Saturday, January 26, 2013

The First Page

A William Wordsworth quote has been sloshing around in my head the past few weeks.  I've seen it before and it popped up in some other blog as plain old text.  A little boring for my purposes.  My brain kept rolling it around - surrounding the words with color and swirls.  A few days ago I finally pulled out my empty mixed media sketchbook.  Ink, then markers, then watercolor, colored pencil and a lot more ink.  Here's the result.  Not what I saw in my head, but I'm telling the perfectionist to stuff it.

In a wonderful miracle of me not really thinking about what I'm doing, this is on the first page of my mixed media sketchbook.  Just about anybody who keeps a sketchbook knows that the first page can be the most difficult.  The first page screams at you
"DO SOMETHING MARVELOUS!"  Who wants to mess up the first page of a beautiful and promising blank book?

Most creative types recommend starting somewhere in the middle to break the ice.  Well, without thinking I just scrawled out the quote.  Seems a fitting first page.  Now... what to do on page 2? 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I am not an Addict

I tagged along with hubby on a work-related trip today.  This meant a chance to peruse art supplies in person.  I went in searching for a waterbrush, but the aisle of paper and pads called my name.  In light of the recent sketchbook gathering, I had no intention of buying another one.  Then . . . I spied it.  A "hand made" watercolor journal with deliciously rough pages & deckled edges.  Tempting, so very tempting.  I picked it up and put it back multiple times.  It spoke to me like those doodads do in the Pier 1 commercials.  I went into another aisle then came back.  "Now listen here - you have plenty of blank pages waiting to be filled!"  (That was me, not my hubby.)  Alright already . . .  I relented - took a photo and added it to my wish list.  We headed home with the waterbrush, masking fluid and dreams of future projects on handmade paper.

Monday, January 21, 2013

You Simply Can't Have Too Many

"Why do you need that?" . . . "Because I want one of these." . . . "Don't you have enough of those?" . . . "No, not like this one - and not in this size."

This was not about jewelry or clothes.  This back and forth took place in Target when I spied a Moleskine blank journal in a larger size than the pocket one I actually had in the vehicle parked outside of Target.  I reminded hubby of the year our daughter received hoodies from everyone and she said "You can never have too many hoodies!"  Well, you can never have too many sketchbooks!  He sighed & I bought one more.

This prompted a gathering of sketchbooks, paper pads and miscellaneous books intended for drawing exercises.  I lined them up on the stairs and did a little photo shoot of my prized possessions - an activity which promptly put the dog to sleep.

I haven't used any of the color paper pads gracing the top row - bought over the years for future colored pencil, pastel & charcoal attempts.

Below these are 22 blank, gridded or lined pads of paper and one repurposed almanac.  Ten have been used to some degree and two are full.  A dozen were obtained since starting the sketchbook trek.  Several more are waiting in my art supplies wish list.

I am not alone in this obsession.  I recently discovered the notebook stories blog and their notebook addict posts.  Kindred spirits.

Too many sketchbooks?  Never!  I promise to fill up a few before I add another... maybe.

Towards the end of the organizing and photo taking, Milo showed up to inspect, get bored and then leap over the pile to startle Daisy.  I missed the leap by a nanosecond.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Best Laid Plans

Remember the 30 Day Drawing Challenge?  That was, lets see, about 13 days ago.  Am I on day 13 of the challenge?  Nope.  Day 6.  So, this 30 Day Challenge will likely take me about 60... or more... days.  I admit it.  I notoriously start a plan all gung ho and then am easily sidetracked.  Last week, a new batch of art supplies arrived.  You simply CANNOT receive new pencils and such and not use them!  So, I had to test out the charcoal pencils instead of doing the challenge that day.  Which means I actually sketched Milo for awhile - something I mentioned doing back in October.

Furry Milo and a few charcoal Milos soaking up some sun.
I felt blech one day and did some therapeutic mandala coloring with the Prismacolor markers.  Along with other distractions, we took an impromptu shopping trip last weekend.  I brought my little Moleskine sketchbook and recorded a somewhat jiggly version of the ever-changing view.

