Vacation drawing

A bunch of drawings from my holiday, where I tried to draw daily and succeeded mostly. I’ll post them here with or without comments, whatever makes sense and in order of creation.

We arrived on the 2nd and on the 3rd I did not draw (much). This is a hospital at a lovely courtyard in Colmar.
When spending time at the pool, I drew the pool and instantly hated this paper. Saunders Waterford 190 gsm sucks up the water and paint like a sponge making blending and wet on wet very difficult. Do not buy, it bled through the page! This is the worst cotton paper I ever had my hands on and totally misplaced in this fancy sketchbook.

Weirdly tho, the reviews all over the internet were raving so something must have gone wrong with the sketchbook, shipping or this batch. I decided to try again with much less water.

The 5th, my birthday. I was gifted Lego and made this on the same paper. When going very easy on the wetness, it worked reasonably well.
Some more time at the pool looking after the kids.

Went from a lined journal to a sketch type of journal that takes watercolors well.

Back at the pool
At night in the trailer we rented, I agonized over my inability to draw faces and just let the pencil wander and do the work.
A lot of other campground people dropped by to comment, most amusing was the bubbly mom to a bored kid, explaining everything that was there and trying to interest him into art that was happening in front of their faces! He just wanted to throw rocks in the water.
Cars have nice lines.
I went for an early run and this is the cold grey sky behind a mountain ridge lines with spruce trees. It was a good run.
A few more bottles added, how does one spell “functional alcoholics”?
Then I took some time off alone and wandered around into some graveyard as I wanted to draw the church in the town center, managed to capture this view.
And this in the wc journal. I had to sit on the wall of the graveyard to be able to view the tower between trees, it drew far less attention than I feared.
We got more and more bored with the campground and surroundings so we drove an hour to a small town called Epinal where we got slammed with the heat as we left the mountainous area called “Les Vosges”. We ate some very good pizza and pasta, the SO went shopping, the boys chased lizards and I arted this art. Good times were had.
In the afternoon, more time at the pool. Running out of shit to draw there.
The 11th was special sort of, this is the morning at the pool once more. Then we had lunch and she looked at me and asked “How about we just go home?” So we threw everything in the car and drove 7h to be able to sleep in our own beds again. As a result, no WC journal entry.

And now that I wrote all this down, I realize that instead of drawing shapes, a chair or umbrella, the poolside would have been great for practicing super fast gesture drawings. Ah well, there is always a next time.

Satisfying lines

In the little corner of the internet I tend to frequent, we were discussing what to do when without “grand inspiration” and we came to the conclusion indulgence is key. Do something you do often, that is not novel or massively creative but is satisfying to you and will scratch the itch caused by the need to create.

For me, it is line art and doodles using fountain pens with various inks.

TWSBI 580, Platinum Carbon ink and Noodlers Black Swan in Australian Roses.

Drawing is life.

yeah, it seems drawing is just like many other things

It benefits from preparation, physical as well as mental preparation. Too much did I rely on inspiration for production. It is like sitting on the couch wishing really hard to be running and exercising. While, if I had prepared by having a clean set of workout clothes ready, had proper shoes, made sure there was some time in the day and a schedule to train by, there would be no reason not to run.

I think as artists that struggle to get started, we underestimate the amount of planning and preparation we are lacking.

A form of preparation is to have plenty of little projects that one can progress on in small time spans such as 15 to 30 minutes. Planning is knowing what step is needed before the other. If you have troubles thinking of projects, put away your art stuff and work only on a project list. No, you are not drawing but it is not like you were before anyway.

Honestly, it is very clear in my mind now.

Having enough projects and then still exclaiming “I don’t know what to draw” while having the urge to draw, now that may point to the presence of entirely different issues that you will need to work through first.

50 Watercolor paintings

Some time ago I got the book “Watercolour with Love: 50 modern motifs to paint in 5 easy steps” from the library, I just asked for all books that had “Watercolour” in the title and this came in the pile. Most of these books I just leafed through but this one seemed doable so I grabbed an HB5 Khadi cotton rag paper book I had lying around and went to work. It took me close to two months and ended up with 48 watercolor paintings. Filling a sketchbook with simple paintings is a satisfying thing to do.

Fuji View Field in Owari Province

Some days or weeks, the creative juices will just not flow. The past few weeks have been really busy with work and trying to find another role or job and it completely drained me from any urge I had to create. A lot of video games were played and that never helps either.

So when I came back to this piece, of which I only did the rough sketch in red pencil, I was worried I would not know how to work on it. Out of pure insecurity on my ability to ink it properly, I warmed up with my fountain pen for two pages in my sketchbook and then had a go at this Fuji view. It was inked in about 15 minutes and I do not recall what my fear was.

Similar to the coloring, using my Daniel Smith paints, I did this view side by side with a few smaller projects so that while the one was drying, I could work on the other. My dream house, the house I’ll build when winning the lottery, has a big room that is my art studio and that studio has multiple desks and ample room for easels so I can work on multiple pieces all at the same time and I only have to move from one desk to another. Or maybe a long table and a chair with wheels, although I already have that in one of the rooms here in the house so writing this opens a window in my head.

The biggest success of this piece is that it showed me that it will be fine and that I should not give up on myself or my already acquired skills.

尾州不二見原 Bishū Fujimigahara

Inume Pass, Kōshū

The eighth already and this project rested for about a month. There is not that much to go into detail about on this view, other than that the western reader should keep in mind to read from the top right to the bottom left. Made with mostly Daniel smith paints, only the Prussian blue at the top was Mijello but a tube of DS Prussian Blue has been acquired and will be used for these skies in the future.

Kōshū inume-tōge / 甲州犬目峠

As a minor aside, I should not leave a sketchbook open for a month in my room, there were little dust particles that were really in my way when going for the green of the hill in the foreground.