An old pot of half dead violas was popped into the greenhouse to be decanted and sent to the compost heap. But the two remaining tiny buds opened. Who could resist those little faces?
Gardening is hard work, but the rewards can be very sweet.
The drawing in yesterday's post is what Betty Edwards in her book Drawing On The Artist Within calls an analog drawing, (Ch 8 Drawing On Intuition).
My scribble was the work of seconds and a way of releasing the angst we are all feeling, and I felt much better after I had done it!
We are all dealing with it in our own ways. If you are a verbal person you may rant when it all gets too much, or scream into the wind. If you are a more physical type you may go for a fast walk, or a run, or punch a pillow, or kick a ball against a wall.
I'm visually dominant and can express myself best with a pen or brush in my hand..
Might you give it a try? I sat down intending to write something else and thought 'How do I feel right now? ' The answer was Aaargh and as I began to write the word it took on a life of its own! The secret is to not think too much about it. Size does not matter - mine was on A4 - but if your feelings are very strong really big is great!
When she was quite little my daughter had an operation on her foot. I suggested she draw the pain in a little notebook. She named it Anagroggle Pain and she redrew it each day, modifying the jagged shapes, telling it to behave and after a few days she morphed it into a benign blob which coulcn't hurt anyone.
I once made two large collages of screaming newspaper headlines (they both quickly sold in an exhibition). Your drawing might develop into an art work or you may just get the satisfaction of screwing it up into a ball and binning it. You may put it aside and look at it a few days later and see what you see.
Here is one which developed into a little design I called Delicate Balance.
I enjoyed this short video about Leonardo da Vinci's drawing materials.
Some hardly changed over 500 years.
Original Leonardo da Vinci drawings!
I found it really thrilling to stand close to and examine carefully the real things!
To celebrate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death there are currently 12 exhibitions here in UK each with I think 12 original drawings from the Queens's collection..
(See more here.)
In Scotland the only venue is at Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow which rang with the sound of humdreds of children enjoying themselves today (school holidays here). The gallery has always been free, and always been family friendly and (the replica of) Dippy the Diplodocus - see this post - is still drawing the crowds.
I began today's three tasks with the one I really wanted to do.
Drawing with the lawn mower to establish the areas I will allow to grow longer this year (one of the fun aspects of this is that you can change it every year, or even from one cut to the next).
I have written often about 'differential mowing'. It's one of my favourite creative design techniques, and to cut down on mowing time I am creating larger areas in both back and front gardens this year. I am lucky I think in that many wild plants (weeds!) still exist in our grass areas as they were created from fields and we have very rarely used fertilisers and weedkilllers, and then only on small areas.
I am paying someone to help with the grass but I wanted to establish the all-important shapes myself.
Not quite right yet, but there is always another chance at this...the garden is essentially rectangular but I like to incorporate organic shapes and creating a balance between the two is the creative challenge for me.
The longer grasses and flowers are good for the insects and the bare patch will soon be sown with a wildflower seed mix to give me a nursery of wild flowers to play with.
I think I can feel my passion for the garden slowly returning with this project.
Do you use wildflowers in your garden?
Linda mentioned in yesterday's comments how hard it is to sketch in public!
I used to tell my students on the Drawing for Non-Artists course that it is a good idea to sit with your back against a wall or fence or hedge. People are less likely to approach you and you can at least see them coming. And although you might enjoy folks chatting to you, if you don't want to talk, do not make eye contact and try just to keep saying Mmmm and continue drawing - they usually take the hint after a minute or so.
One student sketching in the centre of York where you can easily find a little crowd gathered around you if you are drawing, got fed up wrote WORKING. DO NOT DISTURB. in large letters at the top of his drawing board!
I loved this attitude of the Rijksmuseim in Amsterdam and rather deplored the recent 'No photography. No sketching sign' which appeared at a recent exhibition at London's V&A
I've been clearing space in the studio...
and found a giant (A1) sketchbook
and a stick of graphite which glides so smoothly on the paper
as I try to capture the character of the jugs of flowers... and things.
It's like a kind of meditation.
What do you think about sketching in museums?
....photograph from a recent post reminded me ot this (thank you Ann)....which reminded me of this....Such skill. And before I know it I've spent an hour online!
Hope you enjoy!
(By the way I'm not convinced by the glass tube theory of viewing the Holbein skull, but for it to be hung by a door so that you see it when you enter (not leave) I find very credible and rather an exciting idea to come from that most sober of artists....)
..on learning to draw, make it this one!
I never liked how to draw books. It seemed to me they all said 'Do what I do and you can draw like me.' whereas this book by Betty Edwards will have you drawing in a way that is as unique to you as your signature is. I think it the most intelligent how to draw book out there. It's an interesting read and provides a fascinating insight into how we learn.
