Sunday, 31 July 2011

High Bush-Cranberry leaf in pen and ink

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is obsession.

It doesn't take a very long browse of this blog's album to discover one of my brain's life-long obsessions. Count the number of leaves, trees, and branching patterns in general, and you just have to figure that something's going on there.

I like patterns. A lot. I like symmetries, I like branching, I like regularity... but I absolutely love the way nature takes those basics and then messes with them juuust a little to keep me interested.

It's all about me, of course.

Um, yeah. Anyway. Superficially speaking, there's a lot of regularity and symmetry in nature. That's only superficially, though. If you look a little closer you find that what seems very basic and repetitive is actually full of complex variations. Sometimes it's irregularity in growth, like the veins on a leaf, but sometimes the symmetry was never there to begin with. Look at us, for example. On the outside? Well, I'm sure most of us did the symmetry exercise in school (I... think most of us did. I'm getting on a bit now. Maybe they don't do the symmetry stuff anymore) where you're given half of a picture and have to use a mirror to make it into a full picture. Often the half-picture is of a person, and the resulting reflected picture looks very familiar in its symmetry. It's what we think humans look like.


Look inside. Check out an anatomy textbook. Humans (and most other animals. Zoologist here, remember? I saw the insides of a lot of animals back in the day. But that's a whole 'nother topic) have almost nothing to do with symmetry once you get past the superficial.

That's unexpected.

And that's interesting.

And that's the kind of unexpected and interesting that keeps my OCD brain from getting bored. And believe me, it obsesses me enough that if I'd had more time on my break I would have gladly drawn out all the minute veins in today's leaf rather than just the major ones.

Is that weird?

Ah well. Can't say it would surprise me if it was. It still makes me happy, though, and that's what counts in my brain.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Saskatoon in graphite

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is perennial. I'm a little short on time right now, so here's a fifteen-minute sketch of saskatoon, a perennial plant (well, it's a bush, so by definition it's going to be perennial...) that bears fruits that are perennial favourites around here for preserves, syrups, and pie-making. Not quite ripe yet, but when they are I'll be raiding the shrub outside my office window for at least a few handfuls.

If I get around to it I'll try to post something a bit more substantial for the word later.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Baton in acrylic with resist

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is gesture. I grew up singing in choirs and playing in the school band (oboe and tuned percussion, of all things), and I also had my own childrens' choir for about ten years, so I guess that the ultimate in gestures for me is conducting.

I've not actually had much experience with the baton since most choral conducting is done with the bare hand, but I've done baton a little. If I'm to be honest, it felt a lot more regimented and a lot less instinctual than conducting for a choir, but it definitely makes you think more about the importance of each movement.

Since I did most of my choral conducting for kids, it was really more of a full-body thing than conducting with a baton usually is. Kids respond to your energy as well as your beat, so if you want them to truly follow you you'd better be planning to be doing a lot more than just waving your arms around. Conducting a full concert can be pretty exhausting. And since you're generally mouthing the words right along with them, it can also make you just as dry as if you'd sung the whole thing too.

It's tiring, all right, but it can also be pretty exciting to see -- and feel -- a group of singers reacting well as one body. Do I miss it? Yeah, sometimes. Not enough to do anything about it, true, but there are times when I wish I could just step into it for a while again. It was a big part of my life, and every now and then it feels weird to realise how long it's been since I led a rehearsal.


Yeah. Rehearsals.

Maybe I don't miss rehearsals all that much...

Anyway. Today's doodle is mostly just a result of me having an idea an then deciding I wasn't in the mood to go realistic with it. Oil pastel for resist, painted over with acrylic, and then rubbed down just after the paint stopped being tacky but was still flexible.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Iris in pen and ink

This is some variety or other of Siberian Iris, drawn from a photo. Sad, that, since there are still a couple of them blooming in the garden. It's been absolutely pouring today, though, so photo it was.

I love irises, but this is my first attempt at an iris doodle. Not too bad, I figure, but now that I've tackled one I'm looking forward to getting a bit more practice at it. Maybe even in colour...

Shocking thought, that: a flower in colour. I know. Who'd have even thought it was possible?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Stay in pen and ink

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is stay.



Good boy...


Because I never got around to posting anything for last week's prompt of remedy, here's a bonus doodle:

Click on the picture if you want to decipher the left-hander writing.

Would I vouch for the remedy? Personally, no. Also, I just have no desire to stick garlic in my ear at this particular time.

I can't help but think that's only reasonable.

'Scuse the added scuzziness from the scanner here at work. It obviously needs a cleaning.
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