Tight to loose

It has been super muggy here in the PNW this summer. Some days I feel like I am walking through glue… so, what better thing to do than find some objects – a feather, a wood disc, a flower – and spend the humid afternoon sketching. From tight to loose, the last sketch in the welcome cool of the late afternoon, was a sunflower. Soon Fall will approach, bringing shorter days and sweet cool air, and my naughty body will take advantage of perfect temperatures to do bigger, more ambitious work. But for now, the bits and pieces of coastal life must suffice as subject. And the sound of the warm ocean is soft in my ears. Dog Days, sweltery sunsets.

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Andrea page web copy

She got me drawing with ballpoint pens. Blobby, cheap, ubiquitous Bic pens. And I am telling you, as satisfying as it is to finish a page like this, the technique is Not easy. In theory, it is similar to the Tommy Kane crosshatch style, but I found that the meditative quality of time was much deeper. Maybe because the detail, the “hatchiness” was finer, took longer, made me able to enter that zone where you are sketching, but also hearing the birds, smelling the ocean, noting the sun passing and the light changing – in fact, this day on my back porch will live forever on this page.

Not a bad use of sitting on a butt all day, if you are MS heat-bagged anyway, hey? I love summer in the Creek.

Sketchbook Skool

Not only the most fun I have had on the sketching side of things, bags of entertainment for girls who love pencils and pens, but then they use one of my drawings on their website.

Sweet.

Of course I’m signing up for the third round….. :)

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Sandra has been a sketching demon lately. She doesn’t live far from me, but it is a ferry ride, so mail is an occasional necessity. This time I said, if you are sending me something, make it pretty! Indeed she did. It is a wonderful kind of thrill to open up a mailbox and be greeted by something so fun, so personal, her beautiful drawings peeking through the boring bills… super smile that day!!

Around the same time I developed an interesting conversation about art and printmaking – with a fellow MSer from the opposite side of the world.. Tasmania. Through Pinterest, of all things – who knew? I hadn’t really expected a connection to be made on such a huge internet platform, and I am even more delighted that our exchange of experiences continues and has even inspired actual tangible … Mail Art.

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Gorgeous Mail Art. Postal Magic.

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It was a fantastic Mail week….

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… now my turn for outgoing!

 

 

 

Bear Mask

Telegraph Cove Resort is a perfect little horseshoe of magic, if you happen to be in the process of learning a new way to travel. I mull over a few different ways to tell you about this journey to the far north end of Vancouver Island… such as — Was it a Sketch Voyage, A Soul Journey, A personal Wobbly Marathon? I could say much about these aspects and probably will in future posts, but right now I’ll just try to keep it simple.

It was Fabulous and Fun….!!!

It looked like this from our window:

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And this:

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It was so concentrated, and I could scooter around every bit except for the small entrance to the marina – almost a full circle of boardwalk. Voices laughing, hints of French and German amongst the conversations, not a TV in hearing or sight. Eagles and Ravens and Bears.. and more. Rustic, historic, and bags of charm. Peace and quiet.

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A bit of a surprise to herself, my companion Kim learned to sketch. She is already a maker of fabulous encaustic books, I didn’t think it was much of a stretch.

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Sketching and bookmaking in the Restaurant

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Kim’s sketch of a Kayak

I can’t travel the way I used to, but it is a big fat waste of time to work up a misery over that fact. Better to embrace the extra planning, the limitations-that-aren’t and ignore any pinchy faces – mine included. There are many magical places yet to be found, without and within. It was hard……. and it was easy, and many people made it happen, so lucky am I.

Heartfelt thanks to the Supreme Helpers of Freedom:

Travel companion, Gimpy driver and Sherpa – Kim Oka and her Pug Ruby.

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The generous loan of the Ford Escape  with Air Con!! by Jenny.