It also really does get down to basics. You might think of it as the equivalent of learning your abc, or piano scales, or first ballet positions.
When drawing skills were required in factories making carpets, textiles and pottery in 19C Britain all children were taught to draw. Some found it easier than others of course, as in any subject, but they all learned. It is not a mystery, it is a teachable, learnable skill. If you can ride a bike, drive a car or use a computer, you can also learn to draw.
The book won't make you an artist any more than playing scales will make you a musician, but if you have patience and the humility to be a beginner, you will in a few short weeks be drawing in a way that will probably surprise you!
Out of the red gate and down a grassy path to the shore, in three minutes I come to the studio of Bill Williamson, potter.
Wheels, kilns, sketches, models, boxes and packets and jars and tools, works in progress,
and a pot bellied stove and that wonderful smell you get in pottery workshops.
The studio is peopled by mysterious beings
with eyes closed.
Though I'm sure they open their eyes and talk about us when we leave...
You can see more of Bill's work here and at Open Studios in late September...
I love this clever and colourful little 20 second video!
I love Matisse.
An exhibition not to be missed..
(You have to scroll down the page, and it is worth making it full screen. Enjoy.)
Next up is Simply Eat - I've really made progress here....
Looking forward to summer i must ask your indulgence if you already know about Drawing For Non Artists, my five day intensive learn-how-to-draw courses in June and July, at a beautiful setting on the west coast of Scotland.
For full details including drawings from past students click on www.drawingfornonartists.weebly.com If you know of friends you think might like to learn to draw from scratch, I'd be most grateful if you would forward this to them!
Do you have any plans yet for summer? We are going to visit Harris in the Outer Hebrides for the first time.
Thank you for your interesting comments on yesterday's post about visual calm in your home being compatible with having a large collection of books. It occurred to me that if your books have to live in your sitting room, you could at least have them behind your sofa or favourite chair if you need to rest your eyes of an evening....
Make 2013 the year you learn to draw!
One of the best things in 2012 for me was being invited by Tighnabruaich Gallery to show paintings in The Boathouse at The Scottish Sculpture Park for a week-end, and then becoming their first artist in residence and staying for nearly seven weeks!
I loved it, and thought it would be a great place to teach my Drawing for Non Artists course....
I know that many people start planning holidays now so I hope this is a good time for me to mention it again. It runs this summer in a wonderful setting on the west coast of Scotland. Click here for full details on my website. I've added a few more 'before and after' drawings from past students to the Gallery page.
I'd be very grateful if you could forward this to people you know who you think might be interested. There are already some bookings for both the June and July weeks.
I was there today and found Karen full of exciting plans for the 2013 season with new artists, new sculptures and installations.
Wednesday is anti-procrastination day over at www.flylady.net so it's a busy day here!
I start it out thinking Oh no, all the boring things I've been putting off, but it's amazing how I cheer up as the day goes on and I tick them off, clearing my head as I go.
My 98 year old student (yes, you read that rightly) and I have agreed to do a simple drawing a day to get us back into the drawing habit. A little pocket size sketch book and 10 - 15 minutes a day.
Don't know where to start? Draw your breakfast!
Don't forget to comment on 9th Nov post for the chance to win Getting Things Done book...
Was I tempting fate by talking of reducing stress on the computer I wonder...(see post 13 October).
I managed to lose my new website, Drawing for Non Artists. The sinking feeling when I realised what had happened is something I don't want to experience again anytime soon. Do you know that feeling?
However all was not really lost, though I did not know that at the time! It was retrieved by the clever folks at Weebly, thank goodness. After the initial panic subsided I realised that I could do it again if I had to, probably in half a day.
I was adding a new page to show drawings by some of my students both before and after tuition, which I thought would be encouraging for people who can't believe they could learn to draw, but would love to. Apologies if you tried to view the website in the last 48 hours. It can be viewed here now.
Have you lost things on your computer? Would you/do you entrust all your treasured photographs and letters and financial affairs to the internet?
The Northern Lights were beautiful, but not here sadly, though I did spend a couple of utterly peaceful hours in a cosy chair by the firelight, facing the window and contemplating the stars!
This morning however, when I peeked out the front door, I was met by the beauty of the first real frost of the season...
Booking has begun for the Drawing for Non Artists course www.drawingfornonartists.weebly.com I'd be most grateful if you would pass this on to anyone you think might be interested.
If you can't make the drawing class take a look at Drawing On The Right Side of The Brain by Betty Edwards. The most intelligent how to draw book ever. Trust me.
I've been fascinated by drawing ever since I can remember, and love teaching drawing.
If this drawing (by 32 year old Karen) is about your level of ability when it comes to drawing, join my class 'Drawing for Non Artists' and learn to draw in ten weeks. Just put your e mail address in comments and I'll get details to you......the class will be in Dunoon in Argyll, Scotland.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)