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Friday, November 13, 2015

Well hello! I'm back...

More or less, anyway...life has been more than full, and mostly good, and satisfying, though with it's fair share of pain as well.

What fills me today is being ready, finally, to start working on a new class.  More than likely, interactive again, after all this time.  Those are time-consuming and exhausting, but this is something I want to connect with, personally.  Connect with the students, personally.

And yes, it WILL focus on journaling.

It will grow out of this place--a journey begun, for me, years ago in the 70s, really.

It's time.

This is what I wrote on my Facebook page this morning:

"Someone flipped a switch in my brain. There WILL be a new class upcoming, maybe two of them, I've been writing for 2 hours and ideas just keep flowing. I love this part of what I do!

This is a class I thought of doing a couple of years ago, but life--and death--got in the way.

It's time.

It will TAKE some time to pull it together, but it feels good to be so full of energy and ideas."

And I've been writing down thoughts, quotes, ideas, and plans ever since.

It will be personal.  It will be DIFFERENT.  I'm not even sure where it will take place, yet, but most likely on my old familiar Blogger.

I'm not sure what to call it, yet..."Meaning-full Journaling" popped to the forefront this morning.

But I am confident it WILL happen.  It feels right.  I am full of a serene kind of excitement, if that isn't too much of a contradiction in terms.

It's time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sandy's portrait sketch

I've been faithfully attending life drawing sessions on Wednesday nights for almost four years now.  A few weeks ago our model didn't show up so we took turns posing for one another.  The sketch on the left is one I did of  our group's mentor and the sketch on the right is one she did of me.  She's going to be 93 years old next month and is amazing!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Our family looks forward to going to the county fair every year.  It makes it that much sweeter when we're able to have little ones along with us.  This year we had three little girls and the one I sketched in my journal, Adelaide, was so thrilled to be able to go into the stall with the palomino pony.  Her face just glowed!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

First Street Alley

First Street Alley
©2015 Steve Penberthy
Watercolor on Strathmore Gemini 140-lb CP paper
in handmade sketchbook,
6.75" x 10.25" (17 x 26 cm)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Morning at the Lake

Morning at the Lake
©2015 Steve Penberthy
Watercolor on Strathmore Gemini 140-lb paper in handmade sketchbook, 
6.75" x 10.25" (17 x 26 cm)

I painted this sketch in my handmade sketchbook containing my favorite watercolor paper, Strathmore Gemini 140-lb CP.  It has the right amount of sizing that works for my style.

More info about my handmade sketchbook.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

why drawing makes me happy

Drawing makes me happy
I have been thinking about why drawing makes me happy, without getting too philosophical, and I have tried to put it in words. This proved more difficult than I thought, so this is a longer blogpost than I imagined. I originally posted this on my own blogpost. I received the most feedback I have ever had on my blogpost from fellow sketchers that I thought that is might resonate with people who use their sketchbook as an artists journal.

I have been drawing on and off (mainly off) all of my life. About ten years ago I started drawing almost daily, then I began carrying a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook, my Watercolour pencils and Lamy Safari Joy ink pen with me everywhere. Now, drawing is a part of me and my life. It is not a hobby or pastime, but part of what makes me – me. This realisation came when I was very ill about four years ago and had (successful) brain surgery. I was asking for my pencils and sketchbook in intensive care a few days after the operation and then sketched constantly in hospital over the following months. See all my drawings from my medical adventure here
operation on the evening of 30 March 2011. This was sketched in ICU on 6 April 2011
Now, I draw everyday, a quick sketch capturing a passing moment or a longer drawing over a few days or nights. If I don’t put pencil to paper for a few days I get itching for it - looking at people or scenes and visualising how I would capture it on paper – what would I include, what features to emphasize or which colours I would choose.
When I draw I am happy. I switch off from everything else in life, time stops, peacefulness reigns, there is freedom and fluidity. I try and draw in my lunchtime at work. When I make that time, I sit in the library shelves where I work and draw the books. For that half an hour, although I am at work, I do not think about deadlines, goals or things to do lists.
24Apr15  Library books
I read a quote from happiness guru Csíkszentmihályi describing this as FLOW, which is "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one… Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost.”
It has taken years to find my own drawing style and become comfortable with it (although I am still learning constantly). I feel as though I have finally found something that I am good at. I have accumulated skills and learning through years of practice. Sometimes my pencil moves confidently and smoothly over the page, other times tentative and exploratory. But I am always enjoying it as I work and explore within my comfort zone on the paper.
As I draw I am subconsciously thinking about the drawing, its proportions, what colours will work on the page. I am visualising how something may turn out. However, they are not thoughts I have to think too hard about – ah well, except proportions and perspective – that requires a bit more thought. The finished result may meet my original idea, or may not, but still exceed my expectations. In photos of me drawing, you would not think I am happy – hunched over, furrowed brow, intense expression- but honesty I am!!
There have been a few times when I have become very emotional and almost bought to tears at the thought of how much joy I experience and how fortunate I am to be able to draw. They were moments of an unexpected upswelling of joy. Below is one of those times. I was sketching on my own in the streets of Barcelona, after the Urban Sketching Symposium in 2013 on a Sunday morning, surrounded by the everyday happenings of peoples lives.
Barcelona July 2013 after the Urban Sketchers Symposium. Sketching on my own
There is so much more to write about drawing and happiness . Especially the concept that when drawing you are not only looking but observing what you see everyday as you never have before . But this is the subject of another blog another day…
I shall finish on David Hockney quoting an old Chinese saying “Drawing needs three things, the heart, the hand and the eye, two won’t do.”
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