24 September 2020

Poetry Thursday - I Have Loved Hours at Sea by Sara Teasdale

I Have Loved Hours at Sea

I have loved hours at sea, gray cities,
The fragile secret of a flower,
Music, the making of a poem
That gave me heaven for an hour;

First stars above a snowy hill,
Voices of people kindly and wise,
And the great look of love, long hidden,
Found at last in meeting eyes.

I have loved much and been loved deeply --
Oh when my spirit's fire burns low,
Leave me the darkness and the stillness,
I shall be tired and glad to go.

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)

Born in St Louis, Mississippi, Sara Teasdale was the child of older parents, with teenage siblings, and her first word was "pretty". Throughout her life she was frail and sickly. She was homeschooled and had no playmates of her age till she was ten. The first of many poetry collections was published in 1907. She married in 1914, divorced in 1929, and lived the rest of her life for her poetry. She caught pneumonia in 1933, which weakened her not only in body but in spirit; she committed suicide in New York city that year.

22 September 2020

Drawing Tuesday - cat's eye view

What do cats, low to the ground (or wherever else they get to) actually see? Some have hiding places in boxes etc ... some like to be high up, tops of wardrobes etc ...

According to this article, their visual fields are a bit broader than ours, and they don't see as sharply as we do. " the things humans can sharply resolve at distances of 100-200 feet look blurry to cats, which can see these objects at distances of up to 20 feet." But in dim light they can see much better than we do. And they see colours differently from us - the equivalent of being red-green colour blind. 

Further research on the topic reveals that there's now a Pets Eye View Camera....

And I'm delighted to share this little video of cat's-eye-view photography - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-13286470

From Janet BThe view through the cat flap.....

From Sylvia - Here is my attempt at a cat's eye view (from a photo)

From Hazel - "Weetie's (my cat) Midnight Garden". Drawn with charcoal and then made into a negative image using my 'effects' option.

From Joyce - A cat’s eye view of a squirrel eating sunflower seeds on our patio.
I thought I would look at the wide angle view a cat sees and the muted greys, an interesting challenge today! 

From Judith - Playing with Procreate, takes ages, much quicker to sketch!

From Mags - On Sunday ' Doodie-Pie' the stray cat that has adopted next door, was dozing under our potting bench and when disturbed took up position by the fence underneath their bird table. She's got too portly to catch anything and its a bit of an effort to launch herself. (Watercolours on watercolour paper)

From Ann - Here's a cat's eye view. I found this looking up cats' views and loved the cat so here it is in coloured pencils.

From Sue S - Liked the block shapes. Not even a cat’s ear in sight! Soluble graphite & caran d’ache

From Gill - A dull view from lying on my rug pretending to be a cat. Even held my pencil as if in my right front paw.

From me - "Cat's eye view through the long grass, with moonrise". Graphite (=pencil). 

When I finally got started I realised there was a good reason for procrastinating - I had the idea of what should appear on the page, but no idea where or how to start. Thank heaven for the technological breakthrough called The Eraser, and for "visual reference" (=photographs). 

17 September 2020

Poetry Thursday - Childhood by Kathleen Raine

From my ad hoc 1992 collection in a notebook


I see all, am all, all.
I leap along the line of the horizon hill,
I am a cloud in the high sky,
I trace the veins of intricate fern,
In the dark ivy wall the wren's world
Soft to bird breast eggs of round nest is mine,
Mine in the rowan-tree the blackbird's thought
Inviolate in leaves ensphered.
I am bird-world, leaf-life, I am wasp-world hung
Under low berry-branch of hidden thorn,
Friable paper-world humming with hate,
Moss-thought, rain-thought, stone still thought on the hill.

Never, never, never will I go home to be a child.

Kathleen Raine (1908-2003)

15 September 2020

Drawing Tuesday - chairs (occupied)

Why "occupied"?

Well, just because ... it's something a little different.

The occupant can be a person, a cushion, a pile of books, a pet, etc - or, an absence ... leaving the chair seemingly empty...

To get in the mood for "Chairs ... again?" I've been going through previous sketchbooks and finding those drawn in museums etc. They appear on 21 pages among my seven "drawing tuesday" sketchbooks. Some of them are now on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/p/CE2EcQIlYDQ/ - use the arrows on the photo to see all ten.

There are many "iconic" chairs - every designer must design a chair, and many are looking good - https://www.gq.com/story/the-12-most-iconic-chairs-of-all-time. The "10 most famous chairs in history" may amuse you ... https://ottawacarpetclean.com/10-famous-chairs-history/ (btw Sir John A Macdonald is a famous Canadian, a Father of Confederation - and Ottawa is the capital of Canada)

When drawing chairs - perspective can be a problem. Will all the legs be in the right place? Looking at the negative space can be helpful, as can closing one eye, so the legs don't change position.. 

A google search shows over a million videos on drawing chairs! I gave up after watching two short, but poor, videos - you may have better luck....

From Sylvia - Two occupied chairs, one today and one I did earlier (1982)! The cats come and go and although similar, so do the chairs.

From Hazel - My granddaughter came to draw with me last Saturday.  As she was drawing, I drew her sitting on my fold-up chair in the studio. It was a great opportunity  to draw her even though you can't see much of the chair! As you can see I had to keep adding sheets of paper to fit it all in!

From Ann - Lunch at Korto in Muswell Hill  outside and so I  thought 'occupied chairs' and got stuck in sketching this couple with their dog outside. Enjoyable observing ...

