Going loose

Looser sketches – It’s an ongoing challenge and a work-in-progress because the tendency to try to control watercolour is real, strong, and natural. However, every now and then, I get the urge to throw control to the wind and put watercolour to paper in a loose manner with no pencil or pen/ink lines to guide or constrain me.

Yesterday was one of those days.


Silver Black Velvet #8 brush and Daniel Smith watercolours in Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook



I enjoyed the 2017 Pilgrim’s Draw

When Jennifer Edwards extended the invitation to join her on her 2017 Pilgrim’s Draw, I took her up on it without any hesitation. Why? Because I followed her 2016 Pilgrim’s Draw on her blog and was fascinated, blessed, and inspired by her thoughts, insights, faith, and sketches.

This year, she offered  40 prompts of ordinary things – one for each of the 40 days leading up to Easter.  Some days I used her prompt to generate a sketch and other days, I did a sketch inspired by some other ordinary, everyday thing in my own life.

Those of us who joined Jennifer on this year’s Pilgrim’s Draw shared our sketches and thoughts on Instagram with these hashtags: #apilgrimsdraw #drawyourlife #drawcumentlife #liturgyoftheordinary plus any hashtag that were relevant to the ordinary things we drew every day.

As a Life Sketcher (sketching stuff from daily life) I’m used to sketching the seemingly  ordinary/mundane things I don’t usually appreciate or feel grateful for in the normal movement through my days. Following Jennifer’s Pilgrim Draw last year opened my eyes and my heart to the blessedness of ordinary things, and joining her this year, I’ll just say that “life sketching” took on a whole new meaning. I was inspired to look at the ordinary things in my own life from a new perspective and even to ask questions? What role does God play in the ordinary things  in my life? What lessons and truths can I learn from these seemingly ordinary things? How do I and how should I think, feel, and respond to the insights I gain?

Here are some of my sketches of ordinary things for this year’s Pilgrim’s Draw:

And onward into 2017

My word for 2016 was BRAVE. Actually it was a phrase GO BRAVE and I did.

I hunkered down, and bought a bunch of fountain pens: Lamy Safari  fountain pens, Lamy Al-Stars fountain pens, Art Alternatives Pen & Ink Sketch fountain pens, Platinum Carbon Desk fountain pen, Platinum Preppy fountain pen, and apens-i-used-for-inktober-2016


Sailor De Mannen 55 Degreee fountain pen. I have nine fountain pens and use them all every week and to keep them in good working order, I flush them every time I need to refill. I also bought 2 dip pens. Haven’t used them much but that changes this year.

Oh and my favourite permanent/waterproof inks: Platinum Carbon Black, Noodlers Bulletproof Black, Noodlers Lexington Grey, Noodlers #41 Brown and De Atramentis Document Brown. My favourite non-permanent inks – Lamy Black for tonal sketches and the Lamy Violet is solely for writing in my journal with my Lamy Safari Deep Lilac fountain pen.

Aaaahhh, the Stillman and Birn sketchbooks! I’m hopelessly in love with the Alpha, Beta and Zeta hardcover series. Needless to say, my sketchbook hoarding tendencies kicked in and I bought several sizes in each. And did the same when they came out with softcovers. I’ve filled up several and my love for them deepens as I use them.

I bit the bullet and participated in 2016 Inktober – sketches are here and here. And in addition to a couple of my usual monthly sketching challenges in my favourite Facebook groups, I took on a couple of World Watercolour Group monthly challenges. The most enjoyable challenge was food sketching – challenge indeed but so darn enjoyable and satisfying. Watercolour lover that I am I added it to most of my ink sketches. See here and here. As I posted during and after that month when I shared my sketches, I had long admired food sketches by some popular sketchers and secretly longed to try my hand at it. Well you know it is, I oogled from afar but was hesitant to try it. So I jumped at the chance to take part in the challenge. It was a hoot and I had a ball. Once I set aside my apprehension and dived in, I learned that I can roll out some decent food sketches if I take my time, really look at my subject, and Go Brave.

Okay then. So the word/thought/phrase for this year: LOOSEN UP. Why? Because I’ve had enough of my penchant for tight, neat sketches. Whenever I’ve tried a looser watercolour sketch, I like the outcome and I relish the lightness and freedom I feel and I want to experience more of that.

What else is on the cards for for 2017?

More food sketching and people sketching in particular and daily sketching in general. Now that I am babysitting my 1 yr 8mo old granddaughter, I no longer have the long uninterrupted hours doing several sketches each day. However, I make time to sketch something, anything, everyday.

With that being said, below are some of my latest sketches –

Look out for a post about some new art supplies I purchased recently.

3 years – 20 sketchbook

I’ve completed my 20th sketchbook. WOO HOO! But wait, how did I get here?

In January 2014, I set out on my art adventure and each day has been a small adventure in its own right.

Most days, with art supplies close at hand, I approach the blank, white page ready and rearing to go with a subject or two or three in mind. Some days though, I battle with a bit of trepidation (dare I, can I, should I, ….) sometimes with not a hint of inspiration. Nevertheless, I always sketch something, anything, regardless how small, simple or mundane. Plus, every now and then, I page through an old sketchbook or two to stir up some pride, self-confidence and courage.

Although I often think about what the result will look like, I am learning to ignore my inner critic who is always quick to instill fear and self-doubt to inveighle me to walk away. After three years, he (yes he) should give up by now because I’ve learned to summon and snatch inspiration from life, a photo, or my imagination. I touch my pen or pencil to the page and I sketch my little heart out. I fine-tune and I add colour. Then I share my sketches on Instagram and in several sketching groups on Facebook. Every now and then (not as often as I think I should) I publish a post here with sketches, which automatically goes directly to Twitter.

Before 2014, I never imagined, but quickly found out, that there is a world of supportive artists/sketchers online (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, websites/blogs) and I’ve joined them. We share our art/sketches, we encourage one another, we offer advice, we share our experiences (discoveries, triumphs and strugles) and share information (art supplies, books, links to videos, etc.)  And we do all that because we readily admit that we are not perfect, we are not masters, we don’t know it all, and we embrace the fact that we learn something new always every day on our own individual art journeys. What a community!

Taking time to feed my passion

Sometimes you have to set aside the day’s busyness to feed your paassion.

I took a break from sewing curtains to sketch my Singer Sewing Machine.

What did I use? Sailor Fude De Mannen fountain pen (55 degreee nib) with Noodlers Bulletproof Black ink, Prima watercolours and Winsor and Newton Drawing inks in my Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook. I used my Speedball dip pen and the Drawing inks (Blue, Orange and Red) for lettering and other details.