04 July 2012

"Could you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?"

I decided that the only way I'm going to improve my drawing is the same way you get to Carnegie Hall.
Practice, practice, practice!

Since my previous post, I've been keeping my notebook with me and working on sketches every chance I get. Some people sit and play with their phone apps while waiting for a meeting; I have my little black Moleskine artist's journal and colored pens with me to pass the time.

I had to be in Baltimore four days straight last week, so I made sure I brought my journal. I assigned myself a theme for the first day: circles and curves. Traffic was light the first day, and I got to town early. I needed to wait about 40 minutes. So, I doodled everything I could think of on the theme of circles and curves.

On one of my lunch breaks, I drew my favorite landmark in Baltimore:  the Bromo Seltzer Tower. Fortunately there was shade from a nearby building so that I could stand being outside in 90-degree heat.  (I'm glad I did it that day, because the next day's thermometer topped over 100-degrees F.)

Result of my experiments:
1) It's good to have a journal and pens with me all the time. I'm more likely to use it to kill time between activities.
2) Theme of the Day or pausing to draw something around me that illustrates what the day is like are great strategies.

You may have heard on the news that we had some pretty dramatic weather in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore region last Friday. 105-degrees temps combined with a huge line of deadly thunderstorms and extremely high winds -- not a tornado, but a derecho. Afterwards there were trees uprooted, power lines down, and masses of people without power. It was pretty ugly, but somehow my home wasn't directly impacted. Whew! I feel very grateful and sympathize with everyone who didn't have power in the aftermath-- and those who still don't have the power back on.

Needless to say, with the steaming blast of temperature everyone was desperate to be indoors near an air conditioner. I was elated that my local mixed media arts store, The Queen's Ink, got their power back on in time for my long-awaited cigar box decoupage class on Sunday afternoon.

A Century Celebration box by ~runningwave~

Patti taught us the techniques for converting a used cigar box into a brand new keepsake box. She had preselected some wonderful papers  with artwork based upon fashion magazines from circa 1912 to 1922. This just happens to fall into my favorite time period in history, and I have spend years studying art and culture from 1900 to about 1940. I learned to love the Edwardian period during my college studies.

These scrapbook paper illustrations are about as Edwardian as they come. I look at them and see characters from P.G. Wodehouse novels. " 'Shall I bring the motor car round, Sir?' inquired Jeeves."  The car ended up on top of the box; it just had to! Plus that gave me the excuse to make the button knob look like a tire (or is that, tyre?)

Side view: A Century Celebration box by ~runningwave~

Inside view

Chosen materials, for those of you reading who care about that sort of thing: The papers our instructor selected for the class were Graphic 45 "A Ladies Diary" theme. The edges of the paper are covered with Ranger Arts distress ink (Pine Needles or Tattered Rose, depending on the background colors of the printed paper.). The handle is a stack of buttons nested and then glued together with Glossy Accents. The trick it to actually anchor the button knob with a tiny button sewn with waxed linen thread to the inside lid of the box.


  1. I love your box! Those papers are one of my favorite collections and I suppose it's because I love that era also. Great job!

  2. I maybe should start doodling and sketching when I find myself waiting, too. I do keep a little notebook with me. Love the way your box turned out! You're right, the Ladies Diary papers do look very Jeeves and Wooster-esque!

  3. How fun to be reminded of The Queen's Ink! Did I meet you in one of my classes there? Love the pieces in this post. Are you following the Sketchbook Challenge? This month the theme is Circles, which is my theme. I got such a kick out of the work my Sketchbook Practice students did on this theme, that I chose it for the Challenge.

  4. Jane, thank you for reading the post. Yes, I met you at The Queen's Ink in 2010. I took your box making class.

    I just learned about the Sketchbook challenge a couple weeks ago. Then I saw your blog post about and realized you are part of Sue's project. Maybe I should look at it more closely. I wasn't aware of the thematic approach.

    I appreciate you mentioning it. Cheers!