Why is the Mona Lisa so Famous? And what is the big deal with it?

We paid a visit to the Louvre today and of course braved the crowds in the room that houses the Mona Lisa. For many people seeing this painting is a bucket list item but when they get to see it you can tell they are slightly disappointed. Not every one of course but you can sense they walk out wondering why is Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa considered to be one of the greatest portraits of all time? It is a global icon with rock star status that has been endlessly studied, copied, and parodied. But when many people see this small …

A new everyday sketch challenge

Liz Steel has announced a new everyday sketch challenge. Just like many of us Liz struggles with sketching daily as the mundane can take over and squash creativity and sketching the mundane doubly so! There are a number of everyday sketch challenges online but they all propose either drawing a thing or an idea. Probably one of the first and best was Danny Gregory’s Everyday Matters Challenge. The EDM challenge suggested drawing things like a coffee cup, trees, tools, or bikes etc solid things – nouns in other words- that you go and find and draw. For me this was …

Travel Journal tip 1 from on the road

This is the start of a series of travel journal tips. The idea is that these tips are quick little things you can do while traveling that enhance your travel journal. These tips are all things I do in my own travel journal and the examples I share are real life samples of something done while traveling. Tips that are shared are real rather than polished or perfect. I figure that many people attempt to keep a travel journal and don’t because their expectations are too high. Or they want perfection which is the undoing of many creative projects. Before …

Urban Sketching at the Carillion Canberra

We attended an informal urban sketchers meeting at the National  Carillion building followed by a picnic. I thought I would share my efforts. This was the last page in my  Stillman and Birn Alpha series landscape (9 x 6, 22.9 cm x 15.2 cm) sketchbook (150 gsm white medium grain surface paper). I used water colours and Pitt pens. As usual it was a fun morning getting together with sketching buddies. If you are interested in Urban sketching, the Canberra Urban Sketchers group meet on the second Sunday of the month and everyone is welcome. We often have other informal …

Werner’s nomenclature of colours

German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner developed a detailed nomenclature – or naming system – colour guide published in 1821 under the flowery title of Werner’s nomenclature of colours : with additions, arranged so as to render it highly useful to the arts and sciences, particularly zoology, botany, chemistry, mineralogy, and morbid anatomy : annexed to which are examples selected from well-known objects in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms. Between the pages of this mouthful of a title is a type of colour dictionary which long predates Pantone colour swatches. It is an attempt to describe the colours of the …

Journal Prompts for this week

Make a cuppa and take a break for a few moments. I have a few articles of interest to share. Each holds an interesting tit bit and all make good jumping off points for a written journal entry. I often use this sort of reading matter as a journal prompt. One of the topics that is an ongoing reading project which is driven by the question “What makes a person creative?” Following this interest I came across Leonardo da Vinci: How to See the World Like Nobody Else by Zat Rana who is summarising Walter Isaacson’s ideas explored in his …

Free drawing lessons from the great master Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai is well known for his iconic Great Wave off Kanagawa. He was a master in the true sense of the word. Hokusai also produced a three-volume series of books of drawing lessons. These are now online free. The title has been translated as Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing. These books neatly demonstrate how drawing is taught today too! For instance, if you have ever done any basic drawing classes, you have probably been asked to draw a sphere, a cube, and a cone. It is a drawing exercise that many courses start out with. The idea is that many things …

A Egon Schiele sketch that rocked me to the core

When Austrian painter Egon Schiele died at 28, he left behind 3,000 drawings and more than 300 paintings. Schiele has been described as major figurative painter of the early 20th century but that is not what I shall talk about today. After my attempts at doing the the #OneWeek100People2018 challenge I have been thinking a lot about sketching people and about sketches of people I have seen that really moved me. I thought today I would share a sketch that rocked me to the core. I saw this image at the National Gallery, London in 2013 at an exhibition titled …