Drawing in a city where I grew up was very surreal. Some places did not change at all - just felt more fragile. Other places sprouted new branches, buildings, and fancy entrances. My constant feeling was that I know the map very well but someone pulled different textures on 3D frames around me :) I took a guided tour through my neighborhood which was both educational and hilarious. And now that I look at these I am back and I want to go visit again and draw more :)
During my week in Ukraine weather was changing rapidly and there were many gray and cold days, quite a bit of rain, though I don't actually remember it that way - what I do remember is that we had lots of flowers - all the time! We looked at flowers everywhere and purchased them almost daily - to celebrate, to remember, to gift and to paint.
Amid perpetual fight with the sleepiness and endless food consumption (everyone tried to feed us in Ukraine), I tried to draw various family members at their everyday tasks. I have a "life hack" or trick for the cases when I know that my capacity to make good decisions would be limited (examples would include jet lag, an abundance of people talking to me simultaneously or a very emotionally charged situation). I carry a very simple, the most limited sketch kit possible (though any sketching kit would do - ballpoint pen and napkin saved me many times but an 18 pan watercolor set also worked) - and pull it out as soon as I can and start making marks on the page without judgment or thinking. No thinking is the key. And then I keep adding things - as you would continue dancing - the best you can. When the page is filled - move to the next one without breaking a stride.
I continued collecting and drawing treasures during the trip - there was so much life in the urban landscapes I visited! Some of it tried to bite, some came out after the rain - if you click on the images you will know more :)
Traveling this far (it's a 10 hour time change for us) is always hard - but the worst was the grogginess of the jetlag that lingered for a long time. But being around people who are happy to see you asleep or not was very helpful :)
Little bits and pieces are usually sketched with whatever was available - and often it's a ballpoint pen and some sort of paper. I try to write down some comments from the class and our reading but recently it was brought to my attention that I mostly write down critique. So I plan to work on my approach and hope to change what is written next to the everyday sketches to a more positive tone :)
These are little things that accumulate in my sketchbook. There are days when I know what I want to draw and days when I just open a book and... if I don't start right away - I might never start - so I take first thing in front of me and start moving my pen - be that a tree trunk or a broken light switch. Or - if I managed to clean my table so much there is nothing there - I open up the news (that's the one about the death of Koko the gorilla) and draw - the trick is not to read too much - just glance, close and draw from memory. I drew that branch with tulip tree from memory too I believe - it was still on my table but by accident, I left a book on top of it so it became flat - hence this is my memory of how the now flat branch looked like the day before :)
On all of these pages I used a very thin ballpoint pen (skb ballpoint pen) which is full of character and, as all things with character, it's not so easy to control. I can create many shades of gray with it and can draw and write in the most impossibly-small handwriting - which helps sometimes to get things off my chest or add some special details that only I will notice. The only issue I have is that the pen gets a bit of a blob of ink on it's tip pretty often and they smudge - but there is certain charm in that too :) And dirty fingers.
Top - main "sketchbook palette", bottom one is a compact palette from Expeditionary Art - filled with experimental colors. Though many stay there for very long time as I find they make it to some favorite mixes. I think I am getting closer to a good set of green mixes - which reminds me - I should work on it this fall... and I need to get more pans for my experimental palette...