Emerging from a dry spell … drawing and playing a bit with gouache in these two sketches, both on Stillman & Birn Nova gray paper. The first is my grandmother’s old sugar shaker that I’ve filled with cocoa for cappuccino sprinkles. The second is the last two heads of garlic bought in the fall, beautifully bundled and packaged by neighbour Sonia.

Path of a Pint

I’ve been enjoying the Sunday morning USk Talks (Urban Sketchers) over the last year. These are hosted by the effervescent Rob Sketcherman in Hong Kong with new guests each week from locations around the globe. Each talk ends with a challenge to sketchers. Last Sunday’s guests, Nina Johansson (Sweden) and Pedro Loureiro (Portugal) both enjoy storytelling through sketches, stemming from their interest in filmmaking and comic books, respectively. Their challenge to viewers was to tell the story of your favourite beverage. (I’ve included a screenshot of the challenge below).

I decided to give this a try, telling the story of how I get a pint of beer, here at home (I’m married to an award-winning home brewer!). It took me days to think it through, do a rough layout, then do the sketch. It was challenging but also really fun! Here’s what I came up with.

Relaxing with Harrley

Taking the time to draw is essential if you want to improve your observation and drawing skills. I sat down the other day to read, then noticed Harrley (two “r”s because he purrs so loudly) on the couch, so quickly grabbed the bare minimum to do a sketch — my 8×10 sketchbook, oversized water soluble graphite stick and a water brush. It wasn’t only Harrley that caught my eye, but also the collection of farm animal cushions stacked on the couch.

Lovin’ my latte

We got an espresso machine and now that I’ve got the hang of it, I’m enjoying an afternoon latte from time to time. And I found the perfect cup for it — a gift from my late mother-in-law. It’s very unusual (Picasso-esque handle) and very beautiful. I’m happy to be using it instead of just looking at it in the china cabinet. The wee saucer is just right to hold a piece of shortbread (the last of the season). I’m still learning how to do latte art.

Breakfast Fruit

When I was in Mexico in November 2019 I acquired a taste for papaya, a daily feature at the breakfast buffet. Now I’m hooked. Especially with a squeeze of lime on top and just a tiny pinch of salt. Hmmm, maybe I should add a drizzle of tequila!

I love the intense colour inside especially in contrast to the seeds. I delayed breakfast so I could sketch this.

Birthday Bouquet #2

Two weeks on and the flowers still look pretty good. Of course a sketch can leave out the drooping bits and dry leaves.

Though it may not show here, I am learning a lot from Shari Blaukopf’s Sketching Fresh Flowers online course. Next time I’ll use watercolour paper and a simpler grouping of flowers.

Birthday Bouquet #1

What could be better than receiving flowers when your birthday is in January, when there’s 2 feet of snow outside, and daffodils won’t be up for another 3 months. Lucky me, I received 2 bouquets. Frankly, I’m amazed that bouquets of flowers are still available, with everything going on in the world. I couldn’t help thinking of all the people involved in getting the flowers from the soil to my front door. I am grateful.

Dedicated to a friend whose birthday is today!

Squash, past and present

I do enjoy a still life. While looking out some watercolour paper I found a painting (pumpkin, squash and mango) I had forgotten about, done over a year ago and never shared. The second (orange pattypans – from 2020 harvest – in blue bowl) is from this week. I’m still working on how to show volume of orange objects. Fortunately the squash are still in good shape, so I can try again.

Oh-oh Christmas Tree

The new year got off to a slow start as far as sketching is concerned. Inspired by some sketches I saw online I finally sketched our Christmas tree (yes, it’s still up!). Having completed the drawing I looked at the pencil I’d used and exclaimed “Oh-oh!” I had used a water soluble dark blue by mistake. Oh well, I just had to work with it and try not to make a muddy mess.

Obviously I didn’t draw every decoration, just a few special ones. And the scary Santa sitting below – a craft project from about 40 years ago!

This sketch will be a reminder of the quiet covid Christmas and how lucky we felt to be safe and healthy.

Christmas goodies

Festive eating and drinking with family and friends is what this time of year is all about for me. Sadly, the festivities are different this year, but, I did receive a wonderful box of goodies from my mum. Including her wonderful fruitcake and a note of instructions on adding more rum and marzipan (supplied).

I didn’t manage to sketch the colourful packages before breaking into the McVitie’s digestives. Now that the sketch is done I can put the marzipan on the fruitcake.

I started making shortbread weeks ago (to send to family and friends) with the most recent batch made on the winter solstice, as is my personal tradition. I always mix it by hand in my granny’s old bowl (as she did), shape it using her rolling pin, then place the “cakes” on her old tins to get “well fired” as she used to say (50-55 minutes at 325°F). Yum!