100 Days of Botanicals

Yesterday was the last day of this year’s 100 Day Project, which is an annual global art project, free for anyone to join in. All you have to do to take part is choose a creative project that you can work on every day and do it every day for 100 days. If you choose, you share your work online with the hashtag #the100dayproject.

I’ve taken part twice in the past, making patterns and hand lettering. This year I decided that every day I would make a small drawing with a botanical theme – flowers, fruit, vegetables, leaves… These are the 100 drawings I made and as you can see, I played around with different mediums and styles and I really enjoyed it.

There were times when it felt difficult or like I really didn’t want to draw another flower ever again but I kept going and I’m glad I did. It’s been a really good way to create a new body of work and be playful at the same time.

I have some ideas about what I want to do next but for the moment I have a big piece of work to finish and then I think I’m going to have a bit of a rest from making new drawings for a bit.

In the meantime, I’m slowly adding all of these 100 drawings to my Etsy shop. Some have already sold but if the one you like isn’t there yet it will probably appear over the next couple of weeks.

MATS Bootcamp: Wabi Sabi

 

During April for MATS Bootcamp we were asked to create a magazine illustration that could sit alongside a magazine article written by Beth Kempton the topic of Wabi Sabi.

Wabi Sabi is a Japanese view that nothing is perfect, everything changes, that that’s OK – and in fact there is beauty to be found in that imperfection. Beth’s article, which was an extract from her book Wabi Sabi:Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life, focused on how it’s helpful to accept change in order to be more resilient when change inevitably occurs.

It took me a long time to work out what I was going to draw for this assignment but in the end I decided to illustrate the bamboo that Beth referenced in her article. I also came across lots of examples of cyanotype photography online, which inspired the textured background and white leaves.

I don’t know if it was coincidental or not but around the time I made this illustration I kept coming across quotes and articles about accepting imperfection, including a quote from Stephen Hawking, which was on the front cover of Flow Magazine (issue 29). I think maybe this was something I needed to be reminded of and it was helpful to have it reinforced.

There’s one more assignment for MATS Bootcamp but in the spirit of being comfortable with imperfection, I’ve decided to give myself permission to skip that one and continue focusing on my current 100 Day Project, which you can follow along with on Instagram.

In letting this go I feel like I’ve given myself some space to think about and plan the next pieces of work I want to make. Is there something you can let go of that would help create space, either physically or mentally?

MATS Bootcamp: Sylvia Pankhurst

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In March our MATS Bootcamp assignment was to create a portrait of a Suffragette and my Suffragette was Sylvia Pankhurst. I’d never heard of her before but she was one of Emmeline Pankhurst’s daughters.

Sylvia was born in Manchester but spent a lot of time working in east London, championing the working class, who she saw as instrumental in bringing about real change in terms of voting rights. This was one of the things created tension between her and her mother, and her older sister Christabel. Eventually Sylvia became estranged from her family after having a child outside of marriage.

In the 1950s she moved to Ethiopia after becoming friends with Haile Selassie, and she is buried in Addis Ababa.

31 Painted Patterns

In January I joined in with Lisa Congdon‘s brand new CreativeBug class. A couple of years ago she taught a class on CreativeBug which was a daily drawing challenge. This new class was similar but instead of making a drawing each day we created a painted pattern. As you know, I love making patterns and I’m a big fan of Lisa’s work so this was right up my street . I also really enjoyed getting more familiar with gouache paint.

Here are the 31 patterns I made this month.

Urban Sketching in Highgate

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Earlier this month I went out for the day with Urban Sketchers, London and we sketched in Highgate, in north London. Almost everyone seemed to spend most of the day in Highgate Cemetery, which is where I sketched Karl Marx’s grave, probably one of the most famous there.

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I also managed to get in another quick sketch from a spot that’s not on the main ‘trail’ in the cemetery and it was very peaceful. This was in my Hahnemuhle grey sketchbook using an HB pencil and a 0.3 Unipin pen.

There’s not much shelter from the elements in Highgate cemetery but we were really lucky with the weather. There was a thunder storm but that held off until the end of the day, by which time most of us were under the shelter outside a cafe back in Waterlow Park.

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After lunch and before the rain started I made a start an a third sketch. I ran out of time, and although part of me would like to finish it off at home using a photo for reference, I quite like leaving some of my urban sketches unfinished because they tell the story of the day.

Our next outing’s planned for Spitalfields Market on 14 October so come and join us!