Sunday, December 31, 2006

Day 245
I cycled my usual 17 km and finished up at the gallery. It was very busy so I decided not to sit and draw in one of the galleries but just to sketch someone in the crowd in the foyer. This little girl, happily sucking her thumb, looked as if she might stay still for a few minutes and she did. 17 km cycle

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Day 244
Another 10 ml of rain; again, mostly in a downpour but it was still raining as I set off for an evening stroll. Others were out enjoying it too. 4 km walk

Friday, December 29, 2006

Day 243
Today we had rain at last - but 20ml in only about 30 minutes, including hail the size of marbles so we got soaked as we scurried about outside preventing flooding and protecting the car. Later I went for a ride passing Manuka shops which had suffered quite a lot of roof leaks - plastic sheeting, towels, buckets and carpet cleaners everywhere. If only we could have nice soft English rain! Anyway, I sat on a bench and sketched this baby that I thought was feeding quietly but in fact it was incredibly bouncy and gave the mother no peace at all. Fortunately, I can delete all the dud starts. 12 km cycle

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Day 242
A peaceful day. I cycled over the hill and down to the video shop to return some DVD's and then returned along the lakeside cycle-path, past the Yarralumla swimming area. This Frenchman was crooning to himself as he watched his two youngsters frolic in the shallows. His foreshortened upper arm and elbow were really difficult to sketch - I kept reminding myself just to draw what I saw but I couldn't work out what I was seeing - never mind - good enough!
12 km cycle

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Day 241
This morning, I cycled about 15 km to visit a friend in south Canberra and about 5 km into the return journey my tyre was punctured again - by the same sort of spike as before. This time I had repair gear and did a nice patch job, blew up the tyre and... discovered a part of the valve had disappeared and the tube lost all the air as soon as I detached the pump! No use returning to my friend as she had no car either so I walked home and ate three slices of Christmas cake. I sketched this agapanthus (about 8" across) as I waited for the patch glue to dry - they thrive in the Canberra climate, flowering in profusion at Christmas time. 20 km cycle, 10 km walk.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Day 240
Boxing Day sales - the shoe department was the busiest part of David Jones department store. I was in the way wherever I stood and other people were in my way all the time - but it was a fun place to sketch. 12 km cycle

Monday, December 25, 2006

Day 239
Christmas Day 2006 - I put the turkey in the oven at 2.30pm, then set off round the lake on my bike. There was a freezing wind blowing from the mountains where it was snowing. There were very few families out trying to celebrate with a barbeque and almost no walkers and cyclists. These are called Scotch! thistles here - they arrived from Britain in bales of hay with the early settlers and are now a terrible weed - but they are very beautiful. 17 km cycle

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Day 238
Mince pies missing out on the festivities - left in the bakery window over Christmas! What ignominy! I went for a lovely ride along a newly discovered bike path that leads from the Lake up to Parliament House. On the return, I passed the local shops and spotted these poor pies. 10km cycle Happy Christmas, everyone.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Day 237
Ralph and I cycled to Manuka to look for one last present in the bookshop. The sky was beautiful as I rode home - Ralph had gone on ahead to make dinner - and we did get just enough rain to wash the dust off the plants. 10 km cycle (pastels on grey pastel paper)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Day 236
Back at the bookshop in Manuka, where there is a convenient bench to sit on and pleasant air conditionong. This is the queue of people waiting to pay - there really were three very small people and then three giants. 10 km cycle

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Day 235
I walked around the suburb and back past the shops this evening. I was amused at the way this fellow was swinging the carrycot around as if it were a sports bag. Perhaps it's taking him a while to realize he's a new Dad. 3 km walk

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Day 234
Some months ago, Julie, my fellow sketcherciser in the UK, trod on a spike - well, today I got nearly the equivalent though no blood or pain. I decided to take a different route to Manuka on the way to my mother's - and cycled over a verge. By the time I got to Manuka, I had two completely flat tyres with about thirty sort of organic drawing pins stuck in them. I don't carry repair gear as it's just another thing and anyway, I wouldn't have had 30 patches or, more suitably, two new inner tubes. Dad kindly came to rescue me so Mum and I were able to shop for Christmas turkey and ham as planned. I sketched this as I waited for him.
I meant to say yesterday, that a particularly satisfying feature of this daily project is spending time being more noticing, carefully observing, looking for shape, line texture, human or other quirkiness etc as well as getting to know the neighbourhood much more intimately. Also, as Julie pointed out, any exercise is a good start and increasingly is being found to have a range of health and other benefits. 5 km cycle

