Az Sentiment and Souvenir

letter S badge for April 2018's A to Z Challenge; click the image to visit the A to Z Challenge dot com website

Still Life with a Twist ~S~

Saturday and the letter S! I’m indulging myself here, slightly straying off topic…

Sadly I’m still struggling with sourcing my stash of stuff from the back of beyond among the stacks in my storage area. I’ve found quite a lot of other things along the way. If I were to doodle my still life I have Staedtler pens and Sharpie markers I bought in summer 2015 and still haven’t opened; I’ve found all manner of potential support for painting from watercolour paper to student quality high-street canvasses bought in 2011 and still in their wrappers unused. This summer they’ll get used – as soon as I can find my box of paints etc! And if they’re solid… I’ll scream and kick myself!

So, along the way of my search I found myself wondering, what did I leave in this box?

photo of the top of a packing box; handwritten in black marker pen in the top right are the words 'somehow sentimental F.O. stuff 1989 to 2009Is there anything in this box I could use for still life?

contents of box marked 'somehow sentimental F.O. stuff 1989-2009, please return to text for detailSilly stuff for safekeeping in a ‘somehow sentimental’ box!

[Visual description for the benefit of those who might be partially sighted.] Without rooting through to the underlayers of the box I found it holding a strange variety of items (from bottom left, working across, up and round…) there’s a red plastic shade from the first set of Christmas lights my Mum had given me around 1987 or 1988; a plaited scoobie string my daughter made a decade or more ago; a snowman with a severed head made in self-hardening clay by one or other of my children – I’ll remember who exactly when i find the other snowman probably in a different box!… a scrap of tissue paper from a school wind-sock project; these are resting on the colour stained foam insert from an emptied box of soft pastels that i actually used up as a student in the 1990s;  above that on the right is a Mum badge my daughter made me from her Crayola kit around 12 to 15 years ago; above that is a snack noodle pot reused to contain various scraps and bits and pieces; top centre is my son’s size six suede moccasin slipper again from the early 1990s, I’ve no idea if I still have the other one(!); a bottle of scent gifted me by my Mum so long ago that what little is left now smells awful but still in it’s original box; below that there’s my kiddo’s handmade christmas cracker decorated with a snowman; then a Hallo Kitty sticker and a plastic dinosaur straw holder from the late 1980s/early 1990s. Quite a lot of ‘S’ things but nothing I wanted to sketch.

So, I didn’t get around to making anything other than more muddle and mess this Saturday. Maybe I should sling that box, but not before I check for anything I might have secreted below the surface…

Onto another something else… I found some more of my sketchbooks and smaller folders of my loose sketches. If it weren’t for the limits of Still Life schema I could have shown drawings of street scenes or the Market square, the railway station, skaters at the ice stadium or the skipping figures of children I sketched while I was a school arts week volunteer. And if I’d thought about it sooner I would have consulted my spreadsheet index I had some help with a small few years ago to know exactly what to look for in what book or folder! Sharpen up (my) synapses!

Although it’s not a still life sketch I’m showing the view looking through my Mum’s kitchen, drawn in 1985 when I was sixteen and still living at home but attending the local college as an art & design student for a short time until my ‘rare form of glandular fever’ recurred. This sketch has added sentimental value now that my Mum is no longer there and there’s no going back ‘home’.

A4 pencil sketch, 1985, Looking through my mother’s kitchen

The next drawing was made in my best friends’ living room in the early 1990s and could be described as still life. In a way it’s a shame that the paper’s coffee-stained. However it is the coffee that I was drinking at the time and made for me by my best friend. She died in 1998, so it’s another drawing of sentimental value. I used to love hearing her play her guitar while I visited, or playing mine when she visited my home.

I’m stalling shopping for flowers until I have suitable space and stuff to hand enough to make studies and sketches of them while fresh. I’ll hope for progress on those issues during Sunday but my to-do list is bursting at the seams for a day of so-called rest. Although neither are still life drawings, in place of real flowers for now are two flowery doodles made in 2011:

What strange sentimental or souvenir items do you have secreted away? Do you make your own things as ‘souvenir’?





Az Rhythm and Reason

letter R badge for April 2018's A to Z Challenge, click the image to visit the A to Z Challenge dot com website

Still Life with a Twist ~R~

I’m relinquishing my word count limit for this post as it’s likely to run on. You might prefer to skim through for a quick glance at my pics and to read a little on historical artists for R, in the lower segment of this post.

I suggested I might resolve the reference sketch I began yesterday and share progress in today’s post. I almost opted for a raincheck, reluctant to knuckle down with that image while I’m reasonably sure it’s not the final image I intend making but the sun is blazing and it kept me out of mischief and away from seeking retail therapy, even though I still want (or need) flowers.

