Monday, April 30, 2012


Here's number 5* in Red Parka Diaries' drawing challenge: draw a picture inspired by your favourite song (or just pick a line from a song).

I picked a line from Mumford & Sons' Thistle & Weeds. I'm currently loving their Sigh No More album (thanks, S!). It's a great backdrop to movement get-doing! It isn't necessarily a happy place, but there is energy! I love the folk-style music in combination with the angsty lyrics, and depending on my mood, I listen to either or both ;)

Yup. Cartooney moi - burlap-covered for decency; not in thistle & weeds, as instructed - is looking way too happy for this song - but not for this cut-out! I'm planting quality Hope Seed here, people! You need to smile along with that. It's in the manual. It helps the seeds grow roots as well as wings! I could use a bit of both - who doesn't??

So here's to healthy Hope Plants for all of us! May they bring the magic and the happy :) Would love to know where you could use some, if you're willing to share!

* links to this challenge's number 9, number 2, number 1number 10

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Here's number 10* in Red Parka Diaries' drawing challengedraw your favourite drawing tools and pay homage to them. Because let’s face, they are awesome and we’d be lost without them.

From right to left - because I can ;) - my Japanese brush pen, through JetPens, along with carbon ink cartridges that are permanent and waterproof (I used it to draw the bike in Amsterdam)! I love that pen! Especially because it's cherry red and because it takes courage to put it to the page, so it keeps me on my toes :) Next to it, one of my Big Girl brushes, and one of my Koi waterbrushes (that I - let's be honest here - use a lot more often than my Big Girl brushes these days...). Dr. Ph. Martin's India Ink - I use black the most, but I have a gorgeous colour wheel of them and they are all waterproof! My go-to dip pen with sketch nib. And of course, my watercolour set - a Van Gogh box filled with Winsor & Newton. Mostly artist grade, but there is some cotman left - I'm slowly replacing empty pans :)

At the bottom of the page, my less adventurous but definitely trusty tools. The ones I grab most often really. The tools that take the least amount of courage to pick up - and let's face it, not every day is a day of Great Courage or experimentation. There's my orange mechanical pencil, filled with B leds, my eraser (or what's left of it), and one of my Sakura Pigma Micron fineliners :)

I suppose this is what my drawing could have looked like if I'd kept it simple. Because these are the tools I use most often, and without these, I'd be lost. But I love all the stuff I use. And most of all, I love that it's there to use! That I can grab whatever my mood guides me to and draw! That all of these things are always out on the dining room table - my dudio - making me happy and excited even when I'm not drawing, but merely walking past, or dusting around them! 

I loved drawing my art supplies :) I love looking at art supplies! But of course, most of all, it's about using my art supplies. That's the best homage you can pay them! But it was fun putting them in the spotlight like this, and I think they appreciate it too.

In case you're wondering, I'm still working on my morning coffee. In the first version, I misspelled twice, and in the second version I used colours that are - not quite it, to be very mild & gentle ;) Version three is in the works. It might be up next. But you never know what happens when these tools and my mind start on a trip all their own ;)

* you can have a look at this challenge's number 2, number 9number 1 if you want :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


This morning, I finished number 1 in Red Parka Diaries' drawing challenge: draw what's on the desk in front of you. I suppose I could have drawn what was in front of me before I actively put something there that I wanted to draw, but since I made this challenge about drawing, whatever the excuse, I'm okay with bending the rules. I drew, didn't I? ;)

Here's what I did for number 2 and number 9, and I'm working on number 7, my morning coffee - almost as we speak :)

What are you up to? Any challenges?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Here's number 2 in Red Parka Diaries' drawing challenge. I drew my pet :D

Okay. I'm stretching it here. This is Shrek's cousin Chilz. He stopped by to pose with some freshly picked dandelions from our backyard (incidentally the only flower blooming there at the moment...), because I wanted to draw him for a birthday card for the neighbour across the street. I wanted Shrek, of course, but he couldn't make it on such short notice. Besides, his fees are ridiculous! And I say, an Ogre is an Ogre, really. When it comes down to it. Not that the neighbour is an Ogre of course. He just likes Shrek. And Chilz, I hope ;)*

Of course, I'm not keeping an Ogre for a pet. I don't think you're actually allowed. Not that rules are always stopping people, but I draw the line at Ogres. For myself, anyway.