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Day 233
My mother again, while we were having a cup of tea prior to our afternoon 'squircle' - as usual, I never get a portrait all right, I just catch aspects of the person. Mum is very fond of this legs crossed position and does at times look somewhat haunted, though I'm not sure if she was when I was actually doing this drawing - every pen mark on a face can be so powerful. I got home to find everyone else had gone off to a film, so I enjoyed an evening ride to Manuka to browse at the late night bookshop.
And for Jana, who asked what size my sketchbooks are - I have a large and a small moleskine and a 5 1/2" square 140gm white paper book. Most of my people are 3 - 5" high.
And Andrea asked, "would I recommend this activity" - did you mean sketch and exercise (sketchercise) - it depends what you're after. For me, it has been wonderful to have a commitment to draw every day. It has also been great to be challenged to exercise every day. I think a year long challenge is necessary to help me make it a habit and a need. If you want to get fitter or lose weight, it may be necessary to look carefully at diet and the forms of exercise that you do - just walking/meandering doesn't do it for me. The sketching does take time and perhaps satisfies the creative urge so that larger projects lapse or go slow. I don't know if my sketching ability has improved, but I have got much more confident and will have a go at nearly anything - and I no longer give up on a sketchbook just because of one ruined page. As it's turned out, this little group, with three regular walkers and a few enthusiastic visitors has been ideal - not too many others to visit and comment but sufficient notice taken that I must keep going. Thank you to everyone for being part of this challenge. I would not have been able to do it on my own. 10 km cycle

Monday, December 18, 2006

Day 232
Another night walk as I succumbed this morning to a 'desire' to clean - the vacuum cleaner nearly died of shock - and then I made four dozen mince pies, and after that, of course, it was too hot. This is the sad man with the sad dog. I often see them out at night - he used to have three dogs and a wife but I don't see them anymore and he never responds to my greetings.
6 km walk

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Day 231
A busy day - taking Mum out in the morning - to the braes of Scotland this time, as well as the local markets where we people watch - lots of wheelchair lifting in and out of the car - not a good form of exercise. Then cooking Sunday roast for the Family - Finnian is home, safe and sound with lots of sea stories, and a yearning to go again. So it was evening again when I got around to the daily search for something to draw - "don't try this at home" :) 4 km cycle

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Day 230
I rode to the lake, then walked around with a friend. Later, I sketched these two - actually they were the middle two people of a group of four (part of a large, rather drunken party) but they moved before I could finish, leaving this rather strange 'couple'. I have not seen anyone hold their socks up with suspenders before! 10 km cycle, 6 km walk

Friday, December 15, 2006

Day 229
Blogger has not let me upload anything or make comments anywhere - I wonder if they are trying to make us change to Beta-blogger? Anyway, on Friday I rode back to the artschool, this time with my library card so I could borrow a stack of lovely books. On the way home, I sketched a pavement pattern but decided to colour it differently. 12 km cycle

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Day 228
I cycled around the lake and then popped into see the graduate art exhibition at the art school. Then I was taken with all the activity going on to build several blocks of new city buildings - quite complicated to sketch. 20 km cycle

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Day 227
I cycled into town today to inspect the new library. It's opposite the Legislative Assembly where protestors were just hearing the news that about 20 local schools are to be closed.
Then, this evening my brother and I took Mum to a Carols in the Park where Finnian's old choir was singing. The weather was perfect. I really enjoyed sketching this couple as they were having such a lovely time while we all waited for the music to begin. 12 km cycle

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Day 226
A very cold day! I rode to Manuka, wishing I had my gloves and sat in a cafe with a hot chocolate to warm up. These three guys were plotting something at a nearby table and the spy was there again, at another table. Then back the long way, by the lake. 15 km cycle

