Tag Archives: #art365

Möbius Madness (32/365)

Well, I have discovered the most obnoxious form on the planet – at least, if one is trying to draw it.

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Based on the recommendation of Sue Vize, author of Botanical Drawing using Graphite and Coloured Pencils, I made myself a Möbius loop and have been trying to draw it. It has not been pretty! My eye thinks it’s following a line along quite nicely, my hand dutifully attempts to follow and this happens…

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And this…

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What the…?

I can actually feel my brain having spasms as it tries to figure out how best to direct the clumsy hand flopping around at the end of my limb…

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The more I try, the worse they get…

 

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Mobius by Charles Hinman, 1965

 

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Mobius by Katsuhito Nishikawa, 1994

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Turned it around…

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Gads. Way harder than it looks like it should be!!

At least you know why today’s blog post is short! I am entangled in a Möbius loop and can’t get out!

From On High… An Idea (25/365)

So I was pretty high up on a climb on Kid Goat (Blue Bubble) when it occurred to me it’s really hard to capture a real sense of how it feels to be up that high above the valley floor in a photograph.

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A vista like this sort of conveys scale (those are tall trees down there, and they don’t look very big). But what is harder to capture is the sense of vertigo when you are actually directly above stuff, like when you are at a hanging belay on the side of a cliff…

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So, I took a bunch of reference photos and what I think I’ll try to do is a drawing or painting that exaggerates certain elements of the composition to try to better reflect the feeling of being up there…

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Here’s a view of the climb from below, from the approach trail.

Dad has been very helpful, sending me examples of work by people like Sonja Delaunay and Andre Derain, who both used exaggerated colour and perspective to get their point across.

 

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Baker’s Hotel by Andre Derain, 1904

 

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Three Women Dressed Simultaneously by Sonia Delaunay

And then I found this one, also by Sonia…

 

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Color Rhythm by Sonia Delaunay, 1967

Which was a bit odd, because I’d been playing with colour blocks in my notebook just moments before I found her work after following a link sent by Dad…

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My blocks are a lot less solid than hers (pastels on textured paper rather than oil paints in Delaunay’s…). And my palette is totally different, of course… but on that front I was inspired by Josef Albers, about whom you will hear more in the days to come as Dad and I have had several Albers conversations and, weirdly enough, he is also featured in a current issue of an art magazine (which I stumbled across online and have now lost again… I’ll retrace my steps and try to post a link when I get back to Albers properly…)

It has been another busy day and I need to go find some grub, have a shower, and take another look at the scenes we’ll be rehearsing tomorrow for the Canmore Summer Theatre Festival’s production of Romeo and Juliet. My creative cup runneth over!!

 

 

 

 

 

All I Had Was Five Minutes and a Green Pen (23/365)

After yesterday’s outpouring about being paranoid about sketching in public (and how I would try to do it more often/ever) I found myself riding my bike home along the creek.

 

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I stopped several times and snapped photos with my phone…

I was about to hop back on my bike and continue home when I remembered how I had this grand plan to a) draw something every day and b) sketch out there in the real world, no matter how intimidating that thought might be.

All kinds of excuses came to mind – I was in a rush to get home, I didn’t have a sketchbook with me, I had no pencil… But then I thought, EXCUSES! and rummaged through what I did have in my bag.

Turns out, it is possible to turn one’s daytimer on its side and use a green pen to do a scribbly sketch.

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There you go. My very first ever en plein air attempt at sketching!

And below, one by the Russian landscape painter, Ivan Shiskin.

 

 

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Sketch for the painting, “Rye” by Ivan Shishkin, 1878

For the moment, that’s all – I have to rush off and get ready for something else I’ve never really done before – my singing lesson! Seems like I’m having some kind of midlife creative crisis over here!

 

 

Orange You Glad… (20/365)

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After another morning of blood tests and follow-ups (all is well, Dad is on the mend…) Dad and I headed off to Glendale Gardens (at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific). The man-eating rhodos are in full-bloom and putting on quite a show at the moment.

I was on a mission to find a couple of things. The first was some good examples of the color orange as that’s the Artists Magazine is looking for Instagram submissions using their #artistsnetwork_colorstory hashtag and, yes, the featured color for the next couple of months is orange.

