Saturday, February 28, 2009

VSD for February

This is my entry for the February portion of Virtual Sketch Date. Landscapes are a challenge for me, but this photo was just stunning. It's of Lake Louise which is practically in my backyard so I felt compelled to try. Most of my problem with landscapes is how to simplify the level of detail. This photo was really good for that as it had strong shapes and blocks of color
Lake Louise is a glacier fed lake rich in minerals which give it that gorgeous turquoise color. It's always cold in the summer and freezes solid enought to skate on in the winter. It is also the place where they hold world-class ice sculpture competitions. It's such a beautiful place, truly ones of the jewels of Western Canada.
Watercolor 5x8"
Photo by Debbie Later

Sunday, February 22, 2009

EDM 9 - Organized chaos

As I was drawing this stack of books, it occured to me how much of my life is contained in them. How many hours have I spent choosing them, drawing in them, writing in them? My thoughts, my aspirations, my attempts are all in there. I'm very attached to these books, probably because they feel like an extention of me. They reflect a part of me that I don't share often with others. As I get older, I use my journal more as a combination journal and daytimer. Both sketchbooks and journals are a way to record the world around me and the day to day journey of my life. There is a lot of my heart and soul poured into these books.

This was a difficult drawing, and this is not the first attempt. I spent a long time trying to get the perspective right. And I didn't get it right, but it's sure a lot better than the first attempt. I can't quite figure out what is so extraordinarily hard about drawing a stack of books. I've heard others say the same thing. Keep practising.

"A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's heaven for" Robert Browning

This is watercolor pencil, and Staedtler pen in the Moleskine sketchbook.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Words - Creative Every Day February 09

These are the words that describe me. At work, we did a team-building exercise called DISC Profiles which is to give us some insight into our personality. We filled out a lengthy questionaire that sorted us into one of four main personality types - Dominant, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientious. I scored highly in the Steadiness quadrant and these are the words that discribed me. I was disappointed. Thoughtful? Steady? Reflective? Perhaps this should be called the Boring quadrant. Where were the words that I longed to be - Eccentric, Impulsive, Idealistic, Spontaneous? But really - those words don't describe me and this was, after all, an exercise to give us some insight into our personalities. So... these are the words that describe me. Serene? Yes, I like that. I've worked hard to move from perfectionism to serenity so I'll own that word. Caring? Well, I like to think so I'll keep that word, too. Reflective and thoughtful? Perhaps those suit me better than eccentric and impulsive. Steady and consistent? I have certainly worked steadily and consistently at learning to draw over the past few years, so OK, I'll adopt those two as well. Well, may these words do describe me after all. And that's not to say that I don't or can't have flashes of brilliance, eccentricity or idealism. Maybe those are just not the words that I choose to wear publicly. Perhaps beneath my mild- mannered, steady appearance, there beats the heart of a superhero who longs to change the world.
You can read about DISC profiles here

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Wishing you another year of love, laughter, and joy.
We have out phone and internet service with Telus. Each year they send us a calendar with gorgeous photos of animals and birds. This was the one for February. I couldn't find a photo credit and I suspect these are computer generated images, rather than real photos. But they are cute.
I have like flamingos all my life, and a few years ago, I went to Rio Lagartos on the north coast of the Yucatan. It is a great gathering place for flamingos and other shore birds. The waters are shallow and warm and the food plentiful. In fact, the water was so shallow that our little tour boat got stuck. We all got out of the boat and pulled it out to deeper water. While there, we also saw a Roseate spoonbill suddenly stand tall and spread its wings. It was a spectacular, magical day. You can see more here
Watercolor, wc pencils in Moleskine sketchbook.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Clementine for VSD

I painted this from the photo for the last Virtual Sketch Date challenge. I didn't like what I had done at first - it seemed a little dull and uninspired. Then I realized that I had forgotten that I had carefully saved the white pith areas wth masking fluid. Once I removed the masking fluid, it brightened up considerably. I deepened the shadows and got more contrast. I'm still ambivalent about it - I think the shadows are not quite believable. Suggestions and ideas are welcome. Maybe it would look better after a few of these:
The Absolut Ruby Gem
1 1/2 part(s) Absolute Ruby Red Vodka
1 tbsp. Brown sugar
3/4 part(s) Clementine Muddled
3/4 part(s) Cranberries Muddled
Ginger Ale
Shake first four ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with the splash of ginger ale.
Absolut Vodka

Sunday, February 08, 2009

EDM 208 - Draw a shadow

And shoot the shadows through and through with light...

I had bought tulips to ward off the worst of February dreariness. As the week went on, they drooped lower and lower and opened wider and wider. On Thursday, the blooms lay right on the table. The ceiling potlights created these odd double shadows as they shone through the petals. It seemed approorate for this week's EDM challenge. As does this lovely poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Let the dream go. Are there not other dreams
In vastness of clouds hid from thy sight
That yet shall gild with beautiful gold gleams,
And shoot the shadows through and through with light?
What matters one lost vision of the night?Let the dream go!

Watercolor and micron pen in Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

San Francisco Victorian House

I have been looking a blog called Different Strokes for Different Folks. The site host puts up a photo and invites others to draw or paint it. She then places all the results on her blog. The variety of media and compositions are astonishing. Last month the photo was of this San Francisco Victorian house. It's quite beautiful and fell right in line with my year's intention to learn to draw buildings. I'm having difficulty with this intention, but I really want to learn to do it. I'm actually pleased with the way this drawing turned out. I learned a lot about following the lines and the way one line relates to the next one. The best piece of advice I got was to pick one vertical line and draw it with a ruler. Then place all other lines in relation to that original one. That works! Now if I could just speed up a bit. If I had been drawing this on site, I would have needed to pack a cooler and pitch a tent! I'm sure that those who draw swiftly and surely while standing on a street corner have been doing it for many years. I'm sure that they are so familiar with the structure of buildings and the rules of perspective that they don't need to consciously think about every line. Hopefully, with practice and patience, I can reach that goal. While I worked hard at getting the lines down correctly, I really had fun doing this and especially coloring in the windows.

This is micron pen and Pentel brush pens in the Moleskine journal.