Saturday, 19 November 2011

Art Every Day Month: Days 18 & 19

One of the many things I want to practise drawing and sketching are humans. So I tried to do some small portraits last night for day 18 of Art Every Day Month. The one on the left right was the first one I did, drawn from memory of a sketch I did a few weeks ago. For the others, I used the theatre programme of a play I saw in London last months. While I at least  manage to get them to look like humas, I'm still far away from achieving a real life-like likenenss, so the actors are not really recognisable at all. Of course I used my newly discovered, and already much beloved Sanguine pencil again.

Today, day 19, I finally got out my calligraphy things again. It's something I've neglected far too long. Two, three years ago, I could rarely spend an evening without getting my nibs, pens and inks out. But with all the other things happening since then, they somehow got a bit neglected, though not completely forgotten. It wasn't only me that had become rusty, my poor nibs seem to have suffered too. I definitely have to get them out more often again!

I'm afraid my proportions are, as usual, all wrong. It's because I'm always too lazy to prepare and rule my paper correctly. I just want to write. Also, I never manage to write something without making mistakes. I'm concentrating so much on the shape of the letters when I'm writing, that I completely forget the words, and so sooner or later, make a mistake.

Colourless green ideas sleep furiously (Noam Chomsky)


  1. Like the portrait sketches a lot. You have a very distinctive style that conveys real character in the faces. Each one has a completely different personality, but I especially like the one far left with the amazing hair and sinewy neck. Such pleading in those eyes in contrast to the sinister, piercing eyes of the character far right, or the jovial, smiling eyes of the bottom guy. This sanguine pencil suits you very well.

    I have a question (sorry!): What do you think about when you are doing calligraphy? Do you shut off completely from everything around you and focus only on the letters, or do you think of the words when you write them, what they mean, and how they will combine on the page? Actually that's two, maybe three questions. I'm just curious, and you have chosen a curious sentence. Hmmm...

  2. Your people are wonderful - even if you aren't where you want to end up - the journey is producing some great art!

  3. Thank you, Nigel and Carolyn!

    To answer your question, Nigel: I usually manage quite well to shut off my thinking side of the brain when I'm writing or painting, only focusing/conentrating on shapes and colours. It's when I start thinking about the words that I start making mistakes, as calligraphy is such a slow process that the brain's always several letters ahead - and that's when the spelling mistakes creep in. So best is not to think about it at all :). When I just want to practise writing, I often find the "what to write" the hardest bit, as I'm not so much interested in the text itself. That's why I thought this "meaningless" sentence was so fitting, apart from the "green" bit. Chomsky, a linguist, used this as an example of a sentence that is syntactically correct, but semantically makes no sense.

    Btw, I watched a foode/cookery programme earlier today, where they showed a bakery in Bridport, where they still make their own bread the traditional way, called Leaker's Bakery. I guess you know it? They didn't show anything of the town, unfortunately, but the bread certainly looked delicious!

  4. Re: the calligraphy, that's exactly what I was thinking - it must be quite therapeutic to just immerse yourself completely in the fine details of something, and switch off your "thinking brain". I thought something like jewellery making would be a similar process.

    I looked up that sentence immediately after I'd posted my question because it seemed so strange, so I was fascinated by reading its origins.

    LEAKERS BAKERY!! It is quite possibly the best bakery on the planet. We are lucky enough to have 4 independent bakeries in town which, considering the relatively small size of the town (population: 6000), is quite a miracle in itself. Most small bakeries have been crushed by the dominance of the supermarkets. Leakers is the best though - all handmade, totally unique and such good quality. And here's a strange thing...

    Early one morning, some weeks ago, I was waiting for a bus right outside Leakers (it's only 300 metres from my house) and a couple of guys turned up with television cameras and started filming the bakery inside and out. Just for my amusement I took a photo on my phone while I was waiting -

    I soon forgot about it, and didn't see anything on TV but I wouldn't be surprised if that's what you saw on TV!! It's a strange, strange world!

    btw, we've also got 3 butchers, one of which has just been named the oldest family business in the UK. The same family have been running it, in the same place, since 1535.

    (sorry for writing so much on your blog!)