Thursday, 17 June 2010

Jonquils And A Change Of Momentum


Some days no matter what you do the pencils and brushes just won't do what you want them to. Every stroke of the pencil is wrong, every colour refuses to blend and you have no touch with tone. It is frustrating and annoying, and you really have to just hang in there and accept that you aren't going to get anywhere. Like anything else there are good days and bad days, and I like to think that after a day or two like that then things will turn around and you will have a great session to make up for it. Yesterday was one of those days, and I am not the most patient person in the world so it was a bit of a trial. There is no worse feeling than working for a while and then having to erase and start again, and just making the same errors over again!! I think it is the definition of madness.

To cheer myself up and to start on the right foot today I stopped in after school pick up and grabbed a bunch of jonquils to add to the gorgeous yellow tulips that I got on the weekend. So I am heading to my desk to work with the fragrance heavy in the air hoping that it will set me on an easy session of work. The beans are my priority as I am starting to worry that they are entering that stage where I want to just put it aside and get on with other things. The most frustrating part of not having enough time to work on pieces means that they stretch out and they can become a bit of a chore. So I need to turn that into a positive by getting it finished and moving onto the asiatic lily, which at least it through the watercolour stage. Fingers crossed the jonquils work their magic and I will have it finished in no time.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Plans For The Week Ahead

The only downside of my wonderful new table is that my favourite bowl no longer sits where I can see it every time I reach for a new pencil. Sadly it is now tucked behind my drawing board and I must admit that I miss looking at it. I am going to need to reconfigure things so that it is back in my field of vision and so it can go back to being the repository for erasers and the all important remote for the ipod speakers which seems to be enjoying playing hide and seek around the desk. I swear that I have it in the drawer, but then I go looking for it and it has escaped and has somehow buried itself under the drawing board, or is in whatever random place I last put it.

Of course there is an upside to the new layout and that is that I now look out the window, and have easy visual sight of the lovely orchid that my mother gave me for mother's day. I must admit to an even worse record with orchids than I have with cyclamen, but miracle of miracles the orchid is still alive and still carries a bloom, so I haven't yet worked my black thumb on it.

This week is looking very busy and I can't see there being a great amount of time to be able to draw and paint but I am always hopeful that I will find at least a little time each day this week. I have my sister coming to stay for a few days while she awaits the birth of her newest addition, and of course there is the normal end of term madness with sports day and all sorts of other days, as well as preparing for holidays and trying to organise some good scans of my work before I drop some pieces off to the framers. I have decided to frame a couple of pieces and then decide which I will submit for the Queensland Botanic Art Society Show, Floressence, which opens in late July.

I am also trying to sneak in time to finish a miniature of an Asiatic lily before I head to the framers which at this stage has only progressed as far as a drawn outline. I have completed some sketches and colour studies though, so I am hoping that it will go quite quickly. I am also expecting to finish off the beans which have progressed well and have proved to be a valuable tonal experiment using a black pencil, rather than the lead pencil, and is a technique which I am looking forward to exploring further. I have every plan to have the finished beans posted tomorrow or Thursday and hopefully the Asiatic lily will follow closely on its heels, all in time for the framers!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

A new recylced work space.

Life has been very busy over the last week or so, and while I have gotten a few bits and pieces started, very little time has been devoted to painting and drawing. That is not to say that nothing exciting has happened because the picture above illustrates a very exciting milestone. After years of working off rickety trestle tables, staring at the wall and being stuck in a dark corner. I now have a beautiful recycled desk that has a north facing aspect. Not only does this mean that pencils will no longer get stuck between the two desks, and I won't constantly be bashing my knees, which of course leads to the water container sloshing everywhere, but I also now get to sit in a comfy chair. Hopefully the aching shoulders will be a thing of the past and I can sit comfortably for much longer without needing a break and a stretch. It is all a bit luxurious not having such a stable surface to work on, and the lovely beaten up desk top means there is no need to feel precious with it.

There is something about a natural surface that is so lovely especially after the nasty grey beige of the collapsible tables and there is something about a rich old table, that shows all the marks and dings of its life that is very welcoming and comforting. Matt and I spent the morning looking at all sorts of new options and drafting tables and things and then in a last ditch of frustration we headed into a second hand store, and this was just waiting for us, cheap as chips and perfect dimensions for the space. It was a great shop and there were a million different pieces we would have bought if only we had a bigger house  - but it will be fun to go back and have a rummage on a regular basis. The desk even fitted perfectly into the back of the car so it was obviously meant to be.

So I am now feeling very motivated to get stuck in and get some work done. I started two pieces last week, one some zucchini flowers, which is progressing, but it is a bit soon to tell how successful it will be, and the other is some beans in black and white, which you can see sitting on the drawing board on the desk in the photo. I decided to do an experiment and try to do a tonal drawing using a black polychromos pencil rather than the usual B through 3B range of pencils that I usually use. I wanted to see if it was more effective in a rich black, rather than the gray backs that you get with normal pencils. It is coming along really well and I actually love the effect of the dark dramatic black. It is also proving to be a good exercise in pencil control and in creating a full range of tones from a single pencil instead of relying on changing pencils to create tone. So I am heading back to it now and hoping I will be able to almost finish it - especially now as I have the magic desk and comfy chair to make it all easier.