“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” – Neil Gaiman

June 5, 2017

My poor neglected blog. Fortunately, I have done a little painting in the last month – the results are below. I’ve been playing around a bit and am looking forward to more experimentation with dark outlines.


Vase Family, Apr 1, 2017, Oil Stick on Canvas Board, 9″ X 12″


Banana Shoes, May 21, 2017, Oil on Canvas Board, 14″ X 11″

Pears in a Storm, Jun 3, 2017, Oil on Canvas Board, 14″ X 11″

Single Lonely Pear, Jun 3, 2017, Oil on Canvas Board, 6″ X 8″

My drawing a day project is going reasonably well – another 31 days completed.

For June, I’ve decided on two rules:

  1. All of my drawings will consist of a few items selected from 21 still life props with the addition fresh produce I have on hand if I choose to add it. I’ve photographed all the props together to better illustrate how distant the resemblances in my drawings are to their real-life counterparts.
  2. Any medium goes – as much variety as possible – it’s about being experimental and knowing that some (or most?) of these drawings will be atrocious! This is my chance to play with all of those art supplies I was so enamoured with when I saw them in the store but I really have no idea how to use.

Still Life Props, Jun 2017

And a few things on my mind lately:

  1. This post “Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think”
  2. Wondering how much difference it would really make if I woke up at the same time every day. It would be a bit of an undertaking to conduct a proper experiment, but I might do it.
  3. This post. “What if you didn’t need money or attention?”
  4. Lastly: “Part of a cure”


“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dali

May 1, 2017
Another month of daily drawing complete and another month of very little painting. My personal favourite was my folding chair from April 2nd. Here they are all together:
Other ideas on my mind lately:
1. From Malcolm Gladwell in the podcast Conversations with Tyler: “There can be something lovely about mediocrity.” I think this appeals to me now especially as I have such varying degrees of satisfaction with my daily drawings.
3. The concept of deliberately using mental models to understand the world around us, solve problems and make decisions.

“I’m only trying to do what I can’t do.” – Lucian Freud

April 9, 2017

Three months complete in my 2017 Drawing A Day Challenge! Here is all of March in one place:

Thoughts so far:

  1. My drawings take me anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes to do and although I often don’t feel I have the time, I have continued to make it happen. Generally once I start drawing I stop thinking about time – generally. There are many days I struggle to get into it. And it shows in the quality of the drawing.
  2. What bothers me most about my drawings is the lack of accuracy. For April I will focus on improving on this.  I will work with diluted India ink at first and then darken up final lines when I feel I have them where they should be.

Aside from drawing, here’s what’s caught my attention lately:

  1. From my 14-year-old daughter: “Based on what I was exposed to as a kid, I had the impression that getting caught in quicksand and catching on fire were much more common problems for adults.” While I’m glad we over-prepared her for common adult dilemmas, I’m still trying to figure out where this came from.
  2. From Tim Ferris’s interview with Mr. Money Mustache on his podcast: when considering a purchase, instead of asking yourself it it will add to your life, instead ask if it will remove a negative from your life as that is a better indicator of how pleased you will be with the purchase in the long term.
  3. From The Chainsmokers and Coldplay: Something Just Like This

“Art has always been the raft on to which we climb to save our sanity.” – Dorothea Tanning

March 20, 2017
Another Cezanne Lemon, Mar 18, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 10" X 10"

Another Cezanne Lemon, Mar 18, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 10″ X 10″

Only a couple of things to post this week. The first is a new copy of a master lemon painting. This one is from “Fruit and a Jug on a Table” as featured on the Museum of Fine Arts Boston site.
Colour Wheel 1, Mar 18, 2017, Oil on Canvas Paper, 12" X 12"

Colour Wheel 1, Mar 18, 2017, Oil on Canvas Paper, 12″ X 12″

I completed the next lesson in my Craftsy class – creating a colour wheel with Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Titanium White and Mars Black with a 50/50 mix of black and white standing in for blue. It was an interesting idea and I thought it turned out fairly well – especially as I avoided using multiple brushes by working with a palette knife instead.
Colour Wheel 2, Mar 18, 2017, Oil on Canvas Paper, 12" X 12"

