Recent Sketches

Recently I shared that I had started Sketching Again.  I decided to keep my Mom’s Nature Journal and sketchbook out on my desk as a visual reminder, and I try to spend about 20 minutes daily sketching and painting in time squeezed between folding laundry and preparing dinner.

I am using the Doodlewashed September “Simple Pleasures” prompts and here are my latest sketches ~

I was particularly happy how my first watercolour portrait came out, but I am not including the second portrait I did of my other daughter because it was so completely off that it would be a huge injustice to her if I posted it.  Portraits are really tricky!

I enjoyed creating all the details in “Popping bubble wrap” and felt good about the painting of the hands in “Rock., Paper, Scissors”.  The other paintings felt a bit “meh”, but I enjoyed the process and feel that I am learning as I go along.

It is important to just keep painting, experimenting, changing the approach or the medium.  If you are in a slump, just play.  Do abstracts.  Don’t worry about the end-results.  Just have fun!

For those who are keen to try sketching daily, why not join the rest of the world (really!) with Inktober  31 Days 31 Drawings.

I encourage you, moms, to also make the time to sit and sketch weekly.   Join your children in the weekly Sketch Tuesday topic, or sit and create an entry in your Mom’s nature journal page.  It is wonderful to give yourself time to sit and be creative.

Blessings, Nadene

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Sketching Again

Recently I shared that I had lost my inspiration and that somehow I had lost the joy in my sketching.  Truth be told, I actually hated my own recent art work.  Every attempt seemed so childish, colored-in and flat.  It wasn’t the lack of inspiration, but the lack of style.

I love pinning ideas and finding artists who inspire me on  Pinterest and Instagram posts.  There is an endless stream of amazing sketches and art, but the result of all this influence is not helpful to developing one’s own art.

You need to create your own art to find your own creative style. 

My 17-year-old daughter’s advice to me was to try a new art medium or technique.  This is very helpful, especially if you just play around without an end product in mind. I suppose recovering from lost art inspiration is a bit like horse riding after a fall; you need to get straight back up and ride again.   But in the end, finding art inspiration and personal style is like the Nike slogan ~ “Just do it“.

During a quiet spell this past weekend and this week, I pulled out my sketchbook, downloaded the Doodlewashed September “Simple Pleasures” prompts and began again.

My first attempts were not too bad, but I found that, as I sketched daily, I rediscovered something in my style that I liked, and the joy returned.  I loved the simple pleasure of sketching and painting.  I loved the quiet, right-brain activity.  And I enjoyed my art again.

While still finding my new artistic joy, I want to encourage you, moms, to also make the time to sit and sketch weekly.  You need times of creativity.  Join your children in the weekly Sketch Tuesday topic, or sit and create a nature journal page (prompts at the bottom of the post) each week.  It is so restorative.

Charlotte Mason called it “Mother Culture“; spending time learning and growing.  Spend regular time reading your own book list, creating art and journaling in nature; all part of your personal growth portfolio.

May I encourage you if you haven’t done any sketching for a while ~  Start again,  Just Do It!

Blessings, Nadene

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Using a grid to draw

In our Art Appreciation lessons we love to copy great art works and images.  An easy way to accurately copy pictures is by using a grid.  Here are some of our Peerneef artworks we painted using a grid ~

Instead of drawing the grid from scratch each time, I created transparent grid lines on MSWord in several sizes which you can lay over any image.  Here’s your free download ~ Transparent grid

To create your own grid over a picture  do the following ~

  1. Download and save the Transparent Grid to your computer.
  2. Open a new Word document.
  3. Insert the image you want to use for your art work.  You need to click”Wrap Text” on the top menu and select “In Front of Text” so that you can freely move and position your image.
  4. Open the Transparent Grid doc and select and copy the grid size best suited for your image. (Use the very small blocks for very detailed pictures, or the large grid blocks for larger shaped images)
  5. Paste the grid over your image and position as needed.
  6. Save.
  7. You can work directly from your computer screen onto your own art paper or print out your image with the grid.

Here’s an important CHEAT ~ You can create a pencil sketch of your image using the free photo editing package “Picasa“.

Open the image in Picasa, select the blue icon “Even more fun and useful image processing” button, click the “Pencil Sketch” option, and “Save as”.  Now insert this outline image in your grid for even easier copying!

Prepare your own art page and create a grid to match your printout, in the same ratio of blocks across in rows and down the side, but these blocks can be larger than your printout if you want to enlarge your image.  In other words, if your grid image has 4 blocks across and 5 blocks down, then your art page should also have 4 across and 5 down.  If the printout grid lines are 2 x 2 cm, you can create your art page grid lines 4 x 4 cm (or larger) so that your new image is larger and fills your art page.

