Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lest We Forget - Anzac Day in Brisbane

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Today all over my country, a moving service to honour fallen soldiers, is held in cities and towns large and small. In almost every suburb in the community there stands a statue with a soldier (known as a digger - presumably because they dug trenches in which to fight), or that of a light horseman. Schools scout groups and community organizations all participate in a service to respect and remember these very brave young men. The most moving tribute of all is the laying of the wreaths on the community monument to the sounds of the Last Post. A truly poigant moment and something to ponder about...

As a nation, we are here because brave men fought wars and military conflict to enable us to live in freedom and with justice. We remember them each year, and in particular, those that gave the ultimate sacrifice, and paid with their life.

Even though the name ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) pertained to the original WWI conflict in Gallipoli, the name has become synonymous with any military personnel fighting under the Australian and New Zealand flag.

The Gallipoli conflict was not one that involved Australia directly, but due to our strong colonial ties and Australia not being allowed to have a fully autonomous military, we sent our bravest and strongest young men to fight for England in the war in Europe. Firstly, to protect the Suez Canal, Churchill then decided to make a quick strike to knock Turkey out of the war. How wrong can one get?

Gallipoli was a much documented disaster, for which Winston Churchill was entirely to blame. He could not have chosen a worse location: landing troops on a beach under a steep cliff atop which were Turkish snipers waiting to pick them off. The allied forces were forced to withdraw * months later long after the first landing.

The Australia population was then around 500,000. Australian casualties for the campaign were 26,111, comprising 1007 officers and 25,104 other ranks. Of these, 362 officers and 7779 men (total 8,141) were killed in action, died of wounds or succumbed to disease. These were our bravest and strongest men, our genetic best, and many were not to return or were to return incapacitated in mind or body. For a young nation struggling to find its feet, their loss was devastating.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them.... Uncle Ted and the others.... lest we forget.

Significance of ANZAC day from Wiki

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, and is commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I. It now more broadly commemorates all those who died and served in military operations for their countries. Anzac Day is also observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga.


Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.[1] The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzacs. Anzac Day remains one of the most important national occasions of both Australia and New Zealand.[2] This is a rare instance of two sovereign countries not only sharing the same remembrance day, but making reference to both countries in its name.

The Gallipoli campaign

When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a Federal Commonwealth for thirteen years. In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula, under a plan by Winston Churchill to open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies. The objective was to capture Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany. The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish Army commanded by Mustafa Kemal (later known as Atatürk). What had been planned as a bold strike to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. The Allied Gallipoli casualties included 21,255 from the UK, an estimated 10,000 dead soldiers from France, 8,709 from Australia, 2,721 from New Zealand, and 1,358 from British India. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war.

Though the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives of capturing Istanbul and knocking Ottoman Empire out of the war, the Australian and New Zealand troops' actions during the campaign bequeathed an intangible but powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as an "Anzac legend" became an important part of the national identity in both countries. This has shaped the way their citizens have viewed both their past and their understanding of the present.

Anzac Day is a national public holiday and is considered one of the most spiritual and solemn days of the year in Australia. Marches by veterans from all past wars, as well as current serving members of the Australian Defence Force and Reserves, with allied veterans as well as the Australian Defence Force Cadets and Australian Air League and supported by members of Scouts Australia, Guides Australia, and other uniformed service groups, are held in cities and towns nationwide. The Anzac Day Parade from each state capital is televised live with commentary. These events are generally followed by social gatherings of veterans, hosted either in a public house or in an RSL Club, often including a traditional Australian gambling game called two-up, which was an extremely popular pastime with ANZAC soldiers. The importance of this tradition is demonstrated by the fact that though most Australian states have laws forbidding gambling outside of designated licensed venues, on Anzac Day it is legal to play "two-up".

