Sunday, 30 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 30

Day 30!!! I made it! Bath, Paris, cats, flowers, furniture and more cats....
For today I tried the 'less-is-more' approach. I mentioned Matisse before I started my challenge, as an example of exquisite simplicity. I am not putting myself in his league, but I am trying to push my boundaries. 
It may look like I finished it in 5 min. flat, but don't be fooled, I wasted a lot of paper. At least 12 cats hit the bin before I was happy....
Mooch, ink on paper, 21 x 29 cm

Saturday, 29 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 29

Fairy-wren, watercolour on paper,  21 x 14.8 cm 

We have these gorgeous Fairy-wrens in our garden. We used to have our house fenced in by barbed wire, and they'd land on the wire, or in the rather large weeds behind it. We have cleaned up since then by removing the barbed wire and slashing the place. Looks a lot better. Barbed wire doesn't have a very homely 'vibe', if you know what I mean. The only downside is that the birds have moved on as well. We actually have to go for a walk in order to spot them. 

Friday, 28 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 28

Giraffe, ink on paper,  21 x 29.5 cm

No feline today! I have never been to Africa, but I fell in love with a giraffe at a zoo in Holland. We (us humans) were standing on a higher platform than the giraffes, which brought us at eye-level with them. That's when I found out they have the most beautiful eyes with enormous eye lashes. (Lashes any girl would kill for.... Forget Maybelline...) 
For the last few days for my challenge I am just indulging myself, and dusted off a few favourites. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 27

Prof. D., ink on paper, 29.5 x 21 cm
Obviously no 'selfie', but my better half instead. Guaranteed no make-up, nor did I make him lose weight. He lost his stubble though... 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 26

Self portrait, ink on paper, 21 x 29.5 cm

A selfie; the old-fashioned way. No make-up, no wrinkles, and no clothes!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 25

Leopard, ink and watercolour on paper, 29.5 x 21 cm
It's day 25 and I've got my tongue hanging out by now. Not just from producing a drawing or watercolour, but also thinking about it, deciding a topic, scanning and editing, putting it on my blog, proof reading, and finally, publishing it. So, am I counting down to day 30? Yes! For today, I used a favourite topic of mine. I've always loved big cat, and leopards especially. Their spots make them interesting to draw. This is by no means the best leopard I've ever done, but time didn't permit me a 'redo'. So, here he is; warts (read 'spots') and all. 

Monday, 24 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 24

Ginger Chicken, watercolour on paper, 21 x 21 cm
Ginger is a super chicken.... The only one of her kind in the chook pen. The other chickens are of a smaller variety. Ginger pops out a huge egg every day. Unfortunately, the other 'ladies' are so intimidated that they are permanently off the lay....

Sunday, 23 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 23

Muppet, ink on paper, 29.5 x 21 cm
Today, we have what I call the 'Muppet Treatment'. I've written about him before as a rather anxious cat, but when he's relaxed he is beautiful boy. This drawing is a 'bigger-and-better' version of one that I have done before. However, the previous one was on rather flimsy paper and a bit smaller.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 22

Winston, ink on paper, 29.5 x 42 cm

This is Winston, a cat I had the privilege of living with a few years ago. My housemate took him on board hoping he'd be a playmate for her four year old daughter. NOT. Winston is WAY too cool for that. No playing. No kittenish behaviour. The poor kid can play alone, thank you very much.
However, what he did bring to the table was pure Zen. He brought a beautiful stillness, and seemed to have a knack to seek us out when we were stressed. (At that point in time, my housemate and I were both going through an interesting period of our lives.) The more stress I seemed to experience, the closer his presence.
At some point I had a job booking flights for stranded passengers. There was an ash-cloud that originated in Chile, and seriously messed up the aviation industry. I would often come home after a 10 hour shift, having listened to stressed people and trying to solve their problems. So when my head would finally hit the pillow, it would buzz with flight-numbers, times and prizes. At the job, we would joke about having 'flight-mares' after a long day. Meanwhile in Europe, my mother had been whisked away to a hospital with a live-threatening condition. To make a long story short, my stress levels were high.
At night, I usually didn't have wait long before some indentations were made on the bed, ending with a little 'thump' on the pillow right next to me. Purring would start, often accompanied by the loud licking noises of Winston cleaning himself. (For cats, it is a meditative exercise. It is not a meditation technique recommended for us humans though. We are better off taking a bath instead!) For the rest of the night my nose would hit some serious fluff every time I turned over to the left. Nevertheless, it did have calming effect on me, and thankfully, I do not have a cat-allergy. My housemate confessed Winston would do the same to her on nights when she was worried and her mind was very active.
In this drawing, I tried to portray some of the stillness and high comfort level Winston exudes. I used fluid strokes with ink, but kept them to a minimum. Together with the red stamp in the bottom, it has a Japanese 'flavour', emphasizing Winston's Zen character.

