A couple times this week I enjoyed some quality drawing time in the woods. I've been spending the last year or more devoted to painting the trees in the woods, and I have strongly felt the need to take a breather from oil painting in my studio. Typically I work on a larger-scale, I wanted to step back and work on a smaller-scale. I'm fascinated with detail, and especially with the challenge of capturing that detail in art form. So I packed up a simple sketch book and my favourite 4B and 6B pencils. It seemed so suitable to be out in nature, as I attempted to draw nature. I also had the perfect soundtrack around me - the singing birds, the bullfrogs, the squirrels scampering around me. Well, that, and also I did sneak in time to listen to the new Coldplay album. Here are some of the drawings I completed.
The last few lessons with Amy were spent working on this beautiful self-portrait. If you know Amy, you can easily see the resemblance. She has such a natural instinct for drawing accurate shapes, lines etc. I'm excited to see what she will create in the next year ahead.
Because I'm starting a couple new paintings this week, I thought it would be fun for my girls to have projects to work on beside me. To make it even more exciting for them, I gave them some old canvas's to work on. Danae picked out a picture of panda bears, and Ava found a picture of a toad and a chick. I warned the girls that I wouldn't just let them quick draw something out. I told them I would treat them as "art students", and give them actual instruction. I helped Danae "cheat" a bit by lightly penciling in a few of the angles of the panda bear arms for her, but Ava was on her own. I was actually quite impressed with how perceptive Ava was with noticing details, angles of lines, shapes etc. I made Ava go back and erase often, challenging her to see accurately - because I knew that she could. Quite often we revert to drawing what we think we see, not what our eyes actually see.
I will post the completed paintings when they are finished.
Amy started art lessons with me a couple weeks ago. A few days ago I had Amy do this classic chair drawing, while focusing on seeing angles and negative shapes accurately. She is very observant. I love how this everyday object became a beautiful drawing.
I use to dread the bare trees in wintertime. They symbolized dreariness and gloom. However, at some point in the last year I suppose a huge shift occured in what I find beautiful. I am now drawn to noticing how the tops of the trees melt into the skyline. Every tree has a look all its own, which can only be noticed and appreciated once the leaves fall. What once was a drab image has now become a major source of creative motivation.
Late this afternoon, after I was done raking up some leaves, I asked the girls if they wanted to watch the sunset with me. They said yes. And the neat thing is that Ava got all excited and said "we could draw a nice picture of the sky!", so she ran into the studio to grab some paper and a pencil.
I love sitting on our old wagon behind the barn with my girls. It's a natural way to show them how incredible colour is - and even more incredible, how amazingly beautiful God's creation is.
More than ever I am struck by the beauty of colour. I especially notice colour in everyday normalcy - typical agricultural scenes that we pass by constantly on the road and too often fail to notice. I consider it such a blessing and a gift to be able to simply appreciate colour. I hope this is something I can pass on to my daughters.
By the way - while I was having a sentimental moment watching my daughter 'draw the sunset', it turns out she was actually drawing up detailed plans for a mega leaf pile castle. :)
After a long summer break, Mackenzie (11 years old) started up lessons again yesterday. We have so much fun together, and I love her enthusiasm for life and her sense of humour.
I decided to try a couple alternative or unconventional drawing exercises with Mackenzie yesterday. I want to teach her to see. Or rather, to see more clearly. To see things in a new way. It's amazing how learning to see differently can affect the way someone draws, paints, or creates in other ways.
So, one of the exercises I had Mackenzie do was a Tactile Self-Portrait: She had to close her eyes and slowly feel her face, hair, shoulders etc. I asked her to draw what she felt.
The purpose of this exercise was for Mackenzie to 'think outside of the box' . To challenge her to 'see' in a different way. To translate what she felt with her fingers (tactile information) into visual lines.
I helped Mackenzie find the colours she wanted to use.
It's common to judge the value of art based on how well it represents something. This is an example of placing value in every line and colour - In this case, every line and colour change represents something to Mackenzie.
I live in Southern Ontario on a farm with my husband, Dennis, and our two daughters. Painting out of my studio on our farm allows me to stay close to my family and to be surrounded by the natural landscape that continues to influence my work.