Monday, August 30, 2010

EDM 284 - Draw your downtown

This challenge was a true challenge for me.  Urban sketching has been my goal for a while, although I am very intimidated by it.  It's not only the perspective, and all the lines and angles that can, and often do, go so very wrong.  There's also the whole "drawing in public" dilemma.  I decided to ease into it by taking photos of the buildings and then drawing from the photos at home. 
I chose to draw these buildings because I really liked the red windows and plants in the boxes, and the curved window on the right side building.  But mostly, I was completely charmed by the way the sky and clouds were reflected in the windows.These buildings really are side by side and are on Stephen Ave right in the heart downtown.  Most of the buildings along here are historical and original, and protected.  During the day only foot traffic is allowed, which opens it up to cute kiosks that sell everything from sunglasses to bratwurst on a bun.  All the many restaurants place tables and chairs outside, and the business people sip their lunchtime beers under umbrellas.  On this day, I sat on a wrought iron bench in the sun and listened to a wonderful jazz trio playing.  That's why they say "Summertime, and the livin' is easy".
Pigma pen and watercolor pencils in Moleskine.  It took me a long time to complete this drawing, but I'm quite pleased with it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

EDM 286 - Something colorful

These colorful begonias are in riotous bloom on my deck right now.  The flowers are quite showy, but its the leaves that I think are the real beauties.  The spiral shape, the luxurious ruffles, and even the soft fuzziness are really beautiful.  They were born to be sketched.
As I was preparing to draw, a small bumblebee landed on the table.  It crawled along the edge of the table and then suddenly stopped as if it were too exhausted to go on.  I grabbed the pencil and quickly sketched it, noting the placement of the stripes of fur, the shape of the legs, the curve of the thorax.  It stayed for about 20 minutes, long enough to study it well and add some color.  I added it to the sketch of begonias.  See it there on the darker leaf on the left?  It was a tiny little bee, maybe just hatched or popped or however bees become bees.
I'm always in awe when I get the opportunity to see a bit of nature up close like this.  Bees are always in motion so it's rare to see one so close and still that I could make out the soft down and the brilliant colors.
Watercolor in Moleskine wc book.
Here's the bee sketch if you're interested.  It's done using watercolor pencils.  I made notes, too.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

EDM 285 - Draw something that loves the sun

Every winter, I put out seeds for the small birds that come to my back yard.  Every summer, I get surprises where the the birds have redeposited those seeds.  This sunflower came up in one of the small containers attached to the fence.  At first, I thought it was a weed, but the more I looked at it the more it looked like a sunflower.  So I left it alone, and planted fuchsias around it.  Over the summer, it grew, in that tiny container, to be about 4 feet tall.  It had only a single blossom, but it  followed the sun every day.  It was a true testament to the power of fulfilling your destiny or of the saying "Bloom where you are planted".
Watercolor on 140 lb paper.  I tried to do this loosely and quickly and to let the colors be the focus more than the drawing.  And besides, sometimes sunflowers are a little unkempt and imperfect.  I think there's a lesson in that, too.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Roses are difficult here

The title of this post refers to the title of a well-known book in these parts, and it refers to the difficulty of growing roses in a climate that has frequent winter drought conditions.  I have grown many roses in my yard, only one of which has survived.  It grows by the back deck and whenever it snows we sweep the snow onto the rose to give it some protection over the winter.
My personal difficulty with roses is drawing them.  My goal during my summer off work was to learn to draw roses (and cats, but that's another story).  There have been many badly drawn, unrecognizable roses here, lots of frustration and despair.  But this one is OK, I think I had a bit of a breakthrough on the shape and curvature of the petals.  I worked from a couple of books, and the actual roses blooming by the deck.  And really, any day spent drawing roses on the deck simply has to be a good day.
"Roses are Difficult Here" by W.O. Mitchell 1990
Watercolot pencils in Robert Bteman sketchbook