In Brugge? Yes, it’s a fairytale thing

The unbearable heatwave in Amsterdam ended almost as soon as the  Urban Sketchers Symposium’s closing ceremony, and I was thrilled to jump on a train and head to Belgium, with a stop in Antwerp, bound for Brugge. I’ll be honest I first learned about Brugge about ten years ago when the movie “In Brugge” came out, and knew immediately it was a town I wanted to see and explore, even though it was the butt of many jokes throughout the dark-ish yet hilarious-ish movie.

I was NOT disappointed! It was cloudy and cool when I arrived, and lucky me chose and Airbnb room equipped with a bike, which was the perfect method to travel about the area. I totally fell for medieval Brugge, enjoyed its history museum, the main plaza, the locally produced beer, and I will never, ever forget the incredible Belgium chocolate sold in about every third shoppe. Belgium has never really ranked on a “must-see” list, but now I’m scheming to find ways to return. It was lovely, delightful, gorgeous, so long as you stayed a step ahead of the throngs of tourists who arrive by the busload beginning about 10am, but by that time I was well on my way to see windmills and the beach-loving dachunds on the Netherland coast. Sunset in Brugge, which much like Amsterdam lasted about four hours, was a delightful time to watch the twinkling lights come alive in Brugge, as the horses clopped by, and the action turned local.

On my way to the airport, I stopped for an afternoon in Brussels, and as a good student of Rick Steves, I marched right into the Tourist Office to ask what should I see right here, right now. They told me the Royal Belgium Palace is only open to the public four weeks each each, and today was the first day, so they recommended I march right over — and oo-la-la I did march right over! I saw the Royal Belgium Palace in all its glory! After that, a quick handstand in the Grand Marketplace, followed by some mussels from Brussels and a gorgeous local beer, and then away I went.

Three days, that’s all I had, and I can’t wait to return. I see there’s an illustration workshop there early next year…. hey what a great idea, a sketch workshop IN BRUGGE … <3

Urban Sketchers Symposium 2019 Amsterdam

July, 2019 I finally attended my first Urban Sketchers Symposium, this year held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands –and it was amazing! The only downside was that there was a historic heatwave throughout all of Europe, and made it quite challenging to endure the long days spent sketching out in the streets. I stayed in an adorable attic apartment, but it was sweltering as well, so it was a crazy-hot and bright week. Would I do it again? IN A HEARTBEAT. Next year’s event will be held in Hong Kong, and it’s my intention to get my heiney and my sketchbook in HKG next April!

My photos and sketches from my time in sweltering Amsterdam, where I took the following workshops:

Memories of a City, Reportage with Veronica Lawlor
Amsterdam Rooftops with Hugo Costa
Urban Portraits with Marina Grechanik

The end of PicTweetArt?

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While on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, I quietly completed one year of daily drawings, based on a mostly-randomly-selected tweets. It was an extraordinary personal exercise, and challenged me in ways I had no idea would be challenged. A drawing a day? Seems fairly straight forward and people are doing it all the time, no big whip.

I had no idea I was bent towards drawing the naked body, but I really enjoy drawing the naked body. If I could draw the body in one fell, solid stroke, I was happy as a lark and felt accomplished as I began my day. Little victories. Early on during this drawing exercise, I began to attend live model drawing classes, and the things I learned in there, oh my! We all have bodies, right, but have you ever thought about all the different ways we can move, bend, stretch, contort? Simply amazing! The body aside, what about emotions? Emotions can make a body erect as the Washington Monument or crumble in a heap of rumbles all over the floor –and everything in between.

I also liked the idea of trying to tell a story from someone’s tweet. This was not always easy, but in hindsight, it was invigorating. I was accused of being a pervert, gay (really?), asked “how do you figure a naked person from this?” and unfollowed more than a few times. I didn’t mind — although it’s not my intention to be offensive, I was simply practicing my story-telling abilities, which may or may not have included a naked person, but never vulgar and always joyfully intended.

On March 17, 2016, I completed a full year of daily drawings — I did not miss one day, thank you very much.

