Category Archives: Drawing

On this day – January 31st

The last day of my browse through seven years of January posts. I have enjoyed reflecting on my past moments, captured in words and pictures, and sometimes seeing them in a new light now time has passed. Two years ago I was reflecting on my experiment of drawing things instead of describing them in words, but discovering that I still liked words too…

Recently I came across these words of Marcel Proust; “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”.

And, perhaps, new ears and new awareness of sounds, smells, tastes and textures all around us…

Keep paying attention, my friends!

January 31st 2017

If I’m honest I have to admit I sliced open this watermelon because I thought it might be good to draw, not because I particularly like water melon. Won as a part of a fruit basket raffle prize, it is not a fruit I would normally buy to eat. 

I was not disappointed with the bright pink flesh hidden inside the green skin, but I didn’t find it easy to capture the shape and colour, and the juiciness of the fruit. In fact after I had finished I realised that the slice was sitting in a little puddle of its own juice, and I had missed that altogether on my picture. 

I have spent a month looking and drawing what (I thought) I could see in front of me. It has been an interesting challenge and changed the way I look at things. I have loved exploring the line and shape of my surroundings, and watercolour is such a quick and delicate way to capture shades and tones. 

But when I took a spoon to the melon I discovered it was much juicier and sweeter than I had expected and distinctly fragrant! There’s more to life than what we can see… 

More senses (and artistic mediums/media) needed.


On this day – January 28th

By the time we reached this date in January last year I had given up posting here! My last comment (January 26th) was a sketch of my glue bottle and remarks about feeling stuck.

This is the time of year when I find it hard to keep going. January seems to last for ever, and the days are dark and cold. But browsing through my posts for this date in past years I also find hints of what keeps me going. One is being creative in some way, stitching most often. The other is in discovering the garden’s ability to continue to grow through the dark moments.

Two years ago today I sketched some early rhubarb. The exuberant and almost neon colouring of forced rhubarb is always a surprise, and is a great reminder that even in the dark short days of winter there is hidden sweet brightness just waiting to be discovered.

January 28th 2017

Not yet enough for a crumble, but sufficient stalks and leaves emerging from the dark earth to give a little thrill. The intense pink and acid yellow colours of the early forced rhubarb provides a jolt of pleasure, and gives me a moment of wonder as to how such bright vivid colour can be produced in a complete absence of light, only revealed when I lift the cover.

However it does it, it always cheers me up!

On this day – January 24th

I didn’t go back far today in my browse through my January small stones. Two years ago I sketched the same chair I am sitting in this morning, and it certainly isn’t beautiful! I notice I have added another cushion since I drew it two years ago, crocheted from a colourful ball of wool in my stash. But what a mish mash, and how muddled it looks! And the piles of books and papers around it appear equally disorganised.

img_3197But this eclectic hotchpotch of a chair has supported and inspired me through many creative endeavours. So I will just accept it that way, and be grateful for somewhere to sit and dream.

January 24th 2017

A rather weird drawing experience this morning. On impulse I got out of the chair I was sitting in, and looked at it, and  decided to sketch it. This is where I have spent many, many hours writing my journal and my blog. This is the chair I have sat on while reading, researching and writing for my Masters in Creative Writing. And this month I have done most of my sketches sitting here. 

An old second hand tub chair draped in a huge Indian shawl throw, given to me by a friend, I have it padded out with two mismatched cushions. One cushion is a patchwork of some of my favourite blue Kaffe Fassett fabrics, which I cut and peiced together with great care. Most days I don’t look at the cushion at all, I just sit on it and squash it out of shape, completely disregarding the time and effort I spent in making it. 

But today I have looked with new eyes at the chair and the cushions which have been supporting me throughout those hours. I noticed the soft folds and subtle shapes of the throw and thought of the friend who gave it to me. I remembered the precision with which I cut the patchwork shapes for the back cushion, and recollected that the seat cushion was a sale bargain from Laura Ashley over thirty years ago. The chair itself was an eBay buy, with a previous life. This incongruous hotchpotch of things from the past, so often unacknowledged and unappreciated, is the trusty place which holds me secure as I sit and contemplate the day. It is far from empty…

On this day – January 20th

Today it is this post from a couple of years ago which caught my attention. Unfinished projects are so common for any of us who sew, paint or craft things! To be honest I can’t even remember if this knitting was ever finished or, if not, where it is now. And perhaps it doesn’t matter – sometimes the process is more important than the product.

