View Full Version : Two pages on a new path

07-13-2010, 03:16 PM
Hi to all the sketchbook/journal keepers here.
Having been away from this site for a long time, I've now discovered this forum and have been hugely enjoying all herein. The diversity is wonderful. I've tried a few times to keep to a visual journal, but I never consistently stick at it. This forum has led me to the 21 day sketch habit website and I started today, but I changed the 1st exercise to something that felt more right for me. Instead of a 'how I feel' page I made a 'revealing line page' and instead of picking out images in the doodles, I 'read' them and recreated imaginary scenes from them into another sketchbook. That way I get to keep the original 'revealing lines' (Another day they might reveal something else).

This is a completely new way of working for me. I've never drawn like this before so I'm very excited, because the most important thing for me right now is learning to work with and trust my imagination. I've always been hung up on technique and skill and frustrated by my lack of it. But whats the use of it without a personal vision? So this is what I want to develop in my new sketchbooks.

I won't bore you with pages and pages of my attempts on this journey, but I'm posting this to thank you all here for sharing your journal journeys and helping me on my road. If anyone finds this helpful too I will be so happy.


I want to make paintings from these, but I need to work out how to design them with tone and colour and I just don't know where to begin on that one. I suppose yet another sketchbook is needed!


07-13-2010, 03:31 PM
Why another sketchbook? Unless you want to, of course. I think you could develop the drawings further on subsequent pages. These are great free form line drawings. Looking forward to seeing more.

07-13-2010, 07:30 PM
This is a very creative idea. I really like it, and I like what you have done so far. I agree with Debby you don't need to go to another sketchbook to develop them further, do that here and it will be a record of the full journey and would be great to see.

07-13-2010, 08:01 PM
Xina, I like that idea! I think some of them could definitely be worked up with tone and color, and if it were me, I would keep them in the same sketchbook, since they are a continuation of the same concept.

07-13-2010, 08:33 PM
Welcome Xina! I'm glad you decided to join the fun here. What a great idea you had to preserve the original "revealing lines" and perhaps be inspired by them again on another day. I sense a lot of emotion in the sketches that came from them. For some reason, the shapes and the rhythm remind me of Renoir.

Very nice start. Can't wait to see where you go with these and any others you decide to do.


07-13-2010, 10:39 PM
Thank you Jean, Michelle, Jacqui and Debbie. Its lovely to get your positive responses.

The reason I need another sketchbook to continue developing these is because the paper in the spiral sketchbook is too thin and smooth to take anything but pencil. I'm thinking of trying gouache or pastel to work out possibilities. I'm interested in your comment about Renoir Jean, I love Renoir, but never thought my work had any relationship to his style, but I do see it here now that you pointed to it.

But I just have to share this strange thing. This evening I got a phone call from my daughter anouncing she is pregnant. This was totally unexpected because she and her partner never expressed their desire for a baby. They are both thrilled. It was only later that it struck me that my 'revealing lines' had connected to this!! Here is the list of 'discoveries' that I wrote on the facing page.


So from the list I chose to draw:-

1. figures in a park - child in buggy, mother figure and distracted youth with an additional male. The youth became a young female. So this drawing has turned out to be a visioning of my daughters future family because her partner has a young teenage daughter.

3. crowd of figures - became just the two figures, a couple with a baby.

and the one I didn't draw but saw it and wrote down, number 6. - embryo/unborn.

I'm pretty startled at this. Keep this up and I could start fortune telling!

So now I'm even more motivated to develop these into paintings, and include the unborn one too.

I'm up late tonight. Too wide awake to sleep.


07-14-2010, 03:55 AM
I'm pretty startled at this. Keep this up and I could start fortune telling!

:lol: :lol: :lol: :wink2:


07-14-2010, 06:20 AM
Congratulations! Your first day drawings are great and that's so cool you wound up predicting their pregnancy announcement.

I'm also relieved to find someone else that didn't like the "how I feel" aspect of that exercise. I blocked completely on it and did something else for the first day because of that theme.

Paying attention to how I feel is the last thing I want to do. That's not a good idea for anyone with chronic pain -- life, art and everything else go lots better if I don't pay attention to how I feel. Sometimes when pay more attention to what I'm doing and who's around me, I can work around it.

Vivien Maloney
07-14-2010, 08:03 AM
This is a great idea and your doodles and subsequent sketches are very creative and yes, it would be good to take them further into a painting. Your story about the pregnancy is very interesting and would make you feel as it you had some extra-sensory knowledge. Real life is often so much more amazing than imagination! I have looked at the Sketch a day" site but as yet haven't joined in but I like the idea. I'll follow this Sketchbook/Journal with interest. Thanks for posting.

07-14-2010, 09:50 AM
Thank you Robert and Viv.
Robert I, of course, have looked at your journals here which just stagger me, and I was suprised you wanted to do the 21 sketch habit because of all people you're the one that doesn't need it. You are a sketchbook superhero as far as I'm concerned. But then again you are so interested in everything,(part of you must be a cat because your curiosity and desire to investigate is so strong) that maybe its not so suprising. Tonight when all chores are done I'll come back to look at your journals again. They're so great.

Well I wasn't going to post any more of my 21 days, but changed my mind. I want to see if 21 days will really establish the habit, and this thread could be a sort of journal of my experience of it.

Today although tired after very little sleep I was looking forward to Day 2. But I spent AGES on it. Looking through magazines, choosing my little rectangles, trying to decide where to stick them on the page. I really do make mountains out of molehills - nothing like the video demonstration where she just whizzes through the exercise in a matter of minutes.

I have a handful of random colours of polychromas pencil crayons so decided to use what I had and see how it turned out.

When doing this I felt completely lost, and was wondering if I was wasting my time. However now its done I regard it at as an extremely useful exercise, and will definitely be doing more of these. This is the kind of work I NEED to do no matter how lost and uncomfortable I feel. I have to learn to accept failed experiments and let them go - its only a page in a book! Probably the main reason why I never got the sketch habit is my just wanting all the pages to be good stuff. How silly.


I turned it horizontal as this is my preferred view of it. This kind of work is so great for getting the imagination working. Again I can see subject matter for paintings. I always thought I didn't have much of an imagination, but maybe the power of imagination is like a muscle that just has to be used to get strong. And probably lack of confidence makes it shrink or prevents it finding its power. Hey aren't sketchbooks/journals great!!!


07-14-2010, 11:31 AM
Wow! Xina, it is so fantastic that your first exercise ends up having so much personal meaning! Congratulations on the grandbaby. You must just be thrilled.

I love the way your collage extension turned out. The lines and colors are so delicate and so cohesive. And I definitely relate to your comments about thinking you don't have much imagination. I have always been frustrated in my work that I can reproduce almost anything that I see in a photo and sometimes in real life, but I have trouble dreaming up an idea and then calling an image out of imagination or memory or whatever. The sketchbook exercises (even the ones I DON'T like and DON'T want to do are helping me to see the value of just playing around. It's not always the finished product of the exercise that's most important, it's how the exercise might inspire future work.

Anyway, I hope you do continue to share the exercises from the Sketching Habit project. I think it is great to see how each person approaches them differently.


07-14-2010, 01:38 PM
We don't have to be prisoners of our 5 senses. Just because "science" hasn't figured out we have other ways of gaining information doesn't mean we can't. LOL Congrats on the new baby in the family.

If you take those sketches further, we'd like to see where you go with them.

Interesting use of color on the collage elements.

07-14-2010, 04:30 PM
Congratulations, Grandma to be! Funny and interesting that your doodle sketches predicted the pregnancy.

