Looking pensive in this self-portrait done a few days before Congress’ vote to accept the Electoral College count on January 6, 2021. Yes, I was concerned there might be protests turning violent but the level of insurrection from the riotous mob shocked me.
Never have I been more thankful for my hairdresser! And before you judge… yes, my cut was allowed following New Hampshire’s structured reopening plan and masks were worn by all. (I’ve obscured some of the text on these pages for privacy.)
Since a few of my in-person workshops this spring were cancelled I treated myself to a short workshop featuring one of my favorite illustrators, Ohn Mar Win. I’ve been following her on Instagram, Ohn_Mar_Win, and I’ve been particularly taken with her recent floral illustrations. See for yourself, they’re exquisite!
The best part of taking her class has been revisiting my comic arts dip pen fitted with a flexible G nib. I used it with a favorite permanent ink, DeAtramentis Document Brown.
There’s nothing like learning something new to get me smiling.
In fact, I’m still smiling.
I’m baffled why I keep buying landscape sketchbooks as I’m not a fan. I must have either needed a bit of retail therapy or like a magpie I was drawn to the bright Moleskine brand and packaging.
The extreme horizontal format is great for capturing broad sweeping vistas but that’s not my preferred drawing and painting subject. Oh I do a few, but when I do, I tend to choose one of my larger sketchbooks.
This must have been one of the older Moleskine watercolor sketchbooks with inferior paper because many of my earlier pages were plagued with watercolors which bled through to the other side. I can put up with a lot of issues including buckling but bleeds are a deal breaker for me. I need to remember this experience and commit to never buying another.
But… once I start a book, no matter how uncomfortable I feel, I also feel compelled to finish it. I want to number it, shelve it, and pick another. So began my quest.
The model’s arm position worked well with this format.
The text block balances the sketch and fills the white space.
I’m pretty pleased with myself that I managed to draw her in the near darkness.
A few more sketches and then, magically, I had reached the last page. I quickly drew a modified contour selfie, added splashy watercolor, and a new favorite quote…
There are times when inspiration just isn’t to be found and you’re at a loss for an interesting subject. I know this intimately and I believe every artist goes through this at one time or another.
The essential question is how to escape the vortex. My tried and true models are always available to draw… I have three. My feet (slippered, socks, or bare), my hand (or hands), and my face (either a mirrored self portrait, from a photo, or from my imagination). Any one of these can spark an illustration and memories.
March was a month of reflection… but at least I wasn’t at a loss for a model.