“The art of life is to show your hand.” – E.V. Lucas

July was all about drawing hands – mostly with graphite. This is the fourth year that I chose to spend a month drawing hands. I want to say that I have clearly improved since those drawings back in 2017, but I really like those first images. I do have a few favourites from this past month though. I quite like July 17 with the bizarre angle and the energetic, sketchy look. I also really like the 30 second blind contour drawing from July 8. That was one of those days when I just had no time and no patience and just wanted to get it done. Beyond the hand drawings, as much as I am missing my favourite Starbucks cup, I like the way my painting of it’s remains turned out on the first of the month. 

For the sake of comparison, here are links to the previous months of hand drawings. 

Hand drawings from June 2019

Hand drawings from November 2018

Hand drawings from August 2017

JUN 20, 2020

“It starts with this: …”

“It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.” – Stephen King

June was another scattered and chaotic month and I didn’t even try to do anything intentional with my drawing beyond just showing up everyday and spending time at it. 

It was a month where I found my materials provided me some inspiration. On one of my trips out into the world (beyond work), I found a pack of pens on sale at Staples. When I picked them up, I had thought they were pigment pens, but later realized they were paint pens: Derwent Graphik Line Painters to be precise. The set I have is #2 – which includes 5 colours: ‘High’ (light blue), ‘Brilliant’ (dark blue) ‘Envy’ (green), ‘Clockwork’ (yellow) and ‘Bricklane’ (red). These pens are fine-tipped at .5mm, opaque and permanent once they dry, but while they are wet, they are water soluble. It’s not difficult to get them to spit out a bit of extra ink that you can use as a wash or splash across the page. I played with some of these techniques – not nearly as artfully as the people on YouTube, but it was interesting (June 6 – 8). The fact that they are fine makes it a bit tedious to fill large spaces, but I intend to pick them up again soon. 

I found myself drawing hands a few times in June and at the end of the month I resorted to graphite – which turned into my plan for my drawings in July, which I hope to post in the next couple of weeks. 

Thank you for checking out my work. 

“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.

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.