I like your collage extension sketch also. I had trouble with this one until I decided to make animals out of mine. My mind just doesn't think in abstract. LOL

07-15-2010, 12:46 AM
Hi Xina! I think the fact you are having a go is better than just sitting about thinking about it, and any drawing/creative output is a step in the right direction. I too am struggling with the concept of perfect drawings or a perfect journal but this is a great forum for learning and watching others' work and thinking about new ways of working. Look forward to seeing more......!

07-15-2010, 02:53 PM
I didn't want to do todays 'project'. Just the thought of it made me feel oh no, boring, but as I was unable to come up with anything else to do I did it as its not such a taxing one. Also its been a very busy and rushed day for me, so the first chance of half an hour got me sitting down with the pens and pencil, some music and then I got lost in lines.

In terms of what I came up with I don't feel I achieved much, but what I DID achieve was the most important thing. I found that space of time to get pencil and pens to paper, I made it a priority like cleaning the cat tray! I have to do THAT every day and I don't enjoy it, but its a priority, so from now on the sketchbook is going to be as well. I ended up taking a bit more than half an hour to do these rectangles of lines, but how often have I said to myself, oh I've only got half an hour, not enough time to do anything really. Even though I know a few lines can be done in less than 5 minutes. I let lack of time be an excuse. And if I really do have only 5 mins then just drawing one of these nifty little rectangles with lines might just spark a great new art idea.


Well I've now got 3 completed pages in my sketchbook, so my thread title is completely erroneous. I don't know if its possible to add more words to it so it makes sense.

This sketchbook is a nice one, it was a one off, I was sent the wrong one in my order but I decided to keep it. It says it is 'all media cartridge paper' and has 'extra wet strength' I'm not quite sure what that means, but I think it might take paint. Although its not thin paper, the pen marks can be seen slightly on the reverse side, but they haven't bled through.

I love sketch books. I have loads - but very few completed. Some of them I've torn out so many pages theres barely a sketchbook left! Now I'm going to make myself a promise that this sketchbook will be FILLED with daily entries and NO pages torn out. If I really can't bear to look at some horror I could stick something over it, or gesso it maybe -I've never done that.


Vivien Maloney
07-15-2010, 03:24 PM
I love your abstract imagination page. Awesome! Probably something I need to try myself to get my own imagination going.

07-15-2010, 06:54 PM
Xina, that sounds like it's good paper. Might be sized for watercolor, which would help if you want to start doing sketch & wash treatments. They're fun. Any watersoluble pencil is a kick and a half.

I am in awe of your collage abstract. Yes, it took you longer than it did Suzanne just whizzing through it. It took me all day to do mine and I threw my back hunting down the materials. I finally had to settle on carving up some out of date art supply catalogs because I don't own any disposable magazines.

Artists who use collage regularly always seem to collect lots of them and have a big file or boxes of magazines that have good photos in them.

Yours is a thousand times more beautiful. It's magnificent. Truly abstract, mine looks sort of disconnected and junky. The color and motion in it just flows! It's all cheerful and sweeping, dancing around like it's themed on how it feels to open a box of colored pencils.

Your line designs are excellent. I like the variety of them -- and you got it right about how to handle the "I don't have time" thing. Five minutes is enough. For me it's been a stable goal for months to do something daily even if it's only a two minute gesture sketch of my cat.

That and let myself sketch badly. Not all my cat gestures are perfectly proportioned. Not all of them are as accurate as I want them, or as elegant. But the more of them I do, the more of them do turn out well. I look back at older ones and laugh, it's been the best thing I ever decided to do.

I was doing a lot of other types of things for some time, daily art that was mostly small paintings and loose sketches. But around last fall I decided that if the weather was going to leave me too sick to do serious painting, I could improve my skills by at least sketching something every day.

The habit builds on itself. Suzette's workshop broke me out of "one sketch a day" obligation into not stopping when that one sketch is done. I've had three or four good pages done in a day sometimes if I was feeling good or got really absorbed. So the Sketchbook Habit workshop helped me on that.

I was used to working small and Suzette was using this honking giant 11" x 14" sketchbook, filling both facing pages with each exercise. Whizzing through them at great speed with casual disregard of whether any particular bit came out well. That's what doing lots of sketches does. It builds confidence, the wall doesn't cave in when one sketch comes out lousy. The others are still good and they're all better than last month's. Even the top really good ones improve, some of my previous favorites from years past are starting to look clumsy to me.

07-15-2010, 07:04 PM
Lovely rectangles of lines. It just goes to show that 5 minutes is enough. Something I have yet to learn. I think I need a large chunk of time and all my supplies just so. All one really needs is something to make a mark and something to accept the mark being made. Thanks for sharing a lesson learned.

07-15-2010, 10:47 PM
Nice variety in those little squares. It shows that you have a creative mind.

07-16-2010, 10:44 AM
Day 4 - I really didn't want to do todays task -drawing with left and right hand together, not because I was worried about it coming out awful, but because I couldn't really see the point, even after all the left brain /right brain explanation, however, the experience of doing this turned out to be far more involving and fascinating than I expected. Just shows, you have to do it to know it.


Doing this has really made me think about how I draw. Its difficult to see from the page the real difference in quality of line. In each one I did, its the left non dominant hand that I prefer. Its very noticeable to me how 'bland' the lines that I make with my right hand are. In the case of the portrait...


my right hand has captured a fair likeness and the expression. (I wanted to draw her when I saw her photo in a magazine because she looks so caring and warm and I like her gentle smile) but my left hand, despite the mistakes has also managed to capture something of what I wanted to express, though the likeness may not be there. So the FEELING I had came through despite its wobbly inaccuracies, and ultimately I think its a more interesting drawing.
But what also happened here that suprised me was that while I was drawing and noticing what was happening with my left hand, I started to try and make my right hand take more care of the lines and I improved as I went along. So the right hand made a better drawing than it would have if I hadn't been learning from my left hand.

So once again a really useful exercise that I will be doing again. I'm now starting to save bits and pieces from magazines so I can do these things without wondering 'but WHAT can I draw?' (that used to be a real problem for me). Thats where the little hen came from.

(I'm going to my Art Societie's Annual Exhbition Opening Night tonight. I submitted three paintings and was thrilled that they all got accepted. I did 2 abstracts and 1 imaginative/ figurative piece. Can't wait to see how they look hanging up there with all the others. This is my first showing so I'm pretty excited.


07-16-2010, 12:06 PM
Wow! You did great on this exercise! And how brave, to try it with a portrait. I had enough trouble with my simple daisy. I found that if I concentrated on my right hand, my left hand was sort of aimless, and if I concentrated on being more accurate with the left hand, then my right hand felt just as awkward as the left. Maybe I need to practice this more often. I didn't try to get any expressiveness in my drawing, I just tried to get something remotely recognizeable.

I'm really impressed with what you were able to do with your non-dominant hand.

Vivien Maloney
07-16-2010, 03:59 PM
I had enough trouble with a simple circle! We had a dominant and non-dominant hand challenge on the Scavenger Hunt once, and I still shudder when I remember the mess I made of it! The interesting thing was that the sketches with my non-dominant hand were larger than the other one, which was the complete opposite to everyone elses.

07-16-2010, 08:49 PM
Interesting your take on the using both hands at once exercise and what you learned from it.

Congrats on the art show.

07-17-2010, 09:25 AM
Day 5, Observation. I finally got to drawing my cat again! So often when I see him I marvel at his shape in all his various poses. Sometimes when I see a pose and he's still as a statue and l sit with pencil poised, holding my breath, and he's there, beautiful, not moving, perfect -the pencil point is on the paper and he KNOWS, he hasn't looked at me he just KNOWS and he lazily, slowly, turns his face to me, stretches out a paw, then his whole body and moves off. Its happened so many times I've given up, until today. He wasn't still, he was washing so maybe thats the trick, only lasted a couple of minutes though, so the rest of him done by memory and then drew the coat, which I didn't intend to do. 2nd drawing he stayed put long enough for me to get him, maybe he really was asleep and not pretending.


