Profile Picture Challenge

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?)

THE PROBLEM: Adam is a Life Coach

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. 

http://www.evergrowthcoaching.com/blog/
Adam, always aiming higher!

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!”

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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?

I am posting this to the following blog hubs:

bluechairdiary
Sunday Sketches @bluechairdiary
http://paintpartyfriday.blogspot.ca/
Paint Party Friday
http://creativeeveryday.com/creativeeveryday/2016/10/art-every-day-month-sign-up.html
Blog sharing hub

Inktober part 4

Inktober part 4, the final round for 2016.

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.

(If you missed my previous Inktober posts you can click for part 1, part 2 & part 3.)

Inktober slow
Inktober slow
Inktober tired
Inktober tired
Inktober surprise
Inktober surprise
Inktober wreck
Inktober wreck
Inktober creepy
Inktober creepy
Inktober one dozen
Inktober one dozen
Inktober box
Inktober box
Inktober burn
Inktober burn
http://paintpartyfriday.blogspot.ca/
Paint Party Friday
http://creativeeveryday.com/creativeeveryday/2016/10/art-every-day-month-sign-up.html
Blog sharing hub
Blue Chair Diary blog
Blue Chair Diary blog

Inktober Part 3

On with the sketches from part 3 of my Inktober Challenge!

inktober tree
inktober tree

Those of you who are just  joining in here is a link to a video created by Jake Parker, the artist who began Inktober in 2009.

Inktober relax
Inktober relax

I have been keeping with the theme of small Post-It note sized drawings this week so that I can relax sand not stress over the challenge.

Inktober wet
Inktober wet

In retrospect this wet & dismal time of year is perfect to spend time indoors on a creative pursuit such as this.

Inktober battle
Inktober battle
Inktober escape
Inktober escape

I still manage to find time during a weekday escape to do a couple of this week’s sketches.

Inktober flight
Inktober flight

My first inclination for flight was a plane but I stretched myself too think a little outside the box.

Inktober squeeze
Inktober squeeze

I’ll just squeeze in one more sketch before the credits roll 🙂

bluechairdiary
Sunday Sketches @bluechairdiary

As usual I am participating in the Sunday sketches blog roll with many other artists from around the world.

http://paintpartyfriday.blogspot.ca/
Paint Party Friday

And the Paint Party Friday blog check in as well.

Inktober part 1

It’s Inktober!

Inktober hungry
Inktober hungry

And one thing that I like to do when I have the luxury of time is to participate in online art challenges that I discovered through friends or online connections.

You can click for part 2part 3 & part 4..

Inktober
Inktober

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.

Inktober noisy man
Inktober noisy man

He guides us as follows :

Inktober rules:

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

4) Repeat

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.

Inktober fast
Inktober fast

He even provides a list of prompts for each year if you are lacking in inspiration.

Inktober 2016 prompt list
Inktober 2016 prompt list

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 😉

Inktober coin collection
Inktober coin collection

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:

Café sketch
Café sketch
School house wall
School house wall
Café sketch by Rick Thomas
Café sketch of me by Rick Thomas
bluechairdiary
Sunday Sketches @bluechairdiary
http://paintpartyfriday.blogspot.ca/
Paint Party Friday

From Urban Sketch to Note Cards & Mugs

A tribute in cards.

I am honoured that some of my art was selected for a set of note cards and mugs.

A fellow artist spotted my urban sketch of of the Cridge Centre as she browsing through my sketch book one day.

My original watercolour and ink sketch of the Cridge Centre.
My original watercolour and ink sketch of the Cridge Centre.

She remarked on it because she is on the Board of Director’s of The Cridge Centre for the Family.

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!

My sketch of the Cridge Centre for the Family made into note cards & mugs.
My sketch of the Cridge Centre for the Family made into note cards & mugs.

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.

Cridge Centre photo
Cridge Centre photo from 2015.

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.

Historic Photo of Cridge Centre
Historic Photo of Cridge Centre
bluechairdiary
Sunday Sketches @bluechairdiary
http://paintpartyfriday.blogspot.ca/
Paint Party Friday

Outdoor Painting Challenge 2015

Family time at the Outdoor Painting Challenge

This was the first year that I was able to participate in the Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge in Victoria.

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

✔girl-time quartet

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. 👸

The Artists gather with their blank canvases upplied by Opus for the Outdoor Painting Challenge.
The Artists gather with their blank canvases supplied by Opus for the Outdoor Painting Challenge.

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.

 

The seaside view of the Canoe Brewpub.
The seaside view of the 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.

Beginning sketch of Canoe Brewpub
Beginning sketch of Canoe Brewpub

I was slow to get going with the distractions of conversations and helping the other ladies set up their equipment.

My mother the artist on the dock.
My mother the artist on the dock.
My sister painting her heart out.
My sister painting her heart out.

The hours flew by with chatting, food and gorgeous weather.

Mother and daughter working side by side.
Mother and daughter working side by side.
My sketch by lunch time.
My sketch by lunch time.

 

My finished painting. Done with India ink, 9" x 12".
My finished painting. Done with India ink, 9″ x 12″.

 

To view photos of other people’s work for the day check Opus’s facebook album here

and also the winner for Victoria BC, Peter Loebel

Blue Chair Diary blog
I’m a participant of the Blue Chair Diary blog

 

Virtual Paintout: Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

A freehand sketch of Cesky Krumlov done in India ink.
A freehand sketch of Cesky Krumlov done in India ink.

The Virtual Paintout is in Cesky Krumlov this month.

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.

Collage of work in progress, Cesky Krumlov
Collage of work in progress, Cesky Krumlov

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!

A House Portrait

It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.
Author Unknown

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!

House Portrait
House Portrait, Watercolour & Ink, 9″ x 12″

 

Breathing Space in Barcelona

The haunting of history is ever present in Barcelona. I see cities as organisms, as living creatures. To me, Madrid is a man and Barcelona is a woman. And it’s a woman who’s extremely vain.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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.

14th century Catalan Gothic church in Barcelona, Spain
14th century Catalan Gothic church in Barcelona, Spain

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.

Sketch at El Prat airport, Barcelona. Ball point pen, Moleskine journal.
Sketch at El Prat airport, Barcelona. Ball point pen, Moleskine journal.

Gaudi, Gaudi, Gaudi, & Gaudi. The Catalan architects influence is evident throughout Barcelona. It was underfoot in the walkways and countless buildings as well.

I was amazed with the architecture and craftsmanship at the Ssagrada de Familia!
I was amazed with the architecture and craftsmanship at the Sagrada de Familia!
Gaudi designed these chimney pots for Casey Milan to look like the helmets of knights.
Gaudi designed these chimney pots for Casey Milan to look like the helmets of knights.
Paving stones on Las Ramblas, Barcelona
Paving stones on Las Ramblas, Barcelona

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. 

Back to Sketchbook Skool Homework!

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:

Sepia India ink and watercolour on watercolor paper.
First assignment from Danny Gregory, Learning to see: Toast
Assignment from Danny Gregory
Assignment from Danny Gregory
Assignment from Koosje Koone
Assignment from Koosje Koone
Assignment from Prashant Miranda
Assignment from Prashant Miranda
Assignment from Jane Lafazio
Assignment from Jane Lafazio
Assignment from Roz Stendahl
Assignment from Roz Stendahl
Assignment from Tommy Kane
Assignment from Tommy Kane

Tommy Kane