Sparty’s dashing orange life vest made it into my notebook yesterday…

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The color is actually a pale impression of the real thing, which is neon crazy bright (a good thing, I suppose, if he went overboard and needed to be rescued), but I didn’t actually bring an orange pencil with me. This led to a somewhat awkward moment in the hospital waiting room when I had to ask Dad how to mix orange… He looked at me like I had just asked ‘what do I do next, I’d like to breathe…’ I know mixing colours is second nature to some, but for me, I never really got past yellow and blue make green. And so far, most of my early efforts at sketching stuff has been without colour and certainly without colour mixing…

Anyway, the answer (delivered with a minimum of eye-rolling, I suspect because Dad is not feeling his best) is red and yellow. Which, I guess, I maybe did kind of know because what else would you possibly mix to get orange?

IMG_3882.JPGAs it happens, the gardens were filled with orange-y flowers, blossoms, and blooms of all shapes and sizes (and, scents… but that’s hard to deliver via the Internet).

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Looking at those variations on the orange theme, you can see how some are more yellow, some more red… In my imagination I am swirling my paintbrush through blobs of pigment to create exactly the right mixture to capture the brilliant colors at the gardens.

 

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Perhaps my favourite orange flowers were the little balls on this aptly named “Orange Ball Tree” (did you spot the bee? they were everywhere today, which was GREAT to see)

It’s funny how, when you start looking for something, it starts showing up every time you turn around. We went to the tea shop in the gardens and what’s lying on the tea plate?

 

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Things were getting more orange by the minute… I took a series of photos of stuff on the tea table. Perhaps there may be a still life in my future? 

Even after we arrived home, the orange kept appearing!

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I thought this might make an interesting subject for a drawing with everything except the orange being done in either pencil or pen and wash…

Here’s a painting I found where the oranges look very yellow (though, that might be in the reproduction…)

 

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The Orange Market by Maurice Prendergast (1898-ish)

How about this one by Andy Warhol?

 

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Five Deaths Eleven Times in Orange by Andy Warhol, 1963

 

 

I must say I’m kind of excited about the possibilities when it comes to colour… Stay tuned!

 

 

Carousel Ponies, Frogs and Nosebleeds (17/365)

 

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Dad and Frog (or, toad?)

 

After leaving the hospital for what has become our daily morning visit to ER to deal with ongoing nosebleed management issues, Dad and I headed for Butchart Gardens to gather some raw material for drawing and painting.

 

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I couldn’t make out the signature, but this drawing is stuck to a cabinet in the ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) Room at the local hospital emergency room… It’s the chair in which Dad has spent a fair bit of time over the past several days… 

 

It has been YEARS since I was last at the gardens and I have to say, they really are quite something, especially given the place is also a story of reclamation and rehabilitation. Once an ugly quarry that supplied limestone for Robert Butchart’s cement plant, the gardens were the dreamchild of Butchart’s wife, Jennie who wanted to pretty things up a bit once industry was done with stripping what it needed from the land. What a beautification project!

These days, almost a million visitors a year stroll around the gardens, snapping photos.

As one would expect, there are gazillions of flowers, shrubs, and trees, but there are also fountains, statues, and a carousel. I have always loved carousels and am always a bit disappointed when I’m near one without a child to coerce into riding with me!

A carousel horse statue prances near the carousel, an escapee from the endless drudgery of up and down and round and round. I took several photos, thinking I might be able to draw it later.

 

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Statue of a carousel pony dancing at Butchart’s

Dad gave me a brush pen with a reservoir for use with watercolours and once I got home  I pulled out the watercolour pencils I brought with me and started to experiment.

 

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New toy, must play…

 

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Unhappy with the pole, which looks awful, but I’m thinking that if I mess around with that it will get much worse… As it is, you can tell it’s a carousel pony, so I’m happy to leave it at that!