Despite federation being proclaimed in Australia in 1901, many[who?] argue the "national identity" of Australia was largely forged during the violent conflict of World War I,[9][10] and the most iconic event in the war for most Australians was the landing at Gallipoli. Dr. Paul Skrebels of the University of South Australia has noted that Anzac Day has continued to grow in popularity;[11] even the threat of a terrorist attack at the Gallipoli site in 2004[12] did not deter some 15,000 Australians from making the pilgrimage to Turkey to commemorate the fallen ANZAC troops.[13]

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Icelandic eruption - eyjafjallojokull volcano

Explosive eruptive phase of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Iceland, begins 14 April 2010

The eruption plume from Iceland that has caused the unprecedented
catastrophic disruption of air traffic and closure of airspaces over
northern Europe is due to an explosive eruptive phase that began at the
Eyjafjallajökull volcano on April 14. It is a continuation of eruptive
activity in the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic system that began 20 March 2010.
During an initial eruptive phase from 20 March to 12 April lava flowed
from eruptive vents on the volcano flanks, outside its ice cover. The lava
erupted in the initial phase is alkali-olivine basalt, with silica content
of about 47%.

After a short hiatus in eruptive activity a new set of craters opened up
in early morning of 14 April under the volcano's ice covered central
summit caldera. This eruptive phase was preceded with a swarm of
earthquakes from around 23:00 on 13 April to 1:00 on 14 April. The
earthquake swarm was followed by the onset of seismic eruption tremor.
Meltwater started to emanate from the ice cap around 7 o'clock on April 14
and eruption plume was observed in the early morning. Visual observations
were limited by cloud cover over the volcano, but an airplane of the
Iceland coast Guard imaged with eruptive crates with radar instrument.
Series of vents along a 2 km long north-south oriented fissure were
active, with meltwater flowing down northern slopes of the volcano, but
also to the south. Ash loaded eruption plume rose to more than 8 km
height, deflected to the east by westerly winds.

Jokulhlaups (floods of meltwater) reached the lowlands around the volcano
with peak flow around noon on April 14, with destruction of roads,
infrastructure, and farmlands. No fatalities as people had been evacuated
from hazardous areas. Tephra fall begins in southeast Iceland. A second
jokulhlaup/lahar emanates from the ice cap down the Markarfljot valley in
the evening.

On 15 April the eruption plume reaches mainland Europe with closure of
airspace over large part of Northern Europe. Activity continues at a
similar level with ash generation and flow of meltwater in pulses.
Jokulhlaup/lahar occurs in the evening. On April 16 some variability
occurs in seismic tremor and tephra generation, but overall the eruptive
activity remains stable. Pulsating eruptive plume reaches above 8 km, with
overall height of 5 km. Large closures of airspace continue.

Eyafallajökull: subglacial volcanic eruption (continued)

Chemical analyses of ash samples reveal fluorine rich intermediate
eruptive products with silica content of 58%, more evolved than in the
initial lava producing phase of the eruptive activity. The magma
composition may reflect evolution from alkali-olivine basalt by crystal
fractionation as erupted in the initial phase.
Milia are tiny white spots that appear just under the skin or at the roof of the mouth. Nose and/or eyes are the areas affected by milia. The other common names for milia are oil seeds and/or tiny milk spots.

Milia are generally witnessed by newborn babies. When it appears in adults it needs to be removed by a cosmetologist or physician. In newborns, milia disappear automatically within two to four weeks.

While a normal whitehead would rupture and go away, milia have developed a thin cover of skin cells that causes them to harden and turn into cysts." The cyst then pushes up under, but not through, the surface of the skin, causing stubborn bumps that won't go away.

Using products that are too rich for your skin is one of the most common causes of milia, especially around the eyes. "The skin around your eyes is thinner than the skin on the rest of your face, so it is much easier to smother it," Kunin says. Creamy eye shadows, heavy eye creams and oily makeup removers can be culprits, so stick with powder shadows and look for products labeled oil-free and noncomedogenic (meaning they don't clog pores). Suggestions from
Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover with aloe and cucumber extracts
Aveda Pure Comfort Eye Makeup Remover with chamomile and cucumber
Clinique Moisture Surge Eye Gel with green-tea and aloe extracts
Clarins Eye Contour Gel with the antioxidant apricot and moisturizing shea butter Zia Natural Skincare Essential Eye Gel with hyaluronic acid and witch hazel extract .

