August 2020 Drawings. All shoes. All of the time. Except when they’re not shoes. A few of these were kind of experimental and sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn’t.
“There is intelligence when you are not afraid. “ – Bruce Lee
So I’m only two months behind in posting my daily artwork. I hope to be caught up by the end of the summer and back on track for the fall – I figure a global pandemic should warrant leniency. Above are my daily drawings / paintings from May – a bit of a scattered mess really – and so it is appropriate that I provide a scattered mess of thoughts about them.
It was another month where I didn’t feel all that inspired, but kept at it regardless and found myself playing with materials to make things more interesting. My peppers on May 3 were done in gouache – a medium that I haven’t used for many years, but nevertheless had in a drawer and enjoyed working with again. May 7 I found myself combining grey scale markers, a dull pencil and watercolours. It’s an odd combination, but I kind of like it and the strange mix of textures. My impulse online pandemic shopping included the Gamblin Reclaimed Earth Colours (how could I NOT buy them – they are limited edition and really pretty!) and for my May 9 painting I wanted to work with the Rust Red. I like the palette I used in this painting and may revisit it again at some point. Sadly it reminded me of Starbuck’s Lemon Raspberry Loaf that I haven’t seen for quite some time. My May 10 ultra green pears were a combination of pigment pen, brush and ink and watercolour. I came very close to not drawing at all on May 16 – somehow life was just overwhelming that day – but instead I experimented with the Procreate app and an Apple Pencil and ended up with this odd chair drawing. I definitely have a lot to learn about this medium – perhaps I will delve further into it at some point. May 17 was the first painting in my series documenting the very short life of the tulips near my front steps that I inadvertently planted in sub-optimal sunlight conditions. I spent more time playing with water colour this month – on the 18 and 20. May 21 is my abstracted rendition of the Alberta Gallery of Art – a building fashioned of large undulating swathes of metal. Can you tell I was reading about Lawren Harris on May 22? More tulips on the 24 and 16 – these were the early days when they were still young and alive (no spoilers – really). I have always loved rendering fabric and I did so with a varying degree of detail on the 25 and 27. May 29 may become a painting – I like the strong line of the profile I referenced from Antonio Pollaiualo’s Portrait of a Lady and the de-emphasis of the details of the face. Back to markers for the last two days of the month mainly because they are quick and fun to use.
All in all it was a haphazard month, but I made it through and didn’t miss a day. Sometimes I sit down to draw and it feels like such a chore and I wonder what the point is, but I push myself to follow through and just do it. Sometimes on those days I walk away afterwards feeling like all I accomplished was checking a box – only to return the next day and think “hey – that’s kind of cool, I need to do something like that again!” Of course other days I come back and wonder what I was thinking, inclined to crumple it into a ball and forget I had bothered. And none of that matters really. What matters is to come back. Over and over. And eventually what I draw will become something I’m proud of.
Thanks for checking out my work. Come back soon to see how June and July went.
Do not be afraid of being wrong; just be afraid of being uninteresting. – T. Carl Whitmer
It’s June and just more than three months into this global pandemic – these ‘unprecedented’ times – and although in a lot of ways I am settling into this new and ever-changing normal in some ways, I am feeling very erratic in my art production. And it shows in my artwork from April. I‘m going to optimistically say that I’m starting to have more days where I feel like I have a bit more focus, energy and time to apply myself, but it is a very slow trend in that direction.
I am still creating art every day. Some days that may just be playing a bit with watercolours (it seems I’m watercolour challenged, but I’m still trying) and other days I will do quick blind contours or quick line drawings. I find pulling out materials that I don’t often use or have maybe never used, helps – if for no other reason than there’s very little pressure to achieve any particular standard. Right now my intention is to continue drawing or painting every day. And as I get to it, I will post my artwork here.
“I don’t know what kind of an artist I am.” – Jasper Johns
Ok, so March was a busy month for me – and that was before the global pandemic arrived. I had great aspirations at the beginning to experiment with various approaches to create tone with line so I could discover the one I liked the best and could then refine it. I had it all planned – angled parallel lines, then cross-hatching, then squiggly lines and then something else and early on, as you can see, I just crashed and burned. I managed to create one small painting the first weekend, but right after my smeary red cream pitcher all of my plans just went off the rails.
I did continue to spend time every day drawing – even though it was often a few minutes of blind contours. Or it was a few minutes playing with the thick Faber Castell brush markers that I bought on impulse and have in only 5 colours. And really, life happens and the best laid plans and intentions need to adjust to that.
March was an odd month, but even though at the time, those 5-10 minutes of drawing seemed like I was just checking a box, I’m actually kind of pleased with the results. And I’m reminded that any one or two days (or the entire month) really doesn’t matter. It’s all about continuing on. While quality and focus and those high ideals are fine, at the end of the day, it’s about showing up and doing what I can and letting the quality bits float to the top when I view the month’s, or the year’s work as a whole. And so I continue.
“All artists are two-headed calves.” – Truman Capote
February 3, 2020
“Painting is the pattern of one’s own nervous system being projected on canvas.” – Francis Bacon
These two chair paintings came as a result of my month of drawing chairs and memories of the Ikea set that we had for our kids when they were little – I’ve always liked the Seus-like design of them. I wanted to use strong colours, but somewhat muted, so I added Torrit Grey 2016 to each in order to desaturate them.
The fruit painting is one that I started last year and only finished recently. I’ve been interested in pattern lately and I found myself incorporating it in the background in the first and last piece here.
The single chair painting was done at the end of the evening when I had finished the chairs and table grouping. I have gotten into the habit of using up my extra paint at the end of a session on whichever small panel I have around. These panels can then evolve into something abstract that stands on its own, or become the background for something like this.
“This world of the imagination is fancy-free and violently opposed to common sense.” – Mark Rothko
January 14, 2019
In 2019 I want to paint more regularly. Last year I found I wasn’t interested a lot of the time and because I don’t get a lot of time to paint, it’s important that I take advantage of what I can do. My goal this year is to paint weekly on Friday nights. I will start the year by painting small paintings that are not that different from my daily drawings and I hope to complete a few larger canvases as well.
In the last few months, I have been painting smaller items. The good part is that they are finished quickly so if they are mediocre, at least the time investment was small. And sometimes they turn out not too badly. I’ve also started painting small abstract pieces to finish the evening. The images above are a mix of what has come out of my recent painting sessions.
“You have to be brave to make mistakes in public.” – Louise Page
November 21, 2018
And here are the paintings that I’ve come up with over the last few months.
“Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” – Margaret Atwood
July 31, 2018
I have a tendency to paint with the same colours over and over. I use my favourites and I am not unhappy with the results, but I would definitely gain from expanding my horizons. These paintings are an attempt in that direction. Gamblin puts out a chart of their colours categorized by pigment type – Modern and Mineral Colours. I thought it would be interesting to create a series of paintings using colours in each group, choosing three warm primaries and three cool primaries from each category and mixing my secondary colours to produce four different paintings of the same subject matter. I started with a colour wheel for each to get a feel for the colours before I started working with them. I’ve discovered some new favourites in this process and I’m playing with a few more ideas for future work springing from this experiment.