Monday, December 11, 2006

Day 225
It was 27 degrees (80 F) by 9.00am and I missed my chance for a cycle ride, but I noticed, as I was driving the car, that the Brindabellas could hardly be seen due to the smoke haze being blown from the Victorian bushfires and a blaze nearer to Canberra. In the evening, I cycled around the lake to get a good view of the sunset and hopefully feel the cool change coming in - got the sunset but not the cool change. 6 km cycle

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Day 224
I've been on my feet or bike most of today - we finished with a picnic down at the lake and Dad (who is not levitating) showed off his apres-swim wear to passers-by. It's made from two towels stitched together and is roomy enough for him to get changed underneath. The lake was a lovely, cool place for dinner and there was another fiery sunset, thanks to the dreadful Victorian bushfires.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Day 223
Again, I did an early ride without drawing, so took my little Moleskine with me when I took Mum out in the late afternoon. As usual, we went for a stroll along the promenade between the lake and some major national institutions - High Court, National Library, Science Museum and National Gallery. Today, we saw three wedding parties having photo sessions. Each party had 3 bridesmaids and 3 groomsmen and there were endless dolled-up cars and stretch limos. All the brides wore long, white dresses. This bride looks a little the worse for wear. The fault is entirely mine :) 17 km cycle

Friday, December 08, 2006

Day 222
I cycled to Woden this morning but didn't stop to draw, so here's another quick sketch of Mum as we walked along the lakeside this afternoon. 12 km cycle

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Day 221
Another lovely, late evening walk with a cool breeze. I did a rough 'through a window' sketch while out, then re-did it at home. It seems that only the top half of the window had small panes - or maybe I missed the bottom half altogether. I'll have to check next time I go that way. 6km walk

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Day 220
Another squirkle with Mum, again to the lake though she was annoyed that I wouldn't take her to the Budda Rock - well, it's near St Andrews in Scotland! She was, however, quite clear about the origin of the word 'squirkle'. She says it was derived from 'circle' by her mother who came from Switzerland. It's used to describe a light-hearted sort of outing which has no particular destination but usually has a round route just to see what's to be seen. During a squirkle a 'lemon juice' may be partaken off - this is a treat, the details of which are not disclosed but are likely to be rather more substantial than a lemon juice, at a cafe. You can also use 'squirkle' when you don't want to specify exactly where you're going as in, "I'm just going on a squirkle"(ie mind your own business). I don't know how other people manage without the word 'squirkle' - our family uses it a lot.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Day 219
I cycled to the library this morning but had no time to stop and draw so when I went 'on a squirkle' with Mum at 4 o'clock, I took my little sketchbook - hoping to find a subject and a moment. Mum was delighted to pose while she had a rest. 12 km cycle

Monday, December 04, 2006

I put off exercising today - didn't feel like it - but set out at 8.45pm with just my little sketchbook and a 2B pencil. There was a full moon, a cool breeze and just me - lovely. I couldn't really see what I was drawing but it'll do. I did see some great 'through the front door' subjects, as people are now leaving their front doors open to cool the house down - ideas for another day.
And my old classmate in Chinese language, who wore shorts and sandals all year round, was today elected leader of the opposition. 6km return to Hermione's bench

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Day 217
The usual Sunday morning outing with Mum, today at the mall, looking for king-size socks for Dad - and who should we meet? Mum gave him her standard advice - "stay cheeky and do lots of things his mother would advise against". I wonder what she did? 3 km at least

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Day 216
Two ladies watching a street concert in town where I went to look for a new cardigan as moths have made dozens of holes in mine. 17 km cycle

Friday, December 01, 2006

Day 215
I left my start too late again and rode my 17 km in a muggy 27 degrees with ever increasing haze - they haven't reported a fire and I can't smell it but now the sky is pretty dark. So I didn't stop until I reached the local shops where I bought a turkish loaf to sketch for 'Karen at Pen in Hand' who asked what they are. It's about 15 inches long, moist and chewy with sesame seeds on top. Tor was hassling me to hurry up and finish sketching - and now there's hardly any left. 17 km cycle