I indulge in two types of creative activity aside from designing solutions to software problems : music – I play the mandolin and violin and sing a little; and I sketch. Both music and sketching are for my own amusement and I have no intention of that ever being otherwise (so before you tell me I’m crap, lol@you – I knew that already!).
Having a naturally analytical and logical thought process and working in a sort of masculine, private-sector/commercial, left brain dominated industry, these let me relax, unlock and exercise the other areas of my mind and I think on some level encourage the more feminine part of myself to come through. They also give me another advantage as one activity is usually more enjoyable when done with others and the other is more individual. As with many people I fluctuate from one side of (over?) socialising to the other (not enough?) and my pastimes, rather than hindering or being lost in that, actually encourage the variety.
There have been some interesting things happening with my music and sketching over the last month or two. I expected them both to go backwards after returning to work and have been a touch surprised that my mandolin playing has progressed despite my neglect. I’ve also enjoyed seeing that switching to charcoal has changed my style quite a bit.
As a result of my enjoyment in progressing with the mandolin, I’ve been playing it more than my violin – no, actually I’ve almost completely abandoned my violin of late – and the extra time has simply pushed the mandolin further forward. I’ve taken to finger picking more often: difficult at the best of times on a mandolin, especially for someone with kinda short nails and kinda chubby fingers
I like the range of different sounds produced from finger picking (bare fingers) as opposed to flat picking or just bare strumming. Sometimes I just sit there and tinker with the combinations of sound and melody and chord and see what messes or masterpieces tumble out. (More mess than masterpiece, I assure you, but enjoyable nonetheless). I’ve had a very quiet weekend, with both long afternoons spent in the park playing the mandolin. My fingertips are dreadfully sore, and I love it!
As for my sketching, I used to use various types of graphite pencil on paper (I enjoy working with light and shadow – colour not so much). While I enjoy the process of producing the drawing, I was worried that my style was getting a bit stagnant, and said so to a friend after producing the piece you can see on the right. Their suggestion was to switch to charcoal or greyscale pastels or brushed ink, the idea being to shock my system so much that it can’t use the same techniques and is forced to develop a new style.
Behold my first attempt at charcoal sketching! This was a few months ago while I was waiting in the car for my mate Jared, who I was picking up from work. The first thing I lost was my comfort in fine and accurate lines. I tried to angle my head to see the “point” of the charcoal so I could see exactly where the line would be drawn: I lost that point quickly due to the softness of the stick anyway. Actually, the very softness itself was a new thing to me. Now I know you are all laughing at me as you imagine me in the car trying to look between the stick and the paper while I am sketching (I’m chuckling too) but it really was unexpected and weird. And exactly what I wanted.
I’ve been jumping around between pencil and charcoal drawings since then (some of the results are below). When the fun there wears off, I’m probably going to try pastels then ink painting. And then maybe chinese or japanese calligraphy. Ah, but I’m getting too far ahead of myself
Anyway, there is no point to this post and I really have no concluding remarks to wrap up the post nicely. I’m really just sharing a small part of my life with you. Catch you later, sunshine