Sketch Sunday 63

A couple of days around 40 degrees C have had me spending a lot of time huddled under the airconditioning downstairs in the lounge, knitting, reading, watching dvds and listening to podcasts. Nothing around me inspired me to sketch, so today I grabbed a book on Australian birds.

I also found this little box set of mini sketchbooks, sold as a sampler kit at my local art store. So cute I couldn’t resist.

All kinds of paper, from thin paper for drawing to thick watercolour stock, canvas paper for oil painting and even tracing paper.

I also bought some rolls of cheap ‘newsprint’ paper. I’m starting life drawing classes this week.

Sketch Sunday 62

I’m deliberately late posting this, because it really needed to come after the silk dyeing and scarf tying posts. I was inspired by the brochures to sketch my favourite way to wear a scarf – The Noose. There was also a variation of it in one of the brochures which involved twisting the scarf rather like making a skein, so I called it The Skein.

Sketch Sunday 60

A sketch of my paint box. I’ve replaced one of the blues with cerulean blue, because I missed it and the previous light blue just didn’t make the right hue I wanted. I also miss paynes grey for shadows. I’m sure I could mix up decent shadow colours, but the point of on-the-spot sketching is it’s fast, and for that paynes grey works just fine – as well as being a good quick grey in black and white sketches.

I did this sketch to test out the colours I have, and see if there are any obvious choices to swap out. At first I thought it was a toss up between the light green or mid brown, but once I did this sketch I could see that three shades of blue is more than I need.

Trouble is, I have been trying to get a hold of paynes grey, but every time I’ve been near an art store they’ve either been out of stock or closed.

Year in Craft – 2010

This blog’s former incarnation was a knitting blog, and at this time of year I used to do a bit of an overview of the projects I’d finished the previous year. I thought it might be interesting to do an overview of everything I completed last year, not just the knitwear.

First, for old times sake, the knitting (and crochet):

Knitting & Crochet:
Josh Socks (gift)
Cherie Amour (op shopped)
Bean’s Monkeys (gift)
Pussy Cat
Origami Bolero
Beky’s Socks (gift)
Argyle Vest (winner)
Bramblewood (op shop)
Emma’s Socks (gift)
Mossy Mobius Scarf (winner)
Donna’s Socks (gift)
Possum Mobius Scarf (winner)
Lion Jacket (winner)
Alison’s Socks (gift)
Piper Hat
Dad’s Socks (gift)
Purple Jumper
Glitzy Mobius Scarf
Toast Wristwarmers
Leafy Wristwarmers
Slinky Ribs
Argyle Vest #2 (winner)
Touch Yarn Socks
Sideways Stripe Vest (op shop)
Loom ends scarf (gift)
Dad’s brown socks (gift)
Owls Hat (gift)
Navy Crochet Hat (gift)

I did a second Socks For Others Club last year. That, for new visitors, was a sock ‘club’ in which I knit socks for other people rather than myself, because I now have not just an overflowing sock drawer but a growing stockpile. It was great fun and by having people put their hands up for socks I ensured my knitting had an appreciative recipient. A win for everyone!

The other challenge I set myself was the Bernardathon. I love the designs of Wendy Bernard, but though I’d had her first book, Custom Knits, for a while, I hadn’t knit anything from it. So I picked three projects and spent the winter knitting them. The Lion Jacket was a real winner – I wore it many, many times.

It was also a year of unintended stash reduction. I hadn’t put myself on a stash diet, but found I didn’t want to buy more. At first I just wanted to reduce the yarn so it all fit in the storage I have for it. And then I just kept going, only buying yarn late in the year when I had to buy some for a gift. I also culled the stash a few times, giving kilos of it away. The stash is now about 2/3 the size it was at the start of the year, and though I do now feel the occasional twinge of yarn acquisition temptation, I still want to continue using up what I’ve got.

