This was the first rose I cut from my rose bushes this year which led to the first cut on my hands from the rose thorns (likely not the last). And it was the first sketch I did of the first rose. My intention was get the essence of the delicate rose with as few lines and as few washes as possible. I drew it with a gold gel pen, painted directly in one layer and stopped.
My riotously rampant roses were bursting forth from their bushes so I had to put other plans aside and paint them. Their fruity scent was as intoxicating as their vibrant colors. These were two different kinds of roses, both of which change colors and shape as they open so I had to work quickly to complete this painting in one session.
I left the still life set up just in case I needed to fix anything the next morning. But of course by then they were completely different roses. And the painting was complete.
Sometimes when I’m tired and grumpy it feels like the solution to all my problems could be found in a bowl of ice cream. I know I’m not alone in this because I’ve noticed that movies and TV often show female characters heading for the Haagendaz when they’re upset.
I’ve also learned that despite those crossed wires in my brain* that say tired = eat sugar, dessert is rarely the solution, and only creates other problems for me. So I try to do something else and it usually works. On this occasion I spent the evening sketching some scruffy little roses from my garden. By the time I finished, the nearby ice cream shop had closed and I was ready to go to bed.
*Sleep Deprivation and Carbohydrate Craving
In a Harvard Magazine report on sleep research they explain how and why being sleep deprived creates a physiological craving for sugar. In one study, healthy, male college students who were subjected to sleep interruptions over a couple of weeks became carb-loading sugar fiends and even developed pre-diabetes. In the article the Harvard researchers say:”It could be that a good chunk of our epidemic of obesity is actually an epidemic of sleep deprivation.”
They say that most of us now sleep less than people did a century ago, or even 50 years ago although our biological need for 8 hours of sleep a night hasn’t changed. “We are living in the middle of history’s greatest experiment in sleep deprivation and we are all a part of that experiment,” says Stickgold. “It’s not inconceivable to me that we will discover that there are major social, economic, and health consequences to that experiment. Sleep deprivation doesn’t have any good side effects.”
…keep drawing! After feeling so rusty sketching at the county fair I was determined to get my drawing juju back. I knew the only way to find it was to draw more.
I tried sketching at the El Cerrito 4th of July festival (see below) but was all thumbs again. Since I couldn’t make a decent sketch myself, I bought a really nice one at the festival’s art show from my friend Ikuko who had a booth there.
I decided to try again on the walk home. The Hillside Garden Apartments (at top of post) is an ongoing renovation project and labor of love by the owner to convert an old rundown motel into beautifully landscaped apartments. He and the apartment manager were driving by and saw me standing on the corner sketching. They parked and came to see what I doing and we had a nice neighborly chat with much mutual admiration.
Back home I continued drawing. I was happy with this sketch of a rose from my garden (below) but lost focus and overworked the watercolor. So the next day I played around with adding gouache, not worrying about getting the colors “right” since the rose had completely changed anyway.
Then I wrote myself a little pep talk around the rose, concluding that even if my drawing wasn’t all I wanted it to be, I could at least stop being so self-critical and, to re-phrase the old Crosby, Stills & Nash song: “If you can’t (yet) be the artist you love, then love the one you’re with!”
When my plein air group met at the Berkeley Rose Garden last Saturday I arrived even later than usual: at noon, only an hour before the session was to end. I found a spot to sit and quickly sketched and painted the complicated, terraced rose garden, finishing just in time for the 1:00 critique.
After the critique I took some photos of the roses that most intrigued me, while guys set up white chairs for a wedding there later in the day. Once home I made a grid in my journal, and displaying the photos on my monitor, tried to understand their design and draw them.
I’ve bound my next journal and named it “Rosie” and want to decorate her with a rose design so this was practice for the rose I’ll draw on the cover. I’ve finished my journal “Froggie” but still have a bunch more pages to post.
I’ve updated my blog template. What do you think of the new design?
On a day that felt like a marathon of busyness I couldn’t resist pausing this afternoon to sketch roses from my favorite bush which was putting on a glorious show of snazzy blooms.
I like that I can turn my journal sideways and paint across the centerfold to double the size of my “canvas,” but it’s a little sad and distracting having that strong fold line across the middle. I’d thought of painting on a sheet of watercolor paper instead of in my journal but I had the silly idea that there wasn’t time for that and anyway my journal was feeling a little neglected.
I’ve spent the past couple of days catching up on non-art stuff, like cleaning the house from top to bottom, finally dealing with a pile of paper that needed filing or doing, and using the FURminator (best invention ever!) on my two cats, filling an entire empty Kleenex box with fur that would have been shed otherwise. I saved the big ball o’ fur, thinking it might be fun to use in an art project but haven’t figured out what yet.