Embrace Your Art Challenge | Skillshare Projects



Embrace Your Art Challenge


Day 1: Root

Root. Definitely the place to begin this journey and exploration. I think the desire to create art  has been laying dormant within me for many years -- half a life-time to be honest. The source of the desire to learn to draw and begin a sketchbook practice is my love for nature, both in the wild and the garden.

Here is my first sketch for this challenge. I've attached the roots to a crocus corm -- but not one that you can plant in the soil. This corm is a actually a vase on my coffee table, created by a ceramic artist (Iris Wong) whose work I began collecting a few years ago.

I've set for myself the challenge of a particular theme: nature.

Ria asked, "What is taking root and growing for you and your art practice?" My answer is a work in progress that I will explore during this challenge. But I know my practice is evoking joy, calm, gratitude, connection and a pleasant kind of unrest and curiosity that is leading me to explore more and learn more.

(Media used: 2H pencil and recycled sketchbook paper with smooth surface. Next time I will try an HB or 2B pencil and rougher-textured paper.)


Nov 16: Boots (unfinished)

The right mate of my favourite pair.


Nov 15: Socks

My favourite (unworn) pair. An unfinished sketch.


Nov 13 : Leaves


Nov 2: Gourd

Sugar pumpkin


Nov 1: Fall

I will begin by stating I have never taken a formal art course or rarely sketched until I signed up for Sketchbook Magic in late September. And so you might think me arrogant or foolish or both for taking on this 30-day challenge. But I know that I will never improve unless I practice, and Ria has created this encouraging, safe space where I feel not too terrified to share some of my sketches.

For the past few weeks, I've been watching online tutorials on the basics of drawing with graphite. I've only put in a few of the 10,000 hours ahead of me -- mostly using the 2B pencil-) -- but I'm not ready to give up yet.

Today's prompt, "fall", evoked a few thoughts -- among them, apples. Rather than draw a piece of fresh fruit, I chose a ceramic apple because of the way it reflected the overhead light:


I see many deficiencies in my sketch, not the least of which that the apple is floating in thin air! So we'll call it unfinished, if that's o.k? :-).


I enjoyed the process of observing and then making marks. I think I grew a bit in confidence and pencil-handling and erasing skills. (So far to go yet, I know.) I don't have lofty goals other than experimentation and creative espression without fear. And if nothing else, I know I will develop a greater appreciation and understanding of visual art.


Projects from the November Challenge are above the line.

Projects from Days 1 through 7 of Sketchbook Magic are below the line.



Day 1

Project materials: wine cork and food colouring

I'm visiting my mom this week and don't have my (few) art supplies with me. I opened a couple of her kitchen drawers and cupboards yesterday and chose these items to create the first sketch in my first sketchbook.

The blueberry was a complete accident. I smudged one of the final stamps I made and decided to keep stamping on top of it. It evolved from a moon into a berry.


Day 2: Drawing of "My Favorite Things"

Ferns, mosses, wildflowers observed on walks along the Vedder River and to Bridal Veil Falls yesterday. Drawn from photographs and memory using a Uni-ball fine point pen, selected at random. If I would have had a free choice, this drawing tool would have been my last choice :-).

Discoveries & Delights: I started by trying to draw a fern, which evolved (unintentionally) into a hemlock branch. I wanted to stop after finishing the fern-hemlock but decided to "make more pots" and continued with rough sketches of the other flora.

My favorite part of the exercise: Letting my hand move freely and unselfconsciously.


Day 3: 2 minutes for geometric shapes

Circles -- very imperfect in contour -- in four different colors of ballpoint ink. I don't consider this a finished sketch and I was tempted to not upload it or to redo the exercise.  But in the spirit of honesty and learning from experimenting in public, I will share it :-). I liked the time constraint because it helped me make decisions quickly about what to put on the page.



Day 4: #MakeArtAnywhere

I made this art in the garden (to be precise, because it is raining today I sat just inside the side door with a view of the kitchen garden ) using a Pilot G-2 .07 pen after drawing the prompt "book titles." I didn't toss the dice but due to the chilly, damp weather, I initially thought I'd spend less than 6 minutes doing this activity. I have no idea how long I spent because soon after I put the pen tip on the paper, I lost track of time and place and was back on the trail that borders the Vedder River. My sketchbook was propped on my lap -- not the best position for lettering -- but I tried to duplicate the conditions of drawing in the garden. This morning I did sit on chair, but on dry days, I'll be sitting cross-legged on the grass or cedar plank. I think I may need to keep a container of drawing supplies next to the bucket of gardening tools :-).


Day 5: Fear/#my12DayProject

Picked with magic: 12 more days, vacation, desk at home, green Pilot pen, unlimited time

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Day #6: Autumn leaf

Yesterday afternoon, just before walking into the front door of Opus Art Supplies, I paused to pick up some newly fallen red maple leaves and tucked them into my backpack's pocket. I left the store with a package of 6 Staedtler fineliner pens and a promise to myself after I complete the next 12 sketches, I'd return for watercolours and brushes. This afternoon I placed one of these leaves on the blank sketchbook page and begain drawing without overthinking so the fear wouldn't block me. I'm practicing perception and rendering of edges/lines.

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Day #7: Douglas Fir cone

On my hikes this past week I collected from the forest floor a couple of Douglas fir cones and broken branch tips. This morning and afternoon, I struggled and struggled to sketch a representation of the cone, but was not satisfied with any of many attempts -- though I enjoyed studying the cone so intently. What a beautiful and intricate structure!  Rather than give up completely and not submit a photograph today, I practiced sketching the basic cone shape, variations on the basic scale pattern, and then the "mouse tail and feet" bracts separately. And so you know what I'm attempting to draw, here is a photograph of the cone and the shadow it cast as the sunlight streamed through the side-window:



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