Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas is coming...

...but you wouldn't guess it from my sketchbook. I've been busy wrapping and sending gifts and cards and haven't made time to actually draw anything Christmassy. The following sketches are all I've managed in the last couple of weeks. Elaine napping and some more anatomy sketches (copied from the library book I was meant to take back today...sigh...another errand to add to the list. Only one more week to get everything organized!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Snow, trees, mountains

This past weekend we had a work event - the AGM and Christmas 'do' of a hairdressing association, Intercoiffeur. Fortunately it didn't feel like a work event at all because it was at one of the loveliest hotels in Bavaria - the Schlossanger Alp. It's a family run hotel located near the top of a mountain on ground which used to be the family's cowshed and summer pasture for their herd. It's only a 10 minute drive (up a rather scary one track road) from civilisation but round about are only mountains and forest. And it snowed just in time for the first advent. Stupidly, I haven't yet progressed to putting my phone photos onto this blog but you can check the website or use your imagination while looking at these somewhat abstract sketches of the two views from our room:

What looks like a sandcastle is the tower of the ruined castle Falkenstein. King Ludwig (who built the famous fairy tale castle, Neuschwanstein) planned to build his 4th castle here but died before it could happen.

 In the afternoon I sat (ok, hid) in the gallery area of the lounge area and, looking down on fellow guests tried to sketch some. Unfortunately I seem to have forgotten everything I learnt in the motion sketching workshop I took a while back. Still, practice is practice.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Just say....yes...maybe...well, actually - no!

I'm trying to improve my basics so I've started copying a few drawings from an anatomy for artists book borrowed from the local library. This one was done on tracing paper (well, greaseproof paper from the kitchen, actually):

 and underneath is the skeleton with some muscles.
At the weekend I managed to put together a festive toddler outfit using a pattern from the book Simple sewing for Baby by Lotta Jansdotter. The gorgeous polar bear fabric is Brrr! (Laurie Wisbrun for Robert Kaufmann) and the red is a recyled t-shirt of mine which I found deep in the back of the wardrobe. If I have time this week I may make a tiny polar bear friend to fit in the pocket.

Not going to win any tailoring prizes but I'm slowly getting more sewing confidence.

Friday, 23 November 2012

In the hospital

This drawing was done from a snap taken in the hospital about a month ago now. This was the morning after. Drip still attached to forehead but she'd got her appetite back. The brown thing in her hand is a bit of 'Breze' - bread pretzel - which she guzzled down. The drawing isn't great but it's representative in that she didn't look herself at that point - still dehydrated. All back to normal now, though :)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Photo round up

My Blogtoberfest ended with more of a whimper than a bang as the combination of my parents being there, preparing for E's birthday and general disorganization meant that I didn't get any drawing done in the last days of October. It was quite a relief not feeling obliged to do something every day but the feeling of freedom has now changed to disappointment in my procrastinating self as I haven't done any sketching for the last 2 weeks.

I put on the lego car for scale. Only occured to me that I just could have used a tape measure. Duh. The backing is just the same Kona purple as the binding.

I've not been totally lazy though. Mum helped me add the binding to my small quilt (it's maybe pram/small crib size) in the first picture and I added the backing, quilted and bound the 2nd, somewhat larger quilt. If it survives a machine wash it's going to be my sister-in-law's birthday present. Once again a massive thank you to Sarah who gave me the fabric for both of the tops. She's lovely :) The final photo shows the first zippy bag I've ever attempted. It's meant to be an Xmas gift for a friend but the upper corners have somehow 'disappeared'. Hmm..still, adds to the charm.

I'll stop now and promise to draw something for the next post. I'll leave you with a glimpse of Elaine's birthday:

Sunday, 28 October 2012

What a difference a week makes

Above:Today (view from balcony). Below: One week ago, T-shirt weather. (Not view from balcony, but not too far away!)
 Haven't posted for a few days as we had a health scare. We took baby Elaine to the hospital on Friday night as she'd been lethargic and apathetic all day (adjectives I'd never normally use to describe her) and her stomach had got hard. Turned out she had a bowel infection which also prevented her from passing urine. The poor thing had to get a catheter, and some other unpleasant things including a drip attached to her forehead (apparently it hurts less in that position at her age). We had to stay overnight but she slept really well and recovered so well that we were able to go home in the afternoon. She's back to her usual chirpy self again now. Phew...feeling very thankful.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Golden October

We're currently having a bit of an Indian summer at the moment; lots of sunshine and temperatures up to 23 degrees C. Lovely, especially as my parents arrived on Friday. Yesterday we walked part of the 'Panorama' way which is a walk near the village of Mittelberg. Those are the German/Austrian alps in the distance.
 I've managed to somehow squash up my husbands face in this sketch. You'll have to take my word that he's really quite attractive in real life!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Quo vadis?

Rather pathetically, it took me about 30 minutes to warm up, stop being paranoid and sketch a fellow customer in the Quo Vadis bakery cafe. The actually sketch only took 2 minutes. My poor general knowledge led me to check Wikipedia for the meaning of the phrase, Quo Vadis. It's biblical and I can't quite get the connection to baked goods...Maybe the point is "Where are you going? -Nowhere, at least not until I've had my coffee and buttered pretzel".

