“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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“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.

“Stare. It is the way to educate your eye…”

“Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.” – Walker Evans

June 5, 2018

 

May is over and so are my daily drawings for the month. I adopted the theme of corners in May. I had thought I’d try to focus on creating small spaces, or on the odd things that I might find in the corners of my house, but that wasn’t always that interesting to me, so I expanded it to include the corners of surfaces as well. I liked having a theme – even if it was sometimes only loosely applied and so I’ve taken up a new one for June. On July 2, I will post my daily face drawings and we’ll see how many of them appear to be human.

“[A] mental image is something completely different from a visual image…”

May 7, 2018

“[A] mental image is something completely different from a visual image, and, however much one  exerts oneself, one can never manage to capture the fullness of that perfection which hovers in the mind and which one thinks of, quite falsely, as something that is ‘seen.’” – M.C. Escher

April drawings complete. It was a bit of a rough month with a general lack of interest in this project. I’m continuing on, hoping spring brings renewed interest.

“Just do your work…”

April 23, 2018

“Just do your work. And if the world needs your work it will come and get you. And if it doesn’t, do your work anyway. You can have fantasies about having control over the world, but I know I can barely control my kitchen sink. That is the grace I’m given. Because when one can control things, one is limited to one’s own vision.” – Kiki Smith

These are a few of my January and February sketchbook drawings. My sketchbook drawings are different from the daily drawings that I post to Instagram (and here, monthly) for a few reasons. I always begin in my sketchbook. Sometimes the drawing there is rough and really more of a warm-up, and sometimes it’s quick and more interesting as a result. I start in my sketchbook with less intention to produce something that I would call ‘finished’ and it changes how I approach the page and the subject. I try things that are more challenging – it’s less intimidating to take risks. I have committed to posting all of my daily drawings, but I have not committed to posting everything in my sketchbook. It also means that there are a lot more really questionable drawings in my sketchbook – and so I only have 12 that I’ve chosen to post for January and February.