Azu the Model Dog


The Beagle never fails to provide an interesting model for a sketch!


Trying Van Gogh’s Perspective Frame

I recycled a loom, a nine by twelve wood frame with nails all around, into a facsimile of Vincent van Gogh’s perspective frame.  All it takes is four strings, strung from corner to corner and in a cross across the middle so that the large rectangle is divided into four smaller rectangles and four triangles.  It has a centre line both horizontal and verticle, and the exact middle is indicated where all the strings cross each other. A basic guideline to help arrange the composition of a scene, and also to give lines of perspective.

Van Gogh practiced with his a lot, crediting it for helping his perspective immensely.  These days, with phone screen photos and print outs, it’s easy to draw these lines right over a photo, mapping it out or even using a program to crop an image to your liking.  However, it is still wonderful practice to draw or paint right on site, where nature or a street full of buildings can be confusing to put on paper.  Van Gogh’s frame is easy to prop up, literally framing the scene as you like it, cropping out the excess space in your field of vision.  It’s a great feeling to realize that you can condense all that information and focus only on what pleases you, and then you realize that, even within that frame, you are allowed to take out more of what you don’t find necessary to the feeling or message of the image.  You are the artist!

Here’s my scene from a local picnic site.  The photo shows the view as I could see it through the frame (without strings).  Lot’s of trees, branches, leaves!


Below is a quick sketch.  My frame doesn’t have legs yet so I had to hunch down on the picnic bench, adjusting my eyes to the frame rather than the way it’s supposed to work.  My guide lines are faintly visible criss crossing roughly through the middle.IMG_1630.jpg

This frame helped quite a bit!  I usually find that my drawings from photos are better than those done en plein air.  That could be lack of practice, but I think I’ll practice a lot more with a nifty drawing frame to help me see the world.

Selections From the School Show

Our time at the local school with students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 seems like a long time ago already!  We very much enjoyed drawing the creative sense from all the kids and were pleased with the results as well as with the reception of the art from staff, parents and students.  Below are some of the great pieces that were created by the students, on display at the school’s art show.

The trees were drawn and painted using Elegant Writers by Grade 4s, who also sketched trees in pencil.

Here and there is a tinfoil turtle sculpture.  The Kindergarten class made sure there was a lot of bling on their shiny turtles.

The balloon cartoons are pen and ink and watercolour, created by Grade 5/6s.  The scratch board fish are also Grade 5/6 work.

We were blown away by Grades 1 and 2, who produced translucent marbles with shadows using pastels.

Grade 3s arranged lovely flower bouquets using water soluble pencil.

The 7/8s are responsible for the moonlit acrylic scenes of northern lights and and spruce, as well as the detailed drawings of birds (with the odd giraffe, goalie and crocodile).

Messing About With Elegant Writers

Now we have a class set of Elegant Writer Pens!  We took them to the lodge this week, but first some messing about in preparation.  Elegant Writers have water soluble ink.  A drawing, complete with shading, can be painted with clean water to spread the colours in a watercolour effect.  A brush loaded with ink picked up from the paper can be used until it runs out of juice.  Watercolour techniques like wet in wet and lifting work beautifully, and of course fine details can be drawn in at any time, so long as the paper is dry.  As the ink separates into pink and teal, the painting attains a lovely three dimensional effect.


The trunk was drawn with the pen, then everything else was added with ink sucked into the brush and softened off with water. The background is wet in wet.


Water works particularly well as the ink explodes into wet areas. This is a marsh with wet in wet background trees, pale clouds , and even a goose on a nest.


Doodles and scribbles and nothing much, but the explosion of ink is always exciting to watch!


Layering of colour. You can pick at a tiny sketch for ages.