Having read Magnus’s recent post on life drawing and emailed him a couple of links to useful YouTube resources, I thought I’d do some practise myself. This year, I am doing a summer course on anatomy for artists so it is an area of art I am likely to be doing more of myself. I did a series of one minute sketches from Croquis Café #350 but what I wanted to post about today was an observation on scanning the images in. Here is my first attempt:
I was using very thin paper since, as quick exercises, I don’t want to keep them for a long time. However, you can see that, since I had also used both sides of the paper, I got a lot of bleed through of the image on the reverse and the scanner’s option to attempt to limit this didn’t help. Then it struck me that I was scanning against a white background (the sketch pad) – the light of the scanner was bouncing off the background and coming back through the paper, revealing what was on the reverse.
It turns out that the solution was as simple as just turning the pad the other way round and using the brown card on the back:
It wasn’t even a very dark piece of card but it made a world of difference. You can view the whole set on Flickr. Meanwhile, I’ll try to keep this little bit of knowledge in mind for anything else I try scanning from thin paper in future.
I don’t know what the temperature was when I cycled to work this morning but it is the first time recently that I’ve found the tips of my fingers getting unpleasantly cold even with my thicker gloves on. According to the Met Office site, it is presently 1°C and slowly rising to about 6°C by late this evening (and a strong chance of chilly rain between now and then).
I don’t really want to wear gloves that are a lot thicker for my
cycling commute as it will make operations like dealing with the lock
more tricky. I know I could just take them off but I wonder if it
would work to have either an overlay glove that just added extra
padding round the ends of the digits or a glove that was a lot thicker
on the back of the hand but still thin enough to allow tactile
sensation on the face of the hand?
I’ve been continuing to watch episodes of Bones (2005-2017) and think I’ve probably seen rather a lot as I’m now up somewhere in season 8! Some episodes have been better than others but I’m actually rather impressed with just how well they are keeping up the overall quality. Two of the recent episodes struck me as particularly strong (8:6 and 8:9), both of which see the investigators get very engaged with the unfortunates who are the victims at the centre of the story.
Mind you, opinions vary. I’ve just taken a glance at the IMDB reviews of 8:9 (The Ghost in the Machine), which I thought was fantastic. It is all filmed from the point of view of the victim’s skull and highlights the constant dance between the sceptical rationalism of some of the characters and a more open world view that others (and, arguably the series as a whole) accepts. Turns out that gets the lowest scores of the season (and, skimming ahead, for the rest of the whole series).
Looking around at my collection of musical instruments and paraphernalia while I type this, I realise that all the toys is, strictly speaking, an exaggeration. However, after another Long Player rehearsal last night (60s / 70s blues rock covers), I realise that I’m shaping up to use quite a few of them.
Lots of the six string Sei bass, which has been my mainstay for over 15 years now but, on the instrument front, the Variax guitar will also be getting a good showing. I think this will be one of the first times I’ve performed on guitar in a gig setting (although I’ve done plenty of church music on guitar) and I’ll be getting good use out of a number of the settings – acoustic 6 and 12 string guitars, sitar (Paint It Black) and even Banjo (Norwegian Wood … because I didn’t want to spoil things by using the sitar sound twice).
I’ve also got various effects lined up. Not too much but a few things to spice up the sound including a good chance of my EHX B9 organ simulator getting a chance or two to shine and perhaps even a spot of looping for when a trio line up of instrumentalists could do with sounding like a quartet.
The gig is at The Blagrave Arms in Reading on 19 January and we’re doing a couple of sets, I think between 7-9pm. However, looking at that list of toys (and thinking of the backing vox, etc), I think I need to get on with some more practising!
Epiphany is past, Christmas decorations should traditionally be down and I’m just going to squeeze in one more of the sketches I did over the holidays:
During the Christingle service at St Clement’s, the children were led in an impromptu nativity play, dressed up and bringing pieces for the crib scene. Like many of my drawings, it was done ‘blind’ and then enhanced with some shading but you might make out kings, shepherds (and sheep), a star and, under it, Mary, Joseph and Jesus.
One of the first trees we planted when we moved into our present house was a specimen of Malus trilobata ‘Guardsman’. As I recall, it was on offer at half-price and now I’m wondering if I know why. By now it should be between 8′ – 12′ tall but, if anything, it has shrunk a couple of inches and still stands about 6′ high.
I think it had already become pot-bound when we bought it and this afternoon we dug it up and looked at the rootball, which had hardly grown. It might also had too much competition – just across the path is a Malus sylvestris ‘John Downie’, which has grown as expected, and a few feet away is a Prunus domestica ‘Herman’ which we know sends roots out to quite a distance.
That said, the Malus trilobata is a gorgeous plant and is still alive. We’ve now transplanted it into a large pot, which allowed us to relocate it for aesthetic effect. If it survives, it should give us a few more years of glorious autumnal colour and, if not, at least we’ll have a large pot for whatever the next thing is!
I’ve kept up my sketching habit but have slacked off on the painting recently. However, I got a new book for Christmas (Experimental Landscapes in Watercolour by Ann Blockley) and I had a go with the ideas on pp. 14-15 this afternoon.
Once it was thoroughly dry, I added some notes in ink indicating the different ideas. You will notice that I couldn’t resist adding a bit of decoration based on the sketch I posted yesterday; ideally, the sketching will be a fuel of ideas for painting throughout the year.