It finally rains again, after a very dry summer. It seems that autumn has arrived suddenly, yesterday in the space a few hours: sudden rain, wind, clouds, temperature drop of nearly 15 degrees Celsius. It made a refreshing changement and a few evenings with wonderful skies.
Tempelhofer Feld in August
Wind and clouds, no rain yet
Rainy evening – the sky was as pink as the street, but the picture doesn’t show it
I have impatiently waited for autumn, as I do almost every year. Now that the weather changed, I feel a new energy, the one I remember from my childhood, when autumn meant going back to school: new books, new topics, new pens and pencils, warm clothes, quietness indoors. I am ready to celebrate autumn and new beginnings, with the joy that others associate with spring and the rebirth of nature. I celebrate the red and gold of falling leaves, the arrival of autumn groceries (I love pumpkins!), the coziness of staying indoors and taking care of the house, the joy of getting ready for winter, when nature stays dormant for many months. Autumn is for me the bountiful harvest at the end of vegetative season, the fireworks of nature, a season of bright light.
After many months of patient knitting, here is the result:
I opted for a warm and colourful sweater with some extra challenge. Strange Brew pattern looked promising, as it was simply explained and open to customisation. I used a spreadsheet to test various pattern and colours (putting numbers in each cell, and using colouring rules according to those numbers to test out different colour palettes), and then headed for the wool shop to buy all I needed:
… the challenge of alternating colours started right away, and turned out to be fun:
It was a nice knitting project to do, except maybe for the boring body part worked in the round… but the yoke was worth waiting for. Now the last step is wet blocking, and then I’ll wear it! Luckily it’s still cold in my city 😉
Today I wanted to make a painting out of yesterday’s study of a foal. At first I thought of watercolour, but as I tidied up my pencils, pens, paints and paper in the past few days, I thought I could give acrylic paint a go. I have little idea of the proper techniques so I just tried painting with blue. Here is the result:
I especially like the neck, with its soft shadows. I painted several layers over the legs, but I’m not as happy with them as with the neck and head. Any tips from more experienced artists? Just type a comment below! I’d be very grateful for your feedback.
Today I dedicated some time to drawing, after a pretty long break. I was in my local library, reading a horse magazine, and found the picture of a foal particularly sweet, so I decided to copy it. Its pose was quite challenging:
I first measured the total height and width of the foal with my pencil, and found out they were the same, so I transferred the measurements on the sketchbook and drew a large square. Then I measured with the pencil some intermediate points, like where the ears met the square, where the elbow was, how high was the hip from the bottom of the square. I didn’t make much measures and started outlining the shapes right away. Therefore, when later I looked at the picture and the drawing side to side, I had to make a few adjustments in the proportions.
I then used a pink pencil to draw some schematic lines, like the midline of the head, and the circle where the neck meets the body. It was not easy at all, with the foal lying on the grass all bended in many directions. I chose a red pencil to draw over the outlines, so that the pink lines represented only imaginary boundaries. I finally drew light blue lines that connected the eyes, the shoulders and the hips (well, for the hips I was only able to guess). After double-checking with the picture, I made some corrections with a green pencil:
I’m going to continue another day, by using a new sheet of paper and copying only the outlines, and then proceed to draw the shading. I will maybe do another sketch with watercolour, to quickly test the main shaded areas, and to resume with that technique too. I’ll keep you posted!
Yesterday was the sunniest day of the last three weeks. The yellow of the few leaves still left on the trees made a nice contrast with the blue sky.
I gladly basked in the sun while waiting for my train… and I wasn’t the only one:
I came home and baked my best bread ever, #42. I made a single cut, deeper than usual, and the crust opened nicely around it. I let the upper heat on for ten minutes more, and the crust came out deliciously crispy. It’s the fourth time I follow this recipe, I think I won’t get it wrong anymore!
Yesterday evening I wanted to test the new watercolour paper I bought a while ago, and as I had limited time and no real subject in mind, I practiced the blending of two colours. I made different tests with more or less water, often too much water 🙂 and finished with a cloud and a horse.
My current difficulty with watercolour is to guess how much water I am using, therefore how diluted is the colour I’m using. Therefore I’m starting with simple, abstract forms instead of real objects. Comments and suggestions are always welcome!
I have started to take a picture of the large tree next to my usual bus stop, to track the colour of its leaves during fall, and the changing light. I make the pictures standing on the same manhole cover, so that the framing is quite consistent. I am not very regular in taking pictures, but I try to remind myself about it every time I walk there.
The process was free, the shapes came out from a first random brush stroke, that suggested the subject of the small painting; a linear stroke invited more linear strokes to represent tall grass or slender trees, while curved strokes reminded me of oak trees, like the green one.
My first steps of watercolour are about learning to control the brush, so they are not anything close to reality; nevertheless, I had much fun just practising these basics.They reminded me the free canvas use by children, who are additionally learning to control their hand. It was for me a happy jump in the past, in the times where I could draw and paint without thinking about the time or the use of paper.
I hope this encourages you to try too: you only need paper (any kind is OK for the start, it only has to be a bit thick, otherwise it bends with water) and a watercolour set! Hint: shopping for these supplies is a feast on its own 🙂