Truth is, we don't have a pet. Just a kid. And he's at least as cute and entertaining! I know I could have drawn someone else's pet, but everyone else has a cat. And at the risk of offending - I hate cats. I don't want to stare one in the eye long enough to draw it. They creep me out... So I'm submitting Chilz. As a pet. He said I could ;)

Here's what I did for number 9. And I'm working on number 1 today :)

* I am utterly AMAZED at people (like Koosje!) who are able to draw a character and stick with it, reproducing it in many different poses and surroundings. I can't do it! I can only draw what I see, and if Chilz is evidence, not even that entirely true to the examples in front of me! Obviously, this was meant to be Shrek. But I just couldn't get it right! Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with Chilz, but it just isn't Shrek... Chilz says - nor does he want to be, thanks very much! Shrek is way too busy Being Famous, if you know what I mean. But that's besides the point ;)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Yup. Been at it again! Yesterday morning, I spent an hour at the end of the street, sketching this:

They were working on the road, so there was sand. Squirt entertained himself and didn't ask once if we could go home! I've got an awesome kid, you know?! :)

It's hard to shut up my inner critic when it comes to loving what I come home with when drawing outside (I love the clouds, though!). For now. I have discovered that my usual style of drawing needs a table and a chair. And a lot of time for detail. It's good to know these things. It means I need to work on a new style, more suited for quicker sketches in uncomfortable positions. Which means I need to practice and do this as often as I can. I should, and I will :) All I'm asking for is slightly warmer temps... But to be on the safe side, I bought all three of us (very cheap & flammable) blankets to keep us warm on outings until Spring really comes to play. See, I'm totally taking this seriously :)

Jodi (of Art by Wiley, a lovely daily blog you should really check out!) mentioned this drawing challenge the other day.  Here's Jen's list:

1. Draw what’s on your desk in front of you.
2. Draw your pet (or someone else’s if you don’t have one).
3. Draw the contents of your refrigerator.
4. Draw the dream you had last night (or the last one you can remember).
5. Draw a picture inspired by your favourite song (or just pick a line from a song).
6. Draw your letterbox (if you’re letterbox is particularly uninteresting, or if you don’t have one, look here for inspiration).
7. Draw your morning cup of coffee.
8. Draw your favourite outfit (get some inspiration here)
9. Draw an iconic building in the town where you live (or the town where you were born, perhaps?).
10. Draw your favourite drawing tools and pay homage them. Because let’s face, they are awesome and we’d be lost without them.

And wouldn't you know, the building above - thought maybe not exactly iconic - fits the list! It's number 9, because I've decided it is ;) That means I'm in, I think :) Seeing that I've spent more time online than with my sketchbook lately, I figure I could do with a bit of a challenge. Get me off the couch! I won't be doing all of these outside. That's another challenge. And I'm on that - as you can see! But anything that helps me put the pigments to the page is good for me right now! I'm not sure I'll finish these in a week, like Jen suggests, or even that I get to all of them. But that's okay with me. Like I said - anything that helps... helps, you know? :)

Want to join, too? Or are you facing another challenge right now? I'd love to hear what you're up to!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Master piece? Yes, I think so :) 
Because I got away with drawing this quite inconspicuously, but... this is a busy corner in Amsterdam, and I got my sketchbook and paint out anyway :D

P.S. Yup. I just noticed... I predated this drawing ;)

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I'm It!
I've been tagged!

The first tag came from the lovely Helen, who makes gorgeous ceramics (in her new & very own kiln these days!), among other beautiful things.

