Every Day in May: Days 1 and 2

EDiM 1: Food Food: Defrosting Burger, graphite and watercolor, 8x7.25 in

EDiM 1: Food Food: Defrosting Burger, graphite and watercolor, 8×7.25 in

Day 1 of Every Day in May 2015 is supposed to be a favorite food and although I do enjoy the occasional burger, ground beef isn’t really a favorite eat…but this vacuum-sealed package of defrosting-as-I-drew meat was certainly a favorite to draw.

EDiM 2: Tree (Baby Cherry Tree), ink and watercolor, 4.5x8 in

EDiM 2: Tree (Baby Cherry Tree), ink and watercolor, 4.5×8 in

Day 2’s cue is “A nearby tree” and my next-door neighbor’s adorable little baby flowering cherry called out to be drawn before the puffy flowers fall. I meant to fit the whole tree on the page but I started in ink with the top left branch and drew too big so only the top left side of the tree fit. Oh well.

 

EDiM 1 and 2: Food (Defrosting Ground Beef) and Tree (Baby Flowering Cherry)

EDiM 1 and 2: Full page in sketchbook, ink and watercolor, 8×10 in 

It felt so good to just draw for fun in my sketchbook again after weeks of working on two commissioned paintings that are finally approaching completion. I needed to get back to playing in my sketchbook again, whether the paintings were finished or not, so EDiM came along just at the right time.

For me, it will probably be more like Every-ish Day… or (Almost) Every Day… or Some Days in May since I have a lot of other things going on this month. However many days it is, any day that I get to draw is a good day!

If you want to join in the fun, check out the Facebook Group or the Flickr Group and click to join. Everyone is welcome to play any time during the month.

Last Day of EDiM: “Fresh” Hydrangeas and L.L. Bean “Flashlight” Hat

Baby Hydrangea for "Something Fresh" EDM #112, ink & Watercolor, 6x4.5"

Baby Hydrangea for EDM #112: Fresh, ink & Watercolor, 6"x4.5"

I’d never been able to sketch this hydrangea plant before because once the teensy little buds open they shed piles of equally teensy little petals and make a big mess. But this one was so fresh I was able to cut and draw it without the mess. (Although it did end up making a mess anyway when my cat ate one of the leaves and then delivered it later to the rug.)

EDM #120 Flashlight (L.L. Bean Pathfinder Flashlight Hat), ink & watercolor

EDM #120 Flashlight (Hat), ink & watercolor

The cue was to draw a flashlight. My favorite flashlight is my wonderful L.L. Bean Pathfinder Cap. It has two LED lights in the brim. One points straight down and is perfect for lighting your sketchbook when painting when it’s dark, and the other points ahead to light your path. You just squeeze a spot on the brim and it toggles between down, ahead or both. When painting in a dark pub it perfectly lit my sketchbook page but nobody could tell where the light was coming from. Someone came over to try to figure it out because it just looked like my page was illuminated.

The hat is sitting on a plaster “Planes of the Head” cast, a tool for learning how to really see and draw heads (good article about this here).

Although I wasn’t a faithful follower of  “Sketch Every Day in May,” it reinforced how much I enjoy drawing. Some of the cues sounded boring but I discovered that no matter how dull a subject may seem, drawing it rarely is.

Sweat, Salt and Scissors

My Lemon Pepper and Salt Shaker, ink & watercolor, 5.5"x7.5

My Lemon Pepper and Salt Shaker, EDM #104, ink & watercolor

Drawing is the foundation of most picture making and it’s a skill that requires regular practice and study. I’m determined to improve my drawing skills and the Every Day in May drawing challenge came at just the right time to inspire this daily practice.

All The Scissors I Own, ink & watercolor, 5.5x7.5"

All The Scissors I Own, EDM#105, ink & watercolor, 5.5x7.5"

I’ve long enjoyed just starting somewhere on the page and letting the details and story expose themselves in my sketch as my eyes explore the subject. I like the “just see what happens” approach. That is a lot of fun. But it doesn’t work well when I’m trying to fit a scene onto a page, or realistically capture a place or people or both.

My Exercise Corner, ink & watercolor

My Exercise Corner (drawn sleepy and without using the strategies described below so it's wonky and didn't fit on the page). EDM# 103

That requires some comparing, measuring, careful checking of angles, drawing imaginary (or penciled) “plumb lines” to see what lines up with what, noting where the top, bottom, sides and midlines are in the subject vertically and horizontally, and marking those same spots on the page so that it all fits. And of course there are lots more…perspective, line quality, etc.

I just wasn’t willing to do most of that before, but now I am. Even more surprising than my willingness is how enjoyable it is and how it’s starting to become second nature.

I don’t want my drawing to be pefect—I love imperfect wonky drawings—they’re so much more interesting and lively than perfectly realistic ones.  I just want the darn picture to fit on the page and the proportions to be at least almost right, and to be able to draw more quickly and accurately when I need to.

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