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.

Mar 7 abstract b, 2020

“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

These are the products of my 2020 Daily Art Project in January. In 2020 I am trying to replace one of my drawings with a small painting each week and so far this is going well. If I can manage more than one painting in a week that will be great, but once a week is my starting point.
My theme for the month was basic forms and I chose as my subject matter a set of 6 geometric forms. In most of my drawings and my paintings I was trying to pay attention to the variations of tones within the planes of the shapes – the side of the square that is totally in the shade is not just a flat tone but changes from side to side, etc. I was also trying to avoid lines where I could and instead emphasize the change of tone on either side of the line and trying to keep those lines soft. 
 
For the paintings, I’ve been using Gamblin FastMatte oil paints. Although this line of paint was designed for underpainting, I was attracted to their matte quality and in practice, I like that aspect of them, but I’m not really fond of the texture of the paint itself. Some of the colours are quite stiff out of the tube and I am mixing them with Gamblin Galkyd Gel and Gamsol which helps, but they really do dry quite quickly and often by the time I’m finishing they are no longer that easy to blend into. I intend to continue with them until I either change my mind or run out of the colours I have. We’ll see which comes first. 
I returned to graphite for the last four drawings in January mainly as I found myself short of time and graphite is an old friend that feels comfortable and quick – and I have a variety of options in the graphite family. In order to keep my drawing loose, I like to use a dull pencil – as I did for the drawings on the 28th and 29th. Then for a contrasting experience on the 30th and 31st, I switched to a series of mechanical pencils with different grades of graphite. I find the precision of the fine-points influences me to approach the drawing differently and I quite like the result I achieved. It has made me think it might be fun to spend an entire month on graphite in varying forms to explore the options and results. But not in February…..

“Painting is the pattern of one’s own nervous system being projected on canvas.” – Francis Bacon

Family, Mar 30, 2019, Oil on Birch Panel, 20" X 16"

Family, Mar 30, 2019, Oil on Birch Panel, 20″ X 16″

Waiting, Mar 30, 2019, Oil on Canvas Board, 10" X 10"

Waiting, Mar 30, 2019, Oil on Canvas Board, 10″ X 10″

Forbidden Fruit, Apr 13, 2019, Oil on Canvas Board, 14" X 11"

Forbidden Fruit, Apr 13, 2019, Oil on Canvas Board, 14″ X 11″

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.

Vase Family, Sep 3, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 7" X 9"

Vase Family, Sep 3, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 7″ X 9″

Outlined Vase Family, Sep 16, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 2 pcs, each 7" X 9"

Outlined Vase Family, Sep 16, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 2 pcs, each 7″ X 9″

Abstract Blue Corner, Sep 16, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 6" X 6"

Abstract Blue Corner, Sep 16, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 6″ X 6″

Red Bottle, Sep 30, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 2 pcs, each 8" X 10"

Red Bottle, Sep 30, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 2 pcs, each 8″ X 10″

 

Abstract Red Circle, Sep 30, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 6" X 6"

Abstract Red Circle, Sep 30, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 6″ X 6″

Separate, Oct 13, 2018, Oil on Panel, 2 pcs left 10" X 8", right 8" X 8"

Separate, Oct 13, 2018, Oil on Panel, 2 pcs left 10″ X 8″, right 8″ X 8″

Textured Abstract, Oct 13, 2018, Mixed Media on Masonite, 8" X 10"

Textured Abstract, Oct 13, 2018, Mixed Media on Masonite, 8″ X 10″

Plaster with Cups, Oct 27, 2018, Mixed Media on Panel, 10" X 10"

Plaster with Cups, Oct 27, 2018, Mixed Media on Panel, 10″ X 10″

Perhaps I Shouldn't Have, Nov 10, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 14" X 11"

Perhaps I Shouldn’t Have, Nov 10, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 14″ X 11″

“Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” – Margaret Atwood

July 31, 2018

Warm Mineral Still Life, Jun 16, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10" X 8"

Warm Mineral Still Life, Jun 16, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10″ X 8″

Warm Modern Still Life, Jun 23, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10" X 8"

Warm Modern Still Life, Jun 23, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10″ X 8″