From Carol -  a chair occupied by Tubby Bear and Goldie

From Judith - Not time to sit but allowed photos to be taken!

From Mags - Ian at work at his computer sitting on his expensive but necessary adjustable office chair. In haste using Photoshop filters as I should be tidying my studio and making masks... 

From Janet B - Miss Molloy in one of her favourite basking spots - a rickety plastic garden chair. I love drawing chairs but I’m not so keen on drawing cats and I usually give up in despair. This is one of my better efforts. 

From Jackie - garden chair ….pastels and charcoal…
 rather a challenge attempting the proportions and perspective aargh...
but nice to spend the afternoon in the garden with good weather.

From Sue S - This is from a photo - not had time to set up as things a tad chaotic.

From Jo - The chair is the one my mother sat in for food and crosswords. It's not quite such a hideous colour - dark chocolate brown. The chairback i a piece of crochet by her mother in some 'ecr' silky thread. The cushion is an ex-sampler - possibly real. And wood is ?teak coloured.

From Sue B.could not get the circle right on the perspective of this much loved leather and wooden legs and arm supports  nineteenth century library chair

From Gillian - A visitor !

And from me - Not much this week! Because of emergency granny duty I spent the morning with the poorly grandbaby instead of quietly drawing. Poorly or not, she rushed about, but she did sit still in her chair while having lunch (it was good to see she had regained her appetite) which gave a few moments to "capture" the scene -
- and during nap time (for both of us!), Dolly was the stand-in at the photoshoot. 

10 September 2020

Poetry Thursday - All Night by Lisel Mueller

Poetry collection in a 1992 notebook*
All Night

All night the knot in the shoelace
waits for its liberation,
and the match on the table packs its head
with anticipation of light.
The faucet sweats out a bead of water,
which gathers strength for the free fall,
while the lettuce in the refrigerator
succumbs to its brown killer.
And in the novel I put down
before I fall asleep,
the paneled walls of a room
are condemned to stand and wait
for tomorrow, when I'll get to the page
where the prisoner finds the secret door
and steps into air and the scent of lilacs.

- Lisel Mueller (1924-2020)

(Other poems from this ah hoc collection will appear in coming weeks.)

*In 1992, another page in the notebook reveals, my son - aged 16 - flew to Vancouver on 20 June and returned on 26 August after going camping with his cousins and eating lots of Granma's cooking. Whereas I holidayed, more briefly (16-30 May), in Madrid and Paris. 

08 September 2020

Drawing Tuesday - fruits/vegetables

A bit of background

This theme should be fairly straightforward, no? Get a fruit or vegetable, or several, and draw or paint or collage...

The number of items depicted is up to you - so is whether they are the actual item, or something made from or painted on pottery, or items taken from one of those great 18th century still lives, for instance by Melendez or this one

Search for "still life fruit vegetables" and you'll be spoilt for choice, and get to know a few new artists or revisit favourites. Learn from the masters!

If you want to set up "a proper still life", here are some tips - https://onlineartlessons.com/tutorial/how-to-compose-a-still-life/. To improve the composition and "avoid mistakes" - https://willkempartschool.com/7-simple-compositional-tweaks-that-make-your-still-life-painting-100-more-professional/ (with useful info on those pesky ellipses). This one includes step by step of drawing a pineapple. And there are many more....

From Carol - My lunch (if it lasts this long).  I’m trying to speed up with my drawing being more free and less fastidious so this was a good study to have a go at. Speeding up means more opportunities to draw away from the home (and less waiting about for my husband)! Perhaps this would be a good challenge for one Tuesday although I know some of you are already very speedy indeed (Janet this means you).

From Joyce - watercolour of some salad ingredients looking at complementary colours. Lovely to have such gorgeous colours.

From Ann - A rather still still life of the only fruit and veg in the fridge. Better had I used watercolour paper...but enjoyed the exercise.

From Sue S - allotment veggies on a steel tray, rendered in foil, cut out shapes in coloured paper & card with felt pen highlights. Interesting to try a new method.

From Sue B - A humble drawing of the lemons in my trug, given how marvellous the offerings to date are!!!
Take two, from a different angle, and using chalk pastels (to suggest colour) and pencil

From  Judith - The sun went in and then came out and the phone rang about six times!  Trying different watercolour papers but too disrupted to come to any conclusions.

From Najlaa - Watermelon today.

From Hazel - Here's my drawing of a pineapple. Drawn with coloured pencils.

From Richard - I aimed to loosen up by using watercolour and fairly simple shapes and colours. Nonetheless, bogged myself down in needless detail but a bit faster and a real pleasure. Good to be out of doors.

From Mags - In watercolour directly in my sketchbook I drew the 5 varieties of plums from the fruit stall ( Victoria, Marjories Seedling, Edward, Mirabelle and Reeves ) and the strawberry tops after lunch. Should have used better paper, last week's tap shows through!

From Jackie - two kinds of onions…trying out my  chalk pastels on black paper.

From Sylvia - Here are my figs in fish dish. Now I can finally eat them!

From Gill - My excuse for this drawing is that these were snatched away for lunch!

From  Janet B - A couple of Oddbox corn on the cobs drawn in a sunny garden this morning. Yippee I can now cook them for supper. 

And finally - my "wild tomatoes" (that's what it said on the box) -
 Where to start with the colour? -
Lesson - let the adjacent colour dry, or it will spread into the new, wet one. So I took a break before colouring in the stems -
Interesting to mix the reds, but I did get the dark green tomato completely wrong!