Of course I’m not the only person to be captivated by carousel ponies…

 

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Carnival the Carousel by Georges Lemmen, early 1890s

 

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Many carousel ponies (and other creatures) are works of art themselves… I’d kind of like one in my living room, to be honest. Maybe even a row of them for people to sit on at the kitchen island… We would need a bigger kitchen island, of course… Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

That’s it for now… I’m struggling (really struggling) to draw or paint a flower that looks even remotely floral, so you don’t get to see any of that stuff yet. I’m feeling a bit heartened, though, that with practice comes progress, so I’ll keep trucking on and see what happens next…

 

 

 

 

 

How Cool is This?? (16/365)

 

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From the series of images, Ornitographies by Xavi Bou (visit the website here…)  www.xavibou.com (many thanks to Xavi Bou for permission to use the photo here)

Imagine if you could see the patterns made by birds as they swoop in unison, drawing on the canvas of the sky. I’d never heard of the artist, but one of the wonderful volunteers who stayed with us on the farm a few years ago sent a link to an article in National Geographic about the artist/photographer and wow – how cool!

Dad, of course, was immediately intrigued and asked if I had seen the images as they relate so well to what we’ve been talking about in our ongoing lines and patterns discussions…

 

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Birds in the Clouds by Georges Braque, 1960 

 

So many artists have explored the image of birds in flight it’s hard to know where to start with examples.

 

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Twelve Birds by M. C. Escher, 1948

Line, pattern, repeating shapes, and negative space all fuse in this work by M. C. Escher.

 

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Lucian Freud takes a different approach in Landscape with Birds (1940)

Da Vinci tried to freeze the movement of birds with the naked eye…

 

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Drawings of a bird in flight by Leonardo da Vinci (1500s)

 

 

Leonardo had an ulterior motive, I think – hoping to learn how to fly himself. The challenge kept him busy for years…

As for me, I’ve been having enough trouble trying to draw things like a coffee cup sitting on the table in front of me and that, so far, is more than challenging enough!

For the moment, I’m happy to enjoy the work of others when it comes to this subject, but perhaps at some point, I’ll take up the challenge and try to capture movement in the ethereal form of birds in flight…

 

 

 

 

Going Dotty for Dots (15/365)

I arrived on Vancouver Island for a visit only to find Dad having a bit of a medical issue. A wicked nosebleed that refused to stop has meant four visits to emergency rooms in two different hospitals over the past 36 hours or so. Don’t worry, Dad is ok – but he has, as a result of his leaking blood vessels, spent a fair bit of time hanging about in waiting rooms.

 

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Magnifying Glass by Roy Lichtenstein (1963)

 

What does one do under such circumstances? Talk about dots, of course…

And, spots… like the many, many paintings featuring coloured spots by Damien Hirst.

 

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Valium, by Damien Hirst

 

According to Hirst’s website (www.damienhirst.com) there are more than 1400 of his spot paintings out there. The spots range from teeny tiny and thousands upon thousands on a single canvas to larger works with fewer, much larger spots. Assistants have helped paint some of the canvases, which are meant to look like they could have been painted by a machine.

This next painting by Bonnard is lots of fun and features spots in a different way. The combination of playful dog and the woman’s spotty dress make me smile!

 

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Woman in a Polka Dot Dress by Pierre Bonnard, 1890s

And here’s one by the French/Chinese artist, Sanyu that features one of my favorite subjects, horses.

 

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Two Spotted Horses by Sanyu (1950)

 

 

This conversation about spots and dots, of course, led back to my own dot experiments and then Dad piped up with “… what about dominoes? You could do something with that… ”

Which is how I wound up searching for domino images on Google while trying to ignore the steady stream of walking wounded moaning and groaning their way into the emergency room…

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I had my daytimer with me, so I started doing some quick sketches of the basic domino shape… and was just getting warmed up when Dad got summoned to go in for treatment and we had to stop chatting and put away our pencils.

It’s an intriguing idea, though. I can imagine adding colour… and multiple dominoes, and patterns of falling dominoes… Who knows where this may lead?? It’s late now and it’s been a very busy day with a great meeting with my editor about the medically-assisted dying book plus the next project about civil disobedience, presenting to students at Royal Oak Middle School, having a chat with my accountant, and searching for ground lamb (there are plans afoot for a weekend away on my daughter’s boat and rather elaborate preparations are ongoing as Dani puts together a rather spectacular menu), so I’ll leave things there for now.  Can’t wait for tomorrow to see where the spots and dots and dominoes may take us next!