“There is intelligence when you are not afraid. “ – Bruce Lee

So I’m only two months behind in posting my daily artwork. I hope to be caught up by the end of the summer and back on track for the fall – I figure a global pandemic should warrant leniency. Above are my daily drawings / paintings from May – a bit of a scattered mess really – and so it is appropriate that I provide a scattered mess of thoughts about them.

It was another month where I didn’t feel all that inspired, but kept at it regardless and found myself playing with materials to make things more interesting. My peppers on May 3 were done in gouache – a medium that I haven’t used for many years, but nevertheless had in a drawer and enjoyed working with again. May 7 I found myself combining grey scale markers, a dull pencil and watercolours. It’s an odd combination, but I kind of like it and the strange mix of textures. My impulse online pandemic shopping included the Gamblin Reclaimed Earth Colours (how could I NOT buy them – they are limited edition and really pretty!) and for my May 9 painting I wanted to work with the Rust Red. I like the palette I used in this painting and may revisit it again at some point. Sadly it reminded me of Starbuck’s Lemon Raspberry Loaf that I haven’t seen for quite some time. My May 10 ultra green pears were a combination of pigment pen, brush and ink and watercolour. I came very close to not drawing at all on May 16 – somehow life was just overwhelming that day – but instead I experimented with the Procreate app and an Apple Pencil and ended up with this odd chair drawing. I definitely have a lot to learn about this medium – perhaps I will delve further into it at some point. May 17 was the first painting in my series documenting the very short life of the tulips near my front steps that I inadvertently planted in sub-optimal sunlight conditions. I spent more time playing with water colour this month – on the 18 and 20. May 21 is my abstracted rendition of the Alberta Gallery of Art – a building fashioned of large undulating swathes of metal. Can you tell I was reading about Lawren Harris on May 22? More tulips on the 24 and 16 – these were the early days when they were still young and alive (no spoilers – really). I have always loved rendering fabric and I did so with a varying degree of detail on the 25 and 27. May 29 may become a painting – I like the strong line of the profile I referenced from Antonio Pollaiualo’s Portrait of a Lady and the de-emphasis of the details of the face. Back to markers for the last two days of the month mainly because they are quick and fun to use. 

All in all it was a haphazard month, but I made it through and didn’t miss a day. Sometimes I sit down to draw and it feels like such a chore and I wonder what the point is, but I push myself to follow through and just do it. Sometimes on those days I walk away afterwards feeling like all I accomplished was checking a box – only to return the next day and think “hey – that’s kind of cool, I need to do something like that again!” Of course other days I come back and wonder what I was thinking, inclined to crumple it into a ball and forget I had bothered. And none of that matters really. What matters is to come back. Over and over. And eventually what I draw will become something I’m proud of.

Thanks for checking out my work. Come back soon to see how June and July went.

“I don’t know what kind of an artist I am.” – Jasper Johns

Ok, so March was a busy month for me – and that was before the global pandemic arrived. I had great aspirations at the beginning to experiment with various approaches to create tone with line so I could discover the one I liked the best and could then refine it. I had it all planned – angled parallel lines, then cross-hatching, then squiggly lines and then something else and early on, as you can see, I just crashed and burned. I managed to create one small painting the first weekend, but right after my smeary red cream pitcher all of my plans just went off the rails. 

I did continue to spend time every day drawing – even though it was often a few minutes of blind contours. Or it was a few minutes playing with the thick Faber Castell brush markers that I bought on impulse and have in only 5 colours. And really, life happens and the best laid plans and intentions need to adjust to that. 

March was an odd month, but even though at the time, those 5-10 minutes of drawing seemed like I was just checking a box, I’m actually kind of pleased with the results. And I’m reminded that any one or two days (or the entire month) really doesn’t matter. It’s all about continuing on. While quality and focus and  those high ideals are fine, at the end of the day, it’s about showing up and doing what I can and letting the quality bits float to the top when I view the month’s, or the year’s work as a whole. And so I continue. 

“You have to learn to feel confident about the prospect of failing, because it’s so inevitable.” – Andrea Zittel

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

It may be mid-April, but here are my February daily drawings. March was a very busy month and although I managed to draw or paint every day, I am only starting to get caught up now and I have a ways to go yet.
In February my theme was produce. I played around with quite a few different mediums and there are a few that I quite like and a lot that I have to chalk up to having tried – even if the results are mediocre. Everything counts and I just keep going.

 

 

“There are no happy endings. Endings are the saddest part, So just give me a happy middle. And a very happy start.” – Shel Silverstein

December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!

Another month of daily drawings completed and my third year of daily drawings done. I have big plans for 2020, but they will take time – good thing I have the entire year! I will continue creating art every day (or most every day) and will post the results here as I go. Just for fun, here are my images from December 2017 and December 2018.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. – Thomas Merton

June 24, 2019

These drawings are from my sketchbook from late 2018 to earlier this month. Looking back as far as November reminds me of some of the ideas that caught my attention for more than a day or so. One of the reasons that I skip warm-up drawings in my sketchbook – other than a shortage of time – is that I can’t think of anything I want to draw. But when I look back, I don’t find the drawings boring – even when I’m looking at the same stack of white cups drawn over and over. And that is what I love about art – the way it makes normal everyday ‘stuff’ seem interesting again – even if it didn’t seem that way when I was drawing it.

