A blog pause

Do you ever think you like drawing and the doing but don’t really have all that much to say in words? Well, that’s kind of where I am at the moment. And hence, a pause from blogging. 

Over the two years or so of blogging, I have very much enjoyed your posts and the many beautiful ideas visually expressed and the little blog-chats. Thank you.

For the time being, I am posting at https://www.instagram.com/drawingconnections/



Backgrounds. What to do with those? (1)

I’m still enjoying using this lolly coloured watercolour set. Not sure what to say about this piece except that I wanted to work out how to break up a background. Not sure about you, but I often get stumped with the background. 

Often I leave it white; other times I make a mess. 

This background is a’collage’ of aspects of my loungeroom. And yes, there is quite a bit of yellow.

Yes? No? Dunno.

A bit aimless at the outset. Some days, when I am pfaffing about starting a drawing, I go for a default reference. Default? I look at the balcony.

See plant 1, draw that, look at plant 2, draw that, and so on. 

This, as you can imagine, leads to a what’s-next cross road.  It all looks a bit disparate (or rather, desparate!). It needs ‘hanging together’. And so, I try this, a bit of that and a bit more of that. A kind of an unplanned process, one might say.

At some point, the drawing says’enough’. No more.

You look at it. Does it work? Maybe yes, maybe no. More likely, it’s a dunno. Does it matter? When process oriented, it doesn’t matter. It’s better to keep looking, drawing, learning. I guess.

Anyhoooo. On to the next.

Leonardo’s trees

IMG_4263.JPGit took me four hours to walk around the Uffizi in Florence (in 2010). The first two hours was simply to walk across each floor taking a survey, an overview of what was there – the artworks, the architecture, the long corridors, the views through the windows.

I then took another two hours going back to the few I wanted to be with. Just sitting, drawing but mostly looking.

The experience is rich.

Leonardo’s ‘The Annunciation’ was one of the paintings I spent time with. I realise that the focus of this painting is about someone (angel) delivering a message (impending birth to Someone Important) to someone (a virgin). But for me, it’s the trees in the background that I particularly love. I don’t know why, but I do. How frustrating for Leonardo if I were to tell him that.

It reminds me of the often said point, that it is what one sees in something that makes that thing important (or not), valued (or not), beautiful (or not). What one communicates is not what is necessarily received by another. What to do? For someone like me, getting different perspectives is great for creating a richer or more expansive understanding on something. Otherwise, it’s just me and my views.

Oh dear. Am I being obtuse or something? Anyway, I really like Leonardo’s painting. I do.

BTW: A fantastic podcast ‘Learning from Leonardo’ (1 hour: ABC Radio National): http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/learning-from-leonardo/5863056

Left brain, right brain, shennanigans

The kind of pfaffing that Left Brain (LB) has with Right Brain (RB) is one I’m guessing many of us have experienced…maybe. Here’s how these two carried on this morning at 8.35am.

LB (slightly sarcastic): You’ve got to leave for work in 25 mins. Not much time you know.
RB (mulling, walking slowly to shelf): Yeah. I know.
LB: Well?
RB (still mulling): Not sure. Watercolour pencil or water brush?
LB (exasperated): Whatever. But what are you going to draw?
RB: Don’t know. Ok. I think I’ll use the pencil and see what happens. (Walks to balcony. Sits down.]

[2 minutes of…inaction]

LB: WELL? We haven’t got all day.
RB: ok. Ok. I think I’m going to use the water brush instead.
LB: (most annoyed and unable to comment)

[1 minutes passes. But now plant staring is occurring.]

LB: Come ON. Start!
RB: Ok. You’re really pushy this morning. I’m just going to use Ultramarine blue and do that leaf.
LB (sneering almost): A leaf? And then what?

[RB ignores LB and paints first leaf]

RB: mmm…Think I’m going to do another leaf.

[paints six leaves]

LB: mmm…What about that one?
RB: Yes. Interesting. The angle goes up. I’ll do that.
LB: wow. Did you see this one? It’s almost a thin line.
RB: You’re right. I’ll do that next.

