I recently decided to challenge myself to get back in the habit of picking up my sketchbook. It's been a very long time since I've sketched anything. I've been good at real drawing. I tend to use the sketchbook for loose ideas, colour inspiration, doodles, etc. Then I picked up the sketchbook the other day and drew some ducks. It happened to be May 1. Loose, sketchy, more of a drawing exercise than anything else. And I was happy.
The next day I decided to try another duck. A female wood duck. Lo and behold, it turned out kinda cute!
Then I had a thought... "why don't I sketch a duck a day for the month of May?!" Great idea, I thought. That will force me to pick up the sketch book! And in order to stick to it, I had the brilliant idea to TWEET my intentions... Duck a Day! Month of May! So cute and snappy - what could possibly go wrong?
I sat down to draw my second real duck a day last night. It was not pretty.
Oh.... Right..... I can't. really. draw.
Why on earth did I chose the male wood duck, one of the most the most beautiful, colorful, intricate of ducks as my subject matter? (its scientific name, aix sponsa, means "water bird in bridal dress"). What was I thinking as I unloaded my brand new coloured pencils and barfed nearly all of them onto the drawing. Le sigh. I had produced a terrible, terrible drawing. Too tight, too many riotous colours, not blended well, I got to the part of the body where I realized I'd actually have to DRAW FEATHERS and just kind of crapped out on the rest of it.
See the crease in the paper? After I "finished" it, I had my sketchbook leaning against the wall. My cat walked up to it, looked right at it, then pawed at the page till he bent it, knocked it over, and sat on it. Sigh. Everyone's a critic. Oh well. It can only get better from here, right?
If you've read this far (thank you!), you may be wondering why I chose to draw ducks in the first place?
I'm inspired by nature in general, but recently my fella and I have gotten really into birding. He's a talented photographer, so it fun to bring the photos home and identify the mystery birds we can't ID in the field. And out of all the bird world, why ducks exactly? (Besides the fact that I find most of them just plain adorable)? On the surface most ducks seem to be the little clowns of the bird world, but the truth is these darling ducks live a vicious, unpredictable life similar many wild beasts. Sexual harassment, rape, and cold blooded murder - oh yes - those cute widdle duckies can be real jerks!
So check back occasionally to view my successes, failures, colour inspirations, and musing on waterfowl in general. My duck a day.
Twitter @christiyork hashtag #duckaday if you want to share your own drawings, illustrations, or favorite photos of ducks! The more the merrier!
And did you know that Vancouver is celebrating Bird Week starting tomorrow? Check out here for a calendar of free events!
Spring has always been all about colour. Gone are the drab earth tones of winter and I know I can't wait to bust out the bright colours! But what about wearing more than one bright colour at a time? It's called colour blocking and it's a super hot look both on the runway and off.
Bold colour combinations can be a little intimidating. But if you think back to the colour wheel (remember, art class?), you have a useful tool to help you de-mystify colour blocking in all it's glory.
There's all sorts of advice on colour blocking combinations out there, so I'll keep it brief with some of my favourite combinations.
By far the easiest way to get into colour blocking is by using a monochromatic scheme. Think tone on tone shades of the same hue. The beauty is that you can go as subtle or as bold as you like. Blue on blue? Easy peasy. Hot pink on magenta? Whoah - look out!
It's also hard to go wrong with analagous colour blocking. My favourite combination this season are greens and blues. Think leaves and water, spring green buds on a branch stretched across a blue sky... it's an easy, natural and subtle introduction to colour blocking. Green and blue are next to each other on the colour wheel - the very definition of analagous colours.
If you are feeling confident and bold in your colour experimentation, go ahead and tackle complimentary colours - colour opposite each other on the colour wheel. This combo can get a bit tricky, you don't want to end up looking like a christmas decoration in bright red and green. Think softer, subdued tones vs. their primary counterparts.
If you're not ready to commit to colour blocking with your full-on outfits, take some baby steps with your accessories! Use the same rules to combine unexpected bright pops of colour. These bright blue earrings would look great paired with a summery sea-foam green top in either a solid or a print. That's right, green and blue again! Or if you want to try out a complimentary colour pop - try these amber earrings with a soft blue blouse.
I've created a fun colour block page on Pinterest with more great links to explore. If you are on Pinterest, let me know if you want to play along and I'll send you an invite to post pins on the page. The more the merrier!
On a related note, people often wonder if these vintage glass stones I use are indeed really vintage. I go to great lengths with my suppliers to ensure that the glass stones (or cabochons as they are known) are true vintage pieces. I recently enquired further with a supplier regarding one particular stone. Here is their response:
"If a stone comes in its original packaging with the country of origin listed, we try to remember to add it to the description (we are not always successful). Those particular stones did not come in a package, so I can't tell you 100% where/when they were made. However, I can tell you that nearly every other stone that came in with those was either West German, vintage Czech, vintage Austrian, or vintage Japanese. Additionally, many of our other moonstones are West German, so I would say I'm about 95% sure they were made in Western Germany, and I'm 100% sure they are vintage. We very, very rarely buy new stock of rhinestones . . . We prefer to buy the old ones because they are more unique/interesting".
So there you have it! Larger glass stones are getting harder and harder to find in perfect condition. I imagine their prices will start to rise as the supplies get more and more limited, but for now they are still an affordable indulgence. So indulge already!
Here's a link to my latest newsletter with the condensed version of our travels, (minus the mushy stuff)!
What else... oh yeah - these are new! Pretty awesome interchangeable charm earrings - they are like 3 pairs of earrings in one.
Happy New Year! This is a nice way to start a year off...
PS - the photos credited to me are actually Mr M's shots... of course!