Today’s Sktchy portrait is of Christine’s husband. I don’t know his name; Christine posted his photo on Sktchy but didn’t add his name. I love his wistful expression. Last week I made a commitment to draw a portrait of an older person at least once a week in honour of all the older people dying in care homes in the UK in the coronavirus pandemic. This is this week’s portrait.
I drew this on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil using the Procreate app.
Today’s portrait is a seagull drawn from a Sktchy photo uploaded by Kris. I live in Brighton on the south coat of England, a city with its fair share of seagulls. Some consider them a plague, personally I love them.
Every year two seagulls nest in our chimney pots and around this time of year their eggs hatch and for a couple of months I watch my chimney pots as the chicks grow into fledglings. I love the expectation, waiting to see how many chicks there are, trying to count them as they start to move around between the chimney pots, never entirely sure until they are big enough to fight for space in their cramped quarters.
This year the gulls are back again and I’ve been watched them build their nest and guard it for some time. I’m pretty sure the chicks have now hatched because one of the gulls is permanently stationed on the chimney and they appear to be feeding chicks, but they’re not moving around yet. It feels more important to me than ever before that they are there this year, because they are a daily reminder to me that the world is still turning, that nature is still doing what it does, it’s patterns are unchanged, if anything they are reinforced by the slowdown in economic growth. Watching the seagulls carry on with their lives just as they do every year is the most reassuring thing I have seen this spring. It brings me peace in a way that nothing else has done. I’m hoping there are at least 2, perhaps even 3, chicks this year. I’ll let you know.
I drew the full on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil using the Procreate app.
This is Artur. Nothing deep and meaningful about today’s choice of Sktchy face to draw. I just liked that intense and more than a little grumpy expression and it was definitely fun to draw. I got lost in the pink and blue tones for a while.
I drew this on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil using the Procreate app and Lisa Bardot’s fabulous pencil box brushes.
Something totally different today, a mermaid for Mermay. Mermay is a daily drawing challenge during the month of May, when the idea is quite simple to draw a mermaid every day, but I’ve never participated in it before. but then I saw Angela’s inspiration photo on Sktchy and decided that I would draw at least one mermaid this month.
It’s not my best work, I’m definitely having a few days when everything that can go wrong when I’m drawing does, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s usually a sign that I’ve either been working too much in a comfort zone (probably true) or I’m about to make a breakthrough (that would be nice..). Either way when I’m wrestling with my drawing it generally means I need to accept it and I will eventually move forward.
I painted this in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook and then work Ed on it initially with Prismacolor coloured pencils and then digitally in Procreate.
Some days you just feel like giving up. Today has been one of those days. In fact this week has been one of those weeks. Just keep drawing… going to get through coronavirus and whatever follows one portrait at a time.
I drew this on my iPad Pro using the Procreate app.
I’ve practiced mindfulness for many years. It’s been one of my most important coping strategies when it comes to looking after my mental health and managing my chronic pain. In the many years I’ve been using it there have been only two times when I’ve really struggled with it, finding it hard to focus well enough even to practice and/or finding myself avoiding practice because to do so was so difficult. The first time was after I developed Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and the second is now. Both times the enormity of the situation has just felt too huge to allow my mind to be calm.
And yet, in the past few days, I am finally finding calm when I pick up my pens and my sketchbook or iPad and draw. I am beginning to find that mindful attention to the present moment returning when I’m focused on drawing portraits, more so every day. It’s taken five weeks to get here and it really is baby steps but I’m counting it as progress. I still can’t find the focus to sit down with my Mindful or Headspace apps, that’s asking too much of my frazzled, panicked mind, but an hour or so of portrait drawing a day is something I’m deeply grateful for.
I drew Sktchy muse Akeem on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil using the Procreate app.
Sktchy are hosting a Backward Portrait Party this weekend, challenging members to reverse their usual drawing or painting methods and works “backwards”. So I totally reversed my usual process to draw Anastasia’s portrait on my iPad. I usually paint hair last so I did it first, than I painted the face and features, and then added some colour for the sweater. I added some linework right at the end. You can see a short timelapse video of my drawing process on YouTube here.
The most interesting thing about this for me was that I was completely absorbed in my work while I was painting and drawing, more than at any time since the coronavirus lockdown began. For a whole hour or so I wasn’t anxious at all, I wasn’t thinking about anything else, I was just making art. It was so lovely to have some peace of mind.