I was grateful for the reminder of visual RHYTHM and dynamics while reading a post in another A to Z Challenge blog at

Reviewing ideas and reasoning…

I’d played earlier in the day at adding a couple of additional objects to the arrangement I sketched yesterday, but they weren’t working for me. So I returned to drawing the objects just as they were. Although better resolved than it was my sketch could still use some further attention.

an unfinished second stage ballpoint pen sketch: the folded apron comprising the background for the objects has a gingham checked trim and the pocket in the foreground is decorated with embroidered flowers, this part of the drawing now completed. The objects drawn are: in the upper centre slightly left is a musical ornament in the shape of a gift bag with narrow ribbons dangling from it's decorative bow at the front above a label type area in the design, Mum above a verse, shown in the drawing as suggestion of some unreadable text; to the right is a heart shaped bracelet reflecting a dress ring with a large fake stone set in it, the ring itself sits between those two larger objects above the embroidered flower of the apron's pocket that appears in the lower portion of this photo of the sketch.

By the time I’ve sat down to write, I’ve wondered if the something small the picture really needs on the left hand side might be another of my mother’s rings. She was often saying “just give me two rings”, meaning we were to drop call her phone and she would call back. Maybe I’ll select something else small enough for that area, but I enjoy that small “two rings” reminder. So I’ll get back to that idea over the weekend – and maybe add a hint of colour to the drawing and refine it further, once I reorganise my resources enough that everything’s to hand better! (Yes, I know it seems late in the day, but there are at least 9 making days left…)

Rambling: It’d be nice to have a better camera than my old mobile phone too, but still deciding what to do about that. I’m wondering if my contract phone will ever turn up in the house after dropping it and/or misplacing it last autumn. Hopefully it wasn’t stolen from my living room by intruders while I was only out at the nearest shops. It would be nice to retrieve it but so far remains ‘lost’. It’d be nice to be able to resurrect my recently knocked-out camera but that also appears irrepairable.

I’ve not yet reached for RECYCLABLE resources but honestly haven’t yet revved up enough to draw daily. I’d been wondering if I have art from the past to share for this ‘R’ post and while there might be something else tucked away, my sketch that I made last year of my mother’s portable RADIO came to mind:

pen sketch made on beige background of the inside of a pizza box. the drawing shows my left hand holding a small transistor radio with it's aerial extended. The background is very faint but comprises the foot of my bed and the drawing shows papers strewn across my lap. To the right of the drawing I wrote "Approx 30 mins" (meaning the 30 minutes drawing time) and "yet again the proportions are inaccurate. try again another day." I signed the picture in the lower mid section just below the radio and it shows the date as 3/2/2017 ie. 3rd February 2017.
I previously published a photo of this sketch at one of my other blogs,

The sketch shown above was made during bed-rest while hopefully recuperating with a recurring, relapsing human condition of still being alive… now I take my rest in a reclining chair and so can thankfully say I’m not currently bedbound – and I was able to stand and draw a little enough yesterday and today. Hooray. (In case you missed earlier mention of it, my blog’s url is a play on bed-rest and the need (and ambition) to be dressed, as in of course appropriate day clothes rather than appropriate ‘jamas!)

Recently I remarked on mostly including still life works made by men while researching historical artists. I was delighted today to discover RACHEL RUYSCH (b. 1654, d.1750). Ruysch appears to have been well-known as a highly-skilled painter of flower arrangements whose elaborate work aligns to the ROCOCO movement. As well as spending some time studying her work, I’d like to find out more about the poems written by eleven poets to memorialise her soon after her death. Here’s a wikimedia link to a  file within a slideshow of some of her floral paintings:,_fiori_in_vbaso,_1685_ca.jpg

Among others, I also came across a nice still life painting of flowers by Pierre Auguste RENOIR at wikimedia earlier. It has a light and airy atmosphere. I’m hoping my own painting once I make it will have a REFRESHING quality. The following quote, translated from Renoir’s words and included in a wikiquotes page is worth remembering too:

“To my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful, and pretty, yes pretty! There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is without creating still more of them.”
As quoted in Luncheon of the Boating Party‎ (2007) by Susan Vreeland

Renoir (1841-1919)

I don’t often ground my attempts in things that might be considered ‘pretty’, but I do wish for my remembrance of my mother to be rejoiceful and hopefully ‘pretty’ as she was a truly beautiful lady, as are all our mothers, usually.



