Posted in Drawing, Drawings, healing, Journal, life drawing, mindful art, mindfulness, portraits, portraiture, Procreate art, self-love, Sktchy, yoga

Portraits & Botanical Drawings

I’ve been keeping-on-keeping-on with my portrait practice. Last week I hit portrait 65 of 100 of my portrait practice challenge.

I’m happy to say that my ability to see what is in front of me and draw that is improving. This means I am becoming much better at drawing portraits that have a likeness to the person and that makes me feel great. Sometimes their features are a little out of proportion like the lady above… I made her nose a little too large and had some trouble placing her eye on the far side of the three quarter view, but overall I am pretty happy with how my portrait skills are going.

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It’s a great way to spend time when I am not working (from home). My art practice is giving me space from the stresses of the world and helping me to figure out who I am and how I am seeing the world from day to day. I have noticed that if I am having an off day, emotionally-speaking, then my drawings can either save me and pull me out of that funk or they are a reflection of the inner turmoil I have been experiencing. I think that’s one of the wonderful things about art. It allows space for the mind to process what has been happening.

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A couple of weeks ago I was missing my fortnightly life drawing class so I spent a few hours reconnecting with how to see and draw the human figure with a fabulous yoga pose provided by a Sktchy muse.

The pose was quite a challenge for me to draw and I think I did a pretty good job of it, however, I can see a few errors. It’s always this way for me. I can’t see the errors at first but after a few days away from my work, I can see where I was in the process of drawing and seeing. And I can see where I have gone just a little off course.

Still I enjoyed the process of drawing that yoga pose and it inspired me to get on my own yoga mat. I’m no-where near as flexible as the lady I drew but that’s not the point. I have to keep reminding myself that yoga is about coming to the mat and working with my body where it is. Giving myself some inner love and acceptance.

What can I say… I’m a work in progress!

So this weekend I moved away from doing portraits and the human figure to embrace some nature. I came across an inspirational idea to use a thick felt tipped pen to create botanical compositions. The above drawing was completed today and I had a blast. It’s a combination of gum nuts, eucalyptus leaves and wattle.

So many hours of work but so much fun. I’m still learning where to go darker and when to hold back. But for my first botanic composition I reckon I managed to create a lovely piece of art.

I’m also embracing imperfection and messy art. I am allowed to make it my own messy creation cause when you stand back it looks great… even if its a bit of a messy-mess up close.

Yesterday, I played with the felt tipped pen in my A5 visual diary. It’s got creamy paper and is lovely to draw in. I found an image of a Protea and created this drawing, then I had to put prismacolor pencils on it to make it pop. I do love the combination of ink pen drawings with my prismacolor pencils. It’s so satisfying to see the work come to life on the page.

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And finally, last weekend, I spent a number of hours outside observing my lemon tree which I have carted around from one home to another in a pot – always whispering promises that when I finally have a home of my own I will plant it and give its root space to stretch out.

I’m still working on finding a place to call my own. The lemon tree has faith in me.

If you’re interested I did the above drawing on my iPad using procreate. I’m loving procreate and learning how to use it to capture art in a new way. There’s so much to learn.

Butterflies have been flitting around my home in abundance lately and laying their eggs on my lemon tree. It doesn’t have so many leaves now that the caterpillars have munched their way through the green leaves!

But I don’t mind. I’m sure my lemon tree isn’t too keen on being eaten like that but it will bounce back. It always does.

The act of sitting in my fold up chair and sketching my lemon tree was truly therapeutic and de-stressing.

I hope that my arty creations inspire you to take pen or pencil to paper or to try out your own creative line work on procreate too.

In this difficult times of isolation and social distancing, I think the practice of art and creative writing, journalling, singing, dancing, playing instruments – anything creative – is a soothing balm for the soul.

Happy creativity. May you draw, dance and be wild in your creative abandon. Don’t judge yourself. Just know that each attempt is a reflection of where you are at that moment in time.

I love that.