It's easier to prevent new milia from forming than to clear up existing bumps. Though switching to lighter products may cause the milia to eventually disappear on their own, more often they must be punctured in order to remove the debris that's accumulated inside, Kunin says. This is a delicate procedure in the sensitive eye area, she warns, and should only be done by a dermatologist; never attempt it yourself, as scarring can result.

Causes of Milia
Milia can be a result of many factors. Some of the causes are listed below:

* Trapped dead skin at the surface of the skin or mouth
* Use of oily moisturizers or sunscreens specifically meant for the face and not eyelids
* Sun exposure
* Use of oil-based cosmetics like lip balm, etc
* Lack of essential vitamins like vitamin A
* Rough linen or clothing that can irritate the skin of infants
* Diet rich in proteins, fat and cholesterol like egg yolks, margarine, etc

Symptoms of Milia
The most common signs or symptoms of milia are listed here below:

* White bumps on the cheeks, chin and nose of infants
* White bumps on the gums, mouth or eyes
* Can appear on inflamed and injured parts as well like white spots
* Irritation can cause reddening around the spot but the point remains white

Treatment for Milia
Though milia disappear naturally in infants, it can be reduced or treated effectively as in adults by employing the following methods:

* A cosmetologist or physician can remove the milia in adults
* Use Glycolic Acid or Aloe Vera to massage your skin around the areas affected with milia especially the eyes
* Use specific anti-aging creams or gels with firming and light-diffusing ingredients to apply on the eyes instead of using body moisturizers
* Consult a doctor for applying tretinoin and/or benzoyl peroxide for treating milia
* For mouth milia in infants gently wipe the baby’s face with warm water and dab the face dry.
* Do not scrub or squeeze the milia in infants as that can cause further irritation or infection
* Avoid applying lotions, creams and moisturizers to the milia whether in infants or adults
* For curing the marks left behind by milia consult a doctor for topical medicines, creams or lotions to apply

How to Prevent Milia?
Some tips to prevent milia are listed here below:

* Use gentle scrubs to exfoliate the dead skin on your face
* Avoid too much of sun exposure
* Avoid oil-based cosmetics and moisturizers
* Wipe your infants face and mouth with warm water to prevent milia
* Use specific eye gels, glycolic acid or chamomile for nourishing the skin around your eyes
* Cucumber, green tea and aloe vera are other options that can prevent milia around the eyes
* Avoid too much of toothpaste foam around your mouth while brushing your teeth

Experts say that it is very difficult to prevent milia whether in infants or adults. However, you can follow a regular pattern to cleanse tone and nourish your skin with the use of appropriate products, cosmetics, diet and water to prevent milia to some extent.

For me, one of them with milia around the eyes, this was something to ponder about

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Proportions of World population and disparities we can all understand!

This may have been seen by many people on one of those annoying FW.'s that arrive in your junk email Inbox, but it is worth pondering on... for the reality that we who own a computer (there are five in my house)... are amongst the global elite.

Something to ponder about!!!!
If we could shrink the Earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the human
ratio's remaining the same, it would look something like the following:
57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both North & South
8 Africans
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be non-white
30 would be white
70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian
89 would be heterosexual
11 would be homosexual
6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would be from the US
80 would be living in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death - 1 would be near birth
1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education
1 would own a computer
When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance,
understanding, and education becomes glaringly apparent.

If you woke up this morning with more health than are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of are ahead of 500 million people in the world.
If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or are more blessed than three billion people in the world.
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.

If your parents are still alive and still are very rare, even in the United States and

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Danish Immigration to the New Worlds - Bronx, Danish settlements in USA

What was the impetus for our forefathers to seek a completely new home on the other side of the world?

To travel without hope of return, to strange lands where they knew neither the language nor the customs must be akin to us travelling to another planet in modern terms. They were bold, they were brave, perhaps naive, but the reasons why they came have been lost in time.

We can only suppose why, for money, hope of a better life, escape from religious persection, freedom from war, or other constraints, to have one's own land? I have some connection in my family to immigrants to united states, but why did mine choose Australia? And some descendants married Americans, went to live in the states, in Utah, and became mormons.... ironically.

For anyone with ancestry abroad, and surely that is a lot of us living in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Africa and South America... this is truly Something to Ponder about....


