“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.

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“Practice by drawing things large… “

April 9, 2018

“Practice by drawing things large, as if equal in representation and reality. In small drawings every large weakness is easily hidden; in the large, the smallest weakness is easily seen.” – Leon Battista Alberti

I had great intentions at the beginning of March to draw larger and looser. Last year, all of my drawings were 3.5″ X 5.25″. This year I started out with all of my paper cut to 5″ X 7″. I now have paper cut to 8″ x 10″ as well and I did complete 12 larger drawings, but it is a bigger challenge than I had thought. Which could mean that it is exactly what I should work on, but it’s just not going to happen right now. I have too much else going on in my life and I’ve been struggling lately to just sit down and draw. So for April, I’ve retreated a bit and I’m focusing on drawing dishes and just keeping it up. I’m hoping when the spring weather arrives it will bring me more energy.

“The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” – Robert Henri

March 12, 2018

Another month past and another 28 drawings completed. I think February went better than January. And now it’s March – the weather is warming up and spring is in the air. I hope to be a little more experimental again this month and loosen up a bit. In January and February I worked at 5”x7” and for March I’ve prepared a lot of paper at 8”x10”. I’ve added a few new papers to play with and plan to try working more with both vine and compressed charcoal. And maybe some paint… We’ll see how it goes.

“All the hand has to be…

February 12, 2018

“All the hand has to be is the unquestioning seismograph that notes down something, the meaning of which it knows not. The less the conscious ersonality of the artist interferes, the more truthful and personal the tracing becomes.“ -Frederick Frank

Here are the drawings from my January 2018 Art Every Day project.

This year I’ve started with a selection of 11 papers cut to 5”x7”. For January I limited my subject matter to a set of basic white shapes while I experimented with my favourite media on these papers. It has been interesting – by which I mean I’ve been very frustrated or very pleased, depending on the day. I’ve realized I need a little more consistency, so I will be restricting my choice of media for a while to a few I really like – unless I’m in a daring mood and decide to live on the edge.

And I need to push myself to develop my drawing skills. I usually come to my drawing at the end of my day feeling like I just need to get it done before winding down before bed – not the sort of headspace that nurtures experimentation or adventure. Last June I committed to spending more time drawing each day. Now I have to commit to taking on more difficult subject matter and focusing on drawing techniques that will help me build my skills, even when I don’t feel like it. I enjoy drawing, but I also feel a little anxious at the beginning of a new drawing, not sure if it’s going to work out how I want it to. I need to continue all the same and slow down a little, pay attention to what I’m actually seeing and stay curious to what appears on my page as I work.

“The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire. – Auguste Rodin

January 15, 2018

I’m a couple weeks into my 2018 Art Every Day Project and I’m still working things out. In the meantime, I’m looking back at last year’s sketchbooks and trying to find patterns and lessons that can help me understand how I can improve my skills. Somehow September was a good month for me and I found a lot of drawings I really liked. Here they are:

 

“Beauty will save the world.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

January 1, 2018

All Monthly Books

My 2017 Daily Drawing Project is complete! And here are the December drawings:

I estimate I spent about 150 hours drawing this year and in addition to the 13 books of drawings (12 Moleskines and a full sketchbook), I have come away with the following:
  1. I learned that, with a drawing habit established, it doesn’t matter how I feel when I sit down to draw. The drawing will start to appear and I will slide into the present moment.
  2. Sometimes drawing is about the subject, sometimes it is about materials and sometimes it is about playing.
  3. The actual subject of the drawing doesn’t matter much – it’s about the exercise of drawing.
  4. I remembered how much I love the feel of the pen or the pencil against the paper.
  5. I need to work on fitting my subject onto my page.
  6. I have a lot of opportunity to improve my technical drawing skills – foreshortening especially.
  7. If I stick with a medium for awhile, I eventually figure it out and may even come to love it.
  8. Apparently I like to draw white objects under harsh lighting.
  9. Shadows are immensely important.
  10. I really like water-based brush markers and working with grey.
Some of my favourite repeat subjects:

My favourite drawings of the year:

I’m prepped for my new 2018 Art Every Day project now and will post each image to Instagram daily and the accumulation of the month’s work each month. In 2018 I will continue to post every two weeks and will rotate between daily drawings, paintings I’m working on and other drawings that show up along the way. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.