Posted in Alzheimers, Courses, creativity, Drawing, Drawings, life drawing, portraits, portraiture, Proko

The Start of Creativity 2020

The start of 2020 has been full on for me. I’ve had the challenging experience of making a difficult decision (with my brother) to admit our mother to permanent aged care. It was a very difficult and emotional time but mum seems to be doing well and I can only hope that she enjoys her time in the beautiful homey residence we chose for her.

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My mum in her new residence. Love her so much!

So in between rushing to Canberra to do all things aged care I’ve also managed to injure my lumbar spine and have a bulging disc. It’s horrifically painful and is limiting my ability to do art and write. I have to write a sentence and walk around as I don’t have a standing desk and the only comfortable positions for my back to heal are laying flat and standing up.

But over the first two months in between all this change I have managed to go to life drawing once and do more portraits as part of my portrait practice challenge.

Here’s a few photos of the portraites I’ve been working on:

And a couple from my January life drawing class:

I’ve also signed up to learn more about figure drawing with Proko. I would love to develop my drawing of the human figure and have less perspective errors in my drawings. So it’s going to be a fun year of creative exploration. There are so many great drawing tips from Stan Prokopenko on YouTube too. So if you love drawing and want to get better at it, you may want to check him out as well.

I hope you have a creative day no matter how you like to approach your creative expression.

 

Posted in Alzheimers, creativity, healing, life drawing, portraits, portraiture

Celebrating Art in 2019

I have been delving into a daily art practice since May this year and I want to share with you the joy that this form of creative expression brings me. To do this, I have put together a six minute video showing a lot of the portraits I have done and some of the creative ways I have drawn people and random things that interest me throughout this year. I have learned not to be so precious about my art and to be okay with unfinished drawings. I’ve learned to be self-compassionate and to enjoy being fully present in the moment.

When I am doing life drawing or sketching random people I am practicing my observation skills and my hand-eye coordination. I’m seeing and recording what catches my eye and details that are important to me. When I am doing portraits I am attempting to get a likeness, to develop my own style and most of all, I am trying to capture a sense of their spirit through my drawing.

This year, I have written my novels sporadically and I felt awful that I couldn’t write the way I wanted to. I have two novels in various stages of editing and it’s been too much for me to focus on that while also dealing with the pain of my mother’s Alzheimer’s disease,  and the flow on effect this disease has on my life. My brain has felt like cotton wool every time I have come to write my stories so this year I turned to my art practice as a place of solace and healing.

2019 has been an emotionally difficult year and I think 2020 may have a bit more of that to offer me but I am going to continue my writing and my art practice because that’s my way of living a creative life.

So, I hope, if you take the time to watch the youtube video below, that you enjoy it and that you are inspired to create, write, draw, paint, sing, dance, make music, do whatever creative expression muse calls you to do on a daily basis from now on. Because, making art is a celebration of life as we see it and relate to it. That’s what I believe.

It is also my belief that creative expression brings out the best of humanity and can call attention to important topics and causes too. So if you have something to communicate, please don’t hold back on expressing yourself through your chosen medium. Let yourself out to play, move away from judgement and into self-compassion. Move into acceptance of where you’re at and know that with every step you take you are making progress.

This is David, my partner. He is a volunteer fire fighter and last week he was out on a strike team fighting fires in Bundaberg, Queensland. These people are volunteering to save crops, animals, people and property while dealing with smoke and heat and harsh weather conditions. They don’t get paid and many of them take annual leave from their day jobs to be there for those in need.

Dave’s portrait is number 44 of 100 of my portrait practice challenge. It’s a portrait but it is so much more than that. To me, it is about honouring the volunteers who put themselves on the line for our community every time a fire threatens to devour whatever it in its path.

He sent me this photo when he had a chance. It was meant to be confirmation that he was safe and well. But I looked at it and saw a man doing his best to care for those in need and I wanted to honour that through my art.

I hope Dave’s portrait inspires you to make art that comments on the good work people do in this world too.

I may not blog again until early 2020, but before I sign off, I want to share with you that I am grateful for you touching my life, for the positive and supportive comments made and I hope that creative living provides you with a safe place to play and be yourself without judgement too.

Have a great end of 2019 and may 2020 bring you many hours of creative fun and joy! 

 

Posted in Alzheimers, Courses, creativity, Drawing, Drawings, life drawing, portraits, portraiture, skillshare, Sktchy, visual diary, water color, Water Colour, Water Colours, watercolour

Arty fun has been had

In recent weeks, I have been diving deeper into my art practice.

My writing brain is having a holiday from the pressure of editing my novel. I’ve felt a bit burnt out with my writing lately and needed to give myself permission to do something fun where I have no pressure to be at publication standard. No-one has ever put pressure on me to write to publication standard, but I have and I’m a harsh task master.

I have been on holidays and it has helped me to fill up my creative bucket through art.

Below are some of the portraits I have done as part of my portrait practice challenge. These are all black pen and one of them I used yellow and orange pencils to make the flower pop.

The portraits below include a self-portrait I did which is now the basis of my next Skillshare course, called Draw a Self-Portrait in Graphite.

I also experimented with black brush pen to create the quickest portrait I’ve ever done of the young man in half shadow. Then it was back to graphite to capture eyes.

Eyes, eyes, eyes. All one eye studies which I did as part of a Sktchy course with France Van Stone. I’m still doing this eyes course and loving it. I’m about to move on to pen drawings, so I’ll keep you updated when I get those done. The eyes below are of my family, partner and friend as well as one of my own eyes.

Then it was time to tackle one of the most emotionally difficult portraits I have ever done… my mother’s face. She has Alzheimer’s disease and is often lost and confused. The day I drew this portrait (below) my heart ached and I shed quite a few tears as I processed the grief I feel time and again as I come to terms with what is happening to my mum.

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I learned how to combine ink with watercolour and pastel pencils to create the two portraits below.

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These portraits were quite a lot of fun to do. The one above is my boss. It’s not an exact likeness but I caught the fact that he loves bright colours.

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This one below is my latest portrait. I did it yesterday as I completed an online sktchy course on how to draw a portrait using charcoal medium. This was quite a challenging medium to work in and I had to get used to pushing around the willow charcoal to create the features, and not go too heavy on the compressed charcoal when I went back into bring the eyes to life. I thoroughly enjoyed this class with Neil Rogers.

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I’m going to keep developing my portrait practice. I’ve done 18 portraits so far and I have been adding to my understanding of how to capture the face as well as get a likeness, then how to allow my own style to emerge. I’m looking forward to what the next eighty-two portraits look like as well as seeing how my preferences for mediums change.

Of course, I haven’t only been doing art classes, I have been learning how to draw in my visual diary and use watercolours to enhance what I want to capture. Above is a sketch of my dining room, multiple watercolour (in graphite watercolour as well as colour) mushrooms, an apple that I ate and painted one bite at a time, three pears.

And to top all this creativity off, I went to an Archery for Authors event where I learned to use a bow and arrow. I’m not the best aim but I killed a balloon and when we went outside to play with long bows, I hit the bullseye!

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It was a fantastic morning. Now if I choose to have a character in one of my novels that uses a bow and arrow, I’ll actually know what I’m writing about.

Until next time, I hope you are living an inspired and creative life.

Posted in life drawing

Life Drawing a Couple

Last Wednesday night I went to life drawing class and had an opportunity to draw two models in the same sitting. They were life partners, so very comfortable with each other.

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This drawing (above) was my favourite from the night. It wasn’t easy to do as I had to look at each section individually and suggest connections between the entangled areas of their bodies. I still got a few things mis-aligned but for the most part I captured a good likeness to them, their pose and the mood of the pose.

The drawing above where five minute poses. I used a white Poca pen for the guy and then added blue soft pastel to bring him and the shadows to life. The woman was drawing with blue soft pastel and white conte. She was sitting on a stool but I didn’t have time to sketch that in. I was pleased with how well the blue stood out on the black paper.

