“I am not altogether displeased with the shirt-front.” – Paul Cezanne, after about 115 sittings for a portrait of Ambroise Vollard…

November 4, 2019

For my daily drawings in October I decided to continue drawing faces, but to increase the challenge a little. Before last June I had always shied away from drawing faces as I found it very intimidating. Last year and again in September, I used other artists’ work as my reference. This made it a little easier as the original drawings or paintings were already artistic interpretations and therefore once removed from realistic representations. The artist had already made decisions about what to keep in and what to leave out, etc. The fact that I could never reproduce the finished drawing or painting accurately didn’t bother me – I was happy if it looked like a face.

In October, it was a real challenge to turn to photographs as reference. Now I had to make my own decisions about how to simplify the visual information in the photos into a line drawing. I continued to use a dip pen and ink in order to avoid getting too precious. Of course, it meant that my accuracy is sacrificed, often resulting in uneven eyes and bizarre proportions – and I’m ok with that. Overall I am pretty pleased with my drawings in October. Some of them are even recognizable as SPECIFIC people.

In November I am leveling up again. This time I am working with photos, but I am going to begin in pencil and then build up both line and tone with a dip pen, a brush and ink washes. It’s all experimental and I’m working to come up with a process that works well for me and provides a result I’m happy with.

I’ve decided to redraw all of the same faces from October to make it a bit more interesting. So far it’s been fun to look at the two drawings of the same face side by side. I’m posting my drawings every day or so on Instagram and will post all of the drawings together in early December.

“I paint German artists whom I admire….

Oct 7, 2019
“I paint German artists whom I admire. I paint their pictures, their work as painters, and their portraits too. But oddly enough, each of these portraits ends up as a picture of a woman with blonde hair. I myself have never been able to work out why this happens.” – Georg Baselitz

In September I chose to draw faces for my daily drawings project. I restricted myself to a dip pen and ink in order to play with line weight and simplified drawings. My reference material consisted of portraits drawn or painted by some of my favourite artists.

I was trying to create faces, but I wasn’t too concerned if I was creating recognizable drawings of the original artworks; instead, it was more about studying how other artists used various brush or pen strokes to create marks that resemble facial features. In some cases, like the Modigliani faces, they are very stylized and I wanted to understand the simplification process he used. After working like this for a month, I feel like I have only brushed against something that I would like to thoroughly dig into in order to develop my own personal shorthand of strokes to render eyes and noses and profiles. I’ve decided to continue on with this subject matter for October and I will post my results in early November. I will continue to post my drawings most days on Instagram for anyone that wants to see how it’s going.

“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.

“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.

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity…..”

February 17, 2019

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” – Ray Bradbury

This is my third year drawing every day. Having finished my first month, I took a bit of time last weekend to compare my drawings from January 2017 and January 2018 beside my January 2019 work. I had hoped to see huge advances in terms of the quality of my drawings – and I do see improvement, but not what I had hoped for. I found a lot of my drawings this past month a bit frustrating. Considering the shapes of the subject matter I was drawing (produce) consists of organic, often roundish shapes, I had thought I could do better to convey volume. It is what it is though. And I did experiment some with mediums which explains the less than stellar results of the drawings for Jan 14 and Jan 24. And there are some that I really like – Jan 9 and Jan 16. I am still going on this project and with a new theme for February I am looking forward to seeing the results.

“Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity.” – Marshall McLuhan

January 28, 2019

 

These are a few drawings from my daily sketchbook from August through November. Somehow I’m able to play a little more when I’m drawing in my sketchbook and sometimes wonder if maybe I should just dispense with using the cut paper and just draw here – I may prefer the results. But I don’t want to be restricted to the same paper every day. It’s the looseness and the textures that I like the most in these particular drawings – I am still working on accomplishing that more frequently. And so I continue on.