Making A Bad Drawing Is Good

I love sketching at the bus stop while I wait for the kids. No one can disturb me. The car is tiny but it doesn’t matter. And the only subjects are some trees and a big grain silo so it doesn’t matter what happens. And if the worst comes to the worst and the kids arrive (which they tend to do at the bus stop) then I can come back the next day and do a bit more. In this sketch I tried to put into action some of the advice that was given to me by John Short, an incredible Dublin-based Scottish artist whom I admire utterly. “Make a bad sketch,” he said. “Leave out the lines. And try these letter stamps from Flying Tiger.” All sage advice. So first I bought the letter stamps, and put them to use today…and I let the watercolour bleed and didn’t try to control stuff. It was exhilarating. I shall do more of it! I look forward to it…

This is a sketch I made from a favourite story of mine, about a frog, Jeremy Fisher, who goes on a fishing trip but finds he bites off more than he can chew (or a pike does). It’s from a Beatrix Potter book with one small difference: it’s in Portuguese. I am determined to learn this beautiful language and so I read aloud from this and see what the Google lady thinks of my efforts…not a lot I’m afraid. But I will keep trying. I will persevere until I am fluent! I am getting help from some of the lovely friends I made over the course of the year during my trips to Portugal…but it’s not the easiest language I’ve ever attempted. I wonder what the terrier Reuben under my desk must think about the odd sounds coming from above. Last year I discovered a YouTuber speaking Brazilian Portuguese. To my delight I found I understood him quite well. You’d think I’d have noticed that he didn’t look particularly Brazilian but then, melting pot etc…so when I learned that actually he’s from New Zealand and has learned Portuguese, I was unreasonably disappointed. But I rallied and am trying again. The prize is worth the effort…a culture and an added richness that only learning a language can bring.

I am so proud of my younger daughter Olivia! Look at the card she painted for her auntie! It’s acrylic and it’s so perfect…She is 14.

More next time!

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1 Comment

  1. fiona godfrey

    November 6, 2018 at 3:03 am

    I love to read your ‘letters’; you write so well, with such humour and passion about life and art, and I’m so impressed that you’re applying yourself to yet another language. Love your uncontrolled watercolor, and as for Livvy’s, she’s super-talented!

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