“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.

And a few things on my mind lately:

  1. Diversify Your Identity by Mark Manson – and what it is I’ve chosen as my personal measuring stick that I measure myself against.
  2. How to Improve Sleep Quality and Duration – by James Clear and what I’m willing to do in order to sleep better. I have a couple weeks of vacation coming up and I plan to maintain a more consistent wake up time might to see what that does for my focus throughout the day.
  3. I haven’t felt inspired to paint for quite awhile. I feel directionless and a need to step back and get some perspective on my work. I plan to review what I’ve done recently and look for patterns and preferences in my work in order to renew my artistic vision.

“Art has always been the raft on to which we climb to save our sanity.” – Dorothea Tanning

March 20, 2017
Another Cezanne Lemon, Mar 18, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 10" X 10"

Another Cezanne Lemon, Mar 18, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 10″ X 10″

Only a couple of things to post this week. The first is a new copy of a master lemon painting. This one is from “Fruit and a Jug on a Table” as featured on the Museum of Fine Arts Boston site.
Colour Wheel 1, Mar 18, 2017, Oil on Canvas Paper, 12" X 12"

Colour Wheel 1, Mar 18, 2017, Oil on Canvas Paper, 12″ X 12″

I completed the next lesson in my Craftsy class – creating a colour wheel with Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Titanium White and Mars Black with a 50/50 mix of black and white standing in for blue. It was an interesting idea and I thought it turned out fairly well – especially as I avoided using multiple brushes by working with a palette knife instead.
Colour Wheel 2, Mar 18, 2017, Oil on Canvas Paper, 12" X 12"

Colour Wheel 2, Mar 18, 2017, Oil on Canvas Paper, 12″ X 12″

I liked this format for a colour wheel so much that I decided to go on and do another one using primaries and secondaries directly from the tube based on Betty Edwards recommendations in her book Color: A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Colors. Colours used are Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Orange, Cobalt Violet and Permanent Green. I added Titanium White and Mars Black for the tints and shades. I could have done some smoother gradations on this one, but it serves its purpose all the same. And no brushes to clean!

“One must go on working silently, trusting the result to the future.” – Vincent Van Gogh

March 6, 2017

So my February drawing challenge was to draw from photographs using black ink and grey markers. I had thought drawing from photos would be easier, and although the actual drawing was easier as everything is already flattened, I did not enjoy it as much. It was a pain to find images that I liked and I doubt I’ll do it again. The grey markers were to help me notice value more, but it wasn’t until the 13th that I clued in that I needed to shift how I was working and focus on the various values of the forms rather than drawing outlines in black and filling them in with grey. There are a few drawings that I like in the group, quite a lot that I don’t care for and some that I consider cringe-worthy. And that’s ok. It’s an experiment and it’s all good.

What I gained most in February was more ease in jumping in and being less precious about the result. I’ve reached the point where I care less about how each drawing turns out and more about the practice of drawing.

I completed the second and third lessons in my Craftsy class with the result of the third lesson below. And although I understand the point, I’m getting a little tired of painting the same subject over and over. Apparently I have a short attention span. We’ll see what lesson four brings.

2017 March, Paint & Palette Essentials, Lesson Three, 14″ X 11″

2017 March, Paint & Palette Essentials, Lesson Three, 14″ X 11″

“We only see what we look at. To look is an act of choice.” – John Berger

January 16, 2017

My work from the last two weeks:

Striped Lemon, Jan 14, 2017, Mixed Media on Masonite, 10" X 8"

Striped Lemon, Jan 14, 2017, Mixed Media on Masonite, 10″ X 8″

The latest in the 6″ X 6″ Circle Composition series:

Circle Composition 13 WIP, Jan 14, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 6" X 6"

Circle Composition 13 WIP, Jan 14, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 6″ X 6″

 

And my daily drawing challenge so far:

When I did my drawing a day project back in July, I decided to use the same medium all month – black drawing pens and a bit of watercolour. I used a small watercolour sketchbook to work in that had 28 pages to which I added 3 more small sheets that I tucked in the back to contain the entire month’s work. I’m carrying both of these ideas over into this new project. I’m using a 2017 Moleskine planner set that consists of 12 small 3.5 x 5 soft cover books. Each has a different colour cover and a page for each day and they can all be contained in a hardcover. The lines on the pages don’t bother me, but the show-through from one page to the next does. So I’m experimenting with gessoing every second spread to avoid that. For the month of January I’ve chosen graphite as my medium. It’s been awhile since I’ve messed with graphite and I’m enjoying it so far. I’m not as fond of the way the graphite responds to the gesso on the pages, but I’m working with it and trying different things – sanding the gesso a little and using harder pencils, or just dispensing with the gesso and accepting whatever show through results. So far it’s going well. Two weeks in, 50 to go.

 

“Let frustration fuel inspiration.” – Sonia Boyce

January 2, 2017

This is a group of three panels that currently don’t look like much, but will hopefully evolve into something interesting. I want to play a little with shallow space, text and layers. I’ve started them in acrylic, but will shift to oils with cold wax medium to see if I can work with translucency as well. I have a lovely vision – time will tell how close I manage to come to what is in my head.

With the beginning of the new year, I’m full of ambition. I want to make 2017 a more prolific year than I’ve had for awhile and I am focussing both on developing skills and on experimentation. This isn’t anything new, but I have a renewed energy to bring it about. I intend to draw daily this year and post at least some of the images to Instagram and some here as well from time to time. When I look around my studio I see too many unfinished pieces, so I will be trying to finish work on them. And I seem to have developed a habit of painting over canvases and boards repeatedly if I’m not fond of how they look – again – this idea of layers that I find intriguing. We’ll see what other trends come out of the year. It’s a new year and I feel there are endless possibilities ahead. We’ll see how they unfold…

“To embrace luck, you have to enhance your tolerance for ambiguity.” – Twyla Tharp

December 19, 2016

Circle Composition Six, Dec 17, 2016, Oil on Canvas, 6” X 6”

Circle Composition Six, Dec 17, 2016, Oil on Canvas, 6” X 6”

I managed to work on three different pieces this weekend. This one was looking so much like a bullseye that I decided to add the eye.

More Reclaimed Pears, Dec 17, 2016, Mixed Media on Panel, 11” X 14”

More Reclaimed Pears, Dec 17, 2016, Mixed Media on Panel, 11” X 14”

Possibly too colourful, but I thought I’d try a different approach and this is where I ended up.

Seven Apples, Dec 17, 2016, Oil on Canvas, 48” X 36”

Seven Apples, Dec 17, 2016, Oil on Canvas, 48” X 36”

And I have decided that this is now finished. Unless of course I decide to come back to it at some point. For now though, it’s done.