Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Liz Steel and Sketchbook Skool

I have, in the last couple of months, enrolled in both Sketchbook Skool and Liz Steel's Foundations Sketching class (see links below).  Both are excellent and I find I have been drawing quite a bit, spurred on by the lessons and the talent and enthusiasm of the many instructors.  I feel that even though my preferred medium is textiles, I need to improve my drawing skills in order to draw on fabric with a bit more accuracy.  I was introduced to Liz Steel through Sketchbook Skool (SBS) as she is one of the instructors there.  She is an architect who has become a full-time artist.  And I love her style, both as an artist and as a teacher.  Here are some of my own modest offerings:

This is the new little paint palette that I purchased when we were in Paris.  I have seen something like this as a Schmincke palette, but since mine doesn't have any names on it anywhere I suspect it might be a knock-off.  It holds a little reservoir of water, filled through the screw opening, that will fill the little water bucket that goes on the side.  It fits quite easily into the palm of my hand with a ring underneath that slips onto one of my fingers. This little one is filled with Sennelier paints, very luscious.  More Paris souvenirs!  Liz Steel loves to paint her tea cups and so I had a go at painting one that I bought in an antique store in Langley, on Whidbey Island, a number of years ago.  Fun.

I have been practicing drawing whatever is handy, which explains why I have tried drawing my own hands, since they are never out of my reach (!!!). More on the pen in a sec...

And whilst sitting in my chair last night, wondering what to draw, I started drawing the wall of bookcases across the room from me.  Another handy choice.

These are my new pens.  If you are looking for a new pen, read on, if not, this might be a bit boring!!!  At the top is my new Platinum Carbon Pen.  It comes with an ink cartridge and the ink is totally waterproof.  And it draws with a lovely very fine line.  It's not at all expensive and I'm enjoying it immensely.  (I also bought the converter, just haven't used it yet.)  Next is my Pelikan M200 (recommended by Melanie Reim, another of the SKS teachers.)  This is the favourite of my has a fine point and writes beautifully.  Such a lovely line.  Next is my Sailor 1911L fountain pen with a zoom lens.  Really expensive (for me) and I don't care for the zoom lens.  The idea is that depending on how you hold the pen, it will write with a different thickness of line.  Upright is what I would call a medium nib all the way down to a quite thick line, which unfortunately is how it writes in my normal writing position.  A very thick line.  And I have most definitely NOT mastered a straight line that encompasses a line from thick to thin....I can't seem to make a smooth transition between thicknesses.  It will write upside down, however, in a nice thin line, but I doubt it's meant to be used like this all the time.  I guess that's one of the problems when one buys something on-line.  There's no trial run.  And finally, my Lamy Safari.  I also LOVE this little pen, not expensive, but just great.  Not quite a smooth as the Pelikan, but for the price difference, I think it might be a better investment.  I got the converter for this pen as well.  And so far, my favourite ink is Waterman's Brilliant ink...I've been using their brown.  It's not waterproof but I love how it wets out.  I tried a J. Herbin ink in my Sailor pen to start off with and when I added water it DID wet out, but not in a very painterly fashion.  I'm still trying to find a perfect waterproof ink, so that I can draw and paint without having the ink colour affect my paint colours.  It's a bit expensive to keep trying out inks, and what do I do with all those inks that I don't like?

I am having such a lot of fun doing all of this sketching that I occasionally feel as if I may have abandoned my fabrics all together.  But no, I am itching to get back at them again.....

I have to start making some Christmas presents.  My guy leaves next week for his winter sojourn in warmer climes.  There will be time.....

I have put links to both sites of drawing classes that I've mentioned here....have fun!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Drawing and painting and walking

I bought the sweetest little paint palette when we were in Paris (what a great souvenir!!) but of course I forgot to take a photo of it to show you.  I'll do that next time when I catch up with the rest of my Paris pictures.

