Singapore Reflections

I had Big Plans for sketching in Singapore. I wanted it to be like my Europe sketchbook (12) but with a way higher pictures to days ratio, and in colour. I had visions of making a beautiful stop-motion video of sketches appearing on a desk, taking you all on a journey through my trip.

As it is I came back with a lot of sketchy scribbles and colour notes and photos and ideas, and things that mean a lot to me.  There were a lot of lessons about materials (crayons melt in the heat) and sketching methods (as above: using memories instead of actual material can help me narrow down a picture to its key elements instead of overworking). And I learned some more about the sorts of things I want to make.

But I didn’t end up with a lot that I really want to share. So I’ll just leave you with this, and a link to my instagram for the two sketches I posted while away.

Every now and then you just gotta set some harsh limitations on yourself. In this case, a (pre-made) sketchbook sketch, and a playlist that lasted 32 minutes. 

I think I needed to focus on making myself work slowly and carefully for a while there. There’s a time and place for that. But there also needs to be a time and place for coloured, ‘rendered’ art that’s not perfect, just done. I’ve been overthinking that stage of the process. And this was fun 🙂

6. Isaac Levitan, Stormy Day (1897)

7. John Singer Sargent, A Street in Venice (1882)

8. Photo from @pisces-texte 

Also two more that will not be scanned and uploaded because… eugh.

This is… harder… and taking longer than anticipated. Kinda feels like maybe I should have tried to paint simpler things first? Anyway. Finally moving on to the next lesson’s homework. But I really think that in order to improve I’m mostly just going to have to paint more regularly.

Tease-Rex and Maple Rose at Dr Sketchy’s in Melbourne last night! 

I’ve been wanting to go to a Dr Sketchy’s since I first discovered Molly Crabapple, and I’ve been intending to go since I moved to Melbourne. Last night, finally, I actually went and I had a great time. Everyone was friendly, the atmosphere was relaxed, and drawing was the good kind of struggle 🙂

1. Clara Southern, An old bee farm (1900)

2. Arthur Streeton, Still glides the stream, and shall forever glide (1890)

3. Isaac Levitan, The evening bells ringing (1892)

4. Hans Heysen, Droving into the light (1914-21)

5. Arthur Streeton, The creek (1925)

I’m learning to paint. And taking Nathan Fowkes’ plein air painting course on Schoolism as one way to get there. The homework is to do 10 ‘quick’, small, and simplified greyscale studies of landscape paintings. I’m halfway through and, guys, it’s hard. The purpose of the assignment seems to be to learn about composition but I am mostly just struggling with the paint.

From the very beginning of starting art, it’s been a battle with myself to be patient with a piece. To think before laying down a line. To recover from a mistake thoughtfully rather than desperately trying to fix it with more and faster lines. To not give up when something goes wrong. Coming back to traditional art is really pulling those things into focus again. The more successful of the paintings were simply the ones where I was in the right mindset. Where I didn’t become impatient or scared or frustrated, and where I dealt with mistakes as a part of the process.

I’m most proud of the Heysen study, because I did make a few mistakes there and get right to the edge of impatience before pulling myself back to taking care. I think I mostly managed it because I love the Heysen painting so much that I really wanted the final study to look good, and I really wanted to learn as much from the painting as I could.

So, send me your fave landscapes, I’ve had a heavy dose of Australians and I could probably hack some other nationalities now. (But also send me your fave Aussies too.) I’m gonna need at least five more and I’d put my bets on next lesson’s homework being similar studies with just a few more colours involved…

This was… meant to be a much bigger entire complex book cover, with character included. And I’ll probably re-use the idea, and the rest of the sketch. But given that I’m trying to improve I also know that it’s important for me to just move on. Quality over quantity and whatnot, even though the skill I’m learning requires patience and concentration.

So here, I drew this with real live pencils 🙂