Wednesday, January 27, 2010

EDM 44 - Draw an animal

One of the highlights of our recent cruise, was snorkeling with the sea turtles in Barbados. They were magnificent! They have such grace and elegance in the water. They were not afraid and came right up to us, swimming around and among us. At one point, I was kind of eye to eye with one. It was truly a thrilling experience.
Green turtles are an endangered species and are protected in most areas. They have a life span of about 80 years. The "green" comes not from their shell which is mostly brown, but from the layer of greenish fat beneath the shell. Unlike most sea turtles, the green is herbivorous.
This is watercolor pencil in Moleskine sketchbook.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

EDM 257 - Draw a houseplant

One cold, dark, winter afternoon I struggled through the snow to the grocery store to stock up. There by the entrance was a display of these beautifully blooming African Violets. They were waiting for people like me who were mourning the lack of fresh, blossoming things and sun-warmed earth to dig into. How could I resist? I brought it home and it has cheered my heart and soul, bravely blooming against a backdrop of snow drifts in the back yard.
Years ago, I heard a CBC reporter interview a woman who lived in northern England. She asked how the residents coped with the lack of sunshine and warmth during the very short days. The woman replied "We draw the drapes against the dark, we light a fire against damp, and we have a wee drop of Port to warm our hearts". I admire that woman's practicality and resiliance.

Pentel pen and brushpens and watercolor pencils in the Moleskine sketchbook.

Monday, January 11, 2010

St Kitts

This is my second sketch from the isle of St Kitts. I took the photo from the Scenic Railway car, camera in one hand and rum punch in the other. I really liked all those charming little houses, painted in cheerful ice cream colors, with their corrugated tin roofs, and brilliant white shutters. St Kitts is building lots of small houses like this "low income houses" they are called. The goal is that everyone who wants a house will have one. That's the Atlantic Ocean in the background, much darker and wilder than the Caribbean.
Watercolor on 140 lb paper.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

EDM 256 - Draw something bubbly

This is my new best friend - um, I mean beer. We first tasted Carib in St. Martin/St Maarten. Whenever we travel, we try to sample local beer and wine. In the Caribbean, this beer is served all over but is usually made on the island that sells it. It's a good, crisp, cooling beer, perfect for drinking at a little sidewalk kiosk with a thatched roof to protect you from the sun. And it's way cheaper than Canadian beer is in Canada.
This particular bottle was bottled in Trinidad and sold at the liquor store in my neighborhood. It doesn't taste quite as good when I'm surrounded by snow and blizzard like winds. Maybe if I close my eyes...
Pentel pen and watercolor pencils in Robert Bateman sketchbook.

Friday, January 01, 2010

One should, perhaps, be a bit introspective on the first day of a new year and a new decade. And also on the event of finishing the last page of the sketchbook.

Last year, I decided to focus more on drawing. I made the painful admission that a good drawing is the basis of a good painting, and that in order to be a better painter, I needed to be better at drawing. So my goal was to draw, and to pay attention to the object and really "see" it, to practice drawing until I could see some improvement. I think I succeeded in becoming better. I certainly feel more confident in my drawing skill.s

But my first love has always been watercolors. I want to be able to dash off quick, expressive sketches that reflect the way I see my life and the things around me. I want to chronicle the weird and wonderful beauty in this world.

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be on a cruise in the Caribbean and wanted to take photos that I could paint from when I got home. This odd lonely palm tree was growing in a field of wild sugar cane on the island of St Kitts. I took the photo from the Scenic railroad car that traveled around the island. The narrator was talking about a hurricane that had hit the island ten years before, and I wondered if maybe this palm tree sustained a bit of an injury in that hurricane that caused its quirkky bent trunk.

This is my goal for this next year, as I open the new sketchbook. I want to do more sketches like this one - quick vignettes of life, and not get bogged down in the details. Celebrate the everyday wonder and beauty - live it, draw it, paint it, love it.