In the meantime I have been drawing and painting lots.  I still haven't made it upstairs to my sewing studio (it's a bit chilly up there) but I've been enjoying taking my new paint palette for a test drive.  I bought some Sennelier half-pan watercolours while we were there as well, and have been getting to know the colours.  I tried to get the basic colours that I use all the time but the names are different and I haven't memorized the pigment numbers and letters yet but I think these are pretty close.  I'm also trying to work with just transparent watercolours.  The Sennelier pigments are quite rich and re-wet beautifully in the palette with just a little bit of spraying.  Lovely.

The drawings are done in ink which is a new technique for me.  Not very forgiving but lots of fun!  Also new for me is the fact that I did both of these sketches sitting in coffee shops.  I can't bring myself to look at people to draw them so I'll practice first by sketching from the television.....seems less daunting! The paintings are of leaves I've collected whilst out walking and the duck is a little ornament I have at home.  Handy!

We went for a walk the other day around a local nature reserve and the weather was glorious.  Beautiful sunshine.  This little shot was taken looking into the sun but I was intrigued with how wild it looked. and I loved the glint of the sun on the water.

And so that's it for the moment.  I'll get back to you as soon as I can with more of palettes and Paris.

I'll be back.....

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Paris Part II

Oh my, I have to tell you, I thought Paris was just The Most Beautiful City.  The last time I was there was in '94 with 41 students.....not sure why that experience didn't quite match up to this one!!!  Oh wait, yes, I know....the '41-students' part!

This time it was just me and my guy, and since he has lived here before he knows the city well.  Such a perfect travel guide!!!  And he somehow managed to arrange amazing weather as well!!  Honestly!

The bridges, I loved the bridges.....

We stayed in the Latin Quarter just a couple of blocks away from the Seine. So many beautiful bridges.

Imagine this one without the cranes, the cars and the crazy civilization. Except for those little items, it probably hasn't changed much at all.  And the morning mist, eternal and forever, was SO beautiful.

Oh my gosh....

Locks on the walkway....locks on the bridge.  The padlocks, meant to symbolize unbreakable love, only started appearing in 2008 (on as many as 11 Paris bridges, but one can no longer attach locks to the bridges since the weight of all the locks was causing serious concern for the bridges' structure.)

We walked across to Ile de la Cite to see Notre Dame.

This pic was taken overlooking the river that runs on either side of Ile de la Cite.  More bridges! Notre Dame is just to the left.

One of many 'bateaux mouches' that we saw on the river,

And again, oh my gosh....

The weather totally cleared up and in the evening we went for a walk in the Jardins de Luxembourg.  I'll show you next lovely....

I'll be back...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Paris Part I

We traveled up to Paris on the TGV and settled into our little (very small, but perfect) apartment in the Latin Quarter, about a 10-minute walk from Everything!! Lovely.

On our first day there we walked about for a couple of hours and then I took a tour of the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay, which sounds impossible, except that I had signed up for a 'skip the lines' tour and so we did.  There were only three people (myself and a couple from Kentucky) and our fantastic tour guide and it was incredible.  We spent two and a half hours going through the Louvre and then we stopped for lunch.  We then walked to the Musee d'Orsay and spent another couple of hours being shown through that incredible museum (still so much more to see....must go back).  Our guide was a dear young thing from Boston who had spent three years already in Paris, studying, and who gave tours as a part time job.  She was extremely knowledgeable and had a bouncy personality as well. Such fun and what a great way to do a tour when one's time is limited.  My guy picked me up from the Musee d'Orsay and we went and had dinner with some friends of his who live in Paris.  They also gave us a ride back to our apartment for which I was pretty grateful, but not as grateful as my feet!!!

 Approaching the entrance to the Louvre Museum with that controversial not-so-invisible pyramid.

Everyone was carefully studying the many pieces of art in the museum.

Mona and her thousands of friends.

The former office of Louis XIV (I think....too much information that day!)  Not unlike Versaille's Hall of Mirrors .  Just a humble little room.  Do you suppose the secretary was outfitted with roller blades??

One of at least two frescoes by Botticelli that were found, restored, and then moved to the Louvre.

More pictures next time.  Here's a teaser:

I'm still trying to get over my jet lag.....ugh.
I'll be back...