Yesterday, my parents' beloved dog left this good earth - 3 1/2 years after her best friend, my Dad, passed away.  She was closing in on 16 years of age and the whole family was "blubbery" as my Mom put it.  Belle had been fading fast the past week and an image of her & Dad was growing in my brain.  When I received the news, I had to quickly sketch the pair and share it with family and friends.  It's a simple sketch that I'd like to redo at some point.  But the feel of it seems to fit them.

None of this artwork was part of the Challenge.  During the sketchbook trek, I've made plans, broken plans, made new plans, ignored those plans, etc.  However, I kick myself in the buns and get back on track.  Whatever plans are made, forgotten or reworked - I'll continue arting it up.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Gang's All Here!

The two replacement Prismacolor markers arrived late last week - along with several other new art supplies.  New art supplies which are distracting me from the 30 Day Drawing Challenge.  More on that soon.  The new marker caps are ever so slightly larger than the old ones, so don't fit in the retro carousel as they should.  Rats.  They must lean against the oldies a bit askew.  At least the family is all together again!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Retro Carousel

And now, another blast from the past.  Back when the Pony Express delivered my college acceptance letter...  um...  When my parents helped me load up the model T...  er . . . .  We didn't use computers back when I spent my waking hours in the graphic design room...  Seriously.  Designing and production was done sans keyboard, touchpad or monitor.  Shocking!  I know!  A young friend recently told me she didn't realize there was graphic design before computers.  Yeah, I'm old.

I also worked on campus creating graphics.  My boss bought a Macintosh computer during my senior year.  The original Mac.  I learned the incredibly brilliant MacPaint and MacDraw.  It was amazing!  Stop laughing.  It was.  Prior to that, my lone computer experience was a few weeks of BASIC programming on a clunky computer in high school.

Though the office had a Mac, not a single computer was available in the art rooms.  T-square, airbrush, frisket film, color paper, rapidograph pen, non repro blue pencil, registration marks, x-acto knife, burnished lettering....  No computer.  We were also required to purchase a set of design markers.  Double-ended bright colors that did not come cheap, especially for a college student.  I still have mine, but hadn't used them in years and years - stashed in the basement with the tackle box.

48 Prismacolor markers saw the light of day this week.  Testing time for the 27 year old fine points and chisel tips.  First three?  Fantastic.  Nice clean colors.  Then Warm Gray 20% scratched across the paper leaving no color whatsoever.  Next two were good.  Then Cold Gray 40% - dry dry dry.  My old set was shrinking.  However, the next one was fine, and the next and the next.  One after the other, both sides flowing nicely.  Only two were kaput.  A pleasant surprise.  Time to add vibrant color to the sketchbook!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I Challenge Thee

2013 and I'm on a roll again.  Wahoo!

Typing "drawing" in the Pinterest search box a few months ago would result in a "30 Day Drawing Challenge" - a list of objects and people to draw.  I didn't pin it - just didn't fit my journey, but I was eventually inspired by it.  I created my own drawing challenge in late November and officially started January 3.  It includes a variety of skill building exercises or new techniques to try.

Day 1: A pen & ink value scale - draw increasingly smaller patterns to create light to dark values.
Day 2: Finish documenting my watercolor pan set.  I'd drawn the page a month ago in a watercolor journal, but had neglected finishing.  Now it's done and the bright colors are inspiring.

Taken with my phone due to low camera battery & lack of patience.
Yesterday - Day 3: Drawing with my left (non-dominant) hand. When you start out knowing you have less control, it's actually quite freeing.  The perfectionist takes a break.  The inner critic shuts down.  The process is shaky and feels odd, but not as bad as I had imagined.   The imperfect lines have a certain charm to them I think.  I don't find myself saying - well, good grief - coulda' done better.  Aaah.

I've moved on to a bigger sketchbook -less bright, thinner, rougher pages - good for pencil sketches.  The different paper may not photograph as well.  We'll see when I actually use the camera.

PS - All you people who received some type of sketchbook and art supplies for Christmas.  (Yes, YOU!)  You could do these challenges.  Hmm.  Actually, anyone with any kind of paper could.  Really - give it a try.  Right now.  Get out those pads you tucked away (or a piece of paper out of your printer) and give it a whirl!
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