Friday, 26 April 2013

Grocery shopping, the artist's way

Yesterday after work, I found myself in the supermarket trying to do the shopping for next week's lunches. I was totally uninspired, circling around and around the section, trying to decide what I would want to cook. The only condition was that it had to be food that I could keep till Sunday. At one point I found myself staring at the huge variety of tomatoes. It's amazing how the choice has increased over the past few years, when there were only about two, or three at most, varieties of tomatoes available. I was especially fascinated by a big huge tomato that looked a bit like one of those pumpkins. They were ridiculously expensive, but I thought it would just be perfect to sketch and paint, and so I decided to get just the one.

The addition of the tomato still didn't solve my problem of what vegetable to get to go with the potatoes and fennels I already got. I decided to go for the good old carrot. While steering towards the big box of carrots, I remembered having seen some of those yellow ones not too long ago. Now wouldn't yellow carrots be nice to sketch too, and make a much better page in my sketchbook together with my special tomato? Yes, they had yellow carrots, and I happily made my way to the tills, having not only sorted out my lunches, but my an evening of sketchign too.

It was one of the rare sunny days yesterday, so I took the chance to take some photos of my veggies on the window sill, before sketching them. It's been quite a while since I've done some proper photography other than landscape shots while out walking, and I really enjoyed snapping my tomato and carrots from all sides (hence the slight photo overload in this post).

Then on to sketching them. I decided to use my new square watercolour sketchbook I had found recently in an art shop here (and let me tell you, sketchbooks with real watercolour paper are hard to find here). It's 25x25cm, which is a good size to work with at home, and it's square, which I always like. I made the sketches using a pencil first, then going over with a pen.

Adding colour. I really enjoyed getting out my proper, expensive watercolour paints again. I even went so far as to leave out white spaces for the highlights on the tomato, instead of going over with white gouache or a gel pen to add them later, as I usually do.

I meant to have the tomato for dinner, but it was getting a bit late, and I didn't want to use a photo as reference but the real thing for adding the colour, to get all the highlights and shadows more or less right. Photos are very useful to use for painting, but it's always nicer to have the real thing, so I ended up not having it. The sacrifices we make for the sake of art...

I haven't quite decided yet if it's finished or not, but I think I'll probably leave it as it is. And I'll have to find some more interesting vegetables or fruits to sketch. And I'm looking forward to a lovely tomato dinner when I get home tonight.

Linking this up to the delicious Paint Party Friday

Friday, 19 April 2013

Piglets' big day out

Spring, or rather summer, has come and gone, and the temperatures have dropped from the up to 25 degrees of the last days to a cool maximum of 8 degrees. And it's raining cats and dogs now, and it's not going to stop soon. Ah well, I'm certainly not happy about the grey and wet, but to honest, I wasn't too pleased about the hot and humid sunshine of the past few days either. I know, some people are hard to please.

But although it might be cold, and wet, and grey here, the piglets are enjoying their day out, and they are all so excited to go to the big party that is taking place every Friday - it is, of course, the fabulous Paint Party Friday they're heading off to. They have scrubbed themselves until they were all squeaky clean and shiny pink to make the best possible impression at the party.

 And the big spotted piglet has put on its brightest and cleanest necktie, and is hurrying across the grass as fast as his stubby little feet can go to catch up with the others. He's so excited to be part of the party, he doesn't want to miss a single minute of the fun.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Waiting for spring

I'm still waiting for all the spring blossoms and flowers to bloom, so that I can sketch them, but spring's very slow this year, with too cold temperatures and winter weather well into April. So I've been looking for alternatives around me, like the ivy outside my office window, which has beautiful purple fruits.

I like to start my sketches, even the simplest ones, with a pencil. There have been quite a few of my fellow bloggers who have done/are doing pen only sketches, and I'm in awe of their skills. I still the need pencils at the moment, they feel save.

The sketch was done during my lunch time, and I'm always looking forward to adding some colour when I get home in the evening. Finally, I got to try out my new Koh-I-Noor watercolours, the latest addition of paints to try out to replace my expensive watercolour paints in my little sketchbooks. I'm really pleased with them, and the way they mix.

I'm quite pleased with the result, I have to say. It's not the usual quick sketch I'd normally do in this sketchbook, but then this is what I like about sketchbooks. They can contain whatever you want. From quick simple sketches to more elaborate studies. There's no theme, style, pattern to follow, no rules.

Linking this up to the marvellous Paint Party Friday. Make sure to have a look at all the talented artists who contribute to the party each week. It's always so inspiring. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Where's the time gone?

Can't believe we're already one third into April! Life's somehow quite busy, one way or another, and there's not so much time for painting or blogging. And the mad April weather is just sucking out all my energy. But it seems spring will at least make an appearance over the weekend. I have kept up my little train- and lunchsketches though, and today I'm just sharing my little owls, even though I haven't finished painting them yet. They were such fun to sketch, and they just make me smile. I've filled a few more pages in my sketchbook, and I hope to share more for Friday's Paint Party, and during my upcoming looooong, relaxing weekend. But we'll see. No pressure :)

Friday, 5 April 2013

Where is home?

I have been thinking a lot about where I want to live these past few years, where my real home is. While Switzerland is a pretty good to place to live in, and Zürich regularly makes it into the top ranks of the world's best cities to live in, I always felt it was not the place where I really belonged. In fact, I always liked my city, my country best from outside, from a certain distance, for a short visit. I've lived abroad for a year twice, and dreamed of working and living abroad for ages, and I've been thinking about it more often again recently. I think the big canvas (it's 60x120 cm) I'm working on at the moment reflects this search for that place I'm still looking for. I very rarely start a painting without having any idea at all about what I'm going to paint, but this is one of them. All I knew was that I wanted it to be green to match the bedroom. This is what was beginning to emerge in the first session.

In the second session, I still didn't have a clue about where I wanted to go with this, only that I wanted to tone down the bright colours a little bit.

It is not finished yet, and while I do have one or two ideas what I might try - or not, I'm still not sure at all what it will look like when it's finished. We'll see.

Have you found your true home? Do you live in the place where you belong? How did you find it and get there?

Linking up to the wonderfully inspiring Paint Party Friday, which is always a beautiful place to visit.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Project 365 | March 2013

Can't believe the first quarter of the year is already over! Well, March has been quite a mad month, in many ways. It started with a new TrainSketches journal, and a long weekend in beautiful but very foggy Dorset. Spring hasn't made much of an appearance, instead it was cold and snow, snow and snow again. It seems that winter is not going to end this year. The end of the month brought some unexpected change too, which means that after the next quarter of the year, I'll have more free time to paint, create and photograph. But more of that later. For now, here's my March 2013 in pictures:

I used the collage/calendar month of one of my Project 365 apps this time for my collage, but although this is supposed high resolution, I'm not at all happy with the result. So I'll probably be back to making my own collages in Photoshop Elements again next month, even though it is rather time consuming. But for the moment, this will have to do. And now we'll see what April will bring.