07-17-2010, 10:05 AM
Those are excellent, Xina!

07-17-2010, 12:35 PM
Xina, these are fantastic cat sketches! Yep, Ari does the same thing to me. I pick up my sketchbook and he moves, rolls, looks at me, stretches or turns his back. Unless I want to draw his back, then he'll turn toward me. They know.

I think they hear the sound of the pencil on the paper. Their hearing is a lot better than ours with those big cone-shaped directional ears. Both of these are gorgeous. Much better than my first attempts drawing Ari from life. Keep going! The cat won't get any more patient with posing but the more I do him, the faster I can get his pose down and the easier it is to remember his details.

I like how you got Tig-tig's coat on the sleeping one, that's so beautiful. He is a gorgeous cat. So graceful!

07-17-2010, 05:24 PM
Beautiful cat sketches.

07-18-2010, 05:15 AM
Day 6 - its fun to arrive at a new day and wonder whats the task for the day is going to be, but then I didn't feel too happy to see its a 'how do I feel day' again. But of course doing it I found the process really interesting. I changed my method as I got into it and closed my eyes, I also found I was doing internal 'singing/humming' to myself, little made up refrains and rythms to help me move my pencil around randomly.

When finished didn't find it so easy to discover images/pictures in them, apart from 2 that I saw instantly, so I spent some time just looking and pondering, and turning the page around.
After making a list of some things I found, I also found I wanted to list - guess what FEELINGS. Not the feelings I had while drawing, I was not particularly feeling anything except trying my best to do the exercise in good faith(trusting the process). This is some of what I came up with.

St George slaying dragon
bird building nest
flamenco dancer (again??! what is it with me and flamenco dancers?)
caterpillar munching leaves
woman reading under a tree.
meditating monk

Feelings evoked
destruction and renewal
calming of chaos

07-18-2010, 08:22 AM
Xina, these are fantastic! I'm so glad there are several of us doing the same exercises, as it is so enlightening to see everyone's different approach and hear about how the process went for each of us.

For example, I was interested to hear about your Day 6 experience. How great to get in touch with your feelings AFTER the exercise! And your dual handed drawings are great. I can see what you mean about the non-dominant hand producing more of the feeling you were going for.

Your value swatches are such interesting patterns. Several of them nearly jump off the page with excitement!! and the sketches you chose for the dual-hand drawings are very complex - I certainly would not have been brave enough to try a portrait, but yours came out looking interesting and full of character.

The thing I love best about this Sketching Habit workshop is the insights we are all gaining into ourselves and our preferences / processes / interests / abilities! The little surprises, like: "I also found I wanted to list - guess what FEELINGS" and "I also found I was doing internal 'singing/humming' to myself" - these alone make the exercises worthwhile.

Nice work!

Oh, and congratulations on getting your work accepted by your Art Society. I hope it went well!


07-18-2010, 08:25 AM
I did one that sort of looked like a flamenco dancer too. LOL
If you put a stem on #9 you would have a nice head of broccoli. I had a lot of trouble "finding" things in mine too.

07-18-2010, 03:07 PM
I was used to working small and Suzette was using this honking giant 11" x 14" sketchbook, filling both facing pages with each exercise. Whizzing through them at great speed with casual disregard of whether any particular bit came out well. That's what doing lots of sketches does. It builds confidence, the wall doesn't cave in when one sketch comes out lousy. The others are still good and they're all better than last month's. Even the top really good ones improve, some of my previous favorites from years past are starting to look clumsy to me.

:) I love 'honking great sketchbooks' that size!

This is going very well and I agree - don't throw out or tear out pages

Another thing - people often give up too soon. Many sketches go through pig ugly stages but working on and on, changing medium to cover wrong areas etc they can often be pulled round to something you are really happy with.

Other times the gesso and overwork with something else is definitely an option I take up ;)

You will see progress though

07-18-2010, 06:04 PM
Thank you so much for sharing your processes along with the sketching habit exercises. I love that you were humming while doing the exercise.

07-19-2010, 08:54 AM
This is something I HAVE to share, though not strictly in the 'right' place in the journal thread, what I want to say doesn't belong anywhere but here. I feel I've had a breakthrough moment today and I'm so excited. I did a painting this morning, in an A2 acrylic pad, (I'll keep it in the pad, its a spiral and I'll be doing more of them) The painting is only a 'sketch' really, not a finished thing but an experimental thing.

I've been thinking about the purpose of the exercises Suzette has got us doing and I've been wanting to get to making paintings using some of the things that have been coming up. There's lots of ideas I want to explore, but the first thing I felt I needed to do was have a go at expressing some of the conflict and tension going on in me that came out of yesterdays lines. I thought St George and the dragon would be a good 'symbolic' idea, if I turned it into me slaying a dragon. I decided to just get the paints and swirl on the colours and just try and find the image and feeling there. I didn't care that I can't paint a horse for the life of me, or that I have no idea how to depict a dragon.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed painting this. At last I felt I was truly PAINTING, at the heart of it, at the heart of myself.

I'm posting the painting, not because I'm pleased with the result, unsuprisingly, technique and skillwise its just bad, but in terms of me learning how I want to start expressing myself through paint, this is a very important painting to me right now.


Needless to say I've never painted like this before and its suprising to me. The paints are student grade acrylics in bottles which I didn't like before, but now, today, I love them, for the freedom of just being able to swooshi them on, like that liquid ready made paint little children use. Strangely I didn't have white in these paints so I decided to do without. Thats made the colour pretty rich and I was forced to use yellow as a light value. (I used 4 colours, red, yellow, paynes grey and violet) I didn't manage to get me sitting on the horse very well (never sat on one in my life) but it looks like I'm putting all my trust in the horse, because its not me doing the slaying, I'm arching back away from the dragons flaming breath. The horse however is fearless, and totally solid and strong, the dragon despite all the fire is whimpering at his feet. I wonder who or what the horse is?

I won't post other work I do like this here, but I wanted to show this unexpected outcome from working on Suzettes exercises. She made a comment on her site about sketchbooks being for 'spilling out your head on paper', and that 'the most important thing is to make some marks' and the rest will happen. Its so exciting to see what that rest is!!


07-19-2010, 09:38 AM
Xina, I can see why this was fun to paint - lots of emotion, freedom, excitement, motion. I don't think it's really bad as far as technique and skill. I think you just discovered a different way of expressing yourself than you are used to. I'm glad you are having fun with this and learning a lot about your art. Keep up the momentum. :-)

07-19-2010, 03:37 PM
drama and movement and shapes and colours - a very successful experiment. You should free up more this way with paint and work larger too :)

07-19-2010, 04:05 PM
Lovely sketches and ideas! I love the line drawings and then pulling images out of them. Fascinating to see what you can find. The collage is also very good.

And that last painting - wow! I love acrylics and I also love this "free" kind of style in paintings. Very well done from my point of view. I think its also good to practice without white - an art teacher once told me to leave it out during a painting exercise in a workshop I did. White "breaks" the colour. I use it a lot when I paint but its cool to see what difference it makes to leave it out!
Maybe if you don't post further paintings in the thread because they're not in your journal, you could post external links to them along with your sketches if you have any more to show, if you feel they are related.. I, for one, would like to see more :D

07-19-2010, 04:32 PM
Xina, that is beautiful! Your horse is good, it looks more like a horse than some of my earlier ones did -- and your painting has a great composition. The colors are wild and glorious. The harmony of your limited palette is very effective and the story of the painting is very clear. The dragon's tumultuous coils are like living fire, the wild strokes you used are very painterly. That's a good thing.