Mt Pisa woven scarf (gift)
Red & White hand towels (winner)
Black & Grey ruffle scarf (gift)
Bamboo Scarf #1 (gift)
Twill Blanket #1 (gift) (winner)
Bamboo Scarf #2 (gift)
Twill Blanket #2
Denim Floor Rug #2 (winner)

I hadn’t noticed how much of my weaving I’ve given away this year. I don’t mind the giving, but I am noticing that a lot of my weaving is done to use up leftover yarn, in particular because I found it unsuitable to knit or crochet. The weaving yarn stash is growing, mainly because of this occasional overflow from the yarn stash. I don’t mind this too much, except that I’d like to be weaving yarn I selected for a weaving project more often. Or, in the case of rag rugs, weaving with something other than yarn.

Book Binding & Paper Craft:
Concertina Badge Booklet (winner)
Chain Stitch Sketch Book
Panorama Sketch Book
Bookbinding Class Book
Matchbook Notebooks (winner)
Doodle Book #1
Birthday Album (winner)
Test Book (now diary)
Fused Plastic Book
Palm Leaf Holiday Memory Book (winner)
Coptic Bound Travel Journal (gift) (winner)
Podcast Journal (art journal)
Denim Notebook (winner)
NZ Photo Album (winner)
Apple & Pear Book Sculptures (winner)
Dimensional Circle Ornaments (winner)
Mini Book
Smartie Book
Underground Book (winner)
Knitter’s Journal
Doodle Book #2
Book Pages Paper Jewellery (winner)
Security Envelope Paper Jewellery
Masquerade Book Mask
Brown Paper Sketchbook
Map Cards & Envelopes
Concertina Sketchbooks
Shopping Bag Booklet
Marbled Paper book
Discovery Channel Book

Oh, I had so much fun with book binding, paper craft and repurposing books this year! I particularly had fun using recycled materials in these projects. However, I’ve been doing less of it lately, mainly because I got all inspired by refashioning clothes.

Russian Book Bags (winner)
Mannequin Legs plant stand (winner)
Solar Dyed singlet top
Rusty Nail Dyed T-shirt (winner)
Mirror Frames from Junk (winner)
Portable Oil Painting Kit
Instant Scarf
Homemade Paint Box (winner)
London Tea Towel Pillows (winner)
Impromptu Skirt (op shop)
Blue Motto Top
Gauzy Motto Top
Doodle Shoes #1 (winner)
Not-Boring iPhone Cover
Motto dress to a top (winner)
Red skirt to a top
Cheesecloth top
Black & grey skivvies to tops
Black skirt slim down
Black skirt to a top (winner)
Fob Watch Necklace
Doodle Shoes #2
Foam Stamps
Denim shorts into skirt
Striped shorts into miniskirt
Oversized Shirt into Sleeveless Top (winner)
T-shirt into skirt (winner)
T-shirts into tube headscarves
Man’s shirt into a dress (winner)
Painted iPhone cover
Dress Form (winner)

2010 was a year of recycling and refashioning for me. Many of the projects I finished used recycled materials, or supplies I already had, or involved sprucing up something new. Even the duct tape dress form was stuffed with bubble wrap left over from mail-order parcels. I became addicted to New Dress A Day and went from tweaking a few garments I already had to buying them from the op shop or giving new life to Paul’s culled shirts.

Another challenge was Projects for 2010, which I’ve covered in a recent post.

It was also a year for sketching. I tried to do a sketch a week and succeeded (with a few catch-ups), posting them under the Sketch Sunday category. Looking over the year’s sketches, I’ve moved from pencil and charcoal to pen and watercolour as my preferred medium.

I finished the year with a growing interest in simple printing methods and painting. This year I have plans to return to art classes. Looking back on last year, I’m pretty chuffed at how much I made and all the new paths of creativity I discovered and explored. Who knows what other creative inspirations will come my way this year!

Sketch Sunday 59

A mask I made for a friend many years ago. The one I made for myself – a mermaid holding a veil over the wearer’s eyes – was way too ambitious and fell apart. I like the simple but effective burst of white, fluffy feathers on this one.