This ceramic pendant is her work. It's almost as lovely as she is. She sent this to me, just like that - because she felt I could do with a little sunshine... Be sure to visit her Etsy shop and buy yourself (or a loved one) a present - you're worth her amazing work :)

The second tag came from Fran, whose blog I stumbled upon sort of accidentally one day :) I love her drawing/painting/lettering style! Her shop holds some lovely watercolour & lettered work. She inspires me, and I should visit more. (I should visit more. Yup. In general. I'm a little lost these days. And I need to find me some balance. But that's a different blog post and I might write it some day, if I ever get to it!)

These are The Rules of this game of tag:
... you must post the rules
... answer 11 questions the tagger posted for you
... create 11 questions to ask the people you tag
... tag 11 people
... let them know you've tagged them.

Helen, here are the answers to your questions:

1. If there were Super Heroes like Super Man, what would be your name and what would be your slogan?
I'd be Pencil Girl. I'd love to be able to help out with a quick drawing that would turn usable with a snap of the fingers :) Of course I'd need to learn to snap my fingers, but that's the next step! My slogan? Uhm... "If you're in a tight spot, I'll draw you a door!" :)

2. As a Super Hero, how would you save the world, make it a better place?
That's a stretch for Pencil Girl. She's more of the quick fixes. But I think that - if things run more smoothly, there is not so much need for grumpiness. And less grumpiness makes for happier people. And happier people are more inclined to spread The Happy. Which would help the world. I believe that. Maybe my slogan should be "Spreading The Happy, a drawing at the time!"

3. If you were an art supply what would you be based on your personality?
A ZIG Art and Graphic Twin Tip Marker. In orange. There are days I feel like spreading it on the page with a brush pen, to hell with the consequences of lefthandedness! And then there are days that I'm rather more understated and an unwavering, thiner line is more my thing - less risky, safer, less fun. But still orange. Because orange might just be what I need to cheer me up - even on a bad day :)

4. If you could swop bodies with any-one for a day, who would it be?
Honestly? I really, really don't know! There are quite a few people whom I'd like to understand better - why they do what they do and where they're coming from. So I suppose I'd like to take working holidays in the heads of people I know. Does that count? :)

5. Has a book or film ever moved you, what was it and why?
A lot like I answered above. I am moved by people's realities and what they try to move beyond their circumstances. There are many books like that - a couple off the top of my head, "Breathing Space", by Marita van der Vyver, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close", by Jonathan Safran Foer, and "The Quiet Violence of Dreams" by K. Sello Duiker.

6. What is your favorite song of all time?
Oh my gosh, that's hard! There are SO many great songs... And I've tried, but I honestly can't come up with an all-time favourite... At the moment, I'm loving Tori Amos' Night of Hunters, Saybia in general, and Mumford & Sons' first and only album so far :)

7. Is anyone in you family arty?
We've discovered only last year that my dad has a real talent for painting! He only started taking  a class after his retirement, but he's AMAZING!!

8. Other than being an artist, what is your hidden talent?
My right thumb is double-jointed... :)

9. How would you like to give to the community you live in if you were able to?
I know that there are a lot of lonely, isolated people out there... I would love to be able to visit them all weekly. Just for a chat and a cup of tea. Nothing complicated. Listen. Be there. I met a lovely Moroccan lady through a program for that purpose, and we've become friends over the past - gosh, almost 5 years! When I have more time, when Squirt's in school, I'm going to see what programs are out there, locally (we've moved, since)!

10. What do you want from tomorrow?
Oh, time for some art! I haven't brought out my supplies since my public adventure over the weekend! Shame on me!

11. What do you want from your friends?
That I can be myself. That they feel they can be themselves. That they listen, and feel they're heard.

