I’ve been fooling around with my paints this morning. This was a challenge to paint and would be even more so to hook.
Yesterday I was in Napanee for a meeting about the upcoming OHCG Annual where I am giving a talk. Napanee is one town east of my town–with, as I discovered, a great independent espresso bar. How perfect to find a unique coffee spot with a congenial atmosphere and personal connection and great coffee–in a historic building to boot. It was a cold, windy day–but I had time to begin a quick sketch, mostly in the car (!) and finish it at home.
On another front, I have been hooking my left shoe. Here it is as it stands now. This is an exercise in looking and looking again. It’s a lot like painting–trying to see the shapes and the values. I have been doing a lot of pulling out as I try to make this shoe come alive, but as I said before, the wool and linen are very forgiving.
I was away on the weekend so I had a chance to sketch more than I usually do. I am thinking of hooking my shoes, so am doing some sketches first. I got the idea in class at Hooked in the Mountains last November where I ended up hooking the red high-heeled pump below.
I went searching for this image from one of David Hockney’s sketch books. Then here are some pics from the Mulberry, which I visited two days in a row. Great architectural details, great coffee, great sketching ambience. I’ve posted more pictures on instagram. Click the button on the right to check them out.
It still feels like winter in Ontario. There is a north wind and temperatures hover still around freezing. Drawing tulips makes me feel more like spring. I am taking a great sketching course and doing a sketch a day–this one fast and careless, just to let spring in a little.
The blue 3spot tote is almost done–and I am loving it. It’s the last of the distressed blue with a black bottom and carry straps. I hope to post it Monday.
ps happy birthday to my longest and dearest friend…
I have been making some new bags with the wonderful Kenyan fabric as lining. I think this blue and orange dot is my favourite. Some of these bags I am making are orders and others are just inspiration. The one pictured here is close to completion. I am also working on a much-needed revamping of my shop so that you can see what is available and be able to purchase it easily. I hope to have this completed within a few weeks. In the meantime, please just send an email if you are interested in anything you see.
Below is my pile of new books and a couple of articles on Marimekko. I highly recommend the two new books on sketching by Danny Gregory and James Richards; and the top book, by Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer, presents a convincing argument for setting aside old fears and habits and going after our own creative renaissance . As for Marimekko, I have been a big fan of these colourful graphics since the 60’s–you may remember the aprons I made, pictured in this post. The textile museum in Toronto has a Marimekko retrospective on until April 21st and I definitely plan to attend. In the meantime, I have been letting my imagination run wild with the fabrics below.
Wendie recently did a post on handmade gifts. I think they are the best, and you just hope that the recipient senses the love and care that went into the gift, all the planning and then the hours completing the project. Well no doubts here. My great friend gave me this sketch recently–depicting a moment of our trip to Berlin and Paris. We had the best time, sketching our way along, absorbing that world in a way you can never do with just a camera. So this gift is kind of a loop back, a sketch from a photo of me taking a photo. But at the same time it captures the essence of our friendship and I treasure it.
It has been a dark, drab week in Southern Ontario. I am not complaining–how could I in the face of such destruction and pain to the south of us? But I am commenting that there has been no sun and little colour since I got home. S0…I did a very quick sketch of the beautiful flowers on our counter and felt better immediately. Then I took out out the fabric I brought home from France. Now, last year when I was in the south of France I bought some wonderful striped fabric in Collioure and made a few of these pouches. I didn’t buy enough, of course — and the few pouches sold quickly. I was delighted this year in Chartres to find a whole store devoted to this striped fabric from the Basque region.
I am leaving tomorrow for two weeks away. A week in Berlin and a week in Paris, sketching and absorbing. I will keep you up to date right here, I hope, if the wordpress app cooperates. I have my sketch book, new palette, brushes and pens ready to go. I also have my reading planned: C.S. Richardson’s new book, The Emperor of Paris. Check out this link and the lovely short video which may make you want to go to Paris too. I absolutely loved Richardson’s first book The End of the Alphabet and I have great hopes for this new one. I always try to read a novel about the city I am visiting. For Berlin, Ian McEwan’s The Innocent. There isn’t a book of McEwan’s that I haven’t enjoyed, but the one on my top ten list is Atonement, a wonderful film too. But I digress…
It will be cold for sketching, especially in Berlin, so I decided to make myself a pair of fingerless gloves. You can see them in the top photo and below you will see I got carried away and made more for the show coming up in December. They are so easy to wear and so practical. There is a slit for your thumb and then your fingers are covered to the knuckles, but free for sketching or texting. Perfect. These pairs are made of gray cashmere, so wonderfully cozy.
For sketching inspiration I have been following Luís Ricardo Simões’ amazing blog, World Sketching Tour. Check the blog out, particularly this video. Here is one of his sketches from Berlin. His wonderfully loose style is so appealing. My friend A and I are hoping to absolutely fill our sketchbook with all kinds of images from these two great cities. I will keep you posted!
Here are a couple of my own recent sketches. A. and I spent a recent weekend sketching with Sharon Cranston, learning to relax and let the pen do the observing. This sketch is from a Picton Ontario food fair, full of people and great smells. We were right beside the fresh bread booth! The second is on the GO train into Toronto.
Drawing people is tough. Luckily this young woman was so involved with her phone that she didn’t notice me. Maybe by the time I am home from Europe I will have figured out how to do faces. When I add the mouth, I seem to ruin it. Ah well. What I am really after is the wonderful connection with a scene that you get from drawing it — far more than taking a photo. I can still smell the bread from the picture above!
Inspired by Lisa Congdon’s 365 days of handlettering, I decided to try my hand at illustrating a familiar phrase. Now, I know that I am not up to doing one each day like Lisa, but this was fun. I also was sketching while I was away at Georgian Bay and our own cottage. Here is the view of the island next to ours–followed by Adam’s photo of same. Look at that reflection!
and another of my sketches as I struggle with all those trees…
and some more of Adam’s cottage images…it is inspiring to see your much-loved landscape through someone else’s eyes. I find all these things link — sketching, photographing, blogging, hooking and sewing. Each one can lead you into the creative zone–a what a place that is! Thank you, Adam.
My friend Anne and I just completed a wonderful week in Bloomfield at the Cranston Gallery taking a sketching course with Sharon Fox Cranston. Our mornings were spent in the studio learning new techniques and the afternoons ‘en plein air’ in various locations about Prince Edward County. What we loved about Sharon was how accessible she was as a teacher, how she both anticipated our needs and responded to our requests. The days were filled with demos of her sketching and painting techniques, based on both her well-organized plan and our spontaneous and sometimes loopy requests. Sharon is a talented artist — but she is also an inspired teacher. Here she is mid-sketch at Macaulay House in Picton.
The studio, on Main Street in Bloomfield, is upstairs in a sunny sky-lit room and downstairs is the gallery where you can see Sharon’s paintings and also those of her equally talented husband, Guy.
My biggest learning for the week was to loosen up my grip on the pen, hold it back further and just let the sketch happen. It is, of course, a lot like rug hooking. The serendipitous, the accidental and the intuitive happenings are the best. The top drawing of the paint brushes is one of my 5-minute sketches. No time to think. Here are my versions of the Macaulay house, not yet finished, and a part of a water-soluble ink sketch. The best parts of the week were learning amid the moments of laughter — and access to another important part of the creative process. I will keep sketching and learning –thanks Sharon!