Monday, October 15, 2012

I got my first Moleskine - you know I’ve got it bad now...

ART snuck out of the box and now I can’t close the lid; and you thought your nightmares were bad...well, here comes ART!

Today was a productive day. I ventured downtown by car (note to self - only fools with money to burn take their car downtown) and spent precious time, which ultimately made me late for a product launch (bad Jenny) driving around trying to find “reasonably priced” parking.

I do not mind paying to park my car, really I don’t, but eight dollars an hour to park my car in the bowels of a fancy hotel was not my cup of tea. 

Entering this fancy hotel’s parking lot and driving in circles, as I made my way down to the level relegated to “John Q Public”, I experienced a bad case of claustrophobia. 

I backtracked and went to my favourite lot, over at the Vancouver Hotel, which has civilized parking - above ground! (I don’t know why I didn’t think of it right away - it’s just a short walk from where I needed to be)

The product launch was for Men's Skin Care - and, the ever delicious Vincent Clerc is the spokesperson for Homme - Sothys' line for men, so seeing his ruggedly handsome face on an oversized poster was a yummy treat which alleviated my morning parking stress.

Leaving the hotel I took a few shots - now that I see the world in a slightly different light (lines and grids all over hell’s half acre) I found myself noticing arches, pillars and even flowers. Yikes...ART is following me everywhere.
 I love the arches and the balance they create.

 Look at the pillars and the ceiling - wouldn't this be a great piece to sketch?

The variety of shapes, and the perspective in this shot, inspire me to pick up my pencil.

Next, it was off to do a few errands - you know, Monday chores - groceries, banking, etc; taking mom along for the ride. (and to do her weekly shop - I’m such a good daughter, if I do say so myself - a little self-validation as you can see)

Once home I had a delicious afternoon coffee with real whip cream while diving into my current “read” - Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards.

After getting the “pre-instruction” drawings out of the way I forged on and found myself confronted with the Upside Down drawing assignment. 

The picture was a line drawing, done by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Portrait of Igor Stravinsky. Paris, May 21, 1920 (dated). Privately owned.

It is upside down in the book and I was required to draw it upside down. This exercise was to get me to “feel” the shift to using the right side of the brain to do the drawing.

 I was totally taken by surprise - I could feel myself letting go of the part of me that over-analyzes and go into a place that was oblivious to time and my surroundings - all I could think of were the lines and how they intersected each other and where they sat on my paper.

Looking back and forth, from book to paper, I felt at one with what I was doing and really liked being challenged to “see” what was before me, even though it was upside down.

Here is my drawing:

To end my day, I found myself at a large shopping mall with my daughter (I met to drop off some goodies to her) and while there I showed her a little pad of blank paper I was using (only had one sketch in it) to practice drawing when I was out and about. (inferior paper according to her)

She steered me right to the wall of Moleskine products, in Chapters, and picked out a sketchbook and told me, “It’s time you had one of these.” 

This sketchbook is 5" x 8.25", perfect to carry with me in my bag. My pencil is a self-sharpening 6B - perfect for drawing on this velvety paper. (very forgiving and easy for shading work)

And here is my first page - dedicated to my Luck...and my Wine - both working their magic to help me see ART all around me, calling my name, and waiting for me to come and play.

Lucky in her favourite chair, me in mine, opposite her, with my wine between us! Ah...the life!

The best thing I’ve done for myself, in 2012, was lift the lid on my Childhood box and let ART come out and play.

Life will never be the same.

And you...what plays in your world?
Cheers,  Jenny 


  1. I love Moleskine, of course I'm too intimidated to actually sketch or write in them. LOL I'm not very good. Your drawings are gorgeous. Lucky sounds like a great friend. :)

    I took myself on a walk around Grant Park and Millennium Park today taking photos. I got a camera for Christmas last year and haven't really used it. I mean I haven't had one since 1996 so it's been fun getting into the spirit of photography again.

    1. Hey Melissa - I love camera work, taking pics is so therapeutic. Seeing what the camera "sees" based on how we set up a shot is quite something. I always find myself wondering about what I was thinking when I see a certain shot. to being "intimidated" - can I tell you that a good friend said," The first page of a moleskine will cause you no end of grief. The indecision as to what to draw can be crippling...but do it and move on...the book waits for its pages to be filled."

      I too this to heart, and when I came home I asked myself what the first page should dog loves me unconditionally - whether I draw well or not, and my wine keeps it all in perspective - wonky and slightly slurred...just like life. So I figured what a great duo to grace the first page. Now I can get on with it.

