Black boots

In early spring in Montreal, there’s not much colour outside. One sign of hope was some snowdrops I spotted in my neighbour’s backyard this morning. In my house I suppose I could find colourful things to draw, but black seems to fit the general mood these days, so I used India ink to draw these boots in my front entrance (just noticed that one is too short!). Perhaps it’s my version of austerity measures for sketchers. A friend in France told me that on her weekly excursion to the grocery store (permission form in hand) she filled her basket with black quinoa, black lentils and black chickpeas (which I had never heard of). It was only when she got home that she realized that her shopping had a colour theme.

We all have our own way of dealing with this period. I read that Jim Carrey is growing a beard during his quarantine. Some sketchers are keeping Covid 19 diaries. I’m not saying that I will only draw in ink until we can get out again, it’s just that for the moment, splashes of bright colour seem less appropriate than India ink.

22 Comments on “Black boots”

  1. I am doing one 4 x 4 in sketch of my garden each day. Today is my 13th day of isolation. Painted the peach blossom yesterday and today we planted our first tomato plants so that got sketched!

    We need COLOR!




    • Good for you! I can’t wait for spring Sally. So happy that you can sketch in your garden. I can’t even get to the grocery store to buy flowers. And who knows if there will even be any when I get there. Somehow it doesn’t seem like a big priority to stock flowers these days.


  2. For me, this has been a wonderful time for reflection and concentrating on family communication. Writing thank you, or get well notes. Not feeling guilty for spending time learning about plant based foods, looking at clouds, and watching uplifting You Tube videos like Atiel Gawanda, Gen Kelsang, and Andrew Weill. I hope to look back on these days and say I was inspired.


    • Laurie, these are all wonderful ways to spend that extra time. It has taken me a long time to slow down and try to enjoy the slower pace but after two weeks, it is starting to sink in that this will not be over any time soon, so it’s best to try to take advantage of this. Atul Gawande is a great writer, and his book Being Mortal helped me quite a bit deal with my father when he was in palliative care. I think I’ll take your advice and spend some time looking at the clouds.


  3. On March 15 I also started a daily 4×4 sketch in a notebook — not great for watercolour but it gives me a chance to play around with graphite, ink, pencil crayons and Stabilo pens. We can’t go out for cut flowers anymore so last night I lopped off the ends of a few branches of our cherry tree and voilà this morning the buds are turning to blossoms. Even though we’re limited in where we can go, we still manage to discover new joys!


  4. Judy Sopher says:

    I really enjoy your ink drawings,and your black boots are great—but we also need color to cheer us up. That said, I am also working in ink and enjoying black and white. It is really a challenge and that is another reason I am enjoying your ink work.

    I don’t see how people can be bored if one can draw and paint. And one good thing–they cancelled my dental appointment and will reschedule later.


  5. says:

    I am a subscriber to your emails. Thank you for all you do! I guess living on the West Coast now means I’m lucky in that we always have some type of greenery all year round to keep the spirits up. As I went to work yesterday people commented about my clothes  as I happened to be wearing bright fuchsia pants and sweater. I said, “Well I have to do something to keep my spirit cheery.” I have studied colour theory/energy and am also a glass artist/watercolour painter. When i lived in Alberta, I realized over the years teaching glass, that having a “colourful” hobby/business has helped tremendously with the winter doldrums, as colour affects our moods. And I’ve noticed the effects on my students, as they loved coming to the studio even in the dreary cold winter. I always chalked it up to the amazing effects that colour has on us. When I go to my closet in the morning, I find I choose what to wear according to how those colours make me feel. Colour has amazing healing qualities. So, though I love your sketches, drawings and watercolours no matter what colour they are, I always look forward to your “spring” sketches when you are no doubt painting some newly sprouted flowers you have found somewhere. I suffer from depression and it’s been extremely hard these past few weeks to rise above all the doom and gloom out there, but I find colour, music and looking at art always help me. I’ve been hoping over the years that you would come to western Canada to teach a workshop but so far it hasn’t happened. I suppose we’ll all be changing our travelling habits and preparing for a new normal.  But I just wanted to reach out to say I look forward to your emails and depictions of daily life and that you inspire me to find the time to pick up my pencil and paintbrush. Art feeds the soul! Your videos are awesome too! Cheers and hugs,Sandee Giles Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


    • HI Sandee, Thanks so much for this wonderfully encouraging and positive note. Such a pleasure to read about how colour affects mood for you and your students. And to hear about what you do. Of course I know this but during this trying time, it’s really comforting to read how people are dealing with the doom and gloom. The past few days I have been using brighter colours and I can see that it is helping my mood.
      As for coming to Western Canada, I will be there this summer, teaching a group in Nanaimo in August. Our son lives in Vancouver so I am always eager for a trip out west. Of course travel restrictions will have to be lifted before I decide to travel again. So many of my workshops have been cancelled for this spring and summer.
      Watch for more videos coming up!

      Stay healthy!


  6. Jane Britton says:

    I love your work, gives me hope that I will sit down and paint or draw again soon.


  7. joantav says:

    What an impressive amount of hatching on these boots! Great job! I am finding that even though I have a lot more time when I could be creative, I’m not! It is hard to get really inspired and I seem to be working on small pieces. I still try to get out for a bit in my car and usually stay inside it to sketch or move myself to an area with no people.


  8. miatagrrl says:

    I love monochrome sketches, even (especially) black! i am sketching my hand each day until the danger is over, and we are back to normal. I find it gives me structure when all my other routines are gone.

    – Tina


    • Tina, I love that idea. Have you seen the Instagram feed called #subwayhands ? You might like it. Although I don’t think there are many hands in the subway these days. Hope you and your husband are well.


  9. Wendy Cutting says:

    Love the boots. My mood is small pen and wash and my palette has grown quite sombre.


  10. Ginny says:

    I absolutely love this sketch! With my eyes I can almost feel these boots. Ink sketches are so nice!


  11. Nice sketch, I really like how you got the lighting on the boots.


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