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

June 3, 2019

For the month of May, rather than have a theme to guide the subject matter of my drawings, I chose to relocate where I did my drawing. I’m fortunate to have a studio – a small room where my art supplies live and where I can go to draw and paint and control the lighting with everything I need at my fingertips – it’s all very comfortable and lovely and a situation crying out for a shake-up. The only requirement I set out was that I draw outside of my comfy and safe nest studio – and as a result, outside of my comfort zone.
This was an eye-opening experience for me. A simple change in location led me places I had not considered before in more than a literal sense. There were days where I simply picked another room of the house to draw in and I drew what I saw and even that seemed new. I managed to draw on location quite a lot and realized I would like to try more urban sketching and take the time to develop the skills I’m currently lacking in drawing buildings and other architectural elements. I found that there is some pretty cool looking public furniture at malls and in other public spaces and I may have to make that a theme at some point.
I pushed myself out of my comfort zone quite a lot this past month and I really enjoyed it. This has made me excited about drawing again and I feel like there is just so much out there that I want to capture in my sketchbook. There were a lot of days where I sat down and looked at what I wanted to draw and felt the fear of knowing that I might completely make a mess of it and I did it anyway. Some of the drawings are pretty mediocre, and that’s the thing; it really isn’t about how well they turned out, it’s about the process and the experience. Fortunately, the positive experiences far outweighed the less than successful ‘experiments’ and have left me with a head full of ideas to carry on in my daily drawing practice.

“Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a Shepard. Without innovation, it is a corpse.” – Winston Churchill

May 13, 2019

In April, I decided to redraw items that I had drawn in 2016 or early 2017. I had thought that perhaps I would be able to make some dramatic comparisons. That wasn’t really the case though. I am posting only the current drawings here, but each day I posted the current drawing on Instagram with the original. It may not have turned out as I had expected, but it did give me a break from coming up with ideas of what to draw for the month.

In each drawing I added a bit of colour (even if it was grey) with watercolour. I used either my Winsor & Newton travel box of watercolours or my Peerless Transparent Watercolors. I enjoyed the challenge and the opportunity to learn something new. The two sets produce quite different results and I have a lot to learn about both yet.

“Painting is the pattern of one’s own nervous system being projected on canvas.” – Francis Bacon

Family, Mar 30, 2019, Oil on Birch Panel, 20" X 16"

Family, Mar 30, 2019, Oil on Birch Panel, 20″ X 16″

Waiting, Mar 30, 2019, Oil on Canvas Board, 10" X 10"

Waiting, Mar 30, 2019, Oil on Canvas Board, 10″ X 10″

Forbidden Fruit, Apr 13, 2019, Oil on Canvas Board, 14" X 11"

Forbidden Fruit, Apr 13, 2019, Oil on Canvas Board, 14″ X 11″

These two chair paintings came as a result of my month of drawing chairs and memories of the Ikea set that we had for our kids when they were little – I’ve always liked the Seus-like design of them. I wanted to use strong colours, but somewhat muted, so I added Torrit Grey 2016 to each in order to desaturate them.

The fruit painting is one that I started last year and only finished recently. I’ve been interested in pattern lately and I found myself incorporating it in the background in the first and last piece here.

The single chair painting was done at the end of the evening when I had finished the chairs and table grouping. I have gotten into the habit of using up my extra paint at the end of a session on whichever small panel I have around. These panels can then evolve into something abstract that stands on its own, or become the background for something like this.

“Art teaches nothing, except the significance of life.” – Henry Miller

April 1, 2019

 

My drawing theme for March was plants and flowers. I had thought that this subject matter would be a good opportunity to use coloured media and I envisioned pretty little watercolours and coloured pencil drawings capturing delicate colour transitions. It was a busy month for me though, and not only were the drawings not turning out as I had hoped, I was frequently pressed for time.

So I switched to Sharpie and pigment pens and started playing with line thickness and quality of line. Sharpie is not a medium conducive to a slow or faltering line and I quickly chose to sacrifice accuracy as a result. This changed the experience of drawing considerably and I really enjoyed it. Instead of placing my lines carefully and erasing and correcting, I had to commit and when my lines were clearly wrong, I had to work with it to make the drawing work independently of the subject in front of me.

While drawing I spent more time looking at my subject than at the paper and I believe my accuracy improved over time. I’m pleased that these drawings have left me with a new approach/style that I can adopt when I want to do something different. I will come back to this and work on evolving it further down the road.

“I know there is a terrific idea there somewhere…”

March 12, 2019

“I know there is a terrific idea there somewhere, but whenever I want to get into it, I get a feeling of apathy and want to lie down and go to sleep.” – Willem De Kooning

 

I really enjoyed my drawings this month – there was a good balance between the challenge of each one and my interest in the subject matter. I’m sure I will be coming back to this subject matter again.  The shapes of the negative space and the legs provide such a great opportunity to forget what this thing you’re looking at is and just focus on where to put the next line. For the most part, I worked from photos. I had set out to draw all of the chairs in my house and I did get to most of them – except for the four different office chairs that were just bland to me. And there are just so many beautifully designed chairs out there that it would have been such a loss to stick to the ones in my immediate surroundings. I am now finding myself noticing (and photographing) chairs much more as I am out – at restaurants and in the mall. I am slowly building a collection of new chairs to do this all over again down the road with new fodder.

Part of my inspiration for this subject matter comes from the work of Lucia Dill and her paintings of folding chairs. I love everything about these paintings and the narratives she builds into them.

And now it’s spring and I’m working on more drawings to post here next month.