The woman (above) was drawn first in light pencil sketches and then in black ink pen. The man was drawn in 2B pencil. I had a little trouble getting his proportions at first but after a few under sketches he came together eventually.

The sketches above range in time – 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes and 5 minutes. They were mostly warm up sketches at the start of the night.

I’m looking forward to seeing how my rendering of the human form develops over the next year as I attend. I’m a little concerned that my drawings are too tight and I need to loosen up. But art is a work in progress kind of thing, so I’ll keep giving it a go.

I think if you’re interested in attending a life drawing class, you should take the opportunity to get along and give drawing the human form a go. It’s not easy but if you concentrate on looking at the negative space around the limbs, head and shoulders and other area of the body, you’ll find that your drawings will appear on the page.

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I was asked in last week’s class how I got the two models on the page and in proportion.

I’m not sure if you’re interested in my process, but here it is:

Basically I look at the negative space between the limbs and around them. I then look for what I call ‘anchor points’ between the two figures. So, in the above drawing, I noticed that the crease of his bottom was in alignment with her belly, the feet were on the same line, and her head was resting on his shoulder.

When I have all of those areas figured out, I was able to focus on drawing the lines and shapes rather than getting confused and overwhelmed with the idea of drawing the human body.

I also start drawing general shapes in from the top of the head to the feet, then I develop detail as I go.

For me, I have to be relaxed and in the flow to draw from life. It takes a little time for my mind to quiet down and then I just draw.

Posted in creativity, Cross Hatching, Drawing, Drawings, life drawing, portraiture, visual diary, Water Colour, Water Colours

Artistic Playfulness

It’s been another busy period of artistic playfulness. Here’s my next arty update for anyone who may be interested.

Last Sunday, I tapped into the inspirational photos of people on the Sktchy app and found a photo of a fellow artist. She had a beautiful face to draw and I was inspired.

The above photos show how I moved through the stages to get to the final image, which I am pretty happy with.

I started drawing a sketch of her face in graphite, then added a layer of black and brown crosshatching marks and followed up with watercolour pencils, indian ink and white marker pens to capture the light and shadows.

Prior to that I played around crosshatching and adding watercolour pencil to a sketch of my own hand. It was from a photo so that’s how I managed to capture my right hand (which is the one I use to draw).

I also spend a couple of days creating a watercolour portrait of this Mexican Hairless Dog. It’s probably not accurate to the image since I had to shorten the ears to fit him on the page, but I like him. This one painting was created with watercolour paint and watercolour pencils. I had a great time creating a glaze effect on this one. I probably could push it more, but watercolour is a new medium for me so I am in the learning and experimenting phase.

Last Wednesday night I rushed over to life drawing class and here are some of the sketches in various mediums. The drawings are not all accurate or in proportion but I like how my drawing is developing. I especially appreciate that I can now capture the whole person on the page and draw what I am seeing rather than what my brain thinks it’s seeing.

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This one (above) is probably my favourite sketch from the night. It took 20 minutes to do and gave me a challenge with foreshortening as well as capturing the form with crosshatching. I used black ink pen to do this one. There’s only one part of it that irks me as I think I didn’t capture it as accurately I would have liked, but that’s the process of drawing – learning to see and draw exactly what I see. I’m still learning and I’m grateful that I can continue to do that too.

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And just for fun, I’d seen this horse sitting in a shop window, and I liked him so much that I snapped up a photo so I could draw him in my visual diary later. After a long day at work, I decided to chill out while on the train home and that’s when I drew the horse in water soluble black ink pen. Then I used brush pen to get the shading and I’m totally in love with this sketch.

I’m also still writing… dun dun dun. Yes, one day… eventually I will finish my fiction story and I am still clinging to getting it published, even if I do that myself. It’s a long road from concept to first draft to editing to polishing to publication. I will get there – one word at a time.

Both art and writing are about establishing and maintaining a regular practice. It’s tough to do with a busy life but because I love living a creative life, I continue to return to my passions.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you have creative day whatever you are doing.

