Art practice, not Art perfect

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 …

2Aug2016a

Waiting at the airport, 3 related women and one girl, coloured pencil

… when this bloke stuck himself right in front of my subjects.

2Aug2016

What gets in the way of art, becomes the art!

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.

3Aug2016

Necessity becomes virtue as the paler initial marks allow for more interest in the feathers and offer a contrast to the background

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.

12Aug2016a

Cafe habitues with green paint

I then decided, in short order, that the result wasn’t quite what I was after. So I resorted to even more paint.

12Aug2016b

My fix

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 It has been replaced by two trees some ground-cover plants and a lot of wood-chips.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

Cafe Wednesday – same same, but …

Same name but different location. Our local cafe has contracts for coffee shops at the university. Today, as we were in the area, we decided to try one of these venues.

It was a completely different atmosphere and demographic from our nearby place, which is a ‘hole in the wall’ with a few outdoor tables. This other version was crammed full of students, with obligatory laptops, in the still under construction, College of Business and Economics. It is a lively scene that I plan to go back to again.

Biginelli's @ the College of Business and Economics, the Australian National University, 11 My 2016, Koh-i-Noor magic pencil white chalk and gel pen

Biginelli’s @ the College of Business and Economics, the Australian National University, 11 My 2016, Koh-i-Noor magic pencil white chalk and gel pen

Cafe Wednesday, construction continues

The renovation work is continuing at our local shops, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone from dropping by for a coffee.

The last two weeks I’ve been drawing the machinery on site. Unfortunately no good figure sketching opportunities have arisen since my previous post on this subject. Two weeks ago I drew the bobcat, which was parked up at a pretty uninteresting angle to where we were sitting.

The bobcat, 16 march 2016, coloured pencil and graphite on gray toned paper

The bobcat, 16 march 2016, coloured pencil and graphite on gray toned paper

I’m not very excited by this drawing, I could have used the coloured pencils more effectively, rather than just ‘colouring in’.

Last week we found a better seat to observe what was going on. Thankfully the small digger that was being used to work on the replacement of the drainage system was parked at a good angle to our table.

Small digger, 23 March 2016, coloured pencil, ink and white chalk on gray toned paper

Small digger, 23 March 2016, coloured pencil, ink and white chalk on gray toned paper

This time I thought a lot more about how I was going to use my colour, which was probably helped by using the pen for the initial drawing. I kept my drawing loose, which is how I prefer to work. However there was one glaring mistake. I didn’t look carefully enough at the angle of the digger before I started. Had I done so I would have seen that the bucket was actually well below the level of the tractor treads. So now I have a more interesting composition instead, with the bucket tucked in the middle of the sketch.

Concrete Cafe

In my first post knee-surgery outing (as opposed to doctor’s visits) we went to our local cafe. Changes, by way of a major upgrade of the pavement and landscaping of the shops, are well underway and the dinosaur is on a leave of absence. Instead there was a concreting crew waiting to pour several large slabs which will form the new, level area for seating.

Don't forget to check your pens!

Don’t forget to check your pens!

You can tell I’m a bit rusty because I made a real beginner mistake – I forgot to check my pens before I left. One was completely out of ink and the other has a dodgy nib that really needs changing.

It took a while to get going with the sketches as I fiddled around finding a pencil and approach that I was happy with. In the end I began by focusing in some of the boots that were sitting ready to be used.

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Gumboots and smoothing the edge, graphite, white chalk and coloured pencil

Then the concrete truck arrived and before I knew it I had sketched a group of labourers that Kazimir Malevich would have been proud of.

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Quick movement as the man spread the concrete.

By way of comparison here is one of Kazimir’s.

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Kazimir Malevich, The woodcutter, 1912, Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

There were several slabs to be poured so I managed to capture the action by loking for the repetitive movements.

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Edge detailing and more work boots, graphite and magic pencil

I really enjoyed trying to capture the way the men moved, although clearly bad backs are an outcome of such work.

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Spreading the concrete, graphite, magic pencil and white chalk

Getting the ‘lead’ out

I’ve been using my Koh-i-noor Magic Pencils as my main sketching material for a few weeks now. Apart from being caught up in the sheer fun of multicoloured pencils that would be the envy of any pencil case, I find that they are ‘magic’ in other ways as well.

Koh-i-noor Magic coloured pencils

Koh-i-noor Magic coloured pencils

 

Koh-i-noor Magic Pencils

Koh-i-noor Magic Pencils

They are ‘magic’ because you can’t quite control where the colour will turn up.

Cafe drawings, Magic Pencils (America), with white chalk on the right hand side, on grey-toned Strathmore paper, 30 January 2016

Cafe drawings, Magic Pencils (America), with white chalk on the right hand side, on grey-toned Strathmore paper, 30 January 2016

They are ‘magic’ because they encourage me to play.

Two men, with multiple arms, Magic Pencils (Original, Fire and America), on grey-toned Strathmore paper, 13 February 2016

Two men, with multiple arms, Magic Pencils (Original and Fire, left; Original and America, right), on grey-toned Strathmore paper, 13 February 2016

They are ‘magic’ because they remind me to focus on the structure of my drawing – where is the light coming from? – not what colour is her t-shirt?

Woman and unfinished man, Magic Pencils (Fire and America, left; and Original, right), 13 February 2016

Woman and unfinished man, Magic Pencils (Fire and America, left; and Original, right), 13 February 2016

They are ‘magic’ because paying attention to the key elements of a subject is more important than ‘completing’ the picture.

Tatooed man, Magic Pencils (America, Fire and Tropical, 13 February 2016

Tatooed man, Magic Pencils (America, Fire and Tropical, 13 February 2016

They are ‘magic’ because they show me that drawing can be much so much more interesting than straightforward representation.