Sunday, 13 September 2015

Getting back to the business of painting

The worst thing any artist can do is to stay away from the paint and brushes. The communication flow between brain and canvas becomes broken and it takes a while to get that flow going again.

Recently I saw a photograph of an old Damara man from Damaraland, Namibia, in a photography group on facebook, taken by photographer, Jessie Vermeulen. I took one look at the photo and knew I had to paint it. So I messaged her and got her permission to use the photo.

This was just what I needed to get started again.

Because of this break in communication, it is taking me longer than it should to finish this painting, but slow work is better than no work at all.

Almost there! I just need to finish the mouth and add the finer highlights.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The art behind the art

Somebody once said to me "you're so lucky you can draw". I disagree, it's not luck, it's the fact that I've been drawing since I can remember. The more you draw, the better you get. I took art at High School and studied art after that. If I had the time, I would paint more. But even when I'm not painting, I'm doodling and drawing in sketchbooks and even in notebooks. If you find yourself drawing or doodling all the time then you just need to keep at it and you will get better.

I call it my play time, when I grab pens, pencils or pencil crayons and just draw, doodle and colour. That's when I let my mind go and just have fun. Through playing, I get ideas and there is something really therapeutic in the feel and sound of the pencil rhythmically moving along the surface of the paper. A sketchbook is not as threatening as the big white canvas, so ideas flow freely.

I have several sketchbooks, two are small enough to carry with me if I want. I will try out ideas, new pens and different drawing styles. I can be as silly as I want. I have another favourite sketchbook, it is an A4 spiral bound book with textured paper and I will often do my pen and pencil sketches in it. Sometimes I will start a drawing, get halfway and just leave it like that. So if you want to draw, then draw and don't worry about mistakes, or feeling "not good enough". You don't have to share them with anyone, just enjoy yourself and have fun.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Cat portrait in pen

It has been a good weekend. I have done quite a bit of drawing. Something I've needed to do for a long time. When I moved from the Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape to Johannesburg 3 years ago, I was 'adopted' by a big ginger tom cat named Nugget. I found out who he actually belonged to, but he wanted to live with me. I officially adopted him from his original owner last year. I have taken hundreds of photos of Nugget, and today I completed this portrait of him using coloured ballpoint pens.

This year I adopted a young abandoned female cat (Abby), so now I have two beautiful cats to keep me company.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Breaking through creative block

It has been quite a while since I've done any drawing or painting. 2015 started with me moving into a new home, then a whole lot of things kept me away from my pens, pencils and paint. My day job is doing magazine layout and design, it is a fantastic creative outlet and I currently work on three magazines.Two are published monthly and one is published every two months.

But the yearning to draw or paint is strong, and I finally sat down last night and picked up my sketchbook and coloured ballpoint pens and started drawing.

Drawing with ballpoint pens offers quite a challenge, there is no blending, no erasing, no way of correcting. Once that line is on the paper, it is there to stay. As far back as I can remember, I have been drawing faces. Drawing faces from imagination is fun, I don't always get the proportions right, and I often battle with the nose, but the point is just to draw. I find drawing from the imagination to be very therapeutic and relaxing. It is also a good way to break through my creative block.


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