If you sketch from this, don't lose its intensity by studying anatomy. Dragon anatomy comes from the heart anyway, and I can see a strong resemblance to the one in the famous St. George painting, especially its head and mouth. This painting is magnificent.

Thanks for sharing one of the things that came out of doing Sketchbook Habit. I know it's helped me loosen up too. Very cool to work with acrylics like that. I think the bottled ones are pretty good even if student grade, do they say they're lightfast? They get used for decorative painting and so I guess they do need to last at least a few years.

07-19-2010, 04:44 PM
Wow! Such vibrant color and action. The feelings come through very strongly and the horse, rider and dragon are clearly what they are. Perfect anatomy is not always necessary.

07-19-2010, 08:22 PM
Oh my goodness! Please DO post more like this! This stopped me in my tracks for some reason! The fire and movement in it, just wonderful!! This definitely worked for you!!! Wow.

07-19-2010, 08:25 PM
I've added this post as one of my favorites!

07-19-2010, 08:57 PM
Wow Xina great work! Your painting is exciting and such a sense of movement, and I can see how freely it was painted. Add me to the list of those who want to see some more paintings ;)

Your sketchbook work is coming along really well. I am fascinated by the drawing with both hands exercise - if you don't mind me saying - the drawings with your left hand are more interesting because they look "less" perfect if that makes any sense! The variation of your lines makes it visually appealing to me. Your observations of TigTig are really well done also - we are going to get to know everyone's pet so well in this forum lol!

07-20-2010, 05:40 PM
Oh thank you Michelle, Vivien. Aiylah,Robert, Debby, Rachel and Jackie, for your positive comments. I

I never expected that doing these sketchbook exercises would spark me off into SUCH new territory A new path? I should say so. I did another A2 acrylic painting today and will post here, because its directly related to the (dreaded) 'how do I feel' sketching exercise. I decided to approach a painting in exactly the same way. I had no image or preconception, I just painted a line and and another and another and let whatever came up emerge. It was strange and compelling and fascinating to work in this way. A female appeared, then I felt something to do with a stained glass window, but before I got into painting that I just started painting wavy lines and the sea appeared, and then hands arrived, and then she was holding brushes and then a bird flew in and then, when I went to paint the brushheads, they turned into flames like candles flames!

While I was painting I forgot about the stained glass and then when I saw it completed it seemed like the whole painting could be a stained glass design! Again I painted without white and just the same 4 colours. (I've ordered some white now so my paintings should be less garish soon), but I enjoy painting like this so much. I was able to lose the JUDGEMENT about good or bad and just freed myself to CREATE something. Oh yes and the tears, when I was painting a line round her eye the brush was a bit too wet and some paint started to drip down - she was crying. I painted another tear in. I haven't thought of a title for this yet, so I'd be interested to have some suggestions. But now I want the bird to fly away and I want to put a lighthouse there instead.

07-20-2010, 05:43 PM
This is just so cool, Xina! I was never able to paint from my imagination and here you are just bursting at the seams with it. Keep it up! :-)

07-20-2010, 08:37 PM
Good grief! It certainly seems like you've unleashed something inside you! Don't try to contain it!!! it is so amazing to see you go through this transformation of sorts. I love the colors again, the whole thing is so alive!

07-20-2010, 10:07 PM
This is amazing. Don't paint the bird away. You were doing this without forethought or planning. You now want there to be a lighthouse, so that is thinking about your painting. Just a suggestion, paint another, this time with some thought and paint your lighthouse, see where that takes you.

07-20-2010, 10:10 PM
Xina, this is powerful. I'd call it "A full range of human emotions." Tears, happiness (the bird), water is emotion, the fire of passion and creativity... that's gorgeous. I like the look, it's very much like a stained glass window. Should be interesting to see what you do when you have white too.

07-21-2010, 06:30 AM
keep going!!!

07-21-2010, 05:15 PM
Thank you all for your words, which I find so encouraging. Courage is needed now to keep going like Vivien says. I'm not suprised to find I'm tired today, and its been a busy domestic chores and duties day.
But I HAVE put something in the sketchbook. Not the exercise for the day, but at least something. What helped here was a new little sketchbook I ordered which came a couple of days ago and I really like it, its only 5" x 5", and I ordered it to have a sketchbook to keep in my purse, but I didn't realise it would be so chunky and heavy, it has 194 pages!, so its not so great for carrying in my bag, but somehow its little size says to me, I can quickly put something on a page.
Unfortunately the very first drawing is one of those that I really don't like or want to keep, it came out of the 'list of words' exercise, I made my list which was based on all the sounds I was hearing in the day. One was people talking, and I tried to draw something for this from imagination. Another was seagulls squawking, (first sound I heard when I woke about 4 am) so that went on next page, (from memory) I see seagulls every day, but I still couldn't remember exactly what they look like! I did this with my new set of Van Gogh tube watercolours that came with the sketchbook order. (I like them, they are very rich and creamy, and sketchbook took them well too).

There was a discussion in Tania's thread about doing both sides of sketchbook pages. I think this two page spread is particularly bad because the different subject matter, the different mediums used and the very different styles. I think that just messes it up.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Jul-2010/151368-21_daysday_7_small_sketch_book.jpg

I think I shall stick something over the drawing, maybe try a another seagull in watercolour.

Being disappointed with this drawing, the next day in a coffee bar (without my sketchbook) I intensely observed the two women opposite me, and did a memory drawing of them later at home. I think the observation has helped me capture much more realistic gestures. The second drawing is of my grandson from life, todays snatched sketch and the only art done today. I'm happy with these pages together, as they are more related.


And here is what else I did for the sketchbook habit work. Yesterday was a 'skill' day for practising value. I changed the task a bit. Instead of doing the abstract rocks, I took a photo of pink grapefruit at the supermarket, desaturated it, printed it out on plain paper and stuck it in my A4 book. I used flash for the photo and thats created some interesting shadows I found this difficult to do though. My patience level for this kind of work is not good, but I know its important. I decided I'm going to leave the next page blank, because when I get time, I'd like to have a go at doing these grapefruits in colour with watercolour glazing and/or pencil crayon.


It was good to stick something in the sketchbook, I'll be doing more of that.

07-21-2010, 05:30 PM
I love your sketches! You capture people very well! And I do like the gull! Even though it is different to the one opposite I don't think it really matters.... I think its nice to have things in the order you do them... but both ways works! Lessons on values are always good, even though we don't always enjoy them! Everything you're doing so far is excellent and I enjoy following along :-)

07-21-2010, 06:20 PM
First of all, Xina, the people talking is a terrific sketch. I would be even if you did it from a reference, but the fact that you did it from your imagination boggles my mind. The ones of the seated women and of your grandson are both well done too. I also like your grapefruits, and I agree that doing those would be more fun than doing rocks again. LOL They should look great in watercolor. I think you are being entirely too critical of yourself. But aren't we all!

07-21-2010, 11:03 PM
These are wonderful sketches. The people from imagination. The seagull painting. It's not a bad usage of the sketchbook at all. It shows it's being used and used well, I might add. The sketch from memory is awesome as is the one of your grandson. Your grapefruits instead of rocks, I agree is much more interesting.

07-21-2010, 11:08 PM
Keep going Xina! DO NOT stick anything over the gull - I think it is an important part of the whole exercise to look at what DIDN'T work - or that you didn't like so that you learn from it and move on (just my opinion though LOL!) :) Your pencil sketches are wonderfully vibrant and alive - you have a certain vibrancy with line work. The tonal exercise is not as free - it can be quite laborious to build the layers and tone but just as valuable as any other style of working - just different! I think you are travelling really well along the journey of finding out what it is that inspires you and you feel most passionate about. And I agree, I feel a little childish about it but I have found sticking things in and altering them or adding embellishments - the whole cut and paste scenario - to be fun and I like anything that becomes tactile too.....

