Do not be afraid of being wrong; just be afraid of being uninteresting. – T. Carl Whitmer

It’s June and just more than three months into this global pandemic – these ‘unprecedented’ times – and although in a lot of ways I am settling into this new and ever-changing normal in some ways, I am feeling very erratic in my art production. And it shows in my artwork from April. I‘m going to optimistically say that I’m starting to have more days where I feel like I have a bit more focus, energy and time to apply myself, but it is a very slow trend in that direction.

I am still creating art every day. Some days that may just be playing a bit with watercolours (it seems I’m watercolour challenged, but I’m still trying) and other days I will do quick blind contours or quick line drawings. I find pulling out materials that I don’t often use or have maybe never used, helps – if for no other reason than there’s very little pressure to achieve any particular standard. Right now my intention is to continue drawing or painting every day. And as I get to it, I will post my artwork here.

“All artists are two-headed calves.” – Truman Capote

February 3, 2020

These are the products of my 2020 Daily Art Project in January. In 2020 I am trying to replace one of my drawings with a small painting each week and so far this is going well. If I can manage more than one painting in a week that will be great, but once a week is my starting point.
My theme for the month was basic forms and I chose as my subject matter a set of 6 geometric forms. In most of my drawings and my paintings I was trying to pay attention to the variations of tones within the planes of the shapes – the side of the square that is totally in the shade is not just a flat tone but changes from side to side, etc. I was also trying to avoid lines where I could and instead emphasize the change of tone on either side of the line and trying to keep those lines soft. 
 
For the paintings, I’ve been using Gamblin FastMatte oil paints. Although this line of paint was designed for underpainting, I was attracted to their matte quality and in practice, I like that aspect of them, but I’m not really fond of the texture of the paint itself. Some of the colours are quite stiff out of the tube and I am mixing them with Gamblin Galkyd Gel and Gamsol which helps, but they really do dry quite quickly and often by the time I’m finishing they are no longer that easy to blend into. I intend to continue with them until I either change my mind or run out of the colours I have. We’ll see which comes first. 
I returned to graphite for the last four drawings in January mainly as I found myself short of time and graphite is an old friend that feels comfortable and quick – and I have a variety of options in the graphite family. In order to keep my drawing loose, I like to use a dull pencil – as I did for the drawings on the 28th and 29th. Then for a contrasting experience on the 30th and 31st, I switched to a series of mechanical pencils with different grades of graphite. I find the precision of the fine-points influences me to approach the drawing differently and I quite like the result I achieved. It has made me think it might be fun to spend an entire month on graphite in varying forms to explore the options and results. But not in February…..

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

 

“authorship is a dubious concept…” – Victor Pelevin

November 20, 2017
“I had never understood my own poetry particularly well, and had long suspected that authorship is a dubious concept, and all that is required from a person who takes a pen in hand is to line up the various keyholes scattered about his soul so that a ray of sunlight can shine through on to the paper set out in front of him.” – Victor Pelevin in Buddha’s Little Finger

August 12, 2017, 8″ X 5.5″

Still not feeling much like painting, so I’m posting more of my drawings from July and August.

“Draw lines, young man, many lines, from memory or from nature; it is in this way that you will become a good artist.” – Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

February 7, 2017

Thirty one days of pencil drawings complete! I think it went well. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I had thought that I’d run out of things to draw or things that I felt like drawing, but that didn’t happen. Even if sometimes my drawings were of very simple things like spheres or apples. It’s all practice.

For February, I’m trying something a little different. My medium is black fine tipped pen and grey markers. And I am drawing from photographs or other printed images. The switch to pens is to push myself to draw more confident lines. The grey markers is to help develop a better sense of value. February is looking like a busy month for me too and I am hopeful that marker will be quicker than my pencil drawings were. So far it’s been a struggle, but it’s still early.

“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.

 

“When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss Art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss Money” – Oscar Wilde

October 17, 2016

Reclaimed Pears, Oct 15, 2016, Oil on Canvas Board, 11" X 14"

Reclaimed Pears, Oct 15, 2016, Oil on Canvas Board, 11″ X 14″

 

Sketchbook Orange, Oct 11, 2016, Graphite & India Ink on Paper, 10.5" X 13.5"

Sketchbook Orange, Oct 11, 2016, Graphite & India Ink on Paper, 10.5″ X 13.5″

Sketchbook Pear, Oct 14, 2016, Charcoal & India Ink on Paper, 10.5" X 13.5"

Sketchbook Pear, Oct 14, 2016, Charcoal & India Ink on Paper, 10.5″ X 13.5″

This week I spent a little time drawing fruit and then painted more fruit on the weekend. I reclaimed a canvas board that I’d previously been playing around with and decided to incorporate what was already there into the new image. I like this idea and may have to try it again soon. It somehow makes it all seem less precious – probably because it’s not a blank canvas that I’m beginning with. And maybe the fact that I’m recycling something that wasn’t really anything to begin with. (if that makes sense) I took a few pictures along the way. Lots of glare on the finished piece – hopefully I can get a better shot of it down the road.

Reclaimed Pears Underway 1

Reclaimed Pears Underway 1

 

Reclaimed Pears Underway 2

Reclaimed Pears Underway 2