I had a busy May which left me with will little free time. However, all of the extras had me really needing that creative therapy. The first half of the month I only made time to sketch while I was at church. This is a practice I've been enjoying because it forces me to sketch quickly and I have captive subjects. Sketching people feels less intrusive than photographing them during a church service. It has also given me something to post on our church Facebook page.
The kids and I popped over to Bremerton on the foot ferry. We walked in the direction of where I'd heard from my husband that there was an Urban Sketching meet up flyer. After I sketched this sculpture we were able to find the poster and get the details. The Urban Sketching group in Bremerton is just starting up.
I love sketching microphones! Dare you to try it!
I always find it a little confusing that the Port of Bremerton has a park in Port Orchard. There are these interesting lamps along the waterfront that I never notice unless I'm sketching them. I also really like how the blue and grey roof detail turned out on the shelter on the left.
The second meet up for the Urban Sketching group was at Evergreen Park and it was an extremely blustery day. There was also some bold intermittent sunshine. Apparently, the event was canceled due to said unpredictable weather. I met Justin who also came to sketch and he was subjected to some pretty wild 6:30pm behavior from my son. I doubt he was prepared for the feelings that come from a child who doesn't get to bring the abandoned gosling home. The night was capped off with a fantastic rainbow the whole drive home.
Last weekend I had a day to myself and I decided to try bicycle sketching in Seattle. I know what you are thinking and no I did not sketch while I was pedaling. It is a faster way to get to different sketching spots and I refuse to drive to Seattle. My feet thanked me for not making them walk 5+ miles on pavement. It also made it easy for me to drag my sketching (camp) chair along.
I'm actually running a little low on space in my Stillman & Birn Beta Square sketchbook. They are not super available right now... so I have decisions to make about what else I want to try. I thought I would buy myself a little extra time by working in the Stillman & Birn I devoted to cursive and watercolor. These are not considered Urban Sketches. There are specific rules for those sketches, especially if you are posting sketches up in a group.
I love driving up to Green Mountain Horse Camp, but I struggled to find something I want to sketch up there. The last of the horses, mules, and donkeys just headed out after the holiday weekend. Just a bunch of green foliage and peaceful bird sounds... Naturally when surrounded by glorious nature, I chose to paint a car.
A couple days ago, my aunt was looking at my work and she said that she can’t draw like that, but she wants to. Now aunts come in all shapes, sizes, and wills. This aunt is artistic, independent, hilarious, well traveled, forthright and retired. She wants to spend a whole year traveling Europe and she’ll do it. I could not understand what was standing in her way.
I hear it all the time, “I can’t draw.” It is something adults will often say when they mean “I can’t draw like that and I don’t care if I ever learn.” That’s cool. We can’t all do everything. We certainly can’t do everything all the time. However, some of you actually mean “I want to draw, but I don’t feel like I have the capacity or talent to be able to.”
I believe that you just need to start practicing. It takes time and my own artistic path is in its infancy. So if you always wanted to draw/paint/write/whatever here is the advice I give:
1. Pick one thing to do over and over. I kept drawing bunnies for several months and you know what? I got better. My bunnies started to look less stupid. They took on little personalities and they made me laugh. I didn’t have to waste time deciding what to draw. I just did it and with limited time in the evenings I was still able to make headway. Liz Steel warms up by drawing her coffee and tea. What would you draw every day?
2. Don’t get hung up on the materials. One day I’ll take my own advice. Use what you have. You don’t need the perfect art supplies. In fact less is probably better.
3. Share with others. You are going to need encouragement and advice. My husband will look at my stuff, but the 6 year old will give me more feedback. I enjoy the network of Urban Sketchers around the world. Also participating in a class will give you the support you need too. There is always social media.
4. Try to listen to only one voice at a time. I am always checking out 3 cookbooks at a time or 3 how-to-draw books at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Pick one teacher or one guidebook to start with. When you’re done with that then look for a new perspective. Remember that this is supposed to be fun. Actually practicing the art is more important that learning from a book how to do it the “right” way.
5. What went well? This is a great phrase to ingrain in your thoughts. Always look for the things you like about your work. Don't dwell on all the things you did wrong.
I’ve got below 131 bunnies I drew and characterized before I started on the bunny clipart I made this spring. I had a blast and it was a great way to spend my winter. My family, while supportive, weren't quite sure why I was just painting another bunny.
This process is supposed to be sort of mindless and easy for me. I devoted a whole Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook to this type of creative practice and I follow the same steps each time.
Fewer variables = less thinking = more doing.
I start by picking a song or poem that I have memorized. I try not to pick the “perfect” poem. Catch a Falling Star featured in The Princess Diaries is one I use to unsuccessfully sing the kid to sleep. I put the blue tape down to give myself a visual edge to write up to. I picked up a TWSBI Eco with a Fine nib filled with Liberty's Elysium and started practicing my cursive.
Originally I was going to use my watercolors to do the stars, but I changed my mind and used little puddles of fountain pen ink. The inks were already in other TWSBI Ecos so I just twisted a few droplets out into my palette. I used from left to right: Sailor Ink Studio 162, Sailor Ink Studio 252, Noodler's Apache Sunset, Noodler's Rome Burning, Sailor Ink Studio 224, and Noodler's Dostoyevsky.
The apple page is the Johnny Appleseed prayer (Noodler's Rome Burning) with watercolors over top.
I did the stoplight a few months back. I wrote the little song:
won't you tell me where I'm going
won't you tell me when to stay
won't you tell me what to do Lord
it's been that kind of day
I sing it to the the tune that's whistled in Robin Hood.
What little songs or poems do you have memorized? Post it in the comments.