It has been almost two weeks since #PicTweetArt ended. I’ve dreamt of it, day-dreamed of it, looked at people hard and wondered how I would draw the lines of their face or the shape of their calves. I even got busted in Vallarta for taking a picture of a woman’s legs as she stood in line at the bank because she had truly amazing calves.

As much as I loved how this exercise changed me; it improved my confidence, opened my mind, taught me anatomy, ETC., the most difficult part of #PicTweetArt was reading Twitter each morning.

Ugggggg Twitter. No one talks on the platform anymore, people are mostly pushing out their stuff — just as I was pushing out my stuff. I had to search for real tweets, so many brutally empty tweets that no one gives a rats ass about. I allowed myself about 10 minutes to search for a tweet and as loathsome as it was, I somehow found a tweet for one whole damn year, and I drew that tweet — hard.

All this brutal poppycock aside, I’ve decided to continue the practice of daily drawings via Twitter and starting Friday April 1st, I will be back at it!

See you on Twitter my Darlings!

March’s PictweetArt:
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January 2016 PicTweetArt

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Are you enjoying your January hibernation?

Thank you for following along xx

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New Year’s Day 2016

I’ve unintentionally started a habit I quite like; each New Year’s Eve I draw my version of a Marc Chagall painting, because Chagall was all about love; at least he is to me. His paintings calm me down, give me hope and make me buzz, happily.  I like this ritual…

The Artist’s Wife:

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The Dance

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La Mariee

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December 2015 PicTweetArt

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Are the holidays over already?? Not yet, Oh bother.

I white-knuckled it through this past week, the heartache was thick. I forgot how to draw. You can tell because my lines are worrisome. That’s okay, life goes on and so will my daily drawings.

Thank you for following.

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November 2015 PicTweetArt

 

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This was an extraordinarily strange and sad, yet inspiring week; my dear pal Kay passed away after bringing her to the hospital, I introduced the cows to some highly talented chefs, my interview with Modern Farmer came out, and it was my first solo Thanksgiving sans family nor significant other here in Mexico. I was highly distracted and busy with meaty business, yet remain committed my daily drawing because I see how my skills are improving. Plus I feel closer to my mom when I draw.

Thank you for following along; I am enjoying this journey tremendously, and totally appreciate the support I’ve received. I am sad to have lost some people from my life, but am inspired by new friends I have met and the places we are going. My feet are planted firmly on the ground as I reach for it all… and wish it all for you as well.

Happy Thanksgiving:))

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October 2015 PicTweetArt

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Don’t be sad because October is over, be grateful you had the opportunity to feel all the autumny-feels xx

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This week I made the transition from using pencils and erasers to only using ink pens and I love it! It’s totally nerve-wracking because I look at the paper and I say, “OMG PLEASE DO NOT RUIN THIS!!” because there’s no erasing ink. Then I jump up & down, shake around my hands and pick up that pen. My version of the hocky-pocky ;))).

I’ve been frustrated for weeks and I am finding that tossing aside the pencil and especially the eraser has brought back that buzzy feeling of excitement once again!

Kudos too to Susan Dorf, because I took her excellent class, “The Artist’ Journal” and can’t wait to try more of her tools! I absolutely admire her work and appreciate all that she shared. ANDALE!

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PicTweetArt September 2015

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Another month of the daily PicTweetArt’s! The point of this exercise, although I wasn’t really sure when I began, was to create a daily ritual of drawing each day. I didn’t occurred to me that my skill would improve, because why would I think such a thing? My skill has improved and my non-stop curiousity about drawing people is pushing me to study the human body. I draw ’em when I’m walking down the street, I draw in my sleep. If you catch me staring at you, I’m probably looking at the line of your neck errrr something.

This daily exercise has also highlighted my weaknesses and where I want to improve; mostly hands and feet. I am practicing drawing the body in one continual stroke, which has been nerve-wracking, but also quite thrilling when I nail the curve of a back or something similar. But almost always, I choke when I get to the hands. Feet are getting better, but hands trip me up!

