It came to me, as I was trying to work out what to do with the third sleeve of my new cardigan, that perhaps I hadn’t been concentrating!
I was reminded earlier today that the phrase is ‘meditation practice’ not ‘meditation perfect’*, so I’m nicking that idea to apply to my art. I don’t know many artists who think their work is ‘perfect’, but sometimes I seem to operate as if that should be the default. So in the spirit of it being Friday I’m cutting myself some slack and having fun with my art ‘practice’.
Returning from interstate last week I was making this rather stiff drawing of 4 people who appeared to be related …
… when this bloke stuck himself right in front of my subjects.
The pen I was using wasn’t running smoothly as the cap is a bit loose and the ink dries and causes blockages. I sort-of revived it a bit by putting water from my brush pen onto it, so while the sketch is a bit pale, I think it’s way more interesting than my first effort.
The next day the pen wasn’t much better, but I couldn’t resist sketching this cheeky magpie, hanging around the cafe for a feed. The first parts of the sketch were pale and then with help from my partner we managed to get the ink flowing a bit better . Once that was done I realised that I had made a much more interesting range of marks than if the ink had been flowing properly.
I picked up that pen again today, but not before actually checking and re-filling it. This morning I didn’t find my fellow cafe-goers very exciting subjects, so I decided to include some of the graphics from the nearby reptile shop to make things more interesting. I decided the whole could be improved if I added some paint when I got home.
I then decided, in short order, that the result wasn’t quite what I was after. So I resorted to even more paint.
I’m feeling much happier about this version.
Sadly I have to report that since the big make-over of the small precinct where we go for coffee, that our dinosaur has ‘left the building’. It has been replaced by two trees some ground-cover plants and a lot of wood-chips. Making my sketches ‘interesting’ will become more of a challenge with the dinosaur.
*Phrase thanks to Headspace
On a visit to Adelaide a week ago we saw the retrospective of the work of Robert Hannaford, a South Australian portraitist, at the Art Gallery of South Australia. It was fascinating to see what 50 years of work looked like, particularly the many self portraits Hannaford has made over that time. I also enjoyed seeing that he made the type of quick sketches in coffee shops and bars that many of us make, which are worthwhile in themselves.
What did surprise me were two sculptures that were included in the show. His understanding of the figure in space I found to be even more compelling than his painted portraits. As I was with other people opportunities for sketching were limited. I sketched two versions of his bronze sculpture ‘Handstand’.
You can find more of his work at his website.
We took a quick trip up the road today to Goulburn, one of the oldest cities in New South Wales. As always we were attracted by the various period buildings throughout the city. This visit we allowed enough time to make a number of sketches.
While waiting for my lunch I quickly sketched one of the commercial premises on the main street. I found the combination of dark and light patterns a perfect subject for playing with my fountain pen.
After lunch we shifted down to the railway lines to paint, not the attractively restored station, but rather one of the storage buildings further along the track.
Our final stop was back in Belmore Park, in the centre of the city where we decided to make a quick sketch of the Victorian era Court House. I swapped styles yet again to try out my black and white and a punch of colour technique. I was pretty pleased with the outcome except for one thing – I left out a whole section of the upper level of the building – oops.
There was nothing for it but to have another go.
One of the things I realised when I looked even more closely is that the top of the dome is quite literally crowned with a copy of Queen Victoria’s imperial and state crown that featured in the print of the Queen, a copy of which graced my grandparent’s home. Our day of sketching ended somewhat abruptly when a bus load of school boys arrived and quite literally parked out the view and raised the decibel level in the park quite dramatically.
For these sketches I got to try out my Stillman and Birn Gamma series Vellum Suface sketchbook, (150gsm).