Saturday, 4 October 2014

Cracked it!

Dear Diane,
Hey! How are you?! I couldn't get a table at our usual BocBoc cafe so I am re-trying a farm shop about fifteen minutes away. I came once and it was not that good but I am giving it a second go. As you can see its more countrified than our usual place and the chairs less comfortable but it was a nice sunny drive through country to get here, and its a quite place to blog and journal for a while so that's fine.

But look, I just have to show you this, I am so excited. You know how much I have struggled with  sketchbooking ( is that a word?) and how I like the immersion in the process but tend to be really disappointed with my output at the end. Well, I declare myself 95% happy with this spread. And the 5% unhappiness only relates to the ink smudges. They happened because my Platinum Carbon pen had been on a flight and like all fountain pens tended to leak a bit on first use after landing. Must be the cabin pressure or something. I didn't notice it was on my fingers. But, then again it reminds me of being on holiday so, maybe I am only 3% unhappy.

And in a roundabout way it was the holiday that made this page so happy-making. When I was in Florence I visited an art shop looking for useful souvenirs. Anything art related I didn't already have. And I ended up buying some Softaqua watercolour brushes by Raphael because they said they held twice the amount of colour of other brushes. And boy, do they! Much of my previous dissatisfaction - even after swapping to Daniel Smith paints - was my inability to get bright solid colour and to control fine lines. Turns out it was my brushes.  I don't know if, once post don line, this iPhone snap really shows it but there is a big difference in my work with these high paint  load brushes. I love them! You can get these brushes in the USA here and the UK here.

Now I need to find a good travel holder for them:)

I had had the soiled stained notes I scribbled(about what bulbs I had planted where)  set aside to write up into my garden journal for a week. Meanwhile I was debating whether or not to sign up to the storytelling class at Sketchbook Skool, simply because I am saving up for new camera lenses and I thought maybe I should put the cash in that direction. Then, hours before the class started I signed up on a whim and watched the first class early this morning in my PJ's. I have discovered that using Apple TV to watch on the full sized screen is a very good thing to do. And of course that class, on documenting a recipe ( or effectively) a creative process inspired me to go immediately and do this page.  I was amazed when I surfaced and realised I had spent nearly two hours on it. Where did that time go?!

[interlude: My soup came and it had an onion bhaji in it which was weird but absolutely fantastically delicious! If had dot photograph because of the strong side light from a window. I  am glad I tried here again!] 

Of course, whilst falling down the creative well like that is always a good thing, at the same time its not always possible for me to find such  a long time in one go.  And that brings me back to photography.

I know you love both your camera and your sketchbook and I am eagerly awaiting the delivery of my new Olympus mirrorless camera. So, I was wondering: when you are out travelling, or indeed, if you are pottering at home, what factors influence your decision to sketch or to photograph? Do you ever do both in relation to the same subject? How does the process differ for you?

I paused watching the Sketchbook Skool videos to make some toast and thought : I should draw this toast making process. Then I thought: but then the toast will go cold! Maybe I should take clever food photographs of my toast. But then, because I am still at the point and shoot stage and eagerly awaiting proper lenses and time to read my pile of photography books, I thought: but maybe a styled photo of toast isn't actually that quick. I don't know. Guess I will find out as I learn!

It will be interesting to see how the two different ways of making an image make me feel, how I experience the different media. Because I think for me a lot of making art is about that - how it makes me feel. My Softaqua brush trial gave me a "Yes!! At Last!" feeling.  Which I think ought to be celebrated with apple and berry crumble Don't you?  I'll nip down and get them. Do you want cream or ice cream with yours?


PS Something else deeply satisfying I learned whist typing this post. If you are in iOS 8 on ipad or iPhone, if you go to settings - general - keyboard - edit you can delete that IRRITATING emoticon key on the new keyboard that I kept hitting by accident. 

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