3 July 2011

A! fredome is a noble thing
(John Barbour, 1320?–1395)

The long-awaited summer vacation has finally arrived: How will I enjoy thee? Let me count the ways.

I’m hoping that this year’s vacation will be a balanced mix of lazy days, creative days, clearing the clutter days and travels. It seems like a waste to use one’s vacation for clearing out clutter, instead of just resting and generally enjoying life, but I’m pretty sure that by getting rid of a lot of the physical junk, I’ll also get rid of a lot of mental junk, which will boost my energy levels. I started by backing up my computer, and then I sorted out a big heap of paper. What a relief. I have more areas of my home that I will deal with soon, but one thing at a time. I’m on vacation, I remind myself.

I’m planning to draw and paint. The first thing I did after work on Friday was to go straight to the art department in my nearest bookstore and splash out on new art supplies: I bought a set of Derwent Inktense pencils and a set of Derwent Graphitint pencils. While I was backing up the files on my computer, I played with my new pencils. 

Inktense pencils. These are permanent when dry, so they can be used under other water media, and they can also be used on fabric I’m told. Ah, the possibilities! In the colour swatches to the bottom left I applied a wash of water on one half and let it dry, and then I applied a coloured wash over the whole swatch. You can see how differently the colours mixed. Aren’t these colours yummy!

Graphitint pencils. As a water medium I found these a bit trickier to get the hang of than the Inktense pencils, but I’ll keep on experimenting. I drew the leaf to the lower left with a 2B pencil and coloured it with Graphitint, the sprig is drawn with just Graphitint and a wash of water, and the leaf at the top with Graphitint and no water. I’ve only worked dry on dry so far, but I will also try dry on wet and lifting colour from the lead with a brush. I also want see how the colours mix if you overlay them with a coloured wash.

During my vacation I will challenge myself to draw an object from life every day starting from Monday. I also plan to participate in The Sketchbook Challenge. The theme this month is ‘Element’. Excellent! Although it’s not the most imaginative choice, I want to explore the four Classical elements: air, fire, earth and water. Perhaps through mythological beasts. That really gets me going, but I’ll have to be careful not be too ambitious, because that usually results in UFOs.

Another thing that I want to do is to explore Procion MX dyes. I have hardly used them since last summer, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I want to try shibori and deconstructed printing and perhaps gelatin printing. There’s so much out there to try!!

At some point I’ll visit my family in Ostrobothnia. Weather permitting, there’ll be boat trips and swimming. I’d like to try snorkelling too, but suspect that I’ll have to get a wetsuit for that. The water temperatures here aren’t quite what they were in Thailand. Neither is the underwater world, but I’m willing to give it a try, providing the circumstances are such that I don’t freeze after 5 minutes and sink to the bottom of the sea.

I’m also on my way to Edinburgh, which is about time. I haven’t been to bonnie Scotland since 2006. I lived in Edinburgh for a year as an exchange student, and again when I was working 6 months as a guide at The Palace of Holyroodhouse. Oh, happy days! 

As you can see, I have lots of plans (more than I’ve written here), and it is likely that I’ll only manage to do a fraction of what I want to do, as usual. Never mind. I’ll do my best to be realistic about things. I’m on vacation, I remind myself. I’ll report back on my explorations, so stay tuned!


  1. Drawing at the beach maybe :) Very nice! Summergreetings from Mona-Lisa

  2. We've got the same list of summer projects, Annika. It's a shame we can't work on some of them together! Hope you'll take some time for just relaxing with a drink and being lazy. That's what makes it a vacation!
    I am interested to see how you like the Inktense pencils as I have thought about buying them. Unfortunately I am having trouble with Blogger today and can't see the pictures. I will check back when it is working.

  3. Wishing you a fun filled vacation!!! I am also embarking on a summer of experimenting with things I had put on hold. Have fun relaxing, drawing, painting, dyeing,..... well, have fun doing whatever makes your heart sing!

  4. Thanks everyone!

    Mona-Lisa: excellent idea! As a matter of fact I did try it last summer, and it is a bit sweaty and sticky. Perhaps I could try resist techniques with suncream...

    Cheryl: I'd love to have you by my side in the kitchen when it's time to take out those dyes.

    Jeannie: it's great, isn't it, to finally have the time and energy to try the things that you've been putting on hold for so long!

    I hope you all will have a great summer with suitable proportions of creative experimentation and lazy days in the sun. :)