Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A bit of sketching

I don't sketch a lot. By sketching I mean drawing things from life. It's one of those things that I wish I would enjoy more, mostly because I think it's an important skill for any artist to be able to render what they see. It gives you control over the lines you draw and helps to translate visions you have for you own art to the page or the canvas, even if your art is abstract or 'doodly' like mine mostly is.

I very occasionally draw things, not nearly enough to even come close to growing a skill, but every little bit is better than nothing, right?

Here's two pages I did recently in a newly adopted sketchbook:




 


The sketchbook is a Canson Art Book 180, which opens nice and flat, and the drawings were done with a simple black fineliner.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't hate doing these types of drawings. It's just that when it comes to a choice I'd rather be doing things that are in my head and play with shapes and colour instead of trying to render something realistic I see in front of me.

But who knows, maybe dedicating a whole sketchbook to actual sketching will get me more into it. I'll keep you posted!

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Spooky assistance

My new cat Spooky (new to me, he's adopted and three years old) has been with me for almost four months now and finally his personality is really starting to show. After a rocky start as scaredy cat and getting to know his new surroundings and me especially he is now really starting to blossom as a cat. It's a wonderful process to witness and I'm so glad I gave him the time to come around on his own and not force anything.

He's not a cat that follows me around all day, but when he's in the mood he is really affectionate and he loves to be petted from time to time. His favorite affectionate move is head butting my face over and over again. It makes me melt I have to tell you. :-)

The first months he didn't play at all, but in the last few weeks he seems to be finding his inner kitten again and is having so much fun with the toys I got him and that I was afraid he would never touch.

He's made a cat friend (also a black one, but with white socks) in the neighbourhood and watching them together is so adorable. They even have a mutual enemy and Spooky will come home from time to time with battle scars. He really is a street mongrel sometimes.

He goes outside almost every night and ever so once in a while will deem me good enough to keep me company on my bed, but in general outside nightly adventures are way more interesting. However when he is home for the night he loves to crawl all the way into the curve of my neck and its sounds like a hive of bees is sleeping next to my face for all the humming and buzzing he does.

When I'm home and relaxing during the day he often likes to lay beside me on the couch or sort of half on my lap like this:


His body is mostly on the couch, but his front paws and his head or on me. That way I am in petting position. He especially likes doing that when I'm reading.

Other times a leg hug is enough contact:


This makes me smile. It's the ultimate 'you're mine' gesture. :-)

And of course he is also starting to be a better (read 'more intrusive') assistant. He will often try to help me with my Morning Book or sit on my sketchbooks when I'm trying to take a  picture of them for my blog or Instagram/Facebook. That leads to situations like these:

"No need to finish a drawing, a handsome Spook makes everything complete."

"Hey let me help you colour code those markers!"

"I'm smug because I'm being such a great assistant."

"You'd better be journaling about me!"

"All mandalas look better with a cat promoting them."

"I'm a supermodel. Just forget about that sketchbook."
After four months I think it's safe to say that Spooky has found his forever home and is very much enjoying it. I love him to death, maybe even more so because I really had to win his trust and affection. He still is scared of strange humans, I think that's never going to really stop, but that's okay with me as long as he seems healthy and happy and trusts me enough to get in my way, haha.

As a matter of fact, if you find strange typos in this post it's because he walked across the keyboard of my laptop at least six times since I started typing, one time even making this post disappear and me worried that I had lost the whole thing (luckily blogger autosaves everything). That's a truly  dedicated assistant for you!

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

From the Morning Book

My Morning Book is my daily art practice. I work in it every morning right after getting up for half an hour, so no matter how the day goes I know I have at least done one little creative thing. I am enjoying it very much, which is about the only reason I can keep it up.

Here are some finished pages for your viewing pleasure (I hope!):







All these were drawn with a pigma pen and coloured in with Tombow dual brush markers. The birthday one was also washed with water for a painterly effect. I did that one on my own birthday and now use it a lot to congratulate people on Facebook. So sometimes there actually is a practical use for all this artsy stuff, haha.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Flowers

We are entering the time of year when the island is at its most idyllic. Everything is green and abundant, the weather is milder, the wind is softer, the winter storms are far away. And...things are in bloom.

On one of my recent walks I decided to try to take some close ups with the camera on my smart phone and I was pleasantly surprised by the very crisp results, so I decided to share some with you.










Fall and Winter (when things are much more rugged and desolate and wild) will always be my favorite seasons, but never let it be said I don't appreciate the beauty of spring and summer!

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

From the Pattern Book

I know, I know! Just about every book I work in has in some way become a pattern book, but I still consider the moleskine sketchbook as the one and only original Pattern Book.

I have been doing what I call grid drawings in it recently. That basically means I start out with drawing a 1 cm squared grid on the pages in pencil and then use the lines to make up a symmetrical type of pattern. After that I draw out that pattern in dashed lines, remove the pencil lines and colour everything in with markers.

