Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sketching a Birthday

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Today was my birthday!  I'm going to share with you one reason why sketching is such a wonderful thing. I spent some time this afternoon sketching some of the lovely things I got for my birthday.

Since I'm a lifelong gardener and my birthday falls at the very beginning of spring my mom almost always gets me flowers.

This year, a beautiful flat of violas. The variety is Marina for their lovely sea blue color. I prefer violas to pansies (though I love them too!). The petite size and small, squinty "faces" on violas charms my heart. Also since I adore fresh salad greens grown organically at home some Romaine lettuce and curly Simpson Elite came along with the violas.

My birthday also falls somewhere in the neighborhood of Easter so a beautiful bees wax candle shaped like an egg, was my gift to me! I picked it up at the museum today, I made a little trip there for inspiration on my birthday.

The cookies from my favorite bakery and the elegant little glass tea pot, which holds tea for one or two along with one of my favorite teas, 10 years Pu'er, Huang Gong Shou from my husband (who also cooked a marvelous dinner and ordered a double fudge cake from my favorite bakery <3).

Sketching is so marvelous because not only did these lovely gifts delight me I had the pleasure of sketching them. Taking time to really look at them, study them, get to know them and absorb their special qualities. Some, like the cookies will be gone by tomorrow(!) others like the violas and lettuce will last for a season, the tea pot will likely be with me for a long time. BUT I will always have the pages in my sketchbook,and a little journal entry that will  bring me back to this day with such clarity and vivid memory that I will never lose it.

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Here's something else I did on my birthday! Sketched form the car since it was too windy and chilly to sit outside.

I'm still trying to figure out how best to use the Pilot Pocket Brush Pen.

I've seen other people use this to great advantage, and it intrigues me.  It creates a very bold mark. Which quite frankly scares me!

I'm used to my sketches being fluid, and more delicate, refined in a scribbly, free sort of way. I think fountain pen and fine point markers lend a certain elegance to my work.

However, the expressive possibilities of this pen excite me. It's brush point is extremely responsive to pressure, more so than the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush Tip pens, or any other brush tip pen I've used. I actually think this brush tip is spring-ier than even a real Chinese brush, the kind used for Sumi-e.

The ink is fade proof, permanent, and waterproof (give it a minute to dry) and very black. The marks (lines) can be very fine and delicate but since I'm rather heavy handed I'll need to work on control. Applying any pressure and holding the brush at different angles produces all kinds of expressive marks. They are BOLD Marks! Which produces a sketch of a different quality than I'm used to seeing come from my hand.

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I can't decide if the bold sketches made with this pen are "me" or not. I think they might be but I'll need more time to experiment and get comfortable with it before I know for sure.

New tools and materials are always exciting and help us stretch and grow. Making art is an adventure, and that makes me happy!


  1. Lovely job. I wish I had thought to paint my pansies in the package when I got them for the season. next time. Love your work. Found you thru someone. I forget who.

  2. I love your work, too - discovered you on the Artist's Journal Facebook page. I'm a beginner from Narragansett - not too far from you!
    And is that an osprey on that nest already??


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