Chocolate Time In Isolation

Since my daughter has been old enough to run around the house, every Easter we’ve hidden chocolate eggs for her to find.  When she was young, her excitement could not be measured on any excitement meter, but over the years it’s become less and less as one might expect.  Still, she’s always liked the idea, at least in part to relive her younger years.

Like everyone else, we’re COVID bound and she mentioned that this year she wouldn’t get to look for eggs.  She’s 25 so the proper parental response would be “Come on, you’re in law school for goodness sake,” but that’s not how we roll.  We had lots of Easter chocolate because my wife loves to treat our daughter as though she’s still her little baby and, more importantly, she loves chocolate too.

The moral of this story is that in spite of our isolation, we’re awash with chocolate.  I’m a Peeps kind of guy myself but when I saw the chocolate chicken I just had to sketch it.  It was a lot of fun.  The head’s already gone and I’ll let them consume it while I eat some Peeps.

Handbook watercolor (8×8), DeAtramentis Document Black

 

Keeping It Loose??

I’ve always wondered why amateur artists are so enamoured with “loose.”  Everyone craves it, nobody can define it, and there are many great artists who would be wondering with me if they were here now.  I doubt whether DaVinci, Michaelangelo, Sargent or modern artists like Norman Rockwell or Robert Bateman would have told their students to “loosen up.”

But there I was the other day, trying to “loosen up” by drawing cups quickly.  I did half a dozen of them, some “loose” to the point that they ceased to look like a cup.  Here’s one example.

4×6 sketchbook, DeAtramentis ink

It’s what a lot of people call loose.  I call it sloppy but, well, different strokes I guess.  I thought I’d try a different approach, somewhere between this and my typical, very stiff, cartoon style.  I used a larger format, about 5×7 I guess.  And I slowed down some.

Rather than a coffee cup, I chose a tea cup.  Maybe that makes a difference too.  In any case, I like this result better than those “loose” cups.  It suffers a lack of precision I suppose but it looks more like a finished drawing to me.  Opinions welcome.  Just keep them loose.

Snow In April Ain’t So Bad

We had a snow storm for about 24 hours and got, they say, about 15cm of the stuff.  I didn’t think I’d be able to walk today because of it but it seems our ground is sufficiently thawed and most of it has melted already, leaving the sidewalks suitable for walking.  So, I did.

This time I took a clip with me to hold my sketchbook open while I sketched.  That helped some.  Very low expectations helped more.  I think that if I can expect nothing from 2-3 minute sketches (maybe 5 for this one), done while standing, I won’t be disappointed and I’ll have a little fun.  It was only 1C when I was out and windy but I got to stand next to a wind break while I tried to scribble a likeness of this little Fiat.  I think the proportions are right but the shapes most certainly are not.  Oh well…it’s a generic car sketch 🙂

Platinum Plaisir, 4×6 hardcover sketchbook of unknown origin

Self-Distancing On The Street

As I’ve mentioned, we’re isolating right now, along with the rest of Quebec.  It’s been that way since March 12th.  But the ice is now off the sidewalks and while it’s still cool outside (2C when I went out this morning) it’s really nice to go out and walk around a bit.  The streets are rather empty but there is an occasional fellow walker out and about.  I’ve noticed that even though we’re all trying to distance ourselves from everyone (in Canada we have to be 2-meters apart rather than 6-feet as in the US 🙂 but we’re a lot friendlier than normal, saying hi and maybe saying “stay safe” or some other gesture to anyone within shouting distance.

I don’t feel comfortable hanging out in one place but I did stop today and scribbled a quick sketch (about 2 min).  Though crude, it sure felt good to “urban sketch.”  I think I will be doing more of these for the sake of my sanity.  Then again, we’re supposed to get 15cm of snow tomorrow so maybe not (grin)

4×6 sketchbook

 

Do Sketchbooks Organize Your Art?

I’ve spent two years being “isolated” by an inability to run around because of a bad knee and rheumatoid arthritis.  You’d think I’d be used to it by now.  But the truth is, this new form of “isolation” is getting to me, probably because I can’t make pilgrimages to the local art and book stores (they’ve all been closed since Mid-March here in Quebec.

On the one hand, this isolation is nice as I have my family home so we’ve been baking/cooking more.  I made scones last night.  On the other hand, we’re watching and fretting over too much news, watching too many Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc. movies and generally all discipline in out lives has gone to pot.  I hope you’re doing better on that score.

I may be learning something about my art production, or lack thereof.  On and off I’ve tossed around the idea of giving up sketchbooks in favor of working on single sheets of paper.  The later has always made more sense to me and for sure more convenient if you like to use different papers, different sizes of paper, and maybe different surfaces.  Sketchbooks have always remained big a part of my sketching, though, because I do (did) most of it on location.

With the isolation, however, I’ve been doing almost all my drawing on hunks of 6×9 paper, whether that be sketching paper, toned paper, or watercolor paper.  The darn things are everywhere and most of them end up in the trash.

I’m beginning to think that much of the reason for this is that I don’t value a single piece of paper like I do a sketchbook.  A sketchbook is a collection of sorts, a compendium of what I did over a time period.  These single sheets don’t do that.  Heck, I’m not even dating them.  I just draw something, set aside that piece of paper, and grab another sheet.

Another thing spins off of that for me.  If I’m not filling sketchbooks I don’t feel as much need to sketch and maybe more to the point, I have no direction.  Some of this may simply be the stressful situation these days.  I don’t know.  Anyways, I’m curious, do sketchbooks organize and/or provide discipline for your art?

I’ve been sketching a bunch of Schleich animal figures I have collected.  These are beautiful models.  While small, they don’t move.  Some of the sketches were done in pencil, some in pen.  Some have been done quickly, while others were done more carefully.  It’s been fun but more a matter of doodling than sketching.  Here’s a pig that I did with pen and gouache.  This one was done in a sketchbook I made from Strathmore Toned Tan (184lb) paper.

I wanted to post some of the others but realized that the garbage got taken out, along with all the rest of them.  Maybe I need to go back to using sketchbooks (grin).