Here are some of my latest spreads:





I'm not quite sure why these drawings are so satisfying to me or why I'm so obsessed with patterns in the first place, but I guess when it comes to art you just have to go with what you love. :-)

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Movie time!

A while back I posted some short videos on this blog to give you an impression of the beauty of this island in moving pictures. The responses were positive enough for me to do another video post.

Here are some video's I've taken in the past month or so.

video

Above is a place called 'Oude Kooi', which literally means 'Old Cage'. It was used as place to catch wild ducks. Tame ducks were used to lure wild ducks into the wooden entrapment and then those wild ones could no longer get out. It has not been in use for many years, but it was fully restored a few years ago and is one of the most magical places on the island. It is surrounded by lots of ferns and small dirt roads and fully hidden from view from any main road.  

video

This is 'Nieuwe Kooi', which indeed means 'New Cage'. It was meant to be a duck catching place just  like the old one, but it was never put into use, so it just remained a pond in the middle of the woods. It's also a very quiet place. I often feel many of the tourists can come here for years without ever seeing these two 'cages', which is a pity, but also kind of a blessing, because you can be fully alone there even in the busy season.

video

This is the Posthuyswad. I have no good translation for 'wad', but I think 'floods' comes pretty close. It's on the west side of the island. The Posthuys is and old way station for the mail service that came through here back then. Now it's a restaurant and hotel quite removed from the town. It's kind of like the last outpost of the island and a very popular place among tourists. Anyway this is the Posthuyswad at low tide when a lot of it is laid dry. In the very distance you can see the part of the island that is the east side and that's where the town is where I (and most other people) live.

video

Along the Posthuyswad runs a dyke and on the other side of that dyke are the Kroons Polders. They are basically a failed attempt of making extra dry land on the west side of the island. Now it's a protected wildlife area where thousands of birds live and prosper. You may not enter the area, but you can walk along side it by use of the dyke, which is where I was standing when I took the above video.

video

Lastly I cannot give you a bunch of videos of my island without at least one look at the ocean. This was taken about halfway the island on the north side from the top of a dune on a gloriously lovely day with wind and lots of waves and foam on the beach. This is the North Sea by the way. Just breath it in!

Well, I hope you got your island fix with these little movies. I know that Blogger downsizes them, so don't try to enlarge them too much, because they will become too pixelated. Still, they should give you a good impression of this place I call home.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Double Exposure (a photography collaboration)

My artsy friend Monique (aka Monk, see her blog here) has a new hobby: lomography.
Now, she was always into photography, well at least as long as I've known her, but recently she has been drawn to the old fashioned analogue kind. Lomography is basically that, old fashioned photography with very simple camera's. Now there's apparently all kinds of camera's with different lenses and effects and since it's not digital you actually have to put a film in there and wait for the results long after you take the pics. It's very retro when you think about it, as the results are always a surprise and yes, sometimes an unpleasant one too. :-)

However today I want to show you a little lomography project that had some very pleasant results. See, we did a little collaboration. Here's what happened: Monk sent me a fish eye camera and asked me to fill up a 36 shots film roll in any way I liked. After that she would rewind the film, put it in a more regular lomocamera and shoot it again. In short, we were going for double exposure! That way two pictures sort of cover each other, but never quite precisely, and also, since she had no idea what was on the pics I took, the results would be an extra surprise.

I decided to take the fish eye camera with me on my long walk from east to west that I took a few weeks ago (you can see the 'normal' pictures I took with my phone that day here). I wanted to fill the film with all sorts of touristic and natural scenery from my island. Almost make it like a cliché guided tour of this place I call home.

It was great fun to do. We have become so spoiled with digital cameras that I forgot how selective we had to be when we were shooting on film. I also enjoyed the simple act of having to roll the film forward for every new shot. Analogue photography is so much more a hands on experience. I felt a bit like going back in time.

In May Monique was here for the small art and music festival Here Comes The Summer, that's held here every year in the spring. She put the film with my fish eye pics in the other camera and shot a lot of impressions of the festival and the surrounding area.

After this the film was sent to the lomography people for development and printing and...got lost in the mail! We couldn't believe it. Our first joint photography project and then the film goes missing! It's enough to make you cry. This is the part about analogue photography I don't miss, haha.
Luckily after a search by the postal service and a bit of extra waiting, the package turned up and the results were in. And as stated above, we were pleasantly surprised.

Here are some of our favorites for your viewing pleasure. The imagery in the circles (the fisheye) were done by me, the other parts were done by Monk, and together they  make for some lovely and interesting pictures. At least we think so.











I love how the pictures combine the scenery of the island with the fun of the festival. It's like the best of both worlds in one picture!

We are so pleased with the results that we will definitely try another double exposure project in the future. It's so good to have artsy friends!

PS: If you want to know more about lomography you can visit their site at https://www.lomography.com/ .




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