Friday, 21 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 21

Flower,  watercolour on paper, 21 x 29.5

Taking yesterday's approach on a larger scale. Again, it is just a very small flower out of my friend's garden.  Sometimes, bigger is better (yes, in art), sometimes not. I think I prefer my previous watercolour.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 20

Flowers, watercolour on paper, 29.5 x 21 cm
There's not much growing in my garden... My rosebushes are on strike, it seems. Plenty of land, but nothing colourful. Fortunately, a friend planted some colourful flowers in his garden. 
I, not having a green thumb, don't have a clue what they're called. However, I do love the lilac and magenta, and I have set them against their complementary colour, which is yellow!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 19

Weasel sleeping, ink on paper, 29.5 x 21 cm
Weasel again, but this time I  wanted to work with ink and give her some lovely outlines. Personally, I prefer yesterday's watercolour. However, it is good to try different approaches, for better or for worse....

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 18

Weasel, watercolour on paper, 21 x 29.5 cm
This is Weasel, in an illustration for the upcoming Moo-Chi 
In this entry, Moo-Chi will describe his rather painful introduction to the other two cats in his environment. Mooch was brimming with confidence regarding his cuteness, thinking that everyone will love him. We, as responsible adults, tried to warn him to leave the other cats alone...... To no avail.......
I was trying to capture the moment where Weasel, the fluffy feline matriarch, spots the latest addition to 'her' household. The totally stunning realization that there was a new kitten on the block, a.k.a. Moo-Chi.

Monday, 17 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 17

Hydrangea, watercolour on paper, 21 x 29.5 cm
Hydrangeas were one of my favourite flowers in our garden when I was a kid. They had the added benefit that they dry very well, and keep their charm for a while longer. Unfortunately, I don't see them here in sunny Queensland, so I presume they don't grow very well in this climate.... Nevertheless, it didn't stop me from taking a trip  down memory lane. It gave me an opportunity to relish in it's vibrant colours....

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 16

Sushi, watercolour on paper, 29.5 x 21 cm

From Roman Baths to bottles, cameras and kittens. It may seem unconnected, but the great connector here is the camera. I am drawing inspiration from a large collection of cat photos. I've been know to photograph someone's dog on the street or walk into a pet shop and snap away ( after I have asked for permission off course). I've inherited a love for photography from my dad. As a child I spent time with him a our dark room, developing black-and-white photos, usually from our holiday. Throughout my life, I've been given a fair few cameras by my dad. One of them I drew and published a few days ago. As technology progressed, the need for a new camera was there, and today I am  (happily) snapping away with his latest gift. 
Some artists snub working from photographs. I disagree. There is a place and time for it, and it can speed things up enormously. Besides, there is still an interpretation happening when it is transferred to paper or canvas. To me, a fluffy young kitten asked for a slightly different approach than bottles and cameras. No dark outlines, but soft, watery patches with a bit more attention to detail in the right places.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 15

Day 15! I'm half-way! Whoohooo.. 
I started off with the idea that I'd do a drawing a day, but it seems that I'm more moving towards a watercolour a day. I love colour, and even though watercolour is by no means an easy medium, that is where this is taking me. Watercolour is a hugely underestimated medium, especiallly by beginning artists. For them, oil painting seems to be the holy grail. However, you can build up an oil painting and make corrections, whereas with watercolour you can't afford to make many mistakes. Even though I like the occasional spattering in my paintings to make it look more playful and effortless, I have thrown away many a piece of (expensive) paper because of a smudge. That can be very frustrating after a few hours of work. 
I have always associated watercolours with cute cats, peaceful landscapes and lovely florals, made by crazy catwomen and Prince Charles. Since I am obviously not of royal blood, I am now officially joining the 'crazy catwoman' category. 

