I received these wonderful half-rubber, half-knitted gardening gloves as a house-warming gift when I bought my home in 2001. They’re still in excellent condition and I think of the friend who gave them to me every time I prune my roses without getting wounded by the thorns.
I’m not sure if their excellent condition is because they’re such good quality or because I don’t spend enough time gardening. I set them on a roll of transparent packing tape on my drawing table to sketch them and let the paint mingle on the paper instead of mixing one color. Drawing gloves is fun!
The creepiest things around my house are snails and slugs. They creep along, leaving their silvery trails of slime. Yuck. My gardeners warned me that the big Agapanthus plants left behind by the former owner of my home were snail havens and wanted to remove them. But I like the crazy purple flowers and left them. To collect snails to sketch I knew where to go: I filled a plastic cup from two Agapanthus.
Most of the snails curled up in their shells and hid. One was very curious and climbed onto a leaf I stuck in the cup. I put the leaf and snail on the table to draw but he was a busy guy so I had to keep moving him when he reached the end of the leaf. Then I put him in the cup and he started climbing up and over the side, giving me a clear view of his face, which was just a little nub, with no apparent eyes or mouth. Extremely creepy.
The lock above is one I’ve had for many years. It lives in my gym bag and even though I sometimes go long stretches without using it, I seem to always remember the combination. I keep the combination in my iPhone’s contact list just in case I forget. I don’t want to be stranded in the locker room! I struggled a bit drawing the lock so did it several times, starting with the one at the bottom.
More about snails:
Even though I didn’t see eyes or mouth it turns out they have them. Their weak eyes are on the end of their tentacles, the mouth is underneath the head. They don’t have ears and can’t hear but have a good sense of smell (though no nose). Lots more interesting snail facts on Snail World.com.
“Draw Something You Got For Free” was May 7th’s cue and May 8 was “Draw A Coffee Pot.” Above is the black lacquer cabinet with carvings and gold decorations I found on the sidewalk in front of a brightly painted house in my neighborhood with a “Free” sign on it. On top of the cabinet is a microwave I got for free (my son left it behind along with the car parts featured here when I took back my garage to convert it to my studio.
And on top of the microwave are more freebies: a set of Russian stacking dolls a friend brought back from Sitka, a tiny bowl a friend made and inside the bowl is some lip balm from my dentist (he applies it before working in your mouth then hands it to you) and a packet of cut flower preservative free from Trader Joe’s floral department.
On the right above is the way I make my coffee, with a ceramic filter holder from Peet’s Coffee that drips the coffee directly into my cup.
I had fun with May 6: “Draw a Scented Product.” I sketched two scented “products” — one man-made and one cat-made. The man-made is a lovely (and expensive) room perfume (Vanilla, Bourbon and Mandarin) that I fell in love with at my dentist’s office and unlike most scented products doesn’t give me a headache. It nicely counteracts the scented product my cats produce on a regular basis.
“Draw a pine tree” was the cue for May 5. Easy…found one in my neighborhood bigger than a house and sketched it and painted it sitting in my car on a cold, foggy, windy day.
I’m experimenting with an inexpensive ($13.00) Winsor Newton Cotman watercolor palette. I like the format, size and light weight very much and the way the paint easily re-wets. Although the colors aren’t as intense as their artist’s grade paints they’re all permanent/lightfast. But that might be fine for sketching since it might help me keep the sketches simpler and save fancy washes for real watercolor paper.
“Draw Something That Brings You Joy” was the cue for May 3. The first thing I thought of was my new (to me) flat file work station. I already had one set of files and was using them as a seating area, covered by a board, foam pad and quilt. But I decided I needed a standing work station more than a lounging area in the studio.
Months ago I started watching Craigslist for another set. I finally found one in my sister’s neighborhood and my brother-in-law was willing to help me get them home, build a sturdy base for them and set them up, with the white melamine-covered board now a table top. Yay!
Day 4 was “Draw Your Socks” but it could have also been another “something that brings you joy” day, since my wonderful Smartwool Socks bring me and my feet much joy. Especially these cute, funny ones that look like there are two or three socks in one and have blue polka dots, flowers and stripes on them.
What better way to improve drawing skills than to practice every day! I committed to the Every Day in May (Facebook, Flickr) challenge and have been really enjoying the practice, discipline and creativity the daily cues inspire. The first cue was: “Draw something bubbly.”
I had a sink full of dirty dishes awaiting me…a perfect excuse for bubbles. I got a little carried away and didn’t realize I’d drawn the cutting board on the counter floating in space instead. Oops. Under the pasted on list of sketching cues is a failed drawing of my cat that I wanted to hide and do over (below).
Next up was “Draw a Favorite Sound.” I cheated a bit since my cats weren’t actually purring when I sketched this. Fiona was annoyed at having her nap disturbed and Busby wouldn’t even turn around, too busy looking out the window. I sketched this one in pencil first because after the failed drawing I pasted over above, I needed a bit of success to boost my confidence.
I did some warm-up sketches of the cats in ink first, trying to learn more about their basic shapes. It’s amazing how little I really see and know a subject until I draw it. I see my cats constantly but drawing them is almost like seeing them for the first time.
Well, yes, of course I’ll use soap every day in May…but that’s not what this post is about. I read that the Every Day in May group was doing a daily sketch from the Everyday Matters (EDM) list. I had so much fun with EDM in 2006 when I first started art-blogging so despite being in the middle of a dozen different things I decided to join in.
They started with #101 – Draw a bar of soap. I searched the house and had no bars of soap so I drew my favorite liquid hand soap from Trader Joes. It’s Lemongrass-Sage and it smells wonderful!
I hadn’t used my Pentel Brush Pen in a long time and I thought I remembered that it doesn’t bleed when you add watercolor. No such luck. Or maybe I didn’t wait long enough for it to dry? Just for fun, here’s my original EDM #101 bar of soap, just for fun.