January 20th 2017

Recently a friend who was recovering from some surgery sent me a message to tell me that she was “fine-ish”. The predictive spelling decided she meant “finished”, and that’s how it was sent. She hastened to send another message assuring me she certainly wasn’t finished!

This knitting which sits beside my chair is definitely not finished. I have been working on it from time to time for many months, probably more than a year. I frequently forget where I am on the pattern. But it grows slowly on the needles. And as I’ve been drawing it today I wondered if I actually want it to be finished. I am not sure it will still fit the purpose for which it was originally intended. But in the meantime it provides me with the satisfying feeling of soft wool between my fingers, and the rhythmic click of the needles moving as I work along another row. Perhaps it will always remain “unfinished” but it still has a function, providing me with moments of relaxation and calm (and something to draw in my journal!)  Not finished, but fine-ish…

On this day – January 15th

I didn’t get the perspective quite right when I drew this mug two years ago, but that doesn’t matter – it is still a reminder of a gift from my mum. And the mug is still going strong…

January 15th 2017

I have had this mug for over twenty five years. I am very fond of it because it was the last Christmas present I received from my mum. She had bought me a set of four china mugs painted with colourful flowers on a black ground, but sadly she died just before she could give them to me in person. I opened her gift after her death, and for many years couldn’t bring myself to use them, preserving them carefully in the china cabinet.

More recently I have decided get them out of the cupboard and use them. Yes, some of the set have broken, but I still have two left. This one, with the sweet peas, is the mug that holds my tea or coffee most mornings. I use it knowing that it too won’t last for ever, eventually the rim will chip, the handle crack or it will get dropped and break. But I enjoy it while it lasts, knowing that my memories of my mum, and her many gifts to me don’t reside in this mug. They are deep in me, and those she loved, and will live on long after this piece of china has gone.

On this day – January 11th

Drawing this chair two years ago evoked many memories at the time. Looking at it today the memories are even clearer; it is as though the process of capturing it visually and writing about it focused my attention on its history. I have since discovered a circa 1930’s photo of the dining room of the house where my mother grew up, featuring one of these chairs. These chairs have outlived my grandfather and my mother, and I am glad to have them in my home while I have room, even though they are showing their age.

Another joy of journaling! My sketches and writing help me hold on to precious memories even when the objects and the people are no longer with me.

January 11th 2017

This old chair is one of a set of six we have scattered around our house. They belonged to my maternal grandfather, I remember them from when we visited him as children. 

We don’t use them much these days, they are a bit uncomfortable, sagging springs and joints that aren’t as strong as they were. But when I was younger I often sat on them round the tea table with my grandparents. I can remember twiddling the loose spindles on the back, and rubbing the smooth brass studs along the fabric edge, often impatient and wanting to run off and play.  The sun always seemed to be shining through the windows when we stayed with them, although I also remember the excitement of snow when we visited them one Easter.

It’s strange where memories go; this old chair holds many of mine, mainly forgotten until I sat down and drew its shape this morning and found them reappearing like ghosts from the faded velvet covers.

On this day – January 10th

A more recent posting from just one year ago. There are no sweet iris on my windowsill this year but their memory is captured in the sketch I made. Not just the flowers are recorded here, but also my ponderings as I was drawing them. Thoughts can be lost so easily but writing them down preserves them and then they surprise me later. That’s the wonderful thing about journalling!

January 10th 2018

Why bother to draw these little beauties on my kitchen window sill? A supermarket buy, bought on a whim when they were unpromising green spikes, they are now bursting with colour. Why not just gaze at them and enjoy while I make my morning coffee?

Well, Michelangelo (no less) told a pupil to “keep drawing and do not waste time”. So, coffee beside me, I tried to draw the iris. I thought I had already paid close attention to their shape and beauty, but drawing them was another matter. Making lines to match their shape from my position was a challenge. And as to their colour – it was impossible to capture with my set of sketching watercolours.

So was it a waste of time? Not for me. I know so much more, about the flowers themselves, their structure and form, not to mention my perspective on them, simply by making lines on a page and filling them with shades and tones.

I don’t draw what I know – I draw to discover, and know more.