Sunday, 21 October 2012


Elaine was happy to stay in the playgroup without me on Thursday so I had the luxury of breakfast in Cafe Quo Vadis (sounds fancy but it's just a nice bakery with cafe). Not the best drawing but I was just building up the courage to sketch a fellow breakfaster. Can you work out what's on the plate? Bit of round roll, mini 'trough' of jam, chewed orange slice, lots of crumbs and a bit of lettuce and cherry tomato.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Almost halfway through Blogtoberfest and an exciting incident.

Thursday's sketchbook page which I'd unintentionally missed out. The most exciting thing on that day? One of my deep personal fears someone else! Yup, a woman farted really loudly during pilates. Oh, the relief that it wasn't me!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Back to black (and white)

I quite enjoyed my acrylics attempt the other day but it took me ages, relatively speaking. I kept getting the skin tone too dark, had to paint over it, then it was too light...etc. The Blogtoberfest Challenge is great for forcing me to draw but I'm (already) looking forward to less time constraints (which will probably result in me doing nothing at all...). This is Elaine with a large hair divider clip that her dad stuck in. She was standing looking up at the camera (just in case you thought the ears are at a weird angle!).

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Reincarnation of Lurcio?

The last post was the sketch for this painting. For some reason I talking myself into doing acrylic because I thought it might be easier than watercolour. It's just as difficult, just in different ways. While doing this I had a nagging feeling that the picture reminded me of someone...then it came to me. Frankie Howerd of 'Carry on' and Up Pompeii!' fame. Baby Elaine, I apologise!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Profile sketch

This is a preliminary sketch for an acrylic painting. (In other words, I'm posting this sketch because I'm too tired to start painting now. Have left it too late tonight. Too much faffing).

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Smug too soon

I had been feeling slightly smug that I'd managed over a whole week of the Blogtoberfest challenge of a blog post a day. Some days, I even wrote two and scheduled one for the next day. This clever-clogs approach has led to my downfall, however as I thought I'd posted for yesterday but hadn't. Doh. Still, on we go. 
This post doesn't even include drawings because I spent more than one evening faffing around with bits of paper. In a desperate attempt to be organized I've made a start on decorations for Elaine's 1st birthday on the 31st.  (Yes, decorations for a one year old are ultimately pointless, but I feel strangely compelled). I made about 5 of these paper garlands (just strips of paper sewn together - thanks Pinterest!).
 I haven't actually gone for a African flag theme - the colour palette and animal shapes are shamelessly borrowed from a lovely picture book When I was born. The idea of using the book as a party these was in turned pinched from this website. There's no real new ideas in the world, is there? Except at Apple Corp. maybe.
The animals are going to be hung from ribbons - just tauntingly out of reach, ha, ha but I'll let her destroy everything at the end. I have laminated the animals though, so if any survive I can recycle them into a mobile for her room.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Lenzfried church

I struggle with architectural drawing. It takes me ages and generally looks disappointing despite the effort. Did this sitting in the car yesterday in the near-constant rain. In German this type of spire is called an onion tower which is quite fitting.(Have just checked the translation and apparently we also say onion - onion dome or bulbous spire. Hmm...ignorant in two lanugaes!)

Monday, 8 October 2012


It's literally raining conkers in Kempten's parks at the moment. On Friday we were at Elaine's new baby singing group. I know, I know...I previously had my doubts about parents who dragged their babies to such things but then I previously thought all babies were anti-social little lumps who liked to stay at home, in trusted surroundings, avoid change and placidly chew on a designated chew toy. Not this baby. Action! Music! Kids twice my size! Strange men! Unknown environments! Potential danger! That's what I like. Anyway, one of the songs had a conker in it's shell as a prop. Something about Mr Conker coming out of his house, etc. The singing teacher has told us we will be given sheets of lyrics at some point. I have never heard any of these songs before in my life so try to hum tunelessly along to show willingness. I suspect the teacher thinks I'm a bit thick. "I'll try and sing slower, next time" she said. I did explain that I understand everything, I just don't know the words but I don't think she was buying it. Meanwhile Elaine was attempting to stuff Mr Conker and as many members of his family as possible into her gob. Rock n roll.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Fish sauce and tamarin

It's about 10pm. Have been soaked twice - once on the way to Pilates and once and the way back. From the TV I can hear Simon Cowell beckoning me over have a cookie and watch him shatter some dreams. Bad man. Must draw something...anything...quickly...

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Homemade = love

 It's for an October birthday girl and pumpkins are seasonal (is the link too tenuous?). She's currently about 6 months pregnant so I hope she's not got issues about her shape or the affectionate quip could backfire!

Friday, 5 October 2012

A bit snotty

Elaine has a cold. At the park she wasn't as active as normal, with only one incident of chewing a major choking hazard (a conker - very seasonal). For once, I'm satisfied with a drawing!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Fellow sketchers

These two sketches were both done in 5 minutes or less during a break in the life drawing course. Although both of the subjects hardly moved, having previously sketched a moving model really helped to improve my drawing speed.