& Fran, here are yours:

1. Did you have a favorite book as a child? What was it?
I read all of the Famous Five books by Enid Blyton. Devoured them, really.  And used to hope I would stumble on Amazing Adventures some day, too :) 

2. What is your favorite meal?
I love food, and it's hard to name a favourite... Some days I NEED to order pizza. With pepperoni. And jalapenos. And pineapple. My go-to quick dinner recipe these days is a spinach pie with whatever special cheese is left over from the weekend, along with olives and chopped cherry tomatoes. And tonight we'll have pork tenderloin with lemon, a tomato & black olive salad with lots of tzatziki. All yummy... :) 
And I LOVE cheese. Any kind. Haven't met a cheese I didn't like yet. I have regular cheese nights with my friend across the street. Great talks and awesome cheese - heavenly combo :)

3. What is one thing that motivates you to create?
Learning to become better at capturing things... I can be moved by a colour, a shape, a concept that I want to give a visual 'voice', but in the end, it's still about getting better. & a deep felt need to draw :)

4. What is your favorite art/craft/supply store?
It's tiny, and it's about 600 feet from my home... Which isn't good. Ow yes, it's BAD :D

5. What is your favorite season?
Autumn - I LOVE the colours! Although I love Spring too. All that fragile sap green - gorgeous!

6. As a child, what did you want to be when you grow up?
Many, many things :) But I think I held on to the idea of doctor the longest. Up until I found out that I had absolutely no aptitude for science... :)

7. Where are you situated in your family? Oldest/youngest/middle/only child?
Oldest. I have a sister who's 3 years younger.

8. Who is/are your favorite artist[s]?
I don't know anything about contemporary famous artists... I feel that as a lack, but don't have the time to add it to my list of 'shoulds'... There are so many amazing artists online - like you, and I'm not just saying that! I'm always SO inspired when I visit my favourite blogs!

9. If you could pick one piece of artwork in your home who's would it be?
Again, I love the stuff that's being created by blogging artists with Etsy shops :) I've done a few art swaps as well (money is a factor of course...), and I love having (watercolour) art from other creatives around when I sit down to draw and paint myself!

10. If you could give your younger self one piece of advise, what would you say?
Don't believe everything your mother tells you. Don't take it all to heart. Listen to those around you who are better able to express themselves positively. Look at yourself positively. You don't have to 'become' anything - you're precious and special already! (Save yourself many years of trying to unearth hidden treasures, that way...)

11.What is your favorite flower/plant?
I love herbs! Basil, thyme, oregano... They are so beautifully green, smell pretty and they taste good :)

Here are the 11 people I'm tagging:

And here are my 11 questions:

1. What’s your favourite breakfast?
2. What’s your favourite country or city, and why?
3. What is the last fear you faced?
4. What do you do to unwind?
5. What’s an art form or medium you’ve never tried but would love to give a go?
6. What’s your intention with what you do with your heart (art, cooking, caring, anything), other than the fact that you can’t NOT do it?
7. What’s your favourite colour at the moment?
8. If there is one thing you could change about your life, anything!, what would it be, and why?
9. What do you do to help yourself through an artistic block (if you ever have them!)?
10. What is the best thing someone could surprise you with, right now?
11. I would love it if you could post a self-portrait – any part of you that you love!

I would love it if you play :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012


It's been about 5 months since I did this and promised myself I'd do more of it... And it's not like I hadn't been thinking about it. But drawing & painting outside is one of the contradictions in my life. As in - I want to, I really do! The abundance of inspiration! The practise! The freedom, too!

& then there is the Fear. The Fear of Doing It. I want to say, I really don't know what it is!, because I could comfortably hide behind that ;) But I do know. It's the idea of looking stupid. The fear of people coming over to see what I'm doing, and them walking away thinking - oh my gosh, she thinks she can draw?!

But the want and the need won, this weekend :) I bought an outdoor watercolour box out of my first earnings (YAY!!), and sat down to sketch and paint on a freezing beach and in the freezing woods on Friday! Hardly anyone there, so it was a great place to start ;)

And since it was so cool - I mean, it really felt great, not to have to wait to break out the paints till we got home - I plucked up the courage to take my stuff to Artis Zoo again yesterday, and do some more public displays of creativity there :)

Of course I'm not completely comfortable with the whole thing quite yet, nor completely happy with what came out of it - but I did it, and that's what matters :) Practise. I need practise. And who knows? I might actually get some ;) Today we're  off and out again, and my paints will travel along. To bring the stuff is always the first step, courage will & does follow, slowly but for sure :)

What's your fear? What are you facing up to? I'd love to hear!

Thursday, April 5, 2012