Monday, August 17, 2015

notes from my studio

Still #drawingaugust!

Past the midpoint of the month now, and I have 15 drawings posted. I'm enjoying it very much, as there is no pressure or criticism, but enough of a community feeling from the many folks participating on twitter that it always feels good to "join in" and post a daily sketch. Without that incentive, I probably would have fallen by the wayside long before now. It's been a challenge physically as much as "artily."

Some days, I stay home and draw in my recliner, temporarily dubbed "My Studio." This ink sketch of Joe Pye Weed was drawn from a photograph taken while sketching in the woods the day before:

On days when Piper and I can go out, I wear a little backpack with sketching kit, water bottle, dog treats (of course), and bug spray, and carry a folded-up foam cushion under my arm. I don't walk far, but seek out a rock - or, more often, a large tree - at an angle that will support my spine in a leaning-back position while I plant my pelvis on the cushion. Sometimes I even find a place where I can wedge myself between a large tree for my back and a smaller tree in front that I can prop a foot against so I am being held in position with the least amount of physical effort. It's not exactly the "zero-gravity" position I absolutely rely on throughout the day at home, but for allowing me to concentrate on a ten- or fifteen-minute sketch, it is a gift and I am grateful.

A couple of times I've managed to stretch it out to 20 minutes, which is a heck of a long time for me to be in any one position without increased pain. This ink drawing made by the side of a tiny stream was one of those efforts. I reached a point where I was struggling with the drawing, and finally realized I was having trouble with the drawing because I was trying to ignore the pain.

So I closed the sketchbook and pulled myself up - another thing the trees help with - but was too achy and unbalanced to walk right away. So I played "look at me, not at the treat" with Piper (who had already enjoyed being a Wild Dog and was covered from belly to feet in muck), and then, because I couldn't yet lean down to pack up my "sketching kit," I tried an experiment: a very quick sketch while standing. I intended it as visual note-taking, to be looked at back home and perhaps turned into something with color.

And here is the result. On the left, the 3-minute standing sketch with color notes. On the right, the result of an evening session in the recliner, with a handful of watercolor pencils, q-tips (in lieu of a brush), and a pill bottle full of water.



Crazy fun!
Something Ms. Piper knows a lot about.

I hope your week brings you some crazy fun :)