Posted in Alzheimers, Courses, creativity, Drawing, Drawings, Gratitude, illustration, life drawing, portraits, portraiture, Procreate art, Sktchy

It’s been an arty kinda month

It’s been a while since I wrote a post. Seems to be something I say a lot lately. Life’s been busy with my deep dive into developing my life drawing and anatomy skills, learning oil portrait painting, more progress on my portrait practice challenge, and developing my digital art skills too. In between all of that I’ve still be plodding along working on my novel here and there, and going to work, living and spending time with my loved ones as much as I can.

I hope you have been well. It’s turned into a topsy-turvy world with this COVID virus and my thoughts are with everyone who has been affected.

So… I’ve been having an arty kind of month and am sharing some of the things I’ve done.

In early July, I attended a four day oil portrait painting workshop run by Jess Le Clerc from Art School Co on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland and focused on capturing my mum as she struggles with Alzheimer’s Disease. I wanted to capture how lost she is and how much she tries to understand what is happening around her.

I wanted to connect with my mother in a special way that conveyed how much I love her.

This oil painting was a very emotional experience for me. As mum emerged on the canvas I found my emotions swell up, crest and crash all over my broken heart. Memories of her before this disease started to steal her memories from us plunged pain in to the centre of my chest. My eyes welled but I also felt great joy as I quietly painted my mother’s likeness.

In a strange way I got to spend four days communing with my mum in a way that goes beyond language and touches the heart and soul. I don’t know if I will ever paint another image that will be as profoundly important to my heart as this one. Above is a photo of the still wet oil portrait.

Jess Le Clerc ran an excellent workshop and catered to many different portrait needs and artist skill levels. She was fun to learn from and so very informative. I wish I had been more developed as an oil painter so I could have peppered her with questions. But I’m still such a beginner I didn’t know what to ask.

Anyway it took some time for me to be able to speak about this experience with my mum’s oil portrait as emotions kept rising for me to deal with. Grief mixed with joy not only in the four days I spent painting but also for weeks afterwards.

As I moved through that experience I found myself doing more digital art. Here are two of my most recent digital portraits from my portrait practice challenge.

These were part of the Sktchy 30 faces in 30 days. I only did three portraits of this challenge as I had so many other things going on in my life. The girl’s hand took me four attempts to make it look like a hand and I think I sat on this digital portrait for about 20 days as I pondered what wasn’t quite right with it. In the end it came together and I am happy with my progress and progress is what counts.

Below you’ll see some life drawings from July as well as a study of the human eye. I’m learning more about anatomy and how to use light, shade and tonal values to create what I want you to see. It’s going to be fun to see how my slowly developing anatomy skills show up in my life drawings. I have no specific expectations, only a curious openness to what appears on the page.

Then I found my most favourite artist, Aaron Blaise, and joined up to be a member of his art classes because… well… I love his work and I am grateful such a great teacher is out there sharing his art and animation knowledge for creative hungry creatives like me.

I signed up to do his Hidden Creatures of the Forest class and this is my first digital panting. I followed along and created my own version of this fern creature. I admit I love him. And I am so looking forward to doing more of these kinds of creatures. They wildly imaginative and fun to do. Although I have discovered that digital art takes me three times longer to do than traditional art does. Maybe I am putting more time and attention into every detail now…?

The above fern creature is set against a photo that I took while in England in 2018. It was fabulous to use some of my photos from my big UK trip in my art. I hope you like him as much as I do. But I am biased. I love him!

Anyway, lots to do. More art, more writing, more meditation and stuff. So I’ll sign off now. Whatever you’re doing I hope it’s creative and filling your inner bucket up with joy and happiness. In these strange times I think it’s important to come home to yourself and let your creativity out into the world.

Happy Creating!

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, 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.

Below is the one I did in the mini Sktchy course with Margriet AasmanIMG_0789

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 Drawing, Drawings, portraits, portraiture, Sketches, skillshare, Sktchy

100 Portraits Progress Update

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Portrait in Graphite – 8/100 portrait challenge, 27 July 2019

This week, I finished the Sktcy online course, ‘Faces with France: Wrinkles’. The portrait above is the art I worked on as I did the last class. It was great and it took me about two hours to do this piece.

I’m only just beginning to understand how to create wrinkles on the face that look realistic while also not ageing my subject beyond their current years.

It’s quite a challenge. Below is a short time lapse video of how I did this artwork.

This portrait below was done in black pen on white acid free paper. This grand old gentleman was 94 years old. I think I caught a pretty good likeness. I couldn’t see one ear, so it wasn’t put into the drawing. I am starting to build confidence with cross hatching and I am learning patience. Also, I’ve learned that it’s really important to do this kind of drawing on a hard surface as the shadows and lines develop better. I could have pushed more shadow into the forehead but I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Portrait 7/100, Ink pen on white acid free paper
Portrait 7/100, Ink pen on white acid free paper – 25 July 2019

 

Here is a portrait I did in colour pencils. Unfortunately one eyes isn’t quite as big as the other but I’m getting better with practice. I loved doing her hair and catching her big eyelashes on the page. I’ve put up the base drawing and the finished portrait.

I tried a different technique on the portrait below, choosing a scribbly style to capture light, shadow and wrinkles. I also used a white gel pen for highlights. I like this portrait but it lost a lot of likeness as I did it. Still my inspiration model was happy when she saw it and that was wonderful.

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Portrait 5/100, Scribbly Portrait – 21 July 2019

I’m really looking forward to seeing how my own style develops as I do the 100 portraits challenge. I’m also taking a few more portraiture classes so I can learn different mediums, techniques and the anatomy of the face and neck area.

I’m also keen to build up my art portfolio so that when I do more Skillshare teaching, I’ve got more tools and experiences to share.

I’m still dabbling in my creative writing, but it’s limited as I am working on a knotty plot problem and need to allow my mind time to move through it.

For now, I am thoroughly enjoying the experience of diving back into my art practice and creating images that I love.

I’m also doing a lot of experimenting with rough sketching and watercolours. I’ll show you those images in a later post.

Until then, Happy Creating whatever you choose to do.

Posted in doodle, Pastels, portraits, skillshare, Sktchy, visual diary, water color, Water Colour, Water Colours, watercolour

Art Practice this week

This week I have been diving deeper into portraits, busy developing my observation skills by focusing on drawing and painting fruit and vegetable compositions and I have also played around with creative doodling in my visual diary.

Here’s my week in art.

The above portraits are the start of my 100 portrait practice challenge which I set myself. They were entered into the Sktchy Pouty Portrait party this weekend. It’s a bit of fun focusing on drawing pouty lips. The little girl’s face is done in soft pastel and the guy’s face is in graphite. I’m still learning and developing my crosshatching technique.

I really enjoy the Sktchy app and the teachers there too. Such a great community.

The portraits above were completed with pen in my visual diary before I decided to do the 100 portraits practice challenge. There’s a few things I would do differently if I were to do them again but overall I’m happy with how they turned out as they gave me more practice at drawing faces and using crosshatching.

I am working on creating a new skillshare course on drawing and painting fruit and vegetables your way. To put my class together, I wanted to spend some time today capturing fruit and veg in my watercolour diary using various watercolour mediums. It was a fun exercise and I even managed to do a timelapse of this project.

Going forward, I plan to fill up the two pages with various fruit and veggies with bites taken out of them. It could be fun.

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Lastly, I sat outside in the Aussie winter sun during the week and did this doodle in my visual diary. It was a lot of fun and I think I’m becoming obsessed with drawing sunflowers now.