Draw Together!

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I am an incredibly blessed artist! Truly I feel this is so not only because I get to spend each day drawing, painting, and making all sorts of things with yarn, but also because I have wonderful friends with whom I get to share these loves. As a companion to a recent post on my Knitterly Arts blog, I wanted to share the incredible joy I have in drawing weekly with a couple of dear friends. These gals have become my friends because we love to draw. I look forward to Fridays when we get together at a locale downtown Kernersville to sketch and draw in our books. There’s a lot of chatting and laughing while we do so, which probably makes our drawings all the better! And when we hunker down for the winter months at Eclection, we also sip tea as we draw the incredible surroundings there!

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Danny Gregory recently posted a wonderful piece on his blog about getting together with others to draw. It truly will bring you much delight, inspiration, and motivation to keep drawing!! In my early years of making art, I did so without knowing others who did this also. Once I found groups with which to sketch or draw the figure, my abilities and passion for drawing increased ten-fold! It really doesn’t have to be formal at all! No need to hire a model if you don’t want to, just draw each other as you all draw! Or draw the couch, chair, landscape, whatever is right in front of you wherever you’ve chosen to be.

These friendships have been and are a blessing in my life beyond description. I hope you too can find a drawing buddy or two or three…

Harvest

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If I look back over this year as if my life were a field that should produce a crop, it appears at first glance to be spare and thin. Surgery in June and its aftermath, from which I’m still recovering, makes me think the bumper crop will be sparse this year and for good reason.

Yet I’ve been looking through my sketchbooks and artwork I’ve made this year in preparation for my upcoming Art Show at Southwinds Gallery. Last year’s show was an epic event that should have proved to me that much rain and storms often yield a bounteous crop! I’ve been marveling, once again, as I prepare for this show, that indeed there has been a profusion of art growing from these fields of creativity I tend. It is humbling. It is head-scratching. How? How has this happened in the midst of what has felt like turmoil?

I really don’t know the answer to that. All I know is that what I thought would be a sparse harvest, actually looks much like the drawing above, made at the Ciener Botanical Gardens this fall…a profusion of color, flora and fauna springing out of much rain and not a few storms.

I’m grateful. This is an understatement. Gratitude to my heavenly Father who is bringing me through a year of difficulty, all the while having planted and sowed such beauty along the way. As I flip through my sketchbooks and look at the pile of knitting and crochet wrought this year, I’m humbled at how I’ve been allowed to create despite the churned soil and wretched storms.

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It occurs to me, as it has in the past, that each and every drawing I make, is a chronicling of something I’m grateful for. It is putting down on paper, a visual recounting, of what I find beautiful in my life. Wow…there really is A LOT that is beautiful. And I don’t often realize this truth unless I stop and view the harvest.

It is my hope that this post does not seem self-congratulating in any way. Oh dear, it really could be perceived in that light. My intention is to confess to you that my natural tendency is to view my life as meager, sparse, UNDERwhelming, UNexciting, and thin. I realize time and time again, that this gift of art could quite possibly have been granted me for no other reason than to reveal to ME the breath-catching beauty that is all around me in my life no matter the circumstances…to show ME that the yield of a life is not measured in huge accomplishments but in the day to day small things that add up to a satisfying harvest. This is a lesson I seem to have to learn over and over and over again. Truly humbling.

This makes me excited about the art show this year! Especially since I get to share it with my dear friend and fellow artist Debbie Schiappa! She and I have, for a few years now, drawn together on Friday mornings in and around Kernersville. We will be showcasing some of our drawings and paintings of our town along with other artworks of various kinds. Saturday, November 22nd from 4-7 will be a wonderful day to view just some of the harvest from each of our year’s crop. I would love for you to join us there!!

It will truly be a harvest celebration!

Dixie Classic Fair!

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Just popping in to say HI from the Dixie Classic Fair! I went on Monday to draw the sights at the Fair and had a fantabulous time! I’m planning on going back today to draw more!! I love, LoVe, LOVE the FAIR!!!!!

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I’m posting as I go over on Instagram, should you wish to follow my sketches there. The above is the first of four drawings I made on Monday while there. There’s so much to draw at the Fair, I’m “fair”ly dizzy with possibilities.

Oh me…could life be any finer in Carolina than during Dixie Classic Fair days?

I think not. 🙂

Michelle’s Challenge: “Go Big!”

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One of the artists whose work I admire on the One Drawing A Day blog, Michelle Bedigian, posed a challenge over a week ago. She recounted that one of her former teachers had challenged her to “Go Big” when she went out to sketch on site. This was to shake things up a bit and to make her approach a drawing differently.  The “big” size she was challenged to do was 36″ x 42″…oi!