Playful kitten, watercolour on paper, 29.5 x 21 cm

Friday, 14 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 14

There was a request for a collection of beer bottles, after my previous drawings of bottles. This is what I've got to say to that:

Champagne, watercolour and ink on paper, 21 x 29.5 cm

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 13

Camera I, ink on paper, 29.5 x 21 cm
Camera's are cool! Planning on doing more in order to make a collection.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 12

Dressing table, watercolour on paper, 21 x 29.5 cm
This is a lovely piece of furniture that I've come across. The owner hadn't cluttered it with the usual assortment of make-up and brushes, but instead with some cuttings of plants.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The 30-day challenge. day 11

Moo-Chi lazing about, 29.5 x 42 cm
Cats, on the whole, are masters in the art of relaxation. It's a quality they demonstrate, if not flaunt, every day. Mooch is no exemption. He is inspiring me every day with his 'relaxation poses'.

Monday, 10 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 10

Bottles II, watercolour and ink on paper, 21 x 29,5 cm
More bottles. No need to let an idea go to waste. I was pleased with yesterday's bottles, so I got a few more from my rather large collection of potions and oils.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 9

Bottles I, waterclour and ink on paper, 21 x 29,5 cm
Well, the rose bush stopped producing, so I was left with the bottle. In this case, I dug up some more bottles for a contemporary still-life.
Once upon a time I would wait for inspiration to drop from 'heaven' straight into my head (as a matter of speech). I found that I could wait for a very long time for that to happen, so I learned to appreciate to small things around me.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 8

Like yesterday, I am focussing on colour, and a looseness (if that is a proper word) in the application of my watercolours. The rose bush in my garden gave some beautiful flowers, which I had put on a small vase (more accurately, an empty juice bottle that I happen to like and kept just for the occasion). It was too striking to ignore, so here is the result.
Roses, watercolour on paper, 21 x 29,5 cm

Friday, 7 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 7

Back to the Roman Baths. I wasn't finished with them. They made a real impression on me. I wanted to capture the fluidity and looseness of ink I had yesterday with Joris, but this time with an architectural scene.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 6

'Joris', ink and watercolour on paper, 21 x 29.5 cm

I have been a cat-lover all my life, so it's no surprise that I have a large collection of cat photo's. This is 'Joris'; a beautiful ginger tom-cat we had  when I was a teenager.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 5

The Royal Crescent, ink on paper, 29.5x21 cm

Back to Bath again... This time The Royal Crescent with the view partly obstructed by a large tree. The first drawing that I am actually genuinely happy with. The tree not only provides depth, but also contrast in line and darkness.
Stunning building. Wouldn't mind living in one of their apartments.... (yup, dream on...)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 4

Place de la Concorde, ink on paper, 29.5x21 cm

Paris again. The expression says: See Naples and Die. However, I can't vouch for Naples like Goethe did, but Paris ranks up there for me! 

Monday, 3 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day3

Back to the Roman Baths! The intense green waters combined with Roman and Edwardian architecture was for me a very compelling, yet peaceful image.
I can see that I will be all over the shop regarding my subject-matter. Nevertheless, the task I've set myself is a drawing a day. Knowing myself, I did not set myself any restrictions concerning the content, so brace yourselves for a barrage of ideas! 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 2

Rue de Rivoli, ink on paper, 29.5x21 cm

It has been a while since I was in Paris, but my 30-day challenge opened an opportunity for me to dust off a lot of old photographs of beautiful places that I've visited. For me, I like Roman architecture and all the subsequent periods of architecture that based their principles on it. In other words: bring on the arches and pillars!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The 30-day challenge, day 1

The Roman Baths, ink on paper, 29.5x21 cm

A quick sketch from the Roman Baths in Bath. I am trying to keep simplicity of line, no frills. Explorations of the wonderful green water will come later this month.