I am in a weekly live drawing class, which has been great practice for (d’uhhh) drawing the human body, and it’s rather up close and personal. I feel high as a kite when I walk out after two hours of drawing. I am trying to persuade Henry Vermillion to once again teach a drawing class, because I totally admire his work and think his hands are amazing–the ones he’s drawn.

And so it goes….. thank you for following along.

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PicTweetArt July 2015

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Update: This was a pivotal month because I feel as though I moved closer to the type of art I want to explore; the humanness of physical love, the energy that dances between people. I do not wish to be vulgar, just visceral and many times I feel I just miss is, I want to go deeper. As I get more established in my new home, I will go deeper. Love on, Fair People!

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Now heading into the fourth month of my daily drawing challenge — and the overall affect has been positive; it literally — okay figuratively, has cracked my head wide open on some level. When I fire up Twitter in the morning to select a tweet to draw, I move to a bigger space. I think bigger than me, bigger than you, something outside of me. I remove myself — at least I try. Third eye-thingy, if you will.

Ahhhhh but the ego enters back in as soon as I post the drawing on Twitter, attached to the creator of the tweet. I would say most of the time I get no response, and the overall responses I do get, is that my tweet gets favorited. What is a favorite, by the way? My ego goes, “waaaaahhhhhhhhhh nobody likes me!!” as I throw the crayons across the room. Ah, but the Third Eye chimes in to say, “Hush you, Rigid, Needy Ego, it’s not about you. It’s about creating a ritual, a daily practice to help take you outside of yourself; to see the world in a uniquely special way. It’s not about the details of each drawing, it is the showing up to the paper and seeing the world through your hands.”

Voila. I trust my Third Eye way more than my ego, ergo. xx

#PicTweetArt June 2015

And the days keep rolling on by!

I’ve crossed into the third month of the mostly-random-daily-drawing from Twitter, although it feels as though I’ve been doing these drawing for many moons. I love the challenge of plucking out a tweet, serious or not, and quickly creating a snapshot of said tweet — without the use of words (and believe me, it’s tempting). I still struggle with hands, but I’m feeling much more confident about the emotions I’m able to convey; not every time and certainly not perfectly, but there you have it. The daily practice is what is helping me see clearly — not whether or not I nailed the hands (which I didn’t).

Twitter is rich, full of kings and queens, jokers and leeches. Thanks for following along!

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My Daily #PicTweetArt

After feeling tremendously inspired from the #15minArt project I did this past winter, I had been hankering to do another daily exercise because I really loved how it changed me. Creating a piece of art each morning literally changed my brain — it disrupted my thinking patterns —  and this alone is reason enough to continue to do the things I am doing.  This is to say I like it, I really like creating art each morning.

I poked around on Twitter to see if there was a daily art project I could jump in on, but found nothing. So on March 18, 2015, I began my own Twitter project: #PicTweetArt.

Each morning I randomly pick a tweet, draw it fairly quickly then post it on Twitter, tweeting it to the Creator of the tweet I have selected. Generally speaking I stay away from rules when doing this project, but there are a few guidelines: no agency tweets, no promoted tweets and I tend to select real tweets written on the fly by real people. What I am finding is that I need to expand my Twitter network, because apparently I am following a lot of marketers and machines — ain’t nothing worse than tweets sent out by marketers and machines!

This daily exercise has taught me so much and I have only been doing this for a month! My preferred drawings are ones that I do quickly and don’t spend a lot of time thinking about, and secondly, although I want to criticize each drawing I complete, I am getting much better at just letting it go because I can continue to hone my skills with each passing day. I have trouble with hands and feets, so this I know I want to understand better.

It is a wonderful daily exercise that is really helping my confidence level; go figure. I learn something new everyday and that makes me happy:)))

Follow me on Twitter at @meagan_burns_ (I am no longer @meagburnt, may she Rest In Peace!), and perhaps I will choose your tweet some day!

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#15minArt

A 30-day daily art project to rev up the sense and creativity, I started each morning by doing a 15-minute art piece and posted it to Twitter, where a community of artists we doing the same daily exercise. This project literally changed my thinking — it expanded my confidence and helped me to take creative risks. I highly recommend if you are struggling with writer’s block or literally ANY blocks.

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