      This book, by Betty Edwards, is the most unbelievable and truly inspiring/supportive book for those of us thinking we cannot draw if our lives depended on it. It takes a bit of reading (but useful reading) to get to the hands on section, but it has been the best read of 2012, according to me! Do look for it at your local library and let me know if you do...I'll be rooting you along.

      Thanks Melissa, your support and comments are always welcome and much appreciated.
      Hugs, Jenny

    2. Agreed! And the texture of the paper will help.

  2. I'm so impressed with you progress!

    Words are the only things I can convince to come out and play with me, and even they tend to argue more than play.

    1. Thanks Linda!

      Oddly enough you talented folks that write can also draw - no kidding, it's true. Try it, you might surprise yourself - I know I did.

      I'm still arguing with ART, but mostly we play!

  3. I really can't draw, even if my life depended on it. My stick figures are unrecognizable. I love this post on so many levels, Jenny.

    1. Hi Karen, sweet to see you here. can draw too. Shall we compare stick men? Since I started reading about the right brain's involvement, or lack thereof, I am starting to see ART differently.

      Thanks for dropping by! :)

  4. Anonymous6:25 am

    Holy Fanaub! Yes, that is a made up word I use. Feel free to use it yourself. I have so much to say it would equal the length of your post. Let me see if I can shorten my thoughts (doubtful).

    Yes, you're a fantastic daughter! Holy moly - you drew both of those? You are rockin' and rollin' Jenny! Simply amazing how much you are progressing. I am just so impressed. Wow. Did I say wow?

    Upside down? Wow!

    Um, yeah, $8? Where do you live? By me? Then after seeing where it was, I was all like, um, okay, well worth it, especially if I can drool on that guy's photo. =)

    1. Is there a Daughter of the Year Award in there somewhere? Holy Fanaub is right! (like the word, will use it) I am rockin' and rollin' along...trying to look cool while falling all over ART. But, I am seeing the progress too, so that's a good thing.

      Humour me...print out a copy of the first "man" and then turn it upside down and draw it, you will be totally blown away - you will be able to draw it, trust me!

      And $8 is still consider "cheap" in my part of Canada - but hey, I'm just not up to parking in a hotel's bowels. Life's shitty enough without parking in it! Hahahahahahha!

      Thanks for dropping in and drooling over Vincent - sugar on the eyes - made my day after that parking nightmare. :)

    2. Anonymous5:23 am

      Alright - I'll do it. I'll print it and try to draw it this weekend. As Arnold says, "I'll be back" and let you know....but be warned, I can't draw a straight line, so, um, yeah....

  5. I can definitely understand why you wouldn't want to spend too much on parking Jenny, eight dollars an hour is excessive. The photos of this place are awesome and I love the sketches you've done, it seems like you've really been bitten by the art bug and that's awesome!

    1. Hey Matthew - read what I wrote above, for Elsie, re parking...hehehe.

      Thanks for dropping by and brightening up the place - you are always a treat I look forward to reading. :)

  6. Hi Jenny. I love moleskin as well. What a gorgeous sketching book you now have to carry around with you! Isn't it wonderful that the box has been opened, and you are now doing all this lovely artwork. My goodness, the drawing of the man from that book is marvellous. You really do have a talent there. As for that hotel, isn't it fantastic, and, like you, I love all the archways. I think I could happily stay there for a few days and have a bit of pampering!

    1. Getting the first drawing in my sketchbook was a bit tricky - couldn't quite decide, then with wine in hand, and wee dog off to the side, it hit me - and I went with it.

      I'm having lots of fun with this adventure...yet another great journey with lots of twists and turns. Thanks, Diane, for joining me on it - the more the merrier! :)

  7. Good paper makes a huge difference. Hunting for a visual diary to take away, I ended up with a Strathmore (moleskine even harder to find here) that was suitable for mixed media.
    Love it. I can sketch or use my water colours and the results are so much better.

    You have always had the artist in you, you are just renewing your friendship

    1. I love seeing Courtney's moleskines - she has many; each a journey on her road to where she is now - designing for an animation studio, her dream is coming true.

      Yes, I think the artist has always been in me, as it is in all of us - now that ART is out of the box I am reconnecting with long lost passions and pleasures.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  8. That is a gorgeous hotel.
    $8/hour parking? That's like the airport. Ugh!
    I refinished mt floor and for not refinishing anything for years, it looks pretty good.
    We are finishing up the trim and than I will take after pics.
    I really like your drawing.

