Silence to Contemplate the Challenge

W14 11 19 BG BEGINS SILENCE 1DSC01635With the extreme changes that happened this month, I decided to start the Moondae Challenges
this Moonday (Monday).
I have no idea what the first challenge will be, and so, the next three days (Dark of the Moon) heading into the New Moon on Saturday will be a time when I paint, am in relative silence.  Thankfully when I have to work it will not be in client meetings but shellacking a lovely old commode (dresser) and working on a tapestry.  Both are meditative, and so this is good work.

All day I have been working with the same colors; because of Aquabee, besides my quick watercolor of Booby Gurl going into silence, above, I am posting the other images created this day.  I chose the same colors to mix and play with all day. . . hmmm.
I bought two new Daniel Smith Primatek colors from Merriartist because of their great sale this month; Yavapei won the day with blues and greens mixed.

I also am working with contour drawing today.  Many people will talk about
Betty Edward’s or some other teacher; I prefer the wonderful book by Kimon Nicolaides,
The Natural Way to Draw, 1938.  I bought it at 25, and have used it my whole life!

Watercolors created with Noodler’s pen using Polar Brown Noodler’s ink in a square Aquabee Super Deluxe journal (or Stillman & Birnman Alpha),
with Daniel Smith, Holbien, and QoR watercolors.


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About dkatiepowell

cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist began as zennie then turned to tibetan AND interested in the study of various spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business, making a dream happen insomniac who is either reading mysteries or autobio journal thangs or buddhism early in the morning when i can’t sleep. . . lover of dotz . . . and dashes –
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2 Responses to Silence to Contemplate the Challenge

  1. Sandi says:

    Oh, this is great. Another drawing book that I have just discovered, and it is also recommended here. I first read about Kimon Nicolaides, this year, in Clare Walker Leslie’s “The Art of Field Sketching”. Leslie was a student of Nicolaides’. I really like Leslie’s drawings. At nearly the same time, an online drawing teacher said Nicolaides was too complicated. This made Nicolaides even more intriguing because Leslie’s work is so honest and uninhibited. One of her blind contour drawings of an acorn nearly looks like nothing at all. Leslie is not afraid to include this in her book: “Keeping a Nature Journal”. Then I get my copy of Nicolaides from the library and what do I read? Wonderful things. The daily “compositions do not have to be right. They can be all wrong. The important thing is to do them”.

    This is what I do when I write. When I did an accredited writing course we were continually reminded to write, to write everyday. Just write anything. I do what is called ‘free writing’ – keep writing for a length of time even if it is gibberish (so free-ing). I also do ‘focused free writing’ when I want to write about a thing or a particular subject. We learnt this in the course. All this free writing is just getting stuff out and down on paper with no judgement whatsoever. And it doesn’t have to make sense. So – if I can persuade myself to do this in relation to art, I think I might learn something and have fun at the same time.

    There is another drawing book I discovered at my library. I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere else yet. The book is called “Drawing Projects” by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern. There are heaps of projects for freeing up ones drawing, and quite a lot of reading too, which I love to do.

    I am awaiting your review of drawing books next year on your art blog.


    • I know who it was that said that Nicolaides was too difficult for a beginner. I didn’t want to argue the point, but I was a beginner when I first cracked his book, and on another response, she admitted to not having used him much. Well, EVERYTHING is too difficult when you are just starting, but I have a skiing analogy. I had never skied, and my boyfriend was a ski racer. He signed me up at Mammoth mountain for the learn to race class. I said “NO WAY!” He said, “WAY.” The thing is, that the racing classes taught such perfect form, that in no time I was off the bunny slopes. It wasn’t more difficult, I still fell down, but when I did I had been taught how to fall too! Nearly every drawing teacher out there used Nicolaides, they just don’t give him credit! (Betty Edwards, Sketchbook Skool teachers, et all — they all use his exercises.) I use his wonderful exercises now, and will use them until I can’t hold a pencil anymore. The man was an amazing teacher. So I say, if you are going to buy a book, and THE book is not more expensive that the watered-down versions, then why not go to the source. Ching is also good, very architectural, and quite different. I don’t think Frank Ching uses any of Nicolaides exercises. . .
      When I needed to loosen up to write consistently in my own voice, I used Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones.” 15-20 minutes, timer on, go. Get rid of the editor, don’t think, and journal away — don’t check spelling, just see where your monkey mind takes you. To draw well you need to do the same — draw what is in front of you, draw every day, keep a cheap sketchbook on you (not a watercolor book, but something really inexpensive). Tell your “editor” (gallery owner, mother, critic) to take a hike!
      When I teach, I really go to town on dealing with the “editor” in you — be it teaching design, writing or art classes. Practice and no editor. The thing is, you can’t create from the editor. You can get something ready to go to print, write the letter to the art gallery, or organize your painting desk, but the editor won’t let your muse come forth, and the muse is where it’s at!
      Good lord Sandi, I had a lot to say here. I’ve tried a few online classes to see how they were done (creating my own classes) and so I have had a lot to say . . . WOW!
      In all that, there really should be a happy holidays!


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