“Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.” ― William S. Burroughs

October 9, 2017

Another month of daily drawing complete. I had wanted to work on a grey ground this  month, thinking I’d play with adding white, but I didn’t find myself all that interested in it when I sat down each evening to draw. I also found the texture of the grey gesso different than that of the white and it wasn’t as nice to work with. It was a bit of a push to do these drawings this month. Hopefully I will find more energy for it in October. I am starting to think about what my project for 2018 might look like…


“We go forward, looking in the rearview mirror.”- Marshall McLuhan

September 25, 2017

July 8, 2017, 5.5” X 8”

I have just not felt like painting lately. I’ve done a bit here and there, but nothing that has amounted to anything. Instead of paintings, today I’m posting some of my favourite drawings from my current sketchbook. In January I started my daily drawing project in order to improve my drawing skills. In June I realized I was not seeing the improvement I had hoped to, so I started a fresh sketchbook with the intention of drawing 30 minutes a day minimum – including the time I put into my daily drawing. It’s gone well and I feel like I’ve been a bit more experimental and playful as a result. Here’s a small sampling.

“The artist must train not only his eye but also his soul.” – Wassily Kandinsky

September 11, 2017

Thirty-one hand drawings complete. All done in black Copic Multiliner pens and Sakura KOI Watercolor Brush Pens in three shades of warm grey.

Some thoughts:

  1. I liked working with this combination of pens. The Copics did not bleed with the grey pens and the grey pens blended nicely on the gessoed paper. It didn’t occur to me at the time, but it might be nice to find a colourless blender pen to soften the transition between the lightest grey and the white of the paper. I may have to explore that.
  2. Hands are made up of really weird shapes and can look pretty bizarre from different angles
  3. I found it very valuable to focus on the shapes I was drawing, and not the fact that I was drawing hands. I was specifically thinking about drawing this fold in the skin or that bump of flesh or wrinkle and not about fingers or finger nails.
  4. I enjoyed drawing the baby hands the last five days the most. The cute little chubby knuckles and pudgy fingers were more fun to draw than my own hands – especially when mine often came out looking old and claw like.
  5. It is far easier to draw someone else’s hands than my own. I had to tape my sketchbook down to keep it from moving and then do a lot of squinting. And I would inevitably move my hand during the drawing and notice it only at the end when things didn’t quite line up as they should. I am very appreciative of my kids’ willingness to play hand models for me when they could.
  6. I only drew from photos a few times – including the baby hands. I try to draw from life for the simple reason that I am here to learn and to develop my skills at flattening reality. If I have the camera doing that flattening first, I am limiting my opportunities to improve.
  7. Overall I like the result of the August drawings and might have to take up a another theme in October. It helps not to have to try to decide what to draw each day. And surprisingly, I didn’t get bored with the repetition.

“We do not escape into philosophy, psychology, and art–we go there to restore our shattered selves into whole ones.” – Anais Nin

July 31, 2017

Another month complete – thirty-one drawings and fourteen paintings made it a busy month. I’m taking some time to draw conclusions from my painting challenge and will post them together in two weeks with those notes.

“If you are willing to do something that might not work, you’re closer to being an artist.” – Seth Godin

July 3, 2017

June drawings complete and all in one place:

Last summer I challenged myself to draw every day in the month of July. I’m not sure I saw a lot of improvement over the course of the month, but in the end, I was pleased with my small book of ink and watercolour images. These were my favourite drawings coming out it:

My intention with my 2017 drawing challenge was to improve my drawing skills. Yet, six months in, I haven’t seen the dramatic change I had hoped for. My ability to accurately foreshorten objects is still atrocious and creating volume is hit or miss. I decided that I need to change something in order to see the return I’m looking for – I need to put more effort in and actually work to improve rather than just show up. So I’ve upped my game and committed to drawing for a minimum of 30 minutes each day. Now, before I pick up my Moleskine to do my daily drawing, I begin in my sketchbook – playing with different media or styles or maybe doing a blind contour or other drawing exercise. So far I’m pleased with the result and a little excited about where this might lead.

In June I started out playing with different media each day and that was fun – for a while. Unfortunately, my little Moleskine books have thin pages and I gesso and sand them to eliminate show-through. This creates a fairly smooth, not-very-absorbent surface that limits which media perform well. I’m currently pretty attached to a combination of Copic Multi Liners and KOI Coloring Brush Pens. But rather than commit to a medium or particular items to draw, this month I’m just going to go with what I feel like. We’ll see how it turns out.


“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” – Neil Gaiman

June 5, 2017

My poor neglected blog. Fortunately, I have done a little painting in the last month – the results are below. I’ve been playing around a bit and am looking forward to more experimentation with dark outlines.


Vase Family, Apr 1, 2017, Oil Stick on Canvas Board, 9″ X 12″


Banana Shoes, May 21, 2017, Oil on Canvas Board, 14″ X 11″

Pears in a Storm, Jun 3, 2017, Oil on Canvas Board, 14″ X 11″

Single Lonely Pear, Jun 3, 2017, Oil on Canvas Board, 6″ X 8″

My drawing a day project is going reasonably well – another 31 days completed.

For June, I’ve decided on two rules:

  1. All of my drawings will consist of a few items selected from 21 still life props with the addition fresh produce I have on hand if I choose to add it. I’ve photographed all the props together to better illustrate how distant the resemblances in my drawings are to their real-life counterparts.
  2. Any medium goes – as much variety as possible – it’s about being experimental and knowing that some (or most?) of these drawings will be atrocious! This is my chance to play with all of those art supplies I was so enamoured with when I saw them in the store but I really have no idea how to use.

Still Life Props, Jun 2017


“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dali

May 1, 2017
Another month of daily drawing complete and another month of very little painting. My personal favourite was my folding chair from April 2nd. Here they are all together: