“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.

“Art teaches nothing, except the significance of life.” – Henry Miller

April 1, 2019

 

My drawing theme for March was plants and flowers. I had thought that this subject matter would be a good opportunity to use coloured media and I envisioned pretty little watercolours and coloured pencil drawings capturing delicate colour transitions. It was a busy month for me though, and not only were the drawings not turning out as I had hoped, I was frequently pressed for time.

So I switched to Sharpie and pigment pens and started playing with line thickness and quality of line. Sharpie is not a medium conducive to a slow or faltering line and I quickly chose to sacrifice accuracy as a result. This changed the experience of drawing considerably and I really enjoyed it. Instead of placing my lines carefully and erasing and correcting, I had to commit and when my lines were clearly wrong, I had to work with it to make the drawing work independently of the subject in front of me.

While drawing I spent more time looking at my subject than at the paper and I believe my accuracy improved over time. I’m pleased that these drawings have left me with a new approach/style that I can adopt when I want to do something different. I will come back to this and work on evolving it further down the road.

“I know there is a terrific idea there somewhere…”

March 12, 2019

“I know there is a terrific idea there somewhere, but whenever I want to get into it, I get a feeling of apathy and want to lie down and go to sleep.” – Willem De Kooning

 

I really enjoyed my drawings this month – there was a good balance between the challenge of each one and my interest in the subject matter. I’m sure I will be coming back to this subject matter again.  The shapes of the negative space and the legs provide such a great opportunity to forget what this thing you’re looking at is and just focus on where to put the next line. For the most part, I worked from photos. I had set out to draw all of the chairs in my house and I did get to most of them – except for the four different office chairs that were just bland to me. And there are just so many beautifully designed chairs out there that it would have been such a loss to stick to the ones in my immediate surroundings. I am now finding myself noticing (and photographing) chairs much more as I am out – at restaurants and in the mall. I am slowly building a collection of new chairs to do this all over again down the road with new fodder.

Part of my inspiration for this subject matter comes from the work of Lucia Dill and her paintings of folding chairs. I love everything about these paintings and the narratives she builds into them.

And now it’s spring and I’m working on more drawings to post here next month.

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity…..”

February 17, 2019

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” – Ray Bradbury

This is my third year drawing every day. Having finished my first month, I took a bit of time last weekend to compare my drawings from January 2017 and January 2018 beside my January 2019 work. I had hoped to see huge advances in terms of the quality of my drawings – and I do see improvement, but not what I had hoped for. I found a lot of my drawings this past month a bit frustrating. Considering the shapes of the subject matter I was drawing (produce) consists of organic, often roundish shapes, I had thought I could do better to convey volume. It is what it is though. And I did experiment some with mediums which explains the less than stellar results of the drawings for Jan 14 and Jan 24. And there are some that I really like – Jan 9 and Jan 16. I am still going on this project and with a new theme for February I am looking forward to seeing the results.

“Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity.” – Marshall McLuhan

January 28, 2019

 

These are a few drawings from my daily sketchbook from August through November. Somehow I’m able to play a little more when I’m drawing in my sketchbook and sometimes wonder if maybe I should just dispense with using the cut paper and just draw here – I may prefer the results. But I don’t want to be restricted to the same paper every day. It’s the looseness and the textures that I like the most in these particular drawings – I am still working on accomplishing that more frequently. And so I continue on.

“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.

“What we create is who we are, and who we are is what we create.” – Tobias van Schneider

December 31, 2018

Another year ending and another 365 daily drawings complete. My theme for my December drawings was Christmas and I pretty much stuck to drawing Christmas ornaments. I had started with the intention of incorporating either red or green on every drawing, but I missed a few days along the way and kind of stopped caring with the rush of the holidays. I was trying to use up the paper that I had prepared earlier so I was using grey paper quite frequently. It’s kind of ridiculous that even though I don’t love working with it, I continue to buy it. I now have two different types of grey paper, a book of Kraft and a book of blue-toned paper. Clearly I need to find a medium that I like to work with on toned paper once I get it out of the store.

Reviewing the drawings of the past year, I feel like I have improved my skills. I wish could say that I’ve improved dramatically, but I don’t really feel that’s the case. I have enjoyed some of the themes that I have worked with and I had a lot of fun trying new things – even when the results were questionable. My goal this past year (besides to improve my skills) were to work with a variety of mediums on a variety of papers. I have done that and am pleased with the result.

I’ve been thinking about how I will continue this project In 2019. Here are some notes on what I’ve come up with:

  • Continue to use a small format – approximately 5.5″ by 8″
  • No more black border on each drawing
  • Stick to a few papers that I like
  • Maybe more focus on developing my skills with particular mediums – still thinking about this
  • Definitely more themes – probably one each month
  • Definitely repeat some of the themes I have done in the past two years
  • Possibly play with pattern and abstract stuff some months
  • Possibly play with more fun approaches that don’t involve drawing from observation
  • Definitely push myself out of my comfort zone (more faces? Maybe landscapes??)
  • Continue to start each drawing session with quick sketches or drawing exercises in my sketchbook
  • Continue to post my drawings to Instagram each day
  • Add a second image to each daily Instagram post showing the materials I used for the drawing
  • Possibly write a bit more here about my process/approach to drawing and my thoughts about materials
  • Possibly complete a painting some days instead of a drawing
I’m looking forward to a new year of drawings.