In August 2017 I set myself the discipline of doing a daily drawing or painting and have more or less managed to keep this up. You can also follow My Daily Drawing Project on Instagram:
20 Dec: this is an abandoned drawing of my husband. He hates sitting for me but sort of obliged - he was reading the paper & did look up when asked. I tried to elongate the face but this makes him look ridiculous and emaciated and it's not a good likeness. I think I have either to try to be realistic and aim to catch a likeness or elongate the shapes and aim for an aesthetic result regardless of realism.
18 Dec: It was my birthday and I had planned to visit the wonderful Tate Modern Modigliani exhibition again but instead my lovely daughter spent the day with me; we drank tea, went Christmas shopping and generally had fun. While my husband cooked my birthday supper, my daughter checked her email and I did a sketch of her in the elongated Modigliani style. I have lengthened her neck and nose but should perhaps have stretched her face more. Happy to use Modigliani’s colours in the pastel blue/green background and gorgeous peachy complexion. I managed to capture something of my daughter’s likeness but failed totally to convey her fabulous vivacious humour! Fun day though & rounded off with pink champagne…
16 Dec: had another go at the same display but this time tried to be bolder. I need to think more about backgrounds if I'm going to put them in. Not sure this works well. Composition also not right - too much space to the right. Should have put an object there or had a table corner. I used for the first time a white acrylic pen/felt-tip/brush which I bought from Cass Art this week. Excellent for highlights. Will use it again...
14 Dec: rather a busy time of year but what bliss to find an evening to sit down and sketch these exquisite freesias and perfumed hyacinths – in my favourite Georg Jensen jug of course. I deliberately left the hyacinths quite soft/subdued so as not to compete with the vibrancy of the freesias. I think this works. It is such a pretty display I might have another go and be a bit more strident but there are a lot of Christmas parties on the horizon to distract me…
8 December: a loose sketch of the red roses that the Linehams brought round. They are an intense red that is particularly cheering on these frosty mornings. I built on my "after Modigliani" experiments when doing the background but not sure if it works. I don't like the brownish colour at the bottom...
5 December: had a rather lovely trip to the Modigliani at Tate Modern and felt inspired to try something in his style (apologies to Modigliani). Managed the oval face, over long neck and nose and nice peachy colours with contrasting background... However failed totally on depth of field and tone and also failed big time on the likeness factor. Might have another go at this style as I enjoyed attempting this. It somehow feels "naughty" to put in a dark outline but I like the effect.
1 December: found this battered banana in the fruit bowl. It had been bashed about in my tennis bag as it came to match this week and made it back home. Felt quite pleased with the way the white flattish bowl turned out. One delight of being back home is working on larger paper: I couldn't take a decent block of paper travelling as we had to pack light.
OCTOBER & NOVEMBER 2017
9 November: We anchored at Raine Island in the Far North. This is the world's most important turtle nesting site and we could see lots of presumably exhausted turtles arriving beneath the surface of the water after what for some will have been a migration of several thousand miles. There were tiger sharks too. I should add that I wouldn't have attempted this sketch if I hadn't been challenged by Lenny & Beth...
2 October: was given these home-grown creamy coloured gourds by a friend. Was tempted to sketch them on some brightly coloured paper but succumbed to the challenge of drawing them on a white background. All was going well till I spilt a glass of water on the paper - not a good idea when working with aquarelles. Quick thinking and kitchen towel saved the day...
28 September, wanted to see if I could differentiate between peach & a nectarine - same size & shape but different skin textures. I think this worked but when I converted the image to black & white it’s not so obvious so it’s the colour that makes it work. This took ages but I might try again quickly and loosely to see what happens. Watch this space.
20 September: came in late after (winning!) a tennis match & sketched this after quick supper. Thought something colourful from the kitchen would suffice. Ellipses not right but was in a hurry... (excuses). Didn't have time for background which would have made it look more like clear liquid. Not really thought about it before but the bottle shape has changed hugely since I was a child and Blue Peter had us making things from plastic cylindrical bottles...
3 September: Recalling one of my tutor's words "Loosen up darling!", I tried a coloured pencil drawing of some garden flowers in a vase. I wanted to see if I could draw them without putting in any lines, just using loose shading. This of course proved impossible and it wasn't an attractive outcome either. I only had fifteen minutes – that’s my excuse anyway. I can see today that it doesn’t have enough depth & I have omitted the tall verbenas entirely. I’ll blame it on running out of time!
2nd September. Chose a beautiful tropical clam shell to sketch. It looks delicate but is very strong & must have provided an excellent home for its original inhabitant. Curiously it has ridges running at right angles to one another: some following the rim of the shell and others springing out from the hinge at the back. I expect this makes the shell even stronger. I used aquarelle graphite but didn't add water. I ran out of time so hastily added the sketchbook it was resting on but it was a mess so I tidied it up the next morning.
28 August: Only had about 15 minutes so chose a very familiar object - garden string. Plan to do more to this and still to decide whether to keep as pencil (actually this is graphite aquarelle so could blend with water etc) or to add some colour. The secateurs have bright red handles which are rather glorious with the prosaic green of the string.
27 August: sat sketching in the garden in the afternoon. The sun was moving (annoying) so the shadows kept moving. Failed to capture sufficiently the contrast between the shaded foreground and the brightly-lit bottom of the garden. Foreground needs to be darker. The tree at the back right hand side (casting a shadow on the end of terrace house) is a graceful silver birch and I struggled to convey the shimmering delicacy of the leaves. Also ran out of time as it got quite cold.
25 August: last attempt at fuchsias (for a while at least). Used some lovely Contés that gave a lot of colour but little definition. Used pastel crayons to provide some controlled detail afterwards. A relief to work on a large scale but it loses some of the delicacy of the flower. This little potted fuchsia will be grateful to go back outside and I'm thinking of putting it into my front garden for all to enjoy.
21 August: Had a totally exhausting day. An hour of hard tennis and then 7 hours of serious admin. Was going to neglect my drawing but the daily commitment forced me to do a quick sketch of this avocado after supper. Listened to a riveting Radio 4 programme about the fabulously intelligent Giant Pacific Octopuses (Octopii?) while at work. This sketch needs more time spent on the "EAT ME" label.