Sunday, September 30, 2012

True: Practice and you will improve. False: Sketching is easy.

Since my class, last Wednesday, I have been sketching, and drawing, for an hour and a half each day.

Sketching is not easy.

I have chosen to work on the same still life setup; a draped window; a small cabinet with one drawer, on wheels; two boxes and a set of hand weights.

My daily goal is to map out those things by placing them on my paper with loose, light pencil strokes using my full arm, not just my hand, to create the lines.

It seems I am captivated by the little cabinet so that is where I have been focusing much of my attention.

I need to spend more time in the mapping stage and really focus on light lines and not get carried away with trying to add details until the lines show the true perspective of the subject.

Here are a few examples of my progress…

This is a black and white shot of the still life setup mentioned above, for comparison.

I have done dozens of sketches/drawings over the last few days; this is a small sample to let you see what all your wonderful words of encouragement, in my last post, have inspired me to do.

As you can see I am still having perspective issues as well as a slant problem; my skewed view on the world is to blame, I'm sure. 

I’ve had a pep talk from Miss CP about how to correct this deficiency of mine (or at least "try" to correct it) and will put her advice into play on Monday.

I took Sunday off - even God needed a day of rest! 

How about you...are you practicing something daily in hopes of getting better at it? 
If so, how much time do you devote to this passion of yours? 


Friday, September 28, 2012

Creative Drawing - Week 2 - Alrighty then…

“Ten thousand bad drawings equals one good one, so keep drawing,” said the child to her mother who had exhaled deeply as she crumpled up another really bad drawing.

Between Week 1 and Week 2...this happened.

Since I had not been shown how to place objects on a page or how to determine my best choice for a focal point; since the critiquing I received was more about what I should have done with no real help in how to do what I should have done, I decided to call in the big guns.

That would be...Miss CP.

For those of you new to my blog, Miss CP is my daughter, Courtney, but more than that she is a designer in the animation industry, and she has a thing for life drawing. (she’s always at a life drawing class somewhere it seems)

To give you a peek into Miss CP’s drawing talents I’ve added this LINK so you can see her doing what she does best. Here you will see video submissions for a weekly illustration class she attends.

I might add there is one thing Miss CP does without fail, she practices her craft each and every day. 

I guess therein lies the message: to be good at something practice with some regularity, to be great practice daily; Miss CP is great. I called in the big guns (aren’t I lucky to have connections) and the first thing Courtney had me do was loosen up and draw circles...lots and lots of circles. The object being to duplicate the line by laying it on top of the previous line without straying. 

Not easy. Really, it was damn hard! But I persevered and after some length I was getting in the circle drawing groove. 

Then we dabbled with shapes; a little still life drawing and then ventured into a bit of perspective work. 

I left Courtney’s place feeling rightly exhausted but seriously exhilarated. 

So with that I did some practicing; each and every day.

Looking out of the Lost and Found (my writing space) I tried, I tried really hard, to capture the outer reception area of my studio. 

This is my reference picture. It's amazing what you see in a photo that you don't see in life.

Note how hard of a time I had (and still have) with perspective. The angle of the shelves in both units is wrong, as is the whole size and layout of the glass cabinet. 

I was able to get the last drawing to look a little better; better to what it was but no where near where it ought to be. (I’m trying to remind myself this was just the first week)

Okay, now we can talk about Week 2 - The Lesson.

With excitement coursing through my veins I arrived for my class yesterday (yes Carole, like an eager little beaver) and waited patiently for the room to be set up. 

But, my excitement quickly turned to disappointment, laced with frustration, as we were ushered in and put right to work “sketching”. 

Now, here’s where I’d like a little feedback from the artists in the crowd. I’m new to this “art lesson” business, but am I wrong in assuming that when learning the basics I should be “shown”, by example, what the whole "sketching an object" process looks like. After all, I’m a visual learner, this is an art class; I am feeling like the instructor is holding out on me.

It’s like going to a cooking class and being given all the ingredients but no instructions or demonstration; the instructor then says, “okay, start cooking” - sorry, that’s not what I signed up for.

BUT - I don’t quit. Ever the optimist, I’m hopeful things will get better. (meaning both the teacher and the student)

AND YET...I do feel like I am getting something out of it all - the subliminal message might just be that I need to practice patience as I try desperately to have my apples and oranges look more like fruit.  (just for you, Drake - you cheeky boy)

So, in Week 2, we did three different takes, here’s the photo of the first set.
 And my version...

Then the last set - this is what I saw, or should have seen would more like it.

And here is what I drew. Now, you need to know this was a three part drawing.

Part 1 - 30 second line drawing, sort of like a cityscape, no lifting the pencil

Part 2 - correct 30 second line drawing (yes, I am laughing too)

Part 3 - learn about shading (like this should be a lesson way down the road - I’m still trying to place objects on the page for crying out loud)

Thankfully, Miss CP came for dinner last night - we had a “session” - I’m thinking more along the lines of therapy as the kind of session I’m in need of!! But then they say art is therapy - like, right!!