    1. True, it is a gorgeous hotel, minus the underground parking - which was spared every expense.

      I can't wait to see your floor photos - you've got me on the edge of my chair. I'm way behind on m renos - driving me crazy.

      Thanks for taking time out of your busy world to take a peek at what I'm doing. :)

  9. Parking in Chicago for the breakfast after my son's wedding was something like $35 for 3 hours. It was insane.

    I love that you got yourself a Moleskine. There's no going back. ;) You're going to love it!

    I journal in them, the 5x8 1/4 size fits perfectly in my purse so it's with me everywhere and now I have developed a system for how I use it.

    I've even found I've gotten better about journaling!

    Your picture is amazing. And I can see using several of the arch pictures for perspective.

    1. Hi Em - you know what I find insane (besides $35 for 3 hours - wow) is that these lots are attached to hotels that could use the business of someone like me, going to a product launch/seminar. Since I ended up at a different hotel, for parking, I opted to drop in to that hotel for an afternoon beverage and bite, which, I would have loved to do at the hotel I was already in.

      That being said, staff was friendly and the hotel was truly beautiful.

      I'm loving my Moleskine - you're right, there's no going back (drum roll for effect) but now that the first sketch is in I'm going like crazy.

      Glad you liked the arch pics - I'm itching to draw them - soon, after a little more practice, I'll tackle them and see what comes of it.

      Thanks for stopping in. :)

  10. That hotel looks like an awesome place to inspire some art. Vincent Clerk doesn't do much for me personally, though. A little too rugged looking for my tastes. (grin)

    Absolutely loved the Picasso. Especially upside down! I'm sure Pablo would have been impressed. Many kudos (not the candy bar) to Miz Courtney for leading you in the right direction.

    1. I'm having a wee laugh over, Vince doesn't stoke your fire, gosh, darn, oh well, more for the girls to drool over! (hehehehe)

      Would it frost your cake if I told you, even though I'm a sports nut, that I didn't really know who the guy was when I came into the seminar room and saw the poster. (oops)

      I would enjoy seeing your version of the upside down drawing; if the mood moves you print off the pic, turn it upside down, start at the top and work your way across and down by just placing the lines and curves where you think they best go. No turning the page upright until it's done - you will be truly amazed at what you drew. I know I was!

      And kudos (including the candy bar, cause Miz Courtney loves candy) are in order to my tutor - she really is leading me down the garden path, or is that the art path...either one will do, I'm sure!

      Thanks, Rev, for dropping in and being part of my art journey! :)

  11. A hotel's bowels? I guess the sweeter smelling parking cost more.

    1. There was no other way to spell it out...and since I do my best to keep my potty mouth under control when writing, here at Pearson Report, I figured you (of all folks) would get the visual...and you didn't disappoint...because, sweeter smelling parking ought to cost more. Therefore this parking lot should be advertising "free" parking, if you get the smelly drift! :P

  12. Your art is fantastic. Thanks for the follow, Jenny. I'm glad to reciprocate.

    This post reminds me that I should buy some play-dough. I love the smell, feel, and psychological space it puts me in.


    1. Hi Robyn - welcome to Pearson Report.

      Gosh, yes, get some play-dough...we should have a play-dough blogfest, whereby everyone posts the crazy, delightful, wacky, wonderful, intriguing, ingenious and outright wild thing they created and we all have some giggles. (like the little kids we all are)

      I bought a kneaded eraser for my drawing class and it's like play-dough; I'm forever pulling and twisting it - it's amazing how good of a job it does at erasing small areas and for detailing highlights.

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  13. Loving your drawings go girl! Moleskins are nice...I read that people don't like the yellowy paper, but I do. It gives the drawings warmth.

    The hotel is amazing...when I started drawing over three years ago, I started to notice art everywhere too...even the backs of theater chairs and the shadows on them were educating me.

    Keep it up!!

    1. Well Lisa, you are an inspiring force behind my desire to draw. I'm such a fan of your little ladies and watching your imagination spill out onto a page is a treat to behold.

      Yes, this particular hotel is "amazing" and I was tickled with the way my eyes just ran around the place catching shapes and angles like there was no tomorrow - crazy how learning to draw awakens the visual senses - I feel like I'm on a "seeing for the first time" adventure.

      Shadows are an education all on their own...I'm fascinated with light and dark and how it alters the way an image, or object) takes shape. As an esthetician, doing make-up applications, I work with contours and shadows of the face, now I see contours and shadows everywhere.

      Thanks for your words of encouragement, Lisa, and your support of my art journey. :)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.