When life intervenes

I sound like a cracked record going round and round, but again this week the pencil did not hit paper very much.  Below is my entire output, a practice for getting the colours right!  And now I think the Foxgloves are past their best so I might have to wait until next year to have another go.

Test for foxglove colour

But on the positive side, I have had another go at the photography lark and think I have now solved the problem of photographing paper to my satisfaction.  The solution was in the exposure.  My paper now looks ‘white (ish)’ instead of dingey greyish.  So I am happy about that and can let it go………..

I have been following the blog of occasionalartist over the past weeks and have been very interested in the work she is doing with paper and sewing and they reminded me of the last quilt I made just in the square shapes coming off a flat surface and the shadows and dimensions that are created.  Materials used: plain white fabric, coloured threads applied with overlocker, and plastic tags (the type that hold labels onto clothes that get cut off and thrown away).

Quilt by Sue Hagley


I have been reading an inspiring book, ‘The Awakened Eye’ (a companion volume to The Zen of Seeing, SEEING/DRAWING as meditation) by Frederick Franck.  This is my early morning read, as I enjoy my first cup of tea of the day and my copy is now littered with little orange post it notes as I find things to try and remember.  My favourite extracts follow:

  • There is no other valid reason for drawing than the awareness of the eye awakening from its half-sleep.
  • If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration, but timelessness, the eternal life belongs to those who live in the present – say Wittgenstein
  • The leaf I just picked is already going limp, then I see it shrivel.  While seeing/drawing I see each thing living its own time, as I am living my time, my life-time.  The awakened eye becomes utterly aware of the fleetingness of all that passes before it, of this eye still seeing, of this hand still moving, still tracing…………
  • When I draw in line with a pen or a sharp pencil I am compelled to the most intense, uninterrupted attention to and awareness of what my eye perceives.  It makes it impossible to deceive, to humour or to flatter myself.  The quality of my line shows up every attempt at a cover-up, a pretense.  Looking at my drawing once it is finished, I can’t help becoming my own graphologist: I see instantly every flagging of my concentration, every incompetence, every trick!

6 thoughts on “When life intervenes

  1. occasionalartist

    Love the quilt, and is has the same feel as the work I am doing with paper. Wow. Every one said the work looks like a quilt and here is the quilt. Glad to see more of this work of yours.. Thanks for the mention and adore the quotes. Karen

    1. Draws Shoots and Leaves Post author

      It was the last ‘art’ quilt I made, I gave up quilt making shortly afterwards. It was one of the quick quilts I was experimenting with, my others took sooooo long sometimes to design, dye and piece. So this was just overlocked with no cutting off of threads and the squares attached with plastic. Will post more quilt pictures as they seem relevant, funny when you look at stuff you made in the past………

  2. JJ ColourArt

    I have The Zen of Seeing–I always admired Frederick Franck’s ability to get out there and sketch people and the flurry of life.

    I was also thinking, despite your busy life, might you have become discouraged or less keen to make art after trying coloured pencils? Could be, I don’t know, I find when I’m good at one thing and try a new medium that isn’t working the way I want, that it can take away that wonderful feeling of needing to make art.

    I also know that artists go through necessary down cycles, particularly after the high of finishing a project. It’s awful isn’t it? That’s why I try so many things, so I can switch them up when I’m catching a down wave in one of the others.

    In an off cycle, sketching foxgloves is fantastic–it’s fantastic to be able to do anything it seems to me. Our foxgloves aren’t up yet, but I love them too.

    1. Draws Shoots and Leaves Post author

      Funny you should say that about the pencils, I have been working using Franck’s guidelines this week (am writing about it in my next post) and as a consequence I have put the coloured pencils to one side for the moment. I am going to concentrate on drawing/seeing and not worry about the quality of the output (which is where I think I go wrong….. actually where I KNOW I go wrong). You are a long way behind us in the season then, as our foxgloves are now past their best.


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