Saturday, June 25, 2011

Street Matters

Mixed media of watercolour pencil, watercolour, pencil and pen.

Frankfurt is really not one of the most beautiful cities of the world. But there are little corners that are quirky and interesting. I'm going to aim to get out to sketch once a week - in theory anyway!

I'm having trouble with my sketchbook. I've been using the basic Moleskines but really don't like the way the watercolour treats the paper and have found that it can bleed through to previous/next pages. After doing some research and not being able to get the sketchbook I wanted outside of the UK (why do Canson only sell that type in the UK?) I asked some very knowledgeable sketchbook artists and have been recommended to try the Moleskine watercolour book (which I see now comes in a larger size) and their Japanese sketchbook which has accordion pages which sounds like a wonderful format. So I am going to order one of each to test drive.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cool Matters

I'm not sure if its just because I am British, but air-conditioning, what is that about? Him indoors is American and to him air-conditioning is essential. Over the years I have learned that if the heating isn't on then the air should be. I just don't get it! Why not open the windows? OK, I get it sometimes. When we lived in Saudi Arabia and the temperatures were in the high 40s C, it was bliss. But really, we live in Northern Europe - do we really need it?

So each year it gets hot (briefly) and the air-conditioning units are whipped out and all connected which involves funny window sealing system, bubble wrap (to insulate from the outside noise), and a lot of tape and then the weather gets cold and we never even switch it on! Meanwhile it sits in our bedroom and glowers at me so to appease it, I drew it's portrait! (And yes, I know, I need to put some clothes away!)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Studio Matters

I bought this easel a few years ago with the idea that it would be just the thing for plein aire - only it is near to impossible to set up, the catches don't hold and the whole thing threatens to collapse on me every time I assemble it. Him indoors dug it out last week and put it up and despite tightening every possible knob in sight with pliers it still has a tend to list drunkenly after a while. How I long for my beautiful full size studio easel which languishes in storage!

This sketch makes it look like I have ample room to paint - in truth the easel is squeezed between my computer and a bed! Not exactly conducive to producing masterpieces!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Watercolour Matters

It poured with rain on and off all day yesterday, blustery showers, heavy downpours and little momentary spatters of rain. So the day was donated to play time. I think one of the things that always hampers me from experimenting is the thought of wasting materials. But how else are you going to learn? So I sat down in front of YouTube and watched some great watercolour demonstrations and then had a go. I'd like to say a big thank you to all those great artists who freely give their knowledge in demonstrations on YouTube and on forums across the internet. Bless you all!

Now I have no excuse but to add trees everywhere I go! I am hoping that the watercolour will also help with my oil painting tree nightmares!

Waiting Matters

Him Indoors was late finishing at work last night, usual emergencies that hit at 4:30 on a Friday evening, so I sat outside his office in the courtyard and doodled. We work in the most unattractive building - very typical German, pre-war construction with very strange add-ons in recent years.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sculptural Matters

Standing at the gates in the Garmisch Winter Olympic stadium are four statues. As we sat and ate apfel strudel with whipped cream (we shared a piece between us) I did the outline sketch for this statue. Since being home I've finished off the sketch. The hands on this statue and the feet seemed to be enormously out of proportion - she was a woman of Amazon-like proportions but even considering that her hands and feet were HUGE!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Experimental Matters

Its well known that I like to be in control - or rather that I don't like to be out of control. So watercolours always pose a considerable challenge to me as it seems like there is zero control with this medium! I definitely am not yet in a place to do massive washes and then just work with what appears but I did allow a dribble of paint from this tomato without totally freaking out!

Back on my windowsill and sketching in the other direction.

Lazy Monday holiday watching television.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Completed Matters

Another day of relatively futile pastel work so I gave in and tidied up my dining room and finished off yesterday's sketch.

My feet took a rest from their modelling career today and him indoors (who suggested that I might be developing a foot fetish) lent his for today's doodle. Somehow I ended up with six toes on one foot - I did count the ones on his feet and he really does only have 5!

