“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.

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“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.