“The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.” – Junot Diaz

August 6, 2019

My June daily drawings:

This is the third time in the last three years that I’ve spent a month drawing hands and this time around I decided to make sure my hands were always holding something and I chose five different media to use for six consecutive days each. I started with a black pigment pen and then moved to graphite. In these first drawings I was playing around with leaving some parts of the drawing less developed than other parts. Third up was Copic pigment liner with Koi Watercolour Brush Pens. For the last twelve days I worked with India ink and a brush – first on white paper, then on a grey ground for the last six drawings. I like to use the ink mixed with water, creating a series of washes that get darker as I proceed. I added a bit of white to a few of these as well.
Overall, I think the drawings went well and I really enjoyed creating them – even if some are kind of weird (like those odd fingers and the tiny pear on the 19th and the weird boneless hand on the 21st). For a little walk down memory lane, here are my 2018 hand drawings and my 2017 hand drawings. Next year I’ll have to come up with some new variation, but I will definitely return to this subject.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. – Thomas Merton

June 24, 2019

These drawings are from my sketchbook from late 2018 to earlier this month. Looking back as far as November reminds me of some of the ideas that caught my attention for more than a day or so. One of the reasons that I skip warm-up drawings in my sketchbook – other than a shortage of time – is that I can’t think of anything I want to draw. But when I look back, I don’t find the drawings boring – even when I’m looking at the same stack of white cups drawn over and over. And that is what I love about art – the way it makes normal everyday ‘stuff’ seem interesting again – even if it didn’t seem that way when I was drawing it.

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

June 3, 2019
For the month of May, rather than have a theme to guide the subject matter of my drawings, I chose to relocate where I did my drawing. I’m fortunate to have a studio – a small room where my art supplies live and where I can go to draw and paint and control the lighting with everything I need at my fingertips – it’s all very comfortable and lovely and a situation crying out for a shake-up. The only requirement I set out was that I draw outside of my comfy and safe nest studio – and as a result, outside of my comfort zone.
This was an eye-opening experience for me. A simple change in location led me places I had not considered before in more than a literal sense. There were days where I simply picked another room of the house to draw in and I drew what I saw and even that seemed new. I managed to draw on location quite a lot and realized I would like to try more urban sketching and take the time to develop the skills I’m currently lacking in drawing buildings and other architectural elements. I found that there is some pretty cool looking public furniture at malls and in other public spaces and I may have to make that a theme at some point.
I pushed myself out of my comfort zone quite a lot this past month and I really enjoyed it. This has made me excited about drawing again and I feel like there is just so much out there that I want to capture in my sketchbook. There were a lot of days where I sat down and looked at what I wanted to draw and felt the fear of knowing that I might completely make a mess of it and I did it anyway. Some of the drawings are pretty mediocre, and that’s the thing; it really isn’t about how well they turned out, it’s about the process and the experience. Fortunately, the positive experiences far outweighed the less than successful ‘experiments’ and have left me with a head full of ideas to carry on in my daily drawing practice.

“Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a Shepard. Without innovation, it is a corpse.” – Winston Churchill

May 13, 2019

In April, I decided to redraw items that I had drawn in 2016 or early 2017. I had thought that perhaps I would be able to make some dramatic comparisons. That wasn’t really the case though. I am posting only the current drawings here, but each day I posted the current drawing on Instagram with the original. It may not have turned out as I had expected, but it did give me a break from coming up with ideas of what to draw for the month.

In each drawing I added a bit of colour (even if it was grey) with watercolour. I used either my Winsor & Newton travel box of watercolours or my Peerless Transparent Watercolors. I enjoyed the challenge and the opportunity to learn something new. The two sets produce quite different results and I have a lot to learn about both yet.

“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.