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I took this challenge immediately! However, not even owning a board or paper coming anywhere near that size, I decided to use the largest piece of paper I had which was 22″ x 30″. All week long I looked forward to taking the hot press w/c paper on a board with my French easel and all kinds of drawing media and watercolors, to our Ciener Botanical Gardens here in Kernersville, NC. I typically draw and paint there with no bigger than a 9″ x 12″ sketchbook, so this was going to be fun! I have certainly done larger paintings and drawings on location before, but this time I wanted to approach it in a similar manner to how I work in my sketchbook and see what would happen. In other words, I wanted to “think drawing”, rather than “proper painting”. This may not mean anything to you, but in my mind, there’s a big difference.

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Friday morning dawned with gray skies and spitting rain. We had been having this weather all week and I was just sure the clouds would part for Friday’s adventure. Humph. Not to be daunted, I hauled my stuff there anyway, determined to find some way to “Go Big”, even in the misting rain. Right as I hopped out of my car, I saw it. Just the view I wanted to draw! Flowers in the foreground, main building behind with the Methodist church in the far background. Yes! And as I got out my stuff, I realized the back hatch of our vehicle would provide some shelter from the spitting rain. Perfect.

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I was joined by two of my dear artist friends from Reidsville who had come to Kernersville to draw with me. They were not daunted either and found a terrific spot under an awning to draw for the morning.  Once my setup was in place (which was truly perfect using the back of my car to open up all the supplies for ease of reach) I attacked the drawing, trying not to think too much. I had splashed a bit of watercolor on the page the night before. I often enjoy drawing over an underpainting (or rather an undersplashing). It helps tone down the large white expanse of the paper and offers lovely surprises later on as you view the finished the drawing. (See the first photo above for the “drawing only” on top of the pre-splash of watercolor.)

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I got really caught up in the moment, only stepping back a couple of times to take a look and dive back in. After two hours, I decided I had hit the “niggling” stage. This is where I begin adding little bits of this and that which aren’t really helping anything at all. Even though I wish I had stopped long before I was near niggling it to death (I almost like the “drawing only” version the best!), I still liked it immensely if only for the fact that I did it! I drew larger and more expansively and oh boy was it fun!

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I can’t wait to do this again! My little brain is hopping with ideas and different approaches and mixes of media! Definitely a challenge worth taking many times over! Perhaps you’ll try it too! I highly recommend it!

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I’m including some close-ups of specific areas of the drawing so you can see it better. It really was a gray day so I apologize if the photos are a bit dim as well. C’est la vie!

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And in case you’re curious as to the media I used, here’s a list:

Faber-Castell watercolor pencils, Feber-Castell PITT artist pens of various tones of black and gray, Prismacolor Premier Fine-Line Marker 08, Loew-Cornell oil pastels, Loew-Cornell 7020 Ultra Round watercolor brush size 14, American Journey Watercolor paints with a few DaVinci Gouache colors.

Here’s a definition of the word “niggle”:

nig•gle (ˈnɪg əl)

v.i. -gled, -gling.
1. to spend too much time and effort on inconsequential details; trifle.
2. to criticize in a peevish way; carp.

***Should you be up for an excellent read about an artist’s life, read J.R.R. Tolkein’s Leaf by Niggle. 

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Tulip Pair!

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The paint is barely dry…and these two fresh off-the-drawing-table tulip paintings are now at Southwinds Gallery here in Kernersville! Be sure to call Angie at Southwinds (993-0818) or drop by the Gallery to see them! Each of them measures 9″x12″. The perfect size for gift giving. Perhaps you have someone you’d like to give a painting to for Easter! Or a hint to your spouse for an Easter gift for you might be just the thing!

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These are only a few of the tulips now blooming at our Ciener Botanical Gardens which have just begun to bloom and will be blooming over the next three weeks. When I was there to draw last week, I got to meet the new Executive Director, Mr. John Whisnett (sp?), at the Gardens and he told us how they plant early blooming tulips as well as late blooming tulips so that there’s an abundance for several weeks!  Be sure to visit the gardens for a lovely walk and time to sit and draw, or paint, or knit, or just think.

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If you’ve never been to Eclection, you need to go! If you’ve been, then you need to come visit again this Saturday!! Not only will you be able to finish off those last minute gifts, but you’ll also be able to listen while I read Genevieve and the Kite! So bring your child/ren or any stray kids who are bouncing-off-the-walls-cuz-they-can’t-wait-for-Christmas!! They (and you!) will be able to make a gingerbread house for a small fee, and a Kite bookmark for free! Plus…you’ll be able to see first-hand the amazing wall Chris (the owner) created!