Posted in anxiety, characters, Courses, creativity, Cross Hatching, Drawing, Drawings, Editing, life drawing, Sketches, skillshare, visual diary, Water Colour, Water Colours

Ramping up my Art Practice

In the last month I’ve ramped up my daily art practice. Sketching and using water colour paints in my sketch books most of the time. I’ve also been to another life drawing class, attended my first water colour painting class and today, I have just finished a Sktchy course on cross hatching.

So if you’re interested… here is some of my work.

The cross hatched portrait below is my first one using black pens. It is the image the teacher used in the Sktchy course so you may see it around and depending on who drew it, it might be better rendered than I’ve done here. But having said that, I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. I just need to practice the art of seeing and capturing shadows with fine cross hatching marks.

Below is my graphite pencil sketch of the guy we did in the Sktchy course. I put him in a frame as I needed to mark out lots of lines to get his features down on the page with accuracy.

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A lot of people like this pencil cross hatch and I’m super happy with it.

I went to a beginners water colour class and learned about blooms and glazes and all sorts of other techniques. I’m a bit heavy handed with the delicate medium but it’s fun to learn, make mistakes and see where they lead.

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Above is my finished water colour mushroom. I had a lot of fun creating this small art work on the paper we stretched. It was a great class run by Holly from Life Drawing Caloundra.

I’ve been doing a botanical workshop on Skillshare and that’s stretched me a lot. Here’s one of the pieces. It’s a vintage inspired flower with petals and stem.

 

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I think I like the stem and leaves the best. It’s all water colour and took a while for me to layer. I’m not the best realism artist but you got to start somewhere right?

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Above is my botanical alphabet project from the skillshare workshop. It turned out pretty good, but I’m not a big fan of fancy fonts. Maybe one day I will embrace them but it irritated me a bit because I kept making mistakes with the pen and had to keep starting over. For me that’s too painful to do and I doubt I’ll become a calligraphy lover… at least not someone who does calligraphy, but I’ll always have respect for anyone who does the art form!

Then it was off to life drawing class on the 29th May to celebrate their first year of regular classes. It was a great night with every spare spot taken up by artists trying to capture the gesture of the model. Above are two of my pieces. I gave drawing on black paper a go and it worked out pretty good. Quite a few people liked that drawing with the soft pastel.

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Then, totally inspired by Sketchbook Skool, it was time to sketch book my way through my life and capture everyday moments. This image as you can see is of my M&M slippers which I picked up in London in late August 2018. I love them and taking time to draw my feet on the coffee table was excellent fun. No need to feel precious about my lines and marks. It was just an impression of my life and an opportunity to practice drawing what I am seeing rather than what my brain thinks it can see.

I intend to keep practicing and learning new techniques. I hope that as I grow as an artist, I will also be able to create better skillshare courses of my own. I’d like to pass on things I’ve learned but only after I’ve practiced enough and made the techniques my own. I’m not very comfortable in front of the camera yet and it has taken me a long time to learn how to video my art as well as to think about the classes I could teach and how to teach creative writing from my own perspective. I face a lot of internal fears every time I come to create a skillshare course, but I’m moving through my fears and into creativity. I even made a course to help other deal with their fears around creativity based on the tools I use to manage anxiety.

They say one of the best ways to learn is to teach and I’m on that road now too.

On the creative writing front.. I’ve been chipping away at my edited manuscript and had to change a few characters which has lead to a chain reaction of changing what they do and don’t do. I’m about a third of the way through my manuscript and I’m so grateful I’m doing lots of art because it stops me from having anxiety brain.

When I write, I feel a lot of angst to get things right. But when I do art, most of the time the angst just vanishes. I can spend hours and hours doing drawings and not even realise time has sped past. I love writing, but it is a different experience for me. It’s a complex and sometimes analytical experience which somehow triggers off the inner critic in me more than art ever has.

I guess this is all part of a learning curve for me. I’d like to publish my story and I’ll keep at it, and I’ll keep drawing every day because the practice is so good for my mental and emotional well-being.

Until next time, happy creating!