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All the sweet people who lifted/pushed the scoot every time I was stuck. Which was alot. You all wandered off as if it was nothing :)

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Julie. You know. <3

 

 

 

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On the longest day of the year I sat in my sun-filled yard and sketched this blackberry flower. There are scads of them, a gajillion, I would say, their robust prickled vines snake out and grow visibly as I sit there – at least it seems so. I believe we are in for a bumper crop this summer, which is very good, because once they are picked, bagged and frozen they will be most welcome on the shortest day of the year.

Mourning cloak blog

Last June one of these beautiful friends landed on my shoulder.

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It was a lovely surprise, but I didn’t think too much about it, I just thought it had been battered and tattered in the cool wind and rain. This spring, when I saw a fresh strong butterfly in the shrubs around the Arts Centre in Sechelt, I did a little digging

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They are born with the tatters, they are native, and were possibly given the poetic name “Mourning Cloak” by Scandinavian or German settlers, though no explanation as to why. It doesn’t matter, I love the name. I also think it amusing that Nymphalis Antiopa is a brush-footed butterfly, called this due to their hairy front legs. :)

Ella asleep

Many a happy hour have I spent combing through the vast wealth of visual and technical knowledge that Roz Stendhal freely shares on her website Roz Wound Up. I discovered her in “An Illustrated Life” and admired her drawings and journal pages so much, she became one of the first blogs I hit the “follow” button for. OK, she is obsessive, and quirky, but she is sooo sweet – and talent leaks out of her every artistic endeavour! If you dig back far enough into her blog, you find the time when she had a brain injury and had to retrain her effected drawing skills. Which she did. Amazing woman. She remains to this day in my main toolbar, quick reference and bags of inspiration just a click away.

Roz’s Sleeping Pet assignment for Sketchbook Skool:

Surprisingly easy with Ella, after a massive run in the forest she can crash out on the couch for hours. The crazy Potcake Dingo turns into a big stuffy toy.

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The Jack, on the other hand, is a bit of a challenge. He is such a twitch I was lucky to get just the ears. And such sweet ears they are. I cannot believe he is 13 years old. Sammie.

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This afternoon, minding my own business in my front yard, I was reading a Coté Sud in the warm sunlight. I am not usually a fan of the drop-by visitors, but I don’t mind the quiet furry ones.

This would be my definition of Serenity.

Magnolia petals blog

The actual title of this sketchbook page is “Magnolia Petals: After Tommy Kane – Genius of the Crosshatch”. He is a Master of the Uniball pen. Not only was his demo video highly informative, but it was very amusing to see him in a Tiara. Sorry, only those who take Sketchbook Skool get to see the whole thing, but the Lemon Test drawing which is the result is here. And his book, “An Excuse to Draw” is quite amazing. I read it cover to cover and still want to see more. Also, the book has a great introduction by Michelangelo, worth the price alone.

The Quest of the Artist is to find their own, unique style, and if they copy from the Masters (or whoever resonates with them) it is usually in the beginning of their personal search. I am no different, it took years of practice to load up my current bag of sketchy tricks. It might seem a bit like going backwards to copy a different style at this point, but really I find it a very interesting thing to do. No one ever knows everything, and if they do they are deadly boring.  So, when I dive into a different style, I find it most useful to mimic it as closely as I can for the first few attempts. It is so hard to keep my own “hand” out of it, and I am not always successful, but the interesting part comes when I compare my crosshatched Magnolia petals to details from some of my other drawings.

Scratchy details blog

My Skratchy Details

I see that I have a scribbly, scratchy,  smudgy style compared to Tommy Kane. I like this kind of mark making, I strive for the quickness of execution and casual accuracy that makes it a little intense. For the Tommy Kane exercise, I have to be more precise, deliberate, take my time and s l o w down. Not easy, and I suspected I would be irritated. I sat myself down in front of a few of my essential belongings, and I put in some hours. Five hours, including bathroom and food breaks. Most assuredly NOT my normal way, but as I get into it, it turns out to be quite relaxing.  And I enjoy it. Time well spent in contemplation and I want to do more…

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So, I seem to have added a new technique to my repertoire – Zen and the Art of Sketchbook Maintenance. Who knew? I wonder if I get a Tiara now, I’ll have to ask Tommy…

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