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And you’ll see where I sit to draw on Fridays with my friend Debbie. We’ve been choosing different views from the Breathe Wine Bar & Lounge area right in the front of the shop where that amazing wall is. Oooh, maybe I’ll even bring my sketchbook and draw a bit! Bring your sketchbook too!

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Hope to see you there! 11am – 2pm! Saturday December 21st! Be there or be … well … somewhere else!! 😉

*****Note on the “Orange Chair” drawing: After I finished the drawing, I realized I hadn’t brought my trusty watercolor palette! (I hate it when I do that!) So I just used my Caran D’Ache Watercolor Crayons. I LOVE those things! You can draw/color with them first and then take a brush or a water brush (as I did) to liquify what you’ve drawn. OR, you can just touch your water brush to the tip of the crayon and then paint with the color you get on your brush! Works great! The only “problem” is that I couldn’t splatter like I like to! But at least I could add watery color!! You might ask Santa for some of these, if it isn’t too late!:)

My Giverny

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The Ciener Botanical Gardens here in my town of Kernersville, is definitely not Giverny. Not yet anyway. It is a beautiful garden that is still growing and expanding. But I love drawing here and have loved it for a year now. For other posts of drawings and paintings I’ve made there..click here and here and here and here.  And as I’ve resumed my Friday drawing time downtown, I have gazillions more to share with you…someday!

I look forward to, one day, having a compilation of drawings made at the Gardens throughout the years. And though my little sketches are not the mammoth works of Monet, I like to think of this place as a spot I’ll frequent for many years like he did.

I began to teach myself to paint and draw 16 years ago. I remember talking to a new artist friend with whom I was sharing my first attempts. I remember saying, “I’m sorry there are so many flowers…I know they’re considered to be a worn out subject…but I just love them…and they are all over our yard…” Now, all these years later, I do not apologize for painting and drawing flowers. I like to think these words of Monet’s could have been mine as well:

“I am following Nature without being able to grasp her…

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”

**Perhaps you too can find a place that you will visit over the years to paint and draw there time and time again.

Before Genevieve…

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…there was Genevieve! That’s confusing I know. But before I was drawing Genevieve, the name of my dress form was/is Genevieve. And so, I dress Genevieve, as if she was a big doll, with the latest knit or crochet creation. She makes a great model, don’t you think? Here are a couple of other drawings of Genevieve I’ve made. The above was drawn recently, as she was modeling the Pink Scarf which is in the Shoppe.

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Here she is modeling Dreamy Poncho.

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And here without any knit or crochet wear.

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Here she’s modeling Everything But the Kitchen Sink Bag.

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A line drawing of her with a summery shirt. The skirt she wears I made a few years ago.

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And finally, here she’s wearing another poncho I knitted.

P.S. Did you know…??? Genevieve is the french equivalent for Jennifer! 🙂

A Place of Quiet

This is where I’m longing to be lately. Yes, I’d love for the weather to be pretty and warm enough for drawing at the Factory Courtyard, but I’m also longing for quiet spaces, a less frenetic life. With that in mind, I’m going to take a break from all my blogs except for Letters To An Artist.  I’m planning for this break to coincide with Lent (which begins tomorrow!:), and resume here on Drawn2Life after Easter. I’m also planning on taking a break from Facebook too.

I hope the next 40 days are filled with drawing and inspiration and deeper creative roots, for you and me.

I love the French “au revoir!” It doesn’t have the same feel of finality as our Good Bye. Au Revoir literally means: til we see each other again!

Happy Drawing!

Eclection Perfection

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Chris Federico, the owner of Eclection in downtown Kernersville, has opened the arms of her shop to the faithful few who love to come out and draw. We are really grateful for such a beautiful spot to be indoors for the cold weather, to have so many wonderful things to draw, to sip  delicious tea, and even shop the unique, eclectic creations there if we want to!

Even though there are only one or two others who draw with me, I love having this regular spot in my week to get out in the world and draw.  This is just one of the many drawings I’ve made this winter while sitting in the lovely “living room”.  Each week it is arranged and decorated differently, using some of the unique creations from the shop.  One time Chris even set up a still life for us to draw, gathering this and that off the “floor”.  Now THAT’s rolling out the red carpet!

I won’t be able to be there this Friday, due to the Art Show happening the night before and needing to either recuperate from that or go in and do some tidying up from the show. But I look forward to next Friday, and the next.  If you’re in the area on a Friday morning…come draw with us! Chris would love to have you!