Colour Wheel 2, Mar 18, 2017, Oil on Canvas Paper, 12″ X 12″

I liked this format for a colour wheel so much that I decided to go on and do another one using primaries and secondaries directly from the tube based on Betty Edwards recommendations in her book Color: A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Colors. Colours used are Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Orange, Cobalt Violet and Permanent Green. I added Titanium White and Mars Black for the tints and shades. I could have done some smoother gradations on this one, but it serves its purpose all the same. And no brushes to clean!

“One must go on working silently, trusting the result to the future.” – Vincent Van Gogh

March 6, 2017

So my February drawing challenge was to draw from photographs using black ink and grey markers. I had thought drawing from photos would be easier, and although the actual drawing was easier as everything is already flattened, I did not enjoy it as much. It was a pain to find images that I liked and I doubt I’ll do it again. The grey markers were to help me notice value more, but it wasn’t until the 13th that I clued in that I needed to shift how I was working and focus on the various values of the forms rather than drawing outlines in black and filling them in with grey. There are a few drawings that I like in the group, quite a lot that I don’t care for and some that I consider cringe-worthy. And that’s ok. It’s an experiment and it’s all good.

What I gained most in February was more ease in jumping in and being less precious about the result. I’ve reached the point where I care less about how each drawing turns out and more about the practice of drawing.

I completed the second and third lessons in my Craftsy class with the result of the third lesson below. And although I understand the point, I’m getting a little tired of painting the same subject over and over. Apparently I have a short attention span. We’ll see what lesson four brings.

2017 March, Paint & Palette Essentials, Lesson Three, 14″ X 11″

2017 March, Paint & Palette Essentials, Lesson Three, 14″ X 11″

“Embracing the vulnerability it takes to rise up from a fall and grow stronger makes us a little dangerous….

February 23, 2017

“Embracing the vulnerability it takes to rise up from a fall and grow stronger makes us a little dangerous. People who don’t stay down after they fall or are tripped are often trouble-makers. Hard to control. Which is the best kind of dangerous possible. They are the artists, innovators, and change-makers.” – Brene Brown

Between family ski trips and a lack of inspiration to paint, I decided to work on a Craftsy class that I purchased (and began) awhile ago. The class is called Paint & Palette Essentials and since I had very little recollection of my experience of completing the first assignment, I repeated it. Both versions are below. This was a Monochromatic Wipe Out Study – something new for me. I generally keep a lot more paint on my brush than this technique involved, so I found it a little frustrating getting the hang of this style of application. It turned out better than I had thought it might and I see the point of this approach. I kind of like my first attempt more than the one I just did though. I’m glad I avoided looking at it until I had completed it the second time around. I am looking forward to the next lesson to see where this leads.

2015 July, Paint & Palette Essentials, Lesson One, 14" X 11"

2015 July, Paint & Palette Essentials, Lesson One, 14″ X 11″

2017 February, Paint & Palette Essentials, Lesson One, 14" X 11"

2017 February, Paint & Palette Essentials, Lesson One, 14″ X 11″


“Draw lines, young man, many lines, from memory or from nature; it is in this way that you will become a good artist.” – Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

February 7, 2017

Thirty one days of pencil drawings complete! I think it went well. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I had thought that I’d run out of things to draw or things that I felt like drawing, but that didn’t happen. Even if sometimes my drawings were of very simple things like spheres or apples. It’s all practice.
For February, I’m trying something a little different. My medium is black fine tipped pen and grey markers. And I am drawing from photographs or other printed images. The switch to pens is to push myself to draw more confident lines. The grey markers is to help develop a better sense of value. February is looking like a busy month for me too and I am hopeful that marker will be quicker than my pencil drawings were. So far it’s been a struggle, but it’s still early.