Courtney really gave me a great follow up lesson, which I practiced this morning with my two cups of coffee.

Here is the picture and a shot of my “practice”…

This was a fun practice session. I am learning that rushing into the details before the actual perspective of the drawing is correct leads to lopsided furniture! Oh well, there's always tomorrow. I can't wait!

Well...that’s my life in the art lane, this week!

And you...have you been frustrated about how something has been taught to you?  Would you make a good teacher?


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Creative Drawing - Week 1 - Now that was tough!

Okay, I survived the first day and boy was it hard work.

Who’d have thought “art” would be work!  (hehehehe - to all my art buddies I really have new found respect for the “work” you all put into your art) this Creative Drawing course the object is to get in the groove with “sketching” - to map out a plan based on an accurate portrayal of what we see before us.

In this first class, objects (fruits and bottles) were place on a table in the centre of the room and based on what we saw we were to pick a few of the items to sketch..loose lines nothing definitive. 

That would be no defined lines or attempts at shadowing - just loose line sketching. (what part about that didn't I get)

Here’s where we learn that Jenny is NOT good at following instructions. (This might help explain why I work for myself) 

Class started at 12:30 and at 1:00 we were sketching - suffice it to say although we did receive instructions on what not to do, we weren’t bogged down with what to do...does that make sense! 

Anyway, when the first grouping of objects had been arranged I jumped in and started sketching the green bottle and some fruit. (eager little beaver!)

Then came the critiquing.

I was the first on the chopping block. (the price of sitting at the front) The instructor would, one by one, sit in our chairs and look at the objects from our vantage point to see if we were accurately sketching what we saw.

Did I mention I am thick-skinned...well, let me mention it here! Okay, I took it like a woman, a man would have dealt with it by stepping out back. was all good and valid and very useful...and justified! I was way off on some of the placement of the fruit - who’d have thought…!  

An hour later the table, with the objects, was turned so we’d all have a different perspective, and by then I was getting in the sketching groove. (aka “the rut”) 

This go-around I took my time...yes, that was one of the “to do” things our instructor, Georgia Youngs, talked to us about when we first arrived. Don’t rush in the early stages - so with that in mind I went to town.

Here is what I saw on the table…

And here is what I sketched...(it needed a ton of tweaking and I had to go buy a second eraser already)

Good news is I can only get better. (so I’m told!)

What about you, have you had to learn something that was harder than you first thought?
(and not necessarily art related)


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Backgrounds and Morgues...I’ve done them both!

Frustrated with Blogger? 

Me too. 

I emailed them about a glitch with the sizing of header photos. Let’s see how fast they get back to me...or, more to the point, how fast they fix the problem.

I have been making matching header and background sets and have made a few interesting customized ones. It will be like sporting a new party dress around here over the next little while as I bring them out and show them off. (the things that amuse me…)

A work in progress...

Thanks to Dezz and Miss CP for their unstinting support and encouragement as I worked my way through some sizing and tiling issues. I think I have finally figured it out! 

I’m thinking of doing a video tutorial on what I’ve gleaned from this experience, thereby sparing someone else the major headaches caused by all the cropping, exporting, importing and re-cropping I went through just to humour my desire for something original. 

Thank god for BG + 3 O’s - and, if you’ve hung around Pearson Report for a while you’ll know what that code stands for. (any guesses)

All in all it was a fascinating journey borne out of patience and persistence.

But not as fascinating as my outing to the Vancouver Police Museum, on Saturday.

I took the “Sins of the City” tour. I didn’t bother to make a video of my walk-about since this one (that I linked to) is great - I learned long ago not to duplicate that which is already excellent. Right!! So do check it out.

My first stop, before going on the walking tour, was the actual museum which was housed in what was once the Coroner’s Office and the City Morgue. 

Here, as a teaser, are a couple of photos - more will be forthcoming shortly.

 Past a wall of illegal, confiscated weapons and counterfeit bills...

we find the autopsy room...surreal to say the least, and very interesting.

Everything here is authentic and original. This was the morgue, where they kept the bodies after the autopsies.

It's late as I type this, and I'm in need of some serious shut eye - but I think I'll settle for my comfy bed with its sheep fleece comforter and soft pillows. Ah, to be alive...

Have you visited a Police Museum in your city...or elsewhere? How about a morgue?


Thursday, September 13, 2012


If a picture is said to be worth a thousand words...well, here’s a short novel!

Lucky, our little Jack Russell, crossed with Shih Tzu, knows it’s all about the snoozing…

on her green swivel chair
by the fireplace
in one of her two beddies
in the guest bed
or simply 
on the floor…

yes, she will tell you it’s all about the snoozing!

See for yourself...

Lucky, on her favourite chair.

Then again, she's a fan of the belly roast and loves the warmth of the fireplace.

 New beddie...

 Old beddie...

 Old beddie...

New really is a tough decision.

Keeping the guest bed warm, just in case company comes...

Are you waking her...
What's think she need a haircut...okay, if you say so.'s done...and doesn't she look sweet!

Now we are done.
Lucky's tired from all this attention and wants to get back to snoozing.

