Lions dance through fields of firecracker debris. Surely good fortune will follow.
Brush pen in my Moleskine … memories of the Chinese New Year parade.
This afternoon Ripley was sleeping so soundly on the floor of my office that I thought I could probably get a quick drawing of her done before she stirred. She did move her paws around but thankfully kept her head steady most of the time.
This was drawn with the water soluble Kuretake brush pen, which is a most unforgiving and hair-pulling instrument. Still, I like the way I can go from a thick to a thin line without changing pens and breaking the mood.
This was drawn in my new Cahier model Moleskine, which my husband gave me for Christmas. The paper is thin like the basic Moleskine journal, but it is much larger, which allows freer expression. I was hesitant to use juicy watercolor on the paper so I added the background with some Tombow pens, and swished a little water over the top. There’s something about a cream colored dog on a cream colored background that just looks a little vanilla, you know? If I had been thinking I could have painted the background with an acrylic, which would have been less splotchy. Ah well.
The shadows are created by gently softening the black ink line with a Niji waterbrush filled with clear water.
Saturday night, after an afternoon at Descanso Gardens we had a quick sushi stop (yesterday’s scan), had a latte at Starbucks and went to see Memoirs of a Geisha. These are some of the people I saw along the way.
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, by the way. I had read the book earlier this year and although much detail had to be left out, it was essentially the way I visualized it. In fact, the author was so descriptive in his prose, and the director so faithful to the book that the scenes were exactly as I had “seen” them when I was reading.
MOUSE OVER TO SEE THE UNPAINTED MOLESKINE DRAWING
Here’s one of my late in the day drawings from my Saturday sketchcrawl. I’ll be posting the other ones later but I have been tussling with ImageReady CS to learn how to do a rollover and then how to embed it in a blog post. So I think I’ve got it working now.
I’m not going to take the time to do this with all of the sketches … it’s too much extra effort. But the figuring out part was fun.
What can I say … I’m a born geekette. Wait, make that a born sushi-loving geekette. By the way, I did not eat any octopus tentacles that evening. I had California roll, spicy tuna handroll and a specialty of the house roll whose name I can’t recall.
The tentacle was just casually lying in the refrigerator case and was the closest thing to draw. Ditto the slab of tuna. Want to see me purr? Show me some hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi. Mmmmmm.
Now I’ll see about getting some of the other sketchcrawl pictures up.
I had wanted to get to the Doodah parade this weekend, but work called so we had to pass. So, to make up for the people drawing opportunity I drew this person instead from a photo reference. She’s not the doodah type – a bit reserved and contemplative for that, but had an interesting face all the same.
This was drawn with a dip pen and brush with a water soluble ink which bled a bit when I ran clean water over it. The head was sort of hanging there in the white of the page so I scanned it with a frame around so it wouldn’t look so … disembodied.
I’ve been continuing with the folds challenge. The more I look around my daily environment, the more I am aware that folds are everywhere. Fabric is only a fraction of the picture. On my desktop I see a folded plastic bag, Kleenex coming out of a box, several pieces of crumpled paper. Out the window leaves are bent and folded. Even mountain ranges are folded. People are practically seas of folds, from their garments to their flesh to the things they carry. So here’s another one …
This week’s challenge for the EDM group was to draw something with folds. I selected the challenge based upon my experience the weekend before – attempting to draw a crumpled comforter in a hotel room. I didn’t get very far with that live drawing as I vastly underestimated the complexity of it and we needed to leave to be somewhere. So I took some reference photos to work on later.
Drawing folds has proven, for me, to be one of the most difficult projects so far. Here are some of the reasons why:
The folded fabric doesn’t look like anything. It’s an abstract design which is mostly about light, shadow, mass, tone, value. Drawing a fold forces you to throw away the crutch of “symbol” drawing and really look at the subject. If I draw a landscape I can draw a the line of distant mountains to ‘suggest’ mountains without having to draw them slowly and carefully as they really are. I can’t do that with folds.
You can get lost in folds. It happened to me over and over. In the time that it took me to look at the subject and look down at the paper, I’d lose my place as though I was walking in a maze. When you draw a face you have landmarks that keep you oriented. The nose goes here. The eyebrows go here. Look out, there’s the ear. These familiar objects let you know where you are as you look-draw-look draw. When you do folds it’s like getting lost in an Escher drawing; up is down and in is out. You think you’re on a hill and find you’re really in a valley. Disorienting.
-Folds are unforgiving. There’s no way for me to just splash some watercolor around and say, hey, there’s a peach. If a fold works, it does. And when it doesn’t, there’s no place to hide.
For all the crabby reasons above, this has actually been one of my favorite challenges. It has forced me to slow waaaay down, to see in finer and finer increments and to think more about where my pen/pencil/brush is going.
I also realize that, in typical Karen fashion, I jumped right into the deep end rather than hanging one simple little dishtowel on a hook and getting the feel of doing some simple “pipe” folds. That’s another thing I learned from this experience – to go back to square one and see if I can draw one fold well before attempting anything so complex.
All that aside, here are three explorations of the comforter, in the order in which I did them: 1) Rapidoliner, 2) #8 round watercolor brush, and 3) pencil (2B and 3B). They were all done on the same type of paper. The top two were of one view, the bottom one was of another.
I need more RAM
Not the computer kind. Not Random Access memory.
That kind of RAM I’ve got plenty of.
I need this kind. The kind with hooves and horns. The kind you catch a glimpse of on a mountainside.
I need more days outside before the chill of winter comes.
More trips to the zoo, more walks in the park.
More ruddy sunsets at the beach, more paths strewn with leaves.
I need more outdoors and fresh air, more forest brooks and smooth round rocks.
More Saturdays at the arboretum, more mornings in the hills.
Less widgets and more wallabies
And lots more ram.
Brush pen in a Moleskine
After posting my contour drawing of Perseus a few days ago, an art buddy wrote me a very nice note and suggested that maybe sometime in the future I could draw something a little less scary, like Aphrodite, for example. So here it is, based on the statue of Venus de Milo. Again, this was about a 3 minute drawing while keeping the penpoint on the paper. It wasn’t blind. I did look at the paper frequently.
If we take a trip back to junior high history and English, we’ll remember that Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty and one of the many Olympian deities who took pleasure in meddling in the affairs of humans. In spite of her captivating appearance and charms she was not particularly a nice goddess, unless you were a devoted follower. Aphrodite, after all, was responsible for starting the Trojan War when she promised Paris the hand of Helen (a married woman) in exchange for Aphrodite being chosen the most beautiful goddess of all. Paris fell for this bribe, stole Helen’s heart, enraged Helen’s husband and the rest is history, not to mention more than a few bad movies.
The very embodiment of passion, Aphrodite is generous to her followers. But to those who deny her and her cause (love), she can be wrathful and punishing. She caused prideful women to grow cow’s horns on their heads, and made Poseidon’s sons to go mad. All sweetness and light? Not by a long shot.
So what can we learn from her, creatively? Aphrodite reminds us to be passionate about our lives and to embrace each day as a lover. A promiscuous creature, the goddess encourages dalliances and amorous liaisons. So if you always draw with a pen – have a fling with a pencil. Above all, let art become more than an idle flirtation. It’s time to turn up the heat.