I sometimes enjoy trying to draw a plant by carefully drawing each leaf while capturing the relationships between them. It’s a real challenge in relationships and proportions but it’s good training for my visual cortex. This was my attempt to do just that with a basil plant.
Recently I decided to work in a different medium, in fact a couple of them. Now that my arthritis is kinda-sorta under control we’re doing more gardening this year and it was time for me to restore and old, rusty wheelbarrow we have. It got sidelined with a broken wheel and it was left outside our cave.
Here’s the result. I painted with most of it with Rustoleum, but used Minwax oil-stain on the wooden parts. Once I fashioned a new axle it was smooth sailing. Much easier than watercolor.
Most urban sketchers know Shari Blaukopf, or at least her art and most of those people know about her wheelbarrow sketches. Most of us really enjoy them and I was quite disappointed when she announced that her wheelbarrow had broken. Funny how you can get attached to things you’ve never seen in person.
Anyways, now that I have a wheelbarrow it seemed only proper for me to lean it against a tree, Shari style, and draw it. It was fun to sit in the back yard with a pen in my hand. It’s blistering hot here right now but the breeze kept it tolerable as I drew. Urban.. + Sketch…, yep, this is a real live urban sketch (grin).
For many one result of COVID isolation has been housing reorganization and behavioral adjustment. Some households have seniors who have been moved home by the kids while others have adjusted their family situation by having kids move home with us seniors. Pro and con, adjustment is the best descriptor of what we all must do in such situations.
When the virus hit Quebec and we shut down our activities, the first thing we did was a rapid drive to Montreal to pick up of our daughter. Given that Montreal is the hot spot in Canada for COVID right now, we’re feeling pretty smug about our decision.
The result has been a social adjustment to having a 22-year old living with us. Truthfully, it’s mostly positive but it means spending more time talking, cooking, baking, and generally doing family stuff… and fewer alone activities like art.
My daughter wasn’t the only thing we brought back from Montreal though. We crammed the car full of her plants and together with our plants they turned our house into a jungle. Every flat surface is covered with plants and we rarely eat dinner at our dining table because it’s just too darn much trouble moving all the plants (grin).
I see this as a good thing because I have new sketching subjects. One of her plants was a sad little Fiddle Leaf Fig. It only had two leaves, hanging onto a single short stem. But, we’ve been in isolation now for nearly forever and so it’s grown. It now has four leaves and a fifth is beginning to sprout. I decided I should draw it. I probably did it too quickly but heck, it only has four leaves. Here she is, in all her youthful glory.
Aside from isolation, how has your family life changed? We don’t talk about that enough. Has it affected your art in any way?
In Quebec City we have a couple restaurants called Cochon Dingue (crazy pig). In the old city there is one that faces a main street but they have a back entrance on a rather famous pedestrian street full of shops to grab tourist dollars. Next to the the entrance is a rather plain window that looks in on this backdoor entrance. It seems I was not the only one interested in that window.
For sketchers in Quebec City, the beginning of winter is marked with our migration from outdoors to the museums. We’re now at the museum, a place that doesn’t seem able to pay its electric bill. At least it seems that way as they decided a year or so ago to start “lighting” their exhibits with lots of dark.
Currently there are two exhibits in our Museum of Civilisation that are dark, one being a really nice exhibit on poisonous animals and plants, at least the parts of it you can actually see are nice. There are some things where even putting your nose to the case glass isn’t sufficient to see the details of the object on display. It’s said that museum clients spend mere seconds looking at any object. Maybe this is how the museum is trying to slow them down. I don’t think it’s working.
I decided to draw this porcupine fish. I took the photo from a position that provided some backlighting of the fish so you could actually see it…almost. While drawing it I had to make several forays up close to find out where the fins were. Unlike many porcupine fish, this one didn’t have a lot of spines. There were some short ones on his belly but otherwise his skin was smooth. One thing was certain, however, I had to draw this sketch in a somewhat comical fashion. This guy just deserved that treatment.
Quick biological fact of the day: Porcupine fish (aka blowfish) are popular with suishi eaters with a death wish because blowfish contain a very toxic compound called tetrodotoxin. This stuff is 1000 times more toxic than cyanide. I’ve seen references to how poisonous the spines of a blowfish are but that’s not true. The toxin is in the internal organs, specifically the liver and gut. I think I’ll stick with salads myself.