Archives for category: journal

Betty Gumbootweb

One moment I am out having a sketch and a cool beer on a hot day, the next moment I am back in my winter pants and snuggled on the couch.

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I regularly pull open the door to my little back deck, just to sniff the air and peer out to see what is happening. It can be six different types of weather between breakfast and lunch and if there are 10 seconds of sunshine, I am going to park myself in it.

Lately I have been setting up with scissors and images, using the long hours of strong light to do my crazy clipping.

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Scanning, printing, cups, birds, wings, things. Sketchin’ and clippin’. Clipping and sipping. Friends have various names for my back porch antics.

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Cups on deck blog

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What I end up sipping depends entirely on my mood. And it is always a good mood. 🙂

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If it all of a sudden flips to wind or rain or hail, not a problem. It is a very short wobble back to inside warmth. So short, in fact depending on the angle of the sun, I might just be sitting right in the doorway.

I love my tiny back deck.

 

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When the clouds roll away on a coast spring day, everything gleams with fresh intensity.

Feather on blue blog

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I’m busting out the tubes.

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That is what my friend Marlene told me, and I have been fully embracing the pre-trip.

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I had to think of something which would hold my attention, and keep my excitement from spilling over into anxiety – because I know myself. I can get… squirrelly.  So, I have made up  a crazy project for myself. I am filling one of my beautiful Kim Oka encaustic journals with sketches of details from Renaissance paintings, mostly of those that I could possibly see in Italy – but I am using ballpoint pens. And a bit of watercolour. Thats it.

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Then, I am scanning these sketches and printing them out as postcards, which I will take with me.

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While I am casually relaxing in a piazza with a tiny white cup filled with thick espresso, or perhaps a nice glass of jewel red Chianti, I will write my Deep Thoughts on them and send them back home to myself embellished with beautiful Italian stamps. This lovely dream is keeping my hands busy and my anxiety levels manageable.

Ha.

Two more weeks……….

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My Grandmother Ruby used to carry scissors in her purse when she went out for a walk. She loved flowers, she grew them on her balcony and often had a little bouquet on her table. Over the years we spent many a pleasant day wandering in the garden centre and planting up her small riotously colour-filled boxes.  But cut flowers were a different story.  Oh she wanted them, in the early spring when the sky was grey, and hers were months from being ready – but she would not pay for them. Besides, she had a Law that if any flower extended into any walkway, it was common property.

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That included any that could be hooked with a cane and pulled over to the sidewalk. This could sometimes be an embarrassing situation for me, causing me to rapidly walk ahead, which amused her. I myself, purchased my flowers at full price.

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However, I have lately found my thinking to be more in line with hers.

I have looked up that Law, and I believe she was correct.

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I call it the Law of Unauthorized Pruning for Art’s Sake.

 

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A favourite spoon and a funny little can I have kept for years….

P1040466frenchkiss…looking closely at bits and pieces that otherwise slip away unnoticed.

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January has rolled into February. Winter cold has remained at bay – in fact, it has been a typical balmy West Coast Winter… so far.

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It seems to me the sketching moments have been plentiful. Self-imposed challenges of Sketchbook Skool Bootkamp and Kim Oka’s 30 day journaling have provided practice and entertainment on damp evenings.

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Weather even broke into brief sun, and a rare trip to a dear friend’s welcoming home was actually realized. By me, alone. My mountain to climb, and I did it. I was well rewarded. 🙂

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When one doesn’t have to hang sheets and plastic over the doorways to keep the heat of the fireplace trapped, (also known as Art Ghetto decor) and when the toilet seat is actually room temperature every day…(yes, last January was a bit trying) the subtle layers of a coast winter can be relaxed into, enjoyed even. Especially if you have a friend  or two to share the fire.

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On a calm afternoon I scooter to the pier, smell the ocean, feel the sky, watch the water flowing under the Robert’s Creek bridge.

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February begins. And the sun is now rising before 8am and setting after 5pm.

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Detail: Mandala

Gently exciting.

 

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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.

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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.

Ella Roz

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.

Sammie ears Roz

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For the past month I have been in sketchbook heaven. Even though I identify myself primarily as a painter, I have always been a sketchbook/ideabook person. I look online for new and interesting techniques and pages, I collect books about artists journals (living or dead) and I have a special fascination for any beautiful “Carnet de Voyage”.  I love to look in other artists journals, and many of the sketchers I follow came from these two Danny Gregory books which I bought a few years ago – An Illustrated Life and An Illustrated Journey. Imagine  how excited I was when he and another artist Koosje Koene put together their online class called Sketchbook Skool !! Professionally shot videos of practicing sketchers – all the best and brightest – assignments, and instruction and sketchbook tours and even a crazy facebook group of enthusiastic peers from around the globe to share drawings with and yak with. I could not resist.

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Supplies are ready.

Desk is clean.

Time to get drawing…. Page One:

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Tiger moth blog

First Rule for surviving the inevitable miserable portion of a BC Coast winter: don’t look out of the window. Seriously, anywhere else but. Or you might see this:

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..or this:

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You are probably saying to yourself, Oh look, Snow – how pretty! Just what I said… for five minutes. This is not that pretty kind of snow – this snow is wet and slushy and heavy and brings down the tree limbs onto power lines so that you are stoking the woodfire all night long to keep the deep, damp chill at bay. Very Icky. No ShopRider is going down the ramp, and a wobbly person like me is definitely not going to try to maneuver in the frozen muck. A soaking wet ass is not good for a person’s dignity, best to avoid the extremely high probability in this weather.

So, once the blankets are hung over the draughty windows, (you think I’m exaggerating, don’t you?) I find it best to turn my gaze to faraway places. Luckily, I have friends who Travel. For instance, Lisa at sell your tv and come to the cinema has just spent a marvellous two months in India, and I could not resist sketching the most beautiful moth she saw on the wall where she was teaching.  The exotic sights of Ahmedabad will sooth a shivery soul.

And Julie, over at Kitchen Culinaire is gearing up for her yearly trip to Paris, so pictures of Madelines and markets and the Eiffel Tower are gracing my laptop monitor… dreamy!  A lucky group of people are in for a tour of great deliciousness, and I will be following along every step of the way. She might even spy another stamp shop while she is there and think, “I know someone who would want these..”

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Speaking of postal inspiration, I have even received a postcard from Myanmar this winter – I’m pretty sure this cancelled stamp is as close as I will ever be to this enigmatic country. Though never say never…

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I affix these happy bits of travel to the board in my thinking room. A nice warm fire cheers up the house, and colour fills my grateful eyes.

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In fact, last night when I was absentmindedly staring up from a drawing, my eye caught a corner of vintage pale blue… but I couldn’t think who had sent me this bit of Florida sunshine.

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I flipped it over, and was reminded of a particularly difficult birthday, and the warmth of many friends who made it completely better.

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Winter? What winter… in fact did you know the light is already coming back??