07-22-2010, 05:42 AM
Xina, your entire sketchbook is great!! those oranges especially look fabulous.

I like the pencil drawing & seagul together, nothing wrong with that at all. the only thing that i'm worried about is the smudging from one page to the other.

07-22-2010, 06:34 AM
Thanks again everyone for your comments. Reading what you all have to say has changed my mind about covering the first sketch. I'll shall just leave it be and let this little book be a journal of my visual interest and thinking. Let what happens happen - and leave it. I can learn a lot from the ones I don't like, they are an important part of it all.

Has everybody else doing the 21 days sketchbook habit finished? I'm on day 11 now, but I've come to a block with it now. I didn't want to do yesterdays 'design' abstracts. I thought i would do them in bed before sleep, but didn't get it together. And I really DON'T want to do todays object contour abstracts. I've heard it said that its the exercises you resist doing that might be the valuable ones to tackle. I'm telling myself I WILL do them, but maybe not today. As long as I do something in the sketchbook I think thats the point.

Not sure what I shall do though. I've got a couple of hours freetime, and I don't know what I'm going to do yet.

Here's something else that came frome the 'feeling' doodles, again its a different way of working up to an image. Its quite interesting to see the evolution. This one's still not finished, its still 'nesting' getting ready for the hatching of something new in a painting I think, something to become part of a bigger painting.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Jul-2010/151368-sketch,_flamenco_dancer_and_bird_building_nest.jpg

I got the images from the web, but have no ref for them, but as they were advertising and educational sights its should be ok, and these are'nt exact copies. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Jul-2010/151368-PICT0998.JPG

This was done in an A2 pastel pad, with grey pastels, neither very good quality so found it difficult to get the marks I wanted, but the idea is down.

Its raining, but I may go for a short walk to the library with my camera and see what I see on the way.

07-22-2010, 01:29 PM
Oh these are all really nice! I love the birds (Birder here!) and LOVE the dancer! (Dancer here too!). You really captured her movement!

07-22-2010, 01:55 PM
I agree don't cover the gull - it isn't actually bad from memory.

The women talking is lively and catches that conversational feel and the shading practice is going well.

You will see looking back in a year just how much you've improved if you keep this up - especially the observation and memory

07-22-2010, 04:10 PM
The dancer is beautiful. The bird is quite well done. You are on a magnificent journey.

07-23-2010, 06:31 AM
Xina, lovely dancer, she's so elegant!! you've done so great with these doodle sketches that have become beautiful drawings.

hope you were able to take your walk to the library and got lots of pics!! :)

07-23-2010, 08:36 AM
Thank you all - it seems the little dancer got the vote here, I like her too but I can't imagine painting her so well, so she'll have to stay a just as she is. The bird on the other hand I know is going to appear in a painting/paintings in different guises. The bird nesting seems to me to have some symbolic resonance.

Vivien, It's not the gull I'm unhappy with, its the drawing of the couple with the mobile phones I don't like to look at. I would prefer another gull painted over them, but I'll leave that sketch in there now. I really am much happier already about doing this sketchbooking. I'm finally realising its not about doing 'good' drawings, but about discovering and trying things out. I've read this so many times, but seems its only now that I'm finally getting it, and starting to put this into practice.

Tania - I got to the library, but didn't take any pics, but I took my little sketchbook - didn't use it though. I saw a character reading in the library I wanted to draw, but I felt too selfconscious, I tried to observe him by hiding behind the bookshelves, but he looked up and spotted me staring at him. :o Got some interesting books, two on Celtic stuff and one on Buddhism, to help me with the meditaing monk doodle. Some really interesting pictures I've found that I hope to make use of.

My sketchbook habit so far - I FORCED myself to do the cut out designs page, and did NOT enjoy it,


But as I was working I was thinking of other ways I might approach this that I would enjoy more, so I did magazine 'cut out and stick' designs today. Here are the first 3, I intend to continue, as I was MUCH happier doing this. I used some pencil crayon and fineliner on these too. I had one rule, which was no overlapping of shapes - as in the original idea. This really helped to simplify the exercise as it could have got a bit complicated and frustrating. This is another new thing for me and its a definite one to continue with. What I like is the seeing where it goes when working like this, I could move things around. With the drawing I felt more restricted. And I really enjoy discovering things in them afterwards. For example I had no intention of doing the pupae/ larva in No 2, but saw it afterwards.


I'm looking forward to when i have free time this evening to do the rectangles, and be choosing different colours.

I have to go and do 3 hours stewarding at the Art Society exhibition now. Its a glorious sunny summer day and I have to be indoors. I'll take a sketchbook and maybe do some copying from some of the art books there if I can get a chance.


07-23-2010, 12:20 PM
I like your "cut and stick" designs, Tania. I did mine like the original exercise because I thought I might actually make stamps out of them one day. But cutting them from matboard like Roz said she did was difficult. I think if I actually make stamps, I will try it with craft foam. But I like the tangent you went off on with them - they make good collages, something else that I'm interested in.

07-23-2010, 09:50 PM
At least you tried. Now, don't do that anymore. Going off on a creative tangent is sometimes just as useful, if not more so. Like the colors you are working with.

07-24-2010, 12:43 AM
Tania, I like what you did with the designs. It's fascinating seeing the cool directions you're taking the exercises. When you don't like one, do the thing it makes you wish you were doing. Then it's still inspirational!

I disagree on the drawings of the seagull and the people talking. I have seen seagulls and it's not far off -- a little vague but plausible for one. The two people talking from memory are excellent, especially their faces. The pose is a little stiff but I'd say keep it and date it. Don't go over it with something else, you have 192 pages to fill!

The little dancer is good. The bird on its nest is striking in both iterations. Both are very graceful but I've got a personal fondness for nature drawings and I love the tonal one you did on the darker paper.

What you did with the designs after doing a page of them is great. The exercise became a launching point for you. You did something I'd never have even thought of with the cutouts and you're good at combining your mediums. Your color sense on them is spectacular.

I like the grapefruits instead of shaded stones. I was so tempted to do mine in colored pencils and vary their hues the way I normally would in a page of river stones, or at least give some of them stripes or patterns. They came out all right but a bit dull. Your grapefruit are anything but dull!

07-24-2010, 05:34 AM
Hi everyoune, XINA here, I wonder why my name seems to have changed to Tania!! Tania is a very nice name, but its not mine! Thank you all for your comments. I'll get back later to look at what you've all been doing. Now I'm off to check what I have to do for the sketch/draw/make exercise and then think about it while I'm doing all the household duties. LOADS of them to do today. Can't wait to get back to the sketchbook, Yeah, maybe I'm getting the habit! :cat:

07-24-2010, 11:55 AM
Wow XINA!!!! I am so excited by the inspiration you are gaining from doing these exercises. You have soooooooo much creativity and right now, it feels like it is just gnawing at the chains to set itself free!

First, your St. Xina and the Dragon painting is just amazing. There is so much passion and emotion and freedom expressed there. And then you follow with that unbelievable work of "stained glass." I would call it "Self-expression." I agree with those who have said don't paint over the bird and don't paint over the couple having a conversation. Not only is this a record of where you are artistically at this particular moment, but you may also find more meaning in it at a later point. For example, the bird in the stained glass painting may be guiding you TO the lighthouse that you want to see instead.

I love the way you have found for working with the "How do I feel?" exercises and your cutout "stamps" are wonderful. I'm actually stuck on the collaged face at the moment because I have not had time, or the right magazines around me to look for collage pieces. It could actually be resistence, so I may have to rethink the exercise and figure out another way to do it that appeals to me more.

