Sunday, 17 September 2017

New Journeys

My new sketchbook is proving to be a pleasure to carry around and it is beginning to fill up with scribbles, doodles, notes, prayers and anything else I want to add. Its arrival seems to have coincided with some new and interesting challenges in life and I hope it will be a way for me to try and find a path through them over the next few months. I may share more about that in the future.

I seem to have got bored with the iPad in the sense that I find it a little restrictive in how I want to physically move about on the screen and also the fact that it is yet another digital screen. After looking at my mac at work for hours on end each day I want a break from the digital world. A larger iPad might perhaps be good, or one of the new touch screen things that are becoming popular - a Wacom Cintiq or a cheaper equivalent. Technology moves fast and there are increasing opportunites for alternative working methods for designers but they are still not cheap and I am not sure I could justify the investment. That is one thing about a humble sketchpad and pen, it doesn't cost much and hand created artwork somehow seems much more pleasurable to handle and show people.

I don't always find it easy to focus or maintain a direction with my art and at the moment I think I need the sketchbook to nurture my creative soul. I always jump around between one thing and another: urban sketching, character design, cartoons, caricatures, whimsical ideas and nature based art. My mind switches between things depending on the inspiration around me and I get easily distracted. This isn't helped by some medication I am on that slows me down and getting my brain in gear to be creative can feel like hard work. 

A few days ago I was talking to a guy at work who seems to spend his lunchtimes and evenings glued to a computer screen doing some form of artwork. I can't work that way, it would be too stressful to me. I have done it in the past but now, in my more mature years, I can't cope with excessive hours in front of a computer screen. In some ways I would be happy to get rid of all the technology around me and be free of its seductive lure. In other ways I wish I could embrace it more and have the time and space to explore my own creative dreams.

Monday, 28 August 2017

New sketchbook

Summer holidays and experiences are great time for thinking about change. Have decided to change my rough and rather scrappy sketchbooks into more of a journal. Bought a new hardback A4 sketchbook today with a stitched spine rather than wire. This should make doing larger illustrations easier as well as an encouragement to draw more acurately and make notes, write things etc in a more constructive way. Also bought some wonderful 'Aqua Flo' watercolour brushes that can actually be filled with water or coloured inks. This will make doing more tonal sketches far easier as I can work loosely in watercolour with just a dab of paint on a jam jar lid and have a flexible watercolour brush that can add water by squeezing just when I need it and without all the fuss of water pots etc. That has also saved buying a new IPad and Apple pencil! Looking forward to seeing how it will work out. Filled in the title page this evening.

Tiny Tea Tent

The best place to draw and meet people at Greenbelt: the Tiny Tea Tent. Visited Greenbelt for one day this year and really enjoyed my day there. The Tiny Tea Tent provided endless varieties of tea but only one type of coffee. Not sure how my first cup of the day was brewed but the second, in the evening, came in a one cup cafetierre and was delicious. Apart from doing lots of sketching here and chatting to a few unknown people, managed to help light some of the many candle lanterns in the evening. Must return again sometime!

Chicken Curry

Cooking chicken curry in the garden. The wheelbarrow holds a barbeque fire pit. Suspended from the ash branch tripod is the top grill section from the bbq set raised above the fire by chains from a hanging basket and some thick galvanised wire. This holds a wok and can be raised or lowered up of down depending on the fire beneath. Once cooking complete the wheel barrow and fire pit can be moved from under the tripod to enable a larger fire to be created for evening warmth (and not burning the tripod).


Gifts received for looking after a neighbours dog recently: a selection of Romanian rugs handmade by the mother of the dog's owner; a large 700ml bottle of brandy on a box shaped like an antique book; and a bottle of what I think is a sour cherry liqueur placed in a small wooden cart with wheels and six shot classes hanging from its sides.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Baked Potato

Someone eating a baked potato.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Northumberland Sketches

Some pages from my sketchbook from a recent trip to Northumberland. Alnwick town centre with some rather disproportionately sized people, a man on his phone in Alnwick Gardens and a gardener mowing the lawn at Howick Hall. This was supposed to be a sketch of people wandering around the garden and sitting on the benches, but no one obliged at the right time...