I finished a sketchbook last week, which means I’m rather neatly starting a new one for the New Year. However, that’d be more impressive if I only had one sketchbook going at a time. I carry another, smaller sketchbook in my handbag, and it’s still going strong.

The one I started today isn’t spiral bound. It appears to be perfect bound (pages stuck together at the spine with glue). That’s going to get a little annoying when I start sketching on pages toward the centre of the book. But I have so many small blank books waiting to be used, that I don’t want to go out and buy another spiral bound one.

The paper is nice, though.

Sketch Sunday 57 & 58

I found a bag of very old plastic farm animals a few weeks ago. They were too amusing not to do something with them – but what?

Draw them, of course! Some are surprisingly realistic, while others – like these yellow plastic cats and chickens with tiny remnants of bright pink and blue paint on them – decidedly not realistic.

Sketch Sunday 56

Another coloured doodle from middle-of-the-week evening tv time.

I’ve had lots of art-related ideas in my head lately, but there’s not been a lot of doing. It seems the grander the ideas, the more pathetic the output. In truth, it’s because of the time of year. Lots of thinking about the future as the current year comes to a close; a lot of spare time taken up by social gatherings, preparing for social gatherings (cooking and cleaning), and shopping for presents.

An old grand idea has floated to the surface again: to do a part time fine art degree. This time I did some investigation, and I was surprised to find there aren’t any offered in Melbourne. Oh, there are other kinds of part time arty degrees with a reassuring money-making digital and/or design structure. But if you want to do a good old ‘art for art’s sake/find me a garret to starve in’ unapologetic fine art degree you have to do it full time. Or move to the country or interstate.

There is, however, the distance learning option, which would be better suited to my work situation anyway since it can be done one subject at a time. The down side is less interaction with other students.

I have lots of time to think about it. With the work deadlines I have, I wouldn’t be free to start something like that until 2012.

Sketch Sunday 54 & 55

I’m three weeks behind in my Sketch Sunday challenge, thanks to a tight work deadline taking up all my time and energy. But I didn’t completely neglect my sketchbook in that time. There was one night where the itch to sketch had me playing with pattern and colour while watching tv. It didn’t require getting up to find something to sketch, or much concentration. I had no plan, but had in mind the idea of a contrasting border that I’d seen in art journals.

I enjoyed enough to do another page last night. Again, the grid is something I’ve seen in art journals, but when it came to thinking of something to do with the squares I turned to good old familiar doodles.

The work deadline has passed, but I appear to have caught Paul’s man-flu, I’m trying to let my back recover from the usual work related strain, as well as finish making some presents, and read a manuscript for a friend.

I’ll get back to sketching soon, I hope.

Sketch Sunday 53

The Melbourne Cup is one of those strange local holidays that, despite it only being a public holiday in metropolitan Melbourne, is so celebrated and part of the local culture that I tend to forget that not everybody in the country – or even the state – is having the day off. This year we went to a friend’s BBQ lunch. The hostess lives in the country, though not much more than an hour’s drive from the city, on a large block. She’s always been keen to have people out there to paint and sketch for the day.

When I took my sketchbook out and started looking around for things to draw, friends who have noted my new habit openly suggested I draw the dogs, both who are poodles and were sitting on people’s laps. One of them was sitting on the hostesses lap, so I made a start drawing that.

Now here’s the funny thing. The hostess put the dog down, got up and went inside.

Maybe she felt uncomfortable about being sketched, but it was openly discussed, I said I was going to draw her and changed position to get a good view. She’s not the sort to hold back from saying ‘don’t draw me’.

Maybe she realised she was uncomfortable only after I started. Now, of course, I’m all uncomfortable about having drawn her and wondering if I caused offence.

Anyway, I did get enough line work done to roughly capture the dog, and I simply drew the hostess’ hat from memory so I didn’t have a headless figure – in fact I’d intended to have the hat mostly cover the face anyway.