Urban Sketching Pirate Ships

Yesterday I took the children to a very small local zoo.  It doesn’t have much to boast in terms of animals but it does have a fantastic full sized pirate ship to play on surrounded by sand.  This gave me the rare opportunity to do some urban sketching while my children happily played.

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The pirate ship was a huge challenge in perspective.  I was sitting fairly close to it from two different angles and it was hard to make it look convincingly three dimensional.  There were a lot of decorative details on the ship that I didn’t have time to include.  I used my Lamy Safari F nib and Pentel brush pen for the shadows.

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This morning I sketched this old bike near the village shop.  I don’t often draw mechanical things but this was a pleasant challenge.  And my husband even could recognise the model so I consider it a success.

Food and Flowers

I cannot say enough how thankful I am for all your messages and comments.  As someone who doesn’t have any real life sketching friends an online support network can heal and inspire.  I feel so happy with my decision to come back and am excited to share and connect again.

With that, here are a few sketches from the last week or so.  Going back to my favourite subjects: food and flowers!

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I sometimes feel I get a dependent on sketching “things” since I find sketching a landscape or cityscape daunting.  So many details to get lost in.  I challenged myself by drawing the view from our deck of our new hammock in a particularly wild part of the garden.  Hoping to get more confident with these sorts of scenes in the upcoming months.

Bouncing Back After Failure

Hello all, remember me?  I don’t blame if you don’t, it’s been such a long time and writing this post was so hard for me.  I think it always is when you know you failed.  But learning to come back after failure is one of those important lessons in life.

So what happened in the last couple of months?  At the end of May I completed my “Make a Splash” challenge to make 50 watercolour paintings.  50 paintings!  In less than a  month!  I felt thrilled to have done it, it was a genuine accomplishment for me because of the effort it took to make each one, sometimes two or three in a day.  One day I might show you the rest of those paintings.

But after it was done I could not bear to pick up a pen or brush.  I was completely burnt out.  I thought I’d just give myself a day or two to recover but even after that I couldn’t bear to look at a blank sheet of paper.  I sewed, knitted, baked, photographed, but drawing was the last thing on my mind.

I had failed my daily art challenge in a big way.  I lasted 6 months before dropping completely off the wagon and that reality pushed me away from art even more.  I figured that was it, no more drawing for me.  Ever. I’d just let my art accounts die a quiet death, nobody needed to know what happened other than I failed and never posted again.  I was sad and bitter about the whole thing and tried to push it to the back of my mind.

But after a month something strange started happening.  Relieved of any responsibility or obligations I felt the urge to draw come back.  I’d doodle a little bit here and there, and play with paints with my children.  I started feeling excited about art, something I honestly never thought would happen.  My sketchbooks started coming with me again, my art books reread, blogs followed.  The last week I have been following the Urban Sketching Symposium in Singapore with interest and envy.  I dreamed about being there amongst so many inspirational artists, workshops, lectures.

Yesterday they announced that the next symposium would be in Manchester, UK, a mere 4 hours away by train.  My breath quickened, this could be it, my chance at being there.  Not just imagining but doing.  And the excitement of sketching flooded back, and I knew, as hard as it was, I wanted to get back into the fray.

This time I don’t have any specific goals, I don’t want the pressure of having to do something everyday whether my heart is in it or not.  I want to keep practicing, learning, and hopefully gain more confidence in my own drawing.  Will I be going to Manchester next year?  I really hope so, it’d be the scariest and most exciting thing I’ve done in my adult life.  Whether I go or not, I’ve come to understand that art will always be apart of my life but my interest will wax and wane, and going with the flow is the best way to ensure that it will come back to me.

So, I hope you will join me once again in this art journey, I look forward to catching up with old friends and hopefully meeting some new ones along the way.  If you have any stories of losing your mojo or coming back after a break I’d love to hear it.