I really do enjoy being at home.
Some rambling thoughts about home...
All my stuff is here, meaning all my art supplies. And I have dedicated studio space. It’s the basement, which means its cold in the winter (small space header helps that) and it’s best for short people… you need to be less then 66 inches tall (or duck).
Location. Location. Location. Living in downtown London by the Thames River means a peaceful walk with lots of trees and the sound of the river is always great. It a short walk downtown to pubs/restaurants, library, museum and the list goes. It's a longer work to work, but the exercise is great.
Our house is not too big and not too small. Built in 1920 means it has character, along with character comes older home issues: repairs and upgrades and nothing is straight. There is enough space to get away from each other. A room with a TV with sports channels can keep a husband happy, while I have space for studio and even a dining room rarely used for dining, but is great space for the winter project, a puzzle that is also a source of inspiration. Easy parts first and now - not so easy parts.
It has been a full year of COVID. There were challenges, disappointments and frustration, but also positives.
I played my final round of golf for the season on November 13 (only front nine was open). 9 Holes + 4 extra, just because the opportunity was there. Played one of my best front nines of the season. Probably because - I was not expecting to play, it was quite cold, too many clothes for golf, so I had no expectations. It was relatively warm, when the sun poked out a few time, but temperature dropped as we were finishing. One final post round beer and we look forward to next season of golf!
For the next five months or so, I have so much time to do artwork! And now I have an extra day at home (no work Wednesdays) I have even more time. My "artwork to do" list just keeps growing. Check back to see my progress and new works.
Its October, so it's fitting to go sketching at a cemetery. Urban Sketchers at St. John's Anglican Church in Arva. This cute little yellow brick church was built in 1875. The first sketch was of the cemetery at the back of the property, a unique heart shaped head stone caught my attention. It was a little windy and cool back there, so moved to the front of the church. Went across the street to sketch an elevation view of the church, warmer with no wind. Micron Pen and water brush filled with india ink/distilled water mixture for gray tones... I spent about 45 minutes on each sketch.
Great afternoon to sketch with Urban Sketchers London Ontario at Civic Gardens at Springbank Park. It was such a lovely fall day to be outside sketching! Still working in my black and white sketchbook (Book No 3, since April 8, 2021), this time using micron pen and graphite. Since I only have 10 pages left in this sketchbook, my plan is to buy a watercolour sketchbook next and work in COLOUR every day!
I am still working on my "sketch every day" challenge. When I play golf, which is usually 2, sometimes 3 times a week during golf season, that is where my daily sketch is completed. Since I made charcoal from willow sticks that I collected at Greenhills Golf Course, it is where I have been sketching with the charcoal. It is a challenge, as the charcoal is bigger chunks than I am used to working with. I am most comfortable with fine detail and working small. This is forcing me to work a little larger, and I think that is a good thing!
First 2 sketches below are from Saturday and Sunday last weekend. Last drawing was created yesterday morning at home using a photo as reference. I like the first 2 quick and free sketches better than the tight and controlled last one. I had too much time to "think" about it, work at it, and worry about ruining good paper. FYI - 140lb watercolour costs $10 to $15 per sheet.
I think (or rather... I know) I have more work and practice ahead of me, to be able to create the picture I am expecting to create.
My process starts by picking up sticks, found near the willow trees on No. 18 at Greenhills Golf Course. Next you have to peel all the bark off the sticks. Cut the sticks to fit in the small tin can to be used as a kiln, which is just an old tea container. Visit friends to have a beverage, conversation, and fire the kiln. Wait until the next morning, when it’s cool enough to open and voila charcoal! Success, first attempt making charcoal! Then off to the golf course and test the charcoal our with a few quick sketches.
Charcoal is one of the oldest drawing media, appearing in cave paintings dating back 28,000 years. The medium has been refined, bound with wax or gum into sticks and pencils, and can be easily purchases at an art supply store. But making charcoal from sticks picked up on the course and then creating artwork of that course seemed like a fun process.
Charcoal can be used to produce either a soft or strong line. It can be erased without difficulty. It can be smudged to produce a different effect. Now to sketch and practice some more using the freshly made charcoal!
This AM the Urban Sketchers London had it's first event as an official chapter of Urban Sketchers International. Met downtown, the artists went where they wanted to and them met up at a coffee shop for the throw down. Some sketchers from Waterloo Region US made the trip. Probably our largest gathering of sketchers to date.
I have drawn/illustrated the (former) Kingsmill's Department Store building a couple of times before, but always from photographs. Now it's home to Fanshawe College: School of Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts. And this time it's a sketch completed on location. I would not say the building was "saved", but at least we still have the original facade for the Dundas streetscape. I think, when you only keep the front wall, and completely rebuild the rest, you loose spirit of the building and have not really saved it. But this is better than loosing it completely!
New sketchbook started August 1 and this time a little bigger. First 2 were 6 x 6 inches, this one is 10 x 8 inches. Still working on sketching everyday.... still only missed one day since April 8.
Sketched 107 days in a row, and then missed one! No sketch from the travel day home, which included a rainy 18 holes of golf at Tangle Creek.... well 17 holes, we finally called it quits when it POURED on the 18th. Sketches from the cottage named "Walter" where we stayed for a week.