Now you are ready to sketch the image on your grid printout or on your computer screen.

  • Work block by block, copying the lines, angles and shapes in that block.
  • Use where the shapes intersect the grid lines as your measure.
  • Work with the large shapes first and then add the details.
  • Once you have your outline, gently erase the grid lines and you are ready to paint!

But there is an easier way! Art Tutor has an excellent Grid Tool that does this all for you ~ http://www.griddrawingtool.com/   Simply follow the step-by-step tutor and download and save your grid image to your computer.

So now you can recreate any image or picture on your page using the grid lines as guides to make your own art!  Enjoy!

Blessings, Nadene

Lost Inspiration

I love sketching and creating a weekly entry in my nature journal, but I haven’t touched my art supplies for over 2 months.  I wondered if I had lost my creative inspiration. How had that happened?

As I pondered the reason for my lack of art, these changes came to mind ….

Feeding our bull and weaned calves

We live on a remote mountain farm in a semi-arid area called the Klein Karoo, and have been in the grip of the worst drought in living memory. We have had to supplement feed our cattle completely since March this year and it is a labour-intensive affair. Our whole family have all pulled on our boots and climbed in the Landy to help my hubby every day and especially on the weekends when our worker takes his weekend off. It would seem natural that I would not sit happily sketching and painting in my free time, especially when there is hard, physical work to be done.

My herb and vegetable garden earlier this winter …

The drought affected my gardening and I could barely manage keep my veggie garden going through the winter. My pretty rose garden withered and died back. Full-grown trees died, and about 4 other trees blew over in a terrible wind storm. I was definitely not inspired on my nature walks when I went outside.

I recently decided to re-landscape the rose bed and I transplanted several rose bushes in a smaller cluster while they were in their winter dormancy.  I also transplanted several plants dying in other neglected garden areas to this focused garden bed. I hope to carefully water this smaller area and keep them alive.  I suppose I could have journalled these changes in my nature journal, but I was simply too tired.

Off to prune pomegranate trees

With our livestock farming under stress, we decided to make full use of a neighbouring farmer’s offer to prune his pomegranate orchards and use the cuttings to create our own pomegranate plants. We spent the last week pruning, cutting slips and planting over 5000 plants. Back-breaking and hand-cramping days.

At the end of April, my 17-year-old daughter graduated homeschool and she is transitioning through her options for the rest of this year.  This is a difficult phase to navigate.  On one hand, we recognize that she has been very isolated and protected, while on the other, she has worked very independently as a homeschooler.  Even so, we as parents have struggled to let her go even though we know that this is exactly what she needs and wants to do.  I suppose this phase has been tough for me emotionally.

We all go through seasons. This has been a physically hard and barren season, which has literally dried up my time and energy, which in turn, dried up my art and creativity.

Snow on our mountains!

Thankfully, just in this past week, miraculous rain and snow has fallen, and the drought seems to have almost broken. While it will take months for the fields and grass to recover, and we will still have to supplement feed our livestock, there is hope in the air and in our hearts.

It seems that my art and creativity are linked to regular watering of my spirit and soul. Perhaps my sketching and painting will bud and fruit sometime soon again ….

The Lord is faithful to keep us, even in dry and weary times.

What inspires your art and creativity?

Wishing you every blessing in whatever season you are in, Nadene

Sketch Tuesday ~ Feathers

Here’s my sketch  for this week’s Sketch Tuesday

Once again my granddaughter Emma is the subject of my watercolor sketch.  She loves to go with me to feed my chickens.  She enjoys throwing their mealies (corn) in their yard, collecting their eggs and picking up their dropped feathers.  She especially loves the little chicks and tried to pick them up, but was afraid of the mama hen who was very protective.

If you would like to join Sketch Tuesday, pop over to Harmony Fine Arts and click the subscription box.  Confirm the subscription email when it comes.  Sketch and then email your children’s art.  Each week Barb will host a slideshow and share the new topic.

See you at the next slideshow!

Blessings, Nadene

Sketch Tuesday ~ Building

Here’s my pen sketch  for this week’s Sketch Tuesday

 

 

 

We are busy building a new braai (barbecue, for non-South Africans,) and I sat outside sketching and observing our concrete mixer carefully while my potatoes baked in the oven.  No pencil lines first, just drawing in the shapes and lines.  It was only when I had completed the sketch and started filling in the details, shadows and contours, that I noticed the base stand and wheels were not quite aligned. Although it bothered me at first, I felt that the machine still looked “right” and I happily added the finishing touches before going inside to take my meal out for lunch.