Cool Modern Still Life, Jun 30, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10" X 8"

Cool Modern Still Life, Jun 30, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10″ X 8″

Cool Mineral Still Life, Jul 10, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10" X 8"

Cool Mineral Still Life, Jul 10, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10″ X 8″

Warm Mineral Wheel, Jun 16, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10" X 8"

Warm Mineral Wheel, Jun 16, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10″ X 8″

Warm Modern Wheel, Jun 23, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10" X 8"

Warm Modern Wheel, Jun 23, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10″ X 8″

Cool Modern Wheel, Jun 30, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10" X 8"

Cool Modern Wheel, Jun 30, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10″ X 8″

Cool Mineral Wheel, Jul 10, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10" X 8"

Cool Mineral Wheel, Jul 10, 2018, Oil on Canvas Board, 10″ X 8″

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.

“To depend entirely upon inspiration is as bad as waiting for a shipwreck to learn how to swim….”

“To depend entirely upon inspiration is as bad as waiting for a shipwreck to learn how to swim. To leave everything to natural spontaneity is as bad as to make everything the result of mechanical pre-determination… perfection is the harmonious blending of the two.” – Francois Delsarte

June 18, 2018

Skittles, Apr 28, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 8" X 8"

Skittles, Apr 28, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 8″ X 8″

Four Cups, May 6, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 8" X 8"

Four Cups, May 6, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 8″ X 8″

Balloon Dog, May 19, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 8" X 8"

Balloon Dog, May 19, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 8″ X 8″

Cream Pitcher, May 27, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 8" X 8"

Cream Pitcher, May 27, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 8″ X 8″

It seems it’s been a while that I’ve felt torn between trying to finish as many of my old canvases as possible and starting something new and larger. And in the absence of a decision between the two, I’ve either been working on smaller pieces or not working at all. Being a collector of art supplies, I have quite a few small canvassers and panels that I’m filling in short sittings with images that are not all that special to me. Their completion almost amounts to putting in time – but the intention is not a negative connotation. It’s more about keeping at it and removing the expectation of a certain outcome beyond a surface covered with paint that I can call ‘done’. I do have some time set aside in the near future to play with cold wax techniques and that just might lead to something new…

“Everyone repeats themselves.” – Rachel Whiteread

March 26, 2018

Wine & Pears Five, Feb 19, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20" X 16"

Wine & Pears Five, Feb 19, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20″ X 16″

Wine & Pears Six, Mar 3, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20" X 16"

Wine & Pears Six, Mar 3, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20″ X 16″

I finally finished the last two paintings in this six piece series I started last year. They’re all based on the same still life and my intention when I started was to work with the techniques introduced in the Craftsy class I had completed – I liked the subject matter and the idea of creating variations.

Below are all of the paintings together. I intend to hang them all on my living room wall to emphasize the differences and similarities between them. I will probably try another series similar to this, but I will use it to explore a variety of colour palettes. AFTER I finish at least some of the many paintings I have begun and am currently stuck on.

“A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God,” – Sidney Sheldon

January 29, 2018

Today’s quote is courtesy of the latest letter on The Painter’s Keys. 

I haven’t been painting that much lately with all of the time I’m spending on my daily drawing project, but I am slowly working through a series of what I hope will be six paintings of the same still life in different styles. I posted the first two paintings in October. The latest two are here.

Wine & Pears Three, Jan 14, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20" X 16"

Wine & Pears Three, Jan 14, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20″ X 16″

Wine & Pears Four, Jan 28, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20" X 16"

Wine & Pears Four, Jan 28, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20″ X 16″

Back in September I took on a composition of spoons on the spur of the moment, but I wasn’t really impressed with how it went. It sat against the wall, rather unloved until a couple weeks ago when I decided to see if I could improve upon it. I haven’t decide which one I like better – not that it matters as I simply painted over the first version to reach the second one. I find the subject matter interesting and I may have to try it again down the road.

Spoons Round One, Sep 2, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 12" X 12"

Spoons Round One, Sep 2, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 12″ X 12″

Spoons Round Two, Jan 20, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 12" X 12"

Spoons Round Two, Jan 20, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 12″ X 12″