I’d planned to sketch this necklace anyway. While I was setting up, I heard them say on the radio that it was Star Wars Day. It’s a sort of star on the necklace – well, I’ve never considered it a flower – so I thought it was even more appropriate. I received it a few years ago from my friend Viv in England and I do love it. Every time I wear it someone comments on how nice it is.
I am still trying to do this ‘materiality’ thing. This was a new approach, that I think has worked really well and I will use again. I quickly roughed the necklace in with a yellow ochre watercolour pencil. The sun was moving fast (I was multi-tasking with household chores) so I moved it along to follow the sun & roughed in the shadows. Then I got a post office pen (a dip pen) and sepia ink & drew the necklace. Finally I took my brush to the watercolour pencil and then added a little more dark to the beads. I must say that I like the line that the dip pen gives. It’s much more hesitant and wavery – and more scratchy too, but somehow it seems more me. I have the full range of Matisse Inks so I plan to try them all with this process..
The other night while I was lying on the floor doing exercises, I pulled this book out of the bottom shelf of the book case to revisit it. It is The Artist’s Drawing Book by Moira Huntly. It’s an old book and you can get a second hand copy very cheaply. Reading it again during the last couple of days, I realised that it is like a bible to materiality. Moira Huntly shares her processes with drawings in a huge range of different materials. There’s inspiration in there to keep me going way past Every Day in May – perhaps past the end of the year. I’d say – buy it!
Every Day in May is coming up fast. Join us – get the info from the sidebar on the right.
My current sketchbook is very close to full. As I did last year I’m going to use a smaller sketchbook in May. My current one with the blue paste paper cover is a case-bound book made with Como paper. The size of the book relates to the division of the large sheets of paper when I made it. Como paper is very heavy cartridge paper – like the paper you use in your printer but much much heavier, 210 gsm.
My new book had the pages torn to match the size of the covers of this old book. It is Canaletto paper, 300gsm, smooth. It is a watercolour paper and very robust. It was coptic bound, then the spine closed in with leather. I think it gives it a suitably retro look. I’m looking forward to starting this little book, though the small size will drive me mad. I keep wanting to draw bigger than the page no matter which book I have.
This year in May I am going to allow white space to work for me.Elizabeth Perry‘s blog, Woolgathering inspires me. I always fill the page. So this time I am going to go minimalist, while also trying to keep the materiality thing going. I also plan to set a ten-minute timer on my phone. So we will see what I have in my sketchbook by May 31.
Join Every Day in May.
We met at the Tara Tea Rooms only recently when our friend Cynthia from the USA was here. This week we were back again, as it was a slightly damp morning & we had a lot of catching up to do. Fortunately at Tara Tea Rooms there is always something to draw – the wonderful collection of tea cosies.
I took with me the beautiful watercolour sketchbook about Bali, An Artist’s Journey to Bali: The Island of Art, Magic and Mystery that Cynthia gave me for a gift, so that the others could see it. Bali is my second home. Cynthia and her husband had visited it for the first time and followed many of my recommendations. You can read about her visit on her blog.
This is my newest perfume. Versace Versense. It’s not that I have so many perfumes. It’s just that I never know what to buy. I know which perfumes I like, but I haven’t found a way to look up perfumes I like and find similar.
I read about my newest one in an article in the paper. My previous one, ESCALE A PORTOFINO by Christian Dior for WOMEN: EDT SPRAY 2.5 OZ , I read about in a Vogue magazine at the hairdresser’s.
Then I found this book, Perfumes: The A-Z Guide and it told me a blog and a forum to look up reviews, as well as an A to Z guide to perfumes. I just loved the book and learnt so much and will probably buy a copy – it had to go back to the library. They are very um……….blunt, about many of the perfumes, so it is a hilarious read. I had it for two months and didn’t want to give it back.
Since I read Moira Huntly’s Painting & Drawing Boats – well, I was up to page 11 when I did this drawing – I wanted to go back to Iron Cove to draw some more boats. The part I’d read was the part about small boats – dinghies. It’s interesting because boats like this are very simple, so you just tend to draw. But boats can have quite complex perspective, and even with simple ones you need to be thinking about perspective. I’m happier with my two front dinghies because I put this into practice.
Huntly draws many boats in British or European harbours which have a tidal fall of about 20 feet or more sometimes, so she gets the opportunity to draw boats that are not on the water. The boats in the background of my drawing are all bobbing about and turning turning turning, so I did the best I could and just took a stab at them.
I’ve now read more of the book and understand a bit more about what perspective problems there are, so I plan to find some larger boats that are not on the water so that I can become more familiar with their structure so that I can be a bit more accurate when I have to take a stab at a moving boat.
Another great book I read over the summer is Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes. You may remember his name from the screenplay of “Young Victoria”. This book is set in England and is about two men in their sixties who were deb’s delights back in the 1960s. It is screamingly funny – one man looks up quite a number of ex-debs to find out which of them may have borne a child to the other man. I went to live in England for a number of years in 1969 and what I found fascinating was the protagonist’s comparison between the England of that time and the England of the present day. I worked for a while at Penshurst Place which gave me an inside view of that world. My very favourite book of all time is
The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate: Two Novels which is set at least thirty years earlier but deals with people of the same class. I even have procured from Canada the wonderful tv series of 1980. Very well worth the money.
This is the drawing for March for the Virtual Paintout – destination Stavanger Norway. I want to draw as many buildings as possible till I do them not only better but faster. This was first in pen and watercolour, then I decided that all these little blocks of colour would be quicker with watercolour pencils. That was OK till I wet the wcp, but then the Indiathrene Blue that was on the water was tooooo violet. So I used Prismacolour pencils (not watercolour) to put greens and turquoises over the blue.
Over Christmas I read the best book I’ve read in ages. It was We Are All Made of Glue by Marina Lewycka – she’s already famous for having written A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. I’ve read both now, – they’re both funny, but I think the ‘glue’ one is amazing. It really brightened up my Christmas. Christmas Day itself was a bit trying, so on Boxing Day it was bliss to have this wonderful book to read. On Monday night I went to hear the author speak – she’s here from England for the Adelaide Writers’ Festival. She was all you could hope for – she did three readings from the book and then took questions.
What’s the book about? We’ll, it’s about a younger woman and a very old woman. The younger woman’s husband has gone – she’s put his belongings out in the street in a skip and she finds the old woman delving among his possessions. Very shortly afterwards the old woman has a fall, ends up in hospital and names the younger woman as her next of kin. This is where it starts. It’s a very funny book, but with a serious back-story.