Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Digital Portraits

Since the beginning of the year I have been trying to draw portraits more often. One of the easiest ways to make this happen is to do them digitally using the Procreate app. It’s so convenient to pick up an Apple Pencil and draw a few lines while waiting for something. And the clean up afterwards - well there’s none! 

Last year I upgraded my iPad Air to the  iPad 2018 and this, combined with the Apple Pencil, really is a game-changer. Previously I had been using a Jot Pro stylus which was alright but still quite difficult to use. When I look at some of these earlier portraits I can see the struggle. 

I also took a couple of online courses through Sktchy with Lisa Fillion. This improved my ability use Procreate more extensively and with more confidence. I enjoy the way I can now add textured paper to the background, move elements of the drawing around and just have a lot of fun. 

My first portrait was posted on the 18th April 2015. To date, I have completed 308 portraits.
Joan Martin was the first person to draw my attention to the app. It took me a while to “get it” but once I hooked I didn’t look back. Thanks, Joan.







Sktchy chooses portraits that they like to be featured as a “Pick” so when one of my early Procreate portraits was chosen I was thrilled. 





The Sktchy community is one of the most supportive online groups. The muses are provide a never-ending source of inspiration and my fellow artists are generous with support and encouragement. 



Monday, 22 July 2019

Back in the day - one small step...

Fifty years - it really doesn’t seem that long ago. 

On the 20th July 1969 I was in my second year of Art School in South Africa. I was scheduled for a painting lecture but announced to my lecturer that I was going to the Students Union so I could listen to the historic moon landing in the radio. 




Why listen on the radio I hear you say? Remember this was 1969 in South Africa. The Nationlist government with their rigid, Calvinistic approach deemed television to be a threat to its control of the broadcasting media and a threat to the Afrikaans language. BJ Vorster termed TV "The Devil’s Box". Television was not introduced nation wide until the beginning of 1976. We were so isolated from the rest of the world.




So while the rest of the world watched the grainy footage of Neil Armstrong stepping on to the surface of the moon and hear him utter the now iconic words:   “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” I listened to this historic event on the radio. 

(My lecturer came to check up on me to see that I was where I said I would be!). 

Later, we would see footage of the moon landing at the cinema where it would be shown along with other news. Now if something newsworthy happens I can watch it on my phone. Times have indeed changed.





In contrast, Australia played an important role in the broadcast of moon landing to the world. on Saturday night I watched a movie, The Dish, which told the story of the satellite dish in a sheep paddock in Parkes, New South Wales which broadcast the images to the world.









Monday, 15 July 2019

De-cluttering is good for the soul.

Each year our complex undergoes a check for termites. It’s a time when I need to wrestle with my storage area under the stairs. Useful as it is to have a place to store “stuff” unfortunately it often, no usually, becomes an area where things are shoved unceremoniously and pile haphazardly on top of other things. It gets to the stage where it becomes a "No Entry Possible" zone. In order for the area to be checked, it needs to be empty so that’s what I have been doing. 

I made a resolution this time to reduce the amount stored here. I planned to de-clutter anything that hasn’t been used since the last inspection. That’s easier said than done, because it’s tempting to fall into the trap of thinking an item might be useful in the future.

Upstairs I have a spare bedroom where I store canvasses. This too, has become crowded and many of the paintings are ones that haven’t worked. A few I have recycled and painted new paintings over the failed first attempt. This is often not good practice since the subsequent layers can be prone to cracking if the “fat over lean” principle is not adhered to. 

Oils can be painted over acrylic but the additional layers need a higher oil content than the underpainting. Acrylic can never be painted on top of oils since the new layers will simply peel off. 

There were a few stretcher frames that were not square or of poor quality. Some of the paintings were those that came in my container. A few paintings I will keep as a record of past themes but there were quite a few that just didn’t make the cut. These got the cut literally when I got busy with the Stanley knife and slashed the canvas to ribbons! 



SO SATISFYING! 

Now I need to have a Studio sale and find homes for some still in storage.