Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Tiding of Magpies

There are three magpies hanging around my small back yard.  They sit on the branch of the big tree each morning and squabble like siblings on a road trip. They peck each others' heads and chase each other around the yard.  They are noisy and vexatious.  I'm sure they are siblings because world wide inter webs tell me that magpies mate for life and hatch a clutch of three chicks.  They are curious and clever and fearless.  They often perch on the flower pots on the deck as long as the tabby cat and the curly-haired dog next door are safely inside.  I think they admire their reflections in the patio doors.  They are fat and brash and endlessly entertaining. And, yes, a group of magpies is called a tiding - I guess they are bringing us all the neighbourhood gossip and tidings.
Watercolor int Moleskine sketchbook.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Back to the Basics

This is not the post or the sketch I had planned for today.  The key word here is "planned". I thought about the sketch I wanted to do, about the composition, about the story.  I over thought it, and then I overdid it.  What started out as a great idea became an ugly, overwrought, out of proportion mess.  The harder I tried to fix it, the worse it became. I thought i could reset the process by drawing something simple like the watermelon I was eating.  And I struggled with that, too - it seemed I had forgotten how to draw!  But in reality I had forgotten to keep it simple, to not draw what you think, but to draw what you see.  So I'm going back to the basics.  I will try my original idea again, maybe after I've learned just to draw and let the process happen.  Simple is best.
Watercolor in the Moleskine wc journal.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

These poppies bloom every year in my back garden.  This year the buds were so heavy that they bent the stalks down to the ground.  When I came out in the morning the light caught the bottom petals and they seemed to glow from within.  The brilliant light also made the dark blotches and the feathery parts look purple.  I have tried many times to capture the silkiness and delicate glow of these poppies.  With luck I will spend a good many future summers doing the same. They seem to embody the very essence of summer - lush, bright, and hot. And they just beg to be sketched.
Watercolor in Moleskine wc book.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


My cousin gave me this rose bush to plant in the back garden.  It's a Morden Sunrise and the flowers are a beautiful creamy yellow shading to pink at the edges, and it has a heavenly citrusy scent. It's lovely and flowers are one of my favourite things to draw. I find roses intimidating at the best of times, but this one seemed simple - no complicated folding and crimping, just a few petals.  It's the shadows that I find difficult to render realistically to give the petals their shape and delicacy. This simple flower was actually quite difficult.  I'm not sure that I achieved what I wanted to but I think continuing to work on it would ruin it. For now I'm calling it done and a good practice piece.  Good new is that there are more buds forming so I can continue to practice.