with some nylon. Using a mostly blue ball and a multicolour ball I made up some fingerless mittens switching between the two to create some funky stripes. I've just finished them. Pheee-ew! (Dramatic wiping of the brow.)

Now I have to finish getting ready to go see Billy Elliot the Musical and watch the new year roll in. Talk about pushing a deadline.