The Danes

Like the immigrants of countless other nations, many immigrants from Denmark came to the United States and the New Worlds for religious reasons. The Danish immigrants of the 19th century were unique, however, in that they came to North America as part of the first mass influx of the pilgrims of a new religion: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

For centuries, small groups of Danes had visited and lived on the shores of the New World. Danes had joined Dutch expeditions to navigate the Hudson River in the 17th century, and in 1728 the Danish explorer Vitus Bering charted the Alaskan straits that bear his name. The New Amsterdam colony was home to many prominent Danes, including Jonas Bronck, whose land north of Manhattan Island became widely known as Bronck's, and, eventually, the Bronx. In addition, small numbers of Danes fled the established Dutch Reform Church to join larger, usually German, religious communities on the East Coast.

The greatest surge of Danish immigration came, however, in the wake of a small group of missionaries who arrived in Copenhagen in 1850, spreading the word of a new faith from America. In the following years, several thousand Danes converted to Mormonism, and roughly half of those converts left for the United States—nearly 20,000 by the end of the century. Once in the U.S., most joined their fellow believers on the trek to the distant territory of Utah, an arduous journey of many months, usually made on foot. The terse, handwritten diary of Danish immigrant John Peter Rasmus Johnson conveys some sense of the hardships of the trek, as the travelers endured disease, dangerous weather and terrain, and attacks by bandits, anti-Mormon vigilantes, and hostile Native Americans. By the end of the 19th century, Utah was home to the largest community of Danish immigrants in the United States.

At the same time, many Danish immigrants came to the U.S. for economic and social reasons, seeking a new beginning, insulation from European wars, or a stronger economy. Denmark had, however, avoided much of the land loss and famine that plagued their Scandinavian neighbors in the 19th century, and never lost as great a percentage of its population to emigration as did Norway and Sweden.

The Danes who did seek a new life in the U.S. settled primarily in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, the Dakotas, and Iowa, which eventually became the most Danish of all states. Danes were more urban than most other Scandinavian immigrants, and although many tried grain and dairy farming upon their arrival in the U.S., most eventually moved to cities and towns. Some towns and neighborhoods took on an entirely Danish character, but by and large the Danes mingled within larger communities, preserving their own religious and linguistic traditions, but living and working alongside neighbors who were often Scandinavian immigrants themselves.

Scrap bags - A Girl can never have enough Bags.

The following is the result of my urge to do some more recycling. I have a huge fabric stash and I do not even claim to be a sewer of any repute, but I seem to have amassed a lot of fabric. So time to put it to functional use. Shopping and tote bags... here they come:-

This is the first truly recycled bag that I made. The front and back and handle are from Recycled girls pyjamas, the border around the top is from a child's dress, the applique is from an old teatowel, and the lining, well from my pile of unwanted stash fabrics, so the lining was really the only new part. I kind of like the way this turned out. Even reused some lining that was in my cupboard.

The following two bags Making bags from
scraps of curtain fabric (obtained from Ikea)Pattern courtesy of tinyhappy

I incorporated a loop for attaching keys and the like and somewhere to stash your mobile phone or other important things.

Then the piece d' resistance, is the large tote bag and the handy bag. This is designed on a plastic shopping bag: yes they have to be good for something! Then it folds up into a tidy little pouch that sits in the bottom of one's larger handbag and weighs next to nothing.
Then it open up like this:

Then there was the T- shirt bag... my daughter liked this one as it was all kind of stretchy, and you could stuff a big jumper into it, or just a few odd shaped things.

Finally, you can decorate one of the indestructible bags

Now that will give you something to ponder about.....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is the work ethic dead? When is enough enough?

"The work ethic has become obsolete. It is no longer true that producing more means working more, or that producing more will lead to a better way of life.The connection between more and better has been broken; our needs for many products and services are already more than adequately met ,and many of our as-yet- unsatisfied needs will be met not by producing more, but by producing differently, producing other things, or evenproducing less. This is especially true as regards our needs for air,water, space, silence, beauty, time and human contact.

