The Sweet Spot

There was a time when I drew once a week. I’d come back from my weekly Life Drawing Session, rush to my scanner and upload everything to my blog.

Since being the owner of a sexy smartphone with permanent access to my Facebook and Instagram accounts, and basically drawing daily, the blog posts have become less and less.

However, I’ve been down in the dumps lately. I’ve been dependent on too many outside influences and have been negligent of my own feelings and goals. On top of that, I’ve lately spent a few hours raiding the last remnants of my previous 3 years of drawing and painting. I’ve done away with about 80% of that stuff now, but it left me feeling like the past three years hadn’t made much of a difference.

This feeling of frustration had been growing in me for some time and may have helped me to move to a different style which seems to be keeping me from being too tidy but also from being too sloppy. I actually think I may have reached a temporary sweet spot. I’m not sure if I want to stay in this very spot, but it’s allowing me to break out of my usual line making activity and I’m additionally no longer afraid of painting before drawing.

I look, I paint and then I hold a coloured pencil pretty firmly and draw very focused but fiercely, making unforgivable lines and curves.

I used it just now at Life Drawing and this is what came out.

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Loads of Life (LOL)

Well, just returned from Life Drawing Class. The semester has begun and new students have arrived … still, we are a bunch of oldies and outnumber the “noobs” 5 to 1.

I arrived back from Malaga (Southern Spain/Andalusia) last Tuesday and skipped Life Drawing … which was very painful for me, believe me. Because, this is the real deal, this act of drawing the nude figure in real life is just amazing. I’ve been making some really strange compositional life drawing attempts in the last few months and I’d like to share three of them here. (Tonight’s is last.)

If there’s anything I’d like to draw well, then it’s people and it feels like a task that will take a life time to master, if ever. May the path be full of plateaus and tedious hard work, but I must remind myself to stay on that path and be true to my intentions and passion.

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birds birds birds

SBS (SketchBookSkool), “Seeing” Klass, week 4 with Cathy Johnson.

Have you ever tried to sketch a tit? A starling? A sparrow? Wow, they are so fast, why can’t they stay still? But … one moment … they are doing the same 5 things over and over again. Bingo, squiggle here, curve there. Just … let … me …. look.at.you.again … ok … bit of blue there. Wow, there’s a robin in the magnolia! Is that a pidgeon up there on that tree 200 metres from here? Oh, the lawn is crowded with blackbirds, how did that happen?

So, now I sketch birds in 5 seconds and give them a bit of colour based on memory. And I try to find out what type of birds they are, and I was never interested in birds before … well not this type anyways.

Today I sketched the birds on the spot. On the first day, I took photos of “my backbird” and drew from the photos. On the second day I looked out for birds, and the ones I saw, I drew from reference photos of The Internet. Then I tried to draw from memory (birds I’d seen one hour earlier).

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Watercolouring w/ Brenda Swenson, Part 2

Ok, last day of this kourse, but I still sat down now (9 pm) and last night to fling some paint onto those watercolour sheets. It’s getting hard to find still life objects … I thought! These have all been drawn using a Lamy Safari “F” nib with water soluble, royal blue ink. The lines are continuous-contours. There’s just a break for the ring and the book. These were really great exercises and I’ll try to keep up with them.

Watercolouring w/ Brenda Swenson

Into the 3rd week of “Seeing” at SBS (http://sketchbookschool.com), my second kourse there. Watercolouring over water soluble continuous contour lines.

This is the latest painting (Tuesday night) (about 10 minutes), going with the flow:

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This was Sunday night (the date is wrong on the pic) (20 minutes), keeping those whites free, letting the paint roll:

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Sunday morning (30 minutes) … very exact … using glazing, letting things dry:20160313-0830

Saturday night (artificial light), seemed messy to me, but now it’s one of my favourites, the shading, the messiness, I’m sorry, I think it’s gorgeous:20160312-2201

Lanzarote, February 2016

Or, “How much can you sketch in 1 week?”

I was on Lanzarote in Costa Teguise for 9 days and took along 4 sketch books.
I used 3.

  • 1 Hahnemühle DINA5 sketch book soft and rough paper (good for biros and colour pencils) 40 pages (10 sheets), I think it cost 1.99€
  • 1 Moleskine pocket size watercolour sketch book, 60 pages (12.99€)
  • 1 Moleskine DINA6 journal (cahier pocket), 96 pages (three for 6.90€)

I had a travelers’ pack of watercolours (12), a mixed hair paint brush, waterbrush, colour pencils, biro, Derwent Graphik Line Maker 0.1.

And I drew and drew and drew.

A Brace of Models

Stuart: Oh, look we have two models tonight!
Torsten: No, she made a mistake, it’s ok, she’s going now.
Female Model: Hi!
Stuart: Hi, Female Model! Great, two models tonight!
Female Model: Yeah, I don’t mind. But it’s too expensive.
Stuart: Well, if it’s only about the money … we have enough.
[Stuart approaches Torsten again]
Stuart: She’s willing to stay. We can afford it, can’t we?!
Torsten: Hmm, but some of our artists already have enough on their plate with one model.
[3 minutes later, Female Model is undressed on the little stage]
Stuart: Hey, Female Model, you can thank me for this!
Female Model: Yeah, you can call the poses!

Oh, I love my Life Drawing Classes, but tonight was my last one for months. I haven’t registered for the next course, because SBS and “daily” gesture sketching is taking up enough of my precious time.

But here are the results of tonight’s “brace of models” and also a sneak peek into my second week at SBS.

So, what’s this with the paper … looks like a calendar. Yes, it is a half price Moleskine weekly calendar. I wanted something that feels and looks great, but is not too “precious” and can still, just about take watercolours (it was still expensive, for half price: 10€) .

One last pic tonight in a small, absolutely lovely Moleskine watercolour booklet (10 minutes):

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OK, this is the stuff I took to Life Drawing Class tonight:

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Oh, look, there’s even a picture of me in there.

Now to SBS. Well, I am absolutely blown away. I can’t believe how much of my hidden creative seam has been mined in these 12 days.

I’ll just give you something of mine to look at from this last Klass with Jill Weber … it’s all about telling stories and making books.

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