Monday, March 31, 2014

Continuous Line Contour Drawing

I've always liked Nicolaides' technique of contour drawing in The Natural Way to Draw. Trains the eye, & the hand to work with the eye. The pure method asks that you don't take your eyes off the subject. (Definitely unsettling but good learning.)

I just got brave & tried a new version of contour drawing: Not (almost not, in my case) lifting the pen. You start in one spot & just keep drawing with a continuous (almost continuous, in my case) line. It's interesting to focus on one small part at a time of the whole view, & it does get you out of preconceived notions of what the things are & into observing their abstract lines & forms. It's a surprise to see that at the end, a whole composition has filled the page. It almost feels like it did it on its own.
(This scene is a view to the kitchen counter, drawn while I was listening to a TV show.)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

From the Sketchbook: Dining Alone

Growing up, my understanding was that to dine alone was not socially acceptable. My mother, when my father would be away, would go out alone to the movies & to restaurants. I thought she was courageous. I tried it in my young adult years but was never comfortable with it. 

In our current café's it is most acceptable to be alone, but it seems one must have a newspaper, a book or a device. Society tells us we must be connected, even while eating.
Top sketch was made in a bakery café in Rockland where I was focusing on spatial perspective.The bottom one is from Wild Willy's restaurant in South Portland. I felt sad seeing this man who was actually eating alone without reading. Was I projecting my own feelings onto him? Was he a widower? Was I remembering that even though my mom went out alone, I sensed that she lonely without my father? I suspect that a lot of older people who are alone don't go out much into the world. Which can lead to isolation, which can lead to sadness. I wonder, dear friend, what your thoughts are.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Saint Patrick's Day

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
(the little rainbow is real, from my window prism) 
I've heard it's more of a holiday in America than in Ireland? 
I like the "May the...May you..." blessings that come from 
the Irish culture. Click on the image to read some.
 About that paintbox or palette: This is my latest. I bought it empty & filled it with my Winsor Newton paints from tubes. My limited palette is when I choose 3 to 6 of these colors. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

New Snow

Snow ALL day yesterday, which gave me permission to do lots of indoor filing & organizing (yes, I went away from the "art door", see previous post, thanks for sharing your experiences with that, really helpful.) 

The view out the window at 7AM this morning was startling. At first glance it seemed all white, but upon slower observation: so much color! Morning light & shadows change so quickly, I LOVE their drama. 

I've been avoiding observing the outdoors, kind of fighting with the reality of winter cold & dirty snow. But I'm accepting this March snow, even though it isn't considered "right". After all, Calendar Spring is supposed to arrive soon. There may be snow but still, the birds are singing.

Something new: Keeping a paintbox & sketchbook in the living room. Handy. You never know when you're hit with a flash, a sudden need to observe something. Have to act fast. Those of you with cameras know what that's like...

Something else: My new "Luma Bleed-Proof White Opaque Watercolor". Cool. Can even "erase" with it. Opaque watercolor (gouache) & oils or acrylics: A different energy than with watercolors. They're on my To Explore Further List.

Something else new: I have a new ritual, a "Word of the Day" that I sort of listen for as I wake. (I'm borrowing this from Library Jewel.) Today it was "Learn" because I need to study French & go to a class. But I'm adding in "New". March, is a great time for opening to the New. Sort of simple, but I like the way it helps me focus.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stuck Door: Push Harder?

Just as with physical exercise, a gal can get out of shape when 
she doesn't work with her sketchbook every day.

When you feel like there's a stuck door between you 
& the form of expression you enjoy,
is it better to stay & keep pushing/practicing, 
(even though everything you do turns to a Major Nothing), 
or is it better to go away & do something else?

I think it depends,
but I'd love to learn your ideas & experience.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Boston, Cambridge & Robins

Back from the big city. And a flock of Robins is back from somewhere, outside the 2nd floor window! There must be 20 or so, flying from tree to tree & to the ground, & a group was sunning itself in my tree.
We took the train to Boston...and back...North Station.
A view from another window, our hotel at  Kendall Square & Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. We were on the 21st floor, looking across the Charles River! Was it a bit of the luck of the Irish before the annual, Huge Saint Patrick's Day celebration that got us this room?
The Museum of Science: "Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture." (& history, economics, ecology, anthropology, biology, geography...) Kids running around, me taking notes...
 Some beautiful displays including old fashioned large scale dioramas, plus models, films & interactive technology.
Besides Harvard Square with its international college population & foreign language book store, the MIT Museum was a high point with articifical intelligence (Robots!) & mobile machine sculptures by Arthur Ganson. (Click here for more.)

Maybe someday there will only be Robin Robots (created by brilliant minds at MIT), but for today, back here at home, I'm glad to see the old fashioned kind...