I had a discussion with my friend Adam recently about the Inktober challenge I had done & also a challenge that he had posted on Facebook referring to the game of Being Seen. Part of what he was wanting to make people aware of with this challenge was that many people have the same (smiling/happy) profile picture for years or some people may be hesitant to post an unflattering/unedited picture. This essentially is an incomplete representation of the multifaceted & complex people we truly are. (For that matter, how many of your friends are paying attention? Or take the time to comment? What do they have to say about your expression that day?)
Now this is of a very positive pickle to find myself in. A constructive conundrum! I know when speaking with him that he is always encouraging people to go for it & aim higher! I want to be able to say “I did it!” when I see him next.
This caused me to realize
“I’m going to have to try this challenge too, aren’t I?”
He then one-upped me by specifying that I would need to DRAW myself every day for a week! 😲…
“Okay”, I thought, “I can do this, challenge accepted!”
The last couple was a bit of a squeeze to fit into my vacation, but it gave me the opportunity for different scenery too 😉
So which profile picture is my favorite? I think it might be the first. Which is yours?
Well I’m glad I made it to the end of Inktober, my latest online artistic challenge. But also glad that I restricted myself to 3 inch square drawings so as to not overwhelm myself. In reflection I think that I would do it & other similar challenges again.
One of these initiatives is Inktober which was begun by Jake Parker in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills. The idea being that you draw one picture every day for the entire month of October, resulting in 31 ink pictures by the end of the month.
He guides us as follows :
1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).
2) Post it online
3) Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2016
Note: you can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or just do the 5K and post once a week. What ever you decide, just be consistent with it. INKtober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better.
He even provides a list of prompts for each year if you are lacking in inspiration.
This has also been reminding me of Danny Gregory‘s book Every Day Matters, in that it reminds us to look around and see the beauty and art potential in the objects that surround us. Like pocket change, if you look closely at the details there are history lessons, iconic animals and a little pocket lint 😉
As I have mentioned before, I am one of the co-coordinators the Victoria Urban Sketchers group. We meet bi-weekly around town to sketch together from what we see in our surroundings, not from photographs. Here a couple samples:
Months passed by and forgot about it when she came back to me and requested a scan of the image so that she may have it made into note cards. Today she brought by the finished results and I’m thrilled!
I am one of the organizers of the Victoria Urban Sketchers, our local chapter of the international Urban Sketchers organization. We meet every second Saturday morning in different areas around Greater Victoria to sketch as a group.
This is one way I have been able to regularly channel my creative energy. We all have busy lives, but even when I’ve been overwhelmed with everything the universe decides to throw at me I’ve managed to maintain this art habit.
The Cridge Centre is a great exterior to sketch. The grounds surrounding this turn-of-the-century brick building are filled with old oak trees, flowing shrubs and rock outcroppings.
The British Columbia Protestant Orphans’ Home had humble, unpretentious beginnings. As the need arose for more beds, funds were raised from the community to build the Taylor building high on a hill in 1893. It now houses Seniors and provides many other valuable services to families in our community.
It landed on Mothers Day this year and I thought that might be an obstacle until a light bulb went on “Ask Mom to do it with me!” and fortuitously my daughter asked to come along as well. Best ask my sister too.
relax and indulge yourself with art
pay attention to Mom
spend time with daughter
Pray for dry weather and . . . what am I missing?
. . . That’s it – all the men in the family.
But aren’t we lucky? They have volunteered to make a full – on dinner for us! Excellent, the day is coming together.
An Ideal Location on the Waterfront
We checked in later than planned , armed late ourselves with cups of tea and settled in to enjoy the day on the dock outside Canoe Brewpub.
I decided for a bit of a challenge this time out to use only a sepia toned ink (also seen in this post) in both my technical pens and in washes applied by brush.
I was slow to get going with the distractions of conversations and helping the other ladies set up their equipment.
The hours flew by with chatting, food and gorgeous weather.
To view photos of other people’s work for the day check Opus’s facebook album here
The Virtual Paintout is in online challenge hosted by Bill Guffey. Each month he chooses a different location around the world that is covered by Google Streetview. Using this technology allows you to “gather together virtually” in the same geographic region with other artists to draw or paint.
A small city in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Czech Republic was featured in the Virtual Paintout 5 years ago, but the Streetview coverage wasn’t spread nearly as far.
This view is looking north-west from the gardens outside the regional museum. We can see across the Vltava river towards the Cesky Krumlov Castle that dates back to 1240. The bell tower rises 86m above the river.
It is easy and enjoyable to spend many hours “walking” the streets looking for the most interesting subject or the perfect angle but I am managing with experience to not get lost so much! For this picture I just slightly over 3 hours from the choosing of the position to the final stage.
Just to do something a little different this time, I chose to illustrate this month’s city with Koh-I-Noor Sepia Drawing Ink on an 8″ x 10″ canvas board. I made a few reference points with pencil at the intersections of the rule of thirds then just dove in, sketching with a Pitt Artist pen. I added a bit of depth by adding washes of the same sepia ink.
You should give the Virtual Paintout a try yourself, it’s fun!
It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.
This house portrait was thoughtfully commissioned by a friend as a surprise Christmas gift for her mother after she had seen some of the urban sketching I’d done.
Their house, like many, has allot of sentiment as it was built by her parents more than 30 years ago to be the home to raise their family in and now, the next generation of grandchildren are finding comfort there as well.
House portraits preserve a moment in time -a first home, a family home, a home in a specific season. (pets can also be included in the house portrait.)
Do you have a home, business or building you would like a momento of? Perhaps even a gift to a client. You can email me or send a picture of your home via post and I can produce a hand-rendered 8″ x 10″ ink and watercolor portrait on watercolor paper or illustration board. Once the pictures and details are in hand -it takes approx. 2 weeks to complete the portrait. Please don’t hesitate to enquire!
After our days in the urban core of Amsterdam huddled winter clothes, we found some space to breathe. We spent 5 sunny December days in this hot spot of Spain rambling down and hiking up A LOT! but we made up for the exercise with generous amounts of food & wine.
Charming views were at ones disposal every other city block. For example, this time-worn church that reflected it’s warmth into the courtyard where we lounged over espresso & tapas.
My Sketchbook came in handy many times during our European jaunt. Many hours were spent waiting for planes, trains & automobiles. I packed a travel size kit of art supplies for moments such as these.
Gaudi, Gaudi, Gaudi, & Gaudi. The Catalan architects influence is evident throughout Barcelona. It was underfoot in the walkways and countless buildings as well.
We couldn’t get around and see all of the sites but tackled as many as we could! I’ll come back.
Next stop: Bulgaria! Our objective there is to spend time with our friend Amalia who moved to Sunny Beach a few years ago with her husband Matt.
I enjoyed the first semester so much that I’ve signed on for another semester of homework at Sketchbook Skool (and no, I haven’t forgotten how to spell). This term is called “Seeing”.
The online school was founded by Danny Gregory based in the United States & Koosje Koene from the Netherlands so for fun anything normally spelt with a C gets a K to give it some “Dutch Flair”.
The structure of the sketching and journalling courses the teach is: 6 different teachers in 6 weeks. I find this a great way to try different techniques and mediums while getting to know different teaching styles. The sketchbook homework is also simple enough to be done in a portable sized book.
In the first semester called “Beginnings”, I learned from some wonderful and inspiring artists: