lines and colors :: a blog about drawing, painting, illustration, comics, concept art and other visual arts
Monday, August 22, 2016
It was a busy sketching weekend though, with a friend's wedding on Friday. I may post those sketches later as they need a bit of work. I've sketched at a few now, and it's hard to convey all the colour, ceremony, movement and emotional importance of weddings on the spot. I always hope for much better results than I get and I would like to give them something worth keeping!
On Saturday our group went to the Wits Art Museum where a Walter Battiss exhibition is on, and a children's printmaking workshop. I had already had a good look at the exhibition a couple of weeks ago, so I concentrated on the oblivious back views of the people looking at the art. We went to the coffee shop to find the children's workshop in full swing. There were a lot more kids and adults than I could fit into my sketch but it was great to see a museum space being used to stimulate children into actually making art themselves instead of being passive (and often bored) onlookers. The tall photographer did double duty as one of the few who could reach the drying lines.
Monday, August 8, 2016
Just a lot of little sketches from the tai chi class I've been taking since the beginning of the year today... My teacher Masako kindly allowed our sketching group to sit in on a lesson, and a masterclass in ryuku kobujutsu (using weaponry) she gave to a student practicing for his black belt. I foolishly thought by drawing the exercises I'd be able to remember them in future classes (my brain just won't, although Masako says my body eventually will!), but although it looks slow and meditative, I couldn't keep up with the constant seamless movements.
The first two sketch pages were warming up - the tai chi bodies and my sketching fingers both - and I tried out various pens and brushpens before settling on my trusty Pentel brushpen, which made appropriately calligraphic marks.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
The washing line outside my studio and its drapery and shadows have been grabbing my attention for some time now and I've been wondering if it could possibly become the subject for a painting or series of paintings. In a podcast I was listening to on Tuesday, from The Savvy Painter with Christopher Gallego, he talked about how certain unorthodox motifs around his home and studio grabbed and nagged at him to paint them, and that one should go with those urges... I've been thinking I must be crazy to want to paint the washing, but John Singer Sargent did it, and actually it has many associations for me as my children have grown over years and my husband and my lives are changing. Maybe I should have been painting it all this time. These are some sketches - a notan scribble in my studio sketchbook, a watercolour in which the laundry came out quite well but I badly messed up the shadow... and another where it's the other way around. Shall I do an oil painting, or am I crazy?
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
I thought perhaps there would be some repetitive practice movements that would give us a chance to capture postures, but those were few and far between as they flew, spun, stomped, twirled and leaped around the room, sometimes almost landing in our laps where we sat lined up on a bench at one end. So we had to do what we could... I drew with pencil as I couldn't find a gap in the action to even reach for my watercolours at the time, but added colour later to help define some of the frantic lines I put down - and to convey some of the energy of these beautiful dancers. Only 5-10 of them will go through into second year, and even fewer into third - heartbreaking I'm sure for the ones who don't make it, everyone is passionate and dedicated - how on earth do they choose?!
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
These sketches from a few weeks ago at the annual Rotary Arts Festival... I see this time last year I was thinking of having an Urban Sketchers display or stand there next time, which never happened.
We had fun though on the Greek-themed day, sketching the kids from the Saheti School playing bouzoukis, singing and dancing, as well as catching other scenes from around the shopping centre - over coffee in the bookshop, a life drawing session from the Figures & Form group, and a lone pianist who I hope realised his beautiful playing was appreciated even if he didn't draw the crowds. I stuck to simple contour line drawing after a brief attempt to take my watercolours out in a shifting, shuffling situation!
Friday, June 10, 2016
The flower is a tibouchina, of which there are several big bushes around the guesthouse, as well as lavender, proteas and what I think is Lantana montevidensis - it smells exactly like baby powder. Such beauty everywhere you look in this valley, what a privilege to be there!
Monday, June 6, 2016
I'm adjusting to being back in Joburg after another blissful week in the magnificent Franschhoek valley (a small preview: you will probably be seeing many more posts from this neck of the Western Cape woods in time!) Not an entirely peaceful or quiet stay as we were on this estate where a pine forest had been cleared to make way for vineyards - the roots of which were being bulldozed and put into piles, and builders were hard at work nearby making an old cottage habitable and charming - but completely made up for by the scenery and the glittering autumn weather. I sketched this from the window of our bedroom, thinking I'd make a record of the changes taking place - landscape and mountains are new sketching and painting territory for me and I almost scrubbed through my poor sketchbook paper trying to get the colours. Much more sturdy watercolour paper required until I get this right!
A few days later, my husband and I went up the hill to a winery where the first batch of La Cotte wine - made from grapes from the estate that we were on - was being bottled. These guys had to work like clockwork passing the bottles from pallet to washer to packer to filler... during a short break while they waited for more empty bottles to arrive, they came and had a look what I was doing and I said I'd email them a copy if they could give me an address... which caused a slight hiccup in the proceedings and suddenly there was breaking glass, red wine gushing out onto the floor and some frantic smashing and tugging to get the broken bits out of the machine! I did feel bad, but only three bottles were lost, and I was told the bottlers were happy to be drawn, and they will get their copies! I didn't capture the loud banter, laughter and repartee that started after I been drawing for a while, all in the local vernacular, which I can follow if spoken slowly and clearly, not at 900 words a minute with clinking bottles and machinery as soundtrack (I did catch "teken" = draw!)
And a photo of another attempt at the mountains and valley in my watercolour Moleskine - the urge to paint everything was strong and constant, such a change from hunting for subject matter as I seem to always be doing here - more of these in another post.