Inside Matters

What a futile day! Made myself get out my pastels and attempt to do a drawing but with absolutely hopeless results! So back to my sketchbook doodlings. Having started this I was totally overcome by the confusion on my dining table and decided that I would be better occupied tidying up the mess(hence the gap in the middle of the picture) but I didn't do that either - maybe once I have tidied up, I might complete this sketch.

And a little portrait doodle just to wind up the day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Window Matters

We have lovely wide window sills in our flat, wide enough to sit on which is a perfect place for sketching, though our view is very limited. I think madness must have struck when I chose to sketch all these trees and I think it shows that I got overwhelmed by the task. Practice will make perfect - I hope!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Waiting Matters

We were early for our appointment and so I had no excuse not to pull out my sketchbook and draw. If only people would just sit still! No sooner did I start to draw one person than they would get up and go away or fidget about - don't they realise that they are being drawn??? Luckily no-one seemed interested in what I was doing so I just doodled away.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sofa Matters

As I said recently, I bought several books lately and have been delving in and out of the pages of all of them, fluttering around and not really getting anything from them at all. So I decided today that I have to focus more, and am picking one book to start with and will not pick up the next until I finished that one. Now of course faced with the decision of which book to read!

The antsy unsettled feeling seems to have followed me all day and I couldn't get settled down to anything, couldn't sit still or focus. I all but had to nail my feet to the floor to force myself to draw anything. Stepped out of my comfort zone with a pen and no eraser which forced me to slow down and really look at proportions to try to get them right the first time. Not sure I did that entirely but feel relatively happy with the result.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Landscape Matters

When I went to art school I was thrown into a world of very concept heavy art and after a term of producing work that was supposed to be heavy with symbollic meaning I was ready to quit. So I formed up to the head tutor and told him that I really didn't think art was for me. He asked me what I wanted to do and said "Paint landscapes", firmly believing that he would throw me off the course for saying anything quite so heretical. Instead he told me go and out and paint landscapes. I think it still my greatest love. It's the art I tend to hang on my walls and the art that speaks to me most. Doing these mini landscapes reminded me why. I love the contours and the abstract shapes within the landscape, the shifting colours during the day, the changing light and shadows. I am resolved to do more of what I love!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mixing Matters

Somehow, despite all my good intentions, I got stuck in front of the idiot box again last night but determined not to sit doing nothing so I drew the one thing I knew would sit still for me - again - my feet (and toes being drawn in my sketchbook). Inspired by my new books on journal sketchbooks, I'm trying desperately to get out my comfort zone and be more experimental with media, loosen up my style and generally develop my doodles so with a little Payne's Grey I dabbled my toes with watercolour. Funny distortions to the shape of my feet as they were pressed against the edge of the coffee table.

Relaxin' Matters

There is something about just lying back and relaxing at the end of the day, enjoying a glass of wine and watching a good film on the idiot box. Or sitting and sketching those who are doing so!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Thought Provoking Matters

Today I am not posting my own sketches.

We went to Dachau - an experience I can't say I relished but one that I thought was something that everyone, given the opportunity, should have, lest those that died should have died in vain.

The weight of history was extremely heavy in the air and I was a little torn with feeling the need to take photographs to pass on to others who would not have this opportunity and the horrible feeling that it was making light of something so incredibly awful.

In the museum were posted a few sketches by inmates and I have decided to add these here as my memorial to those who died in such horrible circumstances that I hope none of us will ever bear witness to again.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Reflected Matters

I was captured by this amazing reflection of the mountains in the lake - the water was crystal clear and the fish were enormous! Could have sat here all day watching the changing light. Greens went from vivid acid of new spring growth to the deepest bluey shadowed shades. A real test of my hatred of green! Not so much a hatred but a serious challenge.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Meadow Matters

The pretty meadows filled with wild flowers and swaying grasses abound here. Wonderful colours in the fir trees along the base of the hills from brilliant acid greens of the new leaves to the darkest bluey greens in the shadows.