Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Challenges and supplies
First of all, my own challenge for this week is to draw something every day. I've had a few slow weeks and I need to push myself again. On Sunday I drew these two things, aiming for quick but not too rough. The kettle is for challenge no. 137, 'something that you can turn on or off' and the hand blender I thought about for the appliance challenge but decided to make it no. 42 'something you are grateful for'.
When I first read that challenge last year I thought it was the best and every day since I've thought about all the things I'm grateful for. But I didn't want to complete the challenge in case I stopped thinking about all those positive things! So instead, I've decided to make it a series that I can add to now and again. I won't go for the obvious choices like health, life, family etc., as everyone feels the same about those, but instead focus on the less obvious ones, the little things that we need every day to make life easier but perhaps don't realise until we don't have them.
So why the blender? Well, I have a whole list of foods I avoid and should avoid (with the migraines and food intolerances) but since I went on the Atkins diet a few years ago I realised that the best and most agreeable food for me is...scrambled eggs! I have them most mornings and they keep me going for hours without going hungry. Hunger can bring on a migraine so a substantial breakfast has always been important for me. I also noticed, quite some time ago, that people who say they have weight problems and claim not to eat much almost always say they skip breakfast! I'm amazed people haven't seen the connection so I have a big breakfast and try to make lunch and dinner light. I suspect I don't need dinner at all really. But anyway, whenever I go away and try to make scrambled eggs, nine times out of ten, there isn't so much as a hand whisk! Some self catering places we've stayed in didn't even have decent non-stick pans. So, I'm always grateful to get back home and whizz up my eggs in a second with this handy gadget! It makes light work of loads of fiddly jobs so it's hardly in the cupboard before it's called into service again!
This kettle actually has two switches one for boiling and one lower down for keeping water hot. I thought that was a bad design, that I would always be knocking it on and wasting electricity but actually I've only done it once. It has to be cleaned out at least once a week as the water is so hard and chalky here. I also wanted to draw it as I simply cannot remember old appliances we've had in the past! I wish I could, I'm sure they'd be a laugh to see now! A strange thing about us moving house/countries, is that it always coincides with appliances breaking down, usually three together and always including the toaster! It's hard not to be superstitious about them!
Finally, some more art materials! New pencils by Daler Rowney and 'watercolour leads' by Caran D'Ache (their factory is actually a short walk away!). I don't think I'll ever need anything other than my Faber Castells or Berol Venus but I like Daler Rowney so their pencils must be worth a try. I found them to be a bit softer than the other brands in the same grades and feel fractionally lighter/cheaper. The wood is softer so it's easy to take off too much of the lead when sharpening with a knife.
I haven't been using the watercolours at all for a few weeks. I did a course during the summer where someone brought in a book, Carnets d'une Longue marche : Nouveau voyage d'Istanbul à Xi'an, illustrated by Francois Dermaut. The illustrations are lovely but it seemed to me as if they were two artists' work here. One I thought much better to the other but as I looked closely, I realised that it was the colour pencil work I preferred to the watercolours. Thankfully it was on the last day of the course because it completely took the wind out of my sails! Then a couple of weeks ago, walking around the Art Air event, I noticed one of the freebies given out to the participating artists. So last week I popped into the art shop and found them - 'watercolour leads' by Caran D'Ache. They dissolve much better than ordinary watercolour pencils and according to the blurb, the pigments are superior too. But what I love about them is that they are as hard as an 3H pencil and can be sharpened to a fine point - they feel so good! I can see that these are going to suit me very well. And now I'm grateful to whoever designed them because although I didn't realise it, these are what I've been waiting for!
HB and B pencil (Daler Rowney) - and a tiny hint of colour.