Picking blackberries

A favourite pastime in February is picking blackberries that grow rampantly around the ACT (Australian Capital Territory).

In amongst the blackberries, 15 February 2015, pen and ink

In amongst the blackberries, 15 February 2015, pen and ink

This was a very quick sketch that I did while taking a break. I subsequently decided to re-draw the figures of my friends, as I liked the shapes their bodies made.

Picking blackberries, 15 February 2015, pen and ink, various colours and Copic Multiliner

Picking blackberries, 15 February 2015, pen and ink, various colours and Copic Multiliner

I’m hoping they’ll forgive me their bulky outlines. I was drawing using two pens at the same time which inevitably seems to expand the girth of any subject. (In my defence they were also wearing overshirts to protect themselves from the thorns).

Earlier today my friend sent me another photo taken a week beforehand, also picking blackberries. So I thought another re-drawing was warranted.

Picking blackberries, pen and ink and Copic Multiliner, held together while drawing, 16 February 2015

Picking blackberries, pen and ink and Copic Multiliner, held together while drawing, 16 February 2015

I’m really enjoying the drawing with two pens/pencils at a time approach. I think what is appealing to me is how the technique  generates volume, as opposed to outline. I’m reminded of Henry Moore’s drawings, even though I haven’t seen any that indicate that he used such an approach (if you have seen this technique in his work I would be interested to know). I found this introduction to an exhibition of Moore’s drawings held in 2010 in Zurich (ah the joys of the internet) which I thought made some interesting points. Putting to one side that this post contains several re-drawn images and one based on a photograph I liked Moore’s comment that “Drawing from life keeps one visually fit – perhaps acts like water to a plant – and it lessens the danger of repeating oneself and getting into a formula”.

Stop the Executions in Indonesia

Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, along with a number of other people, are facing imminent execution in Indonesia © Bintoro Luckman

Nine men are at imminent risk of execution after their clemency applications were rejected by President Joko Widodo.

They are Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, Syofial alias Iyen bin Azwar (Indonesian), Harun bin Ajis (Indonesian), Sargawi alias Ali bin Sanusi (Indonesian), , Martin Anderson alias Belo (Ghanaian), Zainal Abidin (Indonesian), Raheem Agbaje Salami ‎(Nigerian) and Rodrigo Gularte (Brazilian).

Indonesia has already demonstrated its deadly intent by executing five foreign nationals and one Indonesian just after midnight on 18 January. International condemnation followed and the Brazilian and Dutch Ambassadors to Indonesia were recalled.

Death sentences in Indonesia are carried out by a firing squad of 12 gunmen. Prisoners are given a choice of whether to stand or sit and whether to have their eyes covered, by a blindfold or hood. Three rifles are loaded with live ammunition, while the other nine are loaded with blanks. Prisoners are then fired on from 5-10 metres.

The death penalty is a violent and inhumane punishment that has no place in today’s criminal justice system.

Evidence from around the world has shown that the death penalty does not work to deter crimes. State sanctioned killing only serves to endorse the use of force and to continue the cycle of violence.

140 countries have now abolished the death penalty. Indonesia has the opportunity to become the 141st country.

Please, urge the Indonesian authorities to halt plans to execute the death row prisoners and to establish a moratorium on all executions with a view to ending the death penalty for good.

If you would like to do more please write to the Indonesian President. You can do this through Amnesty International Australia.

Out and About

If there is one piece of advice that I think we can all benefit from it is to take up our sketchbooks and draw! While I carry a very small Moleskine drawing book in my bag I’m also trying to take my larger format book with me whenever I go out.

This week I went to a floortalk at the Australia Wide 4 exhibition from the OzQuilt Network. I decided to draw the speaker, using blind drawing technique. I had two goes at it and thought the second was more successful than the first.

Blind drawing at the exhibition floortalk, 12 February 2015, pen and ink

Blind drawing at the exhibition floortalk, 12 February 2015, pen and ink

Today I was able to spend some more time working on this street scape and figures on the restaurant strip in Tuggeranong. And yes, in case you were wondering I used all my three fountain pens in this sketch, just because I can.