[22 leaves and 15 minutes later…]

LB: kind of enjoyed that. 22 leaves, 22 instances in seeing. 22 lots of experimenting.
RB: Good. You’ve done what you’ve set out to do.

[LB and RB leave…together…for the outside world.]

And that, is how this drawing came to be.

And the lesson? There’s a lot of talk about left brain logic (etc) and right brain creative (etc). I think they’re kind of like an odd couple who are sometimes quarrelsome, have their differences but when they work together they have richer experiences.

Not much of a lesson really. I’m just being frivolous.

Lessons from Paul Cezanne

I wanted to continue my lesson with Paul. I’ve always loved his little watercolour – Rose in a vase – such a simplified composition, so still, so quiet. And yet, it’s probably ‘just a study’ in darks and lights, lines appearing and disappearing. Do a google image search. See what you think.

Studies can be so wonderful…one can see the artist thinking, working out something, trying out something. It’s not a ‘ta-dah, this is it’ kind of work.

And so for this drawing, I’ve put some freshly picked rosemary in an op shop bought jug and perched it on top of a yoga brick so I could draw at eye level today. Why? Because.

I used a watercolour pencil as I found yesterday’s pencil lines too heavy, Drawing was quick but I slowed down when working out the darks and lights. Working in greyscale before using colour is a useful way of doing this.

As I was doing the leaves, I wondered how Paul might have painted those. I think he would have done it such a way that would suggest them rather than literal about it. That is a skill in simplifying something complex. Now that’s another creative problem to try to work on.

Thank you for visiting. You know when you’re with a few people drawing or making something and you all go into a creative companionable silence? Well, it kind of feels like that.

A meandering focus

I started off with a clear focus. I wanted a teacher and chose Paul Cezanne to be for this session. Balanced on one knee was a book opened to one of his watercolour studies. On the other knee was my paper and pencil and a pot plant I chose to be The Model.

Every pencil line started with a question like ‘Is the light on this side or that side?’ ‘Is it darker here or there?’ Not bad questions. Of course, Cezanne would have asked more complex questions than that. He’d ask ‘What shape is that? Which tone is that shape – dark, mid, light? Would a line, no line, or shape work better? How does adding this (bit) support the composition?’

My difficulty started when I used colour. And while I tried to keep asking ‘is it lighter here or there etc’, somehow, I ended up colouring in. I realised that there is a discipline and a focus needed in thinking about each stroke, line or dab.

I think I need more lessons from Paul. But I thank him for what I am learning so far.

A bit of magic

IMG_4201.JPG‘Wow. Bit of a jungle out there.’ is what people might say when they see my balcony. And yes, I can see how they might think that.

But, on this morning, this is what I saw. A bit of magic. Prone to a bit of exaggeration? I guess. For the cause of drawing? Surely it’s ok.

This drawing took a couple of sittings. It began with pots then shadows. No plants. It kind of looked like a balcony the Addams’ Family could have enjoyed. Flowers with no heads. Not really my story to tell. Not today anyway.

So I added a plant. It somehow looked a bit magical. And that’s how this drawing evolved.

It’s midnight here.
I wish you good dreams or a good day…wherever you may be.

Not great, but done (3)

Maybe I should rename ‘not great, but done’ to ‘persistence’. I cut up the inital watercolour drawing in half to see how I could make it more interesting. Collaged one half and added some stitching. More interesting? Texturally maybe.

It got me thinking about the needs of this variety of peacock plant. Moist but not too moist. No wet feet. Sun but not too much. With the right conditions, it will be happy and colourful. A bit like us? To a degree, I guess.

The real gift

Did this one a little while ago and it reminds me of the inner glow that came with roses – a gift of ‘free spirit’ roses, hydrangeas and Queen Anne’s lace. But the real gift is the one of friendship and the relief that comes from being listened to. I feel fortunate.