October 31, 2012

Dinner sketching

October 2012
My latest trick for getting through Ada's lingering at the end of meals is to keep a sketchbook by my placemat. After a few days of this she has started making drawing requests. It really bugs her that I mostly draw heads. The funny thing is, she doesn't ask me to draw bodies. She always tells me to put feet on them! I like to interpret her literally just to tease her.

The shin bone's connected to the chin bone

October 24, 2012

Never seeing ribs the same way again

October 23, 2012

Here is my spiny goodness project with a little colour. No time in this busy mother-of-two life for shading and all that. The flat colours remind me of Goodnight Moon. ("Goodnight mush!")

October 22, 2012

Spiny goodness

Oops, I forgot the lumbar spine

Did you know that we aren't born with all three curves in our spine? Nope, we're born with one. We add our second when we learn to lift up our heads. You can see this second curve in James' neck or cervical spine area, above. Our last curve is in the lumbar spine or lower back and we add this one once we learn to stand.

This is the final ready-for-colour drawing for my first Anatomy class project. My chosen topic was, "Things that loop and link and how that is like a spine." Really it was just an excuse to draw more James but with added anatomical fun. Instead, it was hard! From poring over pictures of infant and adult anatomy, I learned that our ribcages aren't just a series of loops threaded through our breastbone and spine. It turns out that on each side we have two floating ribs, four ribs that are attached to each other (but not to the spine) and six ribs that are hooked to the spine.

And then I dumbly chose this three-quarter profile view instead of doing the relatively easy face-on or profile view. Did you know that there are virtually no three-quarter profile views of the skeleton online? Well, go figure, neither did I. So this is what I think an infant's rib cage looks like from this angle. Our ribs have interesting curves and twists and since I didn't have the time to learn them I simplified the anatomy for this exercise.

It's really neat how our ribs loop around the spine. Now I notice this pattern everywhere. Curtain rods, wheels and axles, spinning tops (well, in principle), woven things...

We have a terrific children's book called A House Is A House For Me. The poem talks about everyone's houses -- a lion's cave, a sheep's barn -- and expands from there with wild whimsy. A glove is a house for a hand, a tea cup is a house for tea. By the end of it the writer says that once you begin to look you start to see houses everywhere.

from A House Is A House For Me illustrated by Betty Fraser (Author: Mary Ann Hoberman)
It's a bit like that with ribs and spines, but I can't get as far with it.

A ring is a rib for a finger.
A bracelet is a rib for a wrist.
A necklace is a rib for a neck and
a garland is a rib for a tree.
A padlock is a rib for a doorlatch,
a ribbon's a rib for a gift,
a clothesline's a rib for my laundry, and...?

October 21, 2012

Thanks from Canada, Allison!

I'm really excited to finally share the project that has kept me from drawing for Bus Blog lately. A year ago sometime after James was conceived I joined an online community of pregnant women all due in April 2012. Since then our cross-Canada network has grown to 132 mothers.

A couple of weeks ago one of us shared Florida mom Allison Tate's blogpost about the importance of making sure mothers put themselves in photographs with their kids. One mom, Deshe, uploaded a photo of herself with her son and it sparked a rush of photos from the others. Like Allison Tate's readers, many of us discovered with surprise that we had few or no pictures of ourselves with our kids (six months in I have only three photos of myself with both Ada and James!). After the fortieth or fiftieth picture flew by, I realised I needed to bring these pictures together. The collage above is the result.

For many of us, the Birth Club is a safe place, an honest place. There we can chew over parenting and homemaking techniques without being boring, talk intimately about our changed bodies without being offensive, and share sappy videos, caustic jokes and every tiny milestone our beloved and bewildering children reach with an ever-caring audience.

I love looking at these pictures. Most of the photos on here aren't professional and I know many of us in the Birth Club lament that. We wish we had looked better that day. But the love in these faces is incredible. It makes us more beautiful, or it illuminates the beauty already there. As I get older, I don't enjoy 'good' photographs as much as I used to. Most of the work of professional photographers is so stylish and beautiful, capturing us always at our best. They're pieces of lovely art. But the photos where it's just us and our feelings shining through, warts and all, those are my favourites.

October 10, 2012

Not known for terminology like "Glute"

This is Sharon Bruneau. She's from Timmins, Ontario, and I chose her photograph to use for my latest homework in art class: Draw a bodybuilder's muscles. Tomorrow I will find out what some of the parts I couldn't identify were. She has a particularly nice Sartorius muscle, no?

October 9, 2012

Maybe I do have my own style, dammit

Jason, October 4, 2012

Showed Jeff my latest life drawing picture, above, and he said it reminded him of the picture I put on my biz cards back when I was planning on giving up my diplomatic career and taking a shot at illustrating for a living. (See, my feeling is that you can have dreams+1 kid or you can have 2 kids. Other options are: wealthy spouses or lucrative dreams. But the director of the art school told me, there are winners and losers in this society, and artists are among the losers.

So. I took the tacit advice and kept my job. Luckily, I love my job nowadays. Further, this blog provides me with the compromise between my passion and my career that I desperately need. Now you know everything I know and I will end this self-indulgent ramble here.)

I made the picture that Jeff was talking about as the cover of a comic book I wrote.

Hall Door II, 2005

October 7, 2012

Bite me, it's a breakthrough!

September 30, 2012

The last 2 weeks of Bus Blog fell to teething. I won't say any more about that.

After three years of trying on and off to draw the kids, I might be getting somewhere. Normally when I draw, I can sometimes see the drawing on the page before I draw. My guess is that my brain has a map of faces that is places on the page for me to trace. This happened for the first time just the other day, and again a few days later while I was drawing Ada at Big Rig Restaurant (a new brew pub in West Ottawa; it's great for folks of all shapes, ages, and loudnesses). This doesn't look much like her and it's obviously just a quick sketch, but it does look more like a child. I find them devilishly tough to draw, personally.