Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Challenges, November and December '05

A diffuser for the draw something ceramic challenge.

Two drawings for the 'draw something Christmas' challenge. This was the first portrait I had done in years and I stuck with the plan of doing it quickly and not fussing. It felt a bit sterile though. I think I need to take my time over portraits, this is simply an image.

I drew the boy because there are aspects of Christmas, like the mad consumerism, that make me uncomfortable when I think about the many millions of children who could really benefit but don't. Christmas doesn't change anything but quite a few people get into debt unecessarily. The little bag I drew shows the side of Christmas I do like - the silliness and tackiness of it all!

The challenge was to draw the view from your window. This house opposite illustrates the ramshackle buildings the Kuwaitis used to live in, adding bits on as the family expanded. I noticed that these neighbours and our Palestinian landlady never greeted each other even though she had lived in the street since the 1940's. I'm told that's because the Palestinians supported the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

I included the bin in my drawing. During the bird flu scare, the maids threw the entire stock of chickens (many families keep farm animals in small enclosures) out by the bin. Some chickens were already dead, some clearly alive but not so well. The landlady's son rang the ministry to be told that only the owner could report the incident!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Challenges, November

If I had to pick a favourite, it would be this one, drawn for the 'folds' challenge. The softness of the pencil on the tooth of the paper really worked to get the texture of the heavy denim. I used B pencil here and HB for the light shadow.

A quick and fun drawing for 'draw a toothbrush'. I enjoyed drawing the little drop of water and the slight reflection. I had just realised how much variation there was in shadows as up until now I had simply pulled out a shadow in one tone and continued doing that without much thought. I placed the toothbrush on a silver tin to find a more interesting shadow.

'Draw a fruit' challenge was another one I enjoyed and with this one I learned about the difficulties of drawing something that decays quickly! It was interesting to watch the bananas changing from yellow and green perfection to deeper yellow with spots. I found the spots helped the perspective and texture. Sometimes it's fortunate that I take so long to draw things!

I realised that the fruit and veg section was a great place to go hunting for subjects. This is a custard apple from Egypt. The mat texture of the skin was difficult to capture and the colours got lighter in the dips where a darker shadow would have made it zing - not an easy subject after all!

Challenges, October

Another of my favourites but looking back I should have used a softer pencil and made it darker. A shadow would have enhanced it too. This is one of those rare times when I didn't know which of the colours was lighter or darker in value. It happens with green and red but here the cup is chocolate brown and teal. I must take a photo of it one of these days, I keep meaning to to see if I got it right or not!

Mark's phone and wallet. Another indication of times changing. He liked this little phone as he's not keen on mobiles (unlike me!) and it was cheap and did the job. (If he remembered to switch it on!) Now he has some swanky thing that sends e-mails and I have none! In Kuwait I liked to have one in case of a car accident, a highly likely event in that place!

Draw a keyring or keys. I drew this little sheep I'd bought in Iceland. I found the fur really tough to do!

Draw a bottle, jar or tin from the kitchen. I love Arabic lettering and found this in my cupboard - even an ordinary Sue Bee jar of honey looks exotic in Arabic!

Challenges, September

When I stopped drawing I was very into quilting (art quilts especially). Only natural that I should start with something on my desk for my first challenge drawing 'something you collect'. I have a pretty big collection of these presser feet! I used HB although 2H was up untiil then my first preference.

A cookie cutter for the 'draw something metallic' challenge.

Alex's sunglasses. I think it was with this drawing that I realised I didn't have to slave over it to get something I liked.

My sandals for the 'shoe' challenge. I made a mental note to do lots of shoes. They are a great reminder of family life and changing times. The top sandal is barely more than a line drawing.

Lava lamp. I realised that colour would be better for some of these challenges. Mark told me it would have been better to switch it on - he was right!

Still one of my favourites! Love this little guy!

Liked it so much, I did another! For the 'draw a toy' challenge.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Movements in HB sharp

Paul in 1992. Still using fairly hard pencils. We were living in Kent, England. I managed a couple of commissions at this time but it was very difficult with a new family and I gave up for a couple of years after Alex was born in '93.

Alex and Paul drawn in January 1998 when we were living in Dubai.

Diana, drawn in November 1997.

We moved to Kuwait in 2001, this little girl was drawn from a picture I saw in a magazine in October of that year. After this drawing, I felt that the time I was taking to complete a drawing was draining my enthusiasm. I had very little to show for all the years I had been drawing. I had a few art pads and the last three drawings here are from the same sketchbook with years in between them. I didn't pick up a pencil for a couple of years after this drawing.

2B or not 2B?

That is the question. After mulling over it for a while, I decided to start another blog just for the drawings. I wanted a place where I could just catalogue them and perhaps it will be of interest to those that don't like to read the everyday life stuff.

I now think of my drawings in two categories - before 2005 and after. I used to draw in such a way that the pencil marks were not visible, for instance on the skin which would be very smooth, built up in many layers of mostly 2H. Much of the work is symbolic, although the symbolism isn't meant to be obvious to anyone except me. The faces represent the difficulties I experienced or the feelings I had at the time.

Just over a year ago, I came across Everyday Matters Yahoo group and started drawing the weekly challenges - everyday objects with no angst involved! Up until then, I would spend months (on and off) doing one portrait. I gave myself 2-3 days to finish maximum and found that I could complete a drawing in an evening - a completely new experience for me!

Now I think I have a better balance between sketching (which I rarely did) and drawing. Both compliment each other.