Wonderful work you are doing! Thanks for showing us.


07-24-2010, 02:43 PM
Xina, I'm sorry. Chalk it up to the fibromyalgia fog. It's not the first time i've known who I was posting to and gotten the name wrong. Ouch.

Jean, I gave up on physical collage for the collage face. I cut my pieces out of some RIL photos using GIMP and did a digital collage. It looks the same but you don't have to buy magazines just to have images to cut out of them or spread out with pots of glue and stuff. Besides, if you do one digitally you have as many copies of an image as you need, so you can use the same bit of it several times over in repeats.

07-25-2010, 06:38 AM
collages work brilliantly with torn up bits from the edge of paintings, failed paintings, colour tester bits from scraps of paper and specially painted papers - some plain some textured.

07-25-2010, 09:45 PM
Time for an update. When I had time to get to my sketchbook quite late last night, I was rather relieved that it was the 'colouring in' negative space exercise. So got it done while comfortably sitting in chair. The polychromas weren't going on the paper as well as I would have liked though, so this took more time than expected. Not so happy with the result, but useful to have done it. I tried some variations, and was so disliked the blue one I covered it with one of my mag cuttings that I am now collecting. I just liked the colours in this little fruit 'still life'.


Todays work was not the daily task, (mixed media). I got as far as sticking two pages together and gessoing one side, but it buckled. So I learned this sketchbook isn't suitable for 'heavy' work, though I will do work on the page, when I get some ideas for it.

I've been doing a bit of research about journaling and one odd thing I came across was a way to remove labels from wine bottles! I just had to see if it worked. Its so simple, just pour boiled water into bottle - leave for a couple of minutes and then peel off! Unfortunately I only had one wine bottle with a not so wonderful label, but I got it off the bottle - easy - and stuck it straight into my book with its own still sticky glue. The horse picture on the label led me to think about horses as symbolic imagery for paintings, so did a page on that. Its not finished yet. I did the white horse with FC Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils, and I was happy with how they went on the paper. I used an image from RIL photo by stalksthedawn.


I gessoed the polo rider off the label, but its not good quality gesso and he's still there like some ghost.

This kind of work is going to be important for me if I want to do imaginary expressionist/symbolist paintings, which is a direction I want to explore. Today I got the 'splashmat' out on the floor and I did painting with the 6 yr old. We used bottled readymix paint on A2 sugar paper. I started out doing a flower, but for some reason it turned into two soaring birds (of indeterminate species). I'm going to have to do lots of bird studies if i want to do better paintings than this! but I do like working in this way. Painting like this makes me really happy. I read a quote somewhere (that I only remember vaguely), that Paul Klee said about not painting what is seen but what MIGHT be seen. I've probably got that completely wrong, but that idea really interests me.

Sorry the photos a bit blurred, but its not far off because I painted this very freely with a sponge stick. It was great fun. We also painted a castle and a pirate ship in a storm.


07-25-2010, 09:46 PM
Time for an update. When I had time to get to my sketchbook quite late last night, I was rather relieved that it was the 'colouring in' negative space exercise. So got it done while comfortably sitting in chair. The polychromas weren't going on the paper as well as I would have liked though, so this took more time than expected. Not so happy with the result, but useful to have done it. I tried some variations, and was so disliked the blue one I covered it with one of my mag cuttings that I am now collecting. I just liked the colours in this little fruit 'still life'.


Todays work was not the daily task, (mixed media). I got as far as sticking two pages together and gessoing one side, but it buckled. So I learned this sketchbook isn't suitable for 'heavy' work, though I will do work on the page, when I get some ideas for it.

I've been doing a bit of research about journaling and one odd thing I came across was a way to remove labels from wine bottles! I just had to see if it worked. Its so simple, just pour boiled water into bottle - leave for a couple of minutes and then peel off! Unfortunately I only had one wine bottle with a not so wonderful label, but I got it off the bottle - easy - and stuck it straight into my book with its own still sticky glue. The horse picture on the label led me to think about horses as symbolic imagery for paintings, so did a page on that. Its not finished yet. I did the white horse with FC Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils, and I was happy with how they went on the paper. I used an image from RIL photo by stalksthedawn.


I gessoed the polo rider off the label, but its not good quality gesso and he's still there like some ghost.

This kind of work is going to be important for me if I want to do imaginary expressionist/symbolist paintings, which is a direction I want to explore. Today I got the 'splashmat' out on the floor and I did painting with the 6 yr old. We used bottled readymix paint on A2 sugar paper. I started out doing a flower, but for some reason it turned into two soaring birds (of indeterminate species). I'm going to have to do lots of bird studies if i want to do better paintings than this! but I do like working in this way. Painting like this makes me really happy. I read a quote somewhere (that I only remember vaguely), that Paul Klee said about not painting what is seen but what MIGHT be seen. I've probably got that completely wrong, but that idea really interests me.

Sorry the photos a bit blurred, but its not far off because I painted this very freely with a sponge stick. It was great fun. We also painted a castle and a pirate ship in a storm.


07-25-2010, 10:10 PM
Wow! I just love, and I mean LOVE that white horse! You painted that so well! And the birds too, lovely and bright. You certainly are developing a nice, free style with those paintings, I like it and you are obviously having lots of fun in the process!

07-26-2010, 04:45 AM
Oops, sorry there are two of these. I don't know how that happened 'cept my browswer was misbehaving last night. Is there a clever person here that can remove the duplicate?

07-26-2010, 06:58 AM
Xina, the white horse is beautiful! That came out spectacular, so true and accurate. Beautiful form and shadowing on the white horse.

I don't mind the double post, that happens to me all the time. I can see why you don't like your cool negative space drawing, the blue one is less saturated. If you try a little bit of thinner - sansodor, odorless mineral spirits, Bestine rubber cement remover - and very carefully wash each of the shapes, doing the light colored ones first, that will make them more intense by getting rid of the light flecks.

The warm colored negative space drawings are great, both of them. Well done on that exercise.

Cool way to get labels off wine bottles. I wonder if it'll work for a cider bottle. I have a green one that I'd like to get the label off of so that I can keep it as a still life object. The ghostly polo rider is barely visible. You could always loosely sketch him in holding his head up in his hand or throwing it or something.

The blue and red birds are striking. The proportions on the red one look true for the average little brown bird, the blue one's head is bent to keep it in the picture and a little small but so cool. I like the bright colors and the way that painting looks, it's so happy and exuberant. The whole mood of it is joyous.

07-26-2010, 07:14 AM
Xina, I love the white horse! Cool idea with the wine bottle label - I'll have to remember that. It could come in handy for collages. I like what you did with the birds too. Was that for your "be a kid" day, or just for fun? And I especially like how most of the exercises send you off on your own tangent - that shows a really creative mind. :-)

07-26-2010, 07:57 AM
Lovely pages, i like how you have the fruit as reference for your warm & cool colours!! - lovely page.

As everyone has said, your horse is gorgeous.

I like the freeness of your bird painting - i love how you started it off as flowers and it turned into birds... that's really cool!!

07-26-2010, 11:37 AM
Oh thank you everybody.
Robert - thats great advice on getting more saturation of colour with the polychromas. I don't have any of the solvents you suggest, but I've got some zest-it so that should work and I'll give that a go. I was limited in colour choice too as the cool colours I used are the only ones I've got in my polychromas. I just bought a few open stock to try them out.

Michelle -no, it wasn't the sketchbook work, we were just having fun on a rainy Sunday. I got to the kids fun stuff exercise today, with no little helper, and I don't know why but I was really blocked on this. Just didn't know what to do. I started out trying to do some bubbles with wax crayons, but they didn't work out somehow so I took a trip into space. Once I got up there with the felt tips and oil pastels I began to enjoy it.


