Tuesday, January 28, 2014


The arrival of the West Coast Seeds catalogue is a big deal for many of the gardeners I know. They get all excited and are inspired to start garden plans for the upcoming year. I, on the other hand, took a look at the cover of the new catalogue and was inspired to draw. How very odd.

I wasn't even drawn to draw any of the amazing plants pictured within. Nope, not I. I chose to draw a bug. 

I don't know what made me look at the photograph of the lacewing and say "I think I can draw that". Up until that point I had been working from drawings and illustrations. It hadn't occurred to me to try to draw something from a photograph. 

It was difficult. I was way beyond my comfort level. You can see eraser shavings on the original below. There were a lot of eraser shavings. Still, I'm glad I tried. I learned quite a bit. Like I have no idea how to convey translucent wings. Yet. It also prompted me to try shading, which led to further attempts later in my sketchbook.

The inspiration
My re-creation
I feel like I've learned quite a bit since I drew my lacewing. I now see things I'd like to change and do differently. My little lacewing might have to undergo further metamorphosis. Or maybe I'll create a sibling for it, particularly since the one pictured above has winged its way to Brooklyn and is awaiting its summer tour. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Inspiration in my Closet

This sweatshirt has survived many, many closet clean-outs. 

There are good reasons for that. I least I tell myself they're good reasons before I put it back in the closet. It's incredibly well made, and made in Canada to boot. It's the most comfortable item of clothing I've ever owned, and I once owned terry-cloth footie jammies. 

It's perfect for curling up on the sofa and doing not much of anything on days that look like this:

The sweatshirt features the artwork of Richard Hunt.  His art is generally way, way out of my price range. This sweatshirt allows me to own something of his without taking out a second mortgage. 

Oh, and it was a gift from Hubby. See, I told you I had good reasons. 

Now I have one more reason to add to my list. The shirt inspired another one of my sketchbook drawings. 

The inspiration

My re-creation

Because I admire the Hunt's work, I was quite stressed about the changes I had to make to accommodate my limited abilities.  Still, I'm happy with how it turned out. The knowledge that I can draw something that is identifiable still fills me with wonder. Until I challenged myself to draw in my sketchbook, I didn't know I had that ability. Once again I'm grateful to artists like Hunt who inspire me to try. 

I'm also grateful to Patti and all the women hanging out at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday. They inspire me to try new things on a regular basis. Head on over and check them out yourself. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


There were times when I felt that my sketchbook was inadequate. There are so many things I don't know about creating art, and so many skills I don't possess. Choosing to draw, when I haven't drawn anything since middle school art class, was extremely challenging. 

I worried about copying the work of other artists. While it's OK to attempt to draw the tree outside my window, drawing someone else's rendition of a tree felt wrong. I felt like I was cheating. 

I fretted about what people looking at my sketchbook would think. Would they think I was ripping off the work of more talented artists? Would they understand the gratitude I felt toward the people who created the works that inspired me to try? Would they empathise with the joy that I felt in my fumbling attempts and my novice results?


Fortunately, comfort can be found in the strangest places. Like the drug store. I was looking for a birthday card for my nephew when this magazine caught my eye. 

"Learn by Copying"

My choices for my sketchbook were immediately validated. I am learning after all. I would have never guessed that copying is an acceptable way to learn. Relief.

Hubby had great way of looking at it. He compared drawing to music. It's acceptable for musicians to learn by playing cover tunes. My drawings are my cover tunes. Like a guitar player practising with songs of musicians she admires, I'm practising with drawings of artists I admire. 

I married a very wise man.  

I didn't read the article after seeing the cover. I don't think I want to. There's a chance that I'm misinterpreting the message, and as my interpretation makes me happy, I'm sticking with it. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Laurie's Lorax

OK, full-disclosure time.  I had intended to share my sketchbook as I filled it. It didn't happen. My wee book is complete and is winging its way to Brooklyn as I write. That doesn't mean I can't share it here. Better late than never, and much better than my follow-through on last year's intention. My theme for last year's sketchbook was "procrastination". This year I chose "accentuate the positive", so I'm going to give myself credit for continuing to write about my sketchbook even though I am doing it later than I had anticipated.

I was continually tickled to find things that I could draw for my sketchbook.  I gradually found my attitude changing from "I can't draw" to "Hey! Wait a minute! I think I can draw that!". 

I had one of those moments while watching "The Grinch" with Hubby. Toward the end of the program it occurred to me that I could probably draw the Grinch.

I didn't though. I didn't have a picture of Mr Grinch to work from, and drawing from memory isn't a skill I possess. I do have a copy of "The Lorax" though, and I figured that the ability to draw one Seuss character likely meant that I'd be able to draw another. It worked for Theodor Geisel after all.

The inspiration
My re-creation
I'm pleased to say it worked for me too. It's not exactly like the original, but it's definitely identifiable as the Lorax. It gave me a great deal of pleasure to recreate one of my favourite storybook characters... and his friend.

Bonus fish.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sketching Butterflies

I was so pleased with my cats that I hit the laundry basket a second time for sketchbook inspiration. It didn't disappoint. I was quite sure I could draw a butterfly similar to the ones on these socks. I quite like the results, though I can't figure out how I managed to photograph the book upside down. No worries. Thanks to the wonders of electronic photo manipulation I was able to flip it around. The perspective is a bit wonky as a result, but, as I've already mentioned, perspective really isn't my thing, so I'm going with it. 

The inspiration

The re-creation