I can get no satisfaction…..

self portrait

Brian, a fellow EDMer, had the following to say and it matches how I feel. I was sure I would not be able to express it as well and so I asked him If I could quote him here.

We’re all victims of Hollywood’s romantic way of portraying things. Artists in the movies always seem so confident, like they know exactly what they are doing, what they want, how to achieve it and so on and so forth, in between passionate rolls in the hay with the female lead. In fact, in the movies you seldom see anyone actually working. It’s all glamour and passionate inspiration, and no cursing and throwing of drawing implements.

In real life, we’re caught in a neat little Catch-22. We are never entirely
satisfied with any particular drawing, leading to frustration. But this
dissatisfaction is also the thing that keeps us going, because we keep on
thinking that the perfect drawing is just around the corner. Tantalizingly,
it remains just out of reach.

I think if we ever became perfectly satisfied with our work, it would there
and cease to hold our interest. The frustration would be gone, and so would the incentive to keep at it. So you are either a frustrated artist, or the frustration ends, but with it the art as well.

Brian van der Spuy
on EDM

Pen & ink in my little sketchbook.


It’s been a long time…

.. been a long time,
Been a long lonely, lonely,
lonely, lonely, lonely time.
Rock & Roll, Led Zeppelin

Portrait Swap

Vacations seem to unsettle me. Now, dont get me wrong I love them like everyone else. The problem is that well before they start and for a long while after I cant get started on painting.  I’m on my way to starting again and the next vacation is a few weeks away. Have to find a way to tackle this. If you have any ideas please leave me a comment. I’m willing to try most things 😀 but not stop holidaying!

8″ X 10″ Pen & Ink and white chalk in my sketchbook.

Linocut Print

I’ve been back from my exciting and terrific holiday for over a week now and given myself a 101 reasons for why I wasnt painting as yet.

2 nights ago, armed with all the equipment I’d collected, I decided to take a proof of the Linocut that I’d been working on a while ago. This is one of several that I pulled that night. It still doesnt have the darkness i’m looking for. I tried wetting the paper in my 4th attempt but as I hadnt blotted it well enough it turned out quite messy!

I cant think of what I can do to simplify it further so I’m leaving the linocut as is. One of the things that I am considering is to fix the eye on the right. All suggestions are very welcome. I’ll be taking a few more prints to try and get the print on darker.


Update: July 19, 2007: I like the linocut more than the prints!  I think I’ll frame it instead 😀

Self Portrait

Update: June 23, 2008 : Got another print using a press. A lot more ink on the print this time but still a bit messed up! Have to say though that I do love the embossed effect 😀

Linocut print 3

Ramesh sleeping 2

Ramesh Sleeping

This time I tried to be clever and sketch Ramesh from behind. But I think he has a sixth sense that alerts him to the fact that I’m trying to sketch him! After sleeping like a log he shifted positions when I was a few minutes into my sketch and then i had to use my imagination to complete the pattern, shadow effect and I dont have a very good one.

The paper seems to have been affected by the wash that i’d laid on the page above it. It blotted and spread more than usual. I also need to work on perspective. I always manage to mess that up. The headboard and the books all look skewed. I need to do that Betty Edwards exercise of drawing on perspex before putting it down on paper. It helps you see better. I last used it in 2004 and a review is overdue.

I have a whole series of Ramesh sleeping and a couple of earlier posts here and here. I’ve put together a few on Flickr and will add to the set as I locate them in old sketchbooks.

Late at night

IMG_0088from a Shell adIMG_0089self portraitTolouse LautrecEgon SchieleAnnie

It has become quite clear that I’m a night painter. Whatever schedule I was planning to come up with for learning had better keep that fact in mind.

The self portrait was made in Chennai and the last one which is supposed to be of a friend, Annie was made earlier in Bangalore. I was peering into the LCD Panel (2″) of my camera for Annies well that’s my excuse for it not looking like her. The others have been made in Kolkata and for those I can only say that it was quite late at night! Mr Blair’s right eye is out of whack and Mrs Clinton has been given way too many wrinkles. But if I really squint hard they look ok 😀 The one I like the most here is the one of the boy reaching out.

Update : These are all from photo references except for the self portrait – TIME, books, my camera and the mirror.

Mother and Child

mother and child

Inspite of the problem areas there is something about this sketch that appeals to me more than all the others i did over the holidays.   I think the main reason is that it brings back the moment I was trying to capture.  This holiday was the second time that I got to spend with my niece since her birth earlier in the year.   It was great to see my sister being a mother.  Right now Mama is Top of the Pops for the baby and that’s nice to see and enjoy too.

Drawing with a tablet


What I’m drawn to attempting are faces. Used a recent photograph that I’d taken of a friend and tried the tablet for this sketch. I’m finding it difficult to draw on the tablet and look at the screen. My hand-eye co-ordination needs improvement and I think doing blind contours is going to help me get there. Now I just need to add that to my already long list of things to do.

Ramesh Sleeping

Ramesh Sleeping

Originally uploaded by HughPee.

There was a creativity assignment in the Wet Canvas! Classroom Forum on looking at objects from a different sized view finder. I was too caught up with some other work to do it. While clearing up my papers I found this little bit of torn paper with this sketch.  It is approx 8" X 2" and fits the 4:1 format given in the assignment. This was made a year ago and I still like it. 😀 I used to lurk around trying to find a model and when I tired of drawing my hand or foot I used to sneak up on a sleeping Ramesh to sketch.

This post will be moved to June 12, 2005 soon.

Life drawing at Harriets

Parvati I was invited to join an art group for their Monday morning session. And that was this morning. Harriet is lovely, warm and friendly and I was immediately put at ease. They were going to have a Life Portrait session and the model was Parvati.

Decided to try her out in pencil first. Spent about half an hour on this. Found it difficult to handle her hair and maybe the next time i should try and sit in a bit closer. I havent managed to capture a likeness and in mine Parvati looks stern and angry while in reality she was laughing and smiling all the while! Parvati had posed for an art group earlier too and so was quite comfortable with sitting in one position and gave us a good one hour of her time.

Not wanting to hold the others back especially not the first time I met them, i decided not to make an attempt with acrylics but to do something else. Used darker paper for the oil pastels and tried capturing Harriet.

Harriet Sadly, it’s a very poor effort. I’ve realised i’ve forgotten the little i’d picked up of using pastels and will have to start all over again 😦 plus the black back ground was tough to work on. Need to try using it again.

It really felt good to be with people who were also interested in drawing ‘n painting and the morning passed by very swiftly. We had tea and a delicious apple cake too!

I’m now thinking of looking for a subject to try out something in acrylics. 😀


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