Sunday, 9 September 2012


I was on a film set yesterday, in a big room, in Waterloo Station, lots of people. We were waiting and drinking coffee and talking. Lots of people I had not seen for years. So I took out my ipod and did a couple of sketches.
Not enough, though, I was thinking, nowhere near how hard somebody like Hockney works. And we were talking about success, what makes success. I felt that I didn't care about that, ultimately, that it's all in the process. It's all in the dedication, but also in letting things flow and happen. Then somebody questioned as to whether I do let things happen, because I wasn't sure about reading my poetry at an event this month. I didn't know how I felt about real, solid, three-dimensional people. This indecision made me suffer. Being in a room with two hundred people made me suffer, and yet it was elating. Very strange. I woke up this morning and decided to read my poetry at the event in October. Not only that, but I am also going to publish a new book, and be out there, with real people, and here too with cyber people. Let it flow. Live for the moment, see where it all goes, sit in my little boat lulled and pushed downstream by the great river.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

EDM#44 and burnt beads


I went for a walk with hubby in Kenwood today, it was warm and grey and kind of muggy, strangely pleasant though. We went to the duck pond and suddenly I remembered that I had not done any EDMs yesterday or today. So, I thought it was the perfect location for EDM#44, Draw an animal. There were no ducks around but I found two pigeons perched on a tree. They were very still as if they were posing. As soon as I started drawing them, they moved, of course. So, the pigeon on the right ended up looking like a parrot. But there are parrots in Kenwood, so there, I could always say it was meant to be a parrot. The truth is that lately I have been very distracted by... beads. So here is the story. On Friday I went to the library to browse in the art section, and my attention was drawn by a book on the history of beads. I flicked through it and I was hooked. It was a magical experience. Beads have been part of human history for over 30,000 years, they appear in all the human cultures. And they can be seriously beautiful. Apart from the Murano beads with which I am very familiar as a Venetian, I discovered Chinese beads, African ones, ornamental ones, shamanic ones. Oh, I liked those, made of bones, teeth, bits of wood. I thought I could make myself shamanic necklaces, picking up little stones when I travel, and collecting unusual beads. A whole world of beads opened before the eyes of my imagination. I spent the following day browsing for beads on ebay, millions, trillions of amazing and not so amazing beads. They are made of all sorts of material, glass, plastic, wood, and, yes, polymer clay. The Chinese make tiny funny clay beads in the shapes of animals, the Buddha, teapots and what not. So the seed was (tragically) planted. I had to, absolutely had to, make my own beads. I happened to have some fymo (that's the upside of hoarding), and I got working. I made marbled beads, rabbit beads, and, of course, "me" beads. I put them on a tray, shoved them in the oven and in no time at all... the smoke was so dense you had to wear a gas mask around the flat. Poor Me and Rabbits, completely charred. I sat like a child who's just dropped an ice cream, until hubby shook me by the shoulders and said, Try again. So I did. And here you are: charred rabbit on the left, me in the middle and not charred rabbit on the right. Ok, they are not the best beads you've ever seen, but hey, what a journey!

Monday, 3 September 2012

EDM#43 Draw something china

When I go to the gym, which at the moment is almost every day, I like to get a pot of Earl Grey tea afterwards in the gym's juice bar. I have library books on my smartphone and an app with ambient music. I am very happy reading books on my phone and feel no need to buy an ebook reader. It's about the only gadget I don't feel attracted to. My council library is now online, so I get to read a lot of cool books. At the moment I'm reading The Nautical Chart by Arturo PĂ©rez-Reverte. I listen to my ambient seagulls and ocean, and read about the sea while drinking my tea. The tea set of the juice bar is white china, so, instead of reading, yesterday I pulled out my little square book and did a drawing of the teapot and milk jug with a ballpoint pen. I should have drawn the cup as well. The bottom of the cup is square and sits on a saucer with a square hollow, so to put the cup back on the saucer after every sip requires a certain amount of skills in order to match the corners. I wonder what designers are thinking, sometimes, when they come up with these ideas.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

2 EDMs and small sketchbooks

Yesterday was a groundbreaking day. I get that a lot, where solutions to age long problems come up out of the blue, and they are so simple, really. So obvious. There are things that I like to do, but  don't do quite as much because of logistics. One of them is sketching outside because the material, for how light it is, is still too heavy for me to carry in my bag - unless I am specifically going out to sketch. What dawned on me yesterday is that I could make tiny books, A6 or smaller, and just carry a pen, take a photo reference for the colours and add those at home. This way, wherever I am, I can sketch quickly. Here are two quick challenges: #35, Draw a bicycle or part of one:

 And this is EDM #41, Draw a landmark of your city:

Both sketches were done in less than 15 minutes. The bike took longer because I don't know how to ride a bike, so I don't even really know what they look like. Also because I could perch on a bike rail.
For the second one, I was lucky that I have a landmark of London quite local to me, Alexandra Palace. I had nowhere to sit for this, the view was blocked by trees, there was a busy ice cream van with screaming children, so I drew really quickly, not more than 3 minutes. And then I put some watercolour to both sketches at home, the bike from memory and Ally Pally from a quick photo reference on my mobile phone.
I used recycled paper for this square(ish) sketchbook, scraps of different colours, bits of envelopes, etc. Every page is different, and because I ignored the grain direction, it is also kind of wonky, but it gives me a lot of freedom to draw quickly, make mistakes, experiment. Here are the small books I've made so far, the wonky book is the blue one. I also create my own printed cover paper, and that is a lot of fun:
The moral of this story is, when you have a problem, or face an obstacle, identify it and be open to finding a solution. There will be one.