Thursday, July 28, 2011

Basket Full of Yarn

I was in an Art Expressions Bible study class a couple years ago and was introduced to the idea of Water Color Journaling.  You take something about your day, a special event, or just something you want to highlight and document, and you do a watercolor of it. It becomes a pictorial journal.  You can also write on your painting to make it even more like a journal.

In class we were given a passage of Scripture and some time to meditate on it, often through a nature walk. Then we'd come back to the room and draw and paint the little tidbits of nature we picked up. We'd write about how God spoke to us on our walk with Him, or what He "said" to us through nature.

A water color journal doesn't have to be all about Scripture.  I have a friend who is a wonderful painter; she will sometimes go to the park, the zoo, the botanical gardens, or away for a painting weekend with a friend and she adds paintings and musings to her bound watercolor journal book.

All that explanation is to introduce a drawing & watercolor I did at home one night after I learned about this neat form of noting something special in one's life.  I was so excited about knitting at the time and I loved seeing my basket full of yarn sitting on the fireplace hearth, that I decided to draw and paint it.

This form of drawing is called Blind Contour Drawing...well, a modified and "cheated" version.  A blind contour drawing is where you look only at the subject and not at your paper.  You're not supposed to pick up your pencil either.  Yes, it's tough, but it's actually kind of fun. It certainly levels the playing field among students of varying degrees of artistic skill. 

What it really does is teach you to see.  It teaches you to draw only what you see.  Very often, when drawing, our mind assumes things about the subject. Information previously known about the subject can interfere with what we're actually seeing.  Angles, perspectives, etc., can get messed up when we draw what we assume rather than what we see.  This kind of exercise teaches us to really see what we're drawing and it teaches our brain to communicate more literally with our hand.  I enjoy it quite a bit.

Like I said, I kind of cheated on this one.  I glanced up a little bit throughout the drawing and also went back in to fill in some detail like the cross hatches on the basket and the yarn lines.  But, most of it I did blindly. And since there's no Drawing Cop hanging over me when I draw, it didn't harm my purpose at all. I drew the contours blindly (with a couple cheats) and then loosely went back to fill in detail to bring it more to life.  Then I painted in with water colors. Apart from the weird and way-too-big word, "Knitting", I'm very pleased with the outcome.

And I do love a basket full of yarn.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Seeing Names

My cat, Mini, was a tortie. I got her when I was in second grade and had her all the way through my Junior year in high school. With my second grade mindset, I named her Mini because as a kitten she looked so tiny compared to her huge eyes. My mom always thought I named her Minnie, as in Mouse or Pearl. But no. I always spelled it Mini, as in small.

It's funny how people can say the same name but spell it differently in their minds. I always "see" words in my mind. I don't know if this is common or uncommon but I do. When I say a word, often times I "see" it spelled out in my mind. Someone can say the name "Laurie" but if I'm seeing "Lori" in my mind, I get totally confused in the conversation and can't figure out who they're talking about! Reminds me of Anne of Green Gables who requested that people "please say her name with an 'e 'on the end because it's so much more elegant than Ann without an 'e'."