Thanks for dropping in and visiting with Lucky...she pretends there's always room for one more in front of the fireplace - but you'll have to bring your own mat! (she not good at sharing)  

Are you a dog person or a cat person? Goldfish anyone?



Monday, September 10, 2012

Art Bible; Felt Fun; Sunny Days…what more could a girl want!

Art Bible
I am enjoying my “Sketching and Drawing Bible” - it’s a very interesting read.
I have put to practice a few things I’ve learned. (in preparation for my upcoming art classes)

Felt Fun
Here...a little sample of the fun I had playing with four different tipped felts. 

I should mention - I had just finished watching Howl, the Allen Ginsberg movie, and decided to let my mind and hand have free rein. I'm thinking this might be a picture of what my mind looks like after a good howling. (a veritable jungle in need of weeding) 

Sunny Days...
are just the best! 

Here, take a look. (my header photo was taken during this outing)

I went to Sunset Beach, in the West End, and had a wonderful time snapping a few photos, just for enjoy!

Little boats come from different directions bringing foot passengers to the West End and Downtown Vancouver...

 View looking to the west...

 View over to Vanier Park...(I made a video, shot from Vanier Park, of the West End and surrounding area. It can be view HERE)

More Sunset Beach area...

Kayaks, and boats of varying sizes, come and go...

 Burrard Bridge is featured in the next two pictures...

An off-lease dog park; a favourite for locals and their pets...

 Thanks for’s your day going? Sunny, I hope!


Monday, September 03, 2012

Is it okay to look the other way and say, "It's not my problem."?

This is a tough post - if you’re not carved out of strong moral fibres you might want to move on to your next RSS feed.

Today I'm here to talk about the CAPTURE and INCARCERATION of CETACEANS (marine mammals), in particular the 18 BELUGA WHALES recently captured and awaiting their fate.

Notice is hereby given that the Georgia Aquarium Inc., 225 Baker Street, Atlanta, GA 30313, has applied in due form for a permit to import eighteen (18) beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) for public display purposes.

These are the words contained on this document, filed August 30, 2012 on the Federal Register website. (To view the complete document just click on the source below.)

* * * * * 
I live on the west coast of Canada - we have phenomenal marine life in our waters and people come from all over the world to enjoy the offerings of the Pacific Ocean. From scuba diving to whale watching one does not have to go far to appreciate marine life in its natural habitat.

We also have an aquarium. (sadly)

Have you been to your local aquarium lately? 

Have you ever asked yourself what it must be like to be cooped up in a tank so small that you, an Orca, cannot swim straight for any length, which you need to do, in order to keep your dorsal fin standing tall and healthy.

Source: The Orca Project 
(the article related to this photo is excellent - Warning: graphic content)

The dorsal fin (the one on the top of an Orca’s back) is meant to stand straight - it bends over when the mammal is confined in a small space. There is no place, in any aquarium, world wide, that can properly house these large mammals. Not one provides the space needed for them to swim freely. (going in circles is NOT swimming freely)

It’s no different for beluga whales - these peaceful creatures are captured and displayed purely for entertainment value and profit.

Do not be fooled into thinking we need them in captivity to research them. That is no longer a viable reason given the technology and times we live in.

The Vancouver Aquarium's Beluga page has a Q & A section...I find this interesting:

So this is what their natural habitat looks like.

And sadly, this is what we give them...

I googled "sad belugas" and saw this photo, above. But what broke my heart was the caption under it, which read:

  "It was a little sad with this big beluga....she was all alone in one simple tank."

The day and age of keeping these majestic creatures penned up for our amusement has long since come and gone.
Now comes the part where I ask you, again...

Is it okay to look the other way and say, "It's not my problem."? 

I encourage you to get involved - and yes, bust out of your comfort zone and see what goes on out there in the wild blue sea, and in captivity - it's never too late to help make a difference.

It's time to take action - 

Please follow this LINK to sign the online petition to end the capture and public display of beluga whales - these amazing mammals need our help.

If signing something online is a problem, which I can truly identify with, then the NOAA  Fisheries page, which features all the information on the 18 beluga whales, as well as the address to send your voice, is where you want to be. 

But, just to make it really is the address, click on the picture to enlarge. Then, on a postcard or piece of paper you need simply write something like this: I oppose the plans to import beluga whales into the US for captivity by the Georgia Aquarium.

Here are some links for those wishing to do a little further reading: (site of the online petition)

NOAA Fisheries Services  

Tails Together (concerned friends of the ocean) additional links can be found here.
(Warning: this site contains graphic content)

The Orca Project - a most remarkable site; worth checking out 
(Warning: this site contains graphic content)

Save the Whales - read the story of Tillikum, the orca, that killed his trainer by drowning her. This is a moving and troubling story...but does not contain any graphic photos or images.

THANK YOU - if you follow through by adding your name, in opposition to the permit application by the Georgia Aquarium, I can safely say...YOU ROCK, REALLY YOU DO! 


Need more information? Please let me know and I will do my best to get it to you.