So What’s Next?

It is hard to believe that it has been almost three months since I was in Paris and last posted anything.  Because I tried to cram as much as I could into the last few days in Paris I was pretty tired by the time I boarded the plane home.  Then once back home it took at least two weeks to adjust to ‘real life’.  I have to admit I missed Paris and I especially missed drawing every day, having the luxury of so much time to myself, and being able to do whatever I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it.  Being in such an amazingly beautiful city that celebrates history and art was a wonderful experience, one that I hope I will be able to repeat someday soon.

So what’s next?  I need to find a way to incorporate a bit of my ‘Paris life’ into my life at home.  Finding balance in one’s life is a challenge many, or perhaps most people face.  I have a wonderful family and friends and I want to have time for them but I need to carve out space and time for being creative on a regular basis, time for myself.  Ideally I would be working on making art every day, or at least most days.

I started that process by attending life drawing sessions twice a week after I came home. We have a great artist organization In Edmonton called Harcourt House that offers life drawing sessions three times a week.  harcourthouse.ab.ca/  I would like to continue attending two or three times a week.  Two of the sessions are from 7:00 to 10:00 pm which is kind of late for me, but I am going to do my best.

Here are some drawings from my Harcourt House life drawing sessions.  I decided to try drawing in pen and ink to change things up a bit.   I used a fountain pen with black ink for the first three drawings.

DSC04585 A 15 minute pose,

DSC04586 and a 20 minute pose.

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This pose was only 10 minutes which is a bit of a challenge with two models.

DSC04588This 30 minute pose was drawn with a Bic Black ball point pen, which gives a completely different mark than the fountain pen.  It is almost like drawing with a pencil, changing pressure while drawing varies the darkness and width of the line. It is great inexpensive drawing tool.  A box of 12 pens is less than three dollars.

I also want to post regularly on this blog, probably not daily, but perhaps once or twice a week.  I think it will morph into more of an art blog, with occasional travels included. I am  not sure exactly how I feel about keeping a blog, still struggling with the idea of putting myself ‘out there’ but I have had such positive feedback from so many people that it has encouraged me to continue, at least for now.

I have fallen behind responding to comments, but I will get that taken care of in the next couple of days, so take a look if you have left a comment.  I do love it when people  comment on the posts and I do my best to respond to all of them.  Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to leave their thoughts.

It is the beginning of a new year, with all the promise and possibilities that brings and you may be wondering if I made any New Year’s Resolutions?  I did – my resolution is to draw everyday.  Yesterday I was about to go to bed when I realized I had forgotten all about drawing, and on the very first day!  So at 11:30 I sat down and did a half hour of drawing but I must admit it was a real struggle.  I haven’t been drawing very much the last two months with travelling (more on that later) and it showed.  It didn’t take long to lose the facility and confidence that I was starting to feel while I was drawing daily in Paris.

Did anyone else make a New Year’s resolution?  Was it art related?

 

All the Best in 2015!

A Peek Through the Big Blue Doors

 

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Another great model today.  I still haven’t spoken to very many people during these life drawing sessions, but I am on a nodding and ‘bonjouring’ level with several of the regulars. There aren’t many English speaking people here, or maybe they are like me, just not saying much.  I did have a little conversation with a woman the other day.   It was her first time here, and between my French and her English we managed just fine.

imageActually, other than the normal social niceties, the pardons, and merci’s, there hasn’t been a lot of conversation happening.  Everyone is pretty focused on their drawing, and most people tuck their finished drawings away at break time, so there is not really an opportunity to make a comment on their work and strike up a conversation that way.

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Life drawing is really almost a form of meditation, there are no thoughts about anything other than being in the moment, seeing and reacting to what you see.  In a way it is important to stop thinking about what you are doing and just let your eye be connected to your hand.  The brain can get in the way, telling us what we think we know rather than letting us see what is actually before us.

This is one of the biggest problems people have when they begin to draw.  They will draw what they think something looks like rather than really looking and seeing what they are looking at. Once a person really learns to see and draw what they see, they will begin to improve their drawing skills quite rapidly.

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The drawing sessions have a schedule for poses; the noon class has 3 x 5 minute poses, + 2 x 15 minute poses,  repos ( rest) for 15 minutes, 2 x 20 min, repos 15 min, 2 x10 min + 5 x 5 min.  I do kind of miss the fast 2 minute warm us we usually start with back home, but getting used to this routine.

As I was getting ready to leave, the model for the next session arrived and I was so tempted to stay for another three hours.  I decided to head for home, as I plan on doing both sessions tomorrow. There is a male model the second session and there aren’t many male models. Only four for the whole month; I missed the first two and there are only two more sessions with a male model, and one is  tomorrow.  I’m curious if this is because most people want to draw females, or if there is just  a shortage of men who want to model?

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This is my favourite Metro line, the M4.  It takes me to my drawing class in about a half hour.  The only reason there is no one waiting is because the train just pulled away.   Notice on the board, that another one  is due to arrive in just one minute!  I am still amazed at the efficiency of the Paris Metro.  This morning the train was absolutely jam packed for the first five stops, standing room only, and squishy standing room at that! Some people needed to step off the train so that the doors could close; it was quite the experience. We are so used to a bubble of personal space around us, and that is certainly not the case on these packed trains. My face was inches away from several people and somehow it was OK, everyone is very polite and of, course, everyone is in the same situation.

imageTaken through the window on  the M2.  All the stations have brightly coloured chairs.  Usually there is a big advertising poster on the wall, but this station had graffiti, which, by the way, is absolutely everywhere.  Most of it is just vandalism, but I have seen some rather interesting graffiti that would be classed as street art.   I’ll post some of that another time.

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And, this is where I do my blogging.  I do have a table and chairs but the bed is very comfortable, I can see out the windows, and rest a bit at the same time.  I am also have on my ‘wash and wear’ top.  I only brought one short sleeved top, thinking it was fall and that I  am usually too cold rather than too warm.  Well, today it was 28, like 33 with the humidex!  It has been way too warm to wear long sleeved tops, so this one gets rinsed out every night.

 

To blog or not to blog?

Well, here I am, blogging!  It is a bit of an intimidating proposition as I am still learning my way around my Apple computer, however I have decided that it was time for an online presence and a blog seemed like the easiest way to begin.

Why blog?  In just two days I am going to Paris for a month and I want a way to share my experiences, and record my adventures.  I have rented a lovely little apartment in the 10th arrondissement near the Canal St. Martin.  My days will be filled exploring Paris, visiting museums and art galleries, attending life drawing classes, sketching whenever possible.  I am looking forward to lazy afternoons sitting at sidewalk cafés watching the world go by, living the life of an artist in Paris.