Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sketches, play and rest

The paint is flowing a bit more nowadays.  The first painting I tried to do of this fading poinsettia had everything wrong - overpainting, muddy, stiff.

Then I loosened up a bit and managed to bring in a bit of light with this sketch painting.
This next one was done free-hand with a size 36 round brush (BIG brush).

Using Charles Reid's "Painting Flowers in Watercolor" (I have a copy for my Kindle Fire - which is very exciting), I practiced some of his techniques.  He paints alla prima (get it down the first time). The rule is no re-stating of darks.  If you don't get it right the first time, too bad!

I used a lot of water and paint, so I didn't have a lot of control, but I had a lot of fun!

Daniel Smith paints on rough India-made paper. Khadi brand.

My progress on Martha Beck's A Wild New World so far.  Well, I've been trying to Play and Rest.  It's quite easy to play, rest, play, rest.  I don't seem to have any issues with this part of the plan.  However, of course, there are lots of other things to do during the day.  If the tax receipts need to be finished, does she mean mark up the bank statements with a fat, purple marker (tried it - it was fun for 5 minutes,) or does she mean just send it all out and have someone else deal with it?

Dishes?  OK, if I'm chilly, playing in the sudsy water can be a joy, but only for a short time, then it's drudgery.. 

Work, as in job work.  Hmm - how to make this one follow the rules?  I'll tell you one way - I slept Friday afternoon. I slept Saturday afternoon.  Sunday, I slept in later in the morning, and then passed out for about an hour around 7 pm. I didn't get any "work" done.  However, by Tuesday, I felt much less resistent to the work I had to do.  Last night, late, I was preparing for a meeting.  I took a 20 minute break, realized that I didn't need to pull an all nighter as long as I had an outline, finished and was in bed by 1 am.  Today the meeting went well.

So, I think 3 days of napping are a good pre-requisite to a few days of working!

I haven't researched the elephant situation, but it's still on my list.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Two great books

Oh, am I a big Martha Beck fan. When I read any of her self-improvement books, I feel such hope and joy, followed immediately by searing anger. White hot, searing anger. I'm not sure at what or whom, but probably at myself for not living the best life I can live. I've spent a lot of time being unhappy with parts of my life; really suffering in my twenties.

She tells us to play and rest, and forget everything else (well, not really. Actually, yes really.) It's a great prescription. I know it's the right way. I've been fighting against the answer my whole life, trying to conform and do what the rest of the people I know do. Even when I've gone off and worked for myself, I'm still trying to fit in.

The title of her latest book is
Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want
by Martha Beck. Available at your local bookstore and through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, on your Kindle and Nook.

Martha, among other things, is saving animals in Africa. Lately, I've been thinking about the decimation of the Elephants in southeast Asia. She gives me hope (although I can't believe we still have to worry about them.)

I've read this book completely through only once so far. I'll keep coming back to it this year and see how I progress with finding my way in a wild new world and reclaim my true nature to create the life I want. ;-)

The second book is an example of a person who followed his interests to create great things. Gabi Campanario is a journalist who was born in Spain and now lives in Seattle with his family. He liked to sketch and connect with other sketchers around the world, so he started the website.
That led to Urban Sketcher conferences (Portland, Lisbon - and next in the Dominican Republic), scholarships for the conferences and now a full-fledged, beautiful book.

It brings together works from many of the original artists on the site, and adds a lot of information on the drawings, work methods, materials and sketching on location. There is background on each artist, tips, and even a notation of the time it took to draw and paint the sketch. Lots to look at and enjoy.

The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World
by Gabriel Campanario, also available at all of the usual places.