07-26-2010, 06:23 PM
Even though you are not liking a lot of the sketch habit exercises, they sure are sending you down an interesting path. The horse is magnificent. The birds that were supposed to be flowers remind me of the bird in your stain glass painting. And I have to say your outer space picture is an awesome idea and just the thing for a "child" drawing. Very cool.

07-26-2010, 10:22 PM
Your kid stuff one is wonderful. It's so vigorous and powerful, it's got such feeling to it. Gorgeous. I can see why oil pastels were more satisfying than wax crayons, why I didn't go borrowing Sascha's when I did it.

I think the Zest It probably ought to work. Should be interesting to find out, please post the results! I've been meaning to order some from the UK anyway to try it with oil pastels, so if it also works for CP, so much the better!

07-26-2010, 10:44 PM
Xina, I love the white horse with the writing go through it - I think that is what I like about the sketchbooks so much - is seeing how your mind has worked through the subject with no regard for what is right or wrong. A beautiful little drawing but you've written over the top or drawn over the top of the writing with freedom! It is a privilege watching your progression through this - even when you have felt uncomfortable or not wanted to do it you have produced something really interesting - good job!

07-27-2010, 10:01 AM
Your sketchbook is great...and I agree with everyone, that white horse is fantastic!

Vivien Maloney
07-27-2010, 03:40 PM
Great sketchbook, I'm enjoying following it. I agree with the others that your white horse is awesome!

07-27-2010, 07:32 PM
Thank you everybody for your comments.

Today was tea stain day. I managed to fit this in during odd moments in a very busy day. The tea stain itself didn't turn out very interestingly, and I was thinking of splattering a bit more on when it was dry, but then as I was drying it with the hairdryer I immedately saw the duck/goose (not sure which bird this is -probably a goose), and then the cow, so went with that. The cow one I had to look in the shelves of childrens books to see what a cows face looked like to pull the image out of the page. The horse is a bit clumsy, I thought I might make it a rocking horse, but decided to leave it as a farmyard collection of animals. I find this all rather suprising as I am a totally urban person, with absolutely no contact or familiarity with animals of any kind except my cat, so I enjoyed this unexpected excursion into new subject matter.


I had another odd experience today with the all media page, which I had coated with random acrylic colour last night. I spent a long time pondering what to do with it. The most insistent idea came against my natural inclination, ( in truth against my comfort zone) and I resisted it strongly and tried and tried to come up with something else. But the idea wouldn't go away.
I 'saw/felt' something to do with Coleridge's poem 'The Ancient Mariner',

Here's the page i was struggling with

The poem tells the mariners story of the sailing ship and the albatross that follows the ship in fair weather, the mariner, with no explanation of why, kills the albatross, the weather turns foul, and a visionary nightmare ensues, and all the sailors on board die but for the mariner. On his return to shore the mariner must tell his tale to whoever he can. It is his life burden. Its a powerful poem, and too much for me to tackle, but I had a look on the web for some albatross images, but didn't find any I felt I could use. I decided to go to bed and then I would find something different in the morning.

In the morning, while I was preparing breakfast and getting ready for the day, my grandson was in the living room watching a wildlife program on childrens television. What totally amazed me was that when I arrived in the living room, the very first thing I saw was an albatross - such an incredible bird and I was just so moved at the sight of it. I decided this surely must be a sign to stay with the mariners tale idea however difficult! Unfortunately we don't have a play and pause facility, so I couldn't get a good picture of the bird that I could use, the only thing I got was the shape of its large beak. I'm working on this now and will post where I get with it tomorrow.

I don't mind how badly it turns out, because I'm absorbed by the whole experience of this. For me the mariners tale speaks of mans wilful destructive power, and it's particularly related to the destruction of ocean life. I think thats why the artist in the stained glass painting is crying as she looks at the sea. I didn't know all this was inside me and I just want to continue discovering what feelings are residing deep down inside. I may do a dreadful painting, but it will mean something to me, and I just hope I might find a way to make better art if I keep faith with this.

One thing I need to do is to learn how to draw animals as these seem to be occuring all the time in my imagination, and I've NEVER drawn animals before. Tomorrow I'm going to buy a children's A3 drawing pad and its going to be my 'scribble pad' like Robert has, so I can abandon myself to trying out how to draw different animals and other things I've never drawn before. I want to have a childrens pad so that I can give myself a sense of complete freedom to 'scribble' my way there, without 'seriousness' getting in the way of the process.


07-27-2010, 07:53 PM
Xina, for some reason I think that we tend to find animals in clouds, inkblots and tea stains, whether we have any ties to actual animals or not. LOL I noticed that almost everyone who did the "How do I Feel" pages found animals in their scribbles.

I really like your tea stain farm menagerie. I would have had to look up cow faces to see what they look like too, if I wanted them to be recognizeable. City girl turned suburban girl here - with occasional views of farms from afar on travels.

Did you glue two pages together before doing your acrylic page? If so, did you end up with bubbling like I did?

I remember the "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" from freshman English. That's so cool that you were thinking of an albatross, and then saw one on TV. I'm amazed at how your imagination conjures up something and then it ties in to real life.

Children's pads are not really any less expensive than the cheaper adult sketchpads, and not nearly as good paper. I even buy my grandkids pads in the art store instead of the drugstore or toystore. You should just get an inexpensive spiral pad for your animal explorations.

Looking forward to seeing what you do next.

07-27-2010, 09:56 PM
The tea stain animals are so cool. The horse is delightful. You seem to be finding as many horses and birds in your art. Looking forward to seeing your albatross page.

07-27-2010, 10:17 PM
Xina, I agree with Michelle regarding the quality of paper - if you can afford it, get an artist quality - your work is turning out so well you might be disappointed when you create something that you later wished was on better paper (speaking from experience - my Thief of Dreams Journal is a case in point - it is like newsprint however I have loosened up just in the last few weeks so I guess it achieved something!). Your teas stains are neat, you could develop that even further with some tone too.

The story of the mariner is one I have never heard but very powerful and your blue page very dramatic next to the white horse.... I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with :)

07-28-2010, 07:06 AM
the tea stain animals are great and I love the Ancient Mariner idea

07-28-2010, 01:58 PM
Along with everyone else, I'm facinated by your explorations and can't wait to see the albatross you do! I think its wonderful that you're allowing your feelings to come out and expressing them on paper, its certainly doing great things for your art! :-)

07-28-2010, 02:14 PM
Well I did it.
I didn't use a great deal of mixed media, but there is the tiniest amount of oil pastel rubbed on the beak, and dotted in the Mariner's 'glittering eye'. Could not have achieved these bits with the paintbrush, so though very minimal, the OP plays its part. I did the text of 2 verses and altered the position of the lines of the poem to how I thought it would work with the painting, and then printed it on tracing paper, so that it wouldn't be too stark on the page.

Michelle - Yes I glued and gessoed the pages, and it buckled horribly, but then by the next day it wasn't so bad. It buckled again when I put the acrylic on, even though I barely used any water, but it settled again and its only slightly wavy now and not noticeable, so it worked. It was a very useful exercise, I enjoyed doing this acrylic painting in the sketchbook. I wouldn't have ever done this without the prompt, but it made a surface I liked working on very much, and its been a great way to try out something new.

I read the poem again and the few verses before the one I chose relate how the albatross had led the ship out of a terrible storm, where it was caught in ice, into calm water 'with a good south wind behind'. The bird stayed with the ship for 9 days and even came when the mariner called to it.


I'm trying to imagine if I could do a largish canvas painting of this subject, with perhaps some more imagery of scenes from the poem, but I don't know if its too illustrative to make a good painting. This has been a great way to try out an idea. It was very different to the other paintings I've done during this sketchbook habit project because this time I had some vague idea of what I wanted and and it was very difficult working with that vagueness.

