A tram

Last week I had a day off and went into the city to drink tea and draw. I am not sure shy one needs to ride a bike for 45 minutes to be able to do that, but the exercise was good for me I think.

A tram.

Over the past year I have been struggling with fatigue on and off and with ramping up my marathon training it came back and hit me like a brick. So I finally did something I have been wanting for a while, arrange for a 4 day week. This tram is from my first day not working on Monday, which is supposed to be my regular day off. This day is for me, for my hobbies, projects and for my rest and relaxation.

Let’s see how it works out, I plan to evaluate in August to see if it had any impact.

Oh, the argument can be made to do less running and I have been considering that but that also would mean giving up on the notion that I am capable of running a marathon with an average of 6:00 min/k and I am not ready for that yet. But getting close, it looks like my body is not made for endurance sports.

Some journal pages

Over the past few weeks, I have been journalling a lot, doing relatively quick straight to ink drawings and then coloring with some PITT markers. Some pages are nice, some are good and some are plain old crap. Here are some nice pages.

The cat at my sisters birthday.
Having tea, drawing, life is good.

Zwembad De Meerkamp, an impression

Over the past three years, interrupted now and then by pandemic lockdowns, my two sons have been attending the swimming course given by Zwembad De Meerkamp in Amstelveen. With some ups and downs, and my younger taking significantly longer than his older brother, both wrapped up and are now certified swimmers.

At the beginning I would bring a laptop and try to work, later I brought a sketchbook inside and when we were no longer allowed inside during class, I’d sit with my sketchbook outside. I have been moving around with regards to materials and mediums a bit and unless it was raining, I drew one specific corner of the pool buildings. Mostly because there were benches there.

Now most are here and I am a bit disappointed, only 22 scans, I thought I did a lot more and feel I could have done many more and much better. On the other hand, instead of watching my phone for an hour every week for months in a row, I did at least 22 drawings. A few are left out, they were no more than scribbles.

To the kind people of Zwembad De Meerkamp: Dankjewel voor al het geduld, de goede zorg en aandacht die jullie aan onze jongens hebben gegeven!

Weekend to Brussels

This weekend we went to Brussels and it was good to be out and about again, after two years of stagnation. The trip allowed for some drawing as well, in a visual journal. Try it out, visual journals are good for the soul.

Nothing

Part of a strange group of internet artists, gathering in the chasms of hidden invite-only discord servers, our protagonist received a challenge. He was to create “Nothing”.

Thinking long and hard, the decision was made to paint a black hole using the medium this unlikely hero knew best: Water colors. From the vast hoard of paints, a work shall be created by slathering pigments on paper in a single go and it has to be as black as possible. But what black is the best black, the deepest, the richest, the vacuumest, the most Nothing?

This comparison is not fair, he knew, not all paper is created equal and watercolor is well known for avoiding real black blacks, seeing it relies on opaqueness for light and dark to be at play. What may be a perfect dark shadow in a landscape will turn out to be a dull blue, what shows as raven black hair is in honesty and isolation a purple.

And then there is the artificers themselves, selling this adventurer whatever wares they can. No matter the darkness promised, he was disappointed and elated alike upon discovering the real hue.

These here are his attempts at making the most of Nothing.

Hematite

At first, there was the disappointment named Hematite genuine. Not to much time was spend here, either it needs more attempts, different paper or more paint in general, the novelty of painting with ground up gemstone did not hold up. It would be amazing to say “Nothing to see here, move on.” but the only makes it worse.

Moonglow

While it can not be expected of a paint who’s name includes the word “glow” to be very dark, it is applied rather light here on an interesting hot press cotton paper by Daler & Rowney (discontinued now). Using either a cold press paper and more pigment should make it darker and it no matter how one looks at it, the colors are lovely for shadows and night scenes.

Schmincke came out with a line of super granulating colors. This paper is not even that smooth. None of the colors is very black. Glacier Black was the blackest of them and it leans more towards a cool grey. Disappointed, the challenged artist moved on, there has to be better blacks out there that are not Pbk6?

Lunar Blue

Lunar Blue by Daniel Smith is an amazing granulating blue-black, very good for night scenes and so delicious to work with. What this paint needs is an artist that knows how to do skies, clouds and seas. Unfortunately, the artist at work is not that person and the assignment clearly said “Nothing”, not “Sea Skies” so we have to move on, this princess is in another castle.

Shadow Violet

More and more, we reach into the shadows, with Shadow Violet and how much the hero loves what he finds. Out he comes, dripping with shades of purple, blue, red and black. If there was only one color he was ever allowed to use for any shading, this would be it.

Indigo

Now our hero was done, look at this blackness which seems to come from the deepest corners of space itself. The richest of Indigo took all the light, was made so dark that one got some doubt. This is a darkness that is not natural, this is a darkness that must contain…. Lamp Black, also known as PBk6. While mixed with Indanthrone Blue, there must be no PBk6 in this challenge. Too easy and too false. This Nothing is cast aside like it is Something and that is Not Good.

Jane’s Grey

A hero of old, her travels in the lands of color and mixing well known and documented, created this mix for easy use. Nothing but Ultramarine and Burned Sienna in equal quantities leaves us with a cool grey that is versatile for shadows, darkening in a natural way and by itself to give feel to a dark object which is illuminated by the light of the sun.

The hero said to himself, I am done, here is the most absent kind of “Nothing” I can do, I need to go home and rest. Submit my Jane’s Grey and hope for the best.

Upon packing his bags, mounting his sable horse and making himself ready to leave, a single tube of paint fell out of his pack. As in slow motion it tumbled down, on the rock and in the dust. The label turned upwards read “Sodalite”. He frowned, how did that get in his bags? Faint memories of the mentions of Sodalite bubbled up, from the depths of his tired mind came the words of Steve Mitchell who named Sodalite as one of his favorite colors ever.

“I must have bought that once and forgot about it, my palette was full after all.” He mused. And then his eyes opened for the truth.

Sodalite Genuine

His best Nothing was here.