Oak Leaves

There’s a young oak tree on one of the streets in my neighbourhood. I’ve brought home 2 sprigs of leaves that I’ve found on the sidewalk on my walks. I love oak leaves! And I’ve done a few drawings of them.

The first two are of a small bunch of leaves that I drew first with a bold pen and, the next day, with a finer line one. I did this to see what changing the tool would do to the rendition. A very different look and feel appeared.

This third sketch is of a larger sprig of leaves.

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Further Drawings from Newfoundland

Here’s 3 more drawings I made in Newfoundland in the presence of sweeping ocean views. The more dramatic the scenes became, I fewer lines I used. I didn’t have any plan to do this. It was just the only way I found I could put anything on paper, so magnificent were the views. So a few gesturing lines and some broad movements were what arose on paper.

Here’s 2 drawings from Western Bay, with a bit of a boardwalk showing in the second one:

 

 

And here’s a drawing from the East Coast Trail that we hiked:

And the photo near the spot that the above drawing is from:

Plus another photo at the start of the Witless Bay entrance to the trail:


Terra Nova, Drawing and a Surprise in an Alley

When we were in Newfoundland we hiked in Terra Nova National Park by the ocean. One afternoon and the following day, we went to Buckley Cove. I carried a sketch book and pens with me during our trip and sat on a rock to draw part of the cove. When faced with such beauty, I found myself recording feeling and the movement of the rocks, trees and water rather than looking for exact representation. In this way, I was able to be with the place and feel the land and ocean. I began by quickly drawing the sweeping line of the cove and continued from there. That way I was not overwhelmed into inaction by the strength of the scene. Here’s a photo of the cove and the line drawing I did.

And, here’s a scene I found touching this week while walking down an alley back in Toronto. It seemed to me that whoever planted these flowers in the midst of concrete did an act of love.

 


Shepherd Carving

I’ve continued doing line drawings. I find the practice helps me focus–literally and figuratively. Last week, I began paying attention to a carving we’ve had for years. The plaque has been done very skillfully and with great care extending even to its back that is covered in soft chisel marks. We found it at a yard sale and loved it, buying it for only a few dollars. The carver hasn’t put their name on the work and I have no idea where the piece came from. The wood is very hard. If anyone seeing this has an idea where the carving may have been made, please let me know.

As I drew the sculpture, I discovered how tricky it was for me to see, with some accuracy, what was going on. With felt pens you don’t have the luxury of painting over anything you consider an error like you do with acrylics or oils. Each time I learned more as I made my next error.

Here’s the carving:

Here’s part of my first drawing:

That led me to a quick thumbnail-like sketch:

In these next two, I laid out general shapes in grey pen as guides and worked over them in black.


I even tried a gesture-like pencil drawing to see the shapes:

I don’t think I’m finished with this series. I have a lot to learn from studying this carving about being present and not allowing imperfection to kill my love of seeing and being with this wonderful sculpture.


Some Line Drawings

I haven’t done line drawing in a while and thought it would be helpful to begin again. It’s a way of grounding myself in the present and seeing what’s in front of me. Here’s several drawings I’ve done this week with black pigment markers. I found them calming to do.

This first one is in my work room: easel with recent crayon work and woodcuts of one of my favourite artists–Munakata Shiko*–on the wall behind.  Plus another favourite woodcut by Naoko Matsubara. The drawing is practically an abstract.

 

Here’s one of a papier maché mask I made a few years ago, on a shelf in the work room as it awaits a place on a wall.

 

This is the view from one of my windows–a view I usually find disheartening because of all the ungraceful buildings. I was surprised to find that in drawing the scene I felt different about it. It lost its sense of ugliness for me. The lines and shapes held my interest and became a contrast between the curves of the trees and straight lines of the buildings that went beyond judgement. I suspect there’s a wider life lesson in this, although I haven’t fully formulated it yet.

 

Again, here’s some of the things on my work table.

 

And here’s part of a Bread and Puppet poster hanging in my work room. On the poster is a photograph of two of the enormous masks that Bread and Puppet has made, resting in their barn/museum in Vermont that we visited around 20 years ago.

*Here’s a video of Munakata’s work

 

I’m also at artsofmay.etsy.com


Learning 2

Here’s what I’m working on now–a variation of the piece I showed in Learning. This time, I’ve used only the watercolour crayons, both wet and dry. I’m slowly building up colour and texture and paying attention to shapes. I believe the piece is a work in progress–the more I contemplate it, the more aspects I see to work on.


Hansel and Gretel

This week, I happily received the copy of Clive Hicks-Jenkins’ book, Hansel and Gretel. In it, he has brilliantly reimagined the fairy tale.  I ordered it last week from the U.K. and it arrived faster than some packages from other parts of Canada!

Clive Hicks-Jenkins is one of my favourite artists. He shows a wide array of his artwork on his blog and talks about the process that went into making the pieces.  His artwork in this book is tremendously engaging with both terrifying and beautiful renditions of the characters and the settings. I’ve been pouring over the book and love the layers of paint, drawing and collage.

On the artist’s blog are many posts about the complex process he went through in making the book. The link above is to just one of those posts and also talks about the Hansel and Gretel toy theatre kit he designed. Below are the front and back covers of the book.