Today something much simpler, information gathering from my reading. I'm currently reading some books on Celtic Myths and Legends, and I've discovered the horse goddess Epona She may crop up sometime in a painting. I did these beautiful stone carved horses by tracing the lines and using watercolour pencils for a 'textural' wash. It was a B&W image so the colour choice is mine.


Phew, this sketchbook habit is really getting me into unexpected places, its actually quite tiring, doing so many different things, but its providing me with what I really want, a way of working that is about discovery. I just didn't know how to go about doing it before.

I went to the discount book/stationers to get my scribble sketchbook. I bought a kids one and taking the advice given an ordinary cheap spiral, I'll work in both and see how I feel about the difference. I also found a great one by Canson specially made for finger painting, with special smooth paper. I'm going to buy proper finger paints and have a go at that with the little one, we might be able to take monoprints from it too.


07-28-2010, 03:30 PM
Oh my goodness!! wow! Thats all I can say right now... You really do some great paintings! :-)

07-28-2010, 10:43 PM
WOW, from me too. I really love the Mariner and albatross, I'd enjoy seeing that on a canvas on the wall ;) You certainly are making huge strides with the sketchbook habit exercises, thank you for letting us watch your journey.

I am very keen on reading celtic myths so enjoyed your day 16 page, I like looking at pages where things have been stuck in with notes or sketches added - I find it intriguing to look at how others minds work - must be the stickybeak in me lol!

07-29-2010, 12:40 AM
The mariner painting turned out fantastic. Great explorations in subject and media you are doing. How awesome.

07-29-2010, 02:41 AM
Thank you Rachel, Jackie and Debby. I don't myself know what to think of this work, I have no idea whether its 'good' or 'bad' artwise, but for me it was quite an intense experience for a little painting in a sketchbook! I've decided to post the text of the verses because they can't be seen in the picture and they are really important to the sense of what i was trying to express.


Although Coleridge didn't use colour, or split the stanza up in this way - he DID use the capital letters. (The 'shroud' in the first verse is not a burial shroud but a rope that supports the mast)

Today is draw a building day. This is really going to be difficult for me, probably the most difficult of all the exercises so far, but I do like looking at buildings, I just have no idea how to go about drawing them. I can't cope with the scale of them. I have some free time today, I'm going to go out with the camera and take a few shots of some places in my immediate surroundings.

07-29-2010, 08:50 AM
Xina, great job on both the mixed media (Ancient Mariner) and the information page. I love how the poem inspired you to create your page.

07-29-2010, 01:21 PM
Xina, I'm impressed. Your tea stains page is spectacular, it's got a beautiful theme and it's well laid out, the shading's magnificent, it's gorgeous. I loved reading about the evolution of your Ancient Mariner page and that is beautiful. It's a magnificent painting, a serious painting. I think you should go one step farther and develop it on a canvas. I'm not kidding.

The page with the horses is beautiful too.

I like your idea of grabbing a children's pad to do a Scribble Sketch book. Anything that's cheap and lets you relax and do whatever you want in it, then use it a lot and fill it up. This is grand!

That painting of the Ancient Mariner is so haunting. Utterly beautiful. Definitely do a framable version, maybe go large with it.

07-29-2010, 04:42 PM
it's all going really well and is what sketchbooks should be - experimenting and trying things out and developing :>)

I think you should do more of this.

07-30-2010, 01:49 PM
Thank you everyone.
The uploaded pictures have disappeared, and I can't see anyone's latest stuff posted here, but learned from Robert that attachments are working.

I'm having a horrible struggle with the building, just trying to do a straight drawing, and much rubbing out and changing angles and still can't get it right, but what good drawing practice. I'll continue on somehow and see what I can make of it.

And todays task is done - the collage face.

07-30-2010, 05:57 PM
The building is there. You have the bones of it. Even your perspective looks right.

The collage face is great. You've used some great elements to create it.

07-30-2010, 06:42 PM
Your building looks great, and I love that collage!

Vivien Maloney
07-31-2010, 03:23 PM
Good work on the building and the collage is terrific!

07-31-2010, 04:49 PM
Xina, all that rubbing out must have helped! Your building is spectacular, perspective and all. It's got depth and accuracy, it's got a good composition and a sense of grandeur from the pointed, arching shapes. I like the way the spire at the far left goes all the way off the top too, like the building's way too soaring to be contained on the page.

Your collage face is elegant. I like her expression, like the way her veil or hair is so varied. You did great with both of these. Wow!

08-04-2010, 06:46 AM
I thank you all for your kind and encouraging comments.


Life - is - happening and its thrown me :crying:

So conclusion is - I haven't got the sketchbook habit - yet...

It was an interesting experiment, but its one thing to have daily tasks set by another person, and something else completely to find one's own way. I think it's necessary to know what the daily work is for personally and to use it for that purpose. I think I want to use my sketch books for gathering information/ideas for painting. I think I would use my scribble book for the experimental/play work.

Feeling somewhat stressed and tired I'm thinking what kind of work do I want to do. I need something really soothing that requires little input from me! perhaps find a photo of a flower and 'copy' in a very simple manner What I need to do is learn that I can do something for a few minutes and its still worth while doing.


08-04-2010, 08:14 AM
Hi, Xina! I haven't finished the 21 days yet either, and I started on July 1. Life does get in the way - both the good things and the bad things. I do intend to finish that last "day", just haven't gotten to it yet. But if you feel that working on your own makes more sense to you - go for it. Your plan to do something small and soothing is a good one. When you are stressed, or just overwhelmed, doing something with a small investment of time and energy can give you a feeling of accomplishment, and it can also grab your interest and you may actually find yourself doing something more. You have some great ideas in your head, and they will come out on paper one way or another. Just keep those sketchbooks out where you can see them.

08-04-2010, 04:09 PM
So sorry life got to you and you are stressed. Soothing and your own path sounds like it is where you need to go.

08-04-2010, 10:34 PM
Hi Xina, you are doing marvellously well and should be proud... don't be too hard on yourself. I feel art is my little gift to myself and is not meant to be painful or an expectation - I pick it up when I feel like I want to and not when I should. That is one reason I have chosen to keep it as a hobby/personal interest and not actively try to sell work as many well-meaning people have tried to convince me in the past!!

Anyway, off my soap box now ( ;) ), I wanted to say how much I like your collage - collage has never really been a favourite of mine before but that image is particularly striking and your work on the building is great too. Hope "chatting" on this forum helps you feel a little better :)

08-06-2010, 04:47 AM
This is going well - and sketchbooks shouldn't be about pressure so don't worry. They are for you, where you mull over ideas, experiment etc Just continue at your own pace :)

08-06-2010, 08:19 AM
Your Collage face looks superb!! i absolutely love it!!

08-11-2010, 06:08 PM
Hi Xina,

I finally got to looking through this journal, and you have done an excellent job. My favorite, being a birder, is the swift with the vertical nest. For those non-birder folks reading through here, swifts are very unique - their anatomy does not allow them to perch horizontally like all other families of birds. They have to perch on a vertical surface that has enough texture for them to hang onto. This has led to them being in decline in many places (at least here in the US) because a lot of old brick chimneys that they have used for roosting have been torn down. In a town near where we live, a group effort finally succeeded in getting funds to earthquake-proof a chimney on an elementary school that is heavily used by Vaux's Swifts in migration. There have been 5,000+ bird counts of the number of swifts that use the chimney. The ritual is that only a bit before dark, all the swifts start to return from hunting bugs to the chimney, swirl around like a live vortex and then eventually start funneling into the chimney. It is a truly incredible sight.

Sorry for the digression...but I guess that's one function of a good journal - to stimulate emotions or thoughts. :)