A journal page that evokes a mood

Today I  thought I would share a journal page spread. I do these collages as a start to a journal as I hate facing a empty first page. I sometimes do 2 or 3 of these and by then I feel I have been working in the book for a while so dont have the jitters about using it. Silly I know as it is only a sketchbook.

September 2013 journal page 1I usually lay down a layer of gesso, add watercolours and then start building layers of imagery from there. This was created for one of the journals I used while travelling. I think of my collage pages as having moods and evoking stories.


If you click on the image you will see a much larger version of the photo and feel free to use it as a desktop if you like.

On another note I am quite aware that  I have been a little remiss here but life has been busy. There will be a few changes afoot with life (good ones) and with this blog. As regular readers know when we went traveling last year Jerry started writing in this space too. We have decided that  Jerry will have his own site for his photography and  I will be reclaiming this territory for sketchbook/art journalling paper arts type topics. We are still working on Jerry’s site but will let everyone know when the site is open for visitors.

Everyday Matters Drawing Challenge 287

EDM-287Here I am again waving as I have another Everyday Matters drawing challenge sketch to share. The other day while out walking I noticed a carpet of gum blossom on the public foot path. The Sulphur crested cockatoos and Galahs had been sitting on top of a large pink flowering gum tree and nipping the blossoms off. They do this in the quest for nectar but in the process bombard anyone who happens to be beneath the tree!

So I found a delightful little treasure to draw. What I love about many of Australia’s native trees and flowers is that if you look closely at hem they clearly display complimentary colours. For instance I am not sure if you can see it in the photograph but the little stem of this had both green and pink in it. (If you click on the image it will take you to a page that displays a larger version)

So this can only be Everyday Matters drawing challenge 287 “Draw something colourful”

If you are interested, here is  the EDM challenge list  and if you scroll you can see my past efforts. The Every Day Matters drawing challenge has  a yahoo group, a flickr group and Facebook page.

Everyday Matters Drawing Challenge 324

I have another Everyday Matters drawing challenge sketch to share with folks. This time the drawing is done in PITT pens. As usual if you click on the image it takes you to a larger view.

Everyday Matters Drawing Challenge 324Of course it is Autumn in Australia and I have been out in the Garden cutting back summer growth and tidying up a little.

At the end of the day I thought now what am I going to draw? I always feel stuck thinking of something as my eyes glaze over when looking at the hum drum stuff of life. I am sure everyone is the same. But I tell myself drawing from life is, just that, drawing from life! Everyday means Everyday items are OK.

Anyway before I embark on a long ramble I saw my secateurs there and I thought – well that is what I have been using today so that is what I am drawing. Since EDM challenge #324 states “Draw a Garden tool” the image fits perfectly but more importantly I think it is worth while noticing the mundane and celebrating a little of our day to day lives. So this drawing was a good way to remind myself of that philosophy!

Everyday Matters Drawing Challenge 43

This is another of the EDM drawing challenges. I decided to tackle #43 draw something china or ceramic. The image is a thumbnail so click on it if you want to see it larger and in all it glory. I know it is not very interesting but it is interesting process trying to re-establish a drawing practice after years of working on a computer. Apart from the task of trying to create a new habit in my life much of what I am re-learning is about muscle memory.

EDM Drawing Challenge 43 sketch

When I talk about Muscle memory, I am not talking about gymnastics or any sort of sports activity, but the type of memory developed over time when a particular physical task is repeated constantly until you can do it without thinking. The idea is to be able to handle a pencil, pen or brush well enough for it to feel totally natural and unforced so that you can pay attention to what you are drawing rather than the tool you are using. Sounds simple but it takes time to understand what marks various tools make and the build up the  muscle memory associated with making marks with them.

EDM Drawing Challenge 43 processAnyway as I was drawing this sugar pot,  I was thinking about muscle memory and remembered how being able to draw an elipse often frustrates people.

If in spare moments you doodle a number of ellipses – loop upon loop, upon loop, until your hand ‘remembers’ the process, then the task of drawing an ellipse is easier. Muscle memory will get stronger the more you do it.

holdingn pencilThe trick for most drawing is to hold the pencil further up the shaft and draw from the shoulder. What do I mean by drawing from the shoulder ?

If you hold a pencil like you do when writing, when you draw a line, circle or an ellipse it will be more difficult, and you are likely to create a wobble in your line. However if you move your hand up the shaft of the pencil you will find it is easier.

If you move just your wrist it will cramp your hand. Instead draw using your elbow and move your shoulder if you need to. In other words use your whole arm and draw from the shoulder and it will be easier to create lines and circles.

I found a video by Illustrator Shoo Rayner which talks about muscle memory as a reason for drawing regularly. These little exercises he recommends in “Why you Should Practice Drawing” are also a type of meditation which work on the same principal as “Zen Tangles”. I think Zen Tangles are a fun stress free way to establish muscle memory but that is another topic.

Anyway those are my thoughts today on drawing, muscle memory and habits. I hope you enjoyed my little ramble.

If you are interested, here is  the EDM challenge list  and if you scroll you can see my past efforts. The Every Day Matters drawing challenge has  a yahoo group, a flickr group and Facebook page.