Friday, 20 January 2017

More homework, some lunchtime sketches, and a lot more photos

More homework for this week's SBS A Drawing A Day class. I still have to catch up with last week, but I really enjoyed this week's theme: Colour. The main medium for colour was crayons, with some coloured pencils thrown in, and it was a great opportunity to get those Neocolors out again. I have a whole box of them and I haven't used them in ages. As the sketchbook I am using at the moment doesn't take any watercolours, they are perfect for adding vibrant colours to some of the pages.

I've also tried to do some drawing in my lunch breaks. There's not a lot of time, but it's possible to squeeze in five to ten minutes in a quiet corner for a quick pen and ink drawing (and add some colour later at home). And even a two minute drawing is better than no drawing, right?

I have three Art Pens, one of them, the fine one, I bought here, together with cartidges. The other two, including cartridges, I bought in England. They're both the same cartridges, black Rotring ones. But when you add water, the ones I bought here give a greyish tone, while the ones I bought in England are bluish. You can't see it that well on the scan, but isn't that strange?

Some more photos from my Christmas break. The walk across the lake to Rapperswil is always a nice one, in any season. Unfortunately, when we arrived in Rapperswil, our favourite café was closed. We had been looking forward to that hot chocolate with Baileys and a slice of cake!

We started the new year with a trip to the mountains. And what perfect timing it was, as the day before, the snow finally came. We took the train up to Davos, and spent some time up Schatzalp, waking around in the snow and taking in the views.

We then took the bus up the Sertig valley, but by the time we got there, the sun had long disappeared behind the mountain peaks, and it was bitterly cold. Also, the path was practically a solid ice field, so we soon turned round, warmed up in the restaurant and took the next bus back to Davos. But it was still nice to pay a quick visit to these majestic peaks. It is a bit of a special place for me.

Our last day trip was across the border, to Kontanz in Germany. It was a funny day, the weather constantly changed from heavy snow to sun and blue sky and back. Most of the time, when the snow came, we happened to be inside a café or restaurant, but found ourselves caught in the middle of it when we walked along the lake. It didn't last long, though, and soon the sun was back.

There was some really great graffiti art in the pedestrian subway that leads to the lake.

Have a great, creative weekend!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Hello New Year

Happy New Year! Have you had a good start into the new year? I had the first week of 2017 off, so that was a very good start, but last Saturday, it was time again to say goodbye to N at the airport after our two week's holiday together, and it's all back to the grind and same old.

I'm starting the year with taking the Sketchbook Skool course A Drawing a Day, to help me get into the habit again. Drawing and art making is definitely something that goes short when N's here. And that's fine too. But now it's time to get back to the studio and do some catching up

We had a wonderful time. Not only was it good to spend Christmas and New Year together, but we also went on some great day trips, long walks in the neighbourhood, and had some lazy, relaxing days too. So while I didn't really do any drawing or painting, I took a lot of photos. Especially as I treated myself to a new camera for Christmas. I've been thinking about getting a new camera for over two years, and I'm glad I've waited so long, as the camera I originally had my eyes on turned out to probably not being the one that suits me best. So I gave it lots of thoughts, and finally decided on what I think is the right camera for me (a Canon 6D with a Canon 24-70mm lens, in case you're interested). The lens has a macro option, which is something that I love. I still have to learn a lot about my new camera, but I can already say that I'm very happy with it.

The local animal park is always worth a visit. We didn't see that many animals close up this time, but the Mouse House never disappoints.

My former work colleague and friend gave us two free tickets for the zoo, so we spent a great day there. And having bought my new camera the night before, this was the first time to try it out. Although it was a very sunny day, it was cold enough for the "penguine parade" - for the penguins to go out for a round in the zoo, to the great delight of both penguins and visitors.

Walking along the top of my local small mountain is always nice. There was no snow yet, but it was so cold that everything was covered in a thick layer of frost, which more than made up for it, and turned everything into its own kind of winter wonderland. And I got to try out my macro setting too.

Another favourite walk is to the nearby forest. Still now snow, but again, beautifully frosty. And the combination of the cold, blue frosty shade and the warm, golden sun was quite magical.

I've got lots more photos, but I think they'll have to wait till next week, otherwise this post will become far too long. Have a wonderful, creative weekend!

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy, successful and creative new year. 
May 2017 be a good one.

Friday, 16 December 2016

A bit of this and that

The last two weeks have been a bit of a mixed creative bag. I'm not a great cook, and it's not something I particularly enjoy. I cook because I prefer home cooked food prepared with fresh ingredients instead of processed, pre-packaged ready to make food. I've become much better at it in the past few years, but I don't really quite know what I am doing. What has become more and more important for me recently, is that I use as much local and seasonal ingredients as possible. My recipe need to be quick and easy, and to require as few pots and pans as possible - three is definitely the absolute limit I can handle. I like using the oven. Shove it in and wait till i'ts ready. A couple of years ago, I started an illustrated recipe book, to collect recipes that work for me. I call it "The Onion-free Cookbook", because I hate onions, and I've never bought an onion in my life. Me and onions, we really just don't get along. It's enough for a waiter to walk past my table with freshly cut slice of onion for my eyes to start to sting and burst into tears. I haven't got very far with my recipes, but I've finally added an other one. Puff pastry pizza.

I haven't been very successful with my daily faces project. It seems that whenever I enjoy doing something and turn it into a little project or challenge, I immediately lose interest in it. I have been drawing faces, just not every day. But I've drawn other things too, so it's alright, really. At the moment, I love using all kinds of black pens.

They both look a bit grumpy and disapproving. I can relate to that. I'm not happy that there is no sign of snow yet. And when you do some lettering, it's always a god idea to really concentrate on what you're writing, and not let you get distracted...

These two pages started with the cup of tea on the left, but I thought that just adding "Earl Grey tea" was a bit boring, so I looked up some facts about Earl Grey tea and added them. I so much enjoyed doing that page, that I decided I wanted to do another one next to it. At the moment, you can get "Grittibänze" everywhere. They are a bread roll shaped like a little man. They're traditionally eaten on the 6th of December, but these days, it's more than just the one day. And since I had just bought one for my breakfast, I thought that would make a good page. I'm still trying to decide if I want to add some colour to the cup of the and the Grittibänz, or if I should just leave them as they are, black and white.

Two weeks ago, I finally started working on my Christmas cards for this year. Since I was a bit late, it had to be quick and easy. A little Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-Robin was quickly carved, stamped and painted. 

Then I stamped the text. The Swedish version is definitely the easiest. The English isn't too bad either, but the German one definitely the trickiest and needed a lot of concentration. Unfortunately, most of my cards are in German.  The writing is the hardest part of all, but I'm glad to say that they've all been sent now.

And for the first time ever, I've made some "Wienachtsguetzli". In the German speaking countries (and probably in some other countries too), it is customary, to bake Christmas biscuits in December. There's a whole range of them, and many people bake different varieties. I decided that two were enough. The first ones I made (on the right below) were "Mailänderli", which are probably the most popular ones ever. They're a bit like shortbread. The traditional glazing is egg yolk, which gives them a rich golden colour, but you can add a bit of variation. I used lemon icing on some of them (top ones), which is why they look a bit pale. The other ones (on the left) are "Zitronestärnli". They were a bit of a pain to make. The dough is made of ground almonds, sugar, lemon zest and a bit of egg white. Try ot roll that out! I'll probably never do them again, but I'm glad I tried. And I'm happy to say that they all taste quite alright.

At the end of November, I spent a day in Schinznach. It was a beautiful autumn day, and I went for a walk along the river, taking some photos.