Az Illustrations of Incongruity

badge for April 2018's A to Z Challenge; click to visit the challenge host's website at A to Z Challenge dot comStill Life with a Twist ~I~

In the interim, until ready to show anything newly ‘made’ I’m sharing some drawings from previous slightly more active years – yes, it’s safe to assume I’m getting nothing much other than blog-hopping and scrappy prep done so far this month.

The first two sketches were made at a local drawing class in 2013. I mentioned in a previous post how my tutor asserted my still life object choices as being ‘incongruous’. I disagreed of course. I found them interesting. (They were among the store of objects at the venue.)

pencil sketch of a large ceramic jug to the left of the image, reflecting the meat tenderiser in the foreground and to the right of the picture a tipped over mug with it's rim facing the viewer and the handle toward the centre of the image.Tatty presentation, I know. INTERJECTION: And my only good 7B pencil was stolen in class! Someone maybe assumed it needed replacing as it was a 1990s stub and they didn’t realise I couldn’t walk as far as an art shop while they’re so few and far. For a city with so many art galleries and two universities Nottingham is stupidly hopeless for good shopping provision, including / especially for art basics alike drawing pencils. I can’t believe the gallery weren’t even selling them while they stocked sketch books. Crazy.

Still life preporatory sketch of a trowel on top of which is set an ornamental butterfly shaped decoration against the twisting lines of some type of plant root.The final drawing, below, isn’t exactly a still life drawing, although it has the fine art elements required of the genre if the female figure is assumed to be a piece of ‘dead meat’ in the image. It is not my composition or design but a reference copy I drew while visiting the Alfred Kubin exhibition at n0c0 (Nottm. Contemporary). It was titled ‘Swamp Plant’ and dated 1903-1904 according to the note I made on my sketch of it.

I was intrigued by the original of this drawing shown in the gallery. That was attributed to Alfred Kubin even though the graphite of the pencil appeared far too current and nothing alike other original drawings exhibited. There were quite a few pieces that were obviously not originating from the artist Alfred Kubin but were likely made by local contemporaries (and peers).

A pencil sketch copied for reference from a gallery exhibit entitled Swamp plant attributed to the artist Alfred Kubin 1903 to 1904.

Some of the INKs of the ‘Kubin’ pen drawings were obviously not plausible to have been made more than a century before the exhibition and were entirely modern. Some of the drawings were with technical draughtsman’s pencil not artist’s pencil and appeared to have been most likely made by Alfred Kubin’s father who had been a geographical surveyor. Of course I’m not an expert, only a visiting member of the public – and documentation might (or must) exist that might prove me to appear  INCORRECT.

INCIDENTALLY. It was difficult not to feel cheated as a visitor to that exhibition. Alfred Kubin is INTRIGUING as an artist. The exhibition didn’t quite match with researching the official Kubin Museum and reading German language texts on his lifetime and works. It’s a shame that what may be one or more of Gabrielle Munter’s drawing(s) are muddled in with his while she took another student’s place at Munich art school, possibly Kubin’s, before women were allowed to enter as students.

It’s an even greater shame that Alfred Kubin was so dreadfully derogatorised and undermined in the promotional texts written by the curatorial team. Incongruity? Aye!

Az Food for Thought

F (A-Z-2018)

Still Life with a Twist ‘F’

Friday’s image for the letter ‘F’ is from my fankfully FOUND old mobile phone camera and  very low resolution so not screenshotting it. I’ll be having to use it again as I was out photographing skies on Tuesday in what must have been solar FLARES and should have put my camera into its’ protective case before re-entering the house. It FLICKERED as I crossed the stairway and I nearly had a FALL feeling very unwell with it at the time. By the by. I should have known better as I read Scott Nicholson’s book ‘First Light’ a couple of years ago.

While taking my time with making FROTTAGE to frow at some subject matter I decided to fling up an old still life sketch, rough, of course. I drew this in January 2013 having prepared some dinner with FRESH ingredients.

quick pencil drawing of a circular wooden chopping board with carrot peel and emptied garlic bulb skin across the centre of the board. A peeling knife and a vegetable knife lay diagonally across the top right of the picture, their handles extending beyond the picture space. The page is held to a clipboard so the bulldog clip is a dark narrow rectangle at the top of the page.

I’ll have to take a better photo really and/or get around the surreal version I was going to make from my ‘visual research’ drawing(s).

FOUND objects haven’t made it into this post, unusually (- other than my previous old mobile phone, but not the lost one I’ve FAILED to FIND yet!) But tomorrow’s FINDERS-keepers post covers that genre quite enough…



~~Following the first commenter’s suggestion that my temp post was enough I’m leaving it as was for the record now I’ve updated and FINALISED my ‘F’-post…>


Still Life with a Twist ‘F’

My post will be here soon (delayed by full virus scanning, just getting dinner. Apols!)