One doesn’t need great wads of time to sketch.  The minutes waiting for food to cook was all I needed and I felt fully restored after my 15 minutes or so of sketching.  My kids take their sketch books everywhere and sketch at restaurants while waiting for their meal to arrive, or while waiting for their dad to pick them up.  It is my youngest daughter’s best activity to fill in the blank moments of her day.  Keep your sketch book and drawing supplies at hand and just go ahead and do it when you next have a moment to spare!

If you would like to join Sketch Tuesday, pop over to Harmony Fine Arts and click the subscription box.  Confirm the subscription email when it comes.  Sketch and then email your children’s art.  Each week Barb will host a slideshow and share the new topic.

See you at the next slideshow!

Blessings, Nadene

Sketch Tuesday ~ Mason Jar

Here’s my sketch  for this week’s Sketch Tuesday

If you would like to join Sketch Tuesday, pop over to Harmony Fine Arts and click the subscription box.  Confirm the subscription email when it comes.  Sketch and then email your children’s art.  Each week Barb will host a slideshow and share the new topic.

See you at the next slideshow!

Blessings, Nadene

Sketch Tuesday ~ Paws

Here’s my sketch  for this week’s Sketch Tuesday

20170227_162831Once again, my granddaughter Emma is the subject of my sketch and she is quite scared of our one fat cat who bites her when she tries to cuddle her.  She keeps saying, “Meow-meow byt!” (Afrikaans for bites)

I used my watercolour pencils for this sketch.  They are quick and easy to use.

If you would like to join Sketch Tuesday, pop over to Harmony Fine Arts and click the subscription box.  Confirm the subscription email when it comes.  Sketch and then email your children’s art.  Each week Barb will host a slideshow and share the new topic.

See you at the next slideshow!

Blessings, Nadene

Sketch Tuesday ~ Bubbles

This week’s theme in Sketch Tuesday  is ~Bubbles

We were away for a long weekend and I returned home too late to submit my sketch for the slideshow.  Here it is anyway ~

20170224_1623120

I seem to have a theme in my recent sketches … my darling little granddaughter Emma.  I may actually focus on bringing her into each sketch for the month! 

Once again, I used gouache paints and loved the details I could produce with clear, bright layers over previous washes and colors!

If you would like to join Sketch Tuesday, pop over to Harmony Fine Arts and click the subscription box.  Confirm the subscription email when it comes.  Sketch and then email your children’s art.  Each week Barb will host a slideshow and share the new topic.

See you at the next slideshow!

Blessings, Nadene

 

Sketch Tuesday ~ Something Tall

“Sketch something tall” … and my son immediately came to mind.  He is really tall, but no way nearly as tall as I drew him in my sketch.  I call it artistic licence!

Here’s my sketch ~

20170211_161816This week I used some of my daughter’s gouache paints.  Can you believe that I have never painted with gouache paints before?  I looked at one or two YouTube videos and gave it a try … and loved it!

To quote Craftsy ~

Gouache (pronounced “gwosh,” in your Frenchiest accent please) is a type of paint which is centuries old, and yet relatively few people even know of its existence today. It’s a medium with characteristics of both acrylic and watercolor that can be used to create vibrant, luminous works of art.

Note from the author: when I was in art school, a teacher referred to gouache as being “watercolor plus chalk.” That does oversimplify it a bit, but it gets the basic point across.

Sometimes referred to as opaque watercolor, gouache starts out similarly to watercolor. They are both composed of color pigment with a binding agent such as gum arabic. But that’s where things start to differ. First, the pigment ratio in gouache is usually much greater than in watercolor. Second, a solid white pigment such as chalk (or sometimes even acrylic) is often incorporated. These two factors give gouache a much heavier texture and higher opacity than watercolor alone.

In terms of working with gouache, this makes it a unique medium. It shows characteristics of both watercolor and acrylic, but is neither.

Isn’t it wonderful that one can keep on learning, exploring, experimenting and developing in art?

What new medium have you tried?

Sketch Tuesday is a wonderful idea prompt which can open untold possibilities!  If you would like to join Sketch Tuesday, pop over to Harmony Fine Arts and click the subscription box. and confirm the subscription email when it comes.  Each week Barb will email the slideshow and the next topic of theme.

See you at the next slideshow!

Blessings, Nadene