Sunday, October 28, 2007
For most of my adult life, I used an iron that I had picked up second hand at a yard sale. It was a perfectly good iron - solid, heavy, with a shiny surface, and a practical black plastic body. But eventually its performance began to decline. The steam holes began to fill in with lime and scale from our hard water. It began to spit and heat unevenly and erratically. I bought linen and cotton clothes, hoping that no one would notice that I was no longer actually ironing anything. I was instead relying on body heat or the steam from the shower to release the wrinkles. It was only marginally effective at best. So I broke down, and went shopping for a new iron. And what a surprise! Modern day irons were light to hold, quick to heat up, the shapes and lines of them were lovely, and look at that color! Now that's an iron designed to make ironing far less of a tedious chore. This iron dances over the fabric and swishes steam out gently and softly, chasing away the wrinkles. It's a treat to use it now, and also a treat to be more well groomed. And while I never drew my old iron, I bet this one was way more fun to draw and paint.
Monday, October 22, 2007
I had decided to do the paintbrushes, but I was a little apprehensive about painting metal. I had wanted to try all the crazy reflections and shapes that come with painting metal, so I looked really hard and tried to see the shapes within. I wasn't happy with it, but I had to leave it to go to lunch for a friend's birthday. When I came back it looked quite a bit better than I had thought when I left it. I think sometimes you can look so hard at something that you see only the parts and not the whole. I tried too hard to see the reflected shapes and ended up losing the brushes themselves. The lesson learned in this sketch is to find the balance between the detail and the object, and to not let the detail overwhelm the story.
"Solutions to problems often depend upon how they're defined."
Mary Catherine Bateson
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
This is some of the envelopes I got in the mail. I tried to think up an interesting interpretation of the envelope theme, but it didn't really lend itself to anything clever. An envelope is an envelope. And it did look very plain, I couldn't even find one with an interesting stamp or logo or pattern. Those Canada Post prepaid envelopes are singularily unimaginative. So I thought maybe I could make an interesting background to add some punch. I left then to go to my book club meeting (Alligator by Lisa Moore - lyrically written but brooding and violent and essentially plotless). I came home about 4:00. The lowering sun was shining strongly in through the window directly onto these envelopes. And it suddenly became all about the shadows cast onto the table. I thought that was way more interesting (and more real) than a fantasy background. The lesson learned is that light and shadow are so crucial to creating interest and substance in a drawing. The blue square is the logo for the company sending the envelope, but I didn't want to actually put company names or addresses.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
One year ago today, I began this blog to join the EDM art group. I had been lurking on the group for a while as I learned how to create and manage a blog. I began posting the challenges last October although I didn't formally introduce myself and my posts until January. It was a big leap in courage for me to show my drawings to others. But I really wanted to join a community where I could see what others were doing, and share techniques and ideas. I did not achieve my second goal which was to post 100 times in the first year. This is #86, most of which have been EDM challenge drawings.
Blogging is an interesting phenomenon. I read that the average blog has a life span of three months, probably because it requires quite a commitment. It's made me pay attention to what I draw, to really try hard, and to make a real attempt to do something every day. And then I have to find something interesting to say about it. But I can see how easy it is to measure your own value by the number of hits on your page. I try to resist the temptation to live or die by how many comments I get. I try to value the quality of comments over quantity. (I've also noticed how the meaning of the word "friend" has changed with the advent of blogs and social spaces on the Internet. How many of those called "friends" are people that you have actually shared hopes and stories with, as opposed to just sharing biographical facts? But I digress.)
I have been fortunate that all the comments on my blog have been positive and cheerful and pleasant. I have received a lot of encouragement, not just about my drawing but about my writing too (I get that from my dad). If you are reading this, I thank you personally for your encouragement, and I hope I get a chance to see and comment on your drawings and paintings. I hope I get the opportunity to be around for another year, and work hard to achieve 100 posts, and catch up on the EDM challenges I have not yet done.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
This tea set was given to my parents as a wedding present more than 50 years ago. I have always loved it even though it is kind of kitschy. When I was little, my favorite book was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I imagined that if I opened a hidden door in the fence and found the garden, it would look exactly like this tea pot with the white doves and the bird bath and the climbing roses. Back in June, I stayed with my mom for several days and drew it. I took copious notes about colors and lines, etc. When the challenge to draw something with a handle came up, it seemed the perfect opportunity to finish this. But even with the notes, and even with as many hundreds of times of looking at the thing, I could not remember all of the details. So this weekend, when I was there again, I was able to focus on what I couldn't remember like how to finish the birdbaths. This is more complex than my usual drawings, with more detail and fine work. It seemed to take a very long time, but I'm actually pleased with how it turned out. It really looks like the tea set. I used water colors, watercolor crayons and a Pigma Micron pen.
Monday, October 01, 2007
There was a hard frost last week and many of the garden plants are frozen. This weekend we cleaned up, tore out dead plants, raked leaves. It's a sad time in a gardener's life. Later when I was doing some shopping I saw this stuffed scarecrow. She looked so bright and cheerful with her denim dress and colorful hat. I thought she would bring some needed freshness to the winter weary garden come November. But she made me think of the things that I like about fall:
the lucent brilliant blue of the prairie sky, that occurs at no other time of year; how the yellow leaves just glow against it; the tang of smoke on the brisk air; warm socks; flannel pajamas; crackling fires; and my favorite thing when I was a child, baked apples made with the tart crisp MacIntosh apples from BC.
So when I saw a full bag of them in my fridge, I knew just how to welcome autumn and begin the season of gratitude. I propped my soft round scarecrow up and drew her, and I made soft sweet baked apples. And then I put on my new flannel jammies.