Everyday practice

Here are some sketches from my current ‘handbag’ sketchbook. I am trying to use up one of the myriad sketchbooks that seem to spontaneously generate in my spare room. This book isn’t too good with wet media so I mainly try and sketch in pencil. The pencils I am using are a Palomino Blackwing 530 and my el cheapo multicolour pencil I got in Japan at Sekkaido.

In rough date order …

Trying to get some more interesting perspectives into these ‘regular’ events.

From the car in a roof top carpark.

Sketching graffiti from a roof top carpark.

This is a work in progress. I do a bit more every time I stop here to collect the mail.

Again, trying to enliven a cafe sketch. It gets very busy at our local cafe on Saturday morning. There are lots of parents and kids relaxing after the kids football matches.

Profession – artist

“Are you an artist?” was something I often got asked when people saw me sitting , drawing, while I was  in China. It always seemed easier to say yes, than go into some complicated discussion about what I do, but I found it difficult to say this without some vague feeling of being fraudulent. I’ve since realised that I’ve been missing the point completely. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘profession’ as follows:

“An occupation in which a professional knowledge of some subject, field or science is applied, a vocation or career, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification.”

And I’m not going to get hung up on the formal qualification bit either. It’s the concept of the application of knowledge combined with prolonged training that chimes with why I even bother to persist with drawing and why I am an artist. I am even more consoled by the words of the great Japanese artist Hokusai who explained:

“From the age of 6 I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was 50 I had published a universe of designs. But all I have done before the the age of 70 is not worth bothering with. At 75 I’ll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am 80 you will see real progress. At 90 I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At 100, I shall be a marvelous artist. At 110, everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokusai, but today I sign my self ‘The Old Man Mad About Drawing.”
Hokusai Katsushika

So I will promise to persist and with persistence I will become an even better artist. Hokusai sensei arigato gosaimashita! (Thank you Teacher Hokusai!).

The Orange Ironing Board, 27 November 2014, pen and ink and watercolour

The Orange Ironing Board, 27 November 2014, pen and ink and watercolour