Neither is it true any longer that the more each individual works, the better off everyone will be. The present crisis has stimulated technological change of an unprecedented scale and speed: `the micro-chiprevolution'. The object and indeed the effect of this revolution has been to make rapidly increasing savings in labour, in the industrial,administrative and service sectors. Increasing production is secured inthese sectors by decreasing amounts of labour. As a result, the social process of production no longer needs everyone to work in it on afull-time basis. The work ethic ceases to be viable in such a situation and workbased society is thrown into crisis." André Gorz, Critique of Economic Reason,Gallilé,1989

When is enough enough? How much further can we push our body, mind and emotions before they crack. Mental illness is increasing as the vulnerable one fall by the way side first. Will all the dominos fall? What will happen then? A regrouping, rethinking of society? Or will this be forced upon us by catalclysmic changes in the financial or climatic spheres?

Truly something to ponder about ....

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Painted Traffic light control boxes

What is better than a boring grey steel box? A bright colourful one, of course! It might be a little distracting to drivers, but when sitting waiting for the traffic lights to change at an intersection, it chases away the boredom.

What is more, the tenders are called each year by the municipal council authority, and this can be a great way for struggling artists to make some money, or engage the use of volunteers and community workers in projects. The diversity of themes can be interesting to ponder about.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bags Bags Bags: they are very useful things. Scrap,Recycled Handmade Bags

I am in the process of making lots of recyclable bags. Some are from scrap materials, taken from old teatowels, embellished with old appilque, beads, lace, etc.

Others are made from new materials with the purpose of being reused again and again when shopping for groceries.

Some are compact and folded up into a small bag for convenience. Others are full size, or shoulder bags.

I will post pics soon.

Let us make a difference and eliminate the need for more and more plastic. Something we must ponder about...

Norwegian Crochet - Hakking

Norwegian crochet - Hakking
In Norway, there is a special type of crochet called Hakking. It has nothing to do with computers and is pronounced as in the english word "Hark" and add "-ing"!

I would not consider myself an experienced knitter and my knitting tension as a child was awful, yet I took to this wool handwork instantly. I love it.

I have to thank my dear friend Mia, not only for her patience but for starting me on a Hakking adventure, which seems to be limitless.

If you feel knitting takes too long and is too fiddly, but you want to create something with wool, then Hakking is for you!

You can make a scarf with a basic stitch (using grund technic) in less than an hour! I promise you.

Hakking goes by a variety of names: Tunisian crochet, Afghan stitch, and one might use a double ended hook sometimes called a cro-hook.

My first Hakking projects were a
Scarf in acrylic, sampler with stocking type stitch, and pulse warmer, which is made using Hakking in the round. For this you must have a double pointed crochet hook or needle. Example of hook is pictured.

I will show you a few of my projects here and later put a video on doing the basic stitches.

Good luck, I hope you find it as rewarding as I am.

Fill up teenage bellies with Slow cooker Irish Stew.

When you have had a series of rainy days there is nothing better than a good hearty stew, and we can thank the Irish for the basis of the stew that I cooked this week, which satisfied 8 teenage appetites.

We can also thank the Naxon company in Chicago for first developing a rudimentary slow cooker or crockpot which has since been refined to the wonderful appliance we have today. This means the ingredients can be placed inside and albeit forgotten until hours later when the slow cooker has worked its magic and produced a tasty and nutritious meal completely without supervision. In the current supercharged world, this is a wonderful advantage and fantastic alternative to fast food dinners.

"Ever since man first tamed fire, slow cooking was discovered as a way to soften up and tenderize those tough slabs of meat and fibrous rooty vegetables. In prehistoric times, indigenous peoples often cooked wildroot plants in a slow burning fire pit for a full 24 hours. This released the nutrition locked into the bulbs and made them much more tender and tastier to eat. Tough meat cuts especially benefit from slow cooking. Slow cooking these chewy cuts broke down the collagen in themeat and turned it into a gelatinous broth. As the fibers of the meat separated and shrunk during slow cooking, the juices would moisten the meat and turn even the toughest cuts into a mouth watering meal." (click here to read more)

Family Stew Recipe

♦In the morning, set the Slow cooker to Auto for 6-8 hours, or Low for 8-10 hours. (Auto setting will simply adjust the cooking time from high intially to low in the later stages of the cooking time)

♠ Place a selection of diced vegetables in the base of the cooker, including:

3 sticks celery

3 onions

3-4 carrrots

1 capsicum (green)

3-4 small new potatoes

I also add the following for flavour:

1 swede or rutabaga

1 turnip

1 parsnip

2 zucchini

You can also throw in any leftover vegetable you have in your fridge; Spinach or Siverbeet leaves or corn kernels might be nice.