Anketell St Tuggeranong, 13 February 2015, pen and ink

Anketell St Tuggeranong, 13 February 2015, pen and ink

Fountain pen fever, it’s contagious!

I think I’m succumbing to the early stages of a sadly common sketching phenomenon, the urge to collect fountain pens. It started innocently enough. I saw some drawings I liked made using a fountain pen and before I thought about it there was my first black Lamy Safari. It was lovely to draw with and soon became indispensable. Then I lost it! A desperate trip to the local pen shop and I was able to secure a bright yellow replacement – all the harder to lose – so I hope.

Then came the inks, you know what happened. Not content with what came with the pen I started researching what inks other people were using. Noodlers Bulletproof was the ink I kept hearing about, particularly the Bulletproof black which is considered to be the one waterproof pigment ink that can be used in my fountain pen, without clogging it up irreparably. One problem, apparently the Australian supplier isn’t supplying anymore, so I had to check out online suppliers from overseas. So now here I am with three bottles of Noodlers inks.

Noodler's inks testing, Black, the just about unpronounceable Squeteague and La Reine Mauve

Noodler’s inks testing, Black, the just about unpronounceable Squeteague and La Reine Mauve

Now I was a bit surprised and not a bit disappointed that the Black and the Squeteague did show some bleeding when I washed some water over them. La Reine Mauve, which was the ‘freshest’ at the time of testing, did no such thing (good breeding will out!).

Hooray! my Black Lamy Safari pen has been found hiding in a dark crevice under some books. Now I have two fountain pens going at the same time. I filled the second pen with La Reine Mauve, as I thought it would be a more ‘useable’ colour than the jade-green Squeteague. You’d think that would be enough, but then I began reading blogs about pens with ‘fude’ or bent nibs. Before I knew it I had purchased a Duke 209 stainless steel pen with the ‘fude’ nib. It’s OK I say, it’s not at all expensive on E-bay.

Now the Duke pen comes with its own blue ink which shades towards a deep violet.  A bit odd but not too bad, if I was going to write with it. So next time I’m at the art supply shop I just have a cruise past the ink display and the next thing I know I’m heading out the door with two more bottles of ink. This time it’s Windsor and Newton Calligraphy ink in Indian Red and Sepia. Both of these colours have the advantage of being ones that I use in my watercolour palette, so I’m sure I’ll be more comfortable drawing with them.

Windsor and Newton calligraphy inks, Indian Red and Sepia and the Duke 209 fude nib using the blue ink cartridge it comes with

Windsor and Newton calligraphy inks, Indian Red and Sepia and the Duke 209 fude nib using the blue ink cartridge it comes with

So now I have three fountain pens to play with. I plan to stop there for a while and spend some time getting to know and use what I have already. Fingers crossed!

 

 

 

Cafe Wednesday – going postal

It’s that time of the week again, back to the cafe, this time with watersoluble pencils. I’ve been really happy using my watersoluble graphite, but that relies on using brushes which doesn’t allow for the quick lines I’m trying to use. So after checking out some of the gear being used by the other sketchers in our first sketchcrawl it was off to the art supply shop and away with some Derwent Watersoluble Sketching pencils.

Testing the Derwent watersoluble sketching pencils

Testing the Derwent watersoluble sketching pencils

We bought a 6 tin which has 2 of each HB, 4B and 8B, which are designated light, medium and dark wash. This suited us well as my partner and I could split the tin and get one set of pencils each. An added bonus was the tin itself which my partner has snaffled to use to carry his pencils and other bits around in.

So here is my first sketch using the pencils. There is also some other colour from my Duke fountain pen, but that’s another story for another post.

Post box and advertising signs, watersoluble pencil and ink, 11 February 2015

Post box and advertising signs, watersoluble pencil and ink, 11 February 2015