“Boredom is the deadliest poison.” – William F. Buckley, Jr.

 

So at the end of October, I was really sick of drawing every day and I considered stopping. I was uninspired and it felt like a huge chore to continue. But I’ve been doing this for almost two full years now and didn’t want to give up either. I decided to focus on value and I started the month using markers representing a light, a mid and a dark value. This only lasted a couple of days, but it gave me the idea to start playing with value and simplified shapes. I continued to limit myself to three and then two colours and by the end, I actually enjoyed the drawing process again. As usual, through the month I worked with a few different papers and am including some notes about some of them along with a couple of things I learned along the way.

  • Nov 15 – 16 – Arches BFK Rives – Really not my favourite paper. It is very soft to the touch and somewhat delicate. Erasing takes a bit of the surface off and I found my ink colours bleeding at times – not what I was looking for.
  • Nov 17 – Yupo – Another paper I don’t like. I hear people rave about what you can do with watercolours on this material, but I am not a fan. I learned that if you erase pencil on Yupo, it then resists ink. My ink colours also faded very quickly.
  • Nov 21 – 26, and Nov 28 -30 – TerraSkin – I liked the TerraSkin, even though I found my colours would bleed at times. I found pencil does not erase after the ink has been applied on TerraSkin and that was annoying. I discovered that Liquitex Muted Turquoise (Nov 28) is the same colour as Dr. Ph Martin’s Juniper Green (Nov 29), but the brush strokes don’t show as much with the Ph Martin’s on the TerraSkin. Really liked the way the Ecoline inks smoothed out on the surface and the brushstrokes disappeared on the TerraSkin.
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“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″

“Art is a guarantee of sanity.” – Louise Bourgeois

November 6, 2018

And here are my October drawings of hands:

 

Inktober was my inspiration to use ink in all of my drawings this month. This included markers here and there, but as I enjoy working with a brush and ink, that was what I chose most often. Regardless of the ink I use, I generally start with three different shades with the addition of black at times. India ink is my favourite ink and I would create three different dilutions of greys to work with. I like the way that India ink lightens as it dries as I often overestimate how dark I want to work at first. For this same reason, I avoid using undiluted India ink as it is far too black for my taste. I like that India ink is waterproof as it allows me to layer and build up my darker areas as I go. I experimented in a lot of these drawings with other inks – mostly J.Herbin inks and a few other odd bottles I’ve accumulated. Some days I would mix a drop or two of one of my coloured inks in just to see what would happen (thus Shrek hand on the 27th).

Diluting India ink to the different greys I want is tedious at times, so when I found the Ecoline inks in grey, I thought that would be a huge improvement. They are beautiful inks, but not waterproof, so my layering technique resulted in a fair bit of muddiness. Clearly, I need to develop another approach to use with watercolour inks.

Overall, I think this month’s drawings went well. One of my goals this year has been to work with different media and different papers and I played a lot and learned a few things in the process.

“There is no absolute point of view from which real and ideal can be finally separated and labelled.” – T.S. Eliot

October 22, 2018

And here are my September daily drawings:

 

In my high school art class, the teacher would set up a collection of objects on a large, wooden crate in the middle of the room. Everyone sat around it and there was enough of a variety of stuff piled up to provide us some choice in what we decided to focus on and draw regardless of where we were sitting. At the end of the drawing assignment, all of the class drawings were pinned to the wall and we created this wonderful collection of perspectives and snapshots of the larger view.

This is more or less what I tried to capture in September. I built a busy still life and chose a different portion or viewpoint of it to draw each day. It was challenging to come back to the same subject over and over, but I think that pushing through that initial resistance each time I sat down to draw was a valuable reminder that if I actually observe the everyday items in front of me, I will continually discover new aspects and details that I had missed previously. And this is kind of the point of drawing – to see something new in the familiar.

Here’s a photo of my entire still life for September and one of my drawings from my long-ago high school art class where, rather than choosing a small bit of the still life, I decided to draw everything in front of me.

September Still Life 2018

September Still Life 2018

Everything in Front of You, 1988, Ink on Newsprint

Everything in Front of You, 1988, Ink on Newsprint

“I drew 550 different shoes today, it almost made me faint.” – John Cale & Lou Reed, “Open House” from the album Songs for Drella

August 13, 2018

Before I committed to drawing shoes for the month of July, I counted how many different pairs I could find in the house and was a little surprised that we have so many. And I didn’t draw them all – instead I drew some of my favourites over and over (repetition is sort of my thing) and included one drawing from a photo sent to me. I had also committed to use at least colour in every drawing – possibly not the best plan considering how many pairs of black shoes I chose to draw. One lesson learned: early on I realized that although laces are interesting, they increase the time requirement of the drawing significantly. Most days 30-45 minutes is as much as I can put aside to draw, so that became a determining factor when I was picking my subject each day. As usual, most of these are 5″x7″ and this month I managed to use a wide variety of media. Overall, I enjoyed this challenge and I’m fairly pleased with the results.

“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.

“Art happens all the time, everywhere. All we have to do is keep our minds open.” – Jacek Tylicki

Here’s another selection of my favourite drawings from my sketchbook from May and June. Towards the end of June, with my focus on drawing faces, I started skipping my warm-up drawings. At the time it was due to time constraints – I had a lot going on and I wanted to be as quick a possible. This is a busy month as well, but I really think I need to get back to it and start using my sketchbook for quick drawing exercises prior to my daily drawings – blind contours and value maps of the subject I have chosen that will lead me to look at it differently. I will begin tonight and see where it leads.