The aftermath

A shadow of my former self

I have done little since returning from the family holiday, as I arrived home ill, and still feel a shadow of my former self, three weeks on. Such great plans I had: to get cracking on my new novel, sketch and sketch some more, but for anyone who understands what exhaustion feels like, you’ll understand. I have also been wanting to write a substantial post on art, writing or similar, but that is yet to come. All I have to offer are a few pen sketches and a short excursion to talk about.

The first, was done on holiday, en Plein air, and a most freeing activity it was. Sitting in the shade; just me, with my art pad, a pen, and no distractions, except the rippling of water on the pond. It was a scribbly kind of sketch but I liked it; just the pond and the surrounding foliage. Some of you might have even seen it on one of my holiday blogs. I began another sketch, of my husband sitting reading, when up he got, never to return to the deck chair again. Never mind, I thought, pulling out my phone and taking photo of the spreading peach tree and chairs, I can finish this one at home.

Most of the tree was done, but when it came to finishing the chairs and the missing husband part at home, I mucked it up. First I think, by adding colour to the chairs, instead of making it solely a pen sketch. Then, with the colour overpowering the lighter sketch, I added a grey wash. Instead of waiting for this to dry, I sketched on top. This, is quite typical of me, knowing it is not the best idea ever, but plowing on regardless. Hmm. There is often this danger, I find, when finishing a sketch off indoors, that instead of the faster, more fluid sketch which might have resulted from staying in situ, the work becomes stodgy, and mucky, in this instance with too much ‘meddling’.

Me in white shirt, while cousin keeps guard on Te Mata Peak

The last two days of our holiday were spent at a cousin’s house in rural Hastings, close to Te Mata Peak. We decided to climb the peak one day, something I was looking forward to. It’s a great spot, near Havelock North, and the views from the top are superb. But, as I climbed higher I began to struggle with my breathing. My cousin Ian stayed with me, walking a snail’s pace, as the others kept climbing. I almost passed out a second time and decided to turn back, sending Ian on to fetch my husband, while I wilted against a large rock. Kerry and I reached the car park without major problems and sat in the shade to await the others. Fortunately, I can think back on times when I’ve climbed for days on end and had amazing adventures both in New Zealand and overseas. I guess this was just an adventure of a different kind.

View from Ian’s window

Ian’s living room had a good view over his neighbours’ fields, housing horses, goats and sheep. I thought a closer view might make an okay sketch, so took a photo with my phone, with the idea of completing a sketch once home. The fence was a little on the jaded side, as were the sheep, although I think I’ve improved the look of the black one in the sketch. I initially got the horse in the middle too long from head to tail, but thanks to the scribbly nature of the shrubbery and my pen, I think I amended that with some success. There is a moral to this little tale, which is – if you have the opportunity to sketch while on holiday, do so en Plein air. And, don’t get sick for goodness sakes, as it does your sketching no favours either. Good health to you all.

6 thoughts on “The aftermath

  1. Sorry to hear you aren’t well Vivienne. But those sketches are lovely souvenirs of a very restful holiday.

    I am #sofasketching (it’s a thing apparently). Will email you soon.

    Relax with a good book and a favourite cup of tea!


  2. Get better soon, my friend! I’m with you on the exhaustion side of things. I pushed myself too far putting out all three books at once last year and am still suffering the repercussions. I’m burnt out and simply unable to write any new stories yet. I think we need to do a little TLC!


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