Tuesday, July 29, 2008

EDM 13 - Draw your phone

This is my new cell phone. For years, I bucked the trend and didn't have one, didn't even want one. I had pared my life down to carrying a tiny little purse that held my wallet, a tissue, keys and a lip gloss. Carrying the bare essentials meant life was easy. I took this philosophy to other parts of my life, too, keeping the important things and not getting bogged down with consumerism and being the "firstest with the latest". But life conspires against this kind of simplicity. Now it's hard to find a public pay phone. EMTs are trained to check cell phones for the ICE number, the person to call In Case of Emergency. And my employer thinks cell phone warnings are the way to deal with a potential disaster. Hence my new cell phone, and my search for a slightly bigger purse that will fit the phone. I may as well get one even a little bigger to hold the iPod. Sigh...
Done with a Staedtler pen and watercolor pencils. This is probably the fastest sketch I've ever done!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

EDM 181 - Draw a trash can

My kitchen trash can is white plastic, and the condo's is a big brown bin, neither of which were interesting nor inspiring. I found a picture in a flyer of this sleek, stainless steel cylinder and decided to play with color. I'm not sure that I like this at all. But my philosophy is that if I do the challenge, I post the challenge. I'll chalk this one up as practice. The lesson learned today is to look at mundane things in a new way, and see the beauty in practicality and utility.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

EDM 180 - Favorite Color

My thinking for this challenge led me to the conclusion that I don't have a favorite color. In fact, the reason I like to paint rather than just draw is because of the colors. Without color, it just isn't interesting (which could also be my philosophy of life if I chose to dissect that sentence). But back to the point... I couldn't choose a color, so I looked to my patio plants to see what grabbed my attention. This container of geraniums and lobelias is quickly becoming my favorite color combination. I had chosen white lobelia to contrast with the salmon geraniums in the black container. Instead I got a mislabelled batch of these brilliant blue lobelias. Serendipidity! This combo is eye-popping.(And geranium leaves are so much fun to paint!) Watercolor in Moleskine wc journal.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

EDM 36 - Draw in public

This is a display of bags of coffee beans at Starbucks. It was in front of the big cushy armchair I chose to sit in, and with my resolve to draw in public it seemed appropriate to just draw what was in front of me. This turned out to be quite a learning experience on so many levels. When I set up to draw at home, I spend a lot of time placing the objects, moving them around, adding and subtracting elements, looking for the perfect shadows and highlights and anchor point. By anchor point I mean the specific point at which I start the drawing, and the point against which I measure all other lines and angles. I hadn't realized how important that anchor point was until here, when I had an immovable position and an immovable object. The display case was against the window and the only source of light was the overhead lights, creating a real flatness and lack of shadows. I began drawing this at the top of the sign, and as I drew downwards, I became aware of how the point of view changed. The bags on the top shelf were above my eye level and all I could see was the front of them. As I went down, and my perspective changed, so did what I could see of the bags. Below eye level, I could see the tops and sides of the bags as well. Because I was in public and a bit nervous about it, I drew as quickly as I could. I also used a finer pen. I think I did achieve a less stilted and formal drawing than the previous one. But I learned a lot, and I really had fun doing it. I will definitely be doing it again. There are so many coffee shops!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Be like the flower, turn your faces to the sun."- Kahlil Gibran

The other morning, I was enchanted by this scene in my backyard. The day lillies had exploded into bloom and leaned gracefully across the birdbath. The sparrows were chattering and splashing. It's my little piece of paradise.

One of my art goals has been to experiment with different media. I really admire those who can draw with pens (drawing is not something that comes easily to me), and wanted to try pens and wash. This is a little tighter than I would want it to be. It's one of those drawings where sometimes I like it, and sometimes I don't. But I really did like the process of doing it. I found it totally absorbing. I understand the "rule" that you have to understand the princples of drawing and how to apply them correctly before you can creatively break them. I think you have to draw tighter at first in order to understand how to draw looser.

Friday, July 11, 2008

EDM 179 - Draw an onion

These green onions always seem to be the epitome of freshness. One of the best things to do with them is to make Crispy Green Onion Pancakes, a Chinese street food. They are made of unleavened dough rather than a batter, and require a bit of patience. But if you like making bread like I do, then this is a recipe that is worth the work.

Green Onion pancakes

3 cups of flour

1 cup of hot water

Chopped green onions

Sesame oil

Salt and pepper

Peanut oil

Put the flour in a bowl and add the hot water to it. Stir until it comes together in a ball. Turn the ball out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes until the dough is silky and smooth. (yeah, the directions are a bit vague but making bread is like that). Put the ball of dough back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the dough onto a floured surface again and knead for 1 or 2 minutes until it's no longer sticky. Now comes the fun part. Cut the dough into pieces, depending on how big you want your pancakes. Roll the piece into a round thin shape about 1/8 inch thick. Brush with sesame oil, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and then the chopped onion. Roll it into a cigar shape, then coil it into a round shape, and then roll it out til it looks like a tortilla. Cover with the plastic wrap, and continue with all the rest of the dough pieces. Heat the peanut oil in a frying pan until quite hot, then quickly fry the pancakes one or two minutes until crispy. Flip and fry the other side. Serve smokin' hot with soy sauce. Delicious!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

EDM 18 - The view from a window

There are several, large, noisy, busy crows that live in the poplar trees just across the street. The sturdy poplars have lots of crooks in the branches for supporting nests, and the trees are tall enough that the nests are safe. Lately, they have been venturing onto our property and taking over the tall spruce trees as well. Almost every night this spring, when the sun goes down, and the world takes on that odd colorless one dimensional feeling, a crow has come to roost on the tallest tree. This tree has a tall, thin leader branch and the crow perches on the very top of it. It is too thin to support his weight so each landing results in a gentle bob of the branch until it surrenders to inevitable and bends over. The crow then sits there motionlessly, silhoutted flatly against the sunset until it is fully dark. Although the crows are noisy and obnoxious during the day, this seems an almost meditative and solitary behaviour. I wonder what he's thinking.

Friday, July 04, 2008

EDM 178 - Draw something red

I took my first trip to the Farmers' Market yesterday, just in time to catch the first shipment of B.C. cherries. Oh, how wonderful! The cherry orchards in the Okanagan area were hit by frost and cold temperatures and some of the crops were destroyed. The damage was hit and miss, though, so some survived and I was delighted to see them (as were many others, those beauties were flying off the tables!) It's a good thing we are never forced to pick a "favorite" fruit or vegetable, because it seems that whatever is on the table at the Market is my current favorite. And of course, they were perfect for this week's challenge - that voluptuous shape, the luscious mysterious colors, the bold sheen. Watercolor in Moleskine.
“Life is just a bowl of cherries, don't take it serious, it's mysterious. Life is just a bowl of cherries, so live and laugh and laugh at love, love a laugh, laugh and love."
Bob Fosse

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Canada Day, Draw a flag

Today is Canada Day, celebrating our nation's 141st birthday. This year also marks the 400th birthday of Quebec City, founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1608. It is the first place in Canada where European settlers spent the entire winter. It has recently been declared a World Heritage site. This year is also the 250th anniversary of the first parliamentary procedure, taking place in what is now Nova Scotia, and is considered the earliest democratic process in North America. Happy Birthday, Canada, the true north strong and free!