To celebrate the start of the Chinese year of the Ram, here is a watercolour of a ram I photographed in New Zealand.
This year is refered to the year of the sheep or goat or ram as the BBC explains in this video Chinese New Year confusion over sheep and where I got this slide:
On Friday, I took Degas to the vets and sketched her as she fought the sedative she was given. She had xrays on her bad leg. There were no obvious fractures or other skeletal problem, but they are being sent for a second opinion. So the question remains, why is she still limping and not getting better?
Last weekend, I finally got a tab and having tried my first digital sketch at the last Urban Sketchers Symposium (click here to see it) downloaded a couple of apps. Thanks Omar Jaramillo for the app info. Check out his great watercolours here. These are my first digital doodles:
Final things from this week:
Although I'm only three quarters of the way through the Monologue A5 sketchbook, which I started 27th December at the Winter Wonderland sketchcrawl, I have abandoned it. The main reasons are the perferations and the wrinkling of the paper when water is applied. I tried 2 pages of a Canson but the ink smudges, so I will probably go back to my favourite Daler Ebony sketchbooks.
I started tutoring the mixed media course and will report on that at another time. The first course photo can be seen on my facebook page. and instagram @suepownallartist15
Lastly, I have a finished drawing, the first of the year, seen here. It's a bit of an experiment as I used watersoluble ink.
What have you done this week?
As mentioned last week, I have been studying on Liz Steel's Sketching Now online course. Stretched over 12 weeks, Liz has covered all the foundations of successful sketching in well-thought out lessons presented in Liz's charming and exuberant fashion. Each week, there has been an indoor and outdoor prompt. I have missed one week entirely (week 9), only managed 2 of the outdoor prompts, but have managed the majority of the indoor ones.
Despite being a regular urban sketcher, during the last few months of 2014 I had felt lost. However, having worked through this course, on the 11th January I wrote alongside my coursework:
I LOVE DETAILING LIKE THIS!!!... Using class to remember who I am.
In the first lesson we had to draw our current sketching kit, which is something I've not done before. My Super5 pen has since run out of ink and I've replaced the Super5 Atlantic ink with Noodler's blueblack. I prefer the Atlantic, but can't get it here in UK and the postage is too high from Germany.
My biggest struggle has been with doing set up lines. When sketching, I normally work directly in ink and sometimes use dots as a guide to key points of a sketch. I can see the value of doing a minimal set up for complex scenes, but, I struggle to observe properly in pencil. Is it because I can change it? I struggled with that throughout the course. Right is an example from week 4.
Liz's course was very comprehensive, and I'd thoroughly recommend doing one if you have the chance. It was good to be reminded of some of the basics, and to try out the exercises. shh don't tell Liz but I frequently got halfway through some exercises and had totally forgotten what I was "supposed" to be doing. I aslo frequently missed off adding the colour.
One of my favourite exercises and results was looking at shapes. I finally drew my Korean teacup that I bought in 2001 and has been in storage until now. It was supposed to be in 2 colours but I loved the shapes as it was, which is half the fun of experimenting within a class situation.
Finally, here's an outside sketch for week 10 that is not of a subject that I would normally choose, but captures a snapshot of dad's garden in winter. If you want to see my other sketches for this course, they are all in an album on flickr: Sketching Now coursework
The questions and my answers:
I've been invited by Béliza Mendes to participate in the Monday Around the World Blog Hop.
Béliza and I first met and the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Barcelona and then again at last year's symposium in Paraty. I was very fortunate to spend a few days with her prior to the symposium exploring and sketching another Brazilian town, which was a great way to warm up for the intensive sketching that occurs at the symposiums.
How does Around the World Blog Hop work?
Every week someone is nominated to answer a few questions about their creative process, post those answers on the following Monday and nominate someone else to do the same.
What am I working on?
This year is turning out to be a time of experimentation for me. I have been employed as an art tutor for the charity WEA and my first course this year is back at the homeless café Sanctus teaching Mixed Media. As this is not my area of expertise I have been experimenting with texture, collage etc.
Recently, I took a workshop in etching, which I haven't done since art college, and I can't wait to get back in the print workshop as my head is full of ideas. You can read about the workshop here.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I am a pen and ink artist specialising in drawings of buildings, landscapes, boats, portraits and more. Very few people work primarily in black and white like I do nor with the detail and interpretation that I bring to a subject.
This is an example, Al Minsefah Doorway, which is part of my popular Decay series drawings. More here: Decay Series.
Why do I create what I do?
I have always drawn and from an early age I was aware of a pen drawing of my grandmother's farm hung in my parents' house and I wanted to be able to copy it. It was at art college that I really focused on drawing with all types of ink pens. I mainly had to teach myself the techniques through reading art books and emulating artists I liked as the majority of my lecturers were painters. A college printing course, where I first learnt to etch and yearned to be the next Albrecht Dürer, was a great influence too, but at the time I found the process too slow and liked the relative immediacy of drawing with pen & ink better.
I choose subjects that appeal to me and themes have repeated throughout my career such as decaying buildings, wood and rocks, which all lend themselves well to the medium. Travel and culture is a big part of my life, and these are also reflected in my drawing subjects.
However, my world is not only black and white. As an urban sketcher, I often add watercolours to my on-location sketches.
How does my creative process work?
I always have a sketchbook near me, although I do not sketch daily, I use it and my phone to record things that catch my eye, from the shadows on trees on a dogwalk to the interaction between people in a coffee shop. From those on-location sketches and/or photos I them compose a drawing, chosing the focal point, what's needed to give context, what to leave in, move position, or take out. Each drawing is not a copy of a single image but an amalgamation. For example,
That brings me to the end of this meme's questions. If you have any comments, or further questions, please leave them below.
Finally, I would like to nominate Kris Wiltse, www.drawingsfromlife.blogspot.com to post next Monday. Kris does amazing watercolour sketches and inspired me to sketch directly in paint as seen in my skaters here. Don't forget to pop over to see Béliza's post and others in this blog hop.
This week's homework for Liz Steel's online course Sketching Now, which I'll be posting about next Saturday, was to sketch in a café. My morning didn't go to plan, which those of you doing the course know, is what happened to Liz too. The brief was to sit head on a café counter and to draw from the focal point out. My idea was to head to Tiptree Tearooms & Jam Factory mid-morning for a cuppa and a scone. However, I got engrossed in some material I was preparing for a course I am giving and didn't get there until midday. I got a head on view, of the side, which was not exciting as the photo shows. To my left was the hostess desk, so I chose to draw that instead.
I used my Super5 pen, which is filled with Noodlers blueblack ink, and started at the desk, added the girl who flitted there and back, then worked more details out from that point. I do like how the sketch looked before I added watercolour.
Initially, I had thought to have a scone with my tea, but as it was lunchtime I ordered a salad instead. Whilst, waiting for it to arrive I added colour to my sketch. (The finished scanned image is below). Unfortunately, due to a huge queue of people waiting for tables at the hostess desk, I scrapped my plan to sketch my food too, so ate quickly and left.
I am a nomadic artist travelling the world for inspiration. Here, I publish my sketchbook work alongside my new finished pieces.