Friday 3rd April
Liv (15) comes to me in my studio with her embroidered piece of denim. We have a pact, that if she makes an entire face mask on her own from start to finish, she can get creative with clothing (either hacking up things she doesn’t like, or making things from scratch) and I will help her. This isn’t going to be that face mask. We agree that it’s far too pretty to risk rookie errors so I sew it up and Liv watches (sort of, I’m not the only one whose concentration has gone south). The finished product is beautiful, fits perfectly and looks great. Liv is delighted. “It matches my eyes,” she says, but adds that she’ll still be a bit self-conscious wearing it out. I tell her if she gives it a week or two she’ll feel self-conscious not wearing a face mask in public.
I find something on Wikipedia that suggests the Czech way of coping with the Covid outbreak, to make mask-wearing compulsory for all, is producing great results. I’m still baffled by the “experts” approach to the wearing of masks. Yes, they are coming around now and asking us all to wear them, but they are still assuming that sewing masks is beyond most people. And maybe it is. Like cooking seems to be difficult for some. I think the fact that people don’t know how to do basic stuff is very strange. Then again, I can’t knit.
I am furiously finishing my book on sketching expressive people for my American publisher. The upshot of this is that my day is pretty uneventful, unless you count scanning and crossing off images uploaded to Box.com as events, in which case it’s a whirlwind of activity. So, to make up for uneventfulness, I am giving you a sneak preview of one of the things I talk about in my book: how to choose and mix colours to make believable skin tones. The above tubes are the colours that make up my palette for skin. They are, left to right, Opera pink, Lemon yellow, Yellow ochre, Burnt umber, Transparent red oxide and Payne’s grey. I squeeze them into half pans and wait a few days for them to dry. Here’s what they look like in various stages of dilution…
They might look a bit intense unmixed, but you can get any skin tone with them…
…as you can see. You can expand them a lot more to make pinker, browner or yellower tones. What’s nice about these colours is that they are clear and clean: remember, you can always muddy up a colour but you can’t make it brighter. If you are a person who likes to sketch people, it’s time to start drawing squares and start getting used to the range of shades and tones from each tube.
I see something on Twitter: Middle Class Quarantine Bingo. Things that are featured include growing tomatoes, having drinks on Zoom (haven’t done it but I did plan it), doing crafts and drinking earlier than usual. Between Liv and me we have 9 bingo thingy hits (I don’t know how you say it). I am sad to see that making sourdough is on the list. Turns out I am just a middle class quarantiner like everyone else and I feel like an eejit for thinking I was cool for making bread rise without packet yeast – and I bought the starter so I can’t even take credit for catching and taming it from the wild. I am no longer going to draw my stupid sourdough. It’s not even that good – Mum sent me a link to this urban sketcher from Dublin and her photos of sourdough leave mine in the ha’penny place.
Oh well. Keep Calm And Carry On Sewing Masks!
I object! My very handsome and very hip 30-year old son began his sourdough starter adventure a whole month ago in Chicago anticipating a lockdown, and now I’m doing it in Connecticut. Okay, I’m not handsome and hip, but since he is I’m going to claim that making sourdough is COOL! But maybe being middle class is, too! I’ve saved all my discard and I’m making English muffins, pikelets (which King Arthur Flour says are Australian crumpets without forms), and, tomorrow night, pancakes!
Sourdough PANCAKES? I truly am a Johnny-come-lately as I did not know such a thing existed! I’m not even going to approach the topic of the kingly sourdough thing! I think you may be right…being middle class is very cool after all. Meanwhile my ver handsome son has been a mere onlooker so far…!
I made the sourdough pancakes this evening. I started them at 730am, per the King Arthur Flour recipe online: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/classic-sourdough-waffles-or-pancakes-recipe
uses up the discard, which I can’t bring myself to toss!
Delicious! very moist inside, even the burnt ones! And quite flavorful. We never before have had pancakes for dinner, but these are strange times.
Joanne thank you so much for that. I’ll do that today I think. Amazing how the stuff keeps rising even overnight, my commercial yeast always collapsed when I left it overnight. I really look forward to trying the recipe! Oh and I wanted to say thank you to you for ordering from me directly: I don’t mind telling you that there’s a huge difference between what I make when I sell my books and when the booksellers do. So thank you for your thoughtfulness. I hope it arrives soon if it hasn’t already. Xxx
You are very welcome–I can’t wait to dive into your book! Has not arrived yet, but I”m sure it will soon. I so much prefer ordering from the source if possible, as Amazon et al pay an author diddly squat, if that’s a term.
I’m still waiting for my 14-day-old starter to be viable enough for a loaf of bread–it doesn’t stink, and it’s very mildly bubbly, but it isn’t rising, and it won’t pass the float test (per @bakerhands on IG). But I’m doing stuff with the discard, which in my case is not discard but treasure.
Hang on in there! You’ll get there and it will be wonderful!
Róisín, I received your book today! Woohoo! I am sure it is totally healthy inside, but I’m letting it sit a few days to let the package recover from its journey. Thanks so very much. I bought a Sailor Fude pen a ways back on your recommendation and soon I shall put it to work in earnest.
I am so glad it has arrived! They told me in the post office that there was talk of letting nothing into the US so I’m mightily relieved. Leave it to purify for a couple of days and then jump in! Best to you Joanne…Róisín x