♦ On top of the vegetables place diced Mutton chops or Blade steak (I use blade myself)

( trimmed of excess fat)

♦ 2-3 cups of beef or chicken stock (I use chicken to avoid Mad Cow Contamination - buthten I am paranoid)

♦ seasoning

♦ 1 teaspoon thyme

♦ a few celery stalks with leaves intact

Cover and let it cook. When you come home in the evening, add:

♠1-2 cups frozen peas (or beans)

♦ 3 tablespoons cornflour mixed with 1/3 cup cold water (and a little stock from the pot)

Cook on high till thickened ( about 10-15 minutes)

Voila! Dinner is done...

Serve with rice or noodles, and it will feed at least 8 people comfortably.

Blind Drawing: Fun, good practice and Swap idea

Here is my first initial blind drawing. My vegetable patch in the back yard. One can just make out the garden edging and the tomato plants, and stakes.

I used a soft B pencil which made a nice effect when I drew on the rough gesso finish of a hard cardboard backed frame. I painted a little colour in a pen and wash technique and then soaked it in tea overnight. Added a little penwork.

Not too bad for a first attempt and I surprised myself by how much my right brain could do without the dominant left hemisphere taking over. see more here:

A "Blind" drawing for 20 minutes of a very mundane object can lead to a quite unusual artistic creation. Yet if you let your dominant logical side take over, I feel sure it would be quite different as the left will pull up the objects in site from its catalogue of known things to draw. This will result in a standard version that you might have drawn as a child, and will not be a drawing of angles and shapes in front of you. Yet it is precisely angles and shapes that your mind needs to concentrate on in order to draw better. Left brain sees the whole object and tries to get your hand to replicate it. Right brain sees negative space, angles and shapes which let the drawing become more fluid, more natural and more realistic.

And then you can play with a lot of colour and effects... that is the fun part!

good luck....

Friday, April 2, 2010

The answer to Procrastrination speically in terms of craft.

The 20 Minute Club

The 20 Minute Club
Here we go the answer to Procrastination....

Blind Drawing: Fun, good practice and Swap idea

Taken from

Blind Contour drawing is a favourite with drawing teachers to develop hand-eye communication. Contour drawing is essentially outline drawing, and blind contour drawing means drawing the outline of the subject without looking at the paper. The end result doesn't matter - what is important is carefully observing the subject.

I prefer to slightly stretch the meaning of 'contour' to include lines generally, so that from time to time the line will wander across the form and back out again, capturing little details along the way. In this exercise, avoid lifting the pencil from the paper so that the line is as continuous as possible, and most importantly, DON'T PEEK! If need be, work with your sketchbook under the table. If drawing on loose paper, you may need to tape it in place.

The Aim: Practice following contours with hand and eye.

What You Need: A4 sketch paper and pencil or pen.

What to Do:Now, just draw your hand! Place the pencil near the bottom of the page, then looking at the edge of the wrist, begin to follow the line, going very slowly and steadily. Try to make your pencil follow every slight curve and bump. When you get to a crease, follow it in then back out to the side and carry on. Don't rush. Concentrate on observing every little detail.

Review: When you've gone all around the hand, stop and look at the end results. Funny? But look how some areas of your drawing are amazingly accurate. Sure, the large areas might be out of proportion to each other, but you will notice that some parts are far better drawn than when you were looking at the paper!

Going Further:You can also try this exercise with other objects - leafy plants or furniture. People and animals can be pretty funny too, and it is great observational practice.

I will post a picture of a blind drawing I have done...

A great idea is to swap postcards with a friend, doing a 20 minute blind drawing, enhancing it a little with colour or other things, stamps, ribbon, stickers anything. Everyone loves something in the mail.

It can be as creative as you like, or just a simple pencil drawing.

I love this idea and am going to approach my arty friends about it.Stay tuned....