Friday, 21 March 2014

100 portraits: #29 and #30

Two more portraits done, and almost a third of my goal of 100 completed. I tried out two very different techniques with these two. For the first I used four or five different pencils, from HB to 6B, and a blending stick, to get the shading very smooth and blended. The second focuses on the shape of the head in the profile, with next to now shading at all. Both were fun to do, and a good exercise to explore different ways of drawing.

Felicity Strong (#29) and Beth Morley (#30).

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Four more bowls

Another four bowls are finished. I decided to glaze them all with the same two glazes, "vintage green" on the inside, and "elderflower" on the outside. I like the textured effect of both of them, and I think they go well together. And I managed to make not a too bad job of the glazing, although this time, it got almost a bit too thick on the outside. But you can't really see that.

My "collection" of bowls is growing, and I don't really know quite what to do with them all. Most of them are too wonky to be given away as presents. I've thrown the last time I was in class, two weeks ago, and hopefully, they'll turn out well and can be used for something. As small salad bowls, maybe.

While three of the four new bowls are again "eggbowls", this one I'm really pleased with. It's the first one that I did all by myself, where I managed to open it without loosing the centre, and where I finally, and for the first time, succeeded in pulling the wall. The trimming also went well (after having ruined the one I trimmed before that, but it was a particularly ugly and wonky one, so it wasn't a great loss). And the glazing went okay too.

Two weeks ago, we got the form for the new class, which will start straight after this one, in April. I singed up again, but almost immediately regretted it a bit when I got home that same day. The course programme of another school had just arrived by post that day, where I had taken a portrait class two or three years ago. I had really enjoyed it, and always wanted to go there again.

I really enjoy pottery class, but it's all getting a bit too much. If it was the only thing I was doing, it would be different. But it isn't. And I can't do it at home, only in class. And it's quite expensive too. So, I've decided to take the next class I've signed up for, but not to continue when that class finishes in summer. Instead, I want to concentrate on my drawing and painting, and take that portrait class again in autumn. And if I want to take another pottery class again some time, well I can just always go back, and make some more wonky "eggbowls" to add to the collection.

Friday, 14 March 2014

A weekend trip to sunny England

I couldn't have chosen a better weekend for my trip to England than last weekend. After all the stormy, rainy weather that has been going on in Britain basically since Christmas, I was expecting it to be, well,  cool, wet, and stormy. But instead I had 6 days without a single drop of rain! And while it was a bit cool, grey, and windy on Thursday, Monday, and Tuesday, it was warm and bright sunshine from Friday til Sunday.

I knew I wasn't going to do any sketching while I was there, but I still packed my sketchbook, some pens and pencils, and a small box of watercolours for the journey. The airplane sketch was a bit scary to do, and rather confusing, but I think I can just about get away with the perspective not being entirely right. I added the paint, and did another sketch - of my cup of tea - on the 2 1/2 hour train journey from Woking down to Dorset.

Nordljus airplane sketch

I had only a water reservoir brush and a tiny mixing palette with me, and while I think that the water reservoir brush is indeed very useful for travelling, I must admit that I don't really like it very much. I much prefer a proper watercolour brush, or better, a selection of proper watercolour brushes, and one or two ceramic palettes for mixing. But it's better than nothing, and it made the time pass by quickly.

Nordljus pumpkin tea sketch

On the way home, I had to wait about two hours at Heathrow, and while it would have been just the most perfect place for sketching - people sitting around waiting, reading, playing with their gadgets... - I just didn't have the energy to take out my sketchbook, and instead spent the time there, and on the plane, reading my book, or marvelling at the lights of the cities, towns and villages below. We flew right over London City on our approach to Heathrow, and for once, I happened to sit on the right side. Doesn't Tower Bridge look tiny compared to the buildings around? I just love to look at the world from up high.

I took some pictures with my proper camera too while I was there. Mostly of sheep. There are a lot of sheep in Dorset. And they have such beautiful faces.

Nordljus Sheep

Nordljus Sheep

And of seagulls. There are loads of seagulls too, along the coast. And we spent quite some time on the pier in West Bay, trying to get some good shots of seagulls in flight. They can be quite annoying. But they are fascinating birds too.

Nordljus Seagull

And of course some land- and seascape shots too.

Nordljus Dorset West Bay

Nordljus Weymouth Beach

Nordljus MaidenCastle Poundbury Dorset

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

100 portraits: #24 - #28

Back from a lovely long weekend in sunny (yes, sunny!!) England, I still haven't much more to show than a few more pencil portraits from earlier this month at the moment. I've done a couple of sketches on the way to England last Thursday, which I'll try and post later this week, and I'm looking forward to draw more portraits in my Moleskine sketchbook. But most of all, I'm looking forward to spending more time painting. I went shopping for some beautiful new art supplies (paints, sketchbooks, brushes, paper) while I was in England, and now I'm all ready to finally try out those oils.

100 portraits 24+25 pencil drawing

Rebecca Olsen (#24) and Anna-Maria Reid (#25)

100 portraits 26+27 pencil drawing
Mae Smith (#26) Ellen Parsons (#27)

100 portraits 28 pencil drawing

Ulrika Melli (#28)

After a long journey home from the south coast, a very late night, and an early start back into the working week, I'm afraid my brain is too tired to come up with more than just a made-up name for my women.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

100 portraits: #19 - #23

I haven't posted much lately, but I've not been idle. Among other things, I've continued with my pencil portraits in my Moleskine journal, and with each drawing, I'm learning. Here are the next five girls and their (imaginary) stories.

Veronika Braunhofer (#19) had a very busy day, and she's taking well deserved rest to calm down and relax. Her whole life has become more and more busy, but slowly, she's learning to refocus, to listen to her inner voice and to make some changes. Ellen North (#20) is a country girl, and her days consist of hard work on the farm from dusk til dawn. Life at the farm isn't easy at the end of the 19th century, and at night, she dreams of a better life - as the wife of the handsome son from the big manor house nearby.

Anna Norén (#21) has just decided to take a break from her studies at university, grab her backpack and go on a trip to across India. There'll be enough time for the 'serious' life, but now it's time for adventure. Maureen Lewis' (#22) has many happy memories from all her travels all over the world. She's certainly seen and done a lot, but now, she's happy to enjoy a more quiet life, and her beautiful garden, filled with blooms from all over the world.

The model for Leonarda